Tarot Thursday Three: March 9, 2017

Another Thursday (that I missed, again!).  So, it’s after midnight, late Friday night/early Saturday morning, and here I am composing this post.  Enjoy!

1.  Does spell work have a place in your practice and if so, how?

I don’t do spells.  I had an interest in spell work (and still do, I guess), but I ultimately find it too complicated to be practical for my life.  Gathering supplies, casting a circle, calling down deities, etc — I just find that too much.  And I don’t see the space or need to call things in to my life (or banish them!  Though that could be useful…).  I like what Ania said about not feeling the need to affect reality in this way.  I feel like life is complicated, and I don’t know enough of what I want or need to ask for it specifically.  I feel like spell work in the traditional sense is something that needs to be practiced regularly for it to be effective, and I just don’t have the desire, or need, to practice spell work regularly.  However, I also like what Olivia wrote about her small spell and ritual work that she does, she made it seem very natural and intuitive.  I do like to hold intentions and affirmations, which I kind of view as mini-spells anyway.  And I do like doing ritual work, that is not quite spell work, but close.  I do this usually around the new and full moons.  I feel that this aspect of my practice is asking to be explored more, but I am not sure what that would mean in physical terms.

2.  What is the element you most identify with and/or enjoy working with and why?

As a through-and-through Aquarian, I live in my head and in daydreams.  I like to think through things, I create alternate timelines in my head (I maintain the idea that all possibilities exist in some realm), and I like putting word to paper.  I regularly have dreams of flying, where I literally kick off from the ground and float in the air.  Sometimes, the feeling is so strong that I recall it in my waking life, and I experience the desire to kick my feet into the air and float along in real life.  So I guess Air is really my jam.

I haven’t worked that much, specifically and pointedly, with any element.  I love to burn candles and incense, I love to collect bits of earth in stone/gem form, I love ritual baths… I have been told (by Benebell, no less!) that I should work to connect more with the earth element.  She gave me a pretty good overview on this, but to be honest, I don’t really know why or how to do this.  So, beyond placing a bunch of grounding rocks on my bedside (a big chunk of Mookaite!), I haven’t done much about that…

3.  Besides the cards, what are you favourite tools for divination and/or ritual?

As I said above, I love to burn candles and incense, but I don’t use this in a divinatory sense, more to set the mood — uh, so I guess for ritual!  However, I do this outside of ritual as well, and to be honest, I haven’t sat down and practiced any kind of ritual lately… I really love to use poetry collections (primarily Mary Oliver) for bibliomancy/stichomancy, and I’ve had some really great results with that.  I love to write, and I’ve been really into writing poetry (thanks to Jodi and her poetry challenge!) and making art (thanks for Kristen and her create this oracle deck challenge!), so I’ll be trying to include more of making both poetry and art into my practice.

At the time of publishing, here are the other posts that I’ve seen (and referenced above :))…

Julia

Ania

Olivia

Do you use spells in your practice?  What is your favorite element to channel?  What other stuff do you use in divination/ritual?  Let me know in the comments below (or let me know if you’ve made a post yourself!).

exploringly yours,
Alaina x

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

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

Tarot Thursday Three: January 12, 2017

It’s Thursday again!  Which means it’s Tarot Thursday Three again!  Julia of Spiral Sea Tarot has posted questions submitted by Beth at @greenwitch_oracle…and here they are……

1. What do you do with a deck you don’t connect with?

So, I like to try and pass on (re-sell or trade) decks that I don’t connect with.  For me, the true tell of not connecting with a deck is if I just never use it.  I always make a point to look through the deck when I first get it, try to connect a little with the images, but I don’t always read with it right away (typically this is because of time constraints).  I like to set aside a good chunk of time to read with a deck for the first time and that’s when I’ll really get the feel for it.  Though, to be honest, there are some decks in my collection that I’ve never even used.  Most of those, I try to pass on, and that has been pretty successful.  However, I do still have some that I haven’t used at all, just waiting…..

But I will say that I didn’t connect with The Wooden Tarot for a long time, and I’m so happy that I kept it because it’s one of my favorite decks now!

2. How long do you give yourself to connect with a new deck?

I don’t have a set time limit here — like I said, I still have some decks that I’ve never used.  Every couple of months, I go through my collection and put some decks up for re-sale/trade, and it just depends on how I feel at that time about each deck.  However, once I do get around to using the deck (ha), it will be pretty clear within 1-2 uses if that deck and I will not vibe.

3. What consecration ritual(s) do you use with new divination tools?

As far as “consecration” goes, I think what makes the deck (or any tool) most sacred to me is consistent use.  Beyond that….  I used to think it was a big deal to sage/palo santo my decks, and I still like to, though I don’t always feel that it’s necessary.  If I happen to read the intro section of the guidebook (which I don’t always do right away), and the intro section/author/creator recommends to sage the deck, then I will.  Sometimes with a new deck, I just give the deck a good, hard knock, and whisper “welcome.”  I will, however, definitely sage/palo santo the deck and sprinkle Florida Water on it before/between reading for others.  If I truly want to reset/clear my deck, I separate and order it into suits and the major arcana and let it rest like that for a while.

There you have it!  Here are some other #tarotthursdaythree posts that I’ve come across…

Julia….

Olivia….

Joanna….

Did you make a post?  Did I miss it?  Post your link in the comments below.  Not make a post?  Let me know what you think in the comments.  Until next week!

exploringly yours,
Alaina xx