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!

Monsterful Monday- My Arcana Courts, 3/4: Wands

Special mentions first- tea, Voltaren, fruit pie, quiet nights in, snuggles with the Best Beloved, having a fancypants whole food shop at the end of my street, exciting news from friends, knitting inspiration, Groot (Guardians of the Galaxy was so much fun), Kirk the Ravager, Chibi silliness, washing up.

Wands. Now I admit, I was actually going to leave the Wands until last, because of the suits it’s the one I haven’t fully got my head around yet. According to Veronica, wands/staves are the people who inspire you to do amazing things. World-changing things. Being of service to others. These are the most inspirational people in your life, in many ways. Pure magic, raw, hungry, go-out-and-do-it, be-the-change-you-want-to-see energy.

My pages/princesses of wands, I would say, are my Godparents. In their different ways they’ve each shown me what it means to go out and do something to make your mark on the world. One has faced great personal challenges in the form of disabilities. One has spent most of their life in Africa as a doctor. One is a parish priest, making a difference to many lives in many small and large ways every week. Each, in their different way, has done something good for the world. I’m grateful that I had that example growing up, and I hope that in achieving the dreams I have for my own life I can push out that positive energy into the world and bring good to others.

For me, the Knight of Wands is my friend Vanya.  Burlesque, acrobatics, theatre, fire, he does all of it. He’s busy busy all the time working on new things. He’s action and making a name for himself and pure, raw, go-for-it, a blast of fire magic. He takes 100 times more risks than most other people. Sure he has a few more interesting scars because of that, but he also has more successes. He throws himself into things headlong, commits, grabs hold and doesn’t let go. Because of thta he brings other people along for the ride, because they start to realise that if he can do it, so can they. He’s a great example of going after your dreams hell-for-leather, and as with my pages/princesses, I’m grateful for the trail he’s blazed because it’s shown how it can be done. He makes me want to up my game.

My Queens of Wands, I would say, are my fabulous girlfriends Erin and Hannah. They’re the ones who say “of COURSE you can do that!” to even my craziest ideas. They radiate love and goodness, and make peoples lives better just by being in them. They nurture my dreams, remind me of the unique gifts I have, give emotional support. They want to make the world better, again each in their different way. I feel like they visualise the world as they want it to be, and yes can be dispirited when it’s not that way yet, but they keep on loving, feeding, taking care, bringing light. I am so thankful for them.  

King of Wands is hard. For every achievement I know those in my life have made, I know they want to do more. We’re all growing and changing, all the time. I’m grateful to have that love and support around me, and to be able to offer it to others. I want to lift others up to achieve their goals, be steadfast, just as they are for me. And that’s what I have to say about that.

What about you? Who are your inspirations? Who makes you want to change the world and makes you feel that you can do it, too? Let me know in the comments!

 

Monsterful Monday: My Arcana Courts 2: Cups

Another week has come and gone, and it was a big week at that. Before I start in on the Cups in my life, special gratitude goes to the movers, Air New Zealand, my Best Beloved for assembling my bed and wardrobe/bookshelves AND taking delivery of all my stuff the day before I arrived, my lovely new flatmates and new work colleagues who so far seem like good people. 

http://bit.ly/1o5GjVC  published under Creative Commons- http://bit.ly/1mhaR6eKnight of Cups by Cassandra Santori Queen of Cups by Cassandra Santori King of Cups by Cassandra Santori

So. Cups. 

Love. Beauty. Emotional richness. Overflowing feelings. I think these people are forces of nature in your life, whether a whirlwind of inspiration, or “receding and returning gently or passionately, or moving lovingly like the tide” (from ‘To love is not to possess’ by James Kavanaugh). Cups people surprise you with joy, with support, with artistic and creative passion. 

My page/princess/daughter of Cups is, as I mentioned on Thursday, Anna C, at the moment, for her planting the seed of inspiration and encouragement to keep going at Acro. She’s full of zest for life and it’s infectious, it makes me want to live to the full just as she does. I’m so grateful to have her shining a light on the path for me. 

My Knight of Cups, well, there are a few. Those people who, when I say ‘oh I’d love to do this when X happens’, reply ‘but why do you have to wait for X, why not do it now?’. Like a former work colleague, J, who when I mentioned the idea of reception bingo (the Offbeat Bride site is a secret compulsion. Not so secret now.) pointed out that I could do the same thing for my birthday, and even prettied up the bingo cards for me. I had so much fun with them and it’s thanks to her. I’m so grateful to those people who push me to live that bit more wildly, to follow my passions and not wait for permission. I’m so lucky and grateful they do. 

The Queen of Cups? Well, at the moment, that’s groups of people too. My fellow Witchbabies at the Parlour. The knitters of the Tiny Owl Knits group on Ravelry. These are wonderful, nurturing, supportive groups. When I, or anyone else needs it, they’re there with (virtual) hugs, good wishes, good energy, and unfailing support. From random acts of kindness to craft swaps to tarot readings, we buoy each other up with love and beauty. In my eyes everyone in those groups is a Queen of Cups, and I’m so thankful to be a part of it.

The King of Cups, the triumphant achievement of love? Well, even though the magnet card for my Best Beloved is the King of Pentacles (more on that when I talk pentacles!) I think of him as my King of Cups as well. Yes, I know, I’m a hopeless romantic. But he brings so much love and happiness, I finally feel like I’ve got it right, like I’ve found what so many people look for. I hope, too, to be my own King of Cups one day, as I’m still a work in progress when it comes to self-love, awareness of my own beauty, and mining the depths of my own emotional richness. I’ll get there. And as I do, I’m so grateful to have the loving presence of my Best Beloved in my life. 

How about you? Who are the people in your life that you’re thankful for? Who brings that special Cups energy into your life, and how? Let me know in the comments!

Monsterful Monday: My Arcana Court, part one: Swords

From Jason Chang on Flickr http://bit.ly/1rW52L7Queen of Swords by Jason Chang Knight of Swords by Jason Chang Page of Swords by Jason Chang

 

 

 

 

I wanted to do something a little different for the next few Monsterful Mondays. It’s partly inspired by the Parlour, but also with the big move happening VERY soon, I’ve been thinking a lot about the people in my life.

In a recent Parlour, Veronica talked about the Minor Arcana Courts of the tarot deck (Page/Princess/Daughter, Knight/Son/Prince, Queen/Mother and King/Father of each suit- cups, pentacles, wands and swords), and how they represent people- people who are in your life already, people who are coming into your life, or even yourself (depending on where they appear).

It got me thinking about the people in my life who have affected me for the better, and the different ways they’ve done this. Those of you who have read me talk about my Best Beloved before will know that I see him as my King of Pentacles.  The more I thought about it, the more I was aware of how different friends represent the different tarot suits in particular ways. I’m grateful for their presence in my life, and I wanted to take this opportunity to shout it out.

I’ll start with my own Court of Swords. People who represent the Swords are about cutting through to the heart of the matter. They’ll give you the honest truth, they communicates clearly and get things done, they don’t back down. If you think about ‘rapier wit’, that’s part of what Swords seem to be about. Cutting through the rubbish and getting clarity and understanding.

My Page/Daughter/Princess of Swords (the gender on the card doesn’t necessarily track to the gender of the person) was my counsellor, who I started seeing last year after an anxiety attack (something I had never had before) combined with the worst depression I’d had.

He identified what was causing the depression, cut through my own excuses, delusions, limiting beliefs about myself, negative self talk- all of it, and then he gently helped me see what was really going on inside me. He planted the seeds (which is what Pages are often about) of a more positive way of being, and got me started on the way out of where I was. For that, I will always be grateful.

Sophie is my Knight of Swords. We’ve been friends for a few years now, and she’s one of the most grounded people I know. She is guaranteed to give you the honest truth, and when I’ve sought her advice she’s always given it to me straight, as well as giving me encouragement to take action to get past the bull and accept what I need to do. Knights are all about action, and I’m very thankful that she’s been there to give me a hard shove in the right direction when I’ve needed it.

Aja, who I’ve known for 14 years now, is my Queen of Swords. Like all my Swords she’s honest, doesn’t dance around the issues. She asks the questions that needs  to be asked, and gives the answer you need to hear, even if it’s not the one you want. She’s supported and nurtured me (as the Queens do) through difficult times, and (like all my Swords) is someone whose good opinion of something is extremely valuable. I’m so glad I have her in my life.

Finally, there’s the King of Swords, and that’s my best friend Ian. He’s got the mastery of communication, he gives the tough love but also the absolute steadfast support. He’s there for me, no questions asked, even when being there for me means saying something I won’t like.  He’s by turns cheerleader and guide, always with my best interests at heart, and I’m incredibly lucky to call him a friend, let alone my best friend.

Links of Joy: Witchbaby edition

The Magic Touch by David Blackwell (available under Creative Commons licence at https://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilestreetlife/5946319814/in/photolist-a4srHq-A1Q6c-4v2z6X-5Ja7rc-5KPeEc-9momvJ-kgEBNR-m8k7FP-f9sRmZ-9GroU2-drkeaz-4KZiVR-a7XvQ-8BnfeW-byfVsq-fp9VRx-6Jw3Pm-pnLtD-4C4T8f-fcnqee-6qKPtC-7iP9BW-fYGQ7h-5VuYC7-6gL5wV-e76NmE-51yLAe-a2hwox-6LVo3u-5EecKe-ar4qrC-aixxLe-7fpQSs-4pcs2B-eaqgL9-nhaRLE-5HLjAc-6darwk-bfSPEX-caJLSJ-eKkEpX-bTEYTK-kcSfsz-dEwiP7-bHTo3c-kZr69P-7CFr5m-7sw5Qi-5z4sxh-bCE8sX)

The Magic Touch by David Blackwell (available under Creative Commons licence at Flickr- http://bit.ly/1jU1gBP)

‘Witchbabies’ is the name that folks in the Parlour use to greet the group, and I love it, because Francesca Lia Block– I only came to the Weetzie Bat books 3 or so years ago, along with the rest of her writing, but there’s just something about the dreamlike quality of the way she writes that resonates with me. I especially enjoyed ‘Necklace of Kisses’ (a sequel to the Dangerous Angels series, set a few years later), though I haven’t yet managed to read ‘Pink Smog’ (a prequel). Did you know there’s now a Dangerous Angels t-shirt? Definitely on my list once I’ve bought furniture for my new room.

Speaking of t-shirts, this one of Artax made me want to go curl up in a ball and weep. I remember the first time I saw the scene in the despair swamp in ‘Neverending Story’ and how upset I was. But having experienced depression, it actually rings pretty true now.

With the Parlour (yes, I know, a bit of a theme for the week), I’ve been looking at tarot decks on Etsy- always dangerous. I love the TaRat deck from Bluedogrose, though I can’t put my finger on why, I just like it. I also like her Blue Dog Rose tarot using pets and domestic animals- the Hierophant is a goldfish! And death, appropriately enough, is a cat (anyone who has lived with cats will tell you this is accurate).

I’d forgotten about the fun and shenanigans of the AntiCraft until my bonus Friday Five from last week, but how can you not love an online craft magazine that had plushie gamer dice patterns and an entire issue devoted to bacon? (I made Baconhenge once. It was delicious.

Obviously with a new room come new decor ideas. I plan to get more seriously into those once I have the furniture, but obviously knitting inspiration is not to be controlled and I have a bit of a thing for throws. This magickal throw from Erssie Major is a lot of fun, but I don’t think I’d make it for me. I do know someone I could make it for though…because what I need, clearly, is another project. Yep.

Have you found anything fun on your internet wanderings? Link to it in the comments!

Monsterful Monday: My life in boxes

'moving II' by Robert S. Donovan- https://www.flickr.com/photos/booleansplit/

‘moving II’ by Robert S. Donovan- https://www.flickr.com/photos/booleansplit/

Just keep packing

The move up to Auckland, which seemed distant even a week ago is now approaching in a manner akin to a freight train. Thankfully, this weekend just gone was that rare and shimmering thing, commitment-free. Somehow, and most of the time, I end up with most every weekend booked with one thing or another, and I’m not complaining. But with the movers arriving on Friday (eek!) to collect my things, I really valued being able to hermit it up and just focus on putting things in boxes. I’m also grateful to Scott for supplying at least some of said boxes.

The furniture I’ve listed on Trade Me has all either already sold, or been bid on (so it will be going), which is another thing to be grateful for, along with the fact that there’s plenty I haven’t had to list because it already had takers.

Decluttering

I can’t even begin to describe how much less stressful packing for this move has been compared to the last one and the reason for it is very simple. I. Have. Less. Stuff. CONSIDERABLY less. My-clothes-fit-in-two-suitcases-now less. I’m so glad I started getting rid of things when I did, it’s meant I’m much further along in the process than I would be otherwise.

I shall call them Squishy. And they shall be mine. And they shall be my Squishies.

Packing the hexipuffs gave me a chance to count how many I have. 220! That means I’m over halfway to a single-bed-sized snuggly quilt of smooshy goodness. It will be glorious!

Come into my Parlour (well, come into Veronica’s Parlour)

This weekend just gone I watched my first recordings of Veronica Varlow’s online tarot circle, the Parlour, because it’s something I’m interested in learning more about (and now that the Atomic Tarot Kickstarter has been funded, I’ll be getting a beautiful deck of my own). I’m watching the recordings because watching the live webinar would mean getting up at 6am on a weekend (but next week it’s on a Monday my time, I might be lucky!) So far, so fascinating. This week, she covered magnet cards- cards that appear again and again for you. For me, at least one of them is the King of Pentacles, which shows up regularly in relationship-type questions since I got together with the Best Beloved. I choose to believe that makes him my own personal King of Pentacles. There’s a great community for the Parlour too, and I can already tell I’m going to enjoy getting to know them better.

Special mentions

Extremely pink pink nailpolish, sushi, warm bed and sleep, mini skeins, my Tetris skills (coming in very useful for fitting things in boxes), Youtube playlists, helpful moving companies (who can’t help but point you at people who can), and the Best Beloved, always.

Links of Joy: Chicken on a raft

Chicken on a raft? Chicken on a raft. I recommend headphones if you’re reading this at work. It reminds me of this song by the Brobdingnagian Bards, I don’t know why.

Since we’re on music, Dolly Parton played Glastonbury (aged 68 and still awesome!), including playing Yakety Sax:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5fxVvvHRhs

And of course, 9 to 5 (I love how you can hear the whole audience singing along to it).

Can we just talk about this pink lame confection of a pinup dress by Deadly Dames for Pinup Girl? I am in love. No idea when I’d wear it, but I’d find a reason! “What do you mean ‘it’s casual Friday’? This is TOTALLY casual. I swear I just threw it on this morning.” I’m also rather taken with this dress covered in fairytale castles.

For some quick and dirty crafting (and isn’t that just the best sometimes?), Veronica Varlow has posted a tutorial on punk-ifying a t-shirt (it’s no-sew!). Now I just have to pick a tee to give the rock and roll treatment (I’m not exactly short of t-shirts…). She’s also been posting a monthly tarot horoscope, and I’ll admit I’m addicted.

Speaking of which the Atomic Tarot Kickstarter by the Atomic Pixies (so cool, I’m really hoping this gets funded so I can get the finished deck) still has 11 days to go. Do go have a look and consider becoming a backer- for me it was an insta-back.

In conclusion, unicorn towels.

 

 

 

Links of Joy- FOUR WHOLE STRAWBERRIES

Watching:

What can I say? This made me giggle. A chap in an Australian shopping precinct reads the Very Hungry Caterpillar in the style of a street preacher.

Reading: I just (like literally about 15 minutes ago) discovered, via Veronica Varlow, Alise in Wonderland, and it was food and reading lust at first sight. Compelling, dreamy, magical writing. Moving stories. Vegan recipes. I’m actually disappointed I’m not in front of a stove right now making Vixen burgers. VIXEN BURGERS. How could you not want to eat something with a name like that?

Giving: If like me you’re a bit too fond of art-nouveau comic book characters, check out the Atomic Tarot Kickstarter. Designed by a group of four women artists in Denver who are “interested in the intersection of science and the supernatural”, something about this just spoke to me. 

 And another random smile:

Times Tumblr raised serious questions about Harry Potter– this Buzzfeed article had a lot of my friends laughing until they cried. I especially like 23, 24 and 27.

Links of Joy: Games and homes and glad wrap

Reading: The Good Creative by Paul Jarvis

I’ve read both Paul Jarvis’ other self-help-y books, ‘Be Awesome at Online Business’ and ‘Everything I Know’, and enjoyed them, so I was very excited to see he has a new book out on bringing creative ideas to fruition and building them into something more, which is what I’m aiming to do. And it’s a quick read, which I’ll admit I like, because there are few things more satisfying than finishing a book, right? Even better, he currently has some special offers for the book’s launch week.

Playing: The Three Things Game

I love Veronica Varlow. Her blog- the Danger Diary, is full of interesting stories and ideas. A while ago she posted about a game she plays on her tour bus, and I thought, why not? Admittedly, when I play it with my flatmates (and my Best Beloved, and my flatmate’s awesome girlfriend) we’ve been, generally, waiting for our takeaway order. But it’s KIND OF like being on a rock and roll tour bus, right? You know, if you squint hard… Anyway, you think of three connected things and each say which one of the three you are, and why. Simple but a lot of fun- and I recommend reading more about it at the Danger Diary- in fact as I said, I recommend the Danger Diary in general. The Tarot Horoscopes  are also a fun read.

Listening: Welcome to Night Vale (click the link and then click on Night Vale)

If you haven’t already heard of this, you’re missing out. It’s a seamless blend of Garrison Keillor’s Lake Woebegone style narration and HP Lovecraftian fantasy. It’s a simple idea- Cecil, the DJ on the community radio station in the desert town of Night Vale, presents unfolding events and community notices. But it packs so much into that premise. Some episodes will seriously creep you out, others will make you squee, all of them will make you laugh. “Wednesday has been cancelled due to a scheduling conflict”.  Scroll down the page for a list of places you can subscribe- for free- to this great creative project. Listen, enjoy, and do not approach the dog park.

Other links that have made me smile this week:

Curious Places– I’m a sucker for weird and wonderful houses, and this blog is full of them. Favourites of mine include this tiny Victorian cottage, and this leopard print house (one day, when I own my own place…).

Speaking of  houses, I’m definitely planning on staying at Cedric the Tiny House some time. I’d love to own a home like this some day.

Eco-friendly reusable glad wrap– it’s a thing!

RIP Maya Angelou

What about you? What have you found in your internet wanderings this week? Share it in the comments.