Transformation 3

Beginning the year by finding the sacred

This year, 2022, is going to be all about community, relationships, and our emotional response to circumstances.  I’ll talk more about that throughout the year.

As with all stories, our full understanding of the year is going to unfold in chapters or episodes, all with a different focus.  We can think of each month in the year as a new chapter.

Look back over your January so far to get a sense of what pulls you forward.  How much of your life is a bunch of obligations that you’d ditch if you could, and how much is the stuff that you really value in life?  How are you feeling about the ratio of garbage demands to heart inspiration?  If you feel like screaming about now, I feel your pain.  Breathe deeply into your abdomen with long, slow exhalations while you feel whatever emotions come up.   If you’re on the feeling good side of things, woohoo!, and take note so that you can keep your spirit/life match throughout the year.

There may not be much to be done – yet – about getting your life closer to the track you’d like to be on.  This month is more for taking stock – the awareness part of the year.  There are small actions you can take.  Think 5-minute – or less – slices of your days.  What can you do today that feeds what you consider sacred?  That small slice may be about getting in touch with what you consider sacred, rather than doing something about it.  That’s okay.  We’re just being where we are and going from there.

At the moment, we’re gaining a new understanding that we’ll eventually take into our relationships and into our community.  We don’t have to know how we’ll do it, or even believe that we can do it.  We just want to stay open to the idea of a higher purpose to our life, one that makes us feel inspired or fulfilled. 

I love the VII Chariot of the Universal Celtic Tarot.  It’s a great illustration of the chaotic moments of managing conflicting demands in our lives.  It can seem impossible to take the reins against steeds as powerful as these, but the message of the year is that “It can be done and it can be taken in very small increments, if need be”.   Hold the willingness to let that possibility unfold throughout the year and explore your interior landscape when you can. 

2021 as a Five/V The Heirophant Year

Numerologically, 2021 is a 5 year, which means lots of change.  Last year, we had a 4 year with a lot of limitation.  We should see some loosening of the limitations, but not all at once and not in anything like a linear way.  5 is a transition year, so it is a bridge.  Usually it’s not a very stable bridge.  It’s more like hopscotching from one partial span to another and then changing direction because the other shore isn’t where you thought it was going to be.

When 5 is being used well, the energy is of constructive freedom.  We can change what we want, explore where our curiosity takes us and then bring useful information back to what we’re transitioning.  When 5 is being over or under-used, we’re likely to scatter our energies and waste what hindsight shows to be opportunities.

Remember that yearly energies don’t clang into place at the changing of the calendar.  We’ll see the instability and, hopefully, freedom of the year crest and recede, as the energy shifts from 2021 to the responsible, stable, community-minded 6 energy of 2022. 

Waite Smith Tarot

In Tarot, we have V The Heirophant (Greek, “interpreter of the sacred”) corresponding to the energies of 2021.  It points to the central importance of our communal traditions and beliefs.  Education and the sacred figure in this year.  In the positive, V The Heirophant guards what societies or tribes – or countries or cultures or families or religions – value.  It sets up institutions to put those values into action and to educate members of the society in its values.  I love the connection to old traditions in the Enchanted Forest Old One.  There are rings within rings of these traditions for all of us, from our personal lives out through family traditions to our local culture, our country and, perhaps, our global connections.  Used as a positive, it gives us landmarks and guideposts in our lives.  Used as a negative, it leads to theocratic intolerance and bigotry.

V The Heirophant can be a huge help in the transition of 5 times.  When we’re betwixt and between, it’s helpful to have markers to keep us from falling completely off the beam.  Institutions that keep us tethered to our values can be that beam. 

It can also exacerbate one of the negative tendencies when people don’t recognize the landscape: clinging to beliefs out of fear, which can lead to refusal to make changes or to allow others their own beliefs.  It’s a very big deal to have beliefs questioned at any point in time – rather like pulling the carpet out from under one’s entire life – but especially so in uncertain times, which is definitely the case in our 5 year.

Tarot de Marseilles

Looking deeper into the numbers, the 5 is built from 2 2s, a 0, and a 1.  We’ll need to proceed through those numbers in reverse order: 1, then 2, then 0, then 2 again, at a deeper level of understanding.

1 speaks to the individual, as always, for better and worse.  With a healthy sense of ourselves, we set boundaries, know our strengths – and weaknesses – and can lead from those strengths when called on.  If we’re refusing to use our one-ness, we are passive/aggressive babies who are most effective at creating change through temper tantrums (cringing as I imagine it!).  If we get so into being number one that we can’t see others, we’re selfish despots steamrolling over everyone else as we bully them into submission. 

The healthy 2 is sensitive to others and seeks to bond, based on emotional connections.  The unhealthy 2 is either co-dependent and hyper-sensitive or on lockdown, refusing to open up to others.

0 is the “God” number.  0 indicates Divine intervention – opportunities and challenges over which we have little control.  We can either be responsive or reactive.  Big events like pandemics or global recessions, even if there are traceable human causes, are considered to be “0” events. 

So, as we meet events this year, we’ll need to make sure that we’re owning up to our own part and to our own responsibilities first.  Then, we need to make the important first step toward cooperation: connecting to others as individuals.  When the unexpected shows up, as it will with the 0, we need to move most strongly toward cooperative energies.  The ultimate responsibility is to connection, to intuition, to respect of other individuals, without sacrificing our own individuality.

Since we’re still early in the 2000s, we’re very young learners as a species when it comes to cooperation and sensitivity.  It will take time for all of us to get over the individualism as ultimate lesson that was part of our evolution through the last millennium.  This decade is actually a big boost in our education since the 2 repeats throughout the 2020s.  None of us will see the next opportunity, which comes in the 2200s, for an entire 100 years.

We can all up our one-on-one relationship skills through this year.  Our biggest strength through the changes this year will be in our connections to others, both as members of an institution, faith or tradition, and as individuals connecting with other individuals. 

Pre-ride warm-up

For many of us, yay!, spring is thinking about springing!  For some of us, it’s the fall into more temperate weather but less daylight.  Either way, the weather is moderate enough to make outdoor activities more comfortable. 

One of my favourite ways to be outdoors – other than walking on bare feet – is on my bicycle.  This month’s temporarily-free video is a warm-up for riding.  Next month I’ll post a video of after-ride stretches.

We tend to jump right into activities without any preparation or processing time.  A gentle pre-ride stretch gets us ready for the main activity, making us more comfortable as we ride, and less prone to injury.  Until next month, notice what parts of your body want a stretch after your ride and find ways to gently loosen and stretch them.  That restores areas of the body that have been worked.

And you might want to take note of what other activities in your life – physical or otherwise – could use a warm-up prep and a cool-down processing.  Happy riding!

Clearing Our Heads

I swear my cats choose exactly the part of the floor/carpet/house that needs cleaning most to have their pukitosis episodes.  Same applies to my subconscious when my rational mind goes completely unfocused and I shake the open container of almond milk in the messiest corner of the kitchen.

That’s my view on the optimistic days.  When the glass is not only half empty but full of something I didn’t want anyway, the cats find the carpet I just cleaned and I spill sticky stuff all over the new shirt.

On the optimistic days, if I’ve got a clear head, I can move on to lesson learned and make time to clean for improvement.  On pessimistic days, there’s the extra step of temper fit, a whole lot of bad language while cleaning and, eventually, lesson learned, when my head clears.

With a stiff neck and hunched shoulders, it’s hard to get a deep breath to feed the brain or enjoy the benefits of adequate circulation and nervous system communication.  The head is under siege.  Last month’s temporarily free video gave you a chance to loosen up your shoulders and re-align.  This month’s video – free through February – takes it to the next level.  Enjoy it in entirety or in bits and pieces.  If you miss the free version, it will still be available for sale.

And may all your messes be on the floor that’s easy to clean.

Shouldering burdens

Many of us are carrying extra burdens into the new year, burdens we may never have imagined having to take up.

Since our thoughts, emotions and bodies are interwoven intimately, we’re likely to be feeling those burdens in various places throughout our bodies.  If we can approach the physical level to lighten the burden, we can have an impact on the more subtle levels of the mind and psyche, as well.

One of the common places to feel the stress of extra responsibilities, cares, and worries is in the shoulders.  Physically, that means connections to the neck and arms, as well.

The 20-minute video above addresses tension in the shoulders.  It’s designed for anyone who is not currently dealing with an injury.  You can pick and choose from anywhere in the video if a 20-minute self-care segment isn’t within your reach right now.  The video will be available free throughout January; then it goes back to regular $5 availability on the website.

Relaxation to integrate

We’re not all that good at stopping to integrate life experiences.

Even when it’s not holiday season, we tend toward the future. What’s next?

Our relaxation strategies are usually escapism. Involvement in fantasy. Or someone else’s life. Or sensual indulgence.

Or hamster wheel-ism. Endlessly caught in thought loops, as if enough time there will lead us to . . . what? Comfort? Understanding? A way to be what we were before?

The more we deal with changes, the more we need time to integrate. And you’d be hard pressed to convince anyone that this year hasn’t been one for change.

A simple 15 minutes of intentional relaxation can help the nervous system move toward restoration and healing. Allowing ourselves to just be can foster integration at unconscious levels. Letting go of doing becomes a delicious indulgence.

The conscious relaxation video (savasana in yoga) is available for viewing through December at no charge. After that, it’s available on the website.

Enjoy your holiday season!

Staying Present

It’s amazing how much of life we miss because we’re busy time travelling.

We freak out over ‘what ifs’ in the future.

We berate ourselves to the point of abuse over the unchangeable past.

Staying present.  Being here now.  Ram Dassing it.

To a lot of us, it’s a foreign reality.  The good news is that it’s attainable, and it can become habit with practice.

When we’re time travelling, we’re not connected to our body.  Most of the time, our body is safe.  Reconnecting with it ‘grounds’ us into a safe space that minimizes the ill effects of anxiety, self-recrimination, blame, worry . . . the hamster wheel of circular thoughts and their emotional impact crater.  We’re brought out of the fight, flight, freeze part of our system into the relax and heal part.

A ten minute body scan meditation can help you in your journey to habitual presence.  Through November, you can use this one.  After that, it’s available for purchase on the Yoga Video page.

Pandemic Gateway Reading May 2020

The English Magic Tarot

It’s hard to know what to say when the energies of a spread for challenging times are not the sort of soothing, “it’s not as bad as it seems” response we’d like to see.  That’s the case with this Gateway spread I laid to help us get a handle on what we’re going through, as a global species, in this pandemic.  I promise, by the time we get to the end of this reading, there will be a vision worth the challenges of the journey.

The positions I chose are “what we must leave behind”, “the gateway we’re passing through”, “what we must activate to move forward” and “what’s in the background throughout”. The deck is The English Magic Tarot, one of the decks I enjoy using at RenFaires.  The deck itself speaks to the need to shut down as much auto pilot as possible, acknowledging that life has a new twist and requires fresh eyes.

We can see lots of rough, challenging change in the Fives of Swords and Coins.  King of Cups wants us to be emotionally mature during the transition (anybody else throwing up their hands here?), and VI The Lovers speaks of difficult choices.

If you haven’t already run away to hide under the blankets or eat a giant-sized portion of the ready-at-hand comfort food, let’s look deeper at what we’ve been thrust into.

The contentious, winner-take-all Five of Swords is in the What We Must Leave Behind position.  Thank goodness for small favours there.  This is the energy that keeps us at each other’s throats, constantly re-fighting old battles until we’ve vanquished our opponent for good and all.  Which, of course, never actually happens.  In this deck, we also have a reminder of how useless it is to lose our heads over battles we cannot win.  The Red Queen’s go-to “Off with his head!!” must leave our repertoire.  It’s the fight to return to what used to be that is futile.  The very hard news is that we don’t have that option.

The Gateway we’re passing through is the challenge of insufficient resources.  Many are feeling the financial and material strain of the Five of Coins.  Most are aware of the low energy reserves; those who are dealing directly with the Covid illness, most of all.  We’re out of our “I know how to handle this” comfort zone.  Everything takes more effort than usual.

There’s a call here to help each other where we’re able, even though we’re all tired and strained.  Benefactors may appear, but they may often miss the mark, because their concern is more with their reputation or ego, than with the need surrounding them.  We need to make sure we’re not moving toward generosity with that attitude.  We’ll need to keep our eyes open to our fellow travelers through the portal, noting what they truly need to get to the other side with us.  We are all the walking wounded right now, doing the best we can.  Many of us may back through the Gateway, not yet able to turn from the past toward the door that leads to the future.  That door is not yet open, and we don’t yet know what’s on the other side.

(Brief pause for perspective. . . .  It would be wonderful if this were the sort of reading that was predictive.  Although my readings often appear that way, I don’t focus there.  I prefer to read the energies around us with an eye to helping us make use of what’s there, keeping us focused on the helpful dynamics and the signs and landmarks that mark our journey.  It’s more about recognizing the useful path and being able to stay clear of the dragons and thorns, than it is about being able to say “here’s what’s waiting, now let’s play victim to it, good or bad”.)

Thus far, we’ve talked about tough and necessary change.  We must leave behind the malicious energy of futile conflict (yay!).  Our journey asks us to give up resources we’re used to drawing on, moving through the Gateway even though we’re tired and don’t really want to go.

What We Must Activate to Move Forward sends us deep into our souls.  VI The Lovers is less about finding the meant-to-be relationship and more about recognizing how the choices we make impact our lives.  It asks for self-awareness and self-knowledge and self-acceptance.  It’s not about cutting off the parts of ourselves we don’t like; it’s about listening as deeply in the soul as we know how and making our choices from there.  Easy to say when choices aren’t bound by, oh, keeping a roof overhead or fulfilling responsibilities to family or work.  This is not about beating yourself up for not being able to see the way to follow your soul’s lead; it’s about tuning into your soul where you’re able, and not losing sight of what’s there, even when you can’t find a way to follow it yet.

VI The Lovers speaks to letting your inner drive, as well as your practical magic, have a voice in your daily life.  It considers options, recognizing that some opposites can coexist while others are irreconcilable.  Where does aggressive power and the subtle persuasion of natural cycles find a meeting point, a sharing of minds?  If this doesn’t sound easy, the reassurance is that it gets easier the more you learn the habit.  This is one of those growth energies where the Universe will be happy to help.  Dip your spoon in, and you may find you have a whole meal.  Dip your toe in, and you may find yourself caught up in the dance.

The most superficial layer of VI The Lovers is more obvious: how do we make time for those who mean the most to us?  Again, there are choices involved.  This one, not that.  Sometimes the ones eliminated are not the convenient ones.  Other times you discover that the choices you’ve made so far have already led you to a meaningful life built with a partner or family and friends.  The beauty of this energy is that, the more you integrate the various aspects of you, the more your outer life reflects who you are.

King of Cups is What’s in the Background Throughout.  At base, we won’t be able to get through any of this without being disciplined about our emotions.  Yes, there are lots.  Yes, lots of them are about tough stuff. No, ignoring them will not make us more effective.  No, dumping them all over everyone around us will not allow us to do the deeper work that’s required.  We’re going to have to be grown-ups about our emotions.  Sit with them, feel them. Recognize where they provide clues and impetus into the new lives we’re all discovering.  Feel them in the background of everything we’re dealing with.  And do the work – all that stuff we’ve just discussed – anyway.  When we have our mature emotions online, our creativity kicks in, in unexpected ways, at unexpected times.

This may not be an easy transition for any but the superheroes amoungst us – and even then!  Take a minute, though, to focus on what a new world would look like if we were all in touch with the empathy, compassion and emotional tolerance that the King of Cups represents.  What would the world be like if we were all able to live a life that represented the deeper aspects of our souls, if we were all able to make contributions to our communities that were meaningful to us?  The transition itself is temporary; the challenges of the Fives will pass.  The beautiful energies of the King of Cups and VI The Lovers have staying power.  We can grow into those potentials if we keep our focus on that vision.  This is truly an evolutionary giant step for humanity on planet Earth.  We can do this.  And we can do it together.

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