Thursday, May 30, 2013

Reading For My Back

This is for my back. 
The Queen in the center is the painful truth-- that's clear enough. 
The Past is maybe how I got into this mess -- living spontaneously, perhaps too spontaneously?
In the future, when the crisis is over, I need to focus on serenity, so that this doesn't happen again.  Deck: The Steampunk Tarot
Spread: Three-Card Draw
Date: May 30, 2013

The Past
Three of Cups
Core meaning: A spontaneous, unexpected joy or pleasure. You will be with people you care about, celebrating and honoring not your accomplishments but each other. This is a card of recognizing and luxuriating in the ties that bind and drinking deeply of the wine of friendship. Your collective past has brought you to this moment. This card can refer to a group of supportive friends on whom you should rely. Fortified by the strength you find in each other, you look forward to the future with confidence.

The Present
Queen of Swords
Core meaning: Someone who supports and nurtures new ideas, systems, and communication. Smart, experienced, and very quick, the Queen of Swords is a faithful friend. She’s had experiences, not all were particularly good. If you notice a little coldness about her, don’t judge her as heartless. She has found it expedient to protect herself. If you do not want to know her honest opinion, do not ask for it. Truth is not always painful. If your idea or plan is a good one, she’ll give you encouragement, along with excellent suggestions for improving it.

The Future
Nine of Wands
Core meaning: Preparing for the next challenge. You are preparing to take a “last stand” in your life—and you will survive. After this crisis, take some time to reflect. Has your passion for drama and love of overcoming insurmountable odds taken over your life? Are you surviving at the expense of living your life? The wands represent will, and magically speaking, our will creates our reality. If your will is focused on constant attacks and unending foes, perhaps you are drawing them to you.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Fish-Bear

During the work we did during our retreat at the end of May, I asked my 'inner shaman' (a bear that seemed to be made of fish) for a mythic conflict to work on.

He called attention to the way he is very grounded -- stands in one place and trusts that the fish will come to him. He doesn't rush through the forest, and he doesn't have to avoid anything or worry about hurting anyone. He stands and waits. The world flows into the sea, the sea flows into the fish, he eats the fish and brings their gifts to the world.

He gives me a fish. It turns to gold coins in my hands.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Factory Man

At work with Savanah, but work is an industrial site at some docks, very dangerous. I think I program the robots that do the work. I'm concerned fr savanahs safety, not just because of the industrial stuff, but because of my co-workers -- I don't trust them. At one point Savsnah casually steps into an elevator heading for another floor, and I barely manage to stop it before the door closes. I grab her out and hold her close, telling her she must be careful and stay by me. She's sorry.

Later I'm eating a meal with my co-workers; I think they're an amalgamation of people from GD and Nuance. It's turtle soup, and we're chatting and having the empty conversations people have at work. And even later we're driving somewhere in a limo, dressed rather formally. All I remember is that I'm not having a great time. :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Green Faces and Asphalt Skyscrapers

A man (robot?) on the tv news with a green face. I think maybe I work for the tv news, that I'll have to get a green face too. Shortly afterwards im walking to work along a highway, my car is gone or broken.

Wake up, fall asleep again. In a new city, built on islands. I'm back in my car, it's just been fixed I think; testing it in a parking lot before taking it back on the highway. Discussing with someone how the highway system was design by an architect who was acclaimed at the time, but is now controversial. It rises and falls in great skyscrapers of asphalt and steel. Driving on it I can see the city, it's basically a desert with a few tall trees, the homes are mansion-sized, tall and thin, with lots of glass, away from the coast. Near the coast they're short, stubby earthen structures. To allow the mansions to have a nice view? The green face: I dialogued with him in meditation. He says he had to get the green face -- to become a robot -- so that people would trust him. The Green Machine. The idea is that people stop trusting each other; they only trust things that are predictable -- machines. Thus in capitalism, you can only trust people who are greed-driven, because only they are acting predictably. In corporate culture, people act shallow and greedy so that people will trust them. I had another dream about the color green a couple of days later, but could barely remember it -- something to do with a little shop selling green things.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Dreams & Meditations of Sovereignty

Last night I dreamed that I was with my kids in New Hampshire, with Aunt Melanie. We were having a good time, but little crises kept cropping up -- someone skinning their knee, someone getting lost on a hike at night through a swamp, etc. It was a hectic time, but I kept on top of everything, and there were no major problems. Then it was as if the dream upped the ante: we all had to go visit Emily's family, with Jeremy and two babies. Small crises continued to occur, but I still kept on top of everything, and there were no major problems. Finally the dream upped the ante one more time: we all went to visit the Polglazes (who have four children also), and it was a complete madhouse -- but I still kept it together, and was still in control, and everything was fine. It was as though I was having an anti-stress dream -- a dream that wasn't reflective of stress in my life, but of overcoming stress.

When I woke up I drew a card for the day -- Queen of Cups, which is always nice to see -- and a card to check in on my anima. A week or so ago, when I checked on her, I drew the Tower; yesterday, I drew the Page of Pentacles; and today I drew the Ten of Pentacles. She's clearly on a good trajectory, and maybe is already where she needs to be -- especially if that dream is any indication.

I then did a meditation. It opened on a grassy hill, and I could tell that it was up and 'Fire'-ward of the City of the Sidhe, a few miles from where I'd last seen her trapped under the overhang. She seemed taller and older than before, and her hair was thicker, redder, and curlier than it had been. She was sitting in meditation on the hill, basking in the sunlight and the breeze. I could not approach her, though; when I tried to, I got a distinct "not-now-I'm-busy" vibe. (In retrospect, though, it might also have been "this-happened-in-the-past-you-can-only-watch" -- or maybe more specifically "this-sequence-cannot-be-interrupted-by-you").

After a moment she got up, stretched, and became very businesslike. Her attitude seemed to be that she had places to go, things to do, and she was intent, energized, and eager to get started. She whistled, and a huge horse appeared -- it had white around the hooves, but I'm not sure of the color otherwise -- and she leapt on its back and started off. I followed, flying, or perhaps just watching the sequence. She headed further 'Fire'-ward, into the green hills, deep into a trackless forest. For a while she followed a rocky stream bed so that she could go faster. Always she was going up, very steeply.

Finally she emerged into a clearing, a great tract of farmland, and rode through them. Farmers and laborers greeted her as she passed, and she waved and called back. Soon she came to a low wall with a gate and guards; the guards greeted her and waved her through, though a couple of them went alongside her on foot. Now she was in a town, and in the center of the town was a huge hill with a castle on top. She exchanged happy greetings with the townspeople as well. And when she came to the base of the castle, she had her horse taken away to be stabled, and she ran up the steps to the upper levels, greeting everyone as she came.

At last it became clear to me that this castle was her own -- that she was Queen here. She had come back from her trip (whatever that was), and was stepping back into rulership. There were a cadre of stewards and advisors (all male, for some reason) who had ruled while she was gone, and she thanked them -- they were Eric, Richard, and Paul. She began ordering things and setting things in motion, poring over maps and making charts and plans, and looking out the window through her telescope at the sea, which spread out Fireward from the base of the castle's hill. There the sequence ended.

It seems clear that she's planning some kind of voyage over the sea.

I have no idea what's out there, except the spirits that rule the realm of Fire. (Why are they over the sea? No clue.) I visited this area briefly in meditation last year, and met a dog named Tiw, as well as a golden dragon wreaking destruction in the forest; and there seemed to be some connection with my self-destructive tendencies when it comes to my body. Part of the point of reaching out to my anima was to figure out about my self-destructive habits and see if I could dig out the root of them, so I wonder if there's a connection here? Has my anima 'awoken' and taken control of these elements, instead of allowing them to be 'wild'? There was a village of people by the sea before; I wrote this: "A small lake in the woods; a village of First Nations people; totem poles, wooden houses. A woman, older but beautiful, who leads them; we exchange gifts and stories. She tells me of area further Woodward where the trees are huge. " Any connection here?

A lot of mysteries wrapped up in this. I feel like it's not quite time to interrupt and ask what's going on -- I still should wait and see what develops, for at least a few days longer.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Hag Bound in the Roots

This morning, just before waking, I dreamed that I was helping a collection of (male) astronauts train to go into space. I was in charge of helping them, and organizing the training. But it was not going well. Two other trainers (female) were, intentionally or unintentionally, sabotaging the effort. They spread rumors, sent inappropriate gifts at bad times, and so on. For example, they had a car delivered, as a present, to an astronaut in the middle of a crucial bit of training. The astronauts and I knew what they were up to; and we were tired of it and frustrated. But there was nothing we could do.

The issue of sabotage -- especially subconscious passive-agressive sabotage -- has been forefront in my mind lately. Despite my best efforts on the conscious level, I've found that I've been subconsciously working against myself, as if some part of myself wanted me to fail. This has happened in everything from doing the dishes to my work with Amazon, and all sorts of levels in between. I've washed the same dishes multiple times, without realizing it, and without really getting them clean. I've subconsciously taken a passive, unassuming role at work, allowing opportunities to pass by and projecting an air of being unambitious. And I've sabotaged planning our vacations, ordering our finances, and my own health.

It's become increasingly clear that some part of my personality is not pleased, and is trying to "break" things. The dream showed me this quite literally; and the association of astronauts with the Apollo program (!) suggested that my patron, Apollo, was the primary target here. But what part of me was behind it? Who was the saboteur? The dream suggested that there was some "feminine" aspect, but beyond that I had no clue.

Before I got out of bed I decided to do a meditative technique that has worked well for me in the past: returning to the dream in visualization, and dialoguing with the dream characters. This works best if you do it right after waking up.

I tried to find and visit the women. I called first for my anima, who has served as a strong link to my intuitive side, and she came. When I first met her a few years ago, she was a beautiful young woman with fiery hair (rather like Merida of the Brave movie, but this was back in 2006), but ever since shortly before moving to Seattle, she has, for some reason, appeared only as a mute, sexless Earth spirit, rather like a cross between a gnome and a beet.

Today, however, she took the form of a whole horde of (actually rather unpleasant) earth spirits. They led me to a dank, overgrown place in the woods, where an old woman sat under an embankment. She was dressed in tatters and was herself overgrown with vines, lichen, cobwebs, roots, and so on. These held her motionless, especially her hands, the fingernails of which were so long and tangled with roots and vines they seemed to be grown into the earth. She was sitting at a desk, an unfinished manuscript next to her.

The symbolism here was so blindingly obvious: she's that part of myself that feels like it never has time to get any writing done. It was terribly clichéd, but the feeling of it was nevertheless very strong.

My first impulse, of course, was to try and cut her free. But I realized that doing so might prevent her from being able to complete her project. Her bottom half was dead or crippled; she would not be able to walk at all. She was half-alive. In a way, she was Hel, Loki's (and Odin's) daughter. And my feeling was that this sickness, or perhaps this brokenness, created the art.

I wasn't sure what to do. I had an urge to try and take her to the City of the Sidhe for healing. But I'm frozen, not sure if I can, or if they can even help her.

That morning, I discussed the dream with Alison. She pointed out to me that I've been griping about not having enough time to write ever since she's known me. Is this desire to write healthy? Is it, itself, a trap? Is it possible that this desire to write is what's trapping the woman at the desk?

I wanted to get to the bottom of it, so I went to the big guns: my Buddhist Tarot deck. For some reason, this deck has always seemed to me to cut most deeply to the heart of matters, and to give me the most reliable advice and guidance.

I primarily wanted to know who this old woman was, and what my relationship was with her; so I chose a Relationship spread which provided three cards each for myself, the old woman, and our relationship. There would also be three final cards of advice. Once I did the reading and some meditating, I asked Alison to give her interpretation.

Three cards for self (left to right):

  • Buddha of Jewels (King of Pentacles)
  • Ace of Double Vajras (Ace of Cups)
  • Young Siddhartha (Emperor).

This set of cards focuses on my projects, my job, and my plans for the future. Alison agreed, and noted that the two cards on the edge provide a safe, structured space for the expression of the wellspring of emotion in the center.

Three cards for the old woman in the forest (left to right):

  • Peacock - Animal of Lotuses (Page of Wands)
  • Yasodara and Siddhartha (Lovers)
  • Flag of Victory (Six of Wands).

It came to me that this old woman probably was my anima. The fact that she was merging with the earth in the meditation matched up with the earth spirits I got instead of her when I usually meditated. She is bound up with the earth, on the edge of death, and doesn't like it. The cards seemed to be indicating that love was drawing her in two directions; she had to make some kind of choice she was unhappy about.

Alison's interpretation was that she wanted to have the freedom and vitality of the animal (peacock), but perhaps coming to realize (like Siddhartha) that there was only death that way. Instead she was turning towards the deeper love, the long-fought hard-won victory.

Three cards for the relationship (left to right):

  • Four of Jewels (4 Pentacles)
  • Seven of Double Vajras (7 Cups)
  • Buddha and Sakti (the Sun)

It seems clear from the Four of Jewels that I am trying to impose some kind of structure on her, but I cannot see her; she is veiled by some illusion I have. Her true nature is closer to the Sun, just as I saw before the connection between the anima and Bel. Alison noted that the Seven of Cups does not necessarily refer to illusion, but it is a choice; and one of the choices -- often the veiled choice -- is the true self. In this reading, the Sun is the revelation of the anima's true self, and Alison zeroes in on the 'release' or 'middle way' aspect of the Buddha's enlightenment. Perhaps I am trying too hard to hold on to something -- some expectation, or formula, or plan, or structure -- and need to release it to allow the relationship to flourish. But the Buddha and Sakti card hints at the powerfully positive relationship that can develop.

Three cards of advice:

  • 9 Double Vajras (Cups)
  • 9 Vajras (Swords)
  • 5 Double Vajras (5 Cups).

The Nine of Double Vajras shows the mudra of the Buddha touching the earth, calling Her as his witness. The earth remembers what you have done, the earth knows your true self, and the earth will always support you. This card serves as a reminder of that. The Nine of Vajras is a card of worry and fear; it's reminding me to turn away from that. Finally, the Five of Double Vajras, the spilled milk, is a reminder that sometimes milk spills -- and sometimes that's what should happen.

I was also reminded of the steampunk voyage reading I did a year ago (which I never did write up properly). In that reading, one of my fellow voyagers was a woman I identified as representing my 'writerly' side. I didn't think she was my anima at the time, but perhaps she was -- or at least, some part of her. She was most seriously hurt by the spinning metal ball, and went into a coma (between life and death) as we hid in a cave (more death symbolism). That night I carried her into the Lost City (a dead city) hoping to find a cure, and found the Tomb of the Red Emperor (more death). Going back in time, we were able to meet the Red Emperor in person, and find a cure for her. This ties in with the old woman in the forest being half-dead as well. I suspect this is quite an epic tale being spun out here...

Alison wondered if zazen (or similar meditation that simply provides a safe space for expression of subconscious) would be a good way to start releasing structures and expectations for my anima. She also suggested performing ritual or acts to honor the earth and see its virtues, to help my anima see that the vegetation of the earth is just as "alive" as the peacock.

Later in the day Alison happened upon the myth of Sir Gawain, who is forced by honor to marry a hag.
"Gawain assents to treat his new bride as he would if she were desirable, and go to bed with her as a dutiful husband is expected to do. When he looks up, he is astonished to see the most beautiful woman he has ever seen standing before him. She explains she had been under a spell to look like a hag until a good knight married her; now her looks will be restored half the day. She gives him the choice to have her beautiful at night, when they are together, or during the day, when they are with others. Instead, he gives her the sovereyntĂ© to make the choice herself. This answer lifts the curse for good, and Ragnelle's beauty returns permanently." (Wikipedia)
So again, we have the theme of allowing the woman the freedom to make her own choices, rather than trying to organize or control matters.

I was reminded also of Odin visiting the dead prophetess and gaining insight into Ragnarok, as told in the Voluspa. In a lot of Germanic folklore, the seers were always women; and the dead, of course, could see further than the living.

So: a lot to think about. :) I have to admit to myself that I do indeed have a very strong desire to merge my creative / artistic side with my professional work, since working can be such a drag sometimes, especially with its stressful, capitalistic soul-sucking. But perhaps the lady will simply not be bound in that way. I will sit still and silent, and see what she does.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Reading: My Life's Highest Calling

Question: What is my life's highest calling -- the way to merge Apollo, Odin, and the others into a coherent being?
Deck: The Steampunk Tarot
Spread: Three-Card Draw
Date: May 2, 2013
The Past
Page of Wands
Core meaning: Someone who is ready to try something new based on will, inspiration, or passion. When the Page of Wands peeks in your direction,take the time to mentor her. She has so much natural ability and passion. She needs a bit of confidence—and maybe a little safety net—and she’ll blossom. Perhaps she will grow into a powerful ally or supportive friend. In helping her find her confidence, you’ll rediscover a little about your own.

The Present
Five of Wands
Core meaning: Conflict. The Five of Wands is the element of fire at its most unpredictable and therefore most dangerous. There are too many unknowns and chaotic variables to make rational decisions. If you find yourself in this situation, fight if you must, but if possible, pull out of the fray. The sooner the situation ceases to be fed, the sooner it can die down. Once the energy stabilizes, you can assess the situation and move ahead more rationally.

The Future
VII • The Chariot
Core meaning: The triumph of will in difficult circumstances. If it is your turn to drive the chariot, you will find yourself wanting to move in a certain direction. You will be confident in that decision. Getting started will be the hardest part. Things are going to conspire against you, or so it will seem. You have the skills and knowledge necessary to harness those contrary energies and head them in the right direction. Once you are moving, there won’t be much that can stop you until you reach your goal.
Journal: The progression appears to be from a new fiery youth, through a raging conflict, into a disciplined synthesis. And this pattern I've seen played out many times in my own self development. But there's no way to see how to synthesize everything ahead of time. It's a matter of working with what's there, and with what arises.

So the proper question to be asking now is, what is arising? How can it be integrated?

Indications are that it's the bear I should be looking to again...