Mid-week Joy- Tarot meditation

Tarot by Meeralee, used under Creative Commons license- http://bit.ly/1qZAXeK

What? It’s still Wednesday somewhere…

Meditation. Of the many things I’ve tried to get my mind back into a good place and recover from the depression, meditation is one of the most helpful. The quiet, the calm- neither of these things come easy to me. As soon as I’m awake, thoughts are whirling around my head.

Focusing on something, even for 20 minutes? Not easy for me. At. All. I’ve found a couple of ways to deal with this, which you may find helpful too if you’re a beginner. The first is guided meditations. Just look on Youtube. On Friday, I’ll even put links to five of my favourites for you. When I was trying to get into a proper meditation practice I found that the guidance really helped me not get distracted and start thinking about the laundry when I was trying to be still.

Admittedly that still happens. But less often.

The second, and my reason for writing this post, involves my tarot deck. Now, a disclaimer- I know I’m not the first person to do tarot meditations, and I don’t want to reinvent the wheel. There are lots of people out there with much more expertise in the tarot than me, and I bow to them. This post is intended to describe what I do, in the hopes that if you haven’t come across tarot meditation before it might encourage you to give it a try. It’s simple but very effective.

I keep one deck for readings (The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr), and another deck for my daily meditation. That one is the Shadowscapes deck by Stephanie Pui-Min Law.

It was actually the book that came with the Shadowscapes deck, specifically the introduction by tarot great Barbara Moore, that led me to the meditation practice. In the introduction she advocates bonding with your deck by shuffling it, taking a card at random and focusing on the image for several minutes, then closing your eyes and ‘stepping into’ the image and, if you’re brave enough, talking to the figures in it.

I know, I know. It probably sounds odd to you. But the results of doing this- in my case I pulled The Empress- were so beautiful and calming I started doing it each day.

Here’s how it works: Every morning, when it’s time for me to meditate (not long after I wake up), I shuffle my Shadowscapes deck, asking ‘what do I need to meditate on today?’. Occasionally, if something’s really troubling me or if I’m linking it up with the weekly challenges in my Five Minute Journal, I’ll ask a different question, but ‘what do I need to meditate on’ is the go-to.

I then pull a card (use whatever method you would normally use). I look at the image for a couple of minutes (that’s longer than it sounds), get familiar with the figures in it, the background. I read the description in the book- and start to get a handle on what exactly it is that I’m really meditating about. That becomes even clearer when I actually start my meditation- closing my eyes, and stepping into the image in my mind. The conversation with the figures is a way of delving deep into myself, finding the answers that were there all along. Somehow, the meditation process makes things that have been troubling me easier to accept and deal with- because as the meditation makes clear, I already know how to deal with them. I just have to accept it, and take action.

Another hint- I use a meditation helper app on my phone to time myself (on a work morning I have to). When the final bell sounds, I say thank you and bid farewell to the figures in the image, and step back out into the room.

The final phase is keeping a tarot journal. This is something you’ll find recommendations for all over the place. For me, it’s a way of recording the insights from the meditation- which, as an added bonus, also helps me get a better intuitive sense of the cards I’ve pulled each day.

It’s that simple, and very powerful. The insights and the ‘ah’ moments happen every day with this practice, and I’m so grateful for finding out about it. I haven’t tried it with any decks that don’t have people in most of the images, so I can’t say how it would work but, if it’s a deck you feel connected to, I don’t think it matters what kind of images they are.

If you decide to give this a try, I’d really love to hear how you get on! Do let me know in the comments- share your ah moments! Enquiring minds want to know!

Friday Five: Five awesome beginner crochet patterns

My friend Anna has recently taken up crocheting- I’m always excited when someone starts getting into a new craft. She’s already a talented sewer, but in the end getting good at any craft is all down to practice. Now, the easiest and simplest thing to make as a beginner crocheter would be a cotton dishcloth, but if you’re anything like me, you yearn for the beautiful, the silly, the fun. So to celebrate making it through the week, I give you five super-gorgeous, super-fun crochet projects that a beginner could tackle.

Hint- crochet hooks and yarn? Not that hard to get hold of. And there are plenty of books and tutorials out there to show you the ropes. The only thing to be aware of is that American crochet instructions are different to UK ones, but once you know what they mean you’re flying. Another hint- the second pattern on the list includes a handy quick reference to explain the difference between them.

Go on, give it a try- what better time than right now to surprise yourself and make something great?

Best of all, four out of five of these patterns are available for FREE! <3

First up, we have the crochet bow ring from ChabeGS Crochet Design. A little bit pin-up, you could make them in every colour to match your outfits, or use up an entire ball of yarn and make them for everyone you know. They’re super cute and THE PATTERN IS LITERALLY THREE LINES LONG. Can we say instant gratification? Oh yes, I think we can!

The Easy Crochet Owl from the Bunny Mummy blog will teach you how to crochet in a circle, and change colours. Also, OWLS! Yes, I know, ‘we can put a bird on it’ but c’mon people. We all know what YOLO really stands for.  You Obviously Love Owls.

If cute birds of prey aren’t your thing, then how about a kawaii octopus? Because, well, OCTOPODES. Just imagine making a bunch of these in different crazy colours and putting them on your desk at work. Go on, imagine. You could even tell people they didn’t need to start giving you octopi because you already had a bunch of them. Or attach loops to a load of them and have an octopus themed Christmas tree? OK, I’m not doing a very good job of selling this. Just click on over to NyanPon and you’ll see why I had to include this on the list. Added benefit- this is an amigurumi pattern. Amigurumi is a particular technique used to crochet toys and other 3-d objects, and it’s a great thing to learn, especially if you want to make toys. Just Google amigurumi and be amazed at the possibilities.

“This is all very well,” I hear you say, “but what about actual items of clothing?” Well, how about the classic- a beanie? But this one has an awesome twist- I give you (or rather I’m Topsy Turvy gives you)…the bearded beanie! Yes, you could just follow the beanie part and make yourself a lovely hat. But seriously…you can add a crochet beard! I bet you’ve often thought to yourself, ‘gee, what I really need is something to keep the rest of my face warm, not just my ears. But I don’t want to wear a balaclava…’ Well here’s your answer! Also you could pretend to be a super secret spy in your cunning disguise…If nothing else, take a look at this pattern for the ADORABLE photos of the baby bearded beanie. I defy you not to go ‘awwwww’, at least to yourself.

Finally, the only paid pattern on the list. This will make you a master of double crochet. It’s a much bigger project to tackle than the others, but when you look at the results, you’ll see why I had to include it. The Babette Blanket from Interweave Press is, in a word, stunning. To me it looks like the background of a Klimt painting. If you have a look at finished projects (look at Ravelry.com– and if you haven’t signed up there already and like knitting/crochet or want to start, you need a (free) account, stat!) you’ll see the possibilities. The actual pieces that make the blanket are simple to make (I’m working on one at the moment) but there are endless options for colours, as you’ll see. I’m working on one of these at the moment myself, in rainbow colours (what else?). If you don’t want to tackle the full sized blanket, why not make just the middle sections, and create a baby blanket?

I hope one or more of these will tempt you, and that if you haven’t given crochet a go you’ll consider trying. Whatever happens, I hope you have a fabulous weekend! Happy Friday!