Blessed Yule!

A Sunday Meditation

Welcoming back the light.

Even though this is not getting out until Monday, the energies for the reading are good for 1-6 months. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 21 marked the 2019 Yuletide and Winter Solstice. In an intimate celebration, a friend and I welcomed back the light of the sun. Winter has never been my favorite time of year, so thinking about longer days filled with sunshine left me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. In the process of researching the various ways that Yule has been celebrated throughout history, I ran into this tree Tarot spread and decided to pull some cards for all of us in honor of the season. This is a general reading for all signs of the Zodiac.

I used my Waite-Rider-Smith Centennial Deck – a new go-to favorite of mine.
  1. Ideas/Inspiration – the 6 of Cups, nostalgia. It is no surprise that this card came up during the Christmas season. There is something about this time of year that brings up the past like no other. I am sure that many of you have spent more than a few moments this year thinking about what Christmas was like when you were growing up. This card is asking you to pay attention to those memories – to consider the dreams, visions, and ideas you had as a child. It is also time to uncover the ways you may be stuck in that past. If Christmastime was less than happy for you as a child, perhaps you can find ways to reimagine the season to bring you joy. This rewriting of the past has the power to unblock the root & sacral chakras, allowing new ideas and imagination to flow. It is a good idea to look back with gratitude and love on the people who have impacted your life to bring you where you are today. Consider how your past experiences can ground you, and draw on that energy moving forward.
  2. What is growing – the King of Pentacles, prosperity & mastery of the material world. Many of you are figuring it out & becoming the captain of your ship and the master of your domain. This could also be another person who has come into your life to bless and take care of you. It could be someone who is grounded and well-able to manage the things they value. Look to them for advice and guidance in the areas of finances, time management, or even relationships.
  3. What you give (bring to the table) – the Hanged Man, faith, patience, and a new perspective. Trust in your unique viewpoint, even though it may be different from those around you. Or maybe the cards are telling you that it is time to look at things in a different light, trusting that everything is working out for your highest good. Be willing to sacrifice your habitual ways of dealing with difficult issues as this could be what opens the doors for the new growth and change you desire. Ultimately this card is a call for patience, so work to temper your desire for immediate results.
  4. Your plans – the Hierophant, education, mentoring, and traditional ways/values. This card can also indicate a departure from tradition, which I believe may be the better interpretation in light of the Hanged Man with his ‘other’ perspective. This can also be the marriage card. Perhaps some of you are about to receive a proposal or will be tying the knot this Christmas! Whatever the circumstance, I am getting that it is time to both learn and teach. Be willing to sit at the feet of those who are ahead of you on the path and listen to their wisdom (take it in). Likewise be willing to give that knowledge away to help others along as well. It may be time to open your mind to other possibilities and beliefs.
  5. Process for bringing plans into being – Strength, facing the shadow, standing in the power of compassion, humility, and gentleness. Find the strength within to admit where you have missed the mark and do this in light of your commitment to learn, grow, and perhaps find a new way of moving forward on your path. No matter what, you got this.
  6. Be attentive to … (potential obstacle) – the 8 of Cups, new journey, leaving behind what no longer serves you. It is time to give some attention to the things from your past that are continuing to trip you up. Holding on to the emotions of the past will only hinder your progress forward. It is okay to look back (6 of Cups), but this is best done through the lens of gratitude, with a view to the lessons the past can teach. Memories can be useful teachers, but hanging on to the things that brought you pain (breeding unforgiveness and resentment) can keep you stuck in an unhappy life. You cannot change what was, and you can only move forward into all that can be by letting go of the past. Perhaps some focused journaling is in order.
  7. Your gift – what emerges (resolution/completion) – the 7 of Cups, choices. Sevens always indicate evaluation, and cups are emotions, feelings, and inspiration. This card carries with it a sense of overwhelm, but for me the message is simple: The choice is yours, you have the power to decide whether to stay stuck in the past or move forward.
  8. As clarification, I decided to pull another card. The 10 of Cups promises abundance and fulfillment in every area of life. It comes as assurance that the decision to let go and move on is a good one. Keep in mind that there is no bad choice, only what is. Stand in your power and do not fear making this choice. Your destiny awaits!

As I looked again at the spread, I was struck by a couple of things. First, the progression in the second row from the King of Pentacles, through the Hanged Man, to the Hierophant. This looks to me like movement from the material to the spiritual with a flip in perspective on the way. It is as if your ideas of what is of value are being turned on their head, and you are moving from an obsession with the things you can see, taste, hear and touch to a renewed focus on the unseen world of spirituality.

In the next row up, notice how the woman is facing left (for me, the past), the man is walking to the right (future), and the 7 of Cups hangs betwixt them. It is as if the 7 is taunting you, even daring you to make the choice – remember that no decision is a decision. Facing yourself, your shadows and weaknesses, coming to terms with your failures, is the requirement for progress forward. Once you make that choice, the journey promises to be so much sweeter than the past. I do feel there is some sorrow involved in this path, but the 10 of Cups stands as a promise that you can trust it will be worth it. It is high time to leave behind the emotions and beliefs pulling our energy away from the now! Time to throw off all that hinders our journey into the light.

It is time to choose.

The numbers (without the clarifier) add up to 8 – manifestation, power, and the energy embodied within the Strength card. You can do this. Never doubt it.

I hope this reading was helpful to you. Feel free to email me at ripplesofinsight@gmail.com with insights, questions, or anything else you would like to say. If you are interested in diving deeper on a more personal level, I offer intuitive Tarot readings in person (in the Greater Richmond, VA area) by phone, or video chat. You can email your question (and specify your preferred format) to cecetarot@yahoo.com. Payment of $40 can be made via PayPal and is completely refundable if you are in any way dissatisfied with your reading.

May this Yuletide season be bursting with love, gratitude, and peace.

Sending you much light,

C

Celebrating the Day of the Dead

I am fairly certain that I have not donned a costume for Halloween in at least 35 years. This particular celebration, while fun as a child, never really found a foothold in my heart. Add to that, in Christian circles, Halloween was disparaged as “Satan’s high holy day” – something to be avoided as avidly as cursing or reading Harry Potter.

Tonight it occurred to me that little about the rituals and celebrations of Christianity ever took hold in me either, despite spending 30+ years in that paradigm. Granted, as a child, Christmas was the most wonderful time of the year, to borrow a well-worn lyric. Certainly my parents and their tradition of Santa Claus helped (I can still remember my father peeking into my bedroom to ask if I had heard the sleigh bells – his voice was as filled with wonder as my child’s heart!), but even later on in my teen years, I remember sitting in our living room mesmerized by the glowing coals in the fireplace, while white lights twinkled between evergreen boughs laden with ornaments and tinsel. Sometimes when I think about what peace feels like, that is the picture that comes to mind.

Over the years, Christmas came to mean less and less to me – especially once I understood that December 25th was not the birthday of any deity in the flesh, much less Jesus of Nazareth. In the early 2000’s I stopped putting up a Christmas tree, and have been hard-pressed to find ways to create meaningful traditions for myself or my family ever since. Anyway, every Christian holiday is nothing more than a hijacked pagan celebration of one kind or another.

In 2006 I began what turned out to be a 10-year trek out of my Christian faith. Not that I am an atheist per se. I believe – probably stronger than I ever did as a Christian – in the absolute existence of a spiritual dimension. I am certain that death is not the end. But the job of determining whether there is a personal god out there running our universe is beyond my pay grade, the purview of religion, and better left alone by li’l ol’ me.

Perhaps because of my recent fascination with the Celts, faeries, and magic, I have gravitated most towards the old religion or what many call paganism. Admittedly, my stint in Christianity has caused me to shun any and all religious traditions, especially those who claim to know ‘the way’ or ‘the truth’. But the seasons of the year and of life are something I am familiar with. And I have always had a special affinity for the moon. That is the other strong memory I carry from my teenage years: monthly chats with the man in the moon. I had a perfect view of the moon at its full from the swing in our backyard, and I have always been able to see a face on the surface of it. In fact, I am hard-pressed to look at a full moon and not see a face.

At the same time that I find myself drawn to the cycles of the moon, I also feel a renewed sense of connectedness to the earth. I do desire to establish traditions to follow, but I am content to move slowly, listening closely to my own heart and what it whispers about the lessons, comfort, joy, or depth that a particular holiday celebration can lend my spirit. I began following the full moon cycles sometime in 2015, and this year added the new moon cycles to my monthly observances. Late in the summer, I determined to celebrate as many of the eight pagan festivals (beginning with Samhain, pronounced Sow-en) I am able to this year. October 31 marks the end of summer, the last of the harvest celebrations, and the beginning of the new year for the Celtic pagans of old. Samhain is a time to give attention to our ancestors and other loved ones who have passed. Many see it as an opportunity (perhaps even an obligation) to learn about their heritage and honor dead loved ones in some fashion. Still others believe that the veil between our world and the world of the dead is thinnest on this night, making possible communication with those who have passed.

For me, I wanted to take some time to think about how those family members who have gone on affected me while they were here. To that end, I put together a display of photographs, peppered with candles, fresh flowers, and crystals (particularly those related to the root chakra) on my buffet.

My Tree of Life Grid
My Tree of Life Grid has never held as much significance for me as it does now – a lovely reminder of my life, my roots, my heritage.

I started the process the first week of October and did not complete it until this past Friday. I took my time, and thought through the many photo choices, discovering a couple of folks whose legacy I found myself unable or unwilling to honor. They are not on display this year, but perhaps I will come to terms with them enough to include them in future.

A

Through this process, I began to think about the legacy that I want to leave behind. I even asked myself what kind of legacy would be left should I pass today.  Sometimes I wonder if the reason many of us throw our lives onto the wide screen of the internet is in hopes that something we say, do, write, or photograph will touch enough random people that our legacy may somehow live on after we pass. Perhaps it is our way of dealing with the fact that death comes to us all. We as a society have certainly invented many ways to avoid ever thinking about our own death, yet that is precisely why we remain haunted by the prospect.

My sister used to tell me that she believed when we die, there is nothing, it’s over, kaput. Nonsense, I say. Her belief created years of fearful living, but now she knows the truth. Those who are able to celebrate life understand that death is not the end, but merely the beginning of a new phase of our journey. J.R.R. Tolkien said it right well:

PIPPIN: I didn’t think it would end this way.

GANDALF: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.

PIPPIN: What? Gandalf? See what?

GANDALF: White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

For C.S. Lewis death was an expansion of the world of the heart. Narnia opened up into infinite possibility, like the layers of an onion peeling back in reverse. Because of him, I will forever think of death as a doorway from the barn into the open field, with mountains beckoning beyond. (The Last Battle from The Chronicles of Narnia)

Last night was the new moon, a black moon (by definition, the second new moon in 1 month). Tonight begins Samhain, the Day of the Dead, and tomorrow the Wheel will start to turn anew. The near overlap of the black moon and the beginning of a new year holds special significance for me. I have learned that new moons are a good time to set intentions for the coming months. Since this was a rare black moon so closely connected with the start of a new year, it became a time for me to consider what I would like to see in my own life in the coming months. As I reflected on my day, I realized that it was filled with exactly what I want for the coming year: meditation, healthy eating, work, writing, and loving encounters. A good omen for what is to come, I think.

Whatever your tradition, Halloween, Samhain, or All Saints Day (November 1), may you find comfort in your roots. May you come to understand the legacy your ancestors left behind. May you honor that legacy, and learn from both the victories and mistakes of those who precede you. Above all, may you find comfort in knowing who is watching over you, and who waits for the joyous reunion to come.

Blessed Samhain!

Because, blindsided.

I did what I promised her I wouldn’t.

But, please, let me explain…

On December 1st every year, one of our local radio stations begins playing Christmas tunes. The same 10 songs over and over again for 25 straight days (at least, that’s how it seems to me)! Every once-in-awhile I push the button to see what comes out … if I hear Jingle Bells or Let it Snow one more time, I think I’ll go home and stuff myself with fruitcake until I push my body into a diabetic coma. To save myself from Christmas Song Burnout (this is a real and documented condition, trust me), I wait until Christmas week to begin listening to Christmas songs in earnest. There are a couple of songs I downloaded for free from NoiseTrade last year that I hadn’t really listened to yet, so I was looking forward to some fresh tunes. On December 22, in my car on my way to work, I plugged in the i-pod, selected Christmas genre, and hit shuffle. “Could’ve Been Summer” was the second song to come out of my speakers.

Car Radio (1)

Friday, December 19 was the first anniversary of my sister’s death. I had talked to my parents the day before. They planned to take my other siblings plus my sister’s husband out for dinner to all be together. I lived a few states away at the time, so was unable to join them. Friday evening I saw on FB some comments begun by my Mom’s post about the difficulty of the day. It occurred to me then that, for me, Friday had not been a more difficult day than the previous 364 days had been.

Despite the dull, continuous ache, I was doing pretty well. Yes, I felt sad whenever I thought about calling you (every day, half a dozen times), but on December 22, that song opened my grief like a fresh floodgate that had been screaming to break. The entire last week we spent together came flooding back in, totally uninvited. The memory of you saying my name felt like a tender punch in the gut. Through the tears I kept thinking, “I’m sorry. I told you I wouldn’t remember you that way, but I can’t help it.” So I let myself remember – all of it.

Then I made myself remember other things. Christmas things. How you adored Christmas. You didn’t always make the gifts you gave, but you always made the packages look so inviting. Your gifts were the ones everyone wanted (and did not want) to open. The wrapping was always too lovely to tear through. The decorations in your home were tasteful and stylish and different every year. You understood the beauty of nature over the glare of commercial glitter and always managed to incorporate the beauty of the outdoors into your boxes and bows, wreaths and mantlepieces. Everything you ever did was a work of art, with you the most beautiful one of them all.

It occurred to me on Sunday to remind Mom that she may have missed the funeral, but she had been there when you went home. She was able to whisper encouragement and hold your hand and say goodbye in that agonizing moment. I’m so glad for that. Though I could not be there to say the final goodbye, I am thankful for the week I was given the month before – every painful, horrible, gut-wrenching, sweet, precious, lovely moment of that unforgettable week. I am thankful for the many years we had together – the phone calls, the holidays, the Birthdays, the anniversaries, moushie jokes, Mah-Nuh, Mah-Nuh, all the love and sweat and tears and joy. I remember it all. I remember you. And even though it “Could Have Been Summer” when you left, I doubt that would have made this Christmas any easier.

Kisses, kisses, kisses, HUG!

LOVE you, Ditty-Boo – bunches and bunches and tons and tons!

– Your Little Sis