Thursday, September 6, 2018


The Rider Waite Deck

Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

 

The Magician is an exciting card - a symbol of the Divine Conduit, of Prime Manifester, empowered with the ability to draw down the energy of Above and bring in into being on Earth.

The alchemists wrote of the magnum opus – the Great Work – the process of using the prima materia – the first matter – to create the philosopher’s stone – the famous symbol of perfection, enlightenment, and spiritual transformation.  This is the first card of the Major Arcana of the Tarot. We can think of The Fool, Tarot Card Zero, as the prima materia, first emerging into the physical realm. The Magician, the Alchemist, wields control of that energy. This IS our journey: as an eternal being we come in and out of the physical realm to learn to perfect the craft of being human so our spiritual enlightenment can expand through eternity. It is important to note that the Magician is not something we attain with gaining layers of perfected learning – it is who we are when we arrive.  We ARE the magic!


The Tarot is a powerful guide filled with ancient symbols and wisdom not only of its own particular teaching, but of astrology, Kaballah, and the alchemists’ troves. The Magician stands before the altar of this wisdom represented by the symbols of the Tarot suits – the Pentacle, the Sword, the Cup, and the Wand. These symbols also represent the physical elements of the Earth, the aspects of the human being (body, mind, emotion and energy) as well as the Spiritual Directions (North, East, West, and South). Each Tarot card is layered with symbols, clues, a roadmap, so to speak of our physical and spiritual journey. And the Magician calls it all in, standing erect, aligning with the meridian of the physical world connecting the Below to the Above through the magic of the spinal column ( an actual electrical conduit) – and good feet!

 
We are each an Altar of Spirit – our very essence is Spirit and we incarnate Spirit with every breath, every action, every thought. These manifestations of our lives create the Altar of the Magician even as we are the Magician creating the altar.

 
As we progress in life, we find that our journey towards the Great Opus is impossible without learning through “the other” or through our relationships with people, the choices we make, the paths we choose and those we leave behind. This process of discernment mirrors back to the Magician, standing with one arm raised to drawn in the power and the other pointing to manifest. Somewhere in this process the Magician’s awareness is directed at taking the power or directing the power. 

 
We can certainly use our magic to only take what we want for ourselves, to amass personal wealth, power, prestige, ownership of things and  to take from others their love, friendship, possessions, trust; we all do this to an extent. We also can use our magic to give back to the world, to the relationships of our family, friends, and community and in so doing discover that making a positive contribution (sharing our magic) helps to enhance the magic. It brings us closer to the Source whereof all matter emerges. At this point we discover the great magic of keeping the symbol of infinity shown above the Magician’s head as an active and real way to walk through life as the Altar, the Magic, the Responsible Power and leave some of that behind as we go forward. We always have a choice.  The Magic is given to us outright. How we learn and choose to use it is up to us.

 

…Kathryn Ravenwood 9.6.18

 

 

 

 

Monday, June 25, 2018




 
 
ACE OF SWORDS
Featured deck: DruidCraft Tarot
and Tattoo on Ravenwood's Arm
 
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood
 
I got a new tattoo. Normally I would not post this on my newsletter, but it is important to me.  It is in honor of the Lady of the Lake. She has been coming to me lately, and calling me to truth - the truth of who I am.  She has been calling me to wield Her Sword of Truth. We know the Lady as she who delivered Excalibur to Arthur. To me, this is the rise of the  Divine Feminine bringing truth to the world, to be wielded by the Divine Masculine that Arthur represents. Unfortunately, he could not maintain the balance of this divine union and ended up returning the Sword back to the Lady. I think she is rising again to hand off this great Sword to all of us who will take it on and use it to defend  Truth - our personal Truth - the Divine Truth. We cannot know the full meaning of Truth but, if we take up the Lady's Sword, she will guide us on the Journey. 
In my tattoo, the red cross on the sword's hilt is in honor of the High Priestess card in the Tarot - in the Ryder deck she has this cross on her gown. The High Priestess is also about Truth - she sits between the pillars of the great Tree of Life in the place of neutrality, not being swayed by duality of the black and while pillars. (More on this another time.)
 Below I have reposted an article on the Ace of Swords from 2014.  I hope if the Sword or the Lady is calling to you that this will bring you support. Blessings on the journey...
The Ace of Swords
 
The lake is the element of water.  Water is the primeval, unmanifested, and formless element from which creation began. It is the Nun of ancient Egypt, the waters of chaos, which came before the land and from which arose the god Amun when he created himself. It is the subconscious, the unseen and unknown potential of all that is possible.
In Tarot the suit of Swords represents the mind, thought, ideas. The Ace is that place where we receive a conscious thought from the unconscious realm; when an idea rises from the depths and has its first chance to become a reality. From the chaos and unseen depths of our unconscious we give birth to an idea, an inspiration, a thought. It rises up and grabs us. Many times if we don't write it down or take action we can forget that brilliant moment; the sword sinks back into the lake. But if we grab on to the sword, as Arthur did with Excalibur, we can wield it to create or destroy. 
Swords have a hilt, two sides to the blade, and a point. The blade may be sharp or dull. When we learn to master the sword we learn to use it precisely and carefully. We can defend with it, kill or maim with it, use it to threaten or even to plunge it into the dirt and "draw a line in the sand" of marking a boundary. It is the same with our words and thoughts. There are two sides to a conversation. We try to make our point when we have a discussion.  We deliberate ideas to sort out confusion, coming to that, hopefully brilliant, conclusion. 
All the Aces of Tarot indicate a new beginning of some kind. The Ace of Swords is that great idea that leads to writing a book, making a movie, starting a new course of study, or what just precedes inserting foot into mouth!  We can take that Sword and heft it, measuring its weight and setting an intention for a good outcome or we can drop it and lose the opportunity. 
Intention is the arm that controls the Sword. 
 
The Ace of Swords is also pure cosmic truth. In the Tarot the figures of the Sword Court Cards all wield swords, showing the progressive mastery of and fealty to truth. The Justice figure also holds the Sword reminding us that Justice hears both sides of the story but sticks to the point of truth. 
The Ace of Swords is not in its sheath. It is out, exposed, vulnerable to attack. It can be seen as a show of strength, a challenge, or an act of defense. It is grasped in the hand, at the ready. How do you wield your Sword? Do you parry about with words? Do you miss the point; enjoy the double entrendre, like to make a show of your swordplay?  Do you use your intention and words to control others? Are you constantly jabbing your sword into people causing harm? Or are you a Sword Master, honing your mind into precise and well executed thoughts and articulate skill, speaking and defending the truth? 
The next time that Ace of Swords rises up from the lake of your subconscious, grasp onto it, hold it, wield it.  Use it wisely to start the sequence of thoughts, intentions, and actions to manifest your Camelot.
...Kathryn Ravenwood:  June 25, 2018
 
 
 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018



Three of Wands


From The Everyday Witch Tarot

At the Crossroads


Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

 

The journey never seems to go from Point A to Point B, does it?  We make plans only to discover that situations, people, even ourselves have changed along the way so we no longer are able or feel comfortable going forward from the direction we started. We reach a crossroads.  We know there is no turning back yet we don’t really know which new road to choose. (We could turn back, that is always a choice, but in this card we are reminded that back is really not a positive option.) The Three of Wands is often shown with a person standing on a hilltop, looking out over water, maybe with ships sailing by. The person stands and simply looks out at the world, paused and perspective.
 
This card is always positive to me. Wands are the element of fire, which represent our will power, energy, and vitality. The threes are ruled by the Empress and represent creativity, abundance, and the bringing forth of new things. Many times we face a point where it seems like we have no options at all; there is no clear, defined path with signs pointing the way. But, unlike the Fool card where we take a leap of faith and step out with no agenda, the Three of Wands is a place where we use our own assets to create what we want.  No one is in pursuit behind us forcing us to make an untimely decision based on raw courage (such as the Seven of Wands) nor are we finally facing an emotional loss from which we must painfully move through (as in the Eight of Cups).
 

In the card above, the witch and her familiar have reached a point of decision.  We get a sense that she has taken her time to contemplate throughout the day by the setting sun in the West, the place of sorting through the experiences of life. The witch’s  hat and staff rest on the ground, another clue that she has been taking some time to ponder and consider.   But now, using her wand (energy, will power) she sends her magic out into the unknown to make her intention a reality. She is just in the act of this – the outcome is not yet shown. It is this act of creative intention that opens the new part of her journey to her. That little salamander on her staff represents the fire of transformation.  All the elements are there and the witch knows how to use them.
 
If you are at a crossroads in your journey, be it physical or spiritual, it may be time to stop and look ahead at your options.  Don’t wait for a major fork in the road to use your magic. Every day is an opportunity to create more of what you want, to hone your direction, to choose a path that is more fun, more wise, more directed towards your true desires.  “And as we wind on the down the road,” our perspective changes. We get a different view, learn something new, set new intentions and make new choices. Life is a fluid process. We may sometimes feel like we are sunk in cement but really we are only an intention away from a different choice and a different outcome.  We have multi-directional vision available to us… looking ahead, behind, peripherally, inwardly, energetically, and even hypothetically. But look we must.  If we sit with blinders on, with eyes and minds closed to possibility, a new path is hard to fathom. As we learn to be creative with the smaller crossroads in life, when we find ourselves standing at a big one, or if we are “caught between a rock and a hard spot,” we can handle the challenge with more grace, ease, and wisdom.
 
What viewpoint does your current crossroads offer you? What is your vision?  Where might following your desires lead you? Take a deep breath and move forward. Cast your spell!  Use your magic and go for it!

 

…June 19, 2018  Kathryn Ravenwood

 

 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Hanged Man - Letting Go


The Hanged Man – From The Star Tarot



“I sit before flowers, hoping they will train me in the art of opening up. I stand on mountain tops believing that avalanches will teach me to let go.”…Shane Koyczan

I recently read this quote in my Free Will Horoscope (the brilliant Rob Brezny). It has been pressing upon my consciousness for several weeks now. While it immediately made me think of the Hanged Man in the Tarot, the card of Surrender, to me it seemed to be more about what happens when we are able to allow the art of opening up and believe we can learn to let go.

We have all been there; dealing with a life event of pain, suffering, guilt, loss, anger, shame, or whatever it is that has bound us, trapped us, left us hanging out to dry. We try to process it, work it out, understand what happened and “what next.” Friends, who may be tired of listening to the story repeated to them say, “just let it go.”  I always felt that if I only COULD let it go – if I only COULD move on. I wanted to. I tried to.  I could not.

The Hanged Man tells us there are other realms, other ways, other opportunities if we can but trust. It is not an overnight process. I like to think of this card as when we are up all night pacing the floor back and forth, filled with angst. While we pace, we run the same old story over and over through our head but no inspiration or answer is found in that rut of linear thinking. Then something just trips us up, pushes us over the edge and we experience a sort of fall; we just can no longer hold that unresolved pattern any longer. And as we fall, we find we are supported, held by an unseen force or power. We drop out of that linear realm where we are trapped and find ourselves suspended into a new dimension – a void – where we have room to just fall apart and come loose. In that place of hanging we drop into silence, into a place of non-action, of suspended animation. Our resistance is futile. We are held, we are hung out, and we finally let go. 

And out of that other dimension we start to hear the answers, feel the hope return, find ourselves again in space, realigned to our higher self rather than trapped in our limited mind set. It is not a matter of degree or why or judgment; whatever has brought us to the Hanged Man did so because it was time to accept, time to fall, time to let go. Time to receive grace.

There are many levels of the Hanged Man. Sometimes we are launched over the edge without any warning by a disaster. Sometimes, fed up with what is going on, we run yelling and screaming and jump over the edge. Anything is better than this! But the quote about the flowers and avalanches felt to me more like an unraveling rather than a surrender; a graceful coming apart inspired by beauty, wisdom, and the magic of life itself, opening up to an expanded awareness.

The featured card shows a person held by the tendrils of a lotus blossom hanging down through an egg shaped enclosure filled with the night stars – the field of unlimited possibility. In the surrender the aura expands and the chakras open revealing a pendulum of balance. There is a sense of true power here, of discovery and even freedom. In this suspended time and space we come to know that anything is possible; even to be able to let go.

May flowers and avalanches guide you.

…Kathryn Ravenwood  3/23/16


The 8 of Cups - Leaving it Behind



The Eight of Cups – Moving On 




         The Buckland Romani Tarot                                                                                                      The Rider Waite Tarot












I







I love seeing trends when I do readings for people.  Lately the 8 of Cups has been showing up so I decided to take a closer look at it.

I confess that, being a Cancer and easily overwhelmed by my emotions (duh), this card carries a lot of sorrow and regret for me.  Oh gosh, how did I get into this situation?  I was so stupid, bad, thoughtless, vulnerable, gullible, fill in the blank….  But here I am and I am miserable.  

I have been shortchanging this card.  Yes, it is a very emotional place and yes, we have hit an emotional bottom.  But this card is really about hope and movement forward.  It is a place where we come to grips with reality and cut our losses so we can move on.  The past is just that – the past, over, done, never to return.  We can’t change what happened and we can only remain frozen in the pain so long.  There comes a time we just need to get to a better place.  I am never amused when people say, “oh just get over it.”  You know – we might not really ever get over it but we can certainly go on.  This takes not only will power and courage but a sense of surrender.  We just can’t do any more about it.  We come to realize what is done is done and we must cut our losses, turn our backs on that low place and move on.

I am showing two examples of the 8 of Cups – the traditional Rider Waite based image and the Buckland Romani Tarot.  Both express the meaning of the card but in entirely different ways.  The Buckland Romani card spoke to me as I think no other Tarot card ever has.  It absolutely sent a gasp of n ew understanding through my entire being.  I will tell you why.  My father’s side of the family came to this country from Sweden, landed in New York, and continued their journey west as Mormon Hand-Cart pioneers.  I cannot even imagine how hard that must be – HAND CARTS.  No horses or oxen or mules pulling their belongings – they walked and pushed, pulled and wrangled those carts across mountains and rivers and miles of open prairie in all kinds of weather.  I am sure they started out with those carts loaded with every treasure they owned, thinking they could transport their past into their future.  Then along the way they were forced to leave things behind.  I grew up in Wyoming and heard stories about how in the old days people still found remnants of the pioneers’ leavings as they had to lighten the load – dishes, musical instruments, furniture, all left on the prairie along old wagon ruts carved into the earth like the indelible ink of forgotten stories.

I have thought a lot about this – the road became so hard and going forward must have seemed impossible.  Imagine the conversations  “why did we ever leave Sweden? What were we thinking?  I miss the people back home. I want a real meal. I want to sleep in a real bed. How much farther do we have to do this?  We will never get there.  I am too tired. We will never get this cart out of that mud.  It is too hot, too cold, too far…..” In despair, bitterness, fear, overwhelmed to the max, these people had to face reality.  They are here – now – in this predicament.  They have to lighten the load or they cannot go forward.  That means something has got to go and it is going to have to be the heaviest part of the burden.  So out goes the rocking chair where all the babies were rocked,  or mother’s tea set, or the chest of family treasures.  Dump it.  Leave it.  Cry and wring your hands but it has got to go.  And then, yes, the cart wheels finally move, with one last heroic effort it is pushed out of the mud and headed west.  West.  The place of transitions, where the trees, feeling the coming winter, drop their leaves to preserve their strength and lessen the burden to support and keep alive the core of the tree during the cold months.  Where the Shadows lurk and we go between a place of light and dark – into the unknown.

What are the heaviest and oldest burdens you carry?  Are you ready to finally sacrifice them to lighten your load so you can go forward?  I offer this question to you with great love and understanding and encourage you to leave behind that which is so hard for you to bear.  You are moving forward into an unknown future.  My pioneer ancestors did indeed make it and settled in beautiful lands, raised families and created a new heritage.  They built new furniture, acquired new dishes and looked forward more than behind.  They had to.

I hope the 8 of Cups helps you to take the time to evaluate your emotional distress and feel what you are ready to leave behind.  Our lives are indeed vast landscapes filled with mountains and valleys, oceans and rivers to cross.  And we have wide open spaces where we can leave behind what we must let go of.  We move into a new day with each morning and we begin again with each breath. 

Here’s to a lighter load, the cutting of losses, the grieving and the moving on. And may peace be with you on your journey.

…Kathryn Ravenwood   www.kathrynravenwood.com

Tuesday, May 1, 2018



From The Star Tarot

Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood


Do you feel it?  The constant pressure to change?  Are you exploring it? Surrendering to it? Fighting it? Ignoring it?  Does it exhilarate you or scare you – well, to Death?

In the image above, The Goddess Nut, our Great Cosmic Mother, is the shining portal of life through which we each pass. She holds back the unlimited expanse of the field of stars.  We are each of us a star in her belly, each a part of the grand cosmos, each in a constant state of coming forth. She gives birth to us, even as she births the Sun God – Ra – shown by the position of the sun disks throughout her body.


From this portal, Death steps out of the black void of unlimited, yet unknown, possibilities into the defined frame of the world. Simultaneously, the Phoenix is moving up to meet Death.  The shape of the dance with Nut, Death, and the Phoenix is the vesica piscus  - “a type of lens, a mathematical shape formed by the intersection of two disks with the same radius, intersecting in such a way that the center of each disk lies on the perimeter of the other.”  In other words – a portal.   The butterfly in the card seems to be flying back into the void as if taking the memory of the most recent transformation back into the great Akashic Field to be recorded in our own Akashic Records.  The whole images gives me a sense of Time  - of slowing down the all encompassing into a fragment that can be experienced as Life.


The frame of our world changes constantly.  Staying the same, or being in continual stasis, is not possible.  Everything is shifting, morphing, transforming.  Time does not stand still. The cycle of birth to death and birth again is the only constant; we see it happening all around us every day at every moment.


So why does change frighten us? If it is normal to die and be reborn, to transform and transcend, why fight it?  Perhaps because we are mortal beings in body there is a strong sense of resistance by the body to change.  The body wants to be stable, dependable and reliable. The body recruits the mind for support in this and constantly monitors all systems of the physical and makes every attempt to stabilize. We experience pain because the body says, after trying in many other ways to get our attention, “Look here!  Trouble! Please fix!” Yet, our resistance is strong; we oppose new routines or ideas and prefer to stay comfortable in our known state of mind and body, even if it is painful. “I will start going to the exercise class tomorrow; I will change my diet tomorrow; someday I will get in the habit of daily spiritual exercises.” With those attitudes, Death has little option to assist us.


Culturally, the idea of Death says time is up – game over. Finished and Done, and that frightens us.  The Phoenix says we are born again from the ashes ever rising up to live again, and again, and that challenges us. But even in that body-mind connection of stability and stasis there is constant change.  Cells die and are replaced. We breathe in and out, recycling air through our entire body. Even stubborn muscle memory can be changed.


So it is not surprising that we experience conflict between that very strong power of needing stability and the unlimited, ever changing nature of our Eternal Being.  How is our Eternal Being supposed to get through this tough, stubborn 3-D trauma to communicate with us? If we were consciously aware of all the body is doing we could not function. If we were aware of all our Spirit/Soul/Eternal Being is doing, we might not be able to stay in the body at all.  We are transitional all the time. All aspects of us.  That portal Nut holds for us opens and closes.  Death is simply the Doorman.


Not everyone believes that there is something for us after we die. But even then the body returns to the elements and is recycled, reused and made into something new. I choose to embrace the transitional nature of my Spirit, trusting more will be revealed, that the portal Nut holds for us will allow entrance to a new vision, a new experience when my mortal body no longer walks this Earth. And, like that butterfly, I will transform into memory, leaving my signature behind in the lives of those I have shared this walk with even as that memory is part of my eternal path just beyond Death’s Door.

 
In the meantime, in body and on Planet Earth, I want to be more in touch with Nut and Death and the Phoenix and embrace the change that is calling to me physically, mentally, and spiritually. May you also find grace and peace in your transitions. May you embrace the change flowing through you and us all. May you connect with the wholeness of Life and embrace the Cosmic Cycles knowing Nut and Death will hold the Door for you.


Love and peace – Kathryn Ravenwood…  05/01/18


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

TEMPERANCE
From the Druid Craft Tarot

Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

 

What is Temperance? The dictionary defines it as “moderation in action, thought or feeling; restraint; a habitual moderation in the indulgence of appetites or passions (especially in regards to alcohol).” However, the Tarot, always encouraging us to think in archetypes, tells us Temperance is alchemy, art, blending. There is a much larger sense of this card than simply using restraint in our consumption of wine. The card is traditionally presented as an angel pours water between two vessels as she stands with one foot on land and one in the water suggesting the eternal blending of all that is above and all that is below.

 
One way to think of Temperance is along the lines of kitchen alchemy… we read a recipe, say for cake, process it in our brain, gather the ingredients and follow (more or less) the instructions.  Once you start blending those ingredients they cannot be separated. When the ingredients are all mixed together we don’t have cake – that requires the heat of the oven to bring the final magic. Too little time in the oven and the cake won’t cook.  Too long in the oven and the cake burns. But just the right heat and time in the oven produces a lovely cake. We might ruin several potential cakes in the process but we learn, perfect, and can become great cake bakers with continued practice and maybe by attending a class on cake baking. Here we do come to understand moderation – too much or too little just doesn’t work but just the correct combination brings everything together just right.  (Goldilocks and the Three Bears as alchemists?  Just a thought!) We might also accidently invent an entirely new cake that is more delicious and becomes our new favorite.

 

But the archetype of alchemy is so much more than this. In the card above we see Temperance in a magical potion being created. The witch knows how to work her magic, blending her intention, ingredients, and actions into her potion to create the desired results. Like the traditional angel, she pours her formula between two vessels, getting it just right. She has started with an intention. She uses her knowledge to gather the right ingredients and applies her skill to bring her intention through the cauldron and into reality. She is working her magic, her alchemy. Herbs dry in the rafters, magic symbols are found throughout her room, holding their wisdom and powers until called upon. Steam from the cauldron mixes with the air around it, and the open window shows us our witch is part of the world outside as well as in her workspace. A rainbow reminds us of the inseparable combination of air, water, light and our vision to see it. This concept is true from the micro to macrocosm… from the cellular level of her body, the wood beams, the fabric of her dress to the mountain in the distance, the elements of the water, air, fire and earth.  It is all inter-related.


How are you working your magic in the world?  What are you intending, gathering, blending and bringing forth? We are given all we need to live and thrive from an amazingly abundant world. We have talents, inclinations, loves and desires. We have intuition, skill, wisdom and bodies that enable us to move through and interact with that world. We all give back to this world, to the great cauldron of life. We may do it intentionally or with a clueless unawareness, but we are all doing it, all the time. Our own personal blend of magic is a constant force of knowledge, wisdom, practice and creation. Sometimes we end up with results that are unexpected. They could be disappointing or a major revelation. There is always an element of the unknown with our magic and we have to stay open to the process of learning and – well – magic!

 
Temperance is cosmic recycling.  Instead of use/throw away/repeat, we use/re-use/re-purpose, and keep the flow going. We learn from teachers and become teachers sharing vast resources with others whether that be how to belly dance, do math, or bake bread. Nothing stays the same. There is always a moving and flowing going on in the cosmos, our world and in each of us. We are all alchemists all the time. We are taking from the world and giving back using our own unique style and the world is changed by us. When we teach a child to read the potential of that child is changed forever. We don’t know what they will choose to study or how they will use that knowledge, because they take the skill of reading and use it to explore their own interests which can take them anywhere. When we are stagnant, stuck, not actively in that flow, we miss it.  We desire change; we seek out ways to get going again. Our create-ability drives us to look, to learn and to share and joy flows from this process. We are happiest when we are giving back, when we are creating, when we learn, teach and experience the magic of “our eternal becoming*”  Nothing is promised to us except the resources of the entire world.  How we use them is up us – it is how we make our magic.

 

*to quote Normandi Ellis

 
 

…Kathryn Ravenwood March 13, 2018