Something Essential Was Missing

I didn’t post anything for Imbolc but off-line I was busy with crafts & ritual. It’s my favorite pagan holiday on the wheel. It’s not as dramatic as Yule or Samhain. The energy can be subtle. I like to imagine the bulbs underneath the earth. We can’t see them but growth and transformation are happing. Everything is thawing and fragile shoots are ready to push up thru the cold winter dirt. For me, Imbolc represents hope and renewal. This year I needed an extra dose of hope. So many of my friends and family stated that they did as well. I had a long prayer request list that I placed in the cauldron on my altar.

I put together a full-blown ritual on Saturday Feb. 1st to honor the first stirrings of the return of spring and to honor my own life force returning. I dressed up in ritual garb—a long flowing white gown. I called on the Goddess Brigid in Her aspects of healer, poet and artisan.  It was beautiful and helpful and I am still feeling the lovely energy from the weekend lingering in my ritual space. As life affirming as this was, I couldn’t shake the feeling that an essential ingredient was missing from my ritual.

On Sunday, I discovered a different sort of Imbolc post on a friend’s FB page. (I included it at the end of this post) It immediately resonated. I was brought to tears by its truth and by our ability to continue no matter the storm. What was missing in my ritual were prayers and words that addressed and affirmed how many of us are experiencing the world.

I’m still sitting with the following blog post and processing how it impacted me. My questions to myself are:  What resources do I need to navigate this uncharted political landscape? Self-care is a given but what sort of vision do I need to hold? What does the landscape look like beyond the here and now? What part can I play in bringing that about? What prayers do I need in my pockets? What books are helpful? What art do I need to create to express my interior landscape? How do I empower myself when everything around me is so disempowering? And how do I continue when it feels like all is lost?

I am wondering how we collectively navigate this unsafe world that has become so narrow and brittle in what and who it accepts. These are not kind times. What poems do I need to read, write and carry with me?

What do I need to purge? I am also asking myself, what old agreements, thoughts, ideas and believes need to be offered to a holy fire?

My Saturday night Imbolc ritual has taken on a life of its own. It is now ongoing and has morphed into an invitation to go deeper—to go beneath the surface like the Imbolc bulbs waiting to push up thru the dirt. In these uncertain times it is imperative we gather together our resources.

I am deeply grateful for the following blog post. I hope it speaks to you as much as it spoke to me. And I would love for whoever might be interested to send poems or insights that sustain them. I would be honored to share them so that we all might benefit. I am collecting words, poems, photos and insights to create a Holy book that I can use as a road map as I navigate these troubled waters.

A huge Thank You to the author of the following blog post. You helped me to dig deeper in my own internal soil and to pick at truths that are still in the budding stage. I am most grateful.

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This is a prayer for Imbolc.

This is a prayer for when roads flood.

This is a prayer for the lingering dark.

This is a prayer for resistance.

We spark the fires to beg the light to return, but we never really know if it will work.  The road may flood; this could be the year it all falls apart.  The February rains may be too much.  We fire up the forge to bend hard metal to our will, but we never really know if it will work.  The road may flood; this could be the year that it all falls apart.  The February rains may be too much.  We write the poem to express what’s inside, but we never really know if it will work.  The road may flood; this could be the year it all falls apart.  The February rains may be too much.

Imbolc is a chance…

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Tarot Tuesday

I am dedicating Tuesdays to the Tarot. I will be using the imagery of the cards to assist with going deeper into writing projects. Over time I will be addressing, creative blocks, dialogue, character development, back story, setting, plot and poetry.  I will also include prompts and whatever else develops.

 A Bit of Back Story:

I fell in-love with the Tarot when I was thirteen about the same time I started keeping a diary. Writing & Tarot are two of my passions. Seven years ago I discovered just how much they compliment each other. This happened when I took a Tarot class for writers taught by the the amazing Rachel Pollack at Goddard College. I was in my last year of my MFA when this master class was offered. She explained ways of working with the Tarot for character development, dialogue and plot. This blew a door open for me and I have continued building on what I was taught.

Getting Started:

I have only one rule I hold myself to: I do my best to let go of any meanings I have ascribed to the card so I can approach things with fresh eyes & beginners mind.

I usually pull only one card to get started. Though I may add another card or two as things get going. It depends. Please remember there are no wrong or right ways.

To get things flowing I begin by fanning the cards out facedown. I take my time picking one that “feels right.” Then, I get started writing which consists of describing the card in as much detail as possible. Notice the colors. Consider the landscape, the position of the characters and buildings. Is there more than one person? If so, what might they be saying to each other? Jot everything down—even random thoughts and follow where your instincts take you. Also notice how the card makes you feel. What does it evoke?

Free write for a set amount of time–five or ten minutes but of course longer if you are engaged.

Example: For today’s post I pulled the Queen of Swords:

After describing everything I could about the card I sat quietly with the image to see if any memories or insight might surface. When nothing came I began to ask questions. The questions I asked were ones that popped into my head in the moment.

Here are a few that came up for me. (Feel free to use them for writing prompts if you like) 

What does the landscape look like around her?

What does it look like further out—in the places I can’t see?

What do the symbols on her throne mean?

Is she comfortable?

What does she rule over?

Is she waiting for someone?

Why is she so close to the clouds?

Why is she holding a sword?

What is she protecting?

Am I protecting something in my own life? (This is where a shift happened and I realized why I was blocked)

If so what and why?

TIPS: I find it helps to turn the lens both inward and outward when wanting to go deeper. It helps to keep checking in with your body and how you are experiencing the imagery. Trust the wisdom of your body. It can give you a lot of information.

I discovered thru this process that what I am writing about (I am working on a memoir) has a lot of emotions attached. I put up a protective barrier and it has created a block.

So the next questions I asked myself were: Can I put down my sword? Is it emotionally safe to do so? Can I create enough emotional distance from this part of my story without needing to be so guarded? Can I maintain it’s energy if I pull back a bit? Is there another way to tell the story? A more effective way?

I will explore this further on my own but recognizing why I was blocked in the first place was extremely helpful. Depending on what else surfaces I may create a small ritual around letting go or add a mantra and breath work to my daily practice or it might be as simple as naming the block. Sometimes that is all it takes to get things flowing. Not everything needs to be a huge revelation in order to be helpful.

These exercises work well for seasoned readers and for people with no prior knowledge of the cards that just want assistance with their writing process. It is also a wonderful tool for people that journal.

I look forward to sharing more on working with the Tarot next Tuesday. Peace.