Friday, July 28, 2006

A two-card reading

This week, Anne Marie's challenge is to select two cards from our deck, and to sit with the cards to see what message(s) they might hold for our present life situation. She says:

Sit quietly with them for several minutes. Ask each voice what it is saying to you right now in your particular life circumstances. Listen carefully.

These are the two images that I chose. The first is in fact the first SoulCollage card I ever made. As such, I have a particular fondness for this card. It opened a new stage in my life, offering me limitless opportunities for discovery, and this seems to be what the card is reminding me. I have had difficulty finding a title for this card, but I sometimes call it my Creator/Duality card. It reminds me that life is big and small, that it is ephemeral and eternal, but that in every way, it is special, and that I am a part of this wonderful creation, and connected into it. In my present life circumstances, when I am entering into a new stage of creating a pattern of work which is to support me in the coming years, this brings me back to the fundamental knowing that "You are a child of the Universe (anyone remember the Desiderata?), no less than the trees and the stars, you have the right to be here, and whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."

The other card I chose is one I made originally for a friend, during a time when her life circumstances left her feeling very alone and facing into a difficult phase. I can see this card in this light for myself too, so it is very comforting to me to select this card, which I feel depicts that aloneness, and the presence of a loving, caring observer who will see that no harm befalls the "little one". The presence is maternal, protective and yet detached. This card says to me:

You may feel alone, and step into the world feeling unprotected, but I am always there to look out for you, to see that no harm will befall you. You can step confidently into the world, even into its cold and barren places, and you will have what you need.

This is an interesting exercise, and a good one to focus me, as I am about to spend a week away, and when I return will be "stepping out" in terms of developing my work-life. Has anyone else been reading their cards (or done a reading at the SoulCollage website? Want to share the process?)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Animal Companions

Ann Marie's challenge this week invites us to consciously bring one of our animal companions with us through our weekend. Synchronicity is at play here. I've been pondering for some time what is my 3rd chakra animal. All the others have been identified and honoured with a card. I felt when I went to the practitioner training that it would become clear, but I didn't feel it had. Then, when I was travelling in California afterwards, I met a coyote and thought Is it you? Are you my 3rd Chakra? It was a very powerful and meaningful encounter, but somehow, it didn't have that feeling. I came face to face with deer, close enough to capture an osprey in a photograph, but still, didn't feel that was it. So, I decided to just let it alone for a while, as you might with any wild creature, and said It will come to me in its own good time.

Sometimes, what you're looking for is right under your nose, waiting for you to see it? I made this card back in May, before I set off to the practitioner training, during a session with my counselling colleagues. I called it Transformation.

And today, writing a post on my main blog, telling the story of my connection with frogs, this is part of that post:

And here's my If You Build It, They Will Come story. I like frogs. They make me happy. I always thought if I ever owned a coffee-shop, I would call it the Green Frog Cafe (with a nod to Guy Clark, of course). Well, although I don't have a pond, stream or fountain in my garden (the only water is an outside tap, and buckets that collect rainwater, and get left to develop their own ecosystem - unintenionally) during the past few years, every once in a while, a frog might show up in my garden at night, and I would be delighted, but it would then disappear and not turn up for months again. So, because I like the idea of them, I put in a little frog statue (I have a hedgehog statue (with a baby) for a similar reason). I like the frog statue. It sits outside my kitchen window, on a raised area, where I've planted a few alpines and put gravel around it. Well, wouldn't you know it? The frog has returned. She's bigger and happier looking, and is living in a cool bucket with some well-softened peat briquettes and comes out at night to help with my slug problem. Yesterday, she came out in daylight, and here's where she turned up:

And after a few hops, she found herself right beside the statue I'd put in. (can you see her? Just to the left?) I just was tickled to see this manifestation in reality. I wanted frog energy (transformation, I believe) in my garden (and in my life). Well, it seems I have it a-plenty!

And it seems frog is trying to tell me something. Maybe she is my 3rd chakra animal? I think all I can do is try it on, and see how it fits. But, like I said, it makes me happy!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Surrender to Grace

This Friday's Kaleidosoul Challenge offered by Anne Marie is to create a card with a horizontal orientation. I realise that many of my cards are created that way. I think I even tend to place the blank card down that way when I begin to arrange images, and perhaps turn it vertically if they do not seem to be fitting horizontally. I'll have to observe what I'm doing next time I start to make some cards. If we get into too much of a habit of using cards one way or the other, perhaps we would dismiss an image as "not a good fit", when with a shift in perspective, we could find a way to use the images in our cards.

This card is one in which I felt it was important to use actual pictures of myself as well as found images. I wanted to place myself in the flow of grace in this card.

Surrender to Grace

Who are You?

I am one who opens myself to the flow of grace

I am one who is willing to receive the grace that is pouring on me.

I am one who finds joy in the many graces and blessings I receive.

I am one who recognises that I need to stand naked in the flow of grace.

What do You Have to Give Me?

I give you true freedom

I give you faith in the abundance of grace available to you

I give you healing and joy

What do you want from me?

I want you to believe, trust, be open to the ever-flowing grace in your life. Be joyful and happy. Make yourself "naked" to receive grace by divesting yourself of the superficial trappings of life.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Accepting the Shadow Side

It's been a long time since I've posted anything here. I'm not sure why that is. I'd intended to post a random card fairly regularly and comment on it, but perhaps re-activating the blog now is the first step. One thing that has been interesting me, and of which I've been reminded again and again recently, is the importance of accepting the shadow-side of each neter represented in the cards. When Anne-Marie posted her beautiful Patience card this week, one of the readings she did suggested she create a card for her Impatience too.

There was a time when I wasn't too keen on those shadow-side cards, and didn't understand why we should make them (though, of course many of them just presented to me, and I made them anyway, reluctant as I was), and certainly didn't welcome them if they presented in a reading, or when I drew a card to be my neter for the day. But I gained a new perspective on this a few months ago, and recently found the email I'd sent to Anne-Marie describing how it happened, so thought I'd share the story (in brief) here:

I'd been going through a difficult and protracted series of visits to my solicitor to complete the process of legal separation after my 20-year marriage ended. Each visit to the solicitor saw me leaving the office in tears. Often, one of my sisters or a friend would be available to support me, but in September last year I was facing one of the most difficult visits, and for whatever reason, I was going alone, and telling myself to be a grown-up about it, but I was still very anxious about it, and about my future. The night before the meeting, I drew four cards. They were

Fun and Laughter.... Yes, I thought, this card reminded me that even when I'm doing something serious and important, if I can employ my sense of humour, things will feel better. This card gave me comfort

My Protected Inner Child Yes, I knew that my inner child is protected and looked after, no matter what happens, and this card gave me comfort.

The Abundant Universe card. Yes, I know that the Universe / God gives and gives, and that there is always plenty, and that what I need will be available to me, if I trust. This card gave me comfort and support.

And then.... A card that until that time, I had never been able to quite name properly, but the image is of a vulnerable woman, uncomfortable and half-naked witha huge rampaging bull charging right at her, and I thought "Oh, no, that's just what I don't need, to feel like that...

Why did I get that card?..." and so on, and then I said, well, I'll just sit with a while, and gradually, as I sat, I realised that the card didn't make me feel like that. I already felt like that to some extent (who am I kidding? ... To a large extent!), and the card was saying I could admit to myself that I felt like that, and that the other cards would support me in feeling like that... so then it felt ok to see this card.

Accepting this, realising the value of seeing and acknowledging one of my Shadow selves was so important. Instead of pretending to be strong, bolstered with my Warrior-self or my Brave and Fearless self, here I was admitting to feeling vulnerable, and I slept soundly that night, prepared calmly for the meeting when I woke. I had my four cards laid out on the table, and all four supported me... and then the really wonderful thing happened. A friend sent a text message, and I replied asking her to send me good thoughts. She sent back "tons and tons", and I straight away felt stronger like the energy she was sending literally strengthened me. So I wrote a brief message requesting good strong thoughts at the time of my meeting and sent it off to sisters, cousins, and friends of the heart 18 or 20 women, and they all got the message, and they all were with me when I went to that meeting, and for the first time, I sat in that office, calm, self-possessed, mentally functioning, able to follow what was said, ask intelligent questions. I was strong, I was not sentimental, and within 30 minutes, the meeting was completed. I had been through a very difficult situation and came out SMILING!


Yes, it is a long story, and convoluted, but it meant so much to me to realise that accepting the shadow-side represented in that card - the fearful, overwhelmed, vulnerable part of me - was what enabled me to reach out and ask for the help that so many people were just waiting to send me. If I'd only welcomed the "positive cards" I would have been saying "I'm fine. I don't need to ask for help".

So now, I find I can be more accepting of the "negative" sides, realising they aren't Bad, or something to try to get rid of, but to acknowledge, accept and allow to take their place within the great, complex mixture of pieces that make up the Being that is Me. Allowing them their place makes for balance, and since they are there anyway, naming and acknowledging them just stops them from becoming some huge unspoken presence in my life.

If, in a reading, you find yourself rejecting the card that presents as negative, maybe it will help to say Ok, if that was the way I felt, what would I need to do? and do it.