Thursday, 4 February 2016

Brigid's Awakening

Brigid by Joanna Powell Colbert
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A few days after Imbolc, or St. Brigid's Day, welcome to this seasonal Blog Hop.  Our topic this time around, which bloggers around the world will share their divinatory thoughts on, is Awakening the Heart.

Straight away, I thought about creating a spread with the Heart card at it's centre, to represent how the Goddess Brigid might awaken our hearts to greater compassion.  And the Nine Square is so delightfully versatile...

This version takes the top row as being connected to the healing aspect of the Goddess Brigid, the middle row as connected to her inspiration, and the bottom row is associated to the forge aspect where she brings those inspired ideas into manifestation.  And despite this Goddess-inspired interpretation, really there is a close connection to more traditional readings of the Nine Square.  Often, the top line is associated with our thoughts, and sometimes healing comes from releasing thoughts and worries that we somatise.  Inspiration is what we feel in the present moment, when we are in the middle of something engaging.  And manifestation is what we create, the actions we have control over.

For this reading, I shuffled up the Celtic Lenormand (U.S. Games, 2014), and then looked through the deck to find the four cards to either side of the Heart card.

Top Row - Healing - Moon, Female Rider, Stars

Information around life cycles brings spiritual clarity.

What cycles of uncertainty need healing, and what information will help foster spiritual clarity?  Oftentimes, we have all the information we need, if only we can access and acknowledge it.  Especially with issues that come around again and again, we already know what doesn't work, and probably what does.  A little spiritual clarity can go a long way to opening our hearts.

Middle Row - Inspiration - Cat, Heart, Clouds

Emotional independence comes through being able to deal with ambiguity.

I read something recently that talked about how being able to sit with ambiguity is a sign of resilience, and how those suffering from depression often lack this trait.  Interesting, in that context, that the Clouds are associated both with ambiguity and with depression.

This leads me to the question: How can I express my compassion in a way that helps foster emotional independence?

Bottom Row - Manifestation - Shedding Snake, Fierce Snake, Bear

Manifesting strong boundaries can be transformational.

Compassion is multi-faceted: we can be compassionate towards others, yet often forget to offer the same gift to ourselves.  Being protective of our own space and needs can be a way to show that self-compassion.  However, it can feel hard to do, given the expectations others often have of us.  Something tangible can help make that boundary clearer to others, and act as a reminder so we maintain it for ourselves.  How can I manifest strong boundaries?

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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

My Cross To Bear

Just a quickie this week, as I have an essay to write.  Gosh, you'd think I'd be past that at my age, but I can't seem to stay away from expanding my horizons :)  So, I asked the cards for some advice on getting this essay done:
Flowers, Cross, House
One message I get here is about finding a balance between getting creative and staying within my comfort zone when facing this kind of challenge.  I've had plenty of experience writing essays over the decades, but doing things by rote is boring.  So, I need to find the joy in the beauty of the subject, the challenge that feels like a gift because it inspires me to explore, and to create a new comfort zone for myself beyond the old one. 

Another message is that I need to balance creativity with my family life, which is a big challenge in and of itself.  Essays take time, and kids definitely take time, too.  Still, the kids aren't going anywhereWhereas if I don't get this essay written in the next seven days, it's me that won't be going anywhere: I need to pass this to move onto the next level of this training!  So, while I need to cover the basics of family life (getting the kids to school, making sure they eat enough, getting them to bed), maybe other times they can play by themselves or watch Kids Youtube for a bit while mummy sits at her computer...

And just a quick message: next week's post will be out on Thursday instead of Wednesday, as it's part of the next Tarot Blog Hop :)

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Grand Tableau Hits The Nail On The Head

As I haven't posted a Grand Tableau in a while, I thought the start of the year was a good time to throw one.  That being said, I was asking specifically about the next month, and an upcoming exam and essay I have...


For this particular GT I chose to use the Woman and Man cards, and it just so happens that the Woman faces left.  Hence, for this GT I will read the left side as indicating the future, which confirms what the reading is about.  Her line ends with the Coffin and the Book - an end to studying, which will come by the end of the month time period I set, when my final essay has to be handed in.  And right above that, the Scythe and the Letter - a written piece of work that needs to make the cut.

The corners address the theme perfectly.  Scythe, Sun, House, Dog - putting energy into 'making the cut', and sacrificing home/family and partner for it (my partner sees himself as the Dog, and that's how he always appears in my Lennie readings). 

My partner is not particularly impressed that this course runs on weekends, stealing from my time with him (Mice, Dog), and from family time more generally.  Nor, that I've been rather focused (some might say obsessed) with getting my work for it done.  Hey, the kids are happy watching online videos (Child mirroring with Stars, connected to Sun, Owls) or choosing to bury themselves in a good book (adjacent to Book, Coffin, Paths) :D

Still, my partner and I had a talk about it last week, so things are somewhat clearer now.  Clouds are behind the Woman, after a conversation (Owls) that lies where our lines/rows cross over.  The other joining card is the Cross - it has been a sorrow between us, but it is also a life lesson in how to keep a partnership working through clear communication.

What I'm in control of (directly beneath the Woman), is moving my work reputation forward (Anchor, Moon, Storks), which this course will do.  Pieces of paper, and memberships to offical bodies, are always good. 

As for what's on my mind, Fox, Cross and Mice suggest that there is also a life lesson around deception undermining my sense of self.  I recognise this: I am not speaking my truth on this course.  The course is directly related to my understanding of magic but, from their very scientific perspective, the two have nothing to do with one another.  So, I have kept quiet about my affiliations and prior experience - not out-and-out lying, but not speaking openly, either.

Moving forward, the advice seems to be to gather my resources and use them creatively (Flowers, Bear) in order to write this paper that will be assessed (Letter, Scythe).  This opportunity to gather more information and grow can bring me happiness, even as it requires work to complete (Clover, Tree, Rider, Book, Coffin).  And this work is definitely something that gets me into a feeling of flow, while requiring a rational perspective, making clear choices and trying to come up with something new and original (Anchor, Fish, Man, Paths, Child).

I notice the challenges that I may face with my commitment to this particular professional institution, despite their narrow, scientific approach (Anchor, Tower, Ring).  A discussion with clear boundaries may help me to feel more comfortable (Birch Rods, Snake, House).  And this seems to be something under my control, that's good to know.

As a final message, the last four cards suggest the key to overcoming the obstacles I will be facing over the next few weeks lies in committing to this emotional journey - embracing the opportunity this institution is affording me with this exam and essay (Key, Mountain, Heart, Ship, with Tower above Mountain and Ring above Heart).  It's not just about making the cut for them, but about enjoying the process - so much to learn and explore, with a practical element, too, where I am applying these learnings to my own life.  Yes, I embrace it!

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Nine Square Spell For Focus

As I may have said before, the Nine Square, as well as a versatile reading tool, has become my favourite spread layout.  In need of a bit of focus at the start of the year, I decided to create a spell to support me.

I was asked last week how to avoid overwhelm with larger spreads.  The simple answer is to "chunk" them.  It used to be said that a person could deal with 7 plus or minus 2 pieces of information at once, putting nine cards at the outside of human capacity if seen as individual bits of info.  These days, the recommendation is actually 5 plus or minus 2 pieces of information.  So, dividing the spread up into smaller pieces is the best way to be able to hold it all in mind.

One way to do that is to read the Nine Square in two chunks: the four corner cards as one piece; the five cards of the central cross as another piece.  Another, and the one I tend to use in my spells, is to see it as three lines of three.  I like the latter as a starting point, and then often also read it the other way for added information beyond what my intention was, which I'll do here.


The three lines here are:

Central Line - Stars, Lord, Scythe: Rational clarity to cut through what isn't necessary.

Upper Line - Songbirds, Book, Storks: Studying healing brings progress.

Bottom Line - Fish, Hill Fort (Tower), Letter: Institutional money form - that's a tax return!

My two main focuses in the short term are on a class I'm studying in a healing form that I hope will help me develop my understanding and practice, and getting taxes out of the way in my day job.  For this, I need clarity, focus, and an incisive ability to prioritise.

Reading this with the corners as theme and the cross as action brings some different ideas into play.

Theme: Songbirds, Letter, Fish, Storks

Study - Writing about healing brings an expansive change, if I can get into the flow of it - I have an essay to write for my course.

Taxes - Anxiety around the paperwork about money can be overcome.

Action: Book, Stars, Lord, Scythe, Hill Fort

Study - Spiritual study in a rational form makes the cut at an institutional level.  A reminder to keep my focus very much on the marking guidelines and learning outcomes, rather than going into the more intuitive side or getting sidetracked into other areas.

Taxes - Clear up any secrets through incisive logic that fits institutional requirements.

In both cases, not only do I need to stay clear and focused (as was my thought when creating this spell), but the 'reading' highlights that I need to keep clearly in mind the institutional requirements, both for my essay and for the tax paperwork. 


Wednesday, 6 January 2016

An Alternate Reading

Last week, I did a reading using the 5 x 3 layout.  This week, here it is again, but with a different layout for interpreting it.  It was fascinating, as three alternate cards came up, and with really influential positioning!

I asked about a course that I am in the middle of, and how it will progress.  In this variant of the 5 x 3 spread, you read it as 3 nine squares, around cards 1, 2, and 3.  The nine square around card 1 indicates the past, around card 2 the present, and around card 3, the future.  In this case, I will be reading the nine squares using the corners/central cross method.

So, the first nine square around card one (the Holly Tree) is Anchor, Letter, Man, Heart, Woman, Moon, Holly (Tree), Cat (Dog), Hill Fort (Tower).  Written work must combine logic and love (Anchor, Letter, Man, Heart).  Yep, I've started work on an essay for this, and although the writing guidelines are very strict and logical, I also need to honour the emotions that make me care about this subject.  I need to keep my emotional intuition a part of this, so as to remain independent while working within the institutional framework, no matter if this means things take a little longer (Woman, Moon, Holly, Cat, Hill Fort).  And yeah, I'm only 20% through my essay - it is taking time!


The second nine square is Woman, Female Rider, Hill Fort, Lady, Heart, Holly Cat, Oak (Tree), Letter.  In the present, I must still listen to intuitive messages, and also messages from other women, in particular perhaps the women who work within the college (Woman, Female Rider, Hill Fort, Lady).  I had a very useful tutorial, with my tutor, who is female.  And I will keep my eyes peeled this weekend on the course for other important messages, too.  Emotional growth comes with a growth in feelings of independence, which I should note in my journal (Heart, Holly Cat, Oak, Letter).

The third nine square around the Oak is: Heart, Songbirds, Letter, Owls, Lady, Cat, Oak, Girl (Child), Female Rider.  Moving forward, I need a better balance between emotional communication and written wisdom (Heart, Songbirds, Letter, Owls).  I see here the fact that it's not just about the essay, but also about how I communicate with my fellow students and the tutors, especially as we also have a practical exam, where relationships will matter.  In terms of what to do, I read that my independent spiritual practice will bring growth opportunities so long as I remain open to the messages I receive (Lady, Cat, Oak, Girl, Female Rider).  A bit of beginner's mind is never a bad thing when you're learning :D

It was fascinating to see the alternates here!  For instance, the Woman falls above the Holly, while the Lady falls above the Oak, and the Songbirds and the Owls both fall in the last column (the most distant future, if you were reading more purely across the lines).  A real focus on intuition, growth, and communication, therefore.  And with a nice progression towards more vibrant and stronger aspects of the two first elements (Lady and Oak), with the future holding new wisdom through communication around healing (it is a course on a healing modality, after all).  Altogether, a very encouraging reading, with a remind at the centre to stay true to myself, above all!

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Expanding Your Readings Beyond the Nine Square

While the Nine Square may be both traditional and extremely versatile, it can be exciting to start spreading your net a little wider, without going all the way to a Grand Tableau.  Most of the reading techniques that work with the Nine Square, and those that work with the Grand Tableau, will also work with a 5 by 3 pattern. 

For example, you can read the central card as the heart of the question, and the corners as the theme.  You can read each of the three rows as a line of five, giving some positionality to the top, centre and bottom rows.  The columns can be treated as distant past, past, present, near future, more distant future.  And you could also bring in diagonals, mirroring, and knighting, as well as Houses and following a thread, if you wanted.

Let's take a look at an example reading.  This throw was done for a woman who is struggling with marketing her business. 


At the centre is the Chickens: social communication.  The corners (Heart, Holly Tree, Mountain, Letter) speak of emotional endurance of written obstacles.  This fits with an issue that she has had in the past with social media.  However, as a theme this suggests that the lesson here is to overcome these issues, because networking, social media, and just getting her message out there really is fundamental to marketing her business.


In support of this, the central line (Key, Book, Chickens <Birds>, Ring, Stars) suggests that the key to this project is committing to social communication, particularly online.  Mirroring tells us that although this is about business, if she maintains her commitment to following her spirit, she will find far deeper insights: it's not just about the money, which doesn't show up anywhere in this spread!

At a more head-based level (top row: Heart, Flowers, Rider, Man, Letter), she needs to find a balance between emotion and logic in the creative messages she sends out, using writing as the way to express these.  Mirroring here says that while her writing needs to be emotional in its content if it is to move anyone, she also needs to temper her creativity with strategy if she's to make her messages as powerful as they can be.  While this may be more of a stretch for her, it is vital to moving forward, with this "male" energy apparent in both the Male Rider and the Man in present and near future positions.

Yet, what lies under her control (bottom row: Mountain, Cross, Storks, Anchor, Holly Tree) is the ability to create progress and change through dealing with life lessons that have blocked her in the past.  She has the capacity to find a way to work that will be growthful for her business and leave those past issues behind.  This may take work over time (Anchor, Holly), which supports the message of the Ring just above them.

In the present column (Rider, Chickens, Storks), social messages really are the way to create change and progress.  In the two future columns we have (Man, Ring, Anchor) committing to a rational way of proceeding with work and (Letter, Stars, Holly) taking a long view guided by writing down her plans. This is something she has shied away from in the past, working intuitively, rather than strategically.  The last column also suggests online writing, such as blogging, as a way to draw together all aspects of herself and her business.

Overall, the message here is that she may need some support to deal with the emotional side of things which has been stopping her from moving forward.  She has all the capacities she needs to overcome these now.  To do so, she needs to put social communication at the centre of her focus, take a strategic perspective, and get writing!

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

A Skeptic's Traditional Nine Square Reading

Corners - Theme
This week's technique was the way I first learned to read a nine square.  At the time, I was told this was the "traditional" (only) way to read it.  I'm glad that my evergrowing Lenormand library put paid to that idea!  Still, it is a good and interesting method. 

The four corners are read together as the theme of the reading, then the central cross is read as what brings movement to the reading.  The reading here was done at a Christmas party, with a skeptic who asked for a reading after I mentioned what I do. 

The theme of the reading is Hill Fort (Tower), Letter, Storks, Heart: an institutional prescription for a change of heart.  I wasn't sure where I was going with this when I said those words, but she looked a little shocked.  Turns out she's been working in war zones, and has been put on official leave while she has therapy for the trauma she suffered.  

Complete Reading
Looking to the central cross, we have Fish, Key, Dog, Birch Rods, and Meadow (Garden).  Staying faithful to the flow of insight around social cleansing.  At this, she got very still, and just nodded. 

I then looked at the cards in the top row: what's on her mind.  Tower, Fish, Heart: funding for an emotional institution.  She disagreed with this, she isn't concerned about how her therapy is funded. 

Reading the middle line, where she is now: Key, Dog, Birch Rods.  The key to clearing her own emotions lies with a friend.  A nod again, here, and a little smile.  She says the best thing in her life is her partner, who is very grounded and supportive.

The bottom row, what she can control: Storks, Meadow, Letter.  Changing social views through writing.  Another nod: she wants to write about her experiences.  I think that might be very healing, too...