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Return to the Journey

October 19, 2009

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October 19, 2009
Moon Phase: Waxing
Retrogrades: Neptune and Uranus
Weather: Moving into winter with barely an autumn

I’ve been away from this blog for nearly two years. Sometimes, internal work is so confusing that you can’t discuss it outside a personal journal. Sometimes exterior forces push you and test the limits of your strength, and there’s not enough strength to talk about it with others.

All of these things have contributed to my time away.

And then yesterday, I was blindsided by some news that just proved what my gut told me about the other party, but which sets me back because I cut too much slack and hoped the other side would have the ethics to “do the right thing.” Lesson learned, yet one must be careful not to punish anyone else for a different individual’s choices — always hard. In the long run, it will prove to be the best possible outcome, but the transition will not be pleasant.

On the plus side, I am writing full time. Making my living with my pen, a scribe of sorts. Of many sorts, actually, because I cover a wide range of topics under a wide range of names. I have a daily (and often nightly) yoga practice, and I’ve found a wonderful weekly meditation group.

I enjoy my 2010 calendars from Llewellyn — I am not scheduled in any of the 2011 annuals. After 15 years of writing for their annuals, I feel I need to restock the creative wells. I’ve learned a lot and grown a lot in 15 years, but sometimes, one just needs to be quiet for awhile, as I was quiet here.

I continue to work with the Tarot and let it teach me, and I’m spending the next several months going deeper into the Runes, which should be an interesting journey. My European heritage is tied to Runic cultures, so it’s time I paid attention to the ancestors.

This is also the busy time of year for me, with Samhain approaching, not just for myself, but creating and performing rituals for house blessings, ancestors, the coming year, and, of course, a plethora of tarot readings.

Interestingly enough, the last post was about baking bread. And, yesterday, I baked bread. Well, Hestia is one of my patrons!

Not a circle in this case, but a spiral.

I look forward to picking up the journey here. I hope we can take it together and learn from each other.

Cerridwen Iris Shea

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Sacred Baking

December 17, 2007

We’ve moved into the dark half of the year, now. The nights are long and cold, the days short and brittle. The harvest happened months ago, and we live off it.

One of the most comforting things to do during the cold days and nights is to bake. The smell of bread, cookies, or cakes scents a home and makes it feel warm and cozy like few other things. That’s why companies even peddle candles that claim to smell like “Christmas cookies”!

Why not add an extra layer to your baking, and bake with sacred intent? The more intent you put into the food, the more nourishing it is when you eat it. If you bake cookies and cakes to give as gifts during the season, bless the ingredients and the batter, as you stir, with intentions of love, health, and abundance for the coming cycle. Visualize the foods you bake filled with loving nurturance.

Bless each ingredient before adding it. While I often bless the ingredients as soon as I buy them, before storing them in the cupboard, re-igniting the blessing as it’s added to the mix never hurts.

Stir clockwise (in the Northern Hemisphere) to grow abundance and nurturance. Count your strokes, using multiples of 9 or 13. Add a blessing before placing the dough into the oven.

You’ll experience the well-being in your entire home as you prepare the food, and those receiving it will experience the blessings upon eating it.

What better way to spread peace and joy over the holidays?

–Cerridwen Iris Shea

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Herbal Studies

February 8, 2007

 

I didn’t progress very far in my studies over the past week and change.  I stared at the stack of books.  I wondered what to do next.

 

It seems to be, as I previously mentioned, that I need to add some botany texts to my books.  I’m in the process of researching those texts to find something that will work well in tandem with the books I use.

 

I also decided that yes, I do need to keep a separate notebook with dangerous herbs and their antidotes.

 

Which means as I research and learn, I must take the tangent of antidotes.

 

What’s interesting is how the process is not a linear study, the way it would be if it was a university course.  It spirals, grows, and moves like the living plants I study.

 

I find that as interesting as the information on the individual plants.

 

Moon:  3rd quarter in Libra

Retrograde:  Saturn

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Tarot Q & A

February 5, 2007

Once a month-ish (heavy on the “ish”), I’ll answer questions people have about the tarot. They do need to be legitimate, respectful questions, but one doesn’t need a deep-seated knowledge of tarot to ask them. Ask a question you’re genuinely interested in having answered, and send the questions here.

I won’t reveal the identity of the questioner; don’t worry.

Question: I had a tarot reading, and the reader told me I had a big black spirit hovering around me. She suggested that I pay her $20 a candle to light candles for me every day for three months, and she’d need to use six candles at a time. If I didn’t do so, something terrible would happen to me. What do I do?

Answer: The short answer is to file a police report. This person is not a legitimate tarot consultant; this person is a charlatan out to get as much money as possible from you. Many tarot readers charge a reasonable fee for the time, space, and energy it takes for a reading. If they try to extort money beyond the reading, especially with threats, check the fortune-telling laws in your area and contact the fraud squad of the police department.

If a legitimate reader intuits trouble or danger or even an actual negative spirit hovering around you, the reader can give YOU advice on the steps YOU need to take to change the energy around you. Sometimes, it means performing a simple ritual. Sometimes it means seeking the help of a psychological, medical, or law enforcement professional, depending upon your situation. But tarot is about showing you OPTIONS in your life, giving you the information you need to make an educated choice, not tying you to the reader for a series of rituals for which you’re charged large fees. There are plenty who do so; avoid them.

Many readers will disagree, but I will only read the same person once every six months. A good reading takes anywhere from two weeks to six months to manifest. You need to give the possibilities time to take root. People can get addicted to readings the same way they can get addicted to smoking, exercise, or self-help gurus. I think it’s counter-productive to get readings too frequently.

Question: I had a reading eight months ago, and the reader told me I’d meet my soul mate in six months. Why hasn’t it happened? Did I just pick a sucky reader?

Answer: What steps did you take to manifest that reading in the six months after it? Tarot is about showing you the options that your subconscious already knows exit, and bringing them to the surface so that you CAN TAKE ACTION. The actions you take from the moment of the reading can manifest the possibilities or the actions can change the possibilities. It is your CHOICE. If you do nothing, the options may float right past and you don’t even notice. For instance, if you did nothing but sit home and wait for your soul mate to ring the bell, your soul mate could have been in the neighborhood, but, because you did NOTHING to manifest the meeting, you were merely ships that passed in the night.

While there’s always the possibility that you weren’t with the right reader from you, it’s more likely that the possibility didn’t manifest because you did nothing to make it happen. The cards show possibilities, not definites.

Question: I had this reading, right? And what the tarot reader told me had, like, nothing to do with what I asked. What up with that?

Answer: Just because you ask a question doesn’t mean that’s what you most need to know. The tarot will give you the most important information, which isn’t always the same as the information you feel is the most important in the moment. Look back on your notes from the reading (you took notes, didn’t you? Or recorded the session? Often there’s too much information to simply remember). What resonates with you, relative to a different situation?

The other way answers grow incomprehensible is if the question is muddled. Did you ask a clear, concise question to which you genuinely wanted the answer? Or did you ask one thing while really wanting to know something else? Sometimes querents are embarrassed to ask what they really want to; their mouths form the question they think they SHOULD ask, while their hearts ask something else, and it gets muddled.

When asking a question, use simple, direct sentences. No complex or compound sentences. No “and”, “but”, “however” or any qualitative phrasing. If the question gets long and complicated, break it down into separate questions.

That’s all for this time. Again, if you’ve got questions, send them here, and I’ll answer some more next month!

Cerridwen Iris Shea

For more information on tarot, meditation, and home and hearth magic, visit my website, Cerridwen’s Cottage.

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Imbolc

February 1, 2007

Tomorrow is the celebration of Imbolc, also known as Candlemass. It’s the time when things begin to stir beneath the surface, the seeds start to get restless, although they’re not ready to push through the ground yet.

It’s natural to start feeling as though you’ve been static and turned inward enough, and you want to do . . .something . . .but you aren’t quite sure yet what it is.

Imbolc is sacred to Bridget, the goddess of poetry, healing, smithcraft, and fire. Rituals done on Imbolc are for things that are going to stick during the next cycle. It’s not for short-term, quick results. It’s for long-term life changes.

Plant seeds tomorrow, signifying specific changes you want to grow in your life. As the plants emerge, nurture them the way you nurture the positive changes you make in your life. Let the plants symbolize the change, so something tangible represents what is still intangible.

Moon Phase: Almost Full in Cancer
Retrogrades: Saturn

Note: Tomorrow is the last day to send tarot questions for this month. I will answer several of them on Monday. Please send your questions here.

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Working with The Celtic Oracle

January 29, 2007

The past week’s Oracle work was slow – these cards needed more time to connect, especially since I was overtired, stressed out, and in flux. Oracle work under exhaustion or stress isn’t the best way to learn a new deck. However, once you’re fluent in the language of your particular deck, you will be able to discern what information coming through is genuine and what is simply a product of your stress. After all, we tend to turn to oracles for advice when we’re under pressure.

I worked with The Keeper of Letters, The First Circle, the Second Circle, The Third Circle, and The Mound of Wonders (the latter moving into the element cards).

Being a writer, The Keeper of Letters was the card to which I connected the most strongly. It also reminds me, in addition to the other skills I’m studying these months, that I need to add Ogham back into it. I’ve done a little work with the Ogham, but not nearly enough to be fluent in it, and that’s what I need.

However, there are limited hours in the day, so I need to pick and chose a few things to study in depth, and in turn, or I won’t retain any of it.

If you have tarot questions, please send them here by Friday, and I’ll answer some of them next week.

On Thursday, I hope you will join me to celebrate Imbolc.

Kiuney!

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Herbal Studies

January 25, 2007

Adventures in Herbal Studies

I piled my various texts on herbs, and also the relevant encyclopedias, and dug in.

I quickly realized that I’ll have to add botany texts to the study pile – I need to know what these plants look like, and the line drawings from 1636 just aren’t cutting it for me.

In any case, since Culpepper’s herbal is still around after all these years, I decided to start with the first herb in his repertoire and work my way through.

It’s going to take a few years.

The first herb is Amara Dulcis.

This herb is also known as mortal, bittersweet, woody nightshade, felonwort. There’s an American Bittersweet, also known as wax work and false bittersweet, and a European Bittersweet that goes by the names above as well as violet bloom, scarlet berry, dulcamara, and bitter nightshade, and, according to Gerard (another ancient herbalist), Amarodulcis and Amarodulciia. He adds that Pliny called it Melortrum: Theophrastus and vitus sylvestris, but disagrees, saying the latter is what he considers “Ladies’ Seale” and not a member of the Nightshade family.

It’s masculine, under the astrological sign of Mercury and the element of Air.

Culpepper goes on and on about its curative, restorative, and magical powers. Scott Cunningham agrees with some of that, but points out that American bittersweet is poisonous. The Encyclopedia Britannica and Audobon’s Nature Encyclopedia agree.

Culpepper is eager to use it for preventing witchcraft, while Cunningham suggests putting some under the pillow to forget a past love.

According to the encyclopedia articles, there are 1400-3000 species in the Nightshade family (depending on which encyclopedia you read).

Here I thought I was starting in the “A’s” and I’m in Nightshade. Go figure.

What I didn’t know was that potato, tomato, eggplant, cayenne pepper, tobacco, and belladonna are all members of the Nightshade family.

My overall feeling and my personal decision for working with “Amara Dulcis” is:
Good for birds
Bad for people, horses, cows, sheep, etc, despite Culpepper’s recommendations
Maybe I’d rub it on a bruise, but I sure as heck wouldn’t ingest it!

And I’m realizing that part of learning about these herbs isn’t just ingesting information (pun intended), but figuring out where they fit into my overall work and life.

I’m tempted to keep a separate book of poisons and antidotes, but in this day and age of paranoia, it might be misconstrued as something nefarious when it’s true purpose is so I don’t have any poisonous plants where my animals can get at them.

Sources:

Audobon’s Nature Encyclopedia. Entry for “nightshade”.

Culpepper’s Complete Herbal by Nicholas Culpepper. NJ: Chartwell Books. 1985. H. (originally published in 1653).

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham. Minnesota: Llwellyn Publications. Second Edition: 2001. P.

Encyclopedia Britannica. Entries for both “bittersweet” and “nightshade”.

Gerard’s Herbal: John Gerard’s Historie of Plants edited by Maras Woodward. Middlesex, UK: Senate. 1998. P. (originally published in 1636).

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Working With the Celtic Oracle

January 22, 2007

My progress with The Celtic Oracle this past week was interesting. I’m still in the getting-to-know-each-card stage, working card by card.

I worked more with The Ferryman, and then worked with The Woodward, The Lady of the Ways, The Bride of the Waters, The Druid, The Keeper of the Wheel, The Seeress, and The Woman Made of Flowers.

I didn’t journey will all of the representations – that much journeying in such a small space of time would be unhealthy. But there were certain cards I was drawn to more than others, and I will spend more time with them once I’ve worked through the entire deck.

The Ferryman presents an interesting conundrum. According to Matthews, one can journey with the Ferryman in his boat. According to all the material I’ve read about the entity – the only time you get into his boat is for that final journey. So, while I’m drawn to the card, and I may consult him, my feet will stay firmly on this bank.

The Lady of the Ways resonated – Nehelenia – who is now one of the patrons of my herbal studies. I looked at the card, I read the legend, and there was just that “click”. I will work with her frequently (and with Lugh) on the herbal journey.

The Bride of the Waters was also a powerful card to me. That makes sense – I’m a Pisces. In Chinese astrology, I’m a Water Tiger. I work with Cerridwen and her cauldron. That was more a sensation of familiarity than the sensation of discovery I had with The Lady of the Ways.

And with The Keeper of the Wheel . . .simply a sense of reverence.

On Thursday, I will talk about adventures in herbal studies (which I’m sure some of you will find amusing, and I hope all of you will find entertaining).

Another thing – once a month, I’ll answer genuine questions about the tarot. I’ll answer two or three a month, and you can send them here. However, please only send a real question. Abuse, threats, or attempts at coercion (or conversion) will be sent to both Community Justice and the appropriate authorities. Genuine questions will be answered as completely as I can.

Until Thursday – Kiuney!

(In case you’re wondering, “kiuney” is the Manx word for “ serenity, quiet, stillness” – which is the best way to work with tarot and oracles.

Moon: First Quarter in Pisces
Retrograde: Saturn

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New moon, site, and study

January 18, 2007

Terrific news! My website, Cerridwen’s Cottage, is finally live. Of course, I forgot to put up a page with most of the writing details, but that will go up shortly. I’m excited about it.

Today is the New Moon, and the start of the herbal studies. I’ll talk about the studies on Thursdays here on Kemmyrk, and focus on The Celtic Oracle work on Mondays.

To begin my studies, I stacked my books, lit a candle, and asked for a blessing on the work:

Lady and Lord,
Nehelenia and Lugh,
Watch over me
And guide me
As I embark
Down this road
Of study and knowledge.
Keep me alert and aware,
Open and discerning,
Contemplative and explorative,
In the name of Gaia.

I’m looking forward to this adventure!

Moon: New in Capricorn
Retrograde: Saturn

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Herbal Studies and THE CELTIC ORACLE

January 15, 2007

Preparations for Herbal Studies

The ideal would be to sign up for a course in herbalism. However, due to the chaos in my life right now, that’s not an option.

So, starting when the moon turns, I will pull out all those herbals I’ve collected over the years and embark on a study course, a few days a week. That will give me the foundation, so that when I am able to enroll in formal training, I can progress more quickly.

However, to successfully learn what I need to learn, I need to brush up on my Latin. I only had one year of Latin in high school. I loved it, in spite of a rather flaky teacher. And, in the year I took both Latin and French, I got straight A’s in French. Additionally, it was right before I took my SATs and ACTs, and I landed in the top 90% in the former and the top 98% in the latter – thanks in a good part, to the Latin.

How I will juggle all this, I’m not quite sure yet. I have my Latin textbooks and will hunt down a good site or CD or something. Step-by-step, right?

The Celtic Oracle

Meditation has been a bust this weekend. I can’t seem to quiet my mind at all.

So I’ve only connected with the Wildman and the Ferryman cards. I connected deeply with the Ferryman card – but then, I’ve always felt drawn to the ferryman tending the souls across the River Styx. And Cerberus, the three-headed dog at the gate of the Underworld. I’m more likely to give him a cookie (okay, three cookies) than scream.

I will continue to work with the Oracle at night, but do try to study during the day.

Stay tuned to see how this all works out. I’m not setting up a rigid schedule. I have a feeling some herbs will take longer to learn than others.

I will also rely heavily on The Herbal Tarot to help.

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Working with The Celtic Oracle

January 11, 2007

I mentioned, a few posts ago, that I’m working with John Matthews’s The Celtic Oracle (formerly known as The Celtic Shaman’s Pack).

How does one work with a new deck? There are many ways, and I’ve used various ways with various decks. Because I’m often eager to start working with a new deck RIGHT NOW, I don’t always take the time to thoroughly learn each card first – I jump in and learn as I go.

There’s nothing wrong with that; in fact, it works quite well. But this deck is quite different from others with which I’ve worked, so I decided to work with it differently.

I am actually starting with the first card in the pack and working my way through it. I’m doing a meditation with each card, in order, familiarizing myself with each before I move on to the next one.

Because I’ve been ill for the past few days, I haven’t worked each day (or, in my case, night. For some reason, I connect better to this deck at night).

So far, I’ve worked with The Tree of Vision and Tradition, The Vision Singer (Bard) and The Walker Between the Worlds (Vision Seeker).

As a writer, I connected strongly to the Vision Singer/Bard card. The harp enveloped in flames against a pale green background, surrounded by trees with hearts for leaves – and hearts amongst the flames – resonated strongly. As a writer, the personal depth of this card to me makes sense.

In working with the card, my comfort zone and first instinct will be to work shamanically via the Vision Singer. The fact that it is my comfort zone makes me think I should work a little harder to work with The Walker Between the Worlds and The Wildman. Part of growth is moving beyond the comfort zone.

I apologize for not being able to post a photo of the card; I do not have permission from the publisher to do so. I’m afraid, for this deck, you’ll have to rely on my words, and I will try to “sing” them to you in a way to make the images visible to you.

Moon: 4th Quarter (Waning) in Libra
Retrogrades: Saturn

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Competitive/Comparative Spirituality

January 11, 2007

One of the temptations we need to fight as we wend our way down the spiritual pathways, highways, and byways, is the tendency towards competitive or comparative spirituality.

It happens in places like yoga classes all the time – people comparing themselves to each other. Not trying to be their best selves in the asanas, but trying to be better than their classmates, to get more of the teacher’s praise.

Unfortunately, it happens in circles and spiritual workshops as well. We want to be good at whatever we do. Unfortunately, too often, we take it too far and try to prove we’re good because someone else is “not good”.

In reality, they may simply progress at a different pace or have different goals. We can’t compare ourselves to anyone else when it comes to something as ephemeral and personal as spirituality.

What we can do is strive to meet our own goals, and encourage our fellow travelers to do the same.

(Note: This was originally posted on Kemmyrk over on Blogger on January 8, 2007)

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Welcome to the new look of Kemmyrk!

January 11, 2007

Welcome to the new look and new URL of Kemmyrk.The archives will remain on Blogger, for now, but new posts reside here.

I apologize for the small font.  I hope it’s not too difficult to read.  And, somehow, I managed to turn off comments for this post and am not sure how to get it back on.  Sigh.

The header is a photo I took in Maine.  It felt right for this blog.

I hope you join me on a journey of exploration!

Cerridwen Iris Shea