Archive for June, 2014

First Time Tarot Reading

I had a tarot reading done last night by a friend of a friend with whom I immediately felt a connection (Iris X, for those in the northeast who might also be interested – she’s fabulous!). I’ve never had anyone else read for me, so it was an interesting experience in many ways. I had actually just read tarot for myself the previous night, so I was curious to see how the two reads interacted. Spoiler alert: they were very complimentary and almost identical in terms of the take-home messages.

Stacy used the Celtic Cross spread for my reading, which is a fairly common one (though one I rarely if ever work with, preferring three card spreads or one card draws instead). The layout looked like this:

celticcross

Stacy gave me a choice of a few different decks, asking me to pick the one I was most drawn to. I picked the Chrysalis tarot, a beautiful deck that just felt right to me. (My own deck is Paulina Cassidy’s Joie de Vivre deck, which I adore.) During the reading, Stacy offered quite a bit of insight into things that have been going on in my life, and why they’ve been happening (based on past experiences and the like). I’ll keep the specifics to myself, but suffice it to say this was an experience I deeply appreciated.

What I wonder is: what are the primary motivations for people to get their cards read? What is the attraction of having your fortune told by someone else versus just doing the divination yourself? After all, no one knows you better than you. While Stacy did a beautiful job (and I dearly wish we’d had more time to chat about the reading!), it still felt strange to have someone I had just met telling me about the things that challenge and reward me. Then again, strangers often have more perspective about you than you might; being outsiders, it’s easier for them to look at your life objectively. So I suppose that, in a way, I do understand the appeal.

Readers, if you’ve had your cards or your palm read before, why did you choose to have someone else do it instead of just doing it yourself?

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Meditating with a Guide

Week 26 (M): on guided meditation

Meditation was something I knew how to do before anyone taught me. I love the idea of guided meditation; it seems like a good way to keep focused on the task at hand (which hearkens back to what I was talking about with last week’s mindfulness discussion). The two videos below are the best of a variety of guided meditations I found on Youtube.

When looking for a guided meditation, I think an important part is to look for someone’s voice that you find soothing. The content of the meditation matters too, of course, but it’s important to be able to listen comfortably to them while they guide you. Otherwise you could spend the whole time distracted by how annoyed you are by their voice. I liked these two in particular, but your mileage may vary.

The first is for chakra cleansing. I plan to use it in combination with stones I bought specifically for chakra cleansing. I imagine this would be a useful meditation to do on a regular basis. I think of chakra cleansing sort of like cleaning the house: it has to get done regularly, or else I go a little nuts. I plan to use this one stretched out on my back on a yoga mat, in a quiet dark room.

The second is for deep relaxation and sleep. Sometimes I have problems with insomnia, so I’m hoping this might help. I think this could also be a nice way to relax into sleep every night, a way of delineating between waking and restful hours.

On a related note, this article on mindfulness meditation from Scientific American crossed my path this week. It’s worth a read, as it talks about the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. Meditation is helpful for a range of ills: insomnia, anxiety, depression, etc. Not to say that it’s a substitute for other types of treatment, but I think it’s an excellent supplement to them.


Celebrating Solstice

I’ve always wanted to watch dawn on the summer solstice and this morning I finally made it happen. There’s a stone circle near here (I think it was somebody’s senior art project), but it’s got a wonderful witchy feel all the same. There were a couple other folks there for some kind of astronomy lecture, but they left me respectfully alone. So I got to sit with a candle in my hands and shiver through an hour long meditation.

summer solstice candle 2014

Watching the sun come up feels somehow numinous. I scattered lavender in thanks for all the joy that has recently come into my life. I got engaged yesterday (Future Mrs. Anonywitch proposed yesterday and I proposed to her this morning – we wanted to do a dual proposal, and both turned out beautifully). Everyone I love has had such a wonderful response, oozing excitement for us even when some of them have been going through some rough stuff. I am so grateful for all the love in my life.

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My engagement ring was designed with the stone meanings in mind. It’s meant to resemble a dandelion (it’s an abstract interpretation) in reference to a song we both adore. I chose citrine because it reminds the wearer of the fullness of life and encourages creativity. I think creativity is a necessity for long-term relationships. It’s also excellent for transforming negative emotions into positive ones. The emeralds are for compassion. They’re sometimes called the “stone of successful love”, as it nurtures the heart. Combined, they seemed perfect for an engagement ring.

summer solstice sun 2014

The glow of the sun against my closed eyelids has transcendent qualities. When everything is golden and glowing with early morning mist, it seems like there are infinite possibilities. Getting up at 4 a.m. was well worth the experience of watching the summer solstice dawn.

 


Chopping Wood and Carrying Water

Week 25 (M): on mindfulness, or how to chop wood and carry water

How do you go about your work? While reading this, I started thinking about how mindfulness and work go hand in hand. One of my favorite quotes (and perhaps you’re familiar with it) is this:

chopwoodcarrywater

“Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.” (I took this photo in Maui, Hawaii shortly before a tropical storm hit.)

I don’t remember where I first found it, but I do remember reading it and having something click in my brain. I understand this as an entreaty to always pay attention to the task at hand (regardless of how “enlightened” you are). It stresses the importance of being mindful, how you ought to focus only on your current actions. Be present, which sounds like excellent advice.

When I’m dancing, I lose track of what’s happening around me, and sink into the feeling of being wholly in my body. When I’m knitting, the looping of the yarn and the swooping of my hands make for a meditative rhythm that keeps my focus on the task at hand. When I bake, the recipe becomes all that matters: the perfect leveled scoop of sugar, the milk poured so the meniscus is perfectly on the line.

All of these things are things I try to do with my whole being. This sort of presence and awareness is something I strive for, in everyday life as well as in magical practice.