Activism · Poetry · Practice · spirituality · The Moon

Going into Spring

Would you believe it’s nearly Ostara, or the Spring Equinox?  I cannot.  I feel like I just had my birthday (February 8) and the days are slipping past…. I can tell you this has been compounded by working a day and night shift rotation at work.  This serves to confuse morning and night and when I should be sleeping and eating and finding bits of time in between to work on my practice.

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But, here we are.  What have I been up to?

Well, February, the shortest month, of course, came and went like the blink of an eye.  Mostly, I recall the poetry that I made that month.  Thanks, again to Jodi for organizing this challenge!  She continued the challenge as a once a week thing (#pinpsaturday), inspired by tarot cards, and though I participated in the first one I have yet to write my second….. But, below is my favorite poem that I wrote in February (it was really hard to pick just one).  This poem helped to inspire my recent blog post on what it means to be wild.

what does it mean to be wild?
the seething, open expanse of my soul
the feral growling of my heart
the heady tingle between my legs.
do you see me as a beast, roaming?
do you feel my spirit, stalking?
come drink at water’s edge with me,
Orion shining on the backs of our necks.
transitory duality,
     the sense of self we refuse to apologize for.
the fiery snaps of passion.

In February, I opened my tarot shop and had a successful first month, in my humble opinion.  No, I do not expect to be raking in $50,000/year with my tarot side hustle (which Benebell somehow says is possible!…).  But I read for a variety of beautiful people, and at the end of the month donated 10% of my profits to The Trevor Project.  (If you’re interested in booking a reading with me click here.)

Also in February, I went to my first Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) meeting.  This local group is still quite new and I would be lying if I said that it was a wonderful experience.  As described previously on my blog, it is a group focused on getting white people involved in the fight for racial justice.  I think that the heart of this group is in the right place, but I also think that it is not quite the flavor of social justice that I’m looking for right now.  My next step is to make contact with the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, which is a local group and below is their mission statement from their website.

“Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice inspires, educates, and mobilizes people to unite across differences and to act from their shared ethical and spiritual values in pursuit of peace with social and environmental justice.”

I think this group might be more in line with my current path, as I’m feeling more spiritually inclined recently.

Oh, and, I’ve been reading more (as per my “what does it mean to be wild?” post)!  I finished Big Little Lies (a chick lit novel, that was just ok) and I’m working through Artemis: The Indomitable Spirit in Everywoman.  So far the book is not what I expected, though it is interesting to learn about Artemis and how her themes connect to the modern world.  I hope it gets better, a little more personal and spiritual, but we’ll see.  I’m also working my way through The Wildwood Tarot: Wherein wisdom resides, aka the guidebook for The Wildwood Tarot.  I recently purchased the deck, and it feels very special and different so I wanted to read through the guidebook completely before working with it (an idea from the lovely Ania).

Speaking of Artemis… She’s the first goddess that I felt an affinity for, that I felt had something to teach me.  She’s the goddess that helped/is helping me connect more with my wild.  And now, another goddess has made herself known to me: Cailleach.  I wrote a little bit about her on my Instagram, and she really deserves her own post, but I copied my IG summary here…  She is an ancient pre-Celtic (and then Celtic) goddess of the ancestors, wisdom, weather, time, shape-shifting, and winter.  She helps us with the cycles of life, provides protection, to release what no longer serves us, strength, trust, balance, magic, and transformation.  It is said that she created the rocky terrain of Scotland and Ireland by dropping boulders from her apron.  I’m just starting to learn a bit about her, but I feel she will be a powerful teacher.  Going into spring really isn’t her season (goddess of winter, hello), but her lessons feel applicable to where my life is now.

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Along with this exploration of Cailleach, I’ve finally jumped in to watching the videos of the incomparable Kelly-Ann Maddox.  This was a recommendation from Sammy (aka @spiritandsaga on Instagram), and I’m working through some of Kelly-Ann’s older videos.  I can already tell her videos are a goldmine of resources and I’m inspired by how open she is about her path.  To be honest, I find it difficult to get through YouTube videos because I find that I can’t multitask very well when watching them.  Even trying to listen to one while blogging is a bit difficult for me…

By the way, did I tell you that I received the most beautiful reading from Sammy in February?  I shared some pretty personal stuff with her, and she took that and gave me an in-depth, insightful and helpful reading.  I’ve returned to it a number of times in the last month, and I’m so grateful for her words.  Go check out her shop — she has some truly creative spreads available.

And so, March.  I’ve been making art (something new for me!) with the #createthisoracledeck challenge hosted by Kristen (@otmoraclecards on Instagram).  I loved the way that the post-it note poetry made me feel: creative, but with no pressure.  That’s how I feel about this oracle deck challenge.  I’m using mostly watercolor, and really enjoying the experimentation and also the “writing” of the “guidebook” (aka the captions).  I’m a couple days behind but will hope to catch up this week…  Above are three examples of my cards, and also the mountain card to the right of Cailleach further above.

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Then yesterday, I pulled the Page of Pentacles from the Morgan-Greer Tarot and “curious” from the Soul Space Oracle.  These two decks together have astounded me so much that I don’t really want to use anything else recently.  I have been pulling one tarot and one oracle card from each deck, and there are always such wonderful reflections of each other.  Either simply in keyword, color, shape, or all of the above.  Here, the page of pentacles and curious go together so seamlessly, an interpretation doesn’t feel required.  The page of pentacles is the most curious page of the bunch — though, don’t get me wrong, curious is, indeed, a great keyword for all pages.  But this page, he’s about digging in, about exploring the physical world, he’s about taking a journey.  He’s curious about his dreams, he’s curious about growth and the natural ways we can manifest for ourselves.  He can be a harbinger of new experiences, including new jobs…

Which, do you remember my blog post about the full moon in Leo back in February?  I wrote of a some good news surrounding empire building?  OH YEAH — I’m starting a new job on March 27!  I’m moving to the labor and delivery unit in my current hospital.  I’m so excited for this new venture, as this new unit and type of care I will be providing seems much more in line with my personal and spiritual development over the last 2.5 years that I’ve worked in the operating room.  I’m so grateful for my experiences in the OR: it was a great way to begin my nursing career without immediately hating and being overwhelmed by my job.  It taught me how to be truly confident in my nursing care and practice.  I’m so thrilled to see where my career will take me from here.  And I’ll be working 3-12 hour shifts per week, full-time midnights, so that will be a big (positive) change for me.

And the moon, that big beautiful moon.  The recent full moon in Virgo has teased out some weird feelings for me, (I’ve been trying lately to identify how the moon cycle affects my feelings/body, but really all I come up with is “weird”).  Sometimes, it’s like I need change to happen immediately, I need to do something drastic to feel productive.  But, lately, I’m feeling as if all of my little changes are starting to add up.  I’m getting into the long game, the “patient manifestation” from my above Soul Space Oracle reading.  Recently, all of my readings for myself seem to be about the same stuff on repeat.  Remember that Tarot Thursday Three question about remaining unbiased when reading for ourselves?  Yeah, well, I’m having a hard time with that lately.  I’m not sure if it’s the full moon, or the Venus retrograde, or just my airy little mind, but….it’s weird.

Phew, alright.  I think that’s a nice primer on what I’ve been up to!  What have you been up to?  What is calling to you going into this spring season?  What plans do you have cooking?  Do you have any thoughts about what I’ve shared above?  Tell me all about it in the comments below!

exploringly yours,
Alaina x

Guest Post · Practice · spirituality · Tarot Spread

Influence of Culture in My Spiritual Practice

Friends!  I’ve met so many amazing people through social media (primarily Instagram) who share my interests of tarot and exploring spirituality.  We all have different specialties, or areas on which we like to focus.  Because of this, I’m bringing on some awesome guest bloggers at Exploringly Yours to share their knowledge of different topics on which I’m not particularly well-versed.  Today’s Guest Post is by my lovely friend, Dianna.  I got to meet Dianna in person last time I was in Chicago, and we had a lot of fun exploring local metaphysical shops (which was a bust, unfortunately), and drinking beer at Revolution Brewing.  Dianna introduces herself below so I’ll turn it over to her…….

Hello Exploringly Yours readers!  Before we dig into talking about my experience with how culture has shaped my spirituality I wanted to give you a brief introduction.  I am a fellow tarot and oracle card reader, crystal lover, and aspiring writer.  I am also a mom of two, I was born in Mexico and now live in the USA.  By day I work in a health center doing community engagement, I get to meet a lot of people and create content for social media.  By night I am an Instagram enthusiast, you can find me at @unearthing_the_gift_.  I also have a blog, which you can visit here.  I’m excited to share with you how my culture has shaped my current spiritual practice and I hope that you will share how your culture has, or has not, impacted your spiritual practice in the comments.

First, I thought I would share what my current spiritual practice looks like.  I am not a religious person, so I don’t follow a set religion.  That said, I am fascinated by religion in an intellectual level and love learning about the different beliefs systems in the world.  I don’t believe spirituality and religion are mutually exclusive, I do think that sometimes religion has lost the spirituality part, but that is a topic for a different blog post.

My current spiritual practice involves the use of tarot and oracle cards for reflection and guidance.  I incorporate crystals into my spiritual practice during meditation and when I am reading cards.  I also connect with Spirit Guides and Ascended Masters and consider them important partners/teachers in my spiritual journey.  (Julia Eve wrote a great guest post about that too, which you can find here.)   More recently I have started to learn about the Akashic Records and hope to be able to use this new skill to help others get closer to their soul’s purpose.  I also use writing and journaling as a tool in my spiritual practice.  I love exploring different ways of expressing and experiencing my creative and spiritual journeys.

My Mexican heritage has influenced my spiritual path in many different ways.  Being Mexican means that I am a place/person where the convergence of two distinct worlds (the pre-hispanic and the Spanish) takes place.  Both of these worlds, which collided a long long time ago, have rich and deep cultural and spiritual histories, which I am just beginning to discover.

When I was growing up in Mexico, although my family and I weren’t Catholic, many of the celebrations that the whole town took part in were Catholic with underlying pre-hispanic rituals/beliefs woven into them.  Catholicism in Latin countries (as in other countries) is inextricably woven in with pre-hispanic religions.  In small towns you have the priests, the doctors, and the curanderas (witch doctors/healers) as the three figures of authority who can perform healing.  My family, and everyone else really, went to la curandera to heal ailments of the spirit which were being manifested in the body, el mal de ojo (the evil eye), el susto (best described as chronic spiritual sickness), las limpias (spiritual cleansings).  I was taken to la curandera a few times, and my mom and grandpa used to do a “diy” version of limpias at home too.  

Many of the things I am learning now as I develop my spiritual practice are things that I had already witnessed and participated in before.  This has helped me feel more comfortable with adopting spiritual practices, especially when their background is pre-hispanic civilizations.  I feel I have a claim to them, that it is okay for me to use them, and that I am not appropriating them.  Appropriation is a topic that has been on my mind for a while.  For example, I also feel a great interest in Celtic spirituality, but I am not a Celt or of Celtic heritage, so I ask myself: do I have the right to lay claim to Celtic beliefs even though it’s not my culture?  I have decided that it is okay do follow your spiritual path where ever it takes you.

I still have much to explore and learn, which is exciting.  My spiritual practice is continually evolving as I learn and discover new ways of connecting with Spirit.  Connecting with my roots and Ancestors is a message that I have been receiving through my card readings and dreams lately and I hope to continue to explore that in the months to come.  On my list of things to explore are also shamanism, celtic spirituality, and the Popol Vu (one of the few pre-hispanic holy texts that survived colonization).  

I wanted to leave you with a little something to help you explore how your own cultural roots are shaping your spiritual practice, so here is a small spread to help you get that started.

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  1.  The current state of my spiritual journey.
  2.  What three gifts has my cultural background/heritage bestowed upon me to help me in my spiritual journey?
  3.  In what subconscious ways is my cultural background/heritage influencing my spiritual journey? (Pick one or more cards).

If you do the spread let us know in the comments, I’d love to hear how it went!

Thank you Alaina for this opportunity to contribute to your lovely blog!

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How cool.  I’d love to hear in the comments how any of you have been affected (or not!) by the intersection of culture and spirituality.  What practices have been passed on to you by your family, are inherent to communities you grew up in, or a part of cultures you belong to?  What influences you now that may not be part of what you were taught when growing up?

exploringly yours,
Alaina x