Tuesday, January 10, 2012

prognostications, inspirations and musings...

I have no idea if any of you believe that forces outside of your self can predict or guide your future. I’m not sure I believe in destiny or that my path is laid out at my feet only to follow it blindly without my choices affecting each step and phase of life.

That said I do believe that there may be clues along the way that might help you to look at things differently and help you to choose consciously which steps to take in your life’s journey.

Many peoples around the world choose to be a part of religious organizations and frequently use the teachings of their religion to be their guides or the absolute rules they live by. I am not good at being hemmed in by absolutes, the innate curiosity and creativity I was born with, and treasure do not allow for treading such a narrow path. I have gone to church for most of my life and believe that the model Christ set to live a life of kindness, generosity, understanding and dedication to others is a wonderful guide to emulate. Sadly many who call themselves his followers choose other aspects of “Christian” teachings to adhere to and seldom, in my humble and undoubtedly flawed estimation, live up to the model he set. I aspire to follow the golden rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” rather than the “eye for an eye” kinds of life models.

I also look to other cultures and other ways of seeing the world to inspire my life choices. Many of them help to feed the creative side of my spirit. Among those sources of inspiration are those who believe in the world of Fae. Fae or fairy is a collective term for lands/creatures we normally cannot see. Fairies, trolls, goblins, elves, tomte, mermaids, Selkies, sidhe, etc. all belong in this category but I suppose angels could also be said to fit here.

A couple of years ago I purchased “The Heart of Faerie Oracle” by Brian and Wendy Froud. Admittedly I initially purchased it so that I had the cards to look at as artistic inspiration, Brian Froud’s paintings are so wonderful and speak to part of my creative nature that I sometimes struggle to access. At Faerie Con I attended Brian & Wendy’s workshop discussing the Oracle. I don’t follow the instructions for use as they are written, but they are suggested guides, and these cards are not as tied to the layout pattern as Tarot. My method is to shuffle and shuffle until it feels like time to stop shuffling. Then I spread the cards out in a fan, at least 3 passes from left to right (just because that’s more comfortable for my right handed self) after the 3rd pass I start to lightly drag my hand back the other direction. When one card catches and follows my hand I pull it. If a bunch of cards shift I nudge them back in line and return to the gentle passing of my hand over the cards. When I get 3 (or sometimes 4 if, like this morning a 4th card comes free independent of the others around it) I put the bulk of the deck away and examine the cards. Brian’s paintings are so rich and full of hidden images that this is always a treat. Each time I look at one I seem to find new things in it, even cards/paintings that I’ve looked at countless times before.

This morning I had 4 cards come free of the pack. The first was the Queen of Hearth and Home, the second was The Pan, 3rd came The Faerie of Naughtiness and 4th was The Green Woman. The cards come with a book that helps you to gain understanding of the cards, but these texts are a guide, not an absolute, you are meant to look at the cards and find meanings that connect with you personally. So, I looked up each card. The Queen of Hearth and Home is giving you or guiding you towards making a home/a welcoming atmosphere where ever you go & whatever you are doing. I’ve been meaning to work on household chores today anyway, but she’s more about creating a sense of welcome and acceptance. Having clean floors and all the dishes and laundry put away is a good thing in and of itself, but it does not create a sense of warmth and welcome. That comes from the hearts of the people in the home. I have been struggling with how I feel about certain people in my life, people I know I should be more open towards but am often willfully holding on to the negative feelings I have rather than allowing myself to value the parts of their natures that I know they possess. OK, so today’s lesson from this Queen’s card is to allow myself to open up my heart to let the warmth I know those I struggle with possess and allow the warmth of my heart to spread and share a greater sense of welcoming and generosity with the world.

The second card, The Pan my reading of this card today addresses a part of my life that I often avoid, the business side of being an artist. Ironically, just before pulling out the cards I’d been writing a ToDo list, something I used to keep and refer to regularly but fell out of the habit sometime last year and have been suffering from that lack of structure ever since. So, on this morning’s list were a variety of things I know I should do and manage to keep on a back burner long enough that they fade from my focus. Things like submitting my work to magazines, looking into getting my work in galleries and teaching more classes in more places. A fear of rejection and that my work will be seen as meaningless/valueless and a shyness I have never conquered has held me back for far too long. The Pan card is about facing the adventure in front of you. Something I’d been resolving to do just moments before pulling the card, but something that would probably have fallen to the bottom of the list, again, without an external nudge reminding me that I let those things slide far to often and that it’s time to take a firmer hand with myself and dare to dream, dare to put my work out there, dare to accept the adventure that life is, rather than passively letting life pass by.

The 3rd card, The Faerie of Naughtiness, is reminding me not to take things too seriously. A little mischief and a little naughtiness can make the world a brighter more energized place. I’m not advocating practical jokes or being spiteful but allowing play and a playful approach to be part of my life and my world. If you read yesterday’s blog entry you know that my world has a lot of pain and angst right now. As I look around, follow the news the world is full of pain and angst, it always is. But, it’s how you choose to accept and deal with pain, angst, challenges, the world that makes the difference. You cannot choose what life throws at you, you cannot avoid all pain, pain can sometimes be a good thing it warns us away from doing things that may harm us – don’t hold your hand over a flame or grab a hot object or you will get burned. But, pain does not have to rule your life. There is a lady at the church I attend that spends most of her days coping with pain in the 7-9 range every day. No one would ever know it to look at her, she presents the world with her best face, she takes an interest in others around her and looks for pleasures and happy moments to contrast her physical pains and bring joy to her life. Her smile brightens a room and her joyful acceptance of those around her speaks of her love of life, no matter how hard it can be sometimes. I aspire to be as positive and as welcoming of the world and the adventures it presents as she is.

The 4th – bonus card – was the Green Woman. She is an emissary of subtlety, beauty & fruition. She inspires us to look for the beauty in the world around us, to cultivate it, to marvel and cherish the small things like green ivy in a winter landscape. The final section on the entry about her reads as follows: “When she appears before you in a reading, let her powerful, gentle energy surround and nurture you. A relationship calls for gentle “greening” sometimes. Tread softly and gently to bring a relationship to fruition in its tentative stages. Be strong in your convictions, but gentle in the manner in which you present them, and you emulate the Green Woman.” Tread softly … be firm within yourself but treat people and relationships gently … what a great way to approach the world. If only we could all adopt a similar approach, the world would be a kinder place.

It’s funny, I haven’t read these cards in ages, but what always surprises me when I pull them out what ever card(s) I pull they always seem to be a perfect prompt for thinking about what is going on in my life at that time.

Where do you draw strength, peace, courage, and inspiration from? What tools or faith systems do you adhere to or use to put your life in perspective?

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