Weekly Card w/b Monday 28 July 2014

Fairy Festival OstaraThis week’s card (drawn today) is one of the Fairy Festival cards (of which there are eight following the Celtic Wheel of the Year) – OSTARA. Ostara (Spring Equinox) there is a balance and night and day are of equal length, the festival that heralds the Spring and new growth and fertility. I wouldn’t equate this card with new beginnings as such (I associate Imbolc with that) but definitely new growth and blossoming forth. Birds begin to find mates and make nests and often have their first clutch of young ones, buds on trees burst forth with a fresh new greenness, spring flowers blossom and young animals are born. There is definitely a vivaciousness about nature at this time of the year; a new creativity and fertility. The momentum is forward and outward looking.

In this card, which is predominantly fresh shades of green, you can see a Fairy Isle, a magical place that appears and disappears in less than a blink of an eye. Humans who are taken to a fairy isle have the fortune or misfortune of never coming back to normal reality again – they stay forever in the fair isle with the Fae. You can also see a group of the Fae (who are actually characters from other cards – the Changeling, Woodwose, the Lady Tryamour amongst others. You can also see those quintessential harbingers of spring – daffodils, with their bright yellow trumpets heralding a new phase of the wheel of the year.

Divinatory meaning

I drew this card upright so I haven’t included reversed information here.

When the festival card of Ostara appears it heralds dawning creativity, emergence, an inpouring of energy and ideas, versatility, dexterity, idealism and individuality. An idea or situation begins to crystallise and take form.

Well, this is an appropriate card for me this week seeing as I am moving out of slump city hopefully. I wouldn’t say I feel an inpouring of energy but I am starting to feel more inspired to ‘do’ creative things. I also feel I am emerging but slowly – that’s ok. Emerging slowly from whatever is holding you back is ok; I always remember the story of the tortoise and the hare…slowly does it! Although it doesn’t feel like springtime to me I do feel a little more get up and go, despite having a most awful tooth infection and being in a great deal of pain. I can either wallow or move through this and I choose to do the latter. This card reminds me that I’m not alone in doing this, I do have support from unseen forces that are all around me – just look at that card, the Fae abound.

 

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Daily Om ~ Acknowledging Our Pain

sunlight iceSometimes the motivation to help others may be an extension of a deep desire to heal a wounded part of ourself. Some people seem called to help others, often from very early on in their childhoods, responding to the needs of family members, strangers, or animals with a selflessness that is impressive. Often, these people appear to have very few needs of their own, and the focus of their lives is on rescuing, helping, and healing others. While there are a few people who are truly able to sustain this completely giving lifestyle, the vast majority has needs that lie beneath the surface, unmet and often unseen. In these cases, their motivation to help others may be an extension of a deep desire to heal a wounded part of themselves that is starving for the kind of love and attention they dole out to those around them on a daily basis. For any number of reasons, they are unable to give themselves the love they need and so they give it to others. This does not mean that they are not meant to be helping others, but it does mean that they would do well to turn some of that helping energy within.

One problem with the rescuer model is that the individual can get stuck in the role, always living in crisis mode at the expense of inner peace and personal growth. Until the person resolves their own inner dramas, they play them out in their relationships with others, drawn to those who need them and often unable to acknowledge their own needs or get them met. In the worst-case scenario, they enable the other person’s dilemma by not knowing when to stop playing the rescuer and allow the person to figure it out on their own. However, if the rescuer finds the strength to turn within and face the needy aspects of their own psyche, he or she can become a model of empowerment and a true source of healing in the world.

Some signs that you or someone you love may need to rescue the rescuer within are inner burnout from over-giving; underlying resentment; an inability to admit to having needs of one’s own; and an unwillingness to be vulnerable. Help comes when we allow ourselves to admit we need it, acknowledging our humanity and our wholeness by acknowledging our pain. The understanding we gain in the process will naturally inform and inspire our ability to help those in need to do the same.

Source: Daily Om

Daily Om ~ Consuming to Heal

ImageProxyThe need to fill an imaginary void by shopping is a symptom of disconnection from our true selves. In our culture today, we are constantly encouraged to consume. This includes food as well as purchasing ever newer items that we may not need, often using money that we may not actually have. It could be that we are trying to fill a void we feel within ourselves, but if we take the time to examine it, we know deep inside that this is not the solution. We may notice how quickly the joy fades after our purchase or once the food we’ve enjoyed is gone, and how soon we feel the urge to do so again. This is a symptom of disconnection from our true selves, so the first step toward balance is connection to our center.

When we connect to our center, we access the fullness of who we are as an individual spirit. We also connect to the energy source of the universe, from which nothing can be lacking. It could be that we have been energetically starving ourselves but trying to feed the need physically, outwardly. Once we make the decision to reconnect, we have the ability to examine the behavior from a higher place within ourselves. We can look, without judgment, at the thoughts and feelings that occur before and after our indulgences to find a pattern. We may want to keep track of these observations in a journal so that we can go back if we lose our way.

Often boredom is the main cause for the desire to eat or shop. But when we connect to our center, our intuition can more clearly guide us to the places where our energy can best be used. We can replace the boredom with a meditation practice, a class, a project, seeking a new job, or getting involved in a charity. We may even want to begin planning an adventurous trip. Whatever inspires us tells us the direction we should go. When we find the place we are meant to be, we become so consumed by its constant creation that the frivolous filling of an imaginary void becomes a thing of the past.

Source: Daily Om

A short study on The Immortal Hour

William Sharp aka Fiona MacLeod

William Sharp aka Fiona MacLeod

Background to the author

Fiona MacLeod wrote the play ‘The Immortal Hour’ in 1908, although it would be wrong to refer to MacLeod as a she, for in fact she is a he, a Scottish poet and writer called William Sharp. Sharp was born in Paisley, Scotland in 1855 but throughout his life suffered ill-health. As a child he had a great love of nature and the outdoors which was enhanced by his nurse’s telling of Gaelic folktales and stories. When he was 18 he spent three months living with a company of gypsies. While at university he studied poetry, philosophy, occultism, spiritualism and folklore. In 1876 he voyaged to Australia but came back a year later although thee experience had been powerfully creative. In 1878 he joined the famous Rossetti literary group, a Pre-Raphaelite and aesthetic literary group. In his first book of poetry The Human Inheritance, The New Hope, Motherhood and Other Poems (1882) an important focus is given to Sharp’s early belief in spirit of place (or genus loci), which supports a strong mystical core. These threads of mysticism and spirituality also appeared in many of his later works. Following a trip to Italy in 1891 he entered into a decade of extremely productive and creative writing imbued with all his interests of mysticism, mythology, folklore, spirituality and philosophy. Then in 1892 Sharp published what was to be his greatest and most remarkable work – The Pagan Review – a single issue journal filled with pagan and Celtic historically based works, although all these works were written under the pseudonym of Fiona MacLeod. He also joined the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and was a central figure in the Edinburgh group, part of the Celtic Twilight or Celtic Revival.

Why the pseudonym Fiona MacLeod? This was not mere vanity on Sharps part but an important part of his literary persona he had created in his early twenties.  He wrote to his  wife (who happened to be his cousin) “in some things I am more woman than man” and it was a persona he maintained until his death in 1905. In fact, Fiona MacLeod was presented as Sharp’s protégé and his works written under this name evoke a Celtic world combining images of idyllic or harsh highland nature with mystical tales of the brave and beautiful.

The Wooing of Etain

The Wooing of Etain

Background to The Immortal Hour

The Immortal Hour (written 1908 as Fiona MacLeod) is loosely based on the Irish mythological tale of ‘The Wooing of Etain’ (Tochmarc Étaíne), which appears in the Irish mythological Cycle, partially preserved in the 12th century manuscript The Book of the Dun Cow, and fully preserved in the 15th century Yellow Book of Lecan. It tells of the lives and loves of Etain, a beautiful woman, one of the Tuatha de Danann, who is also equated and associated with the Gaulic Epona, and the Welsh Rhiannon. In both manuscripts she is married to mortal men. However, Midir, son of the Dagda and one of the Tuatha de Danann, falls in love with her. Midir’s wife grows jealous and polymorphs Etain into various things until one day she turns her into a butterfly and as a butterfly she becomes Midir’s constant companion though Midir does not recognise her. Eventually Midir’s wife creates a wind that blows the butterfly away and does not allow it to alight anywhere but the rocks of the sea for seven years.

Eventually it lands on the clothes of Óengus, who recognises it as Étaín, but he is at war with Midir and cannot return her to him. He makes her a little chamber with windows so she can come and go, and carries the chamber with him wherever he goes. But Fúamnach (Midir’s wife) hears of this and creates another wind which blows her away from him for another seven years. Eventually the butterfly falls into a glass of wine. The wine is swallowed (together with the butterfly) by the wife of Étar, an Ulster chieftain, in the time of Conchobar mac Nessa. She becomes pregnant, and Étain is reborn, one thousand and twelve years after her first birth.

Midir then goes to Eochaid Etain’s husband) in his true form and asks to play fidchell, a board game, with him. He offers a stake of fifty horses, loses, and gives Eochaid the horses as promised. Midir challenges him to more games, for higher stakes, and keeps losing. Eochaid, warned by his foster-father that Midir is a being of great power, sets him a series of tasks, including laying a causeway over Móin Lámrige, which he performs reluctantly. He then challenges Eochaid to one final game of fidchell, the stake to be named by the winner. This time, Midir wins, and demands an embrace and a kiss from Étaín. Eochaid agrees that he will have it if he returns in a month’s time. A month later Midir returns. He puts his arms around Étaín, and they turn into swans and fly off.

Eochaid and his men begin digging at the mound of Brí Léith where Midir lives. Midir appears to them and tells Eochaid his wife will be restored to him the following day. The next day fifty women who all look like Étain appear, and an old hag tells Eochaid to choose which one is his wife. He chooses one, but Midir later reveals that Étaín had been pregnant when he had taken her, and the girl he has chosen is her daughter. Eochaid is horrified, because he has slept with his own daughter, who became pregnant with a girl. When the girl is born she is exposed, but she is found and brought up by a herdsman and his wife. She later becomes the mother of the High King Conaire Mor.

One has to remember that the versions of this story differ slightly but the main characters stay the same.

Etain and Midir

Etain and Midir

 

An analysis of The Immortal Hour play

Although The Immortal Hour is based on the Irish mythological tale of the Wooing of Etain,  it is steeped in other mythological motifs also. Links can be made to the Greek Eurydice and Orpheus. In fact MacLeod says as much in her introduction to the play. Thus it can be seen as a kind of universal play touching on the love for a man and a woman, the cycle of life and other realities that not only appear in Celtic mythology but in other cultures also. Although the character Dalua does not appear in Irish mythology, MacLeod likens him to the Amadan-Dhu or Dark Fool, who can be equated with our own dark shadow-side, known in the Faerie Tradition as the Dark Fool. Hugh Mynne writes in “The Faerie Way”  the encounter with the Dark Goddess is thus an encounter with our own psychic waste material, our own “garbage.” By facing Her we face our own shadow-self, known in the Faerie Tradition as the Dark Fool, and named Dalua.

Sources:

Dennis Denisoff, The Yellow Nineties Online, 2010

Hugh Mynne, The Faerie Way: A Healing Journey to Other Worlds

Caitlin & John Matthews, Walkers Between the Worlds: The Western Mysteries from Shaman to Magus

Caitlin & John Matthews, The Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom

 

 

 

Daily Om ~ Walking through Your Fear

morphed liliesFrequently, in walking through our fear, we discover that the strength of our fright was out of sync with reality. The situations, activities, and individuals that frighten us remain static. Their relative intensity does not change. Fear, on the other hand, self-magnifies. It is when you are afraid and envisioning all that might go wrong that the energy underlying your fear grows. A tiny flicker of anxiety can easily develop into a terror that manifests itself physically and eventually paralyzes you into inaction. Though frequently, in walking through that fear, we discover that the strength of our fright was out of synch with reality. And we learn that doing what frightens us can lead to great blessings. Confronting your trepidation head-on will help you accept that few frightening scenarios will ever live up to the negative disasters that we sometimes play out in our minds.

Though fear is literally an evolutionary gift meant to sharpen your senses and energize you during times of great stress, it can nonetheless become a barrier that prevents you from fulfilling your potential by causing you to miss out on rewarding, life-changing experiences. During the period before you face your fear, you may have to deal with a barrage of negative thoughts and emotions. Walking through it, whether your fear is public speaking, taking part in an activity that makes you nervous, or asserting yourself when the odds are against you, may be equally as difficult. But once you have emerged unscathed on the other side, which you will, you will likely wonder why you assumed the worst in the first place. As you spend time worrying about what might happen, it’s good to know that your fear probably won’t happen at all. It may feel like a great weight has been lifted from your shoulders, and you will likely feel a sense of passionate pride. Walking through your fear can! mean taking risks and can require both practice and patience. Since it is challenging to act when you are gripped with fear, start small.

Each step you take into fear will strengthen you and help you confront future fears with poise, courage, and confidence. You will also find that when you are willing to stare your fear in the face, the universe will always offer you some form of aid or support. When you see the heights of accomplishment and personal evolution you can attain when you walk through your fears, your faith in yourself will grow, allowing your next step to be easier.

Source: Daily Om

Daily Om ~ Cultivating the Seed Within

peaceful-catWe can learn to locate the seed of peace inside ourselves in order to have a reliable source of serenity. In our noisy world, we often find ourselves longing for peace and searching to find it somewhere else. While it’s true that there are places we can visit where we can experience peace, such as sacred sites or buildings, we do not need to wait until we get to one of these places to feel at peace. Instead, we can learn to locate the seed of peace inside ourselves and cultivate it so that it grows into a reliable source of serenity that we can always access, no matter where we are.

We experience peace when we are in a state of mental calm and serenity. It might surprise you to notice how infrequently you allow yourself to be free from anxiety. Realizing this is the first step to inner peace. If you wait until all the details of your life are taken care of to allow yourself to experience peace, you will never feel peaceful because there is always something that your mind can grab onto to create anxiety. It is important to consciously set aside your worries and make time to cultivate inner peace.

Ideally, you could schedule time each day to meditate on peace and experience what it feels like to be calm and serene. It takes practice to learn how to let go of your worries, so give yourself some time. Inhale deeply, and feel your worries dissolve with every exhale. Remind yourself that soon enough you will be able to take care of everything you need to, but right now you are taking a break. As the clutter of your thoughts and concerns clear away, you will start to feel more serene. Allow yourself to move deeper into this state with each inhale. Realize that you have the power to free yourself from anxiety simply by deciding to do so. The more you practice feeling peaceful, the easier it will be for you to feel at peace.

Source: Daily Om

 

Daily Om ~ Warning Signs

red-flagRed flags often come in the form of feelings urging us to pause for a moment, listen to our intuition, and reconsider. Just as the universe wants to provide for our needs, it also seeks to protect us from dangerous situations, destructive relationships, and even minor inconveniences. Frequently in our lives, perhaps everyday, we encounter psychic red flags warning us of potential problems or accidents. We may not always recognize the signs. However, more often than not, we may choose to ignore our intuition when it tells us that “something just isn’t right.”

Red flags often come in the form of feelings urging us to pause for a moment, listen to our intuition, and reconsider. We may even experience a “bad” feeling in our bellies. This is a red flag letting us know that there may be a problem. We may not even know what the red flag is about. All we know is that the universe is trying to wave us in a different direction. We just have to pay attention and go another way. We may even wonder whether we are paranoid or imagining things. However, when we look back at a situation or relationship where there were red flags, it becomes easy to understand exactly what those warning signs meant. More often than not, a red flag is not a false warning. Rather, it is the universe’s way of informing us, through our own innate guidance system, that our path best lies elsewhere.

We may try to ignore the red flags waving our way, dismissing our unease as illogical. Yet it is always in our best interest to pay attention to them. For example, we may meet someone who outwardly seems perfect. They are intelligent, attractive, and charming. Yet, for some reason, being around them makes us feel uneasy. Any interactions we have with them are awkward and leave us feeling like there is something “off” about the situation. This is not necessarily a bad person. But, for some reason, the universe is directing us away from them. Red flags are intended with our best interests at heart. No harm can ever come from stopping long enough to heed a red flag. Pay attention to any red flags that pop up. The universe is always looking out for you.

Source: Daily Om