Sunday, July 5, 2020

AWARENESS/THE CHARIOT
From the Osho Zen Tarot
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

Awareness is the chariot we drive through our Consciousness Journey. We are the single navigator of this process; no one else moves us along. It is our choice which direction we move, all of them eventually leading to wisdom and higher knowing.  

Traditionally, this card depicts a charioteer holding the reins of two horses, one black and one white, which indicate the duality of our world. The charioteer must learn, through her own will and strength, to to direct the steeds to hold them to the course she chooses. The road opens ahead as the journey progresses. The choice to go forward, take a side road or stop and turn around is always an option. Perils and possibilities are always a present issue. An inattentive charioteer risks danger to herself, the vehicle,  as well as the horses. 

The above image is powerful in reminding us that the charioteer’s journey is also an internal one. The shadow figure, who seems to be in distress, is enveloped in a deep fog. Fogs are made of water. Here the challenge of awareness is to navigate through the fog, recognizing that each droplet is a hologram of the whole. To focus on each individual drop skews our vision toward duality while embracing the wholeness moves us through the fog to higher possibilities. The fiery presence of self awareness we see in the image then serenely emerges as layers of the old form are burned away. 

Basic motoring skills tell us that when driving in a fog we dim the lights. When I was learning to drive this seemed counterintuitive to me until I actually experienced it and found the advice to be absolutely true. The high beams cannot effectively penetrate the fog as well as the low beams which give a wider and deeper vision by which to navigate. When we only  focus on the road right in front of us we can miss important information about the rest of the environment behind and to the sides and even above us. I am reminded of a magical full moon night in Wyoming driving on an open, empty road and turning off the lights to allow my moon vision to guide me. It provided a completely different perception of that part of the journey. I truly felt a part of the whole landscape and not just an observer passing through.

Awareness is not reached on auto pilot. We must remember that as we keep our hands on the wheel of our chariot we cannot control the outside environment but we can learn to master our navigation of it. The same is true for the inner landscape. As we experience change and transition in our lives old versions and forms must fall away. Layers of fog burn off in the emerging light. We are basically creating a new road map of our journey even as we travel on it. We can feel lost even as we are aligning to our new course. Our awareness is what guides us through such challenging passages.

In these days we are navigating unknown territory. The planets are aligning in powerful ways that mark 2020 as a year of challenges never seen in our lifetimes. It is a time when both the physical threats of a virus and fear are pandemic. There are as many versions of truth as there are people. No one seems to be in charge. The fog is dense and people seem to be barreling down the road with their high beams on crashing all around us. We have been told to stay home keep our distance from one another. It seems a perfect time to put the car in the garage, hitch up the Awareness Chariot and go for a cosmic ride in the moonlight.

May your journey be magical and may you emerge in beauty.

....Kathryn Ravenwood  July 4, 2020

Saturday, April 25, 2020


RETREAT
The Rune Othilia
Original Writing and Art by Kathryn Ravenwood

I enjoy making collages. Several months ago the art group I participate in was given an assignment of creating with shapes. I thought of the Runes and drew four of them, at random, to use as inspiration. Othilia was one of them and is especially pertinent at this time of isolating in a pandemic. It speaks to us about retreat; a snake that must shed its old skin. Drawing the Rune advises us to expect a radical departure from the old ways. (Rune wisdom from Ralph Blum.) 

We are all on retreat to some extent. Old ways are coming apart. We are finding out not all growth is immediately rewarding and can be very painful indeed. The quote on the collage is from Joseph Campbell: “We must let go of the life we have planned so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”  Could it be more clear than this?  Many of us are dealing with our Shadow self - our fears. The monsters have come out from under the bed and are rampaging through the house. Will we continue to be afraid or face them and make peace with them?  I am not immune to this process and was in a deep place of grief. Old buttons got pushed that put me into a funk of fear. I was walking down my hallway and I clearly heard a voice say, “you know, if you would just stop gripping onto the way you think you have to do this, we could give you something better...”
  
I was pretty stunned. I had to start looking at the basics of how I do my life in a whole new way. Othilia tells us that retreat and separation - shedding that old skin - gives freedom to become more truly who we are. That what it is we must give up is really not working anymore and is keeping us too confined in our soul’s journey. So I cried for a couple of days and then started to see that there really are better ways than what I have perpetuated for so much of my life. Spirit has been very generous and reminded me that  “if you want to have a new way of being you have to start acting like it is already here.” It is about understanding that inheritance can only come from giving up something else.

We are in a time of enormous change. Cosmic law and order are overriding many of our systems. We see this in ecosystems, the weather, politics, economics, schools, personal relationships and in every part of life. Old skins are being shed. We are all having to give something up. Some people want to get the old ways back and running as as soon as possible and others are trying to vision a “new normal” that can support us in better ways. There is a sense of impatience - and much of that is based on economics which are very real and painful for many people - but also a sense of just wanting to do what is familiar again. Go shopping. Get a haircut. Meet friends for dinner. Othilia has an answer for this, too: “Wait for the Universe to act. Do without doing and everything gets done.” 

We have gone deeper into the Age of Aquarius; the new energy is beaming down from the Universe. The old Age of Pisces is creating a last ditch effort to exert its influence even as it wanes away. Part of our new lesson is about supporting group efforts rather than individual achievement. Othilia reminds us it is a time to learn to benefit the self and others.  The news is full of examples of this from community service to people coming up with ingenious ideas to support urban agriculture. We are learning how to connect in new ways even as our collective snake sheds it skin.

How can you benefit from retreat? Are you willing to accept radical departure from the known to embrace the unknown? Are you ready to become a new and better version of your self? Is your Soul trying to guide you along an unfamiliar path? Are you creating busy work to distract you from the process or have you been willing to embrace the monsters and wriggle out of your skin?  Yes, some of this is really hard. People are dying. Bank accounts are empty and people are trying to pay the rent and feed their families. And, there are efforts to assist and give aid underway even they are not totally efficient. In the broad sense, the focus is shifting on how to create new systems of support.

There is so little we can actually control but we can definitely make our own choices. I encourage you to take this time of retreat as a gift and explore it - like a child opening a mysteriously wrapped birthday present and then curiously playing with it - finding out what can be done with it.  

And remember, when the snake sheds its skin it does not try to carry it around with it; it leaves it behind and moves on.


....Kathryn Ravenwood  4/25/2020




Tuesday, April 7, 2020

A Message from  the Sun in the Time of Pandemic: A Guided Mediation
3.5.20
Kathryn Ravenwood



The other night after prayer and meditation I was sitting in my altar room trying to sort out my own feelings around this pandemic. In asking for guidance I received a very clear message from The Sun.  The message was,  “I have a corona too, you know.”  

I invite you to join in a guided Spirit Journey with me to explore the Sun’s message.  A little background info first. The outermost part of the Sun is surrounded by an atmosphere of gasses called its corona, that is usually hidden by the bright light of the Sun's surface. Unless using special equipment we can’t see it. However, it IS visible during a total solar eclipse. Then, if conditions are right and, with  the aid of protective eye wear or excellent photography, we can see the amazing dark orb of the sun surrounded by a brilliant light. It is pretty spectacular. Our Sun knows how to put on a show!

What causes a Solar Eclipse?  Sometimes during the orbit of the Moon it gets between the Earth and the Sun causing the eclipse. The Moon blocks the light of the Sun by casting its shadow over the Earth. So we experience a darkness. The Sun’s light goes out and day becomes night.

What the Sun is offering us to look at is that humanity is in a time of shadow. A pandemic has been declared. People are sick and dying. It is happening fast and there is chaos. For many people normal life has stopped and will not be back to “business as usual” anytime soon - if ever. The Moon represents our emotional body, the subconscious, the unknown, fears, delusions, instincts, and cycles. Right now we are in a metaphorical eclipse and are experiencing our Shadow side. All that is hidden is coming out and being exposed in the shadowy realm of fear and uncertainty. The degree of how this time is affecting people of course differs according to their circumstances but everyone is feeling it at some level.

Our Journey today is to experience the shadow of the Moon that blocks our Sun.  The Shadows hold information to help us at this time. Our intention for the Journey is to embrace our Shadows and bring what is ready to be healed back into the light of the Sun.  

CAVEATS
In this journey I have you look up at the Sun....  of course you cannot do that in actual life but with Spirit all is possible so you can look up and not be afraid to damage your eyes.  Also a solar eclipse takes longer than the time we spend in this Journey but again, time is not the same in a Journey as in “real life.”  Allow your conscious mind to accept these anomalies so the Journey can bring you its greatest gifts.

PREPARE TO JOURNEY:  

Get comfy
feet on ground  
uncross legs
 close eyes

BREATHE


You are walking outside on a beautiful sunny day.  It is warm and you are filled with the feeling of well being, of happiness.   Notice the warmth of the Sun on your skin....  notice how you are feeling..... 

As you walk along you begin to notice that it is less sunny and even a little cooler...  you look up to the sky expecting to see a cloud over the sun but instead you see a dark shadow begin to move across it..... you are surprised to see the darkness..... you were not expecting it........you experience a change in how you feel.....  notice how the shadow on the Sun makes you feel......

The shadow continues to move across the Sun and the darkness deepens.....it is as if the darkness has moved inside of you as well....  notice how the darkness moving within you makes you feel.... is it a surprising feeling .....  or is it an old, and well known experience..........

 Now the shadow has fully engulfed the Sun....  it has become dark as night without the Light of the Sun.  The shadow has fully moved inside of you as well.........  as you experience this shadow, this darkness,  you notice there are messages for you in the shadow........  maybe you hear voices or perhaps you see images or scenes, but the Shadow is revealing things to you...............
perhaps you are remembering old fears you thought you had resolved but have hung on deep in the shadow.........  
or perhaps there are new fears you have not faced yet............  
maybe other emotions emerge from the shadow for you to notice and acknowledge........... explore this shadow land within yourself..................................
what does it look like?........................
what do you find?........................
what do you feel?......................
what is coming out of the darkness for you to notice?...............
What understandings are being revealed to you at this time?..................
What is it you come to know about yourself that was hidden?.......


The fully darkened Sun now reveals it corona.......  a bright circle of light that surrounds its darkened orb.....  look at the sun’s corona..........  how it shines like a crown..........

You realize that you, too, have a corona that shines around your darkness.........  
you can see your corona .......  it helps to illuminate your shadow land and reminds you that all your fears, emotions, and challenges have helped to make you the person you are today...........  
embrace your corona as a crown...........  
what does your crown look like?...................  
what is made from?.............................. 

Now, take your crown into your hands ..........
what does your crown feel like?  Notice all you can about it...............
Now, place your crown upon your head...........  
notice how wearing your crown makes you feel...........
notice any changes that come over you............  
notice any changes that come over your shadow land.....................

As you fully feel the power of your crown, you notice the darkness is less intense....... the light is returning...........  it is time to tell your shadow land goodbye and to offer thanks for all that it has shown your today.................  
notice any last messages your shadow land has for you at this time.................
you find you have a gift to offer to the shadow land.......  what is it you offer at this time? ................................ 
what happens as the shadow land accepts your gift?......................

Now you notice  it is becoming lighter and lighter..........   you feel a warming on your skin again............ you look up and see the dark shadow across the sun is leaving now, allowing the Sun’s brilliance to shine fully.............. its corona is no longer visible but you know it is still there.......  like the sun, you still have your crown,  and even if it is not always visible to you its strength and power will always be there.................

You raise your arms to the Sun in gratitude for this experience and find you have a gift for the Sun.  Offer your gift to the Sun now.....  
what is it you offer?..........................  
The Sun accepts your gift.......................  and, the Sun has a special gift just for you at this time.......what is it the Sun gives to you?.................

It is time to move on now......  equipped with the healings from the shadow land, the gift of the Sun, and with your crown you stand fully in the Light of your own Being.......  strong and renewed from this journey.

You find yourself aware of your breath.........  breathing in.....  breathing out........

and you are returning back to this time and place..........

when you are ready, open your eyes.





take time to journal.  get a drink of water.   allow yourself time to incorporate this journey and its wisdom.

Sunday, March 22, 2020



The Devil Card: Conditioning/Fear
The Osho Zen Tarot
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

In the above image we see a lion wrapped in a sheep’s skin. Raised as part of the flock he  became conditioned to act, think, and behave like a sheep. Too big now, and very much looking like a lion, the false identity no longer fits him. What will happen as he becomes aware of his lion-ness? Will he turn on the sheep who innocently flock around him? Will he continue to be accepted by them once they recognize him as a traditional and potential enemy?

Our fears are like the lion. Over the years we have become conditioned to hide them beneath layers of disguise. We have allowed the “wool to be pulled over our eyes” and have taken shelter in a flock behavior of conforming, adapting personalities to cope or fit in. We have succumbed to addictions, destructive habits, living with illusions and immersing ourselves in denial. We can go along like this for years until something forces us to wake up. A crisis happens; we experience a terrible betrayal; a severe health or financial challenge forces us to deal with present time and reality. Then our fears come raging through like a wild beast and we feel like the slaughtered lamb.

What happens when our sheep-skin defenses fall away and reveal us as a lion? Will we turn on ourselves or others in savage attack? Do we cower amongst the sheep and pretend nothing has changed? Or could the mighty courage of the lion/lioness we are in our heart rise above the conditioning and become a leader and champion of our fearful self or those around us? 

From early on in life we are programmed to conform, to not ask questions, to hide uncomfortable and disturbing parts of life under fluffy layers of denial that keep us from facing fears as well as the strength we have to deal with them.We have become conditioned to a way of life, a way of believing, a way of acceptance. We get tired of fighting for the cause. We give up on relationships because they are too painful, expensive, and depleting. We endure old patterns of abuse from family and friends who cannot see us as any differently than we were defined by them at childhood or at the time we formed a friendship. Past failures have stifled our creativity and confidence and we have just come to accept less. All these factors become lingering fears covered with layers of disguise.

Once our lion awakens and that power is realized we have the opportunity to face our fears, to look at ourselves in this new form.  The behaviors and patterns that served the sheep no longer fit the lion and must be cast off.  We can take responsibility for our life and our dreams. Hopefully we are also filled with compassion for our old sheep-self. After all, that sheep skin did offer vital protection when it was needed.

Fear is not going away and is a great ally to us. Fear tells us, “Hey! Wake up and look out!” as it alerts us to danger. Fear will trip us up and knock us down to be sure we pay attention to something right under our noses rather than turn the other way and ignore the warning. Fear calls us to gather information and knowledge. The worst thing to do is to attack ourself or someone else who is afraid. True power comes with compassion as well as sometimes having to make tough choices. We can listen to fear, heed its warning, and then make decisions based on love. Self love. Love of the planet. Love of our family and friends, Love of our communities. And we can use knowledge and strength to implement change.

The Devil card calls us to face our fears, to embrace the shadow parts of our selves that have not yet been able to come to the Light. It is about freeing ourselves from the chains of unconscious programming that keeps us locked into patterns of deception and self destruction. Remember the DEVIL is LIVED spelled backwards. When we are wrapped in layers of fear we are not really living. 

Awaken your lion! Embrace your courage, your compassion, and love your life. 


...Kathryn Ravenwood     3/22/2020

Saturday, March 14, 2020





The Star - Hope
Llewellyn Tarot
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood
3.14.20

The Tarot is an ancient source of wisdom that provides guidance for us in every phase of life. We are currently experiencing a Tower of Destruction event with the Corona virus putting us into a world-wide pandemic. People are sick and dying. The financial repercussion is enormous and will take years to fully understand and recover from. Our very way of life has changed and may never be the same. We are all feeling the enormous effects of this Tower event and must figure out what we will do and how we will cope. Much will be said about it astrologically, socially, financially, and medically.  Governments, communities, families will all have to take action. The old structures have either fallen or taken a big hit. Many people are fearful and in panic mode. Most of us are stunned.

The Star card reminds us that no matter how bad it gets, there is always hope. This card is the Tarot’s promise of guidance and direction. It is sometimes hard to see our way through a Tower event. We can feel hopeless watching our world fall into ruins. And yet, when everything settles down, there is the Star shining in the darkness, the hope of better things to come. 

The Tower is the removal of obstacles and barriers and the Star is the reward that follows. This is a time of reflection and soul searching, a time to refill what has been depleted and to honor the space where restoration can happen. The Tower has fallen and taken us with it but we come to understand that we were not destroyed; the destruction was of that which was blocking us from seeing a higher vision, from the Guidance that is always there to help us to know ourselves as both physical and spiritual beings, to feel the alignment with our mortal and divine natures. 

The Star is the new vision that leads us to transformation, to use conscious awareness and intention to reform our lives. The Tarot reminds us we have the tools we need - the  Swords of Clear Thinking, the Wands of Right Action, the Cups of Intuitive Emotions, and the Pentacles of our Manifestations in the physical world. While we cannot control the actions of government, the supply chain, or a panicked population, we can make choices and take our own actions. 

We can re-evaluate the way we have been living and how we have been consuming. We can be more in touch with our local communities and find ways to create new connections and mutual support. We will have to make changes in ways we don’t even see yet. But we can do this. We have the promise of the Star that we will get through it with new clarity and enlightened vision.

In the image above we see a woman looking up to the night sky at the North Star - the star used for centuries to align our position, to be a constant light for us. The ancient stones behind her remind us that ages of human experience have passed on the Earth - civilizations thrived and then transformed into something else. In this moment the woman is experiencing grace and peace by drawing strength from the natural world and from Spirit, a reminder that the Star shines light through the darkness and is always present - even when we cannot see it. 

I encourage you to connect with your own hope, your own visions of living in the Light. While we are hunkered down in our homes, away from events and crowds, we can make this an opportunity to call for inspiration, enlightenment, and listen to Spirit for direction. Ask for help if you need it; offer help where you can. Navigate by the Star to align with your Higher Self.

Shine On.

.....Kathryn Ravenwood     

3.14.2020 

Thursday, March 5, 2020

THE FOUR OF PENTACLES
From The Mother Peace Tarot
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood
SECURITY 


The Fours of the Tarot are ruled by the Emperor. They represent structure and form. Pentacles are about the physical realm, including our money, homes, health, goals, and habits. The forms we perpetuate ideally hold us in structured, yet creative, patterns. We need order in our lives, and schedules do tend to keep us moving toward our goals, but we also need room for creative flow. When our physical world is boxed in or buried with details, we may have become a slave to our habits and might not be living with intention. What used to give us security now has a choke hold on us. 

In the image above we see a woman taking time to withdraw from the usual routine by entering a sacred space in which she can reconnect to her true power - not the power of her possessions or routines, but the power of her soul wisdom. She creates a ritual to clear out what is no longer valid, connect with her true nature, and bring new visions into the physical realm.  The very fact that this space is available to her reminds us that we are the creators of our lives. We have established a foundation of security in the physical world that affords us the life we manifested and live. We indeed can afford to spend the time and energy to occupy the sanctuary of our inner security and wisdom.

Many factors have contributed to our security. We have exercised discipline, routines, established boundaries, set and accomplished goals. It is this stable foundation that now allows us the opportunity to re-evaluate our current state of being and truly identify where we are within the framework of our own world. Are we holding on to attachments such as possessions for the sake of the security they represent? What about our various identities? A persona we created in the past to protect us or to serve in the accomplishment of our goals or social position may no longer be the person we are now and might actually be holding us back from growth. We may have disconnected from the “real me” in allowing these personalities to run our lives. Boundaries we created years ago might now be too restrictive, limiting our ability to interact as the evolved being we have become.

Here are some signs that a retreat and re-look at the box of our lives might be appropriate: boredom; loss of focus on the big picture of our life; blocked creativity and excitement; a feeling of miserliness indicating we have lost touch with the creative abundance of the universe and our ability to connect with it.  An unreasonable fear of losing what we have; feeling isolated. If any of this sounds familiar, then welcome to the world of the Four of Pentacles!  Help is already here - within yourself.

It is time to honor what we have created through our hard work and to recognize that WE DID THAT and we can continue do so in the future. However, the forms we created need some reshaping from time to time. We create these structures to hold our creative visions but when our visions no longer serve us, when we have passed into a realm of habit, these same structures begin to restrict and block us. 

The wisdom gained from the past is still within us to guide us and be part of the bigger structure of our self. We are not abandoning the wisdom but might need to release the identity, personality, structure, or habit of it so new visions and versions can enter. When we step outside the box we can see how big the world really is and value our ability to thrive in it. 

Our true security lies in our ability to connect and re-connect with our visions, our creativity, and to remember we are always part of a dynamic flow of energy that is available to us at an moment to access, use, and then release; to perpetually be in a state of creation, established form, and then death/release and rebirth into new expanded editions of our own self.  

The power is always within us.  


....Kathryn Ravenwood, March 5, 2020

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The Four of Cups
From the Starseed Tarot, by Patricia Cori
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood



In the above image sea and sky are barely distinguishable as they flow and merge together. Perched on a rock, the only solid ground in sight, a woman sits pensively. The three cups behind her, representing emotions already experienced, as well as the cup being offered by the dolphin, representing new situations and emotions not yet experienced,  are ignored. Hands pressed to her heart she is taking the luxury of being in the moment, to let the waters rise and fall around and within her. Soon the incoming tide will force her to take refuge on the shore but, for now, she is free to just feel and be one with the elements around her.

The Fours of the Tarot are ruled by the Emperor who calls us to look at form and structure. The Cups are about our emotional world. To define form for our emotional body is very tricky. We have to consider our awareness, consciousness, what is hidden in the great depths of our subconsciousness, all the memories, hurts, loves, and fears we carry with us. We are also connected to the vast collective consciousness. There really is no way to make a form for all of that - it would be like trying to define the form of the ocean or to contain it in some giant bowl. 

We cannot control our emotions or put them in a neat little box but we can learn to recognize and honor them. This is where the Four/Emperor energy comes in handy.  We can use structure to create time and space to just sit and be with how we feel, to honor the pain or the frustration, the joy or the elation. We know water takes the form of what is is put into, and that it will find the path of least resistance.  Given time and the right conditions it can permeate anything. Same with our feelings. If we give ourselves a loving opportunity to feel and process we can learn to recognize how our emotional body works - when it is healthy, when it is fragile and needs extra care.

This beautiful card reminds us to take a time out and not feel pressured to take on more that we can process at this time. Rather, as the waters swirl around us, the restricted emotional container of our feelings can then expand, flow away, and allow a natural ebb and flow to move through us. The ocean, constantly in a state of change yet always appearing the same, is held within its shorelines. How does it know where to stop? How is that proverbial line in the sand drawn so that the ocean stops just there?

Like the ocean we are constantly experiencing flux and change. Not unlike oceanic shorelines, we contain our emotional world with boundaries. We learn to honor how we feel and say “no” or “yes” or “I don’t know”.  We can say nothing at all and reside in silence and stillness. We can be mindful of overindulgence, to be able to recognize when we have taken on too much and take time to withdraw and process. Are you carrying an emotional load for someone else? Is that serving you or the other person? Like the movement of the tides, our emotions will ebb and surge revealing different aspects of ourselves like exposed tide pools or force us to retreat to higher ground for refuge. 

Are other people or even your own judgmental voice saying you are taking “too long” to “get over” a hurt or trauma? Honor your process and take as much time as you need. In that great ocean of emotion we can hide our feelings in deep underwater caves but sooner or later they come to the surface. As part of the great collective consciousness we are living in one big emotional soup. We feel things that are undefined and hard to explain because they are not always our own. It is important to know when to embrace the great ocean of emotions and accept love, joy, or beauty that we may have closed off to before. 

We can sink or swim and even learn to surf the waves. The Four of Cups offers us a much needed time out to re-establish our boundaries so we can safely identify that watery realm of our emotions. 

Embrace the process.


....Kathryn Ravenwood 1-28-2020