Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Hanged Man - Letting Go

The Hanged Man – From The Star Tarot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May flowers and avalanches guide you.

…Kathryn Ravenwood  3/23/16

The 8 of Cups - Leaving it Behind

The Eight of Cups – Moving On 

         The Buckland Romani Tarot                                                                                                      The Rider Waite Tarot


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…Kathryn Ravenwood

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

From The Star Tarot

Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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