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
11-1-2017 

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

THE EMPRESS
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: www.KathrynRavenwood.com or https://www.amazon.com/How-Create-Sacred-Water)

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)


Friday, August 18, 2017





The Eight of Cups
From Science Tarot
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

During a  recent gathering of our Circle, we went into a meditation on  transformation. I had a very clear vision of myself completely encased in a thick mud cocoon. I was grateful for this vision as I had been feeling totally out of sorts with myself. Tired – no – exhausted.  No desire to “do” anything creative or even beneficial. I felt exactly as that vision showed me – stuck in the mud and wondering why I could not shake it off. 

Part of it is that my house was robbed. That alone is enough to make me want to crawl into a mud cocoon and hide out, but I had been feeling this way for some time before the burglary.  I had a sense of not belonging; of not being able to cope with the intensity of current events, a sense of things happening outside of my scope of reality yet having full effect on me.  I think the upcoming eclipse is part of it. I have a brilliant astrologer friend who told me the “*eclipse pattern for the United States is defensive and ominous..tense and threatening like a growing thunderstorm…due to transits of Saturn to Pluto..”  While I do not want to go into the eclipse any more in this article, (I am not an astrologer) the current planetary line up plays a big part in my cocoon mode.  My personal horoscope has its own ominous aspects, especially on the very day my house was burgled.  Suffice it to say I am feeling the great simmering stew of heavy energies.

It is all about transformation. In order for anything new to emerge something has to change or die to make room for that newness. The eclipse is opening a new cosmic gateway onto a path yet unknown to us. We are all pretty sure things will not be the same, and we hope for better and brighter, but we jut won’t know until we get there. 

The metamorphosis of a moth gives us the perfect image of transformation. The moth lays eggs which hatch into larvae and eat the leaves of the plant they were laid on. Part of the plant dies because of their feeding. If it is strong enough it will survive but damage is inflicted. Then the larvae respond to some ancient urging and begin to spin themselves inside a cocoon. There they sleep, dreaming of velvety wings and silent flights into the night, seeking out the alluring passion of unashamed and exotic flowers and the sweet nectar that lies deep within their soft bodied forms.  It is amazing they ever wake up and leave such wondrous dreams! 

But wake they do through some deep biological and genetic timing. The soft cocoon which has held them in sweet dreamtime becomes hard and too small forcing them to fight their way out of what is now a prison.  Death is the only way to survive. Slowly they emerge, transformed into a totally new creature with wet wings unable yet to fly and antennae tuned in to gather the news of this unknown world.  Innately, they know who they are - their DNA has done its work through the long nights of dreaming, spinning into them all that it takes to be a moth. Yet, they have to wait until their new form can fully transition to living in the exposed world. Vulnerable, they gradually reach that magical moment when, with a slight flutter, they lift their wings and fly off into their new world as the ancient cycle repeats itself.

Like the moth we are all in the process of transformation, going through the various stages of life, suspension, death and emergence. Sometimes these transitions are graceful and easy and other times they are difficult and challenging. It is all part of our life cycle, our soul cycle of continually becoming the greater version of who we are. To be able to recognize the form we currently occupy helps us, like velvety mothy antennae, to process our world and its environs. We need to be able to find the nectar that sustains us; to avoid the predators who would eat us, and to leave something of ourselves behind through our creative passage of this sometimes very crazy world. 

Whatever transformation is upon you, may you emerge in beauty.  Sweet dreams, my friends.

…Kathryn Ravenwood  8-18-17


Tuesday, July 18, 2017




The Knight of  Swords
Labyrinth Tarot
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood


 
The Knight of Swords is one of my favorite Tarot cards.  He charges into the swirling, chaotic winds of change, sword raised, fearless of obstacles, ready for any challenge. His intention is to create breakthroughs  rather than to calm the storm.  He is a rebel in his own mind, unpredictable, loves to play the wild card, is never boring, a champion of the unconventional, and ever on the quest for  truth. He is fun,  smart, funny, and might be a bit nerve racking with his multiple levels of ideas all seeking expression at once.  He is kind of irresistible.


We all are equipped as the Knight of Swords to cut through the chaos of our lives whether it is externally caused or the ever present internal chaos of our own minds.  The Swords in the Tarot represent the mind, thoughts, and the patterns generated by our thoughts. The mind’s landscape encompasses an unlimited variety of worlds created by perhaps equally unlimited circumstances.  All the facts and fiction, words and voices, the very evaluation of our experiences, are all stored in the great labyrinth of our minds. Some of us categorize and sort these thoughts into order and some live with a constant mental chaos.  Brilliance flashes forth, stupidity erupts at often the worst possible time.  Who is in charge of all of this? Well, we are.


 I often say, “no one lives in your head but you.”  This is true but it takes vigilance on our part to filter out the influences that have wormed their way deep into the folds of our minds.  We find ourselves in rote recital of something we were told as kids that doesn’t even make sense.  We discover the hurtful words spewed at us thirty years ago still ring loudly in our head.  We find we can retrieve obscure facts from some unknown repository of trivia – very useful when solving crossword puzzles but perhaps not relevant to our life.  To become the master of our thoughts and mind is a life-long process and one not achieved without allowing – even encouraging -  the Knight of Swords to gallop through our mental realms.  It is so easy to get stuck in a rut, to allow narrow mindedness to creep in and take hold due to our not paying attention, being tired, or just no longer caring. There is the real danger of allowing or even creating distractions to keep ourselves and everyone around us in constant flux where we can emerge the heroine by solving problems we have deliberately created….  otherwise known as “Chaos Queens.” This is the exact field the Knight loves to run through, churning up the ground (and the grounds of our stagnant or chaotic thinking) brandishing that sword to slice away connections, cut through mediocrity, and challenge us to think about things in new ways, to consider other viewpoints, to see a different version.  We don’t have to choose all the new things but it is very good for us to experience the thoughts of them.


Truth Seeker.  What is this?  The Swords are about Truth – both the Cosmic Truth and our Personal Truth – which seeks to align with the higher Cosmic Truth.  The more that is cut away with the great Sword of Discretion, the more we can eliminate what is not true; we separate fiction from fact, we create an opening for inspiration, clarity, understanding, and liberation.  We develop mastery of our minds and our truth by not allowing the chaos to take hold, to rebuke the old mind tapes and stop them from repeating their same old stories, by being willing to take charge and take responsibility for our thoughts and their subsequent actions.


If you are willing to embrace a quest for truth, to seek visionary clarity and to ruffle up a lot of feathers in the process, then saddle up with the Knight of Swords and ride through the miasma of cluttered thinking.  Raise your sword, raise some eyebrows! Raise some consciousness and raise the bar on your own truth.

...07/18/17



Wednesday, June 21, 2017


The Ace of Swords

Tarot Deck Unknown (unfortunately)
Original writing by Kathryn Ravenwood


I recently was in Scotland for two weeks, answering a call I have been hearing for almost twenty years. Scotland was magical.  I was able to finally see places I have wanted to experience – Rosslyn Chapel, The Standing Stones of Callanesh, and the Isle of Iona. Many places along the road brought unexpected connections to the ancient mysteries. The weather was generally great, the green country gorgeous with lots of waterfalls and rivers; each place we visited had a sense of history and its own unique beauty. I loved it. Rosslyn was perhaps the most special to me but one never knows what will happen on these trips.

My dad once told me we had some Scottish heritage somewhere along the line – my family name is Wilson – and so I was not surprised to have this beautiful land feel very much like home to me and that I had returned home after being too, too long away. However, I was unprepared for a major experience at Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye. 

I was happily on the self guided tour of the castle and came toward the exit point.  A few ancient stone steps led to a lower level. As I walked down and my eyes accustomed to dimmer light, my body started to shake, my heart chakra suddenly opened wide, and I started to cry. There, in front of me in a glass case, was a huge sword – a very large Claymore of obvious fortitude.  I fell to my knees, hand over my heart, as if I was pledging my allegiance to that mighty sword, which is the Great Clan Sword of Dunvegan. I knew that sword; I either fought with it or by it in some other life as a warrior. The experience was so powerful and it is still right with me.

After I was finally able to tear myself away from the Claymore, I knew it had opened something within me. Certainly swords can cut through just about anything (especially one that size!) and I definitely felt different. It was like an initiation or an awakening. I promised myself when I got home I would not fall back into the old routines and habits. I would focus on what was really important, what I needed to do.

Swords are not a new connection for me. When I was eight or ten years old I discovered my grandfather’s (on my dad’s side) ritual sword from the Knights of Columbus in the basement.  It was as wrapped in cloth and stored in a leather sheath. I opened it to find symbols of the Templers and other strange engravings looking out at me. I was stunned. I did not know what it was nor did I ask for fear it would be taken from me so I hid it under the stairs and would go down there to hold it. Even though it was a ritual piece and even though my grandfather had fallen out of favor in the family, I felt so bonded to that sword.  Unable to part with it, I just took it with me when I left home.

The Tarot continues my Sword connection.  The suit of Swords represent our minds and thoughts, the Ace bringing clarity, inspiration, that moment where we mentally draw that line in the sand and take a stand, prepared and ready to defend our principals. It is the big “Aha moment,” the time when the brain fog clears and we know exactly what to do. It is the moment when truth is revealed. Just as physical swords demand attention and training to learn to wield them in good intention and strength, the Tarot Swords teach us that our minds are meant for truth and discovering that truth is one of our paths to mastery.

The Ace of Swords in the photo above is graced by a butterfly reminding us when we hold on to truth and allow it to cut through any illusion, we can be instantly transformed.  This could be a small or very grand change but it happens more than we might recognize. Our minds are easily cluttered, carry old stories and patterns that no longer support our growth, and can be a very negative weapon to ourselves and others. The Ace of Swords is the place of the clear mind, focused and aligned with truth.

May you experience beautiful transformations that lift you into light and beauty.

 

…Kathryn Ravenwood 06.21.17




Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Moon 4/20/27

The Moon

from the Anna K Tarot
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood


Oh, the changeable Moon, the Queen of the Night. She sails through the sky, playing with clouds as she hides among them and then reappears, teasing us in her cosmic dance. Her cycle of change daily progresses her from being dark and maybe not even visible, to revealing more of her body each night, her light slowly increasing until she is finally fully exposed. Then, she pulls the veils of darkness slowly back around her until she is again hidden. All the time, she allows us, if we look, to see the form of her whole, round body cloaked in darkness, illuminated by slivers of silver light. She exposes herself so we can witness the ravages of time that she carries – the craters created by crash landings of invasive space travelers who dared to mar her beautiful surface. She is not ashamed of her imperfections and reveals her scars for all to see. With no light of her own to offer, she takes in the sun’s light, reflecting it back to us to illumine our nights and our dreams. The moon also has her dark, unexposed side. The mystery of what is hidden there is topic of endless songs, poems, and ponderings.  
 
We are so like the moon. While we navigate the cycles of our lives, we can feel hidden, exposed, vulnerable to surprise attacks, and carry plenty of scars. We sometimes forget, that as in the picture above, our wholeness is intact– we just cannot always see it. Our light is a reflection of the Source of all Light; and in our own cycles, we let that light shine from us, providing illumination and hope to others who wander in the dark. Our navigation guides are our emotions and intuition. Logic offers little use within these mysterious realms.
 
The Moon card reminds us we must allow our subconscious to come up from the depths and be illuminated, through stages and cycles of growth. In the picture above we see only the surface of a dark expanse of water. What is hidden in the depths of those waters? Monsters of the deep?  Sunken treasure to be sought and recovered?  The moon shines from above sending reflected light dancing across the surface, allowing us only the merest glimpse of what lies just below the surface. Beyond the filtered light of the moon is darkness and the unknown. The ocean is so vast and constantly changing that we could never know it all.
 
The moon controls the tides using her powerful force to entrain the oceans to her rhythms. If the oceans respond so strongly to her, how can we, also made of water, resist her? After a full tide we can walk the beach and see what has been washed up – sometimes trash, sometimes exquisite beauty. Through the cycles of our lives we have different opportunities and conditions to explore our own depths.  Life’s storms roil the waters of our subconscious, dislodging monsters, garbage, or hidden treasure. Like on a warm summer night when we go skinny-dipping, we might jump naked and vulnerable into the depths of our subconscious, ready to explore and celebrate how it holds us. Or, we might placidly slip past the peaceful surface allowing our Light to guide us in curious exploration of our own hidden reefs and grottos. Sometimes, afraid and not ready, we stand on the shore perhaps able to only slip a toe into the water and observe the ripples radiating from even such a small disturbance.
 
We are ever changing, morphing, part of cycles within cycles. More is continually revealed and even more is hidden as we progress along our own dance across cosmic time. As our awareness emerges from the dark of our subconscious and moves toward enlightenment, there is never a void.  Like any body of water, when you pull something from it there is no hole; the waters simply swirl in to fill the space. Sometimes our subconscious sends up a small message that we can’t quite grasp as it surfaces; we can only ponder on lost meanings as that message once again retreats into the depths.  Not to worry, it will eventually reappear and another chance at understanding will be within our reach.
 
May the Moon bless you on your journey, bring you light, heighten your intuition, and bring you peace.  
 
 
... Kathryn Ravenwood  04/19/17
 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017




The Seven of Swords

From the Prairie Tarot
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

 

Trust issues.  We all have them.  We may start relationships with friends, lovers, business and life partners open and trusting.  We look into their eyes and see their beauty, warmth, talent, and what they offer to us. We accept it at face value.  Unfortunately, people have secrets (we all do) and sometimes those secrets are the driving force behind motives and actions. There is always the risk that someone we know and trust will deceive us, sneak around or betray us. Maybe it was not the original intention or perhaps it was and the deception was there all along. We just didn’t want to see it.

 

Our relationships with one another can be our biggest teachers. We often see what we want to see, believing intentions are genuine, blindly trusting in someone. As we experience betrayal and deception we have a chance to learn about ourselves.  We start out na├»ve, not knowing about such behaviors and so do not recognize the threat when it appears. It happens again and we just can’t believe it did! The next time we might start to get suspicious and learn to recognize signals, but sometimes there are no signals to warn us.  We continually are learning about trust and boundaries.  We can learn to repay betrayal and sneakiness in kind (and eye for an eye) or we can learn discretion and come into our own integrity.

 

In the card above a well dressed (and probably very charming) person stands out in the open for all the camp to see. Seven swords are secreted behind the back ready to bring forward and do some damage. Like all swords of power, these swords have names: fear, shame, anger, resentment, retaliation, expectations, and greed are likely possibilities. Remember that the swords in the Tarot are about our minds, the way we think, and Truth – personal truth and discovering Cosmic Truth.  To become a  Master of the Swords we all have to experience what is not true so we learn to recognize those enemies and learn how to survive in our integrity when we must do battle with them. The swords used in the act of betrayal have to be mastered.  When, for example, fear becomes a reality with us – for any number of reasons – we learn to be afraid and we learn to draw that sword to protect ourselves.  Or, if greed is the reality, we might learn to cheat, steal and manipulate to get what we want, possibly because we learned a hard truth of not having enough. The biggest sword is sabotage – to avoid having our own ego/feelings hurt we are the ones to do the first attack so we can walk away “unscathed.”

 

But there are always scars.  The mind keeps repeating the patterns until we are carrying our own bundle of swords behind our backs. How do we break this cycle?  As we work on our self-worth, learn from our mistakes, value our integrity, we find we do not have to engage in sword fights with others. We learn to recognize the warning signs or trust our gut when a similar pattern is presented to us in a new and oh so delightful form. Instead of rushing forward with swords drawn, we stop and give some space. What feels familiar probably is. Look at it. Trust yourself. Lay down the sword of retaliation and try some compassion.  Create some space – step away from the challenge and knee-jerk response and think about it for awhile. Evaluation, discretion, and compassion are far better tools than sharp swords.

 

If you find you must indeed defend yourself – and we all have to do that at times – let your sword be one of personal truth.  If we do not engage in the fight we are far less likely to be wounded or to cause wounds.

 

You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone. Do your best. We all get seduced from time to time. Eventually we find our lives full of relationships with partners who also come from their personal integrity. This place of truth, even if mistakes are made, is a place of growth, love, and transformation.

 

What a beautiful mirror we become for one another.

 

…Kathryn Ravenwood 04/12/17

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Ten of Swords - Stabbed in the Back 3.28.17

Ten of Swords

Art by Tammy Wetzel
Original  Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood
 
 
The Ten of Swords is one of the most dismal looking cards in the Tarot. We see a woman lying face down with swords stuck in her back. It would seem someone came up behind her to stab her not once but ten times. A bit of overkill for sure. Looking more closely we notice there is no blood. Why is that? The Swords of the Tarot are about the mind and truth, not the body, so we recognize this is not a physical attack but rather one of the mind. No one thinks inside our heads but us – or do they?
 
Each of the swords in our lovely lady’s back represent thought patterns she has accepted and incorporated as truth. Where did these swords originate? The mind is a field to imprint; it accepts what it is told. We are so influenced by outside voices – parents, teachers, media, friends and lovers it is sometimes hard to tell if we are thinking our own thoughts or those of someone else. When we are young we are totally vulnerable to “programming” and as we age we use that programming, and how we learned to make decisions based on that programming, to go forward into our present thinking. Continual reinforcement of thoughts and patterns habituates them. The negative ones continue to sabotage us until we are like the woman in the card - finally felled by the many painful and killer swords.
 
Powerful clues are revealed in the card. First, the woman is face down. This indicates that she is not looking at or perhaps even aware of the swords; they are behind her; she “didn’t see it coming” and has not “faced up to them.” Second, she has fallen on a moonlit path that meanders upward and on to the full moon. The moon is very much about our subconscious. Its Hebrew letter means “the back of the head” referring to the brain stem and lower brain functions, including instinct. The kind of thinking we are talking about here is not based on conscious awareness, and is not being cultivated in the higher brain at the front of the head. The moonlight is a reflection of the sun or life giving force. How we have lived our lives – in our heads in this case – is a reflection of what we have been told to think or chosen to think. The moon calls us to crawl out of the depths of that lower mind and follow the path to our higher consciousness, suggested by the structure at the top of the path that is only partially visible. At any rate, our girl in the card is flat on her face with a long, long ways to go.
 
Another clue is that the swords are in her back, along her spine. We are reminded that our mental programming becomes very integrated by the nervous system. It takes effort and will to teach our nervous system not only to not pay attention to those swords and their consequences, but to learn to avoid them and accept new, positive thoughts. This is why we cannot say an affirmation for a week and expect things to change. To reprogram the brain and nervous system is like that path; we have to stay on it and keep a goal in sight, even when it is hard to see and only dimly perceived.
 
While this card can easily invoke despair and hopelessness, it really is a card of encouragement. The Tens in the Tarot are the end of a cycle. The Ten of Swords tells us this is as bad as it gets; the only way now is forward (up that moonlit path to higher awareness!) It is time to get a new ending to the story. To stop telling ourselves the same old programmed misery. We are the champions of our own mind. We can follow that moonlit path, step by step, higher and higher, until we have left those swords behind us.
 
The woman in the card is beautifully dressed. Obviously she had been living a rich life when the 10 of Swords finally got her. She is not reduced to rags or poverty but she is being called to get up and step up if she wants to go farther ahead on her path. She can take all the good thoughts with her – all the positive and wonderful aspects of her mind and self-truth are forever. It is possible that because she has come this far on the path that she is able to learn to face the need to do this work.
 
If you are feeling stabbed in the back by old, worn out and destructive tapes in your mind, and want to reprogram your thinking, take heart. The road is long and goes step by step but, even in the dark, the moon lights our way to guide us through. As Tom Petty said, “the future is wide open.”
 
…Kathryn Ravenwood  03/28/17
 
 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Two of Pentacles - HOw is Your Juggling Act?


The Two of Pentacles
From the Tell Me Tarot
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood
 

I have been stuck for over a month. Because I have been stuck I have been struggling to identify my feelings and therefore a way through the stuckness. Today I saw this tarot card from a deck I have never heard of and it was just what I needed. I have been on that swing too long. When I was a kid if I stayed on the swings too long at recess I would get sick and that is just about how I feel. Sick of the back and forth motion, sick of being up in the air, sick of not being grounded, sick of not going forward. Recess is over (for now); it is time to get off the swing and get back to class. Taking this metaphor a little farther, think of how it is to leave recess where nothing is really expected and get back in line, troop back to class, sit at your desk, get the text book out and back to work.  Attention, class!

The Two of Pentacles reminds us that we juggle so many things it can seem impossible to devote our full attention to any one project, thought, goal, or activity. Intentions we made and felt so committed to are now relegated to some forgotten corner of our consciousness. But, it is OK to be lost in duality (which the Two’s represent) and not move forward.

But are we really not moving forward?

Sometimes we have to process life. Maybe an injury or illness has forced us to put plans on hold. Maybe we are sad or some big distraction has sidetracked our goals. I have had plans for about 3 months to write a particular article that has never materialized. Because I could not seem to get that going I didn’t write anything! I read someplace that if you feel stuck, maybe you could just do something different. Give up on whatever is looming over you causing you to feel overwhelmed or inadequate or unable. Just do something else. Juggle things.

Pentacles represent the physical world and the realm where manifestations finally materialize. The Two of Pentacles is about learning to balance our lives and all that is going on in them. Let’s face it: most of us are on overwhelm most of the time just because we live in a world full of opportunities, stimulation, and expectations. We can’t do it all at once. This is where focus comes in to play. Choose something and do it. Just get going. Goals are not being met here but when we learn to allow committed space for one thing at a time we figure out what might not be important that we can let go of, what gives us joy that we want to make more space for, and realize that the housework is never done, the groceries always need replenishing, and yes, we have to sleep.

Here is what I found out about my latest time of being stuck. Stressing over not getting that one particular article written distracted me from all the other options available. I was mad at myself and so resulted to creature comfort distractions. However, in-between binge watching my latest guilty pleasure on Netflix and eating too many snacks, I DID accomplish things! Lots of things got done and most of them were even on my To Do List. I had quality, fun time with friends, participated in beautiful ritual, went to work every day, and maintained my usual routine.

True, I was not particularly creative but that is another Tarot card all together!

So if you find yourself on that swing of indecision, just enjoy the view for awhile.  Feel the rhythm of back and forth. You will get sick of it soon enough.

...Kathryn Ravenwood 3.15.17