Wednesday, March 14, 2018

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




Tuesday, January 23, 2018


From The Star Tarot Deck

Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood


In Numerology, 2018 is a Justice year… 2 +1+ 8 = 11, which is the Tarot Card of Justice. *

We might first think of Justice as in a court of law, in politics, a determination of what is fair, or of just rewards coming back at someone who has “done us wrong” – as in “what goes around comes around.”  We have a sense of wanting things to be balanced, to be assured that things work out fairly. Often Justice is shown as a blindfolded woman indicating that the law is the same for everyone regardless of who they are. While this system certainly does not work all the time, that is the premise behind it.

This makes Justice an external factor but since we live in a world of duality there are always two sides to a story. Our laws are established to help the majority – we know people get a raw deal, slip through the cracks of the system, are ignored or manipulated. We know there is corruption and prejudice in those who enforce our laws just as there are those who devote their lives to making the system work better for more people.

The Tarot card above shows Justice without a blindfold. She calls us to shift from the view that justice happens someplace outside of ourselves and tells us to look inward. Justice is associated with Karma which is the Cosmic Law that every cause creates an effect. Every action creates a re-action. To come close to making those Cosmic Scales balance and wield the great Cosmic Sword fairly requires awareness of our past actions and taking new action to change/correct our future.  This is how we grow spiritually, how we create a more balanced life, and how we are more aligned with Justice as a higher truth.

We see in this card that the Scales are balanced through Justice’s Third Eye and aligned with the Sun and Moon. The Sword is balanced on a finely honed point in the water in front of her – water representing Spirit. She stands between two columns carved from trees – very reminiscent of the two columns the High Priestess stands between. The High Priestess is card 2 of the Tarot and when we add the 1+1 of Justice’s number 11 we get the High Priestess number. The High Priestess represents Truth in the highest form but holds it hidden or veiled letting us know that Truth is something we must seek from within. This very beautiful card gives us much to visualize and take in regarding the Nature of Justice.

Another aspect shown in this card is the direct connection between Justice and nature. We are truly a part of nature. We are made from the Elements as all other Earthly beings are – Air, Water, Earth, and Fire. We cannot go through our life even one day without interacting with another Being – plant, animal, rock or human or the Elements themselves. We cannot move without disrupting an existing energy pattern. We are an integral part of Nature and our own Nature is made of all the choices we make and their resulting experiences.  Even choices made FOR us, such as by parents, or superiors in our jobs, or politicians change our experiences and eventually our Nature. We truly are all interconnected.

As we move into 2018 and a Year of Justice I am sure the media will bombard us with countless viewpoints of how Justice is or is not being served. Instead of feeling like we have to take one side or the other, I hope we will look within and align with our own Truth on the matter and find a way to take appropriate action.  One person may not change the world – but then, you never know how things will work out. 


…Kathryn Ravenwood  1.23.18


*There is a variance in Tarot regarding the Justice and Strength cards. Some decks use #8 as Justice and #11 as Strength.  My studies lead me to embrace #8 as Strength and #11 as Justice. This article will not explore those differences.



Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Six of Cups
Love and Joy
From the King’s Journey Tarot

As this year draws to a close, I think of how much tumult we have experienced not only in the world and political scene, but in our personal lives as well.  We have had joys, fears, disappointments, betrayals, and triumphs. So much has happened. In a seemingly constant state of overwhelm, it has been hard to find any balance. 

We all need to take the time to take a breath – or two – and find the space to relax and allow ourselves to be surrounded by the things that give us joy.  In the card above, a happy couple celebrates Christmas with their small child. They are warmed by a cozy fire, sharing wine, bread and cheese. The cups in front of them represent the loving gifts they have given each other; the unwrapped presents let us know more joy is yet to come. In this moment they are in harmony enjoying the life they have created together.

The world may be in chaos and storms may rage around us, but we have the choice to reach inside our own awareness and find that place of peace, gratitude, love, and joy within us.  This morning I drove into early Yoga just before the dawn. I waited at the stop light having just come off the interstate onto the overpass and watched the traffic below me. Speeding lines of red tail lights were heading west in the constant drone of high speed engines and tires spinning over asphalt.  The scene looked to me like a condensed layer of  chaos. Suddenly my awareness was lifted up and I saw the beautiful sky above; not yet light but no longer dark.  I had an immense feeling of space above me, above the hurried and crowded world in which I live. That space seem to me to hold all the possibilities of peace, fulfillment, love, and creativity. I wondered why it is I don’t notice this more – why I live small and cramped when just above me are spacious and vast realms.  It felt so good to see and feel this.

During Yoga I led my class in breathing; exhale and ground into the Earth. Inhale and allow the lifting and expansion to move through their bodies, through their awareness.  Tomorrow is the Solstice – feel that balance of being in the Earth and in the Above.  Widen, lift, lengthen. Let the brand new morning light shine into you and remember that YOU are the Light – you are the Hope – you are the Peace – you are the Love and that you take this with you every place you go and to everyone you encounter.  We breathed together and a sense of peace filled the room.  Even with my eyes closed I could see individual bodies of light sitting in front of me.  In that moment, all was in harmony, all was at peace. 

I send you all immense love and joy for being a part of my life and for me being a part of your’s.  May this Solstice and Holiday time bring you peace. May you find that place within you that is as big as the universe and as warm as a cozy fire on a winter night.  May you see the gifts you give and receive the gifts that are offered to you.  May you see the Gift that You Are.

Blessed be.

Kathryn Ravenwood

….December 20, 2017

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Four of Swords
The Star Tarot Deck, Cathy McClelland
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood
November 22, 2017

The Swords are the Suit of the Mind and are traditionally associated with the East. The Four of Swords  is when the agitation of cruel and self-punishing thoughts are put to rest. We go to sleep without the hamsters racing on the wheel all night. We have found a mental stability that allows us to re-group, re-organize, and re-establish our thoughts. We reach a state of  mental truce.

I especially love this card which is oriented towards all things of the West, the time of year we are currently enjoying. We have the Bear, the traditional Spirit Guide of the West, who brings protection. Bear is hibernating between the worlds of present and future reminding us we can also go “between” by surrendering our conscious world of thoughts through deep rest and by entering the Dreamtime. Salmon in the Water is also a sign of the West. As this great fish returns home at the end of a long cycle, it surrenders its worn out and expended body to become food for the bears.

Deep within a cave, under the starry sky, a man sleeps with the bears as they watch over him yet share his hibernation.  He is surrounded by the same night sky as we see above the outside ground, showing us he has entered the Dreamtime. The four swords imbedded in the trees offer a sense of peace, of surrendering all thoughts and conflict to allow the space and time to process. His hands crossed over his chest remind us that heartfelt thoughts bring us peace of mind. 

The ability to surrender our thoughts is a course of mastery we work at our entire lives. We are daily exposed to an onslaught of information. We cannot possibly understand or internalize it all and nor should we! What is true? What is false? How does that information apply to me? Whose opinion is this?  Why do I even think what I think?

Depicting this card in a West setting opens us to approach things from a different point of view. By re-orienting our thoughts we discover new worlds within us that call to be explored. We find truths buried beneath layers of unconscious, rote opinions. By going deeper into our subconscious mind we are released from superficial mind clutter that over burdens us.

What Swords could you lay down? What thoughts are you ready to surrender to negotiate for yourself a new way of thinking that brings win-win situations to your life? When was the last time you consciously chose to take a time out, to rest your mind and be quiet?  Does your thinking process tell you that you always have to be right? Is that some kind of control issue? What IS Truth, anyway? Opinions are very polarizing yet they express different sides of the whole. How we sort out our own Truth helps us discover more of the Whole and how we live and function as a part of it.

How do you defend The Truth? Sometimes we have to take up our Sword, draw a line in the sand, and take a stand to be the defenders -  but that is different Tarot card. For now, with the Four of Swords, we allow ourselves to be a peace and regroup our troubled minds.

One of my favorite quotes is from an old Donovan song: “love is hot – truth is molten.”  In its molten-ness, Truth cannot be contained, will burn through everything blocking its advancement, and eventually, like hot lava reaching the ocean, build up new islands of firm ground. Perhaps the molten quality of Truth calls us to a larger thinking to create new pathways in our brain, to expand our capacity of thinking to better allow Truth to burn through us and reform us.

This is what our minds are capable of.  This is what our minds do.  The more we open and expand, the more capacity we gain, and our restricted, constricted thought patterns get burned up in the molten advance of the Truth through us.

We become the Dreamtime. We become the Protectors. We become Truth.

…Kathryn Ravenwood,   November 22, 2017

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Dia de los Muertos

The Day of the Dead


Kathryn Ravenwood as La Calavera Catrina (Dapper Skeleton)

Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

It is Dia de los Muertos – The Day of the Dead.  I live in New Mexico and this is a high, holy holiday for sure.  For those of you not familiar with this tradition, which comes from Mexico, it is hard to do it justice in a short article.  This day is when the Veils between the Worlds are most thin and our Dead are honored. We build altars, or ofrendas, to the dead. Their photos, favorite possessions, food, and drinks are all put out on an altar. Add sugar skulls, mairgolds, Papel picado- which is a Mexican folk art of cut out paper into beautiful designs, and the altars expand into fabulous memorials of the beloved dead. People paint their faces like skulls, wear costumes, march in huge parades, have picnics by grave sites, and generally celebrate their loved ones who have died. It has become my favorite day of the year.

It is more about honoring life than death; a celebration of a person’s life and all they were in this Earth walk. We re-member them by bringing back a physical reminder of the person, making them more tangible for us, even though they are no longer here in body.

Our time on Earth is short. We are here to learn, to celebrate the beauty of Planet Earth, to experience emotions and learn to love and be loved. Each day we are the continuation of our ancestors and their walks before us. We carry their wisdom in our DNA, hold the wisdom passed on by generations of teachers and elders. We are the ones here and now to do all we can to create beauty, love, gratitude.  If you listen to the news it is easy to find ourselves in “bad times” with things getting worse hour by hour;  all the more reason to take a time out to honor the amazing gift of life given to us.

If you were to create an ofrenda today, you might honor a parent or friend, relative, or even a beloved pet (I have had Day of the Dead just for cats…) and that would be wonderful. Build it high and lavish it with candles and tasty snacks and flowers.  But, what if you built an altar to the “you” that has died… the part of you that you mourn. After all, these altars are to celebrate life.  Look inside. What really no longer serves you? What needs to die or has already died that is best laid to rest? Traditionally these ofrendas are only for the deceased but I am thinking ceremony to celebrate the passages of our own lives could bring us closure to a relationship that didn’t work out the way we hoped, or to a dream career that died on the vine, or hopes and dreams dashed on the rocky shores of life’s passage. 

Take some time to honor those parts of you.  Sit with them, have a cup of tea or a glass of wine with that part of you that died however long ago it was.  Offer comfort, love, forgiveness, and understanding.  Bless the efforts, bless the lessons that seemed too hard but turned into teachers. See the beauty of that part of your life and re-member the broken or cast off pieces of yourself back into the Wholeness of Being that YOU ARE.

Physical death is a transition from this earthly, physical body and life passing back into Spirit and unlimited, eternal being.  For the living, death is also a transition, a passage from one day to another, one experience to the next, until we realize our lives are indeed an ofrenda unto themselves.  We are the living altar of Spirit. We are the portal where Spirit becomes physical. We are the embodiment of Goddess/God/All That Is in this moment of time.
Tend your altar well. Celebrate and honor your beautiful self and let your Light shine bright and strong and let your heart be filled with love.

…Kathryn Ravenwood November 1, 2017

Friday, October 20, 2017

From The Halloween Tarot

Original writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

“What are you going to be for Halloween?”  For those of us who love this time of year that question can spark creative fires that may not burn any other time. Costumes! Parties! Wigs and makeup! Decorations! It’s off to the thrift stores to forage for the perfect parts to our costumes; sewing machines, paper and scissors and glue, lights and spider webbing take over our homes.  It is a day of open social license to be different, to act out and be outrageous. What fun!

I decided the Empress, source of all Creativity, was the perfect Tarot card for the season. And what an Empress she is!  As the Bride of Frankenstein, she herself was created from the equivalent of the body thrift store!  Re-animated from what was dead, she lives again.

How is your creativity lately? It is easy for us to forget just how much we do create in our lives. We often associate creativity with “art” -  painting, singing, writing, sculpting, cooking/baking and other obvious artistic expressions. The fact is that we are constantly creating our lives as we go along.  Each day is a new beginning, a blank canvas so to speak.  We get to choose how and what we think, what we wear, what we eat, where we go and how we act out our lives.  It is all a big stage and we are the star of our own show.

How is your life script these days?  Are you running the same old lines on the same tired old sets with the same old ho-hum response from your audience of friends, families, and co-workers? Or have you dressed up with new costumes, written in some new roles that make the plot more exciting?  Have you changed the cast of characters in your life?  How are all those parts of yourself and your entourage interacting? Is the plot interesting? Is the outcome completely predictable? Are there any new twists and enticements? Is your life exciting or boring?

Are there things left to do that you want to go for?  What are you waiting for?  Time is short and we have busy lives, but we need to make the time and budget to travel, read, learn and study, take up new hobbies, explore things that seem like fun or spark an interest.  We may not stay with all of them, but we need to honor them, check them out, and discover why we are drawn to them.

I recently was meditating on what new direction I might take in my life – I admit I was trying to see an end result and was not even looking at the first steps or the path!  But Spirit kindly stepped in and said, “just try this…. which leads to that… which leads to something entirely different that you don’t even know about yet.  Have fun!” Wow – great advice and really the essence of creativity.  Just try it.  Just do it. Get started. See what happens. Nothing is permanent.  We can always change our minds. Or we can do nothing and wonder what it might have been had we tried.

Frankenstein’s Bride was certainly not perfect but she did come forth from seemingly impossible beginnings.  What is waiting for you to bring forth? What lives in the depths of your stuffed and forgotten desires that longs to be recycled and re-birthed?  Try something new today.  Mix up your wardrobe, try a different combination in that morning smoothie, cut some pictures that appeal to you from magazines and glue them onto a poster board just because they are provocative to you.  All these artistic gestures on the outside will manifest changes on the inside as well.  You just never know what you might discover about yourself and your world.

Trick or Treat… hold out your bag and see what goodies get dropped into it!


…Kathryn Ravenwood 10/20/17

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Harvey, Irma, and Floyd
by Kathryn Ravenwood 9-5-17

On September 16, 1999 Hurricane Floyd hit Cape Fear North Carolina at 6:30 am as a Category 2 hurricane, downgraded from its earlier Category 5 status. Still, storm surges 10’ high slammed into the coast. 15-20 inches of rain were dumped onto ground that had been fully saturated by a deluge from Hurricane Dennis just 10 days prior. There was no place for the water to go, no way to avoid the 130 MPH winds; Floyd was a most unwelcome visitor indeed. Later that night 4 major rivers and their tributaries flooded, sending torrents of water through North Carolina’s pig and poultry factory farm lands. Millions of chickens, pigs and turkeys held captive in low roofed containment houses were drowned, the structures breaking apart releasing dead animals into the flood. The waters also took out the sewage lagoons - each one holding about 25 million gallons of animal waste, including the passed through antibiotics, hormones, supplements, pesticides, and parasites that had been in each animal’s body.  All this entered the flood.  Joining the horror were the contents of washed out human sewage plants, gasoline, motor oil, farm and personal vehicles full of gas and oil, even hundreds of human coffins spilling their dead - all into the waters. Dozens of dams broke adding more volume to the torrent. Homes, stores, farms, yards, whole towns were covered with this nightmare of toxic soup.  The rivers crested as high as 24’ above normal, surpassing records set in 1919.  Days later when the water began to recede, 18,000 square miles of North Carolina were underwater filled with such high levels of fecal coliform bacteria that it was just liquid filth. The water had no place to go but to flow as it would.  2.2 million chickens, 73,000 turkeys, 30,500 hogs and 250 horses died. Bulldozers were brought in to scrape up the bodies.  Attempts were made to incinerate the bloated, stinking, rotted carnage but it was just too much. Burial in the water logged ground was impossible. Eventually it was all left to find its way to the ocean, taking all that pollution with it.  

(The above paragraph is paraphrased by my book “How to Create Sacred Water: A Guide to Rituals and Practices. Inner Traditions/Bear & Co 2012. A link to Amazon is on my website: or

Sound familiar?  Think Houston.  And Irma is currently a Category 5 with 185 MPH winds ripping a path to the Caribbean Islands and making Florida very, very wary indeed. All the pictures of Harvey’s destruction are horrifying and Irma could be worse.  It is terrible people lose their homes and everything they have. Heartbreaking to be displaced with no place to go but a shelter that offers temporary respite at best. As we watch it all unfold and see the damage and destruction and brace for more to come it is beyond comprehension. 

I kept thinking about Floyd because Floyd is how I began my work as a Water Priestess.  While that storm was ranging in North Carolina, I was walking along serene and beautiful Green Lake in Seattle wondering how much the water table could manage - how much of that Floyd filth could be filtered out? Where did it all go?  And just then, in my ear, a Voice said, “you know, you could make a crystal homeopath elixir that will heal the Waters of Gaia.”  And so my journey, spawned by a hurricane, became a path of prayer and service to the Waters of Gaia. My story is told in my book. I began keeping a Sacred Water Altar - Spirit led me in how to make it, how to tend it, and how to use it. It consists of a cut glass punch bowl, a large amethyst that fills the bottom (the story of how that came to me is in my book) and a wand of selenite to stir the waters as I send healing love and prayers for the Waters of Gaia.  The crystals enhance the vibration of my words and the energy I put into the water. The stirring mixes it all together. I was told to keep the Altar full moon to full moon, offering prayers during the month and then taking the water - or now the Elixir - out to a river, ocean, stream or some body of water to send that amethyst filled blessing flowing into the waterways.  And I have done that since the fall of 1999.  Same bowl.  Same amethyst. Much selenite used as it melts in water.  I shared with friends who took the elixir with them on trips. I took it to Egypt. It was taken to Hawaii and shared with dolphins. I did the work, believing it was helping.  

Many months later I was shown the amazing book by Dr Emoto and his photographs of water crystals. If you are not familiar with his work, there is a chapter on it in my book and you can easily get a copy of his book. This validated what I felt and knew - Spirit gave me the work to do and I did it.  So did a lot of people - some created Water Altars like mine, many did their own work.  

And yet, there were those horrible pictures of Harvey’s wake on television.  I thought - we will never get ahead of all this pollution we cause? We cannot contain its damage.  Do our prayers really work?  

Yes. They. Do.  A few days after Harvey hit, in a pre-waking dream, I saw the vast expanse of toxic waters that had washed out so much of Houston. And I heard a Voice again - this time I knew it was St. Germaine.  He said to watch: and he sent a surge of amethyst, Violet Ray light across the waters turning them the most lovely purple, shining clean in that light.  He said, “this is how the water is healed, this is how the infrastructures are changed. This is what is needed. Each time you pray for the water, each time you send out the Elixir into a river or stream, a strand of the Amethyst Light, the Violet Flame, is anchored from Spirit into the physical realm.”

And I woke up.

Thank you for all the prayers you do for the water.  Thank you for all you do to help the animals, the trees, the earth, and the air.  Thank you for all you do to help our brothers and sisters.  

And Thank you, Water, for your Gift of Life.  I see you clean and restored.

...Original writing by Kathryn Ravenwood 9.5.17 with excerpts from my book: How to Create Sacred Water: A Guide to Rituals and Practices (Inner Traditions/Bear & Co 2012)