Daily Card: Island of the Cat

A lovely bright sunny morning brings us to the Island of the Cat…one of my favourite animals, being mother to two very funny, loving and affectionate cats although very different from each other. I think all animals are therapeutic in their own way but cats are especially so. also, they have got Mindfulness down to a fine art – they absolutely live in each moment perfectly (or is that purrrfectly). If they’re sleeping then they’re sleeping, if they’re stalking then that’s what they’re doing, if they’re eating they are thoroughly absorbed in that…cats are a really good example of mindfulness. anyway, what about today’s card? Here’s what the book says:

The rules of Otherworldly hospitality entail respect for people and property found therein. Because we may be in unusual situations does not mean we can act discourteously.

The Meaning

Caution is needed, respect, stasis, entrapment, restlessness and dissatisfaction, impulsiveness, theft, appropriation of other’s things or resources, honour, integrity.

The Challenge

Have you violated the rules of society by your actions? Your thoughtless actions affect others and sometimes hurt them. find out what the boundaries are in this situation and abide by them.

It’s so easy to step across the boundaries isn’t it, and I bet we all do it from time to time in an unconscious fashion. However, it is important for self-evolution to bring the unconscious to consciousness. I know that my thoughtless actions have affected others and still do at times. When I think, act and speak from an unconscious level I overstep the mark and blunder about stepping on toes and making a mess of things, which not only hurts me but hurts others too. That’s where Mindfulness comes in – mindfulness is not only about sitting in meditation but is about actively being mindful in every moment whatever we are doing. It’s about entering into each present moment with awareness. If we are truly mindful we will be aware of what we are thinking, speaking or doing. This does not mean we never get angry or frustrated or sad or any of the other normal human emotions but it means we are consciously aware of them. When we are consciously aware we do not need to step over the boundaries and we can manifest respect and integrity in any situation. It means we can express our emotions in an appropriate way rather than allow them to rule us. Of course mindfulness takes practise but it is one that is very well worth doing. It is the difference between getting on with those around us or living in a maelstrom of hurt feelings and anger. I know which I’d rather have.

Of course boundaries are really important for humans. Even in the natural world there are boundaries. We tend to think wild nature has no boundaries but it definitely has, which is why there is cohesion in nature. Each plant, animal and insect has it’s place within the Web of Life and acts accordingly. It only seems to be human beings that have trouble with boundaries and that’s really because of our egos. We tend to think of ourselves as having ‘rights’ when in fact most of the rights we think we deserve are just ego. If we don’t maintain healthy boundaries with the people we interact with then chaos reigns and we don’t know where we stand. We become selfish and self-righteous, angry and disrespectful. We may not believe the same things as each other and have different life-styles but we can still accord each other respect and hospitality and kindness.

How do we set healthy boundaries? Well I used to have a great problem with boundaries because I didn’t know what my boundaries were and nor did I know what the other person’s were either. If you don’t know what your own boundaries are then how can you know and respect another person’s? It starts with you as an individual. Another important aspect of setting and maintaining boundaries is communication. If we truly communicate and listen to the other then we begin to get an understanding of that person’s boundaries. I had to work really hard on my relationship with my daughter to set healthy boundaries, and so did she. As a result our relationship went from being one where the two of us tended to merge and we never knew where each of us stood, into one of mutual respect and healthy boundaries. For me it meant dealing with my ego and also working on my unhealthy ideas about who my daughter was and is (no, she is not my mother and neither am I her sister!). So now, our relationship has really moved into a much better place where there is mutual respect but also a lot of love and affection. I realise that when I make the Freudian slip of calling her ‘Mum’ it is because I’m coming from a needy place and I need to pay attention to my inner wounded child. Of course those Freudian slips are far less now thank goodness but they still happen from time to time but I’m working on it. The point is my daughter and I have managed this because we communicated honestly with each other, remained mindful while doing so, listened and also worked on ourselves as individuals. From the storm came something even better and far more healthy.

It is definitely possible to have respect and integrity, have healthy boundaries and live harmoniously with others – but it starts with us as individuals – it starts with YOU!

 

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The Daily Card: The Enchanted Map ~ Coming to life

Today’s card is Coming to life, and at first I just couldn’t see how this pertained to me seeing as I have very little motivation life in me right now. I had to think and reflect on this one a bit. Here’s what the companion book has to say about it:

Something beautiful is being born into your life. When you look at your life, can you see how you’ve grown and evolved over time? Perhaps you’ve shed ‘skins’ and identities and created new ones, or at the very least matured in your ideas about yourself and the world you inhabit. You know things take time, and Spirit’s timetable is rarely in sync with your own. This card indicates that a long-held dream is beginning to show signs of life. you must try not to coax it along, or shape it according to your desires. Spirit knows the best form for the manifestation of this dream, and your life can become even better than you could possibly imagine. Now is the time for reverence and awe. Allow the contours of your path to be carved by the hands of the Divine. All you have to do is show up.

When I first looked at this card I was confused? What dream? Yes I’ve got a few dreams but none seem to be materializing in my life at the present and to be honest I don’t even know if they’re the right dreams. Plus the fact I’m sorely lacking in the motivational department at present and am feeling very blah! But the more I thought about this card today the more I realised – it’s ok, I don’t actually have to do anything. I just have to be patient and wait. For how long I don’t know but if I’m trusting in the Spirit the length of time is no matter. Then my thoughts were reinforced by me looking at my two very teeny, tiny mugwort seedlings that have taken ages to sprout. I was actually beginning to give up hope and had thought about resowing them. But last week the first one came through – so tiny you really have to look through a magnifying glass to get a good look at it, then another popped through the earth. I wondered what it was like for them…being born. Are they struggling or are they just being and letting nature take its course in its own proper time. I like to think it’s the latter. Those little seeds will grow in their own good time, the time nature intended for them to grow – and nothing I can do will make them grow any fast. Well, I suppose there is some way of forcing them but what kind of plants would I have in the end.

It’s the same with our dreams – they have to go through a natural process of being born. If we force them to be our ‘idea’ of what they should be then chances are they won’t be what we truly need or deserve. We need to have faith in the Universe, the Divine, that our dreams will be realised at the right time and in the right way. If we don’t believe this to be so, we only have to take a look at any kind of seedling, and watch its growth just as nature intended.

The Daily Card: The Enchanted Map ~ Compass

It’s time for the Compass card, as today’s daily card. We all need one of those don’t we – a compass to guide us through the forest or wherever we find ourselves. In fact our inner compass needs to be with us and working well at all times through this journey called life. Here’s what the book has to say about it:

As long as you orient your compass to True North – the direction of your higher power – you will never be lost.You’re entering uncharted territories right now and can expect wonderful new experiences. To stay on the highest path of your destiny, you’ll need to keep your compass pointed to True North. Only Spirit, or a higher power, can serve this function. Money, property, prestige, romance, and other material achievements can’t help you find your true path. They are simply things you may experience along the journey. Know that Spirit is working in your life, so even if you feel lost temporarily, it will be easy to find your way. Have faith and trust, for your compass, with Spirit as True North, will ensure that you’ll never be lost – even on a starless night when all seems dark.

 

This card – the Compass – is asking us to align ourselves with our inner compass, our spiritual guide, our souls. Read ‘true north’ as a metaphor here ok. Many times during our lives we can get lost, we can take our eyes off the path and find ourselves in the swampy mire. This can happen through many reasons but quite often it’s because we get bogged down with the material – money, possessions, work, success, leading to not really being satisfied with what we have. We work more and more in order to keep ourselves in a lifestyle we want not realising that this lifestyle is actually depleting us and stopping us from having a far more satisfying life. We get mesmerised by ‘stuff’ whether it be the latest cell phone, the latest car, the latest gadget or even those wonderful sparkly tools of the Craft we end up hankering after. The truth is when these become more important than anything else we have lost our compass and we end up moving right off target. Of course there’s nothing wrong with having material stuff – heck I have an inordinate love of books and now I have my Kindle I’m in 7th Heaven. But I speak from experience here – the lure of stuff is not always easy to resist. Before you know it you’re surrounded by things and working two or three jobs in order to have them. Or, if you’re like me you end up with a pants bank account that is always in the red because you haven’t managed your money very well.

Does that sound familiar?  When this happens we’ve stopped looking at our inner compass and keeping it directed at our higher power. Keeping on course takes effort and discipline – a couple of things I do admit to finding hard at times – especially the discipline part. When I’m off course I feel uncentered and ungrounded. To help reground and focus my compass again I recite what Buddhists call the 5 Remembrances:

It is inevitable that I will grow old

It is inevitable that I will have ill-health

It is inevitable that I will die

It is inevitable that I will leave those I love

I came with nothing – I leave with nothing

These words pull no punches and are the inevitable truth of our existence on this earthly plane at this present time. The ‘I’ spoken of is of course, I believe, talking about the ego here. and it is our egos that most often lead us off course.

However, there are other ways we can be pulled off course too – emotions can make us veer off course and when emotions are extremely deep and painful we can drop our inner compass completely. I find the emotions that cause me to drop my inner compass the most are anger, fear and apathy. These three are real buggers when it comes to trying to maintain our connection with our higher power and our inner compass. I liken them to the forest path being completely overgrown with harsh, painful briers – often seemingly no way through. Of course there is a way through and we have to grasp it – our spiritual swords! We must grasp the mettle, take a deep breath and go forth, knowing that spirit is with us, assisting us all the way. It may take a bit of time but you can clear a way through. The main things to have here are trust and faith as well as patience with yourself. Cutting our way through the dross is going to be painful without doubt – if it isn’t you’re not cutting hard enough. To face our shadows and painful wounds that can hinder us spiritually takes courage and determination…and time…but believe me it can be done. Once through though, no time to rest on our laurels. We need to be continually vigilant and observant and keep our ship on course by continually maintaining our inner compass. The captain of a ship, if he’s worth his salt, doesn’t stop watching his compass when he nears port. In fact he probably watches it more carefully – and so must we!

The Daily Card: The Enchanted Map ~ Unexpected Visitors

Ah…the Alice in Wonderland card…Unexpected Visitors…doesn’t the picture remind you of Alice? It does to me and I loved reading all about Alice’s adventures in Wonderland. In fact it was one of my most favourite books as a kid. Here’s what the book has to say about this card:

If you expect the unexpected you’ll be prepared for miracles. Detours, surprises and paradigm shifts…expect the unexpected. No matter how detailed your plans are, and how clear you believe the road ahead to be, there are times when the best laid plans are waylaid by unforseen circumstances. At first, detours may seem inconvenient, but a surprise turn of events signals that the adventure of life is beginning to get interesting. No one can plan for synchronicity – for fate and destiny to meet – except Spirit, who knows what you can’t comprehend for now. Life is full of surprises, so stay on your toes and enjoy this exciting new adventure you weren’t expecting. There is a plan for your life that may not match up with your agenda.

So, let’s talk about Alice and how we can apply her experience to ourselves. In a nutshell a girl falls down a rabbit hole (a lower world shamanic journey maybe?), eats small cakes and drinks potions that make her either very small or very big, nibbles on mushrooms, speaks to an ethereal disembodied cat, counsels a crying turtle, plays croquet with flamingos and hedgehogs (was this animal abuse?), is chased by red soldiers (communists may be?) who want to catch her in order to chop off her head by the orders of a screeching, blood lusting queen. Well, what a journey Alice had! But despite all the weird things that happened to her you have to admit that it was rather an exciting journey.

Now, I’m not suggesting our lives are like that (or maybe they are for some of you) but we have to admit that sometimes our lives just don’t go as we plan, we come up against brick walls, or the road turns sharply back on itself. When these things happen we can quickly become frustrated and even disillusioned with life. I remember thinking about how Alice coped with the ups and downs of her journey through Wonderland. Her journey wasn’t mapped for her, she didn’t even know where she was going. Of course she got frustrated, scared, angry even and confused but she also paid attention and was observant. She made good use of the signposts presented to her and wasn’t afraid to ask questions. Moreover, she never lost her sense of humour. Alice accepted what was presented to her and moved forward accordingly. Sometime she made the right choice and other times her choice landed her holding the baby (or was it a pig?). At any rate she moved through her journey as it happened and not with any pre-planned ideas on her part.

Of course, it is good for us to have a plan for our lives but if we plan too far into the future with a rigid mindset we miss so much along the way and that rigidity stops synchronicity from working for us. Rigidity does not allow for miracles to happen, it stops excitement in the journey of life and when we are presented with obstacles we can become angry and dismal. Life is not meant to be dismal! Yes there will be dismal places but even they can be turned into advantages if we pay attention and stay alert.

One thing Alice never lost was her sense of wonder and this is how it should be for us too. Life is an amazing journey full of twists and turns. We never really know what is around the next corner, we cannot plan for that no matter how careful we are. The truth is ‘we’ are not really in charge of our lives but our spirits are. And our spirits move us onward to those experiences and lessons that we need, not what we ‘think’ we need. So really we must give up our ego control of life and trust our spirits and the Universe to move us in the right direction. And like Alice, we won’t be disappointed.

The Daily Card: The Enchanted Map ~ Gentle Gardener

I’m posting today’s card a little later for those in the Northern Hemisphere but never mind – the sentiments still apply whatever day you read this. So, today’s card from the Enchanted Map Oracle deck by Collette Baron-Reid is Gentle Gardener. I love this card so much and it does remind me strongly of the season – we’ve just had Ostara/Easter and new life is springing up all over the place. We need to tend our physical gardens well, but also our spiritual gardens too. Here’s what the book has to say about this card:

Be your own person – be a conscious co-creator! The Gentle Gardener is visiting you at this moment in your life to remind you that your thoughts, feelings and beliefs create the reality of your experience. She is the embodiment of the energy within you that is sent out into the field of co-creation and ensures that all that you are is reflected in the world of form. Are you aware of your thoughts? What is their quality? Believe in limitless possibility and you will see miracles unfold. The Gentle Gardener guarantees the integrity of everything you send out into the world. Stay positive and expect a wonderous return. your garden is abundant with beauty.

Throughout my time in therapy I’ve heard it said many times ‘to be real’ and of course many of us didn’t know what that meant. I think actually it means different things to different people considering that each of us lives in a unique reality. For me ‘being real’ is about being authentic. That means being honest with myself about my feelings at any given time. As someone who suffers from clinical depression I often find it hard to be positive. However, the truth is like attracts like – it’s all about energy. If we manifest positive energy we will automatically attract it, and the same goes for negative energy too. This is a universal law. However, when you’re suffering from depression, clinical or otherwise it is often very hard to manifest any kind of positive energy. So what do you do then? That’s where being a gentle gardener comes in.

Being a gentle gardener means essentially being gentle with yourself while at the same time challenging yourself to move forward through the fog. No it’s not easy but nothing worth having is easily gotten. The challenges have to be positive (so no saying I must, I ought to, I should) and achievable. In fact it really doesn’t matter how small or seemingly insignificant they are, the point is to work towards them in a gentle forward motion. There are times when, because of my difficulties with depression, I find it extremely hard to do the simplest of daily tasks. so that’s when I need to break these down into really mini chunks (think mini bite size here). I’ll give you an example, sometimes I cannot do my housework and it will be weeks before I can manage it. Of course the flip side is that the longer I leave it the harder it gets to do and the more depressed I am, which then causes me to have even less energy…and the whole thing becomes a horrid vicious cycle. So the answer here is to be gentle and realistic – instead of looking at the whole mess I take one room at a time and tackle that. Maybe even half a room. But the point is by chunking it down into manageable portions (challenges) I can make it and then I find I’ve actually accomplished something and that has a knock on effect on my mood in a positive way.

So what about our spirituality? Well we need to be a gentle gardener here too. Quite often I’ve heard witches beat up on themselves for not being able to participate in a ritual for some reason. It’s a problem for them to be regular at rituals. They feel so bad and maybe even wonder what the God and Goddess must think of them. This then has an effect on their spirituality and they find themselves depressed, and the whole thing becomes a chore that they want to do but can’t manage. First thing – spirituality is NEVER a chore! If your worship has become so then it’s time to think again and see what you can manage. We have learnt through our study of the Craft that ‘intention is everything’. That means one really doesn’t need fancy tools etc, all one really needs is our heartfelt intention and the ability to visualise in our mind’s eye. So, if you miss a Full Moon ritual don’t beat yourself up over it. Do some gentle gardening – go out into your garden, sit down and stretch your hand out to the moon (or just the sky if the moon isn’t visible – it is still there). Send your love to the Goddess and bless her with your love. This might not seem like a ritual but in fact it is. If you are unable to make a Sabbat, go out and find a flower or plant that is associated with that particular Sabbat and spend time with it. All this might seem insignificant but it is really extremely important to change perceptions about how we view things.

By setting small challenges and doing things in a slightly different way you do not remain stuck in ‘I can’t’ and that negative energy. Soon you will be attracting positive energy to you and before long instead of the glass half empty, it will be half full. Take it from me – I was a person who ALWAYS saw the glass half empty and I wondered why I never felt the teeny bit happy. But once I’d learnt to change my perceptions and do some gentle gardening things began to change. That doesn’t mean I’m always ecstatically happy but it does mean that when depression hits those periods are a lot shorter now and I can move through them.

 

The Daily Card: The Enchanted Map ~ Listening

If ever there was a pertinent card for today this is the one! Listening. Of course I only know how pertinent in hindsight having returned from therapy and of course the day is not yet over. Here’s what the book has to say about it:

An open heart will hear the message. When this card appears, you’re being reminded that there is a time to speak and a time to be silent. now is an occasion for listening. Pay attention not only to what is being spoken but also to what is not being said at the moment, for the deeper message is not always obvious. Listen with your heart, not just your ears and you’ll find clarity. Receiving the Listening card is a fortunate sign and ensures a greater understanding of your circumstances.

I do love all these elephant cards in this deck but actually elephants are great examples to us, especially in the listening department. I spoke the other day about the Forest elephants who come out of the jungle and gather to eat mud. Well, what I didn’t mention is that these elephants have extremely good hearing and they actually do listen because they communicate with each other in the forest by means of extremely low rumbles – too low for a human ear to actually hear. In fact they seem to be energy vibrations rather than sounds. The elephant has to listen intently for them. It’s the same with us too isn’t it. some forms of communication are only picked up on if we listen intently, with our whole bodies, not just our ears. We can listen to expressions, body language, what is not said, tone of voice etc. All these can help a person to communicate and allow us to communicate with them. I think quite often that it is when we are silent and truly listening that we can most connect with a person.

The Daily Card: The Enchanted Map ~ Protecting Treasure

Today’s card is Protecting Treasure – what is your treasure? Here’s what the book says about this card:

You are always protected and divinely directed. Although this is a time of great risk, know that at a fundamental level you are able to move forward safely and securely. The proverbial nest egg is safe and sound no matter the fluctuations in the world. Guardian angels and other guides are whispering to you, making you aware of their protective presence. Your loyalty is an important theme now. Nurture that which you hold dear. This is a good time to strengthen bonds of friendship and ensure their integrity. If you feel tested right now, know that a true and loyal heart always achieves its aim. Take refuge under an angel’s wing. You are not alone and have no need to fear. Embrace your courage.

Treasure can mean all sorts of things to all kinds of people can’t it? For me treasure is that which resonates with and feeds my soul. Sometimes throughout life we come into situations that test us, we find ourselves amongst people who do not resonate with our souls, who sap our energy and we end up feeling lost in a miasma of negativity. At these times we need to protect that which we hold dear and guard our souls. It is true that all people and events can teach us something but we do not have to give up our soulful integrity. When faced with difficult and trying situations remember what is important to you, remember the promise of the Universe. This may mean making a choice between allowing ourselves to remain in a situation or removing ourselves from it. If we choose to remove ourselves this is not running away – this is doing our part to protect our treasure. We make this decision not out of denial but out of clarity about what’s important to us. It takes wisdom and courage to do this and rest assured that the Universe and our Guides will always back us up. I am reminded today of a quote from the very wise Walt Whitman:

Re-examine all you have been told…Dismiss what insults your soul.