Monday, December 31, 2012

FlyLady - Pagan Style; Welcome Letter

For those of you who don't know what FlyLady is, it's an inspirational website designed to help you clean and de-clutter your home and your life.  It helps you create routines that work for you, your lifestyle & your family to help housekeeping become stress-free and something you just do naturally and daily rather than something you put off until the last minute and then stress about when you have company coming over.

I have found the FlyLady system to be a wonderful and positive way to get my life in order, although admittedly, I haven't followed it as closely as I could have!  I have "fallen off the bandwagon" more than a few times!  Yet one of the great things about FlyLady is that you can jump back in at any time!  With FlyLady, I always know exactly where to start!!

Over the years, I have found ways to integrate my spirituality into my household cleaning.  Wait, did I just say that House Cleaning is Spiritual?? Yes, it can be!  I am a Pagan, more specifically an eclectic Neo-Pagan, meaning that I draw from MANY spiritual paths which focus on Nature and the natural cycles of the world we live in.  For many Pagans and Witches, our homes are the central place of our worship, our spiritual learning, our meditation, etc.  Since we don't have Churches to go to, and we don't limit ourselves to only experiencing nature when we are outdoors, it makes sense to think of our homes as our "Temple", or our Sacred Place.  Many Pagans and witches also believe that their spiritual path is a Lifestyle, not just something they do once a week or on the Blessed Sabbats or the Full Moon.  I have found through FlyLady and my own spiritual path, that even the mundane, daily tasks that come with being a wife, a mother, and a housekeeper, can be beautiful parts of my daily Spiritual Life, and I wanted to share with you some ways that I have done this.

I will be going through the different aspects of FlyLady, and talking about how I apply them to my own life as a Pagan.  Today we begin with The Welcome Letter!

When you first join FlyLady you get a Welcome Letter. (and by the way, if you follow my blog, please join FlyLady or at least bookmark the FlyLady website for reference!)  This letter explains the basic idea behind the FlyLady program and how it works.  Please click the Link and read the welcome letter for yourself!!

The first thing you read is what FLY means.  It means Finally Loving Yourself!  All the great spiritual teachers of our time and times long past have taught us that without first Loving Ourselves, we cannot truly love others.  Buddha, Paramasana Yogananda, The Dalai Lama, Ghandi, Jesus, Doreen Virtue, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Sonia Choquette, Louise Hay, Starhawk... to name a few; all teach us that when we truly see ourselves as Divine Children of God/Goddess/The Universe, we begin to truly love ourselves and then the flow of love to others and from others comes more naturally!  With the basic Law of Attraction, if we Love Our self, we invite Love into our lives.  This isn't meaning a type of love that involves vanity or a feeling of self-importance in that we are better than anyone else.  We are all children of the Divine!  But if you don't love yourself the way you love your own children; unconditionally - then you block the flow of true Divine Love from flowing to you and through you!  Without loving yourself, you are constantly criticising yourself, seeing the negative instead of the positive.

When you FLY, you embrace the positive and develop a desire to bring more positive into your life.  When you FLY, you want to eliminate the negatives to make room for the positives.  Maybe you have too much clutter.  Maybe you keep a clean home, but neglect taking care of yourself.  Perhaps you are really good at keeping parts of your home clean and orderly, but there are certain areas that build up and become a source of stress for you.  Maybe you procrastinate and let things build up to the point where it creates stress and a burden upon yourself and your family.  When you FLY, you look around your home and you think, why I am I letting myself - a beautiful Child of The Divine - live in chaos?

FlyLady's Welcome Letter explains that by taking one step at a time, the program will help you build daily routines and weekly plans that will help you run your household more efficiently, thus relieving yourself of stress.  If you embrace the ideal of FLYing (Finally Loving Yourself), then the desire to do this grows stronger.  Building routines takes time, and patience with yourself.  You have to work on developing new habits, slowly, piece by piece; trusting that eventually you will overcome whatever difficulties you may face.  The FlyLady program will help you develop these new habits and new routines, or build on the routines you already have in place.  It starts with the BabySteps, and onward to Daily Flightplans and weekly "Zone Missions", all of which are described in detail on the FlyLady website but I will (hopefully) also cover here - with a Pagan Twist!

Whether you are new to FlyLady, or have been doing it for awhile, take some time today to think about how you Love Yourself.  Are you really acting in ways that show self-love?  Are you being really hard on yourself, criticizing your failures and shortcomings?  Think about your inner voice - is it Loving towards you, or mean?  Would you talk to your child the way you talk to yourself?  How is your self-love reflected in your Daily Life at home?  Are you avoiding things that stress you out?  Is this avoidance just creating more stress and more critical self-talk?  The first step to changing negative self-talk to positive self talk is to be AWARE of your self talk.  Listen to your inner voice, and when you find it being un-loving to yourself, stop and think something positive instead.  Changing your self-talk is something that will take time, and take practice, starting with Awareness and Intention!

Here is a wonderful video of affirmations that will help you increase your self-love, by Doreen Virtue. 
Blessed Be!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Page of Pentacles (Week 1)

I hope to post a card for study, learning, and advice for each week thru 2013!  For our first card, we will take a look at The Page of Pentacles;

Invitation to: Humble Beginnings
Engagement in: Delivery of Good Fortune
Affirmation; With every breath I am growing more into the self I am to be.
Meditation; "How does the oak know the seasons ahead in order to grow strong?"

Actions;  Make a new step of any kind, whether a speculative venture or exploration. Pay Your Bills.  Make fixed appointments.  Plan for the week ahead.  Be fully prepared for an activity.  Honor your commitments.
(From "Around The Tarot in 78 Days" by Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin) 

The Pages Represent Earth Energy in relation to their suit.  For Example, The Page of Pentacles is Earth of Earth (Pentacles), while the Page of Wands is Earth of Fire (Wands).   Much like the Aces, the Pages are the basic form of energy, the beginning. You can think of them as a child, or a young Page, just beginning on his adventure.  Not yet experienced enough to be a Knight, but full of a desire to learn, grow, and become!  The Pages have high hopes for themselves and the future that they create!

The Page of Pentacles, Earth of Earth is grounded by his practical nature, yet very driven by ambition.  Some key words for The Page of Pentacles; Effective, Practical, Prosperous, Trusting, Trustworthy, Diligent, Careful, Thrifty, Scholarly, Reflective, Realistic, Focused, Slow, Steady, Dutiful.  He represents planting seeds, nurturing the "seeds" you have planted,  being a student, paying attention to detail, and not neglecting our duties. 

"The Page of Pentacles is a messenger bringing you opportunities for prosperity. He delivers real chances to experience wealth, abundance, security and solid achievement - the wonders of the Pentacles suit. In your readings, this Page suggests that an opening may appear that promises enrichment, comfort, trust or the chance to make your dreams real. When you see such a chance, act on it!
The Page of Pentacles can also stand for a child or young-at-heart adult whose interactions with you involve stability, trust, commitment, safety and material needs. Sometimes the Page of Pentacles implies that your entire situation is suffused with the spirit of physical enjoyment. At such times, feel free to have fun with your body, skills and possessions in a lighthearted way. Revel in the delights of being alive on Earth at this time. " - By Joan Bunning from Learn The Tarot

The Page of Pentacles Says;
"I am the Page of Pentacles, and I am the youthful ambition that never grows old.  I am the voice from deep within that urges you to carry on and follow your destiny.  You need to examine carefully what strengths you posses and how to turn every possibility into gold.  I advise you to "speculate to accumulate"." By Marcus Katz & Tali Goodwin from "Around The Tarot in 78 Days"

As this is the first week of the new year, take some time to consider what ways you can make a fresh start.  The Page of Pentacles asks us to look more closely at our plans, be realistic, plan ahead, and take steps forward instead of "waiting".  Be humble in your life and with others, and try to see everything as an opportunity.  Have a look again at the top of this post, to the Invitation, (what this card invites you to do), the Engagement (what this card asks you to engage yourself in), the Affirmation, the Meditation, and the Questions to ask yourself.  Try to spend the rest of this week living as if you are The Page of Pentacles; and Have and Effect, Be Practical, Be Prosperous, and Be Trusting and Trustworthy!

Have a great week, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Friday, December 14, 2012

12 Days of Yule; Day 5 - Darkness

I have been posting Blog Prompts and Journaling suggestions at my other blog, Spirit Self Awareness Journaling.  They have been based on the 12 Days of Yule prayers at Pagan/Wiccan by Patti Wigington, and I have prepared these prompts in advance with no way of knowing what the day would hold on the day the blog was scheduled to be published.

The prompt and prayer from the blog that was published today was this;

December 14, 2012 - Day 5

Day 5 ; A Prayer For The Beginning of Winter
In early winter, we can see the skies becoming overcast, and smell fresh snow in the air. Take a few minutes to think about the fact that even if the skies are cold and dark, it's only temporary.

"See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way
for the darkness soon to come.
See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way,
for the world to go cold and lifeless.
See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way
for the longest night of the year.
See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way
for the sun to one day return,
bringing with it light."

By Patti Wigington;
My Journaling / Blogging suggestion;
Take time to think about how everything comes in cycles. The winter months eventually give way to spring... things won't always be dark and gloomy. What were some times in your life you remember seeming the darkest? They didn't last forever. Even if pain from those dark times still lingers, you have had moments of joy and light again. Thank the Earth for these cycles for they help us grow and make us stronger. I recently asked a group of friends, "If you could erase the memory of the darkest time in your life, would you?" The answer was a resounding NO, because those memories, though painful, have shaped us into who we are today. So even if the weather isn't pleasant, be thankful for it. It makes us more appreciative of the sun when it does return. 
I had planned on writing about some of my own personal dark days.  Something perhaps about many years ago, when I was a rape victim, or a drug addict.  I have recovered from those days, though their memory can still cast a dark shadow on me at times.  I was going to write about how I had overcome those "dark days" and found myself to now be a much stronger and more positive person.
But today, there is a present darkness that has cast it's shadow across our country - and across the whole world.  I think it effects all of us as humans very deeply and profoundly.  I am refering to the tragic massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.  A darkness has cast a cloud on all of us today as 28 people were killed by the gunfire of a madman, 20 of those beautiful souls being just children, between the ages of 5 and 10.
My original plan for blogging was to talk about how many of our dark times are "lessons" we need to learn, which make us stronger.  Yet when we experience something senseless, so meaningless, so tragic, we can't really think of it in the same way as a "lesson" which needed to be learned.  My own personal struggles with drug addiction in my early 20's (12 years clean, by the way!!) was one of those things that can be looked back on as a lesson.  My spirit needed to learn self-love, self-control, and to not seek "temporary fixes".  Today, the darkness and pain felt everywhere is a different kind of pain.  Because I don't think that God and Goddess send us lessons in the form of senseless violence and the loss of lives in tragic meaningless ways.  The sad truth is, bad things happen on this planet.  They happen every day.  While we don't need to look at this as a "message" from the Gods, or a "lesson" sent by the universe to our people.... we DO need to find a way to grow from this experience.  Let it change you, let it teach you.  Not because it's a lesson to be learned, but because if you don't let it change you, THEN it becomes even more senseless and pointless than it already is.  Hug your family close.  Show kindness to strangers.  Give, even when you have little or nothing to give.  Pray more often, lift up all of mankind in your prayers.  Greive for the children, and the adults who lost their lives, greive for the people who are so lost and disconnected from the Light of Spirit that they act in any way other than Divine Love.  The Sun WILL return.  It's in US... the solar power to light up the world again.  My heart is breaking for this tradgedy, and I pray for hope, I pray for peace, I pray for Light.  May The Great Wheel's turning carry us with it, forward into a place of Light, where we can learn the true meaning of Brotherhood and Love.....
Blessed Be...

12 Days of Yule; Day 4, Gratitude & New Moon

This is what I posted yesterday at Journal Yourself Awake;

At there is a list of 12 Days of Yule Devotionals and I think they are wonderful! I will share them here, along with my own thoughts on how you can journal on the Daily Devotions. I will also share some other Winter Holidays, traditions, and Lore to consider, which you can also choose to journal or blog about if you wish!

December 13, 2012 - Day 4

Day 4 ; Counting Your Blessings;
Yule should be a time of joy and happiness, but for many people it can be stressful. This is a season to take a moment and be thankful for the blessings you have, and to take a moment to remember those less fortunate.

"I am grateful for that which I have.
I am not sorrowful for that which I do not.
I have more than others, less than some,
but regardless, I am blessed with
what is mine."

By Patti Wigington;
My Journaling / Blogging suggestion;
Make another gratitude list! List people, things, and events that you are thankful for! Writing a Gratitude list is always a feel-good thing to do, it will lift your spirits and help banish stresses and worries to just spend a few minutes thinking about all you have to be grateful for! Try to spend a full 5 minutes adding things to your list! Keep writing even if the things you write seem trivial... just keep the gratitude flowing for as long as you can!
Today, Dec. 13, 2012 - is also the New Moon! This goes quite well with our gratitude journaling for the day... it is always good to start the New Moon energy flowing with some gratitude! Yesterday we wrote about some of the dark times we have gone through and the negativity we want to release. Today, focus on those positive aspects of what you have learned. I always like to think of the New Moon as a fresh start. I can wipe the slate clean, and start the new cycle however I want!
My Journaling/ Blogging suggestion;
Write about your strengths, and how you have improved your life over the past year, and make a "wish list" of wishes and goals for the coming year. What do you want to experience more of in the future? Write it down, but fully claim it! Don't just say "I want to experience more love.".... fully claim it and write "I fully welcome more love into my life now!"
Also, for a wonderful "New Moon in Sagittarius" Meditation and visualization, check this page out;
I didn't have time to write here last night, but here are some of my own thoughts from yesterday's New Moon and Yule meditation;
Part 1 - Gratitude;
I am thankful for-
My job, having a job that understands that as a mother of 3 children things come up and I can't always work the hours I am scheduled for.  I am also thankful that my job is both close to my home and close to my children's school, and I can easily walk to either place after work.  My co-workers are some of the best people I know and I am happy to be surrounded by such loving, hard working, generous people on a daily basis!
My husband's job.  He has been laid off for a few months, but this week he started work again!  Money is still tight as we now try to catch up, but I am so grateful that he has the opportunity to work, and that we can finally breathe a little easier, knowing that a paycheck will be coming again soon!  And I am grateful that my husband is a hard working man, committed to doing hard work to provide for his family!
My parents - who have helped us both financially and with emotional support and love during our time of need!
My friends... my Friends who are physically close to me, and my online, long-distance friends who offer me so much support! I am thankful for all we have learned from each other, and for the bond we share!
My children... three amazing little souls who share their life with me!  I can't even begin to explain all the ways they have blessed my life... it would take more than one blog post to even go into that!!
Part 2 - New Moon
For my New Moon ritual I took the pieces of paper that I had written down things I want to attract into my life on.  During the Dark Moon ritual I had written down the things I want to be removed from my life, and burned them.  Since nature does not allow a vacuum, I wrote an equal number of positives to replace the negatives that I released. 
I drew a hot bath, added Sage (for Wisdom), Lavender (for peace), Salt (for purification), and milk (for nurturing and Moon Mother energy) and I soaked in the bath and meditated.  For me, the bath is my favorite place to meditate and do spell work!  I took each piece of paper, one at a time, held it in my hand and visualized myself receiving a gift from The Goddess and God.  I unwrapped each gift in my mind, and inside of it was what I had written on the paper (example; Good Health).  I then dropped the paper into the bath water and visualized myself immersed in the Gift.  I saw it, felt it, revelled in it.  Then I would pick another piece of paper, receive another "gift" and continue with the visualization process.  It was a very beautiful and simple ritual and left me feeling very blessed and ready to begin this new moon cycle. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 Days of Yule, Day 3

Following along with Patti Wigington's 12 Days of Yule Devotionals, plus my own inspirations from her daily prayers, Today's journaling/blogging suggestion was this;

My Journaling / Blogging suggestion;

What are your favorite winter traditions? Many of them probably involve warmth and family time; Sitting around the fireplace, cuddling under blankets, drinking hot chocolate or hot apple cider, baking cookies and other treats.... etc. Write about your favorite ways of getting warm or share a favorite winter recipe. Spend some time with your family or close friends, sharing warmth of a fireplace (or a home nice and toasty from the heater or stove) and make some memories to write about!

(from )

This evening I spent time with my children, doing "wintery" things together.  My oldest daughter is in 8th grade and she is in chorus at her school.  Tonite was their winter concert, so myself and my two younger children went to the school to watch them perform.  After some very proud mommy moments, plus some great Christmas music, we headed home for pizza, hot chocolate, and Christmas movies in the living room with the heater on.  We watched the classic black and white Shirley Temple movie; Heidi, while cuddling on the couch.   That movie was one of the movies we (My parents, brother, and I) always watched when I was a kid during the holiday season, and it felt great to carry on the tradition with my own children.  Spending time together, drinking hot cocoa, being warm and just feeling good about being under the same roof together while it's cold outside - isn't that just THE BEST part of winter and Yule??   Today's Yule Devotional Prayer by Patti Wigington was a Prayer to the Winter Goddess; and I think that in a way- the cold winter nights awaken the Mother Goddess within us all... male or female, mother, father, childless or child, the cold and dark nights encourage us to become closer to each other, and awaken our own nurturing instincts.

"O! Mighty Goddess, in silvery ice,
watching over us as we sleep,
a layer of shining white,
covering the earth each night,
frost on the world and in the soul,
we thank you for visiting us.
Because of you, we seek warmth
in the comfort of our homes and hearths."

After our "warm fuzzy" evening, I sent the kids to bed and had a bit of a dark moon ritual.  I asked the Goddess of Night, Nyx, to help remove boundaries and blocks within my life, and in a sense - I gave my darkness TO the Darkness.  I release the old that no longer serves me, to make room for the new and the blessings of the future which will begin with tomorrow's New Moon and onward through the Yule / Solstice season.  I also did the cord braiding ritual, calling on Nyx's daughters - The Fates, to help me more clearly see the choices that lay ahead of me so that I can move forward with wisdom.  I hope this Dark Moon night has brought you rest, healing, comfort, and nurturing, and that tomorrow's New Moon is the beginning of great blessings for all of you!

Blessed Be!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Calling on The Fates or Norns to aid in Divination

Honoring the Fates

Connecting with The Fates, also known as the Moerae, can be very helpful when you are doing any type of divination or dream work, or just wanting a clearer glimpse at your life to help you make better choices.  Since The Fates weave each person's "Life Thread", they can help you look into your life through dreams, meditation, or divination.
You can also look at any Three Card tarot reading in terms of the Three Sisters known as the Fates or The Norns... Past, Present, and Future.  Before drawing your three tarot cards, call upon each sister by name... Clotho (Past), Lachesis (Present), and Atropos (Future) and see what each card, or each sister, reveals to you.  If you wish, you can call upon the Nordic Norns for your tarot reading in a similar fashion;   They are Urd (The Past), Verthandi or Verdandi (the Present), and Skuld (the Future). 

The Dark of The Moon is a good time for Divination and Dream work.  The night before the New Moon, it is the night of No moon... the darkest night of the cycle.  In this time we experience a long period of darkness, and the night is not even illuminated by the moon... we can delve deep into the psyche and the inner, secret realms of the Night.  The Fates in Greek Mythology are the daughters of Nyx (Goddess of Night), so the dark moon is a perfect time to call upon them to help you see things more clearly.  Ask them to assist you in your tarot readings, rune readings, or to show you answers or clues in your dreams during this dark night.  Here in this blog post I have included some information on The Fates, along with a beautiful ritual for honoring them.

The following information is from the book, "Moon Magick" by D.J. Conway and you may find it helpful in connecting with the Fates, The Norns, or The Wyrd Sisters before you try to attempt any ritual invoking them. 

The Greek Fates and Nordic Norns are very similar. It may be that these Goddesses all came from pre-Aryan cultures in the Far East, before these cultural groups migrated to their respective areas to settle. Although there is no record of sacrifices to The Norns, the Nordic clans held them in awe and high regard. In Greece and Rome, the Fates were taken very seriously. They were given sacrifices of honey and flowers. Well into Medieval times three rings were used in special rituals to invoke the Fates. The three gunas, or colored threads (white, red, and black), of India were said to run through every life as ordained by the Fates. Ovid, Theocritus, and others wrote of the same colored life-threads in Greek literature.

 * The Fates
The Greek Fates ("portions, shares") were also called the Moerae or Moirai and became known as the Parcae during the Middle Ages. These three serious daughter of Nyx (Night), were Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos. Clotho spun the life-thread, Lachesis measured it, assigned the destiny, and added a portion of luck. Brooding Atropos with her shears cuts the thread at any time without warning. Not even Zeus would go against a decree by the Fates. The Goddess Nemesis was the only one who could influence Atropos to let the thread spin into a longer length. They were often accompanied by the Keres (Dogs of Hades) who were three beings with sharp teeth and robed in red. Although this trio was feared, the beings were also invoked at weddings for a happy union.

* The Norns
In many aspects, the Nordic Norns were quite similar. This trio of fate Goddesses live at the Well of Urd near one of the roots of the World Tree Yggdrasil. They are Urd (The Past), Verthandi or Verdandi (the Present), and Skuld (the Future).   The Norn Urd (Fate) was defined as "that which is becoming"; Verthandi (Necessity) as "That which is"; Skuld (Being) as "That which should become".  Predestination and predetermination were were unknown to the Norse.  They believed that what each person did influenced his/her future. 
The Norns were almost as important as the Aesir themselves.  In fact, these Goddesses were said to weave the destinies of men, gods, giants, dwarfs, and every other living being.  Each day the Norse Gods held their counsil at this Well in the presence of the Norns.  The fact that the water from the Well of Urd turned everything white may tie these deities to the three phases of the Moon. Certain records also speak of the helpers of the Norns, who were the Disir; in some writings these were called elves. The Hamingjes were like guardian angels to the humans. There were elf-maids who cared for unborn babies. The decrees of Urd were carried out by the Giptes. Other Disir oversaw certain families or clans. There were even supernatural women , not Valkyries, who brought the souls of the dead to Hel's realm. 
It is rare for a person to know exactly where their future is going, including all the sidetracks that invariably go on.  It is difficult to even get a clear glimpse of the broader picture.  Learning to work with the Norns and The Fates and Listen to their advice is important to avoid major pitfalls.  If they point out coming problems, and we manage to change our direction to avoid them, we have taken responsibility in the molding of our future.  If the problems revealed by the Norns seem to stay in our path regardless of our efforts, then we must work through them, learning the necessary lessons.
 * The English knew of the Norns by the name of the Weird Sisters. The Anglo-Saxons called them Wyrd; in Old High German Wurd. These Wyrd Sisters are quite likely descendants of the Greek Moerae or Fates.


 This is from the book "Moon Magick" by D.J. Conway. It is suggested for the Dark Moon that falls in December. I am not copying word for word except for the ritual and the info on the fates... I have done this ritual before and have added my own notes and thoughts.
* You will need; * 3 long cords (thick string or ribbon) - one white, one black, and one red
Your altar set up however you want for the Winter season and whatever candles or incense you find fitting.
You may choose to have three candles, one of red, one of black, and one of red, also, to represent the three sisters (The Fates/The Norns) or three candles of any color you wish... however you want to set it up is fine.

 * The Ritual;
 Call upon The Fates. You can call upon the Greek Fates (Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos) or the Nordic Norns (Urd, Verthandi, and Skuld), or call on them as The Wyrd Sisters as they are known in English traditions.
* Take the three cords and braid them together. If you wish, make this long enough to be tied around your waist and in the future use the braided cord as part of your ritual garment, (or something to be kept on your altar at all times) As you braid, repeat this chant; *

 "Over, under, threads of Fate.

As in my life, so in all things.

Weaving the pattern, soon or late,

I see the result that action brings."

 (You may also choose to chant the names of the Fates between each repetition of the above chant.) When you finish braiding the cord, knot both ends and kiss the braid. Wrap it around your waist or drape it over your shoulders (or wrap it around your wrists and lift your hands upward) Visualize the Fates of Norns before you, lift your hands to them and chant;

"A new year dawns, the threads weave on,

to ultimately reveal my destiny.

Oh Fates of Life, I ask your aid

To clear my path and set me free.

Let old things die and blow away.

Let new come in to prosper me.

Oh Fates of Life I ask your aid,

To clear my life and set me free."
Sleep with the braided cords under your pillow and pay attention to your dreams.  And be prepared to do whatever is necessary and proper to straighten out your life and make your path smoother.
You may also choose to use the braid to wrap around your deck of tarot cards, or to wear around your wrist, shoulders, or waist whenever you do divination of any form, to help you connect with The Fates or The Norns during future readings.

12 Days of Yule, Day 2

Follow along with my 12 Days of Yule Blog prompts here;

Tuesday, Dec. 11, Day 2

Day 2; A Sunrise Prayer;

The sun returns! The light returns!
The earth begins to warm once more!
The time of darkness has passed,
and a path of light begins the new day.
Welcome, welcome, the heat of the sun,
blessing us all with its rays."

By Patti Wigington
What does the Sun mean to me and what is my relationship with it in the Winter?  Here in the Arizona Desert, during the summer the sun is harsh.  With temperatures easily reaching well over 110 degrees, there are dangers in the summer.  Sun burn, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, dehydration, etc.  The summer is the time we spend "hiding" from the sun, staying indoors where there is air- conditioning and protection from the sun.  In the winter months, there is a chill in the air and the sky can often be overcast.  But when the sun shines, or when the skies are clear, you can stand in the sunlight and almost immediately feel it's warmth. 
Today's blog prompt asked me to consider how I am spending time in the sunlight when I can.  Ironically, just yesterday my husband started work again.  Since we only have one car, this means that I am walking to work again.  So now I will have a little time outdoors each morning, collecting some sunlight!  I am happy for this!  First of all, happy that my husband is working again!  But I am also grateful for my opportunity to spend some time each day walking, it is a time of solitude that I really enjoy.  Even in the middle of the city, surrounded by houses, streets with cars rushing by, dogs barking at me... it is time for just me and my thoughts with no one else demanding my attention. 
Here in the desert, although the solstice represents the returning of the sun, and the days growing longer, it's really just the beginning of our "winter" season.  It doesn't really get cold here until January, which is also when we can expect more rain and winter weather.  But as far as what the sun represents on a spiritual level, I like to think of the Solstice as a perfect opportunity for rebirth on an inner level. 
The  third chakra, Manipura, is also known as the Solar Plexus and it is bright yellow in color.  It's great to visualize this chakra as a bright little sun, glowing right in the center of your body, just behind your belly button.  The Solar Plexus is the source of our energy, willpower, and drive.  As we welcome back the Sun this Winter Solstice, I think it's great to think not only of the rebirth of the Sun as the days lengthen, but the rebirth of our own innermost energy.  I will think of my walks to work as a time of "recharging by Solar Batteries", soak up the warmth when I can, and visualize it becoming energy that empowers my Solar Plexus chakra!  I also think I will add the "Salute To The Sun" Yoga sequence to my morning routine for the rest of the Yule season, to empower my body and help connect my mind, spirit, and body with the re-awakening of Solar energy!
Salute To The Sun

Monday, December 10, 2012

12 Days of Yule; Day 1

12 Days of Yule; Day 1

Follow along with my 12 Days of Yule Blog Prompts here;

Today's Prayer;

"Cold and dark, this time of year,
the earth lies dormant, awaiting the return
of the sun, and with it, life.
Far beneath the frozen surface,
a heartbeat waits,
until the moment is right,
to spring."

By Patti Wigington

Here in the desert, the winter is not the classic "winter" that they sing about in the Christmas songs.  It doesn't snow here, many of our trees are still green, so it can be difficult to connect with that "Winter" feeling.  But there is a chill in the air, the nights get pretty cold, and there are subtle differences.  It sounds different outside, there are no cicadas chirping loudly in the Palo Verde trees, no buzzing of bees, and many birds have gone further south for the winter (spoiled, aren't they?)  I don't hear the mockingbirds anymore.  There are no lizards or geckos crawling the walls of my house, and the un-ending stream of ants that was trying to invade my home all summer has mysteriously disappeared.  So even while I can't really connect with the songs about snow, and my picture of winter is quite different than my ancestors must have experienced in Germany, Ireland, and England many many years ago....I can still find ways to contemplate the winter and what it means for me here in the desert.  Today's blog prompt asks us to consider what has gone dormant around us, and what might also need to go dormant in our lives.  The Earth simplifies herself in the winter, shedding all that she doesn't need, reserving energy for the spring.  She becomes a minimalist.  So I ask myself, what can I minimize in my life?  What parts of my life need to "Hibernate" for a while?

I know that in my home, I have a lot of clutter and "things" that I need to let go of.  I had begun a room-by-room decluttering process in the fall, and I need to continue with that and really purge the closets and shelves of things I no longer need, use, or love. 

I need to let go of an attitude that creates procrastination.  This may seem counter-intuitive to winter dormancy, since a lack of procrastination would actually result in me doing MORE.  But my procrastination creates more stress, and I need to let that go. 

I drew a tarot card, asking what I need to release and how I can do it, and I got The Ace of Pentacles.  The Ace is about beginnings and planting seeds of prosperity, reaching out and grasping the abundance that is available.  I feel that this card is confirming my thought that I need to release my procrastinations and stress.  Although the earth lies dormant, some seeds of the spring are already in the ground, preparing for spring so they can grow.  I can take this time to plant my own "seeds" and prepare for the future.  I need to keep planning, and "planting" and even though I might not see the fruits of my labor right away, the process needs to begin now.  I need to let my financial fears and worries go dormant, and focus on the hope for better times that are on their way.  Today I will work on putting my fears to rest, and to know when the time is right to act.  I plant the seeds and expect the best!

The following is from "Around The Tarot in 78 Days" by Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin;

The Ace of Pentacles says;
"There is a material opportunity in the making that is not yet fully formed.  You must be open and receptive  to material reward; good times could be awaiting you.  Now is the time to set the ball rolling on any venture or transaction, or to court prosperity by merely investing in a solitary lottery ticket."

Connect to your card;
Plant a seed -- whether literally or one of an idea.  Have a fresh start at something new.

You are blocking this card today by;
1. Not investing in your future security.

2. Turning down that lucrative deal you have been offered.
3. Not buying a lottery ticket.
4. Refusing the support you have been offered.

"Great oaks from little acorns grow." Allow yourself to be like the little acorn; know that you will grow forever upwards and fulfill your destiny.

"I am the seed of all that can be created"

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hestia, Housework, and Headcovering

This post is going to be pretty long.  (yes, Longer than most of my blog posts, which admittedly can get pretty windy!)  But I've been working on it for a while now and it's something near and dear to my heart so please bear with me!  The upcoming theme for Pagan Blog Project is the letter H, and this fits perfectly with something that has been on my heart and mind for the past couple weeks... three "H" things actually; Hestia, Housework, and Headcovering!
For many years I wasn't particularly drawn to any one Goddess, God, or Pantheon.  I was content just calling The Divine, or Great Mother/Father, or "Lord and Lady".  Then my studies of astrology led me obviously to Greek Mythology and I really resonated with the stories of the Greek Pantheon.  At some point I stumbled upon Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth.  For the first time, I really felt connected to a specific Goddess.  I felt Her call me, I heard Her spirit from somewhere deep inside me and I finally knew what it meant to be called upon by a specific Goddess... something I had heard other Pagans, Wiccans, and Heathens talk about but had never fully understood.
Since then, I have heard the call of other Gods and Goddesses, they come to me at different times to teach me in their unique ways.  I may work with a different Deity from time to time, but in the end, Hestia is always there.  She is my Flame, she opened the door for me to understand that it is possible to work with specific aspects of The Divine - and through that understanding I have found myself working more and more with The Goddesses in all aspects of my life.  Following is some basic information about Hestia and her counterparts.  (If you are familiar with the history/mythology already and are pressed for time, you can scroll down to the section called "Me & Hestia"... but you might learn something here as well.)
Hestia was the first born of the Olympians, her sisters are Hera and Demeter, and her brothers are Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades.  When her father, Cronus was told that he would be overthrown by one of his children, he swallowed all of them (except for Zeus... he thought he swallowed Zeus but only swallowed a swaddled rock).  Eventually, Zeus overcame Cronus and forced him to spit out his siblings... they were all "released" in the reverse order of their birth, so Hestia was last.  She is often referred to as "The First and the Last" because of this.  She refused to marry either Poseidon or Apollo, and eventually swore herself to perpetual virginity, becoming the domestic opposite of Aphrodite.  Zeus assigned Hestia the role of maintaining and keeping the fires of the Olympian Hearth.  Some stories make reference that Hestia could have gone to join her brothers and sisters on Mount Olympus and become one of the Olympians, but she didn't take up the offer and instead let Dionysus take the place as the 12th Olympian God, again attesting to her attitude of service and a degree of passiveness.
Hestia's name means "Home and Hearth" and she is The Goddess of The Hearth-fire, or Goddess of the Home.  Prayers and offerings were made to Hestia to keep the home fires burning, to keep the household strong, healthy, and warm.   The people responsible for honoring Hestia were usually the head women of the household, and it is believed that Honoring Hestia "both first and last" before every hearth fire was lit or each meal was prepared was probably a very common practice.
Hestia's Roman counterpart is Vesta* - the Virgin Goddess of the Hearth, Home, and Family.  Vesta's presence was symbolized by the burning of sacred fires in homes and temples.  Vesta was particularly important to women, since the home fire (hearth fire) was the central source of Food and heat for the home... therefore Vesta / Hestia is the center of a Housewives' focus and gratitude. 
Although neither Hestia or Vesta had any children, their role in the Home and the household is very similar to that of a Mother Goddess.  She was seen as the great nurturer... as Fire represented not only the means to survive, but also represented wisdom, inspiration, focus, community, purity, power, and even divination.  In ancient Rome, some women would devote themselves to become keeper's of Vesta's temple and become "Vestal Virgins".  They would take a vow of celibacy and commit part of their lives to keeping Vesta's temple flame lit and tending to her temple.  Legend has it that if a convicted person crossed paths with a Vestal Virgin, he would be released from his penance.  The Vestal Virgins were known for being kind and graceful. After their time of devotion, a Vestal Virgin could choose to marry, it did not necessarily mean a lifetime of celibacy and devotion, though many probably chose to continue their life of service to Vesta even after their time had been fulfilled.A couple previous blog posts involving Vesta - New Moon Purification Ritual, and Vesta/Virgo.
(*note - by pointing out Vesta as Hestia's Roman counterpart, I'm not saying she IS end all/be all the same Goddess.  Some people get kinda touchy about this.  I'm saying that in each culture there are similar stories that blend the lines between Goddesses, Gods, myths, folklore, etc... because regardless of distance and time, the Human Experience is essentially the same...and I find that many different cultures and pantheons have "crossovers" and "Counterparts" who share very similar attributes and in some ways teach us the same things about our human nature.  Personally I see all Goddesses as different aspects and faces of The Divine Feminine, so I do see Hestia and Vesta as one in the same, but this is not to say that this is what others should see or feel also.  And this leads right into my next point, which may be controversial)
The Virgin Mother Mary (?)
Personally, I see a connection between Hestia and Vesta and the Hebrew Mother Mary.  Hestia and Vesta are both usually depicted as veiled or wearing some kind of head covering, as is the Virgin Mother Mary.  They are all virgins, although Mary did bear a child but the stories still depict her as a virgin anyways.  Vesta is represented in historical drawings and carvings with an Ass (donkey/mule), and the Mother Mary is also associated riding an ass from when she rode pregnant into Bethlehem.  Catholic nuns who devote their lives to service of God, wear headcoverings, and take vows of celibacy bring to mind the Roman Vestal Virgins. I recently found a votive prayer candle in the religious candle section of my local grocery store that depicts "The Sacred Heart of Mary", with a picture of Mary and the glowing heart within her chest is burning with a bright orange fire. Hmmm.  The connection seems obvious to me and even though I know most pagans are probably not comfortable working within the "Christian Pantheon", it's something worth considering.  (The Sacred Heart of Mary candle now resides on my permanent home altar to Hestia and Vesta)

My home altar to Hestia

Me and Hestia, hangin' out at home.
My personal relationship with Hestia comes from my own position as the "head woman" of my household.  As the housewife, mother, and wife, it is part of my daily life and responsibility to run the household.  My house (and many modern homes today) doesn't have a central hearth fire, or even a fire place.  The Greeks paid honor to Hestia with offerings of the fat from animals, which served as oil to keep the fire lit.  (Pretty simple and straight forward, yes?  Make an offering of Oil to the Fire and it keeps burning.)Today, we don't need to literally keep a fire lit in our home, but we do have certain things we need to do to "keep the home fires burning"... cleaning, cooking, paying the bills.  So I honor Hestia by attempting to keep my home running as smoothly as possible.  I like to re-create the "First and Last" concept of honoring Hestia by praying to her first thing in the morning and again at night.  Simply saying "Good Morning and thank you for this day." and maybe asking for help or blessings for the day ahead; and then saying a prayer of gratitude at bedtime.  I like to light an orange candle to do this, but it's not necessary - if I'm rushed for time or low on candles, just pausing to honor Her is enough.  If I really need an extra boost during the day, to tackle some household chore or for focus and motivation to clean house when I really don't want to clean, I might go to Hestia again... spend some time meditating with her, talking to her, praying to her.  She is pretty good at reminding me that my home is my sacred place in this world, and that in taking care of my home I am taking care of my spirit, my family, myself, and... as a bonus, honoring Her.  She is also pretty good at reminding me that serving others (namely my family) is a respectable and beautiful thing.  As a person who is "Domestically Disabled"; allergic to housework, NOT born organized, and easily distracted, Hestia has become my "Go-To" Goddess for motivation and support in all things household-related.  She is a big supporter of the FlyLady program and I think the FlyLady concepts of breaking down housework into Morning and Evening routines is something that Hestia is particularly fond of (which reminds me, I need to get back on my routines!)

And now we come to the final portion of my Letter H related blog post, although I did not have to force these concepts together, they all go together in my home!
A couple weeks ago, I was cleaning my bedroom and found this scarf that I have never worn as a scarf.  I have used it for a small altar cloth from time to time, or to wrap a deck of tarot cards in... but it had been stuffed in a drawer for awhile, unseen and forgotten.  When I found it, I paused, and felt that gentle urging of Hestia, saying "keep this out".  So instead of putting it back in the drawer, I put it on my altar, folded neatly next to my Hestia Statue.  I didn't know what on earth I was going to use it for, but I figured it's purpose would come to me if I just listened.
Maybe only one, or two days later, I stumbled upon a facebook conversation about Pagan Headcovering.  I was intrigued, I had never heard of or considered that headcovering, or veiling would be a pagan thing to do... except for in cases of the people who like to dress up in robes and hoods for ceremonial magick and rituals.  I learned that a lot of Pagan / Witchy women feel drawn to headcovering or veiling in their daily lives as a way of honoring and connecting to their deity.  And guess what Goddess kept popping up in articles, blogs, and conversations about Headcovering?  Hestia, of course!  The bells are going off in my head at this point, as I had just placed that scarf next to Hestia on my altar, trusting that she would let me know how she wanted me to use it...
I joined the facebook group called Covered In Light and met a wide variety of women who choose to veil, or cover their hair as a spiritual practice.  I started asking questions and reading discussions and learned that for each woman, there was a very different and very personal reason for choosing to cover.  Some find it very comforting.  As empathic people, wearing a headcovering can help you feel more grounded, and more protected from the unwanted energies of other people.  Some women commented that they felt more intuitive when covered; and spoke of wearing a headcovering when doing tarot or oracle readings or for going to ritual.  Some women felt it was a call to modesty, and a practice of declaring their status as either a married woman or as someone devoted to the Goddess.  Not all the women here were called by Hestia or Vesta, but there is quite a wide variety of deities and pantheons that seem to have brought these women to the practice of veiling.  Many women commented that once they started headcovering, they felt more connected to their Goddess, more feminine, sexier, more powerful, and more comfortable in their roles at home.  Some feel drawn to cover their hair/heads in public, while others feel drawn only to do it while at home.  The wonderful thing about the group Covered In Light is that through this diversity, all the women are supportive and tolerant of each other.  No one says, "This is how or why you should cover", but it is all about learning about eachothers' reasons and experiences, learning from each other, and supporting one another.
So I began that very day to experiment with headcovering and find out exactly what it meant for me.  I have discovered that if I put on a headcovering when I say my morning prayers to Hestia, I stay more focused on my housework through the day.  Feeling the scarf on my head reminds me that my daily tasks are a reflection of my devotion to the Goddess, to myself, and my family.  In other words, the headcovering keeps me mindful, living in the present moment.  It is very much like an active meditation.  I also feel more intuitive about what housework needs to be done.  Sometimes it's hard to know where to start in a home with three children where the messes abound.  But when I am covered - instead of feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, I tend to feel more peaceful and less worried about everything that needs to get done.  I'm easier on myself, easier on the kids, and happier with the progress I make.  It becomes less about how much I get done, and more about the loving attitude I come to each small task with.  Mostly I feel very comfortable with my head covered, but if I start to feel uncomfortable, I take that as a cue from the Goddess that my "work" is done.  I take the headcovering off and take a break to do something for myself - like read a book or play on the internet... so in this sense I feel that headcovering has made me more aware of how I take care of myself as well.  I'm overdoing things less, taking more time for myself, and feeling overall more connected with Goddess than ever before.
me, wearing my scarf with a headband

Another thing I have noticed when I am covered; I feel a lot more in-tune to not only The Goddess and Divine, but to messages from my family.  First of all, when I am covered and cleaning, I am having a lot more of those inspired moments when something I have been thinking about suddenly makes sense, or I get inspired ideas for art and craft projects, blog and journaling ideas, etc.  Today for example, I put on my headcovering and said my devotional prayers to Hestia, intending to get as much housework done as possible.  I got a little cleaning done, but the one thing that kept coming to mind was this blog post.  Different points I wanted to make, different thoughts of what to write.... finally I stopped resisting and just came to sit down and write!  I am feeling like wearing the headcovering takes that energetic flow from The Divine and my Higher Self that flows through the crown chakra, and instead of that energy flowing away from me; being covered helps pull those energies down into my third eye, throat, and heart chakras to be assimilated from there.  Before experiencing this, I would have assumed that wearing something on my head might block this flow from the Crown Chakra, but now I am experiencing quite the opposite.  It comes right back to the way that Covering just keeps me in a higher state of awareness; fully in the here and now.  I'm a lot more aware of what my children and husband are saying to me, what they need from me, and what they feel... but without their feelings overwhelming me.  As if the covering works as a kind of filter, I can understand my children's feelings without getting wrapped up in the emotion and frustrated by my empathy.  I'm becoming a better listener, and I'm also much more aware of the words I say and how I treat others when I am covered.
I'm personally not drawn to wearing the covering outside of my home or in public.  I don't feel like Hestia is calling me to cover at all times, but just when I want to feel more connected to my role as a housewife and mother.  For me, it is something that keeps me more centered and grounded while at home... although I have kept my scarf on to make a couple quick trips to the grocery store. 
When I first started veiling, I drew an Angel card from the "Daily Guidance From Your Angels" oracle card deck by Doreen Virtue.  This is the card I got; (This was the day after joining Covered in Light and only my second day covering)
I had been asking myself if this was really right for me, really something I needed to do or wanted to do.  This angel is Covered!  I looked through the deck and there is not a single other angel card that depicts artwork of an angel with it's head covered in any way!  Later that day I felt an urge to go to the mall and just walk around.  I didn't really have money to spend, but I just kept feeling that nudge to "Go!"  So I went, and found another beautiful scarf, on sale!  I knew it was my gift from the Goddess and the Angels for listening to my heart, so I bought it for myself.
feeling just beautiful!
Here is a wonderful prayer to Hestia that was written by another member of Covered in Light and I have been using it when I veil before going about my household duties;

Keeper of the flame
Goddess of the Hearth
Gentle Hestia,
Eternal Virgin,
Sister, Daughter,
Veiled one
Bless this the hearth
Of Thy sister,
She who comes
Veiled before you
May the flame
Never be extinguished
May your blessing and spirit
Always abide here"
 ~ ZedralZ/Nar

And this is my own prayer that I wrote that I use to connect with Hestia each morning and night;

"Oh beautiful Hestia, you who are both First and Last, Goddess of the Home and Keeper of the Hearth Fire, may your Love and Light continuously burn in this home.  Show us each how to live in unity, peace and love.  Guide us each to bring blessings upon this home through the service of our own unique gifts.  Thank you, Hestia, for your lasting blessings and presence here!"

And I also wanted to share this one with you.... and Invocation to Vesta by Doreen Virtue;

"Beloved Vesta, please bring your flame of Divine Love into this household and light the fire of kindness, compassion, and understanding within everyone who lives in and visits this home.  Help us burn away any fears concerning love, and to feel warm and secure."

So I understand this has been an incredibly long blog post, and I truly thank and appreciate those of you who have actually read the whole thing!  This is a post that contains many things near and dear to my heart and I have been inspired to share with others!

In Love and Light,
Lady Josephine

Update 4/13 - Look, another blog about Hestia which also mentions Headcovering!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Pagan Blog Project - Week 13; G

I spent the better part of the week mulling over what I should blog about for the Letter G.  Gods?  Goddesses?  Gaia?  Grounding?  Ganesh?  Green Man?  Really there are SO many possibilities with each letter.  I decided that something would come to me, and just to wait.
Yesterday in meditation it hit me;

When it comes down to it, Gratitude is a huge part of my spiritual path.  Without Gratitude, I would not be who I am or have come to this point in life.  Or more accurately, I may be me and be here, but I wouldn't even be aware of who or where that is without Gratitude.

Years ago in a book store, I bought my first Oracle Card deck.  I had been a student of tarot for a few years, but had never owned or used an oracle card deck before.  I found the "Trust Your Vibes" oracle Card Deck by Sonia Choquette and the Trust Your Vibes book that goes with it.

When I got home, I of course opened the deck and looked through it, one card at a time, taking it all in.  I noticed something funny when I got to the last card... Card 52, "Be Grateful".  There were two of them.  Two identical cards.  Surely this was a packaging mistake, and it has always made me wonder if someone out there who also bought this deck is missing card number 52 from their set. But I also strongly felt that in some way, this was a message just for me.  "Be Grateful".  I removed the duplicate from the deck and it has been out in plain view ever since.  Some years it simply stays on my altar.  Some years it is taped to the refrigerator.  Right now it is taped to the bulletin board above my meditation altar, just to the right of my computer desk.

That deck was indeed a turning point in my spirituality.  I read the book and used the cards often, I began listening to Sonia Choquette's radio show on (also called Trust Your Vibes) and learned so much about what it means to really listen to your spirit and be a six-sensory being.  My life and spirituality have never been the same since I bought that deck and book, but the underlying current behind it all has been the lesson of Gratitude.  Without understanding the importance of Gratitude in all things, I don't think I would have come as far in my life.

When you teach yourself to live in Gratitude, you teach yourself awareness, mindfulness, acceptance, and grace. You can't be grateful for your experiences and gifts without being aware of them and mindful about them. You can't be grateful for something without fully accepting it... and accepting things teaches you to live gracefully.

Having this duplicate card in the deck that I randomly picked up from the bookstore shelf that day made me pay more attention to it than the other cards, and ever since then I think I have tried to focus on Gratitude as part of my daily life.  Of course sometimes I stray and need a reminder, and Spirit certainly finds ways to remind me of that!

As some of you know, I work as a waitress.  It's not always the most gratifying job, and it can be hard to be grateful when the tips are poor.  But after yesterday's meditation, the word Gratitude kept popping in my head, and I thought, I really can't blog about something that I'm not actively practicing in my daily life right now.  Before bed I wrote a list of 5 things I was grateful for yesterday.  This morning before work I wrote another list of 5 things I am grateful for, then I went to work, determined to practice gratitude... no matter what.

Spirit decided to test me.  My first table only left a two dollar tip.  I took a deep breath, pushed away the feeling of disappointment, and said a prayer of gratitude.  I said "Goddess, thank you for this gift!"  My ego was trying to complain that two dollars was not anything to be grateful for, but I mindfully and purposefully silenced that voice and just said "Thank you" and thought about the gallon of milk that the money would help me buy.  Spirit decided to test me again.  My second table... a tip of $2.50.  Ego was raging, but once again I took a deep breath, pushed away the hurt feelings and disappointment and again said a prayer of thankfulness and joyfully envisioned another item that I would be able to buy for my family with that $2.50.  The day pretty much continued like this, and I think the universe just wanted to see how determined I was to continue living in gratitude while at work.  I mean, tips were just lousy all day.  But with every 8% and 10% tip that I got, I said that prayer of gratitude and just smiled and thanked the Universe for the gifts I was receiving.  Then, at the end of my shift, something amazing happened.  I had a table of 7 that left me a $25 tip.  I once again said this prayer of gratitude but still noticed that voice nagging in the back of my head, saying that now at least maybe I will break even and this helps make up for the previous poor tips.  I was surprised at my negative inner narrative... seems I haven't been paying attention to my thoughts nearly enough and this ego has gotten a bit out of control.  Hmmm.  No matter, I pushed that voice aside and just felt the gratitude.  After my shift, I counted all my tips for the day, and I somehow had over $75 for my 5 hour shift.  I thought back over my tables and it wasn't that busy today... it was a normal Wednesday lunch shift.  I hadn't had that many tables through the day, and with the nature of the tips I had received, I just couldn't quite figure out how it added up to over $75, even with that $25 tip...

Somehow though, the universe provided for me.  My gratitude in some way helped multiply what I was receiving, and attracted more.  And it taught me that I need to continue practicing this awareness because my negative thoughts are just a bit out of control and really blocking my flow of gratitude right now.  I'm going to continue writing a short gratitude list every evening and morning just to keep my mind centered on Gratitude as I should.... and I suggest that you do the same!

As for that oracle card number 52, "Be Grateful" that hangs on the wall to my right, I looked up the message that goes with that card again and wanted to share it with you, because we all need a reminder now and then;
"Make a list of all that you've been given so that you can fully absorb how much abundance you truly enjoy in your life.  Think of this as your gratitude list.  Add to it daily as you notice the little things in your life that you truly appreciate.  Rather than worrying about what you don't have, look at all that you do have.  As you understand how thankful you should be,  you send a signal to the Universe to give you more. . . and it will."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Faith of The Fool

I just discovered The Pagan Blog Project!  I'm a bit late in joining, but I think I'm going to join now!  I was absent from the blogging world for awhile and probably would have seen this if I had been blogging and actually reading the blogs I follow!  But... I guess it's not too late to join in on the fun and sharing!

This week's Pagan Blog Project theme is the letter F.  So, let's get started and explore the Tarot Card - The Fool!
 Major Arcana 0 - The FoolNew beginnings, heading out into the unknown, taking a chance, being spontaneous, following your heart, having faith, innocence, living in joy, releasing worry and doubt, going with the flow, making foolish or childish choices, learning to accept responsibility for your choices and actions.

In the Classic RWS image of The Fool, we find a young Page setting out on a journey.  He seems oblivious to the dangers that might lie ahead, and any wrong step could mean certain disaster.  But I don't think he's unaware of the dangers.... just that he is so excited about his journey and so joyful about the possibilities that his travels will bring, that he is choosing not to focus on the perils.  Some would see this as truly irresponsible, and well.... Foolish.  Others, who more willingly embrace the flow of spirit... they might see this as wise.  I think it all boils down to Faith.  Understanding the basic Law of Attraction, you can't really go into your life journey full of worry and doubt... because then of course your fears can easily manifest.  For me, the Fool serves as a reminder that attitude is everything.  If we can only learn to approach life with the open-heart, trust, innocence, and faith of the Fool, then every step becomes an adventure, every path becomes an opportunity to learn and grow, and we really learn to "go with the flow".

More details on this card here.
Pictured here to the right is The Fool from the Marseilles Deck. 
I look at this card and my first thought is, "Hey, dude... your pants are ripped and your ass is hanging out!"  But then I think, there is something to be learned from this as well.  When you put yourself out there, trusting in the flow of the Universe, there are bound to be times when things just don't go as you had planned.  Sure, if you're focused on the positive, The Law of Attraction will help you out... but this doesn't mean you might not slip and fall or rip your pants and expose yourself as an utter asshole every once in awhile.  The Fool's Journey means NOTHING if he doesn't learn and grow from his experiences.  But the Wise Fool takes what he has, and keeps going.  Is this guy going to give up on his plan to go out into the world full of experiences just because his ass cheek is hanging out?  Nope.  Perhaps he is learning humbleness.  Perhaps he is learning how to laugh at himself.  Perhaps he is learning that no matter where you go, there are butt-sniffing dogs who want to point out your failings. (There is something a lot deeper in that concept for you all to ponder, but let's stay focused.)  Perhaps he just needs to learn how to sew.  But regardless of the setbacks The Fool may face, he keeps going.  What a joyful affirmation of Faith!

Here's another version of The Fool, from the Housewives' tarot.  I have explored the meanings of this Fool in a couple other blog posts.
Here and Here are a couple of them.   The main thing I notice with this version of the card is that, even though this young housewife is obviously ill-prepared and lacking organization, she still seems excited and hopeful for what lies ahead.  In truth, we are never really prepared for what lies ahead... and even the most organized and prepared person will come across things they hadn't expected.  Somehow, a monkey-wrench always gets thrown in the mix, and we are faced with choices or situations we hadn't planned for.  Once again, The Fool reminds us about Faith and being able to Go With the Flow!  Worrying about how things will turn out isn't really going to help anything... sometimes you just have to pull yourself together the best you can and keep going.

Here on the right is The Fool depicted in The Goddess Tarot as Beginnings and related to the Tibetan Goddess Tara.  Tara was born from a Lotus Flower in a lake of tears, and she is considered to be a strong protector Goddess.  "Tibetans believe that the goddess Tara has the power to heal all sorrows and grant all wishes.  Tara is honored as the protectress against the many fears that block men and women from living in happiness and harmony." (from The Goddess Tarot guidebook by Kris Waldherr)  Once again, it comes down to FAITH.  Tara teaches us to let go of our fears and worries, heal our sorrows, and move forward to the new beginnings that we face with faith and trust.  She helps us find happiness, optimism, and trust in ourselves.  I do plan on blogging more about the goddess Tara, as she has been calling to me recently, so stay tuned!

This has been my tarot card for the month of March.  Around the beginning of the New Year, I did a tarot reading for myself in which I drew one Major Arcana card for each month of the coming year.  I have been finding that the messages of each month's card are really fitting my life, and giving me great guidance for my learning and life lessons.

By the end of February I hit a depression that really threw me off balance.  This lasted through the end of February and most of March.  I was struggling just to get through the mundane daily tasks of life, had lost all motivation, had lost hope, and had lost faith.  As the clouds lifted (which took some fighting on my end) I realized maybe I hadn't really lost faith after all... I mean I did keep going and I did keep fighting the depression and exploring ways to get through it.  It took some time and strength, but I got through it.  When I returned to the land of the living, I found a sense of newness in everything.  It is now all opportunities and beginnings everywhere I look.  I think sometimes we have to fall in order to find that sense of starting over.  I slipped and fell off that cliff, a danger that the RWS Fool faces.... but I got up again.  I discovered humbleness and the feeling of my "ass" being exposed like the Marseilles Fool, but now I know I can keep going.  I feel like a beautiful lotus flower has bloomed inside of me, watered by the tears of my sorrow and transformed into something amazing and fresh.... the lessons of Tara becoming clearer to me each day. 

Sometimes when we stumble, maybe it's because the universe needs us to stop, re-evaluate our direction, and start over with the Faith and Innocence of The Fool.  May your road always bring you adventure and growth, and may you be able to face it all with the Faith of The Fool!