February + Full Moon in Leo

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Another full moon has passed (check out the full virtual ritual that Leanna and I hosted here), and I must say I’m really loving creating and using my own spreads for the new and full moons.  It lends another level of mystique and exploration to the moon cycle.  The cards I pulled for my spread turned out pretty meaty — three majors beyond the Strength card that we pulled out separately — and I’ve been pulling influences in from all sides on how to interpret these cards.  (Namely from Olivia, and from Rose.)

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  1.  Message from my inner child.  The Emperor.

    Well, as it turns out, the Emperor has become a bit of a stalker card since last Friday.  I pulled him in this spread, in another full moon spread, and Sammy pulled him for me in a reading I purchased from her.  It’s kind of an odd message from my Inner Child, but Jodi told me, after I wrote a poem about dragons yesterday, that she feels that the Emperor is the dragon held in our heart.  I always feel that the Emperor tells me to stand tall and respect myself.  He doesn’t look super pleasant, though, does he?  And I think he’s a tough archetype to love, because though he stands as the “father” of the tarot, he just doesn’t feel very warm-hearted to me (like I feel all dads/parents should be, like mine :)).  He reminds us of the usefulness of having a game plan and structure, and setting milestones along the way to our dreams.  My inner child wants me to be confident, remember my goals, and make a plan to get there already!

  2.  Message from my present self.  Nine of Swords.

    Yikes.  Really, present self?  Nine of Swords?  Admittedly, yes, I do feel like I’m in a bit of a rut.  I’m working a weird schedule, and have a lot that I want to accomplish (and I am!) but also, there are so many other things I want to do right now… Writing more, exercising more, eating better…  And I’m not.  Are there just not enough hours in the day?  Or am I letting myself be pigeon-holed into distractions?  Here, the Nine of Swords reminds us that many of our anxieties are imagined, in our mind, like the nightmares of our sleep.  Shake out of it, girl.  Get out of these weird mind cycles.  “Be your own warrior,” as Olivia wrote.

  3.  Message from my higher self.  King of Swords.

    The Swords, despite their weirdly negative cards, is the suit I most identify with.  I mean, I’m an Aquarius, and I like my words and wit and intellect.  The King of Swords, the pinnacle of the swords suit, showing up as my message from my higher self is telling me to trust in my wisdom, my self-awareness.  He harnesses his wisdom for a higher, collective purpose.  I think this King is speaking toward the activism work that I am getting into, which is what my higher self wants for me, anyway.

  4.  What ego pattern(s) must I dismantle right now?  The Empress.

    I’ve often said that I don’t really connect with the Empress archetype, but perhaps this is a good time for me to look at this card from a different angle.  She featured in my reading with Sammy as well, and I think what she wrote for me may be part of this puzzle.  And also — why don’t I connect with the Empress?  I think this relates to the “not being a mother”…. Definitely some stuff to explore here.

  5.  My deck’s Strength card.

    Isn’t Strength such a power major?  One of my favorites, and connected to Leo astrologically.  This card always reminds me to roar my powerful lioness roar.

  6.  How can I share more of myself with the greater world?  The Hierophant.

    So, this last card makes my spread evenly gender balanced.  I very rarely pull the Hierophant (and Emperor… and Empress…), but Rose’s YouTube video on the Hierophant really brought him to life for me.  Where the High Priestess is about our intuitive, deep knowing, the Hierophant is there to bring this in to reality.  He is the action, the showing up, bringing thought to form.  He is the practice (my word of 2017) of the wisdom we dreamed from the High Priestess.  In this way, he is a perfect answer here.

Well, and here is my Leo full moon lunar eclipse spread by Vanessa, a lot of familiar cards here (8 of cups, page of swords) and, of course, again, the Emperor in the last position, “my forward focus on accelerating toward new goals.”  Seems the Emperor has a lot in store for me.

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What is it about February, though, eh?  We’re halfway through!  Besides being my birthday month (just turned 29, heyo!), there is a fresh promise of new beginnings.  We just passed Imbolc, the light is returning, the seeds are planted and going about their business of growing.  The sun has been rising earlier, staying up later, and I can’t deny that I love the clear, mild days we’ve been having around my parts (even though it makes me think of climate change non-stop…).  The birds have been more alive, the sidewalks are no longer covered in ice, and the fresh air rejuvenates me.

The other day, I was working in an operating room that has an outdoor view.  It was 6 PM and the sun was beginning its descent and the sky was a pinkish-grey.

“You know it’s February when it’s 6 PM and still light out,” I said to the room.
“….or it could be October,” responded my surgeon with a sarcastic, dry laugh.

Truth.  But I’m happy it’s February, the world is walking up, and spring is on the way.  With February and it’s unfurling, I’ve been practicing my poetry in an exercise called “Post-it note poetry” (#pinp17), which is hosted by Jodi on Instagram.  I’ve been wanting to experiment with poetry of late, and this was the perfect opportunity.  I must say I’m pretty happy with the results, even if the poems are somewhat rudimentary.

Themes of love and loss and the vastness of experience.  #Basic, but whatever I’m loving the exercise.

And I got some good news today that I’m not quite able to share yet, so stay tuned *vague, I know, sorry*…. I think the Emperor is definitely speaking to all the “empire” building I’m doing right now, as well.  It feels good to be moving and shaking and making progress.

Anyway, what have you all been up to?  How did you enjoy the full moon last Friday?  How’s your February going?  Let me know in the comments below.

exploringly yours,
Alaina x

Meditation for the Highest Good

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 is the first guest post, from Leanna — she introduces herself below, so I’ll just turn it over to her….

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Hello!  I’m Leanna Christie from Clarity & Calm.  I’m truly blessed to have connected virtually with Alaina on Instagram, and we now co-host the #virtualmoonrituals there and on Facebook (*you can view our past rituals at the “Virtual Moon Ritual Collective” link above).  I love writing and speaking about meditation, as I believe it’s truly a universal tool for connecting to our clear and calm centres.

Meditation can be a tool for many outcomes, and the one that I’m exploring today is how to collectively achieve the highest good.  The highest good would be the outcome that is beneficial to all.  It would be something like the universal principles of love, kindness, or non-judgment.  When we focus our attention on anything, we send energy there.  When we as individuals choose to focus our attention on something in particular, our brains love it.  They love paying attention.  And when we repeatedly pay attention to one thing in particular, our brains start to form new neural pathways, like little rivulets of water that grow deeper and stronger every time we focus there.

So, if we focus on one theme — say the theme of loving-kindness to all beings — repeatedly, we create a path of ease that, in a sense, allows us to return our thoughts there with ease, any time we wish.  Now, the effects of this focus are greatly multiplied when it’s not just ourselves placing focus on an area, but a collective group.  Focusing our collective attention on the greater good, on loving-kindness, creates new collective neural pathways, that are ingrained in the energy of an entire society.

With focused attention on a common theme, especially when done at the same time, collectively as a group we can make waves.  We can bring new energies to the world.  We can shift the collective programming to a more loving, inclusive, peaceful way of being.

How to get started?

As an individual, you can place your focus during meditation on a theme of love or inclusivity.  Each other individual who also brings their focus to these themes, even across space and time, will contribute some energy to this outcome.  Gradually we can build new habits not just in our own lives, but in our larger societies.

Your practice

Starting a meditation practice is a very personal thing.  You’ll know best what time works for you during the day.  Try to choose one or two times that you can consistently show up for, and schedule them into your day.  Make a commitment to your future self to meet them at that set time, and show up.

Choose an area of focus that feels really important to you.  You can look up guided meditations on that theme, or simply sit in quiet contemplation on your own.  You can pull tarot or oracle cards for insight on the theme.

Bring your focus lightly to the theme you’ve chosen.  Allow it to really fill your body, and mind.  Allow it to sit deep within you, and notice how it begins to change you from within.  Send loving energy deep within yourself, and let it grow outwards until it both fills and surrounds your body in space.  Send that loving energy that grew outwards out towards all beings.  Mentally wish for all beings: May all beings be safe.  May all beings be happy.  May all beings live with ease.

After you’ve sat in meditation for however long you like, take some time to journal or record any thoughts, feelings, or ideas that came up from this loving space.  When you meditate, you are tapping into a deep inner wisdom.  You may find yourself at your most creative immediately after sitting for your practice.

Taking Action

Use the ideas or energies you’ve awakened during your meditation to affect your daily life and the lives of others in a positive, strengthening way.  Take the loving energy you’ve built and treat complete strangers as though they are dear friends.  Take the creative energy you’ve built and design beautiful art that makes people weep.  Take the world-changing energy you’ve built and stand up for the freedoms of all.  There is truly no limit on your potential to affect change.

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Thank you, Leanna, for these suggestions on meditation.  Tapping in to the collective highest good is certainly important in today’s political climate.  Head over to Leanna’s site for more info and support on getting started with, and continuing, your meditation practice.

Do you have a regular meditation practice?  How do you feel about tapping in to the collective to affect the highest good?  Share any questions or ideas in the comments below!

Exploringly yours,
Alaina x

Some New Year’s Thoughts

Hello, friends!  A new, fresh year is upon us!  January is cold, crisp, and exciting.  January is the month that, generally, people make promises for the coming year and there is a lot of enthusiasm behind said promises.  However, if you live in a similar climate as me, it’s been extremely cold since 2017 started, and all I really want to do is curl up with my cat and a blanket, and I don’t feel very proactive…

But, let’s talk a little bit about resolutions.  I’m just as guilty as the next person about having grand ideas about who I want to be, what I want to look like, or what I want to do.  This year, however, I’ve moved away from making “resolutions” and instead have crafted some affirmations around my goals and my word of the year.

My word for 2017 is “practice.”  On my Instagram feed I wrote this about my word: “There are a lot of things in my life that I want to ramp up and build a practice around.  The word, to me, implies ritual and imperfection, it reminds me to work a little bit each day toward my goals.  Be those goals health related, to read a book, to go deeper spiritually, to use my cards, to play my ukulele, to write a bit each day…..it covers a little bit of everything…We’re not perfect, life isn’t perfect, and that’s why we practice — to get things a little better each time.”

With that in mind, and with the help with of my Many Moons workbook, I worked out some intentions and affirmations for the coming year.  I don’t want to call them resolutions exactly because while they aren’t specific goals, (as in “I want to lose 60 pounds”), they are (as said above) practices that I want to build up over this year.  I do have specific end goals in mind, but I want to focus on the intention and practices behind the goals.

The workbook explains affirmations and how they can help to alter thought patterns and habits.  I found the section helpful in crafting my own affirmations, as I didn’t have much experience writing them before.  The book calls affirmations mini-spells, which I really like.  As such, I went on to craft some affirmations to bolster my intentions for 2017.

My overall affirmation for 2017 is, “My goals are not a chore; they are so that I can be a better me.”  I wrote this affirmation keeping my 2017 word, practice, in mind.  I actually really like this affirmation because I tend to view my daily goals as something to be checked off a list.  But really my goals are not something mundane (a chore), they are dynamic, and are intended to help me improve myself.

The workbook then asks “what is waiting to be manifested” for the rest of 2017.  It breaks down goals into sections, and asks us to pick two goals for each section.  I went a step further and crafted an affirmation for each section to reinforce my intentions for the year.  Below, I list what I’ve come up with.

Prosperity/Abundance
1.  Spend my (free) time on activities that I enjoy/make me happy and could also potentially add revenue to my budget (i.e., writing and card reading).
2.  Work to pay off student loans, so that true saving can begin.
Affirmation:  “I spend my time and money in beneficial ways.”

Opportunities/Skill-sets
1.  Practice ukulele three times per week.
2.  Dedicate myself to spiritual development.
Affirmation:  “Practice is a part of ritual and learning.”

Physical body/Health
1.  Drink more smoothies (particularly at work) and more water.
2.  Work out more, particularly at home weights and yoga, three times per week.
Affirmation:  “I nourish and care for my body appropriately.”

Self-love
1.  Build up a meditative practice, three times per week.
2.  Take ritual baths one time per week.
Affirmation:  “I give myself space to relax and open up.”

My focus this year is going to be on the affirmations.  I really like the idea of keeping the affirmations central to my actions this year.  The goals that I have written are more guidelines; if I don’t accomplish the “three times per week,” I won’t beat myself up about it.  The affirmations are meant to keep my intentions on track.

Have you made any resolutions this year?  Do you like to use affirmations?  Let me know in the comments!  I hope you all have a great 2017!

exploringly yours,
Alaina xx