Saturday, November 10, 2012

Semi Weekly Tarot Card Reading

Elder Tarot Card Spread Shared to Teach and Inspire Tarot Readings Why I Occasionally Post Tarot Readings On the Blog:

I think there are a lot of ways to learn the tarot. There's a one of great books, blogs, forums and sites around that provide information on the structure of the tarot, the lore, and how to use these things to make deep and meaningful readings for the self and others. I know I couldn't write a comprehensive guide on the tarot that would do the subject any credit. Tarot are first and foremost a tool that builds meaning on intangible and unknowable subjects that generally reside beyond the reach of human meaning. A good tarot experience isn't something a person can put entirely into words. There is this feeling of connection, this click between the reader, the deck, and the querent where energy seems to roll smoothly and cleanly from one force to another. For a moment we become part of a completed system between the world as we perceive it and the world as our gods and guides see it. We meet together through the cards and commune with one another in a way that is usually beyond mundane grasp.

Being a tarot reader for another person is an incredibly personal and intimate experience. I feel like through the cards I get to catch a glimpse of who that person really is and where they are going in their life journey. It's brief and fleeting, but that doesn't negate the depth.

People in turn feel that my readings are particularly personal, informative, and rich. I would like to claim a high mucky mucky power plug in here and tell everyone they have to come get a reading from me, but that's just not the case. I think the truth in a good reading comes from knowing the right spread and understanding the connections in the spread and the cards pulled and knowing the nuances of the deck one is using. So to learn to be a good tarot reader, beyond learning the theory of spreads or the meanings of cards, we have to learn to blend the two together and make them work to have deep soul seeing meaning in a read. Really the only way to “teach” this is through doing a reading and sharing it to show how this synergy creates further depth and meaning. Hopefully people glean through example how to start to integrate cards, spread and deck together in their own readings and the sharing/practice set up helps to improve everyone's tarot.

This week in specific I will be working with the Elder Fire Tarot Spread from Whispers of the Ancestors because it was a link that struck my interest (I don't remember where I hit the link from or I'd give a shout out to there too). I'm using the Tarot of Transformation currently because I need to practice using it further before I can use it to read for others with it and I purchased the deck with the original intention of using it as a healing deck for those who had deeply been hurt by a certain topic. 

Offering: 1 of Wands Grounds for Creativity: Traditionally the ace of wands represents a new creative venture or opportunity.

The transformation deck takes this meaning and expands on it by suggesting that to fully harness the new inspiration given to us we must stay firmly grounded to earth energy and that we must create a fully integrated person to contain the energy rather than letting the zeal of the fire consume us. The card goes into further depth discussing how modern society is often scattered in “head space” and intellectual pursuits without a real connection to the land and actual people around us. This card depicts a deva grounding and growing roots deep within the earth. As she lifter her head to expand out into the world and be open to new thought or opportunity, she also grows down and keeps connected to the present and what is currently around her. In this way she grows in a most healthy and communal manner where she honors the lofty goals of the divine and the present needs of that immediately around her.

I find this a powerful card to open as an offering to our Gods and Ancestors because is suggests that as we come to a close of this year we are dedicating a new creative phase to our Gods, Ancestors, and Guides. Pulling this cards says to me the best way to honor my sacred dead is through staying plugged into the world around me now, listening to the creative energy around me and harnessing it in my projects and endeavors. My Ancestors are acknowledging a deep creative spark I feel the world often under values and over looks and in this way they are seeing me as I truly am and as I would like to be in the world. They are encouraging me to continue to try to find the right kind of space for my thoughts and art.

I have a few specific new projects I'm starting this Samhain both here on this blog and in my physical life. Its nice to see acknowledgment of these new projects an to hear approval from my Ancestors regarding my new commitments. When I feel overwhelmed and drained this may be an aspect of reading I come back to for validation and further fuel to move forward.

Challenge 2 of Swords Creative Difference The two of swords is a card that traditionally deals with balancing life choices through inaction. So long as the seated and blindfolded figure remains still, there is perfect balance between two options and there is peace. There is also stagnation, and it is generally implied that the figure must eventually make a choice between these two paths, her prolonged wait is not a permanent option. The card encourages us to evaluate or own hesitation and make some choice so we may move forward.

In the transformation deck, the two of swords focuses on the false dichotomy presented in either or choices. Here we see two figures one masculine and the other feminine, each with a shield of their own that create the most beauty in the overlap of these shields. Again the card stresses that inaction is not an option, the querent must continue to move forward in his or her life, but that there is a third path. One can blend to best of both choices together to make something new, beautiful, and of more use in his or her life than choosing a single option may have.

It makes perfect sense that my Ancestors would demand I find a third path to balance between being a creative arts person and a working drone. I do see living in the physical world with all the demands of bills, the job, and personal obligations as something that often hinders the creative process. Just in this blog alone, I create more entries than I have time or energy to post. I write maybe four or five short posts on the weekend but I am too drained from the job to really post up all that content, to respond to others or to write something new and fresh. I wake up in the morning with ideas and thoughts buzzing and after ten or eleven hours of work I'm just too tired to do anything with those thoughts. It does seem to me like one can only do one or the other. That my Ancestors would call on me to both do the one I love most while not abandoning the other is going to be a deep difficult struggle. I am going to have to further examine how these two became polar opposites in my mind and what I can do to create a third path which honors the best aspects of both activities.

Center: 10 of Wands No Self: The ten of wands traditionally stands for an overabundance of some aspect of our lives but it is not considered positive. The card could point to being overworked/overburdened or it could suggest over indulgence. Excess in all things or taking on too much unbalances a person. It may point toward one hoarding power or resources either out of misplaced concern or in a more deliberate bid to misuse power.

Instead of focusing on the negative acts of hoarding or creating an ego centric self, the tarot of transformation take the then of wands and turns it into a plea to release the perception of self and singular identity and to embrace the concept of inter-connectivity (the card shows a place within each person that connects us out to the larger world, where our ego presumably has no place and where we become part of some larger organism or energy stream). This particular card has a meditation connected with it to encourage the worker to drop out of a cycle of need, self-recrimination, and to sink into a concept of “no-self” or a part of the mind that focuses less on the day to day grind, the constant images and concerns circling our minds and releases us into a pure state of quiet being.

As far as how this card fits into my reading there are two ways to take it. One is that my center or place of power is in that I am willing and able to both take on to much and acknowledge that I am taking on too much. One can always start with too much or start by thinking too big and re-adjust as needed but I personally think it's harder to start with a smaller vision and to build it out into a bigger idea.

The other is to think my strength comes from my ability to slip into this sense of no-self, which is also true. I know what this card is talking about even though I'm not sure it does a good job presenting the idea and I definitely don't like the idea that self identity has no place or purpose. Just two cards ago it was suggesting I stay connected with the world while experiencing the creative inspiration and passion of renewed fire energy and now it wants me to drop part of what I think is key to our experience in this world. We need ego to some degree in this world and I don't think being without a healthy concept of self is healthy in a world which is always trying to tell you who to be and what you need to get there. Too much self can feed these ads and distractions as they can lead to hoarding or being swindled, but there is middle ground here. It seems likely to me that my Ancestors wanted to remind me that I know how to hold middle ground between two ideas that are often describes as being contradictory such as the idea of having self and being able to release to the “no self” are. They have asked me to consider and take on a challenge regarding balance that I'm not thrilled about examining. Through this card they are reminding me of other times I've done what is energetically similar and found enjoyment and fulfillment in it.

Opening: Master of Disks Gracious Abundance: The master of disks translates over to the King of disks/pentacles in a regular deck and signifies a reliable experienced leader who is steadfast, confident, and powerful. This person is resourceful, practical and doesn't hesitate to shed what does not work for what does.

In the tarot of transformation the master of disks represents one fulfilling the lessons of the material world and being at peace with one's own station at life. The person has neither too little or too much which leaves him or her open to move as the universe swings them and to put all their inner resources toward what he or she most wants. The master is a person who has gained a full understanding of one's physical needs and limitations and uses this base to expand out from just the realm of the world into a differing energetic movements.

My ancestors are suggesting that through grounding and balancing the demands of my life, I will gain a position where I am able to work more directly with natural energy flows. I will better understand what is necessary in my practice and life and what is superfluous. This card to me implies that there is fat I need to trim to help me focus in on what is most important.

Wisdom: 5 of Cups Natural Intimacy: Traditionally this card is often considered a card of “Crying over spilled milk”. It usually features a person who is look at a tipped over cup, mourning the loss of the contents of that cup and not being aware that there are other full cups their for them to drink from. I think of the experience to a child who spills their drink at a restaurant. No real harm has been done, it's practically expected a kid will knock over their soda, but the child is so upset regarding the loss of the beverage and making mess. He or she doesn't understand the server will bring a new drink, that the liquid has hurt no one, and that only the slowest of adults didn't see this as a likely out come. We our caught up in the same moment that child is caught in.

And in the tarot of transformation this card's meaning is completely changed to be about how a person relates to sex and sexuality. I suppose they've kept elements of the view being vain and primping or putting on airs that are not authentic or related to their true self. I suppose the feeling of hurt, emptiness or loss can be similar when one is not owning their sexuality but instead conforming to what society shows them.

I believe my ancestors are calling on me to shift perspective or to not get lost in any particular narrative. There are many different ways to celebrate creativity, find a balance between work and creative processes, to integrate worship and the sacred with the mundane, and to be in a relationship. I need to be sure I fully explore what there is instead of being held up by perceptions of mine or others. I need to walk well worn paths with fresh eyes to see if there really is what I expected or first saw or if the paths have changed on me. I shouldn't be too quick to dismiss an idea or thought and I should watch out for my own personal biases.

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Article copyright Swift Rabbit/ Southern Pagan Muses

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pagan Product Review: Air Wick Color Changing Candle

Pagan Product Review: Air wick Color Changing Candle

My sister and mother introduced me to a nifty new product the Air Wick Color Changing Candle about a month ago and I immediately fell in love with it. These are candles that are either in a frosted glass cylinder or in a black cylinder with an abstract stain glass design on them. When lit, the wax will slowly transition from blue to green to red to purple to blue again. It reminds me of in my childhood when I would stare amazed at water color changing fountains for hours except now I'm an adult and this amazing thing is happening with fire!

I have been using the product for the past month or so, and burnt through several candles ( I use like a million both for religious reasons and for ambiance). I've been so pleased/intrigued with these candles, I thought I would share and review.

How the Candle Works:

At the bottom of each candle are battery powered led which gives off the differing colors. Up top by the wick you can see a little hole or space meant for an infrared light given off when lite to activate the led. So the container while reusable will not change colors on its own and the wax, while there is no indication of what IS in there, doesn't have some weird chemicals changing the actual wax coloring.

The Experience of the Candle:

Click here for a small youtube video that zeetonred has posted to view a frosted candle lite. Otherwise know that the transitions from one color to the next is smooth and fluid. While the wax is obviously a solid material, the flickering light on top combined with the rippling color below give an almost water like quality to the product. It would be easy to use this candle for meditation or raising power as it's very relaxing and easy to focus in on. I would not personally use the candle for scying as the color changing qualities could be distracting when gazing at the candle and if one is going to pour the wax in cold water to get shapes, it seems like a waste of the product.

When the candle starts to burn down the drama and brightness of the color changing effect is lessened. I don't think the thing “wears out” as my sister believes, but that the medium used to display the color transitions is the wax of the candle and as it burns we lose the medium and hence the brilliance of color.

As I said previously, the candly comes in a frosted glass or a “black edition” which has a stain glass effect (each stain glass motif is a bit different for each of the scents). The frosted one calls to the New Ager in me and the black light seems to channel that last reserve of inner Catholic I have left. Both look lovely. I use the frosted one often as a general altar candle or as a personal power candle. I used the stain glass candle in my Samhain ritual as a tribute to my Grandmother but also because I found the black candle with the light cut outs as a great echo of a jack-o-lantern.

Scent wise, Air Wicks has somewhat hindered the sale of these candles as they come in only lavender chamomile, vanilla, and apple cinnamon. I don't love any of the scents. The most obnoxious to me is the lavender, but please keep in mind I don't like the smell of lavender very much so they may have nailed the market there. I try to avoid vanilla because it makes me hungry, this particular rendition is very sugary. The apple cinnamon is nice for the fall and winter, but I'm not sure how much use I'll have for such seasonal scents come spring. Fortunately for me, none of the scents are very strong and really after the first burn, it's rare to catch much of the smell. For witches who are considering the aromatherapy of these candles, the scents made add or detract depending on the rite and the witch.

Cost: I found these candles at Walmart, Target, and my grocery stores. They were being sold at each place for $5.44

Possible Magical Uses for this Candle:

  1. If you're into candle magic, you probably also use some form of color correspondences when picking out candles. These color changing candles could be a great replacement for the all purpose white. They may also serve for low budget spells a three in one candle where it the air wick may represent the blue, red, and green aspects of a working, if you have a spell requiring all three of those colors.
  1. Rainbow meditation. There are a ton of guided meditations meant to take one through the 7 chakras, and the visual changing colors of this candle could be a great aide or it's own personal meditation. I do have one major caveat in this recommendation though, the candle doesn't do a full rainbow rotations of colors. There is never an intense deep orange in the rotation, the yellow, if you want to count the transition from green to red as yellow, is muddy and brief. If you're the kind of person who will need a visual for every single color, this candle is probably not going to work. Also if you're going to spend a long time working with a certain color in the meditation, the shifting colors may distract some.
  2. This could be an excellent candle to use to call quarters, especially in fire heavy rituals or sabbats cause this candle draws attention and focus like no other.
  3. I can see a meditation being created surrounding this candle where each color transition and flicker of the flame are used to show how fire as an element is a constantly burning diverse passion that runs through all the world.
  4. These candles make great offerings to ancestors or the divine. At $5.44 a pop they aren't a back breaker but they aren't cheap either. With a burn time at 30hrs, that's an hour a day for a month, which is great for prolonged rites and spells or for a month long commitment that one wants a visual cue for.
My Over All Rating:

I'd probably rate this items as a seven out of ten. It's fun, pretty, and useful. There are some major draw backs in the scent category and I was disappointed that the candle wasn't as ideal as I first thought it would be for a rainbow meditation. While not an essential tool in my spell work, it has a useful niche and it's highly enjoyable in mundane life.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Paganism, Personal Practice and Ethics with Negative Emotions or Workings

 While I wouldn't normally post twice a day, my first post was very short.  Also, I had a ton of time Sunday so  I have an excess of writing which I'm trying to sort through in a sane and reasonable manner.  To that end we have an unusual and non-habit-forming second post.

Working with Magic and Dark Desires Baring The Agis, placed up an article relating to Vengeance from a Hellenismos perspective. It made me both jealous of the reference texts Recons have to follow and  relieved that my faith doesn't have ancient laws I have to try to modernize.

I am always impressed when someone makes applicable use of ancient customs. It was particularly brave to discuss vengeance in a Hellenismos perspective because as Temperance points out:
My gut instinct says that this practice [of taking blood vengeance on those who committed wrong against a family or the self] was prevalent in ancient Hellas, and was most likely executed more often than we would like to accept in our current law-regulated society.”

The idea of seeking vengeance and justice has separated in modern society, and perhaps it should. I don't think thieves should be murdered just because they pissed off the owner of said goods, though I find rape and murder victims' (and their families) a more slippery slope. Our legal system is set up to help protect the wrongly accused (at least in the USA), but we do sacrifice some in the case of how we condemn the guilty. For the record, I am against the death penalty, but I do question how one should handle a criminal with multiple life prison sentences. They will never be rehabilitated and often cause danger and disruption to prison guards and minor offenders who still may be returned to society (and whose “rehabilitation”--if what is offered in prison can be called that, is negatively impacted).

Towards the end of the article, Temperance turns to the mythical applications of vengeance and honoring darker emotions in modern day. The last line of her post reads: “Sometimes, we wish for dark things, and that's also alright.”

This particular aspect of her post  reminded me of a large part why I'm Pagan. We don't shun our negative emotions or desires. We have different ideas on how to act on those emotions. Some of us choose to acknowledge and release. Some of us petition our Gods or the universe to act out proper treatment to those who have wronged us. Some of us work magic against those who have hurt us. 

There are other schools that believe bad things happening to us are meant to be a teaching tool or opportunity for personal growth and others who believe it is a sign we are practicing incorrectly. Others feel this is a chance for compassion and understanding of those who have antagonized us, and some people believe it is evidence that there is a real and present danger to “their kind” of people. Most of us will use a mixture of techniques/views depending on the level of hurt and the seriousness of the wrong done to us or those we love. We may not agree with the actions/view of another in regard to their feelings, but very few of us deny that we have these desires or pains.

Most of us try to hold space for an open conversation about what happened, how a person responded, and why they responded this way. Whether or not we agree with the person at the end of the conversation is another matter, but I think it's healthiest to hear a person out and to leave each to follow hir own path so long as it doesn't impede own our own personal rights or safety.

I believe in doing good in the world and I believe magic is part of a means to that end. I don't think that we can take our obligation towards others, our world, or ourselves lightly. I'm privileged that my day to day life holds very little violence. There is hostility and frustration, particularly in my work space (the service industry seems to bring out ugliness in other people like few other fields can), but it is not of the nature that threatens my life, the lives of those I care for, or my livelihood. My daily test is to hold energy and try to keep compassion for people who are consciously and unconsciously being difficult/hurtful to me.

There is little place in my practice where I have to consider physical, emotional, mental, or magical violence. Banishing, meditating, and releasing is usually the kind of magic I most require to get through negative encounters in my day to day. Sometimes I ask Gods for more insight into the mind frames of those who have hurt me, or I pray for the Gods and my guides to keep me away from person x until I calm down more. On very rare occasion I feel the need to work a protection spell or call for further protection, because while I don't have the legal means to report a person, I still feel deeply threatened by what is going on. My day to day workings have never escalated beyond this.

I don't think taking magical action against someone who has hurt you is inherently wrong, but it's not something to be done lightly and it's not something I've ever felt compelled to do. I try to hold space open for those who have been more deeply wronged to speak on their experience and their process for vengeance/ justice/ catharsis. Part of what I like about the pagan paths is that there is space for people to explore their pain, being wronged, and taking action against those who have hurt them instead of always demanding mindless forgiveness.

We hear a lot about the rede (which to my mind says nothing about what will happen if we harm others only that anything which doesn't harm others is ok) and the three fold law. Rookies often assume it applies across all traditions. We often see our own pagan representatives assure the media that we all agree with the rede. I am always glad when more experienced and honest pagans come out to remind us that there are those who acknowledge all human aspects in their practice, including wants and desires society as a whole would choose to silence. If the circle isn't a safe space to air those pains and grievances we hold close to our heart, where can we find catharsis and release? If we can not be honest and true to our gods, our guides, and ourselves, then where can we show the entirety of our being and learn love and compassion for both ourselves and others?

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Article copyright Swift Rabbit/ Southern Pagan Muses

Delphic Maxim #8: Know Thyself

This is part of my commitment to posting once a week on the Delphic Maxims.  

Delphic Maxim #8: Know Thyself This particular maxim is just straight out excellent advise, which is probably why it's one of the most repeated maxims from the original list.

Particularly in Paganism, we are a group of faiths that attempts to be self aware and in the present moment at all times. While the last maxim, perceive what you have heard, discussed how to be aware in the world around you, this maxim lets us know we also have to be present in our internal emotional conflicts.

Knowing one's limits, tolerances, and preferences can only help us further enjoy our lives and being frank with others about ourselves and personalities should lead to better personal relationships.

While the maxim is probably core to most Pagans' journeys, I find the language so direct and specific that I have little to add.

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Article copyright Swift Rabbit/ Southern Pagan Muses

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Offerings and Whether or Not I'm Doing it Right

What, if anything do you offer to the Gods or to your Guides or to your Ancestors? What do you do with the offering after the ceremony/ritual/presentation? How do you is your offering enjoyed/received and is this always the same reaction? When do you make offerings? Does your deity/guide/ancestor ever make demands of offerings when you had no plans to give them?

I ask because the concept of offerings fascinates me. It seems like every book or ritual I read right now no matter the source, integrates offerings on the most basic level. Usually the offering is some kind of food/beverage. I understand how this idea came about. Most pagans have some value on hospitality, and when inviting a deity into our home or lives or practice, it seems best to offer them something to eat or drink as we would any other guest. Beyond that, if we are asking something from a more powerful knowing being, it only makes sense we offer up something of ourselves in return. How else do we demonstrate respect if we offer nothing when meeting a deity?

My problem with offering food/items to another being is what do I do with this stuff after the ritual is over. Especially food where it can not sit an indefinite time inside and will attract unwanted critters if it's left alone outside. What do people do with this stuff afterward? It seems disrespectful to throw away a portion of something I've assigned to deity and it seems a waste of the food. In the case of my land gods, I suppose I could ritually release my offering to the sewer system, via the garbage disposal, is that like a cosmic doggy bag?

In the case of items I offer to Gods, am I supposed to hold onto all that forever? I mean if I make an offering for ever ritual have that's a ridiculous amount of stuff to build up. With coin and money offerings, should I be able to donate the money after a certain time and which charities would my Gods accept? Am I just going to have a small dragon's hoard of quarters and dollar coins around my symbols of deity, and do my deities even value a concept of human wealth?

Personally, I think I'd like to offer more to my Gods, guides, and ancestors, but I'm unsure on how to implement it. There's a lot of talk about how to offer in ritual, and very little about what to do with the stuff when the ritual is done that is responsible (I don't think leaving food outside or leaving non-organic material outside is responsible and further I don't think most pagans have access to an outside space to worship so this plan isn't really a feasible premise).

What I do offer is often candles and incense. I like the ritual of dressing the candles, blessing them, charging them, and lighting them. A lite candle can give me a focus point in a meditation and it can feel like opening a door into deity. I like the symbolism of offering my Gods light, power, heat, passion, and hope. I can use the size of the candle to dictate the length or a ritual or period I plan to make offerings. The best part about a candle, is that I can just keep lighting it and enjoying it until it burns out, in which case, I may dispose of the candle.

With incense there is a similar blessing, charging and lighting process. The stick lasts for shorter periods than the candle does, and the scent can correspond to deity, mood, or type of offering. Again the best part about this sort of offering is that when it's used, I can dispose if it. I suppose I could store he ashes for some kind of religious use, but if you can't tell from this post, I don't like to collect things either for myself or my deity.

I prefer to make offerings of my time and energy, in the form of meditation, hiking, or wandering sacredly lands mindfully. Occasionally I've been moved to make an offering of writings or sacred words. Those experiences are entirely different than the experiences I have with objects because they are rarer, more spontaneous, and are clearly required by my deity, they're almost puled from me.

With candle offerings, it's a ritual respect thing, the same way I offer someone a drink when they enter my home. Deity, especially the one which values hospitality wants it but Ze doesn't compel it. I often wonder if I'm offering the right things. When I offer someone something to drink at my home, sometimes I can tell they've picked the least offensive of the choices instead of choosing what they wanted to have. I wonder if deity is ever doing that too.

At the same time, I always strive to be the best host I can be, and sometimes it isn't about what is on offer but that someone made the offer regardless of the cost to them.

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Energy Working and Various Approaches to Healings

Over at Daughter's of Eve is discussing Vibration, Entrainment, Teaching and Healing.  I highly reccomend you go read to whole article but to summarize Adeye states that living beings occupying the same space will energetically align.  She takes this premise and muses on whether it is best for an energy healer to work at a high frequency or at the frequency of everyone in the room.  She points out good and bad points to both. 

As someone who started in energy work and branched out into the larger world of paganism, I was deeply drawn the Adeye's article, but lost on exactly where I wanted to start responding to her post.

I think part of what throws me with her article is that there appears to be flaws in the questions.  First of all, energy is not static and energy levels are not static.  People have good days and bad days and will act differently in varying situations.  The whole concept that an energy worker will always present with a certain energy level or amount isn't true.  I am personally of a school of belief that it shouldn't be true because energy is a constantly flowing changing substance, it isn't healthy to be static in a person or place.

Even when I assume the question is about how an energy worker goes into a session and therefor has taken a moment to gather his or her energy appropriately, I don't think a healer should choose to always have one specific energy signature, but rather I think the healer needs to alter their energy to the client's needs.  Maybe the client does better with someone who starts at the same frequency and the two raise the energy together.  Maybe the client need subtle energy working and is spooked by really "feeling" the energy too directly.  Maybe the client's energy levels in a certain area are so low or so disconnected the best thing to do is to blast it with high amounts of energy until one finally works out the issue. 

I am very blessed in that I "see" a lot about what a client does or doesn't need within the first five or so minutes or speaking with them, but it's always been best practice to have a frank and honest discussion about what will happen in an energy session and what the client can realistically expect. I find with people who are inexperienced in energy healing, it's often best to ask are you comfortable with x or y or z, I have alternatives if you prefer to hear those options.

Certain energy workers have different preferences on how they would like to heal.  It's good to ask a healer what their general procedure is and why if they don't offer that information.  I prefer to keep my energy potential a bit shadowed until I know a person or know a situation better.  I think there is a smoother healing to start slowly in energy work and to gradually build a healing together.  I personally think it helps empower the client and it lets him or her know that he or she can do this for themselves if he or she chooses.  The process has to be done with empathy and awareness to how the other person is doing.  I can see where some people may feel that starting on one frequency level when one's natural/ practiced frequency is different may not be authentic. 
It's also possible that someone is just coming from a place that a healer can't relate to or know.  Attempting to begin at the client's frequency may be a wasted effort.  I've never had a problem getting down in the dirt of the lower emotions but I've met people whose energy level always seemed to be just a half pitch away from mine.  I think if I were going to attempt energy work on them, it would have to be done through the sheer force of whatever energy I can raise than through a more mutual raising and effort.

A possible risk is that an energy worker may get "stuck" in their client's energy level while attempting to mimic it.  We've probably all felt pulled into another person's emotions before and I think energy workers trying to align their energies are particularly vulnerable to getting trapped in the very energies they were working to clear.  I know that I've been with clients before where their upset has made me begin to fall apart.  Only a few deep breathes and quick meditative work to rebuild some space between them and me helped to keep disaster away.

While I prefer one method over the other, I see value in both approaches.  I think a person needs to choose an energy approach that they feel safe and secure in which they feel will yield the best results.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

In the Woods Finding Faith--The Scenic Route

This past weekend I spent six hours in the woods hiking with my boyfriend. He likes to work out and be active, I like to be in nature.  Our hobby co-insides but our motives sometimes leads to compromise.

In this case I chose a location, the Walls of Jericho, right outside of Scottsboro, AL where I thought both our hiking ideals would be met. The hike is vigorous, while only six miles round trip, the terrain is very steep and the slope is known to be slick. There are multiple warnings from hikers and the park association that this hike is difficult for people who are in shape (they estimate it will take at least four hours to get through the trail).

I learned this weekend that I am not anywhere near in shape, and my mate, who works out every day, is also not appropriately in shape for this hike. Something meant to be a fun, thoughtful, into nature/photography and semi-religious hike was incredibly grueling, though surprisingly still religious for me (just not the experience I expected to have).

My last post here I compared Alabama autumn to Massachusetts autumn. In particular I discussed how my fall routine is different. The Walls of Jericho was very reminiscent of an early fall hike in MA. The temperature dropped into the mid forties, which was pleasant with my fleece and a backpack to tote. The wind on the hill side had just a hint of the frost penetration I'm used to.

It strikes me what a critical difference in the feeling of the land I get just an hour and a half northeast from where I live. Instead of the leaves showing peak colors, they are flagging just a little. Instead of lush valleys and deep wide streams, there were jagged rocks, steep cliff ledges, and dry winding river beds.

The land itself didn't have the same feeling of divine presence I have here. I know my local Land God's limits. I drive to work outside of Zir sphere of influence. I can feel Zir presence fade and the Tennessee River welcome me. Still, even out of “direct influence” from my God, I can get a sense that there is a relationship between my home land God and the land God who rules the physical land I work on. There is acknowledgment, respect, an awareness of a shared realm, and separate relationships with the Tennessee River which divides their areas of influence.

The land at Jericho doesn't seem to have the same kind of ties back to my Land. I got a sense of some kind of divine at Jericho, but it was more reserved. Perhaps it's because of the time of year, as there is clearly a drought in that place now, and bird migration appears to be in full swing, as opposed to just starting as it is here. There may just not be enough resources or time to bring out a big welcome wagon for a passerby. Perhaps because approximately 300 people a day travel through Jericho when weather is nice, the land there doesn’t make connections with people until it sees further commitment, or how one fairs in the trails. Whatever the case, it just further served to highlight how hospitable my own local Gods have been to me and how blessed I am that they reached out and welcomed me when I first arrived in Alabama. It's easy to forget that I'm not the one who reaches out and makes connections all on my own, they are mutually forged.

Because the incline of the hillside is so steep, the path we walked is set as a long winding set of zig zagging diagonals to help make the slope more navigable. While it doesn't look like a labyrinth, there is much the same effect. As we trotted a long the path and later staggered back, the mate and I had a chance to pass and be passed by many people in many different states.  We played tag with a few people swapping which of our groups was blazing the trail first.  I often stopped and looked around to observe where we were relative to others and what their state seemed to be. The way the trail loops one can be parallel with other hikers but still be mildly obscured through foliage as one may be in a labyrinth. I liked having a chance to observe people this way and socialize in that quiet pleasant way we both know won't go any further than this path. I felt like I had a chance to connect to a bunch of different walks of life all in one outing and I also had a chance to notice who wasn't present on the path with us.

Perhaps my favorite part of the trip, was that I got to walk back in a dry river bed. It wasn't part of the planned program.  The actual path had us walking on a narrow, rocky, steep terrain where I kept looking down to see the dry, rocky but flat river bed.  I told the mate "We're so walking back in that river bed".  He laughed and was dumbfounded when about fifty feet in to our return trip, he realized I had actually left the path and gone into the river bed.  It was so worth it.  I might even recommend walking back in the river when it's wet, given the current isn't terrible and one is equipped for it.

 I felt like a little kid with my big bag of trail mix, jumping from stone to stone and munching. I could see each and every stone the river had rounded, shaped, moved, and placed. I climbed over brush piles still strapped in spots the current had driven them. The mate and I each chose a side of a small island of dirt and debris the river had created to walk around. This river bed was dry now and the land in Jericho may have been going into hibernation, but there is massive power waiting to shape, change, drive, and create. Walking through the evidence of one aspect of that power, when so much is often hidden or observed without thought, was meaningful to me.

So magical part of this trip was being out in nature, even when it isn't a serene meditative walk has powerful meaning and value once I catch my breathe. The practical part of this trip is that I need to work out more and stick to less vigorous trails so I don't have to worry I won't make it back to my car by dark. 

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pre-Samhain Local Land Worship Meanderings

The pagan adjacent boyfriend wanted to help me celebrate the autumn season, so he suggested we go to a haunted house. I went and I enjoyed it, but of course wandering through an abandoned school that's been purchased and re-vamped into a Haunted House that predominately features cannibalism of different genres, ax murders, insane asylum patients, and clowns has nothing to do with my holiday. He sort of know that, but he feels lost in helping to support my faith where he sees I'm not doing what I've talked about doing back in Massachusetts.

I think it's hard for him to grasp the concept that my Neo-Paganism is locally connected and I will celebrate seasonal changes differently in Alabama vs Massachusetts. It's true this time of year was magnificent in Massachusetts. It was starting to get cold, there's about a 50% chance that a frost has happened already (it has this year). All these local farm stands and harvest-ish themed things seem to appear over night. There were a lot of hot drinks and hot fresh meals. Apple donuts, pumpkin donuts, cakes, pies, fresh acorn squash and butternut squash. Apples as far as the eye could see!

Beyond that, there was this strong tie to colonial times in MA. There were Victorian homes everywhere. Pagan/new thought and the general population liked to connected modern celebrations with older ones. Honey sticks, herb gardens, ghost walks more information that scare , apple bobbing, donuts on the string. All the semi-traditional things were still celebrated by the general populace.

Also, because it was getting cold, there really was this sense of urgency to batten down the hatches and prepare for winter. There is a real concern regarding purchasing heating oil, wrapping up summer gear, purchasing enough canned goods that should one be stranded one could still eat. I associate all of this as part of what I should be doing and what I should be looking for in others this times of year. I can't say how much of a relief mild winters are and at the same time, how it leaves me both in me practice and life sometimes at a loss.

There is way less work involved. There is no sense of urgency along with the crazy joy that nature is beautiful and brutal. There is always thankfulness for lovely days, but the praise seems less meaningful when every day is beautiful and mild and the coming winter will be soft compared to what I know. It's true this year our summer was brutally hot and dry. I watched corn literally burn away over the course of a day in the relentless sun. In some ways, this winter will be a relief. Everyone here thinks it will be unusually cold and wet, which will kill all the extra bugs we have, restore our water table, and hopefully heal some hurting farms for the spring.

Some of my practices will be the same. My reverence for my ancestors is more or less the same. This year my celebration will be especially focused on my Grandfather as he passed in Aug of last year and his birthday was Oct 28th, I feel particularly close to him right now. My reiki meditation will essentially be the same, though the themes, the requests, and the healing is somewhat changed.

My month of semi-public celebration is very different here. I am spending more time in quiet reflection before Samhain than I ever have before. This kind of quieted mind used to come as I burned out all my frantic energy in preparations for the fall. I am reminded of the fable of the hard working ant and the lazy grasshopper: all my life I've been the ant and now even though my preparations for the seasons are appropriate, I feel like the grasshopper.

I am walking out in nature more often. I spend hours at the Tennessee river where I feel particularly connected to the river's divinity. I walk slowly and thoughtfully. I wander off the path and through the woods or into the river to explore and contemplate. I feel like a baby who has to put everything in it's mouth to learn what it is and what it means.

Right now, I feel that Alabama requires more complex acknowledgments than MA lands did. There is death and decay in the land right now. I can see it in the trees, smell it in some areas, and I feel that old ending magic I did in MA in areas of the land. With that energy is the energy of life still in full bloom, berries are all over tons of the bushes an trees, cotton is in process of harvest, flowers are still blooming, the sun is still out for huge swathes of time, and the weather itself still gets up to the 80s most days. There's actually this sense that AL is a safe haven and that more life is coming in soon to partake in the offerings. Song bird and water bird migrations have just started in these parts and will be in their peak in November.

I'm still coming to terms with the idea that there will be more than snow for me to look forward to in November. I feel like that quiet shut down I expected to come at Samhain time, won't really hit until the beginning of December.

For now I'm going to try to keep my mind quiet and open. I want to hear what my Gods and the land is telling me. I'll leave this post with a few pictures I've taken of Alabama fall in attempts to see, understand, and worship the land. 

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

From Someone Who Values Knowledge and Living Together in Society More Than They Value the Pleasure of Fickle Gods

You know I occasionally do a google + hunt of all things pagan to see what's on the top page. Probably because it's Halloween time this post came in on the top of the page (warning reading the post linked to may cause anger among other non-believers).

It's ok with me that Pennie De is against paganism/the occult/ religion that doesn't involve Jesus. As far as I'm concerned, her accusations of Satanism is just a born again Christian acting like a born again Christian and I can over look it.

I am deeply disturbed by where she writes: “ ....the one thing that always ticked God off the most was when His people adopted the customs of the pagans. It was an abomination to Him

First off Christians have borrowed and stolen so much from ancient paganism, exactly what does one decide to cut out?  This isn't an accusatory statement, it's virtually impossible to be immersed in a culture and not borrow at least their building style.  Modern pagans have a similar challenge in identifying what is Christian bias in our culture or thought system and whether it has a place in a pagan religious structure.  I understand her lament regarding familiarizing the self with certain rituals, finding comfort and meaning in them, and then having to go back and either re-structure them, or acknowledge they have no place in your life for various reasons.  I like to think this is neither a Pagan, Christian, nor Convert thing but something all thoughtful people must do from time to time in their practice to stay authentic to who they are now. 

Secondly whether Halloween itself is pagan or not is kind of debatable.

Thirdly, are you really going to cut yourself off from new thought, technology, discovery, and culture because a Christian didn't come up with it? This seems like a knee jerk reaction to the word pagan more than anything else.

It's one thing to try not to just pick and choose bits of other pieces of other people's culture for your own entertainment or personal fulfillment without true consideration or thought, but it's another entirely to reject all that is not of your religion.

Isolating yourself from society and how others interact with the world will stagnate a faith. It's not just about people passing a faith over for something “cooler”, it's about a religion's slow loss to make deep meaningful connection between different people and the world around them. I think religion loses a lot when it can no longer make connections between one person and another, when it can't be inserted into one's day to day life, when a deity requires one withdraw from society instead of going out and interacting.

I know Pennie De never intended to withdraw from society, but rather she aims to remold it in a manner pleasing to her God. I suppose I don't understand why an all knowing all powerful deity doesn't choose to be the change ze wishes to see in the world. I don't understand why such a god with the means forces zir follower's to withdraw from the world and abstain instead of sending them forth to live richly and deeply with others. Why is such a God angered by zir followers looking at and sharing in other's customs? Why would adapting these customs to further worship the one true god be harmful? If it so deeply offends why does this God allow it on this earth period?

I am saddened for a group of worshipers that are supposed to have an all powerful God but whom seem to be constantly retreating into their own faith and circles away from an open group conversation. I am afraid of people who reject knowledge and learning out of hand because their God or their people didn't come up with it. Let the information or tradition succeed or fail on it's own merits.

Also, should Pennie De ever read this I'd like her to know that I, like her, will probably be at home praying on Halloween.  The difference it that my prayers will be to my Gods, guides, and ancestors. Instead of combating evil or trying to cajole others into changing I will be thanking them for what I have and asking them for guidance in what I want to accomplish in the new year.  I hope that Pennie De finds her prayers as deep and fulfilling as mine will be, though I can't exactly hope her prayers are answered.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sinister: a Film Review

For those who don't know, Sinster is a recently released horror film. The plot is the standard a family moves into a home and creepy things start happening theme. The “hook” or “twist” in this movie vs other movies where families move into homes with creepy things happening is that these creepy things are being caused by he “pagan deity Bughuul ”.

As a horror buff I want to say that the movie is acceptable. The pacing is good and the movie doesn't go on too long. While the “twists” and “turns” are predicable the movie does make them still enjoyable.  While there is a little too much repetition of the same super 8 film work gore, the scares and twists do inpire legitimate jumps and startles. The music and lighting is excellent. The characters are believable and the acting is good. An extra special kudos goes out to the children acting leads Michael Hall D'Addario and Clare Foley whose performance really draws the viewer into the drama both in their commitment to character and in the viewer's concern for them. I would recommend it as a causal Halloween scare and a good way to spend almost two hours, but I wouldn't mark it as outstanding or a must see.

As a pagan, I was interested initially in the plot. We as a group aren't mentioned, but the idea of a pagan god as a central horror theme intrigued me. I was further interested in seeing how a god who “actually lived in the images themselves and they were gateways into his realm” would strike terror and fear into the family of the film and the audience viewing. Warning beyond this point there are spoilers regarding the plot and semantics of the film.

On the score of Bughuul I was disappointed.While  Baghuul is a fictional god so no actual deities were slandered in the making of this film, the term deity is terribly abused. A quick refresh deity according to webster's online is:
a : the rank or essential nature of a god : divinity
b capitalized : god 1, supreme being
2: a god or goddess <the deities of ancient Greece>
3: one exalted or revered as supremely good or powerful”

I don't see how this definitions lines up with the the local occult expert's description of Baghuul as a Sumerian pagan Deity known for consuming childern's souls. Ok, so the Deity has a dark side, a ritual sacrifice kind of vibe, not unheard of please continue Mr. Occult expert on other things Baghuul does. Oh wait, that's it, Baghuul eats kids—why is he worshiped again? You can't just call something a certain label and make it so, there has to be corresponding traits. Seems like we could have swapped the term “pagan deity” for monster, been more accurate and not opened ourselves to the scrutiny of what makes a god. 

Who erects temples and ritually sacrifices to a being that offers nothing in return? At least round out the stereo type by making Baghuul give a bountiful harvest or untold powers or sight into the future or safe passage through underworld. Heck, I'd have settled for Baghuul giving out a fruit basket just so long as there was a reason he had temples to start with. Instead I have to believe that Sumerians worshiped an immortal minotaur who can walk between dimensions through portraits that humans have to create for him.

At least the occult expert believes it's pretty impossible that anyone is worshiping Baghuul (it's kind of sad we still have to give points out when they don't blame or accuse the pagans) through these murders, he just thinks Baghuul is some kind of symbol for initiation into a group (cue the humanist pagans-they go through the ritual but Baghuul is just a metaphor).

Beyond Baghuul failing to be God like—he fails to have limited power either. In the beginning the author finds a tape with a bunch of Baghuul killings in it. He sees the image of Baghuul and also apparently exposes his kids to these images somehow ( the how part is kind of unknown as he's always watching the images alone and he's very careful not to let his family in to his office, even locking it when he's not around). The question here is where does Baghuul keep all these super 8 copies of his murders? Does he keep them in his other realm and trot them out right after the house has been cleaned and ready for sale somehow? Does he allow the children he devours to stay around in our realm until they can plant his super 8 images?  Maybe Baghuul's God like power or gift is that he can drop an image of himself and all those he devours or kills where ever he wants?

Let's say I roll with the kid taking the video, hiding, and planting Baghuul's imaged before the child is eaten. How do these images end up in the author's old house with extended cuts? For a deity that can only come from one realm to another through graven images and possession of children he'll be eating, this guy has a lot of resources to get his picture out there. Maybe Baghuul should start working for a child's talent agency? I don't like that the movie didn't stick to the own limit of power they imposed on their imaginary god.

Another thing that strikes me as odd, is why does Baghuul destroy whole families? Why not take the susceptible kid and go? For that matter why not possess the vulnerable kid, use that one to take all other child family members and leave the adults behind fumbling? Seems like killing other family child members is a waste of food a least.

We could have had a really good monster movie about a being, I refuse to call him a god, who can travel from his world to ours through an image, implant himself in a human mind and possess people. We could have had people fumbling around who didn't understand or believe the rules. We could have had children luring other children into his clutches and slowing killing off adults who were in their way.  We could have seen parents strive to find ways to save their already possessed children through some form of exorcism or calling on a more powerful god or we could have watched parents murder possessed children in an attempt to save non-effected children and perhaps had a close up where realizing that their other child had been exposed to Baghuul and will be next, they choose a grizly murder over watching their child's soul slowly being devoured and giving power to this monster.

 We could have made Baghuul more ambitious and had him desire to slowly take over this realm or have him building strength to do battle with other gods and possibly gain more powers/realms. Instead we have a God who is not really a God with limited powers like those a polytheistic pantheon may support, who becomes all powerful when it suits the writers, basically creating a stereo typed mess in a stereo typed ritual manner.

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Welcome To Southern Pagan Muses!

I want to welcome everyone who found this site to the official opening of the Southern Pagan Muses blog!  Southern Pagan gets is name from the regional area the author Swift Rabbit live in.  She was a born and raised in Massachusetts, but moved to Huntsville Alabama approximately two years ago.  The changes in her religious experience have been profound, so she intends to bring that "southern" influence into her writings at this blog.  The name itself is both meant to describe the kind of writings found in the blog and be a play off of the famous Southern Living magazine.   Within the blog you will hopefully find welcome, an active discussion, and possibly some ideas to add into your own practice. 

The issues discussed in Southern Pagan will range based off of the season, and whims of Swift Rabbit.  The blog is meant mostly to be an editorial with a few shopping tips, ritual ideas, and tarot spreads thrown in the mix.

What We Do:
1. Southern Pagan Muses is committed to created between three to seven weekly posts that are no longer than one to five pages in length.  The goal is to be current and to the point.

2. Currently Southern Pagan has two reoccurring segments: one where Swift Rabbit blogs through the Delphic Maxims and the other where Swift Rabbit is blogging through the online Crystal Wind Rider Book of Shadows.  In her Delphic Maxims segment she is discussing what she does or does not find morally relevant to herself from the original list of maxims.  In the Crystal Wind Rider BOS segment she is commenting on the original work, adding to it in some areas, or taking a theme from the orginal work and expounding on it.

3. Other topics that will pop up often include magic, seasons, local gods, reiki, energy work, and other online posts.

A Little About Swift Rabbit:

In Swift Rabbit's religious life she is a Hard Polytheistic Monist Eclectic Neo-Pagan with strong outer court Wicca, Reiki, and traditional Italian lore influence.  She has been practicing for a decade, and writing for about as long.  Her religious experiences are primarily personal in nature and have been with guides and local gods.

In the rest of Swift Rabbit's life she is an avid writer, a home maker, an explorer, and works as a general manager in the food service industry.  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Weekly Tarot Share

I work a lot with tarot cards, for more on why I do that I have a post called: Why I Use Tarot.  This post is more of my attempt to bring my experience with tarot into the discussion here.  The following is the daily reading I've done for myself today.

Four Messages to Carry With me Today Per the Halloween Tarot  (review of tarot at aeclectic):

The Star: This card is thought of as the calm after the storm of the Tower. I've faced the unreality or intentional self deceptions with in my life plans (hopefully-I've tried to be very realistic, but I never know for sure until I'm knee deep in a mess) and what's left is the hope, inspiration, and beginnings of a new strong project. I believe that this card is talking about my blog directly here. I've wanted to write one one about religion for a while, and I've spent a few months looking up different ways to go about writing, getting my thoughts out to a larger audience successfully, how to online network, how I can do this and still work a full time job and live an active offline life. It's daunting, but a series of events in my personal life have signaled that now is the time.

So today, like the star card is a day of new beginnings, of hope, and creativity. My energy is focused on the spiritual/divine aspect in the this card more than the social and structural aspects of actually starting a successful blog. I know I have to face those and work as hard, perhaps harder on those ends, but in writing this post and drawing my cards, I have no choice but to turn inward and hear what it before me instead of what would make the best post or what I could drive people here with.

Two of Pumpkins: The two of pentacles (pumpkins in this deck) should be my repeating life theme. The card signifies that I am juggling two very differing aspects of my life trying to find balance and sure footing between two objects or ideas that need my time and attention. This particular deck shows a literal light hearted juggler balancing two pumpkins but if you look at the expression on the juggler's face, you will see her smile is very similar to a frown of concentration. Disaster can strike if she drops what she is managing. In the real world we often perceive a disastrous end to the “show” if we drop the ball too, but it is important to remember, that a good juggler, can drop everything in the act and recover for a huge audience applause at the end.

It seems I always have one foot in the intangible world and one in the real world. It's probably my major life struggle to balance this pull I feel towards an ideal life path and the reality it takes to get there. If money were no object, I know I'd float away in hypothetical and religious intangibles and never look back. I'd be happier and my life would be easier, but I think that I would lose my connection to others whom are struggling in much the same way. I don't always feel this way, especially when this card comes up, but my connection to something more than myself is a huge gift that I may use for positive change, so long as I don't drift too far into ether that I no long can relate to others.

This card is a huge message for me because I'd love to get lost in what I love, where I feel confident, and in work I feel I was placed here to do. However, to survive, I need to reserve some focus for my day job and for the people who are put in front of me and what their needs are. I have a lot to contribute, but I can't get so caught up in contributing my thoughts and experiences that I neglect the finances and people who have made it possible for me to speak up.

Ten of Pumpkins: This card shows a child wandering blindfolded towards an unknown object which he hopes to swing at, hit, and receive reward for. I think everyone knows the feeling of wandering in blind to what we hope is a good opportunity and working in good faith to see if we can achieve rewards. While the feeling is unsettling, this card is a good omen. It implies that hard earnest work will achieve massive rewards. Beyond the excitement and thrill of the candy in the pinata, there is a a ladder on the tree that will lead the child up to untold amounts of reward. Once I get the hang of this new project, taste the beginnings of rewards from it, the blindfold will come off (as I will have experience and know what I'm doing), and I'll be able to apply that knowledge easily to earn larger rewards.

Another thing this card points out that is important to nervous people like myself, is while we feel exposed and at risk during the beginning of our journey, we're not. Being in the dark and wandering around with a stick feels very scary. From viewing this card as an outsider though, I can see the danger to child (myself) is in is minimal. The ground is free of anything that may trip me, and the person pulling the string of the pumpkin while masked, is an impersonal obstacle. He has not targeted the child, and he doesn't care about the child's success or loss. He only cares about his specific job of moving the pinata up and down, there is no malice personal or otherwise from him, he is only doing his job to make sure those who hit the pinata have earned their rewards.

Six of Pumpkins: This reading was meant to be a standard three card pull, but as I was putting the deck away this one fell out and I decided to add it in. This does happen fairly often, whether it's because I have the world's smallest adult hands or because divine always has a little more to say than I intend to pull is immaterial as the cards always seem relevant and helpful. In this case the card is even in line with the suit my reading has been in.

This card re-emphasizes the unexpected success in the Ten of Pumpkins. The two cards diverge in where in the process they show me, as the Ten of Pumpkins shows me swinging blindly for reward, while the six of Pumpkins shows me already with these rewards in hand.

The concept that I will have more than enough is prevalent as the witch in the card is giving candy to trick or treaters without anxiety and there bowl she has is large and overflowing. This brings in a new element of the reading.  Once I have earned my rewards, I need to give back to the community which has helped me achieve success. I believe in charity, good work and giving back to the community both monetarily, through prayer/ritual, and in writing/giving shout outs/ adding positively to the discussion. This card is a reminder that achieving reward for hard work isn't the end of the journey, I have to remember to give back to my community and to give credit to all those who have helped me get to where I am.

Even though this is the beginning of my blog project and I have no following or anything but my writing and ideas right now, there are still people who have made this start possible without whom I'd never have attempted this. I need to keep those people in mind and remember to continue to support them. My mind wanders particularly to Jason Pitzl-Waters at the Wild Hunt who is the gold standard of pagan blogging and whom needs the community's financial support in particular right now (I've already donated if you have any income to spare go help Jason be independent pagan press, we need someone like him and his services working for us). My mind also wanders to Star Foster and her new blog Beyond Pink, she is currently transitioning in a huge move and life change. As someone who's done something similar I understand how much she needs community support. There are my gods, my guides, and a million personal people near me who have encouraged, bolstered, and otherwise helped me be at this juncture. I will strive to support them in their own projects and life paths as they have mine.

Over All Thoughts On the Reading:

This reading was heavily focused on both the creation of this new blog which is a baby I've been imagining for years and working towards actively for a few months, but it also drew in some interesting thoughts about maintaining my day job and keeping up relationships with people.  I liked the well rounded feeling of the reading. I like how it captured the mindset I had when I drew the cards and I thought that the advice was directly applicable to my life right now. While I was focused on today specifically, I did appreciate who the cards drew out what may be a possible outcome of my actions today.

An interesting thing to note is that while the reading starts out in the spiritual world and intangibles like inspiration and hope, it immediately grounds to the material work with pumpkins (pentacles in a traditional tarot). This shows that while the blog I'm starting may be about religion, god, and faith, there are specific material outcomes I want and there are direct steps I need to take to reach these goals. It won't be enough to connect to a divine line and write, I'll have to reach out to others to comment/read. I'll have to make writing tag lines that will pop on a search engine, and I'll have to create supporting media to bring others in. I have to do all this and balance working a full time 60-70hr a week job, keep up relationships with those close to me, and continue to practice as I see fit. It's a tall order, but it's something I'm going to try for.

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