Shavuot

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SHAVUOT

Wrapped in the whispers of stars and ages

Inspiration from above like a glittered swath is around my shoulders.

It is a shawl of time and ancestors,

Breath beats eternal.

Of vision and wisdom,

I am surrounded by the old stories and the voices of the desert.

The tambourine still vibrates from the crossing

And its skin shows echoes of

Water of libation to freedom and tears of joy and fear.

The wind plays harmony on the wheat fields as they sway in their gleaning dance.

She dances her heart-led way toward her chosen path.

His feet part the mountainous dirt below,

Arms hold the emblazoned stone above.

Breath and dust meld into one,

Forced forward by the divine lightness that supports the heaviness of the human heart.

Did this happen?

Did this happen this way?

Does it matter?

What do you want to bring down from your mountain?

 

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Happy New Year

We often just feel we are at our beginnings and our endings; but we are really always in our present. Blessings that this year gift us with the courage and peace to stand there strong and bow there in humbleness.

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Solstice Thought

Happy Solstice

“When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it’s bottomless, that it doesn’t have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space.”
Pema Chödrön, Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living

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Solstice Thought

“When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it’s bottomless, that it doesn’t have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space.”
― Pema Chödrön, Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living

Happy Solstice

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The Force of Light

While the light may be coming back, we are entering the deep of the winter. I offer a way to cope. It is very old and powerful. It is called laughter, frivolity, cheer and whimsy. May the light bless us all with it and may we bless each other with it.Solstice The Force

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Tuning in to the Season

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Tarot Seasonal Check Up

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The season has changed. We are in full fall. Sweaters abound and the last harvest is in.

Time for a seasonal spiritual check-up you say? How right you are!

Each season affects us a differently on all levels.

If we were to take a picture of our minds, find an image for our emotions, render a visual of our spirits and sketch our bodies, what would they look like?

Are we satisfied with where we are in our lives, or are there things we want yet to accomplish and understand?

Tarot is a powerful tool that we can use for this exploration. Tarot readings are a concise way to get the information and gain the understanding that we need. We can also be shown options and ways of looking at circumstances that we might not have considered previously.

Phone readings are also available.

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What is Eco-Art Therapy Expression

Eco Art adEco Art adEco Art ad                                               Eco-Art Expression
“Look deep into nature, and then you will know everything better.”
Albert Einstein

Eco-Art Expression is a psychological and spiritual discipline that combines art-making(painting, writing, movement, etc) and eco-psychology (thinking, relating, feeling and relating to the Earth’s wisdom in mind).

This can be used to gain insight, for inner-healing, self-discovery, life issues and transitions, spiritual growth and relationships to name but a few.

The embodiment of the natural world into our internal landscape is a fundamental need of our culture. Nature speaks to us through our senses, many of which we are unaware. Nature is an intelligent and communicative force that offers us wisdom, healing and restoration.

How do we do this:
When we approach nature as a teacher and healer that it is, we will be led to what will help us.

State the issue you are going to explore.

Go to a place in Nature that you like and ask permission to enter this natural realm.

Think about your topic and notice what natural being attracts you. What plant, animal, cloud, speaks to you. How does it relate to your concern?

Look at the characteristics and life cycle, what relationship it has to the rest of its environment. How does this mirror and enhance your understanding of what you are working on. What light does it shed. You will be surprised by how smart Nature can be!

Art-making is presence-making. The act of creation brings our senses, our minds, our spirits and hearts into alignment with our truth. When we combine this with Nature, we become whole.

Client quote:
“Being in connection with and adding Nature into your list of trusted friends for whom you care and go to for advice and solace as well as celebration, makes life fuller. There are also now more skills and mode of understanding and information tools for us. “

Transformation Exercise

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Purpose: To explore how Nature can assist you in letting go of stale habits and limiting beliefs by recycling this “mind-pollution” into more supportive energy.

Change and transformation is part of Nature’s and our human experience. Some transformations happen easily, but sometimes we want to change but do not know how to go about it.

Think of something in your life that you want to let go of and transform. Is there something, perhaps a haunting hurt, an attachment to negative thinking, a failure that you would like to transmute into a lesson that will help you move forward.

To Do:
Create a piece of artwork about it and name it.
Now look to see a Nature object that attracts you and can assist you in altering and transforming your art into something new and changed.
This is about letting go of the issue represented by your art piece. Give your new artwork a new name.
Client quote:
“I really liked this process because I really needed this process! I still have a lot of sadness, frustrations, anger and disappointment in myself.”
“After drawing some of the curving lines I looked and just cracked up, in a good way. They looked like a swan. Well, I was attempting to let go and say goodbye to all those hard feelings. This lesson was to be my ‘swan song’ to them.”

“I felt a wind and knew that I wanted to give these feeling up to wind to let them finally leave. I was ‘told’ to make a wind chime. As this lesson was about transformation, I wanted to use Nature’s materials from the garden.”

I have grown to go to Nature and this process myself. I have experienced the powerful healing that this provides. I would love to share this with you. Nature rocks! (yes, Nature does enjoy a pun!)

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Yom Kippur

Kol Nidre

Yom Kippur and Keter

Keter is the highest sfirot in the tree of life. But although it sits on the tree, so to speak, it is not really of the tree. Keter means crown. A crown is something that is worn on the head, but it is not part of the head. It sits atop as a regal presence and while in relationship with the head and body, they remain a separate thing. This is the first step towards understanding just what Keter is and how it functions in relationship to the rest of the sfirot, as well as how it relates to us, our spiritual practice and our relationship and understanding of the divine.

Keter was the first manifestation, the first spark and flow of life in the space that we know as our world. It was the beginning of the Divine Creator’s grace to us. The Creator’s first utterance towards our creation was a silent, ineffable nod of divine ‘ratzon’-will. The primordial vitality, this pure light of spirit is the animating, yet still unformed and undifferentiated crown that sits just above the tree. Keter is the spirit hole through which the other sfirot pass on their way to their own place on the tree. Keter is pure being. It is not contained or limited by form. To sense Keter, in even the most vague way is to come as close as we can to the infinite.

Just as a crown sits on the head, Keter sits on the top of and heads the energy of the holidays. The Zohar explains (Parshat Pinchas) that Rosh Hashana is the right column,Yom Kippur is the left column, Sukkot is the central column while Keter overlooks them. Keter illuminates the holidays and Shabbat. This is when its presence is the closest.

How can we work with, connect with something that is not manifest in this world. What is the mechanism by and through which we can even make an attempt. Keter is in between creation and the infinite. To be in that place means to be connected to both sides. We are in a similar place on Yom Kippur. We are in the physical world where we pray for all of our souls, ask forgiveness from each other and from our Creator. We fast and disavow our vows at the same time we are encompassed and bathed in the flow of the Divine’s love.

Keter Meditations

Kol Nidre-An angel stands in front of each of us as we chant the Kol Nidre. They come through the spirit hole to help us. Acknowledge your angel if even by a nod. Close your eyes and let an angel image form in your inner eye. You take the next step.

Fasting- Present yourself to the Creator in humbleness as a soul who is ready to give over what is holding back your life. Visualize the spirit hole above and feel the forgiveness and love as it flows into you and cleanses you. Present yourself again, but now as a brave heart who is happy to love and grow. It’s hard to be hungry and thirsty, but a little suffering for the right thing can lead to unexpected beauty and lessons especially when you are being so loved, cleansed and supported by the divine.

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The Ten of Wands in the Fire Tarot

10 of Wands in the Fire Tarot

In April 2011 the apartment building I lived in burned down. In true tarot fashion, the cards became part of my healing process. The Tarot of Fire had been released. I decided that healing fire with fire was just too hot not to do so I ordered the deck. I was filled with the hope of healing and the curiosity of a tarot lover. And so it was finally opened. Alas, as wondrous as I found the images and the concept to be, I was not ready to deal with the deck. The fire was not yet two months behind me and I was not even back in my body. So the deck was put on my altar and has lived there till I was ready.

My life continued to be filled with more stress and more heart breaking events, so the deck that I had hoped would help me heal was not touched. But finally, some space opened for me to finally take the time I needed to deal with all of the ‘events’ that had taken, little by little, just the smallest pieces of my spirit. I began the journey to retrieve my lost soul and to find some way back to being present and grounded in my life to move forward. So I opened that box again and began to get to know the deck that I invited into my life to help me become whole and undo some of the harms I have experienced.

Immediately, the cards reminded me of the Haindle deck in their beauty and foreign feel to one who was weaned on the Rider-Waite deck. I decided to make a pile of the cards that struck me the most. The first one to do so was the 10 of Wands.

Unlike many decks, these Minor Arcana cards do not have the corresponding images of the suits for the number on the card but are notated on the top of each card. This deck is about depicting the story behind the meaning of each card as it is its own entity.

There was such a difference between what my brain was used to seeing with the 10 of Wands and what this picture was that I was stunned yet tickled at the same time. There was no visual similarity to be found. It was time to do some sleuthing. The way to deconstruct an image is to look at the elements separately and then put them back together and see how they relate; but first I wanted to look at the picture as a whole and get a general impression.

It is dark, somber, anticipatory, dramatic, ominous, dialectical, religious, elevated. There is a feeling of passivity and action, intent and observation, death and transmutation but clearly in the guise of religious ritual. The animals were placed on the altars, presumably by these two very different characters with, seemingly, different life orientations. There is purpose and some closure to this scene also. Sacrifice is an ending but also a commencement of sorts as well. Cleansing for a new start sort of thing? And that stylized lightning bolt! Is that the spirit of the animal being pulled from the body and forming a ghostly specter? The lightning strikes and then retreats, it accepts the gift and leaves the wrapping. We cannot see the figures faces, the eyes that show one’s soul. We only see the back. What is being hidden from us that we must discover by some other means? We face the scene along with them which in some sense brings us into the energy along with these enigmatic folk.

The tenth sefirot(energy center) on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life is called Malchut. Malchut is the lowest and closest in direction to our earthly plane on the tree. Malchut’s world is Assiyah-the lowest of the five spiritual worlds. We are on Malchut.

Each tarot card has a place on the tree which corresponds to its number, in the case of the Minor Arcana and corresponding qualities regarding the placement of the Court Cards and Major Arcana. This adds a level of complexity toward understanding them depending on their tree placement. Each suit is ascribed to one of the spiritual worlds that surround the Tree as well.

The Suit of Wands lives in the highest spiritual world which is Aztilut. Think of that world as the world of the archetype for a quick and easy simplification. So how comfortable could it be to have so much Wand energy, the suit of inspiration, closeness to intuitive beingness, fire of spirit, faith, creativity and sexuality stuffed into the mundane everyday earthly plane. And yes, the Earth is divine; but for our purposes here we are referring to the earth as a plane of consciousness in relation to our mere mortal path of enlightenment in our own little heads and souls. How can our little containers contain all that, and how can Wand energy find a place here without wanting to run for the hills or clouds in this case?

It is not the natural inclination of fire to remain staid and contained. Fire wants to rise and spread and sear and travel. I would know, remember what got me to this deck to begin with. When you hear the sizzle and see the flames lick above your head, you know fire has a power that does not like to be questioned.

Ten is also the number of completion. The end of road, or rather our quaking fingers that grasp for meaning. But 10 is also the Hebrew letter Yud which depicts the energy of the highest spiritual realm, Aztilut, and the highest sefirot,Keter-as opposed to Malchut, on the Tree of Life. In the RW deck the wands have new growth on them. These little green leaves are meant to represent Keter. So, it would seem that card is also about a new starting off point. Ten is also the first number to be comprised to two numbers. This has a potential for joining and for splitting.

So the figure in the WR is struggling to keep hold of the Wands that look as if they are in imminent danger of flying away. Is your inspiration, creativity, spirit or sexuality so overwhelming that you cannot contain it. Is it too big for you to apprehend, or are you not apprehending it at all so that you cannot even see what it is front of you? Inspiration, the fire of intuition and spirit is not enough when you are on Malchut. You need to give it earthly form and do something with it or you are in danger of becoming a disheveled, disorganized you know what. And that is a heavy load to bear.

Now the other way to look at this is to view this very tired looking figure of making too much of a big deal about carrying these ‘sticks’. Why the drama of such a struggling pose when, truth be told, the wands are not even touching the ground? This figure is holding them aloft, so what is all the drama about? You are done; you are number 10; just get on with it already. Whatever task, whatever path you are set to do, just do it. You clearly have the strength for it because you are lifting a bunch of tree limbs off the ground and still managing to move forward despite all the spiritual leafery growing from those twigs you have bundled! You are managing not to fly into the air and land somewhere else, Oz perhaps? But they do reach the same conclusion-there is something left for you to deal with. You can move forward in glorious manner or stay mired in energy that you are not using correctly.

How can I possibly apply this meaning to that card? And should I even assume that the creator of the Tarot of Fire even ascribed the same meaning? Well, I do not know that, but I am going to make a grand presumption and assume this is partly case. This way I will have something to chomp on that perhaps I can walk away with. Please excuse the mixed metaphor but these to cards side by side are mixing me up!

Okay, here it goes. She sighs, picks up the card and whines, “Speak to me!” Nothing, bupkus. There is both Malchut/Assiyah, the figures on the ground looking up at the altar and the altar with the animals which is on a higher level, Atzilut. Or is the mountain between the altars Atzilut and the altars the right and left columns of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life respectively. Or should I just stop with the Kabbalah stuff for a bit as not all Tarot people deal with it.

The sacrifices are being performed in the natural setting, not the expected structured and religious fashion that the figures clothing would express. This is also an image of progress and process, at least potentially, because there is a natural ‘staircase’. Three steps: the figures, the altars and the mountain. What are you being asked to step up to? Yourself and higher nature and a more clarified way of being?

The lightening from above is the equivalent of the blooming tree branch wands of the RW deck. Might the animals be an illustration of the dichotomy and tension between Atzilut/Keter and Assiyah/Malchut?(there I go again). The animal that seems to be accepted as a sacrifice belongs to the religious looking figure as they are in line with each other. The other figure looks like a warrior type although there is a vague religious feeling to the dress as well, but I cannot see it clearly as the print on the card is quite dark.

What is being sacrificed here, or is the sacrifice less about theology but rather some sort of contest between the two. Which will be accepted, who will win? Will you be consumed by the fire or will you partner with it, tame it from afar so to speak. Will you carry the ashes of the sacrifice as a balm to your spirit and path or will you continue to be weighed down to a thing that wants to fly to be transmuted by the fire. I, myself would not want to carry around a rather large dead thing, or is that poor creature even dead? Were they dead when they were placed on their respective alters. I do not see any blood. These two characters are really leaving a lot up to the ‘powers that be’. They have come to the end of the road for now and whatever happens on this altar will then determine the next spate of movement. Take a moment to stand in expectation and wait. There is a mountain even higher in the background that is yet to scale perhaps?

But now comes the ‘real’ question. How would I interpret the card in a reading? Gulp, swallow, yikes!

The first to come to mind was an issue of faith. This is a chance for you to take a leap of faith across the abyss and perhaps let Spirit support you. You have a choice to stay where you are or let go of what has been holding you back. Offer it up and let the fire of the 10 of Wands illuminate your path. This can be applied to creativity, sexuality and the rest of what issues the Wands address. Basically, this is a chance to find your true path. There is a lot of energy here. Will you work with it or be out of balance and overwhelmed by it?

Well, that is kind of what the ‘traditional’ meaning says. Now it is time to open the little pamphlet that came with the deck and see what really is going on here. This is my moment of truth to see if I have those Tarot chops. This is what it said:

“Ten: the lightning bolt points to the true God of Mount Carmel. The divine sign. Challenge one’s own ideals in order not to stray from the trodden path.”

Wahooo! I was not a total fool, although I was a bit of The Fool in this exercise! But isn’t this what it is all about?

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