Gaian Soul

Earth Wisdom Tarot Sacred Art

Activate Your Inner Adelita

in 0-Library, Right Action, Tarot

Adelitas from the Herbcrafters Tarot

Here we are at the Full Harvest Moon, appropriately in the sign of Aries this year, the warrior / activist. With all the upheaval in the world today, it’s a fine time for each of us to identify and activate our own inner Adelita, in the language of the Herbcrafter’s Tarot.

If you’ve been working with this deck, you know that the Adelitas correspond to the Knights in traditional tarot decks. In the Herbcrafter’s Tarot book, Latisha Guthrie writes: “The Adelitas approach adventures with conviction and righteousness. They call us to a time of drive and fortitude. They are the warriors of the elements, showing us how to defend and serve. As guides, they offer us the gift of activism.”

Activate Your Inner Adelita

Pull the four Adelita cards out of your Herbcrafter’s Deck. (You can do this with any other deck of course, by pulingl out the four Knight cards. In the Gaian Tarot, these are the Explorers.)

Choose one card out of the four by one of these methods:

  • Place the cards in front of you, face up, and choose the one that draws you the most.
  • Turn the four cards over and shuffle them; choose one at random.
  • Choose one through the astrological correspondence of your elemental Sun or Moon sign. (Air = Aquarius, Gemini, Libra; Fire = Aries, Leo, Sagittarius; Water = Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio; Earth = Capricorn, Taurus, Virgo. For example, if your Sun or Moon is an Air sign, you would choose the Adelita of Air / Knight of Swords.)

After you’ve chosen the card that best represents your inner Adelita today, pull 3 cards to answer the questions she poses below.


The Adelita of Air, Oregano, asks you: 

  • Where and how can you best declare your own truth loudly and without fear?
  • Where and how will you lift your voice?
  • What is the message you most need to shout, sing, and scream to the world?

 


The Adelita of Fire, Cayenne, asks you:  

  • Where and how will you dare to take a bold risk?
  • Where and how can you best defend the sacred and the rights of the oppressed?
  • What are the best ways you can inspire others to follow your lead?

 


The Adelita of Water, Ocotillo, asks you: 

  • What is the cause you can serve with your whole heart?
  • Where and with whom do you need to create strong boundaries?
  • How can you best nurture and protect your own heart and spirit?

 


The Adelita of Earth, Yucca, asks you:  

  • For what cause will you work the hardest?
  • How can you best create lasting change for the generations to come?
  • How can you best honor the ancient indigenous ones of the land where you live?

 


I hope the Adelitas inspire you to take a stand for the cause of your heart. Remember that your style of activism doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s. You have a style all your own. Let the Adelitas guide you.

Get Out the Vote

“Let this radicalize you rather than lead you to despair.”
(Source: @prisonculture)

This quote has making the rounds with every latest outrage in the headlines, and it’s a good one to hold to our hearts. I have done my own fair share of sliding into despair, then bringing myself back to center over and over and over.

I am taking hope from the words of Stacey Abrams who said on MSNBC this weekthat “If we overwhelm the polls with our presence, we can win.” 

Because I’m in a high-risk category for the coronavirus due to my damaged lungs, I have not participated in demonstrations and marches this year. As much as I’d like to be there, I am erring on the side of caution. I know my limits.

Thankfully there are a lot of other options — writing letters to voters, making phone calls, and donating to candidates are the ways I’m contributing. Here are some ideas:

These are just a few ways we can all help encourage people to vote.

May you remember to rest and nourish yourself, and do all that you can to stay centered and strong.

May all that is happening in the world today guide you into activism, not despair. Let the Adelitas show you the way.

(From my e-letter, October 1, 2020.)

A Collective Underworld Initiation

in 0-Library, Community

Justice, Pentimento Tarot

(First published in my e-letter, Messages from Sea & Cedar, on June 4, 2020.)

We find ourselves at a critical pivot point in the history of humanity. I see the crossroads of the coronavirus pandemic and the massive Black Lives Matter protests as an initiation into a deeper, more just way of living for each of us as individuals, and as a collective — a community, a nation, a world.

We are journeying through the Underworld together, under a Pluto/Saturn conjunction that began in 2019, peaked in January this year, and continues into 2021. My longtime astrologer friend and mentor, Sheila Belanger, says that any Pluto transit (whether personal or collective) calls us to lean in to our own shadow, transmute it, and emerge from the Underworld empowered. Pluto brings death so that there can be rebirth.

We each have a choice as to how we will respond to this Underworld initiation.

On June 5th, we’ll experience a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius, the sign of truth and wisdom. It ushers in “eclipse season,” with two more eclipses to follow. Astrologer Chani Nicolas said in her newsletter this week that “Eclipse season reveals what is usually relegated to the shadows. It is a time for purging toxins. It signals moments of important change.”

As I’ve been pondering this initiation and experiencing a wide range of emotions in response to the news like many of you, the following four points crystallized for me this morning. I’m taking them as directions on a road map out of the Underworld. I’m taking them as directives to myself, and offering them to you to consider.

LISTEN.

Gaian Tarot JusticeIt’s past time for white people to listen to the voices of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), and especially Black, people.

Here are a few of the voices I’ve been listening to this week:

LEARN.

Google is our friend, as are the library and local bookstore. I’ve read some of the following books before and am reading them again. I’m waiting for How to Be an Antiracist to arrive in the mail, which I have not yet read.

  • Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race
  • Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
  • Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility

(Here’s a list of black-owned bookstores where you can find these books and more.)

You probably know how fond I am of journal prompts. I was introduced to the work of Leesa Renee Hall back in 2017 when her post “#ExpressiveWriting Prompts to Use If You’ve Been Accused of #WhiteFragility #SpiritualBypass or #WhitePrivilege” went viral. It’s still timely and excellent. Responding to the prompts she wrote is a good way to learn about ourselves and uncover our own unconscious biases (Pluto / Kali shadow work, anyone?). The post is public, and she offers more on her Patreon.

TAKE ACTION.

Just a few ideas:

SUSTAIN THE MOMENTUM.

Pachamama the World, Herbcrafter's TarotFinally, I am asking myself how I can sustain my renewed commitment to social justice over time, long after the protests die down.

How will I (how will you?) emerge from this initiation of pandemic + uprising? 

Journal Prompts / Tarot Spread for the BLM Uprising

A few people have asked me if I have a tarot spread for the current situation. I have journal questions instead, although you could easily pull a card to spark your answers.

  • (For white people): What can I do to be a better ally to BIPOC?
  • What is one thing I can do today to shift the world toward justice?
  • How can I sustain my commitment to social justice over the long haul?
  • What is mine to do?
  • What else do I need to know?

Thank You

I want to thank all of the people I’ve had conversations with this week, as well as those who shared links to articles that gave me food for thought. I’ve included some of the links that were shared publicly in this newsletter. I am still self-isolating as I’m in the high-risk category for catching the virus, but this week I have never once felt alone.

(Images are all tarot cards by me: Justice, the Pentimento Tarot; Justice, the Gaian Tarot; The World, Herbcrafter’s Tarot. Sojourner Truth is depicted in the Pentimento Tarot Justice card.)

A Tarot Spread for the Pandemic Portal Time

in 0-Library, Tarot

I created this tarot spread after listening to Arundhati Roy read from her essay “The Pandemic is a Portal.”

1. What do I most need to know about this collective moment — this “portal”?

2. What can I do to contribute to the wholeness and health of the collective?

3. How can I strengthen my own resilience?

4. What am I not seeing? (Pull a card from the bottom of the deck.)

5. What does Spirit most want me to know about my personal path at this collective moment?

Caring for Ourselves, Caring for Each Other

in 0-Library, Spiritual Practice

Strength cards

(I sent this newsletter out today and was asked to post it here too.)

Dear Ones,

The world is a different place than it was a short time ago, isn’t it. Two weeks ago I agonized over cancelling my Spring Retreat, which would have started tomorrow. Now, it would be one more cancellation among many.

Just like you, I imagine, I’ve had my own fair share of emotions all over the map — fear, calm, dread, gratitude. Bringing myself back to center is a constant practice. As I wrote on social media last week:

It’s ok to be afraid, loves. Acknowledge your fear, pat it on the head, tuck it inside your shawl, and rock it to sleep. And do whatever you need to do to bring yourself back to center. Again and again and again.

Breathe deep. Touch the earth, even if it’s a leaf in a potted plant. Pray like crazy. Dance! Meditate. Make art. Boost your immunity. Wash your hands. Reach out to someone. Ask how you can help. Love each other hard. We’ll get through this. 

Because I have a chronic respiratory condition and because of my age (68), I am in the high risk category. If I get COVID-19, there’s a possibility I will not survive it. I live alone and I am self-isolating. This does not mean I’m staying inside! It’s essential for me to get out each day and go for a walk.

Every day I’m asking myself: What can I do to take care of myself? And: What can I do to help others, to care for the collective? 

Caring for Myself

Here are just a few of things I’m doing to care for myself during this time of uncertainty and self-isolation, in no particular order. I hope some of them may be helpful to you.

I’m keeping a Health Log, of how I feel each day and what I notice — things like:  Slept well. Stuffy nose. Energy slump in the afternoon. Tired after a long walk. Little cough. Felt energized after eating chicken soup. If I do get sick, this will help my doctor figure out what’s up.

I have a diffuser going nearly 24/7 with Thieves Oil in it. It keeps the air moist inside my house and the scent is said to be anti-bacterial and anti-viral. I bought my Thieves Oil from Thrive Market, but they are currently out. It’s a blend of cinnamon, cloves, eucalyptus, rosemary, and lemon. (Misting works better for me than sacred smoke because of my lungs.)

The same herbs, with the addition of thyme, make up a fragrant Immunity Salve that I rub into my wrists, behind my ears and under my nose. It’s made by a local Bellingham business, Sea Witch Botanicals. (I love their soaps too. Oh and their incense and candles. Actually everything they make.)

I made protective salt jars to place at my front and back doors. I filled regular jars with sea salt, garlic, lemon rind, cloves, and rosemary. I held the jars up to my Holy Helpers, blessed and charged them, and am letting them do their cleansing, protective work on an energetic level. My friend Bri Saussy has more info here.

Triple Eights Healing SoupI’ve made two big batches now of immunity-boosting Triple Eights Healing Chicken Soup. I’ve stashed quite a bit in the freezer, in case I do get sick and don’t feel like cooking. I started with this recipe but used the vegetables I had on hand. (The ginger and garlic and turmeric are key, though.)

I signed up for a local service, Dandelion Organics, to have local produce delivered every other week.

I drink lots and lots of herbal tea … all kinds.  Current favorite is Tulsi Rose. (Tulsi is Awakening and Rose is the Empress in the Herbcrafter’s Tarot.) Sometimes I drink it while chatting with friends on a video call.

I made a list of how to tell the difference between the symptoms for allergies, the flu, and COVID-19, and posted it on my fridge.

I have the information for the protocol at my doctor’s office on the fridge too, in case I develop the worst symptoms and need to call in.

light a Guadalupe candle every morning and pray the Goddess rosary I learned from Jennifer Berezan so many years ago:  Hail Mother, full of grace. Power is with thee. Blessed are you, Queen of the Universe, and blessed is all of creation. Holy Mother, Maker of all things, be with us now and always. Blessed be. I dedicate the prayer to us all, that we may be safe and healthy and stay financially afloat, and grow resilience.

BTW Jennifer Berezan is offering a free streaming version of her exquisite Song for All Beings Live!  here. Yes, I’ll be singing and moving to it tonight.

rest when I’m tired.

Madre of Water (care for self) and 6 of Water (care for others)toss the cards. Once, twice, more!  I don’t ask what the outcome of the current global crisis will be. I ask how I can make it through, and what I can do to help others.

go outside and touch the earth. I go for walks. I notice the signs of spring. I bask in the sun (when there is some!) Soon I’ll start to plant an herb garden.

write in my journal, spilling out fears and notes and things to remember.

I’m eyeing my colored pencils, and getting ready to start a new art journal. I’m thinking about making a new Spirit Doll to hold the energy of good health for me, and for everyone. My friend Lyn Belisle is giving away her Spirit Doll Workshop PDF, if you think you’d like to make one too.

I’m writing a letter to my granddaughter telling her things I want her to know in case … just in case.

When the news or social media gets my heart rate up and my stomach aflutter, I do thefour-square breathing technique:  Breathe in to a count of four. Hold for a count of four. Breathe out to a count of four. Hold for a count of four. Again. And again, until I’m calm. I love knowing I’m invoking boundaries and sacred space, the keynote of tarot Fours, when I do this practice.

I’m giving thanks for Washington state governor Jay Inslee, who is modeling how a true leader should behave in a public health crisis. I’m giving thanks and praying for all themedical professionals on the front lines. 

I’m loving the connections we’re making on social media.

I’m finding it’s necessary to take a break from social media too.

I’m petting my neighbor’s cat.

My afternoon walkI reviewed my end-of-life documents and my health care directive and I’m having my lawyer update them this week. Just in case. (By the way, her assistant mentioned to me that they’re having a run on the updating of wills this week.)

I renewed and refreshed my ancestor altar, and make offerings every day. I talk and I listen. I can already feel them growing stronger at my back.

If I wake in the night and can’t sleep, I listen to an audiobook (you can borrow them from your library) and set the app’s timer to 30 minutes. I listen to the story (nothing disturbing or scary) and it almost always puts me back to sleep. I love listening to anything by Clarissa Pinkola Estes; Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer; and the Maisie Dobbs novels by Jacqueline Winspear.

reach out to help.

ask for help when I need it.

I learn, as you do, to live on the edge of uncertainty.

Caring for Each Other

Over the weekend, two beloved friends went to the store for me and dropped off the ingredients I needed to make another batch of Triple Eights Soup. They put the bag of groceries on the porch and didn’t come in. We waved to each other. Saturday night one of my beloved friends on the other side of the country held my hand via text when I was scared.

Gaian Tarot StarThis is part of the grace (the Star) that has come about in response to the crisis (the Tower): the uprising of compassion and creativity in connecting and caring for each other. Last week I participated in two different conscious dance classes via Zoom calls, one that was local and one in southern California. I meditated on a Facebook Live video with a group. I had tea and conversation with friends on Zoom and FaceTime. Online, I see that people are stepping up to offer virtual ceremonies, virtual storytelling, circles, group conversations and card readings.

I’ve been seeking guidance on ways that I can contribute and care for the collective. I keep coming back to the idea I’ve been considering for over a year: creating a community space on the Patreon platform. I’ve been remembering the “golden oldie” days of the Gaian Tarot Circle, which I hosted from 2010 to 2014. It was a lovely, nourishing space for many people. So I’m brainstorming ideas for it now. I’m thinking there will be one or two community Zoom calls a month, weekly readings and card study (Herbcrafter’s and Gaian Tarots), seasonal activities, journal prompts, and more. The nice thing about Patreon is that there are tiers and levels of support, starting very low. I’ll have more information about it soon.

Pull • Pen • Paint 2020 

Last week I told you about this new program … it starts in just a couple of days, March 19th. I’m a guest teacher along with a crazy wonderful roster of many other teachers.

Please check out Pull Pen Paint: A Journey of Self-Discovery Using Signs, Symbols, and Systems in Your Spiritual & Creative Practice, and see if it’s something that might support your wholeness.

Well, this turned out to be quite a missive. Thank you if you made it all the way to the end. I hope something I wrote inspires you, helps you, and gives you hope. Thank you, once again, for being part of my world.

We will make it through this.  We will.

Love & Blessings of Sea & Cedar,

Joanna

P.S. I just realized that I’m writing to you as if you are on the same page as I am, that it goes without saying that the most important thing we can do right now is flatten the curve of the pandemic, in order to take stress off the health care system and save lives. If you have not made this a priority, please do, for your own sake, the sake of those you love, and the sake of us all. If you’re not sure what it means, here’s a good article. And another. And another. Thank you.

Resource Yourself

in 0-Library, Grief

Aldermarsh path in summer

If you’ve been with me for any length of time, you know that 2018 was a very difficult year for me. My marriage of 20 years ended at the beginning of that year, and I sold my beloved island home at the end of it. 2019 began with with pneumonia and moving to town. After I settled into a small condo, I spent most of the winter and spring ill with a number of ailments. Now that I have mostly recovered from them, it seems to be that the enforced “slow time” of illness was a process of physical, emotional, and spiritual detoxification.

river and cottonwood leafAs I look back at the mythic arc of the last 20 months or so, I see that 2018 was a personal Tower-like year of trauma, followed by the healing grace of the Star in 2019. When I taught the Sacred Wheel course last fall, many of you heard me express my utter and complete faith that the Wheel will always turn again, will always move from despair to hope. And so it did for me.

My circle soul-sisters and my therapist were there every step of the way. The land and the sea, always, were there for me. Learning to find nature in an urban setting continues to be a delight, as does the sociability of village living. The positive response to the publication of the Herbcrafter’s Tarot has given me deep soul-shaking joy. My “Foundations of the Gaian Soul Wheel” retreat a couple of weeks ago at Aldermarsh rooted and grounded me once again in the work I’m meant to do in the world, that gives me so much pleasure and satisfaction. There are some lovely things unfolding in my personal life too, that I’m not quite ready to share.

So the tide has turned for me, the Wheel has turned once more. I am no longer taking it on faith, I’m experiencing it in my life and in my body.

And then there is the state of the world, which can take us right down into utter despair.

Resource Yourself

So today I want to share something with you that I shared first in May of last year. I need to be reminded of it right now, so it may be helpful to you as well. It’s the idea of resourcing yourself, which I first learned from Anne Hayden and Sheila Belanger of NW SoulQuest in their “Tending the Knowing Field” group facilitation course.

I saw a graphic on social media yesterday that said something like “Self-care isn’t just about bubble baths and chocolate cake. It’s about creating a life you don’t have to run away from.”  Self-care, to me, is about what you do to replenish yourself after you’ve been depleted. Resourcing yourself is deeper and is more pro-active — it’s about creating that authentic life. It’s about doing the spiritual practices that center and ground you so that you can handle whatever comes your way with equanimity, whether it’s in your personal life or how you respond to the tragedies in the world around us.

The simple act of wrapping yourself in a shawl and bundling yourself is one way to resource yourself. Engaging with the natural world is another. Singing and dancing — those too. Hugs and heartfelt conversations. Writing in your journal. Tossing the cards. There are many practices that will help you resource yourself. One that always works for me is to step outside and simply turn to each of the four directions, plus above, below, and center. I greet each direction in turn by speaking or singing from the heart, by making a gesture, and/or by making an offering.

It’s these practices, done on a regular and routine basis, that help us build the strength and resilience we need to meet difficult times with courage and calm.

open gateI wrote this in May 2018:

Resource yourself. Greet the four directions, wrap yourself in a shawl, lean into feeling how Cedar has your back. Hold hands with a sword fern. Drink sparkling dew from a cup of lady’s mantle. Move to the sound of frog song. Walk through that gate. You’ve got this.

When I wrote that, I was thinking of the end of my marriage and the new life that awaited me, and how scared and sad I was at times. But I was also thinking of transitions of all kinds … all kinds of thresholds and gateways that we each have to walk through. We’re often frightened when we need to make changes, to answer the call of Soul … and yet, it is our destiny, is it not?

Resource yourself in whatever way works best for you — then cross the threshold before you.

And so I ask you to consider:  

What are the sacred soulful practices that resource you the most? 

Make a list. Pick one or two or three, and do them as often as you can. 💚

 

(From my NL, 8.28.19)