Return

Hello again. I’ve returned from a few days along the Russian River in Northern California. The Sonoma/Russian River area is easily my favorite part of that great state. The wineries, oak trees, enormous redwoods; the jays, buzzards, herons; the warm sun, cool breezes, and lazy river are intoxicating.

 

View of the Russian River from our porch

I’m not yet ready to get back to the Delphic Maxims or my daily grind/practice. I am sleepy (baby girl decided to celebrate my return by nursing all night long) and full of thoughts, most of which don’t relate to this blog, but some that do.

Today’s plan is to unpack: both literally and metaphorically. Tomorrow I shall return to my regularly scheduled programming.

 

A cute take on a timeless tradition

Today is World Tarot Day! I want to share with you something that has been absorbing my attention lately: my husband’s tarot kickstarter campaign!

We both love tarot, but have different tastes in the art (mostly) and we seem to use the decks differently. He is much more interested in the history and evolution of the deck and symbols than I am, whereas I use my deck/s nearly everyday.

For the last year and half, Adam, the husband, has been designing his own deck, The Chibi Tarot. According to Adam, “The Chibi Tarot is a super-cute vision of the tarot that fuses the traditional spirit of the cards with the contemporary visuals of anime, manga and video games.” He reconfigures each card into the Japanese manga-style known aschibi, while spending as much time on the integrity of its symbolic meaning. Form and function.

The kickstarter is an effort to raise funds for creating a majors-only deck. If he raises more funds, he can work more quickly on the minor arcana too. There has been a warm and enthusiastic reception to his work so far! Please check out the kickstarter campaign – you’ll get to see my fine acting skills in the silly video we made, as well as see my (as of yesterday) 4-year-old son make his theatrical debut. You support – whether that’s joining the facebook page, investing in the project, or spreading the word – would be wonderful.

In addition to my husband’s project, I received, at long last, my copy of the Mary-El deck. It is stunning. We are full to the brim with tarot.

Intend to get married

Today’s maxim sounds like a nagging parent. I can’t help but approach this as a feminist first and foremost, and I think, ‘how heteronormative that is!’ But as soon as my knee jerk reaction calms down, I realize, ‘hey, I’m married!’ So what is this maxim really about?

I think the key word here is intention. The important part may or may not be that we actually get married (or partner up, however that has meaning for you). But the idea that we reach a point where we are ready to be a partner with some one else is a sign of maturity. In my mind a person must be secure in themselves, know what they can offer in partnership and know what they need and desire from one, be sexually mature (your mileage may vary on what this means to you), be willing to be flexible but have enough pride in one’s self to not compromise one’s values or to take a partner out of desperation or pressure.

I am married, to a straight male. But I am rather on the fringe of things, and I believe that partnerships can take a surprising number of forms. I fully support people who intend to partner up and have the maturity to find their best fit (note: I did not say anything about perfection). I recognize that there are plenty of people who don’t want to partner up, and realizing that can also be a sign of maturity.

Ideally, whatever spiritual practices we engage in will help us in our maturation.

And….. that’s all I have to say on this maxim!

Magic for a dark night

24 hours of magic. That was my weekend. It started with a Feri gathering in Seattle on Saturday evening. We did some mediation and chanting about Godsoul. There are no coincidences, and I was only mildly surprised that the chants overlapped with some work that I’ve been doing in relation to some non-blogged about stuff. I’ve woven those words in with my daily practice and that dovetailed nicely into the work with the group.

These days everything – everything – is about soul alignment. Listening, observing, sitting still, aligning, silence. In fact, I almost feel like I’m violating the very clear mandate for silence by writing, keeping a blog, being online at all. Almost, but not quite.

Owl as Godsoul (my caption), taken from Pintrest, credited to Gregory Colbert

 

Sunday morning I prepped for some evening ritual. Even though it was grey and raining here, I figured I could take advantage of whatever celestial forces were at play with the solar eclipse and dark moon. I sat, aligned, made kala, drew some tarot cards. I went outside and sat. I cleaned all the altars (all three of them).
Once the kids were asleep I sat and prepared for my Work. I aligned (again, never ending!) and made offerings, asked for whatever wisdom needed to be imparted, asked for any allies to come forth. Then I went out into my back yard and my outside altar, which is tucked into a corner, sheltered from the rain. I lit candles and sat some more.

I basically just observed my backyard at twilight. I walked around, touching, smelling, watching. What I noticed is that for all the happy, cheery qualities of the gardenĀ  it’s almost all non-native species. I got a strangely sinister feel in the half-light. It was sort of like seeing the usually happy, cheery person you’re used to in a moment of bitter snark when they think no one is listening.

Standing at the far side of the garden is one lonely fir-tree. A strange thing, out of place among all the bright colors of lilac and rhododendrons and other things I don’t know the names of. Last night I sat and watched it from across the yard and I got a sense that it was shouting, “OH THANK GOD SOMEONE SEES ME.” So I went over and let the rain fall on my head and just ‘held its hand.’ I gave it my offering of Washington wine. I think I found my garden friend.

I went back inside and did a tarot reading. No surprise here: silence and waiting came up. Nothing bad, just that forces are moving underneath, let them do their thing, breakthrough/something new will happen soon when the time is right.

Be yourself

This is a maxim that is so simple that at first it’s deceiving. And trite. How many times has an advertising campaign suggested that you ‘be yourself’ by purchasing their shirt/deodorant/car/beer/etc? And yet, even the ‘alternative’ people can seem fairly homogenous. You want to be unique? Well you’d better be an anarchist-liberal, with tattoos, piercings, practice polyamory (because monogamy is so repressive) and read (and genuinely like) Bukowski.

So just what does it mean to Be Yourself?

I think this is the work of a lifetime. It involves knowing what you have learned and perceiving what you have heard* (there’s that listening thing again). We have to listen to our hearts -yes, another trite saying- but our hearts get confused with our wants: junk food, extensive naps which cover up issues to be dealt with, more of this or that.

What do our souls need? Finding that out can involve a lot of navel gazing and meditating. The answers don’t have to be things like ‘I need to quit my job and move to Nepal for the next 10 years’ – although, it might, in which case, go you. But it might be as simple as: I need more good food in my life, I need to sing with others regularly, I need to get outside every day, I need do less and rest more, I need to prioritize meditation again and sharpen my ability to hear. All examples from my own life. All ways to figure out who this Self of Me really is and to get comfortable in my own skin.

Do the maxims build on one another? I don’t know as I haven’t read ahead! But the last three seem to. We stand in what we know, we learn to perceive what we have heard, and we figure out how to be ourselves.

*I skipped the previous maxim: ‘perceive what you have heard,’ which seems to me to be much like ‘know what you have learned.’ It implies that we reflect on what we have heard, aiming for understanding, not just merely hearing.

Know what you have learned

Today’s Delphic Maxim appeals to the scholar in me. I’ve spent a lot of money on my education – vocal performance and religious studies – so I damn well better know what I’ve learned. It has only been 8 months since I walked away from the PhD program and I already find myself forgetting sources, details, arguments I once had. But I don’t think book knowledge is necessarily what this maxim is talking about.

I think this maxim is encouraging self-reflection. I’ve learned not just fancy techniques or big words, I’ve also learned from my mistakes, from my interactions with others in the world, from my travels, from listening, from my experience. What have I learned? What do I know?

Turns out I know very little. If I reflect I will be humbled by that realization. But I will also take deeply to heart the few things I have come to know, and will value not just the knowledge but the ways in which I gained that knowledge. Knowledge isn’t just information.

This maxim reminds me to reflect. Not just on all the pieces of learning I’ve acquired; it also reminds me to stop in each moment, to take a moment to pause: what did just learn? Don’t just race off to the next fact, post, page, book, experience. What have I learned?

And once I’ve gotten a grasp on what I’ve learned, take ownership of that. As a female in the scholarly and online world, there are only too many males out there that want to tell me what I know or don’t know. This was a particularly frequent experience when I worked in bookstores and would get cornered by older, white, men who wanted to tell me all about some topic, even if it was an author, a book, or topic that I knew quite well.

So I shall reflect on what I know, and I will stand firm in that. Firm doesn’t mean resistant to new knowledge or learning, but it means…. I know what I have learned.