Baring it All

This morning, after my shower, I wrapped a towel around my hair and another towel around my body. As I was about to leave the bathroom I stopped, because out of the blue, like a slap on the butt, I decided to do something completely out of character. I dropped the towel I had wrapped around my body and courageously stood in front of the bathroom mirror naked as I wiped the steam from the mirror unveiling my body; baring it all.

I don’t spend a lot of time looking at my naked self. I’m not sure if it’s pure avoidance, some kind of shame or form of embarrassment. Maybe it’s simply fear, because fear will branch out into all of those other things; (avoidance, shame, embarrassment). But there’s a part of me that is downright angry at my body because when the pain flares up and things seem like they’re spinning out of control, I feel so fragile; like a raw egg that could crack at any moment. But I was tired of looking the other way unless I was clothed and in front of a full length mirror.

On the contrary, at this moment I stood facing myself, looking into my own eyes. Was I seeking an ally? Some sort of approval? Would I find that part of myself that sees beauty in all things, even the physical me? I think I did find it because I took a deep breath and relaxed, allowing my eyes to move slowly along my body.

My eyes were immediately drawn to the deep surgical scar that ran vertically from my navel down to my pubic bone. The evidence of a failed back surgery. My gaze then wandered across my lower abdomen, along the faded yet thick scars from two C-sections. Just above those were five small incision scars scattered across my lower belly from a laparoscopic uterine lysis surgery to remove scar tissue adhesions.

Then across my torso were four puncture-like scars from when I had my gallbladder removed. There was a small scar that ran under my left breast from a cyst removal when I was fourteen. I knew without looking that I had a five inch scar down the middle of my back from another failed back surgery; the one that caused permanent nerve damage.

Ah yes, I mustn’t forget the faded stretch marks that had inched their way across my belly and ended in thin tendrils along my hips.

What I was looking at was a roadmap of my life.

Then in a flash of clarity, like another slap on the butt, came the realization that my avoidance of looking at my body wasn’t just the physical scars, my widened hips, my enlarged breasts that fed and nourished my children, or the little laugh lines forming next to my eyes.

It was the lack of willingness to really see.

Each of those things are filled with strength, hope, survival, nourishment, laughter, love, and life itself.

Each one of those things are a facet of me.

I looked again, this time more closely at myself and searched for the strong woman that I know I am. I want to get out of the habit of feeling like a failure as a wife, a mother, and a witch. I must truly look at myself and honor my many strengths while acknowledging my many weaknesses. I know in my heart that I need to surrender and trust in the fact that my physical body, even though its limitations and pain, holds me and supports me through the good times and the bad.

I want to enrich my life and let go of The fear, judgement, and the ugliness of self-doubt that holds me back from living my life to the fullest. Gazing into the reflection of my own eyes, I saw the warmth and comfort within. Now is the time to shed away all that doesn’t serve me. This will be a perfect starting point on my journey towards re-balancing and repairing my body, mind, and spirit.

I am not a failure. I am a strong, independent, loving woman and I need to be proud of all the things I have lived through and fought for in my life. It’s time for me to be proud of all the things I am currently living through and fighting for at this moment and those moments yet to come.

I then spoke gently to myself.

“You will no longer be a victim. You can face your pain and fear head on because you’ve done it all of your life; you just didn’t realize you were successful at it. You now know you are. You no longer have to pretend you’re not in pain or overwhelmed. It’s okay, and it doesn’t make you a failure. It’s time to claim loving acceptance of your physical body, trust in the knowledge your mind now holds, and align with your spirit exactly as you are.

Only I have the power, knowledge, and control to overcome the obstacles in my life to promote healing on every level.

Now, where do I begin? Hmmm….Actually, I think I already have.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

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The Art of Distraction

I woke up at 6 a.m. to my hips and thighs aching, not unusual after a long weekend. I tossed and turned a bit, took my pain meds, then tried the heating pad. Today is a holiday for crying out loud, President’s Day to be exact, and I so badly wanted to sleep in with the rest of the family. But when I couldn’t stand it any longer I got out of bed, grabbed my laptop, and trudged my way to the living room where I reclined my reading chair and decided to look over the emails I (un)intentionally ignored over the weekend.

However, I tend to get sidetracked and an hour later I was perusing the White House Historical Association’s website, wondering how I got there in the first place. I traced it back (as best as I could remember) to it starting innocently enough on my MSN homepage. My intentions were good, but before I signed in to my email, I saw the evil slideshow that stopped me dead in my tracks, like always. First pause and click: “Meth in Bra Leads to $712m Seizure”. Then, “ Malawi Gets Its First Grammy Nomination, With Album by Prison Inmates”. Followed by a story about how a rescue dog became mayor. I mean, come on, I had to know how that happened. I was just about to shift gears when I saw “Strange Facts About Every American President.” So in honor of President’s Day I figured I should read it. You know, out of respect. That somehow led me to reading a tweet from Hillary Clinton, and somewhere between there and here I ended up reading useless facts about the White House. But did you know that the most famous of the White House ghosts is Abraham Lincoln? Well, if you didn’t, you do now.

I have yet to read one single email.

But I did manage to waste and hour of my life. But then again, I learned some things. And learning is good, right?

Finally I realized it was time to truly wake up to the day. I’d had my fill of both dark and uplifting news stories, tempting links to Wikipedia, and all the other website diversions that seem loosely joined for no other purpose than to keep me unfocused, emotional, numb, or all of those things at once. Or perhaps none of those things at all.

The sun is shining, at least for the moment, a promise of a productive day. I have a list of things I need to get done and as I mentally tick them off one by one I can only think of a few things on that list that is truly important today;

Get some vitamin D (which I am deficient in) by spending some time outside with the family. Maybe I’ll even hug a tree, and if I ask nicely maybe it will allow me to suck in some of its vitality. That sounds really good right about now.

Work on the quilt I’m making for my daughter’s birthday gift from me. I have two weeks to get it finished and for once I’d love to finish a project ahead of schedule instead of pulling a painful all-nighter.

Other important to-dos:

Take a nap.

Make some scones.

Eat a scone.

Straighten up my altar.

Play cards with the family.

Eat another scone.

Try not to take another nap.

Choose a working Tarot deck for the week.

That’s about it. I understand that some of these may seem like distractions from what I probably should be doing but I have the rest of the week to worry about those things I don’t really want to do. Like laundry. Blech. The way I see it at the moment is that If we all have clean underwear, it can wait another day. Besides, all of the other things “to-do” are necessary to set my Spirit straight and kick my butt in gear for the week. I hope.

What’s on your to-do list today? I hope you can find time and a willing tree to hug today too. We could all use and share the love.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

This is How I Spent Most of my Day

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I’ve been enjoying one of my favorite novels all over again. I have many “favorites” across many genres but time travel and 1700’s Scottish Highlands were calling out to me.

Although I’ve had too many cups of Tazo today, it feels good to indulge myself in a world that I find easy to daydream about. Years ago this story opened my heart to the possibility of enjoying a fantasy/time travel/historical romance, which was something I had never before considered to be my “taste.” But my own little daydream was born within the pages of this book. It was a little seedling of fantasy that grew with my imagination, further fed by my new-found desires; ones I never even knew I had. Before I knew it I was daydreaming about wandering around a medieval Scottish castle where I purposefully stray from the tour group and sneak beyond the roped off area. This of course leads me to a mysterious chamber in which a time portal opens up (you see, it was waiting just for me) and, not surprisingly, I lose my balance, fall through and travel back in time. I reappear just outside the castle walls in the mid 1700’s. I’m immediately found by a big burly Scottish Highlander in a kilt who sweeps me off my feet and plants me on the back of his horse. I hold onto him tightly as he whisks me away to…..well I don’t always know where exactly….the locations vary….as do a lot of the other parts, but you get the gist.

Losing myself within the pages of what daydreams are made of is a good thing. At least until 3 p.m. when the kids return from school, running inside the house, dropping their backpacks on the floor, arguing about who’s more annoying, and complaining about how hungry they are. 

For me, revisiting those familiar characters and settings is an ongoing adventure because each time I return I find something new, like catching sight of a gem caught in a stained glass window. It’s a long, luxurious bubble bath for my soul, an extended Calgon moment I suppose. And until tomorrow, my bookmark will act as my tether to that other place.

So daydreams are encouraged! May you spend some time revisiting one of your favorite books too.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

 

 

Cherry Tarts~ Retro-Style

Mercury Retrograde.
It’s a time to say what I should have said when I felt what I meant to say. Or something like that.

Discombobulated anyone?

Just blame it on Mercury. Like the most of us tend to do.

 I’ve been on the alternative route long enough to have been duly warned of all the do’s and don’ts during this “troubling” time. I am well aware of the more-than-likely-mishaps and frustrating malfunctions, dumb misunderstandings and deals gone bad. I’ve been there, done that. And so have you.

 No need to fret, It’s just Mercury Retrograde doing it’s thing; and we all have our thing.

When things go awry like your printer takes a nosedive or you accidentally hit “send” when you really shouldn’t have then it’s time to pay more attention to the little wisps of luck in your life like getting out of a speeding ticket, finding a $20 bill in your coat pocket and then find the bakery is making your favorite cherry tarts again (I must admit I worked hard on making that wheel squeak).You know, the important stuff in the Grand Scheme of Things.

Besides, Mercury isn’t really moving backwards, it’s all just an optical illusion…but I really shouldn’t spoil the mood so I’ll stop there.

Life speeds by on its endless course and dear Mercury Retrograde can be that slap in the face you need in order to get a grip on life.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

The tarts are calling my name. Mercury Rocks!

A Descent into the Underworld; November New Moon Shamanic Journey

A Descent into the Underworld; A New Moon Shamanic Journey in November

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I cleansed, renewed, and charged my altar today. It’s been a dark, wet day and the rain outside is absolutely delicious. It’s the soft Oregon rain that is as temperate as the forests that surround me. I’m sitting here in my art studio typing away with the door open, pausing every now and then to look out at the trees and smile at the birds as they sing. I’ve made sure to keep their feeders full and have even made sure to share some of the sunflower seeds with the squirrels.

As I continue to prepare for the dark months ahead, I’ve decided to check my spiritual inventory as well. At Samhain I honored my ancestors of long ago and gave special remembrance to my loved ones who have passed over during this lifetime. I welcomed the coming darkness but as the nights stretch their long fingers further and further into the days I feel a stronger desire to turn towards the within. What a lovely dark night to take a close look at my life and take stock of my truths and the things that reside at the center of my day to day living. Are these things working for me or are they hindering my Spirit?

When I renewed my altar I did it with the purpose and intention of taking a shamanic journey later this evening. This is the time between the passageway of Samhain and the gateway to renewed light at Winter Solstice. When I placed the items onto my altar, I took my time. I was at my own passageway in my movements and feelings of patience and contentment came naturally. I was floating in an ethereal movement that was eerily comforting. This feeling is something I want more of in my life and I want it to be accessible in the center of my day to day living. It’s what I long for but I find it increasingly difficult to either attain or maintain those feelings of patience, calmness, and contentedness for any length of time.

Pain is a very real barrier between me and that peacefulness. From failed back surgeries to Fibromyalgia, and on to the emotional consequences of my intuitive empathic nature, I have a mind that cannot easily turn off external stimuli. Both my body and mind (and consequently my Spirit) have become overly sensitive to physical sensations, the heartache on the news, and the dissatisfaction and unhappiness that seeps from strangers in a crowd. My sensitivity to these things is what shaped my ability to help others through the Tarot but my real problem is finding the shut-off valve. I want to find and nurture the ability to slow my mind in order to return to a peaceful (or relatively peaceful) state of being. Oh how I would love to effectively clear away the negativity and be able to sleep at night!

So tonight I am going in search of that peace that I need to bring forth into my life. On this new moon, I am taking a journey through drumming and visualization to enter the gateway of trees and into the forest realm of the within. Tonight I will unwrap my scrying mirror (that I have not held in quite some time) and delve deep into the dark moon, awakening to what is revealed within. And in the darkness just before the light breaks, I will be in a safe, personal, and private space to find that peace and draw it towards my life’s center in order to balance my Mind, Body, and Spirit.

Lady,
Tiny voices, like the hidden
sounds that moths make,
call to me in the silence
of the night.
Like moths beating their wings
against the screen, You
beat against the shutters of my mind,
demanding entrance.
The candle of the moon is dark,
granting no direction.
Yet, veiled though You are,
Your nearness brushes me like
fragile wings against the fire’s flame.
New beginnings are Your gift,
to unfold as the many-petalled moon,
or the iridescent wings of
Your desire.

Galen Gillotte “The Book of Hours”

The darkness of this November New Moon offers a period of reflection and reprieve. How will you choose to use it?

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

It’s a New Moon on Monday (but I’m too tired for a Firedance Through the Night.)

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Monday Mornings are a prime example of why I should follow a routine.

I Know This and yet…

We were up until 10:00 last night finishing an All About Me poster and essay for my daughter to turn in to her teacher this morning. If I had only looked through her backpack Friday afternoon I would have come across the assignment much earlier (but at some point my fourth grader needs to take on a little more responsibility, this I know).

Then my husband and I stayed up way too late watching the premiere of The Walking Dead (we all have our guilty pleasures) and I ate way too much ice cream (another one of my guilty pleasures). I know better than to eat ice cream at 11:00 at night… I didn’t sleep well, (surprise surprise!) and had hot flashes all night long. Now I’m wondering if maybe my body was fighting a diabetic coma after all that ice cream. Like I said, I know better.

My husband woke me when he was about to leave for work. I found myself sprawled out on the bed face down and I think I was drooling. This was going to suck. I never sleep on my stomach because it makes the hardware in my back lock up therefore it’s a very unpleasant position to try and get out of. I felt my husband kiss me on the top of my head and heard him leave the house before I could put any words together. Nothing like oversleeping on a Monday Morning to get your blood pumping for the week. Ugh… After spending several minutes trying to flip myself over and then finally stand up, I spent another 5 minutes shaking the kids awake and giving the dog the command to lick their faces and toes. Finally, the grumbling creatures rolled out of bed only to argue about who got to the bathroom first. (I love our old home with all its charm and character but the one bathroom is totally ridiculous!) So I was judge and jury on who tagged the doorway first before I shuffled my way to the kitchen.

I was grateful school picture day was tomorrow….Right? Wait a minute…I double-checked the calendar (like I should have done last night, I know better) and of course it was this morning. I wrote the checks and filled out the forms, (well one of them because the other one got misplaced somehow so I made one on an index card and put it in an envelope with the check).

I heard the school bus come and go while I was brushing my daughter’s hair, trying to figure out how to fix it in a way she wouldn’t complain about. I didn’t have time to make their lunch and shooed them past the lunch menu I had posted on the fridge when they asked what hot lunch was going to be. Monday’s are typically the worst as far as what they consider ‘gross’. I inwardly cringed, but oh well, there’s always a fruit and salad bar and they can drink the milk. I quickly rinsed out their water bottles and filled them while they put on their coats and backpacks. I gave my son cough syrup (yes, he’s sick again) put the dog in the crate, threw a couple of cereal bars at them (they’d be eating breakfast on the way) and drug the two bleary-eyed beasts to the car. It was a very chilly morning and the kids were complaining about how cold it was. I secretly switched on my seat warmer, feeling a twinge of guilt.

The Poster!

I turn off the car because I need the house keys, run in and pull the giant cumbersome poster off the kitchen table. I rush back out to the car but the back corner of the poster gets smashed in the door and tears when I try to yank it free. I’m glad we live out in the sticks because I’m still in my slippers, wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt with an ice cream stain on the front from last night. My hair is pulled back in a headband and I look like I just woke up. Which I suppose is kind of true.

Back in the car my youngest is crying out of frustration because the seat belt was twisted and he couldn’t get it fastened. I snapped at my daughter to help him.
When we pull up to the school I apologize for being a grumpy Momma Monster this morning and ask them to please forgive me. Their sweet, understanding smiles would nourish me all day long.

So I’m back home in a quiet house sipping on some tea, thinking about all of the things I should be doing today. There’s no way I’m going to get it all done, and the big challenge is for me not to try. I have learned from experience that to try and clean the whole house will wipe out an entire week for me because cleaning like a madwoman will only lead to a severe pain flare-up. No thanks.

I’m finished with my tea so I think it’s time to set my intention for the day, even though it’s after 10:00 in the morning. Better late than never I suppose. So I ask myself a simple question; How do I want to feel today? Well, I’d like to feel calm and centered. I want my home to be a place of peace that embraces my loved ones when they return from their long days. How can I bring calm, centered peace to myself and my surroundings?

  • First things first: Shower and get dressed. I can’t truly function until I take a shower.
  • Start a load of laundry. If I do one load a day I can easily fold and put it away instead of letting a mountain of clean clothes collect on the couch.
  • Load dishwasher. The kitchen doesn’t look too bad so this won’t take long at all.
  • Change sheets. I have been doing this every Monday for years. There’s nothing quite like sliding into bed with clean sheets.
  • Sweep/vacuum. This is a quick job because I am physically unable to move stuff around. Hubby does the big job on Sundays.

Wow, that feels better! I can now take a moment to calm and center myself so that I can do a Home Blessing Hour. I like doing these on Mondays, but I will admit I have recently skipped a few weeks. It’s pretty obvious that it’s way overdue and I feel that the added chaos in this morning is a direct reflection of that. Besides it’s a New Moon on Monday. Maybe I’ll shake up the lizard mixture…please forgive me for all the Duran Duran references; for some reason I can’t seem to help myself.

My simple way of blessing our home

I have a large stash of clear quartz crystals that are usually in circulation between being used and cleansed. So I gather the “used” crystals and place them in a bowl and set them outside to be cleansed later and wash my hands. I then gather cleansed crystals and place them on the main altar to be placed in each room of the house after the smudging. I anoint white tealight candles with sandalwood, rosemary, and lavender essential oils and place them in holders in each room of the house. I prepare my incense (today I feel like Palo Santo) in my abalone shell and take my eagle feather to distribute the smoke. I surround myself with a protective white light and ask the Universal Divine for guidance and protection from negativity. I then ask for assistance from my Guides and totem animals to bring/lead new powerful light energy into our home. After giving myself a good smudge, I start at what I consider to be the center of my home, which isn’t exactly the physical center but the center of our “Home” and in a clockwise motion swirl the incense up and down each wall, along the baseboards, back up along corners, paying special attention to doorways and windows. As I move through the rooms I say something like “I ask that the breath of light shine brightly in this space and that it neutralizes any negativity. I welcome positive energy, and as I will so mote it be.”  I always keep moving and swirling in a clockwise motion. I do this because I am not really “banishing” I am cleansing and welcoming in the light, the brightness of which dispels the accumulated negativity. As each room is completed, I light the white candle and move on to the next room. Some rooms need more smudging than others, and I also spend extra time on my children’s dream catchers. When I have made my rounds, I place a cleansed quartz crystal in each room, although the exact location may change from time to time. I don’t usually plan to run errands on Mondays so I am able to allow the candles to burn down completely.

When our home is cleansed and recharged with positive energy my loved ones will breathe in deeply and sometimes let out a little sigh when they walk through the door. It is a touching moment that makes my insides glow. This House Blessing will make tonight the perfect night to set up our Samhain altar and some of our favorite decorations throughout the house. I’m glad I waited.

I think tonight should be a caramel corn night! 

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This recipe is a bit time consuming, but well worth the wait!

Caramel Corn Recipe 

Ingredients
7 quarts plain popped popcorn
2 cups dry roasted peanuts (optional)
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 teaspoon salt
1 cup margarine
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
Place the popped popcorn into two shallow greased baking pans. You may use roasting pans, jelly roll pans, or disposable roasting pans. Add the peanuts to the popped corn if using. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, margarine and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring enough to blend. Once the mixture begins to boil, boil for 5 minutes while stirring constantly.
Remove from the heat, and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. The mixture will be light and foamy. Immediately pour over the popcorn in the pans, and stir to coat. Don’t worry too much at this point about getting all of the corn coated.
Bake for 1 hour, removing the pans, and giving them each a good stir every 15 minutes. Line the counter top with waxed paper. Dump the corn out onto the waxed paper and separate the pieces. Allow to cool completely, then store in airtight containers or resealable bags. Enjoy!

What are some of the ways you bless your home?

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

In the Spirit of Collage (Pt. 3 of 3)

The Collage/Tarot Connection and the Now

I’ve been a lover of the Tarot since I was 14 and bought my first deck. Over the years I have added new decks to my collection as well as a few oracle decks from time to time. The last time I counted there were nearly 60 decks in all. Many Tarot enthusiasts will easily have collections in the hundreds (if not more) and I’ll admit I want to go on a Tarot deck buying binge from time to time. The main reason I don’t (other than we live on a budget) is because I love browsing through all the different decks. I can spend (waste) hours visiting Tarot websites, reading reviews on blogs or Amazon, looking at different illustrations and concepts, reading about the artist and their vision and influence for the deck, get sucked into Pinterest, and so on and so on. I’ll know when I come across the right deck because it will find its way to me at the right time. It’s much more fun and mysterious than clicking to add decks to my Amazon cart (of course there’s plenty on my ‘wish list’…)

The Moon from Kat Black's Golden Tarot Deck

One of my favorite decks of all time is the Golden Tarot by Kat Black. She uses a computer collage technique with artwork taken from the late Middle Ages through the early Renaissance; a time period I have always been fascinated with and drawn to from a very early age. She pulls together pieces of different paintings from master artists of that time and creates collages with velvety rich symbolism that speaks to my heart of hearts. It has the most beautiful Death card I have ever seen in any Tarot deck and I love her interpretation of The Moon card.

I decided about a year and a half ago that I wanted to do something that combined my love of collage and love of Tarot to create some personal cards that made me feel good, maybe contemplative, or loving, nostalgic, perhaps even moody. I craved cards that embraced the human condition. More specifically, my human condition. I wanted sentimental and I wanted layers upon layers of emotion. I wanted love and sensitivity, but I also wanted there to be a sense of humor here and there to cut through all the seriousness. I wanted strong messages with a tender touch. I wanted collage cards that would speak to my soul, spark my inner flame, and help me with chakra alignment and meditation. I wanted something personal, something that I put together with pure intent to connect me spiritually to my guides, dreams, and power animals in universally profound ways.

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So when I set out to create my own set of “intuition cards” I knew I didn’t want to follow any of the typical rules or expectations of traditional Tarot or oracle decks. My goal was to create a simple set of 24 cards; a deck that I could easily be able to pull one card in the morning as a “card of the day” to focus on. I could also shuffle through and select a card or two for inspiration in writing or painting. I could fan them out face up and find just the right one with the energy I needed to focus on for a ritual, or simply take the one off the top to use as a journal prompt at the end of a long day. So if I followed my heart, these cards would not be based on Rider-Waite or any other esoteric symbolism. They would be uniquely mine, with the language of my personal symbolism being of my own creation, allowing for change and renewal over time.

I still use Tarot daily because giving Tarot readings is not only my profession, but I hold a deep appreciation and love for its ability to help transform lives. At times I will use it for personal readings when I am needing to see things from a different perspective. Sometimes I’ll just take out a deck I haven’t worked with in a while and shuffle the cards. I find comfort in the way they feel in my hands, and the vibration of their unique energy. It’s like becoming reaquainted with an old friend. I enjoy taking the time to look at each card individually before I bless them, wrap them and set them back in their special place with a warm feeling in my heart.

When using my intuitive cards, there is a very inward focus that occurs. Some of my favorite moments working with my cards are those especially quiet times in the morning after I’ve sent the kids off to school and my husband is at work, but before I start laundry or take phone calls in my studio office. It is then that I can light a candle in a calm environment and spend some time gazing at an intuitive card of my own creation while sipping on my coffee.DSCF5941

I have had some of these cards for quite a while and I noticed that they were starting to show signs of wear. I was worried about them peeling back just far enough that they would catch on other cards and possibly get torn. I had spray lacquered them several times over but I wanted something more durable. So I decided to research ways to safely seal or laminate paper collage work and came across the “SoulCollage” website. I had never heard of that term before but was intrigued by some of the articles I read. I found myself nodding while reading because not only was the philosophy resonating with me but I was also learning new creative ways to simplify the process of creating collage cards with less mess. Yes, there are many who enjoy computer collage and that’s fine, it’s just not my preference. Like I mentioned, I absolutely love Kat Black’s work but personally I’m more of a tactile sort of gal so I need the true physical act of cut and paste…you know, real scissors and sticky rubber cement glue that makes icky glue boogers on the tips of fingers. And we must not forget the glorious mess of hundreds of tiny slivers of trimmed paper all over the table, scattered on the floor, stuck throughout your hair, in your cleavage….

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When you begin to do collage, (more than likely before you realize you’re even thinking about doing it) you start to see your surroundings in a whole new light. You’ll find yourself uncontrollably or inexplicably tearing images from magazines, catalogues, advertisements, labels from packages, and illustrations taken from old ripped up books on their way to the recycle bin. You’ll find yourself grabbing a brochure from the parks and recreation site because it has wolves on the cover. You might see that the box of cereal has an interesting new logo. You may even be shocked to find yourself trying to quietly remove a page from a magazine while in the waiting room at the dentist office because you can’t bear to part with the image. You may never see one like it again! Do not fear, because there are always going to be plenty of images from a multitude of different sources. So much so in fact that in no time you’ll be needing a file box with folders labeled with categories to separate the mass of torn, ripped, crumpled, cut, and snipped papers with cool images on them. Organizing them further than broad categories will probably never happen. Just know that’s okay. Part of the therapeutic process of collage is being able to let go of perfectionism, even just a little. The purpose is not to limit but to promote spiritual growth by continuing to learn and connect to Spirit, and to open new ways for positive changes to happen.

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Under Construction

As I continue to move forward on adding to my Soul Cards I am thinking of branching out and trying to begin a Wheel of the Year deck. With Samhain coming up I have been flooded with Autumn/Halloween images from all over the place. My mom gave me her Better Homes and Gardens fall issue and the thing is now basically nothing but a tattered shell, and I loved every moment of it!

I truly believe that ANYONE could benefit from creating collage work whether it’s oracle-type cards, collage journals, a framed 8×10 piece of art or even a wall mural! Whatever works for you. It can be as involved or as simplistic as you want. Although the wall mural sounds cool, it’s best to start small. Another reason collage cards are a perfect place to start. I urge you to flip through an old magazine, tear out some pages with images that speak to you, go within yourself, then get to cutting and pasting~ Express Your Beautiful Self!

Be fearless to express yourself!

Be fearless to express yourself!

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

*There’s plenty of free articles and information about collage at http://www.soulcollage.com/
and free is always good!

In the Spirit of Collage (Pt. 2)

The Wisdom of the Womb

It would be nearly two decades before I would have the yearning to put together another collage and it came about while on bed rest when I was pregnant with my fourth child. I couldn’t seem to get jazzed about scrapbooking like some of my friends did. I found that there was way too much stuff to deal with and lug around, and strangely, I thought it seemed too structured (if that makes any sense). But I needed something to do.

So out of the blue I began gathering photos with pagan people/places/themes from old calendars, greeting cards, and torn from alternative magazines. These were added to the collection of pictures I had in a folder and stored over the years (for what exactly, I did not know, until that time of course). During the sorting process I recalled there being a large empty frame in the corner of the garage and asked my husband to bring it inside for me. Using the cardboard backing as the base for the collage, I went crazy on it. For the next several weeks I spent hours sorting through and cutting out pictures. I came across small trinkets like snakeskin found on the garden path, sand in the bottom of a bucket from a beach trip earlier in the year, an old spiderweb my toddler brought to me, unrefined sea salt, colorful beads, and other odds and ends to be used as embellishments. I found myself immersed in a therapeutic activity without ever consciously saying to myself, “gee, I’m making a collage”, I just did it and it helped those last five weeks go by a little bit faster. More importantly, it just felt good, like a balm for my soul.

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My “downtime collage” has now presided over my main altar as a backdrop for nearly six years and continues to inspire me in countless ways.

Pieces of Parenting: Sharing the Wisdom 

After taking all the precautions and strict bed rest, our last child was born at 32 weeks. My placenta had ruptured and at one point during the c-section, the outlook was dim for the two of us. What little I can remember of the things I saw, felt, and heard during that perilous time remains as ethereal wisps of fear that brush against my subconscious from time to time. To look at him today, no one would ever suspect he was born a preemie struggling on a ventilator in the NICU. Other than his mild asthma, his looks and build replicate his Poppa’s, who is a hefty ex-lineman football player. Needless to say, he is walking in his dad’s footsteps as the offensive lineman on the 3rd grade football team.

I feel blessed to experience life with my family. Our children are our biggest accomplishments, cherished little souls that we wistfully watch grow and mature into adults faster than we ever thought possible. Our oldest son (their older brother by 10+ years) recently left for college, so now it’s now just the four of us in the household (plus our familiars of course). It has taken some time to adjust, but we’re getting there, knowing that through love and acceptance we can weave any gaps left in our newly downsized household.

Collage as a Family Group Activity

My children love collage and have enjoyed making some of their own creations over the years. From there the idea to construct a big family collage to honor the Four Directions was born.

There Were 5 Rules:

  1. To find images that they felt represented the four directions
  2. Group them accordingly
  3. Cut only paper
  4. No glue fights
  5. Have Fun!

Though we live in the mundane world out of necessity, as a family we bring in as much magick as we can, tapping into the other realms through practice, patience, guidance and protection. What better time to create something together as a new start (and finally new bedrooms of their own to boot!); something that we each contribute to, sharing how we feel about our world at the moment and linking our emotions together in a visual way. What better way than a collage!

We could have used personal family photos for this project, but to truly tap into something deeper, something on the archetypal plane, we needed universal symbols, those things that spoke to us on several different levels. So we took the time and sifted through old stuffed folders of scraps torn or cut from magazines, catalogs, calendars, brochures, and whatever else we found, gathering new images as well. The process becomes a wonderful unifying experience, bringing intimate understanding between those involved.

An example that comes to mind is one child may set a photo of a bear on the table to be used in the direction of North. When explaining that they see the bear as a representation of Earth, it will in turn will resonate with the rest of us in some way by suggestion, personal affinity or connection, knowledge of the animal, etc.. If you were to ask us individually ‘why’ we see it as connected to North/Earth, you will more than likely receive different answers from each of us. Strength, courage, grounding, confidence, beauty, and so forth. Each answer blends harmoniously and the back of the bear image is coated with glue by one child and placed by the other, smoothed by me, and acknowledged by my husband. This creates teamwork and connection in a loving gift of sharing and mutual understanding.

Creating a family collage can be a powerful spiritual experience. 

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Gathering images and sharing ideas

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The finished product hangs happily on a wall in my Tarot office/art and craft studio/ritual space/massage table area/yoga room/library and reading place/writing space/eBay store and where we do many of our family rituals because obviously everything we need is right there!

We did a decent job on trying to keep the elements in their quarters; Earth has furry animals and outdoorsy activities. South has the sun, candles, and a cool dragon. East has outer-space, sky, clouds, pictures of people feeling inspired, dreaming, and singing. West is filled with watery things including Momma’s totem, the seahorse. That was a fun surprise because one of the kids snuck it on at the last minute. It makes everyone who sees it happy with the light, friendly, childlike, magickal imagery. It offers us all something we could use a little bit more of.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

Forgive the Pain

Guilt. It’s a nasty word that seeps deep into the pores of even the most thick-skinned of people. I can personally say, without a doubt, that my biggest guilt issues have occurred since becoming a parent.

I know that I have blogged here and there about guilt; little snippets of should’ve, would’ve, could’ves in my parenting strategies, coping skills, chronic pain, depression, and all the rest of the ugly mix-matched and beat up baggage I have acquired over the years.

Ugh.

I pressed a new page down in my journal today, but not before reading my previous entry from the week before. This entry compels me to readdress guilt and particularly the release of it during this New Moon.

Below is my journal entry from Monday September 7, 2015:

I sit here in bed, propped up by pillows, trying to write as much as I can before my muscle relaxers and oxycodone set in. Need I mention it’s been a horribly painful day? Again? The aches, the burning, the locking up of the hardware in my back…none of that compares to the agonizing feelings I have over the loss of my children when they return to school tomorrow. Another summer has come and gone and it’s time for them to enter a new grade.

Please Universe, I’m pumping the brakes as hard and fast as I can, but it only seems to cause the opposite effect.

I’m so pathetically sad and tearful as I look back over this past summer and all the things I wish we could have done. Oh how I hate writing through the blur of tears! There’s so much guilt over spending afternoons in bed when I should have been teaching my daughter more about the Tarot or encouraging my son to look more closely at bugs. Summer is now over and what have I got to show for it?

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Memories…yes I know there are the memories…and photos of course…but…

I’m afraid of all the time wasted and opportunities lost. Things my chronic pain takes from me. From Us.

And it pisses me off!

After reading that entry I thought long and hard about that day, remembering very well how I felt both physically and emotionally. I was a total wreck. Unlike that awful day, today has been good to me. I feel functional, happy, productive and my pain level is manageable.

But the words that kept playing in my mind over and over again were, “I’m afraid of all the time wasted and opportunities lost.” By typing those words right now I find I have to fight back the feelings of sadness and guilt. As today went by I paid close attention to each time those words and feelings sprung up. When they did I would gently remind myself that there’s absolutely no proof that my children are suffering or living in constant disappointment. There’s also no evidence that they feel unloved or ignored. I know this in my heart of hearts because I do the best I can with what I’ve got to give on any certain day. Every choice I make for my children I make with love.

What we do is what we can do, and there have been many days where my children will climb into bed with me and we will watch cartoons, read silently, talk, laugh, discuss spirituality or even play cards. Those may be the bad pain days, but the day itself remains positive, supported by love.

When I reflect on this past summer it becomes clear that some of our best moments were the quiet ones. It didn’t matter how often we traveled, how many things we went to, or even how much money we spent, all we really wanted was to be content; to just ‘be’. Sometimes that included travel and money, but it didn’t have to. Enjoyment came from lots of different things, and I am now beginning to question my feelings of guilt caused by my fear of what we weren’t able to experience together as a family.

So to put it into perspective I’m going to start typing out everything that pops into my head that we did this past summer, and I’ll stop when I begin to slow down. So here goes…

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We went camping, spent a week at the beach, took several long nature walks, went fishing, horseback riding, out for dinner at our favorite pizza place, then a fancy restaurant, and a greasy diner. We did a picnic lunch in the backyard, and even celebrated several birthdays.

We stayed up way too late to watch the stars and satellites move across the night sky, took time doing a family collage, baked all kinds of delicious awful-for-you goodies, had a lemonade stand, colored with crayons, painted with water colors, walked underneath a giant waterfall and had a “Fairy Tea” in the garden.

We researched animals that interested us then talked about what we learned. We played board games, went to the movies and watched movies at home. We did hilarious shadow puppets on the ceiling before bed, read lots and lots of books together quietly and to each other. We roasted marshmallows and told ghost stories during the backyard bonfire. We harvested herbs, had a puppet show, and spent countless hours on our fairy garden.

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Oh, and we swam. A lot!

So when I look back on this past summer I can quickly and easily tick off many of our adventures. Some required travel, and some had to be rescheduled several times due to my health. Some cost money, but a lot of them didn’t.

I can say with conviction and honesty that all in all we did what we had set out to do this summer, even if sometimes things had to be modified. I would even go so far as to say that we had a successful summer with moments of fun, travel, and loads of laughter. What matters most was the time we were able to spend together. It’s okay that I wasn’t always on my A-game especially on those painful days that were spent mostly in bed. It’s okay that I felt the need to sleep or not up for company. It’s time to release the guilt about all of that.

What touches my heart the most is my husband and children’s natural compassion and understanding. Were there times of disappointment? You betcha. But the good definitely outweighed the bad, and maybe I shouldn’t say ‘good’ or ‘‘bad’ because no one else in my family would describe those times as such. So let me rephrase that, we did more things together than we did apart, we smiled more than frowned, we enjoyed more than we lacked, and we most definitely loved the whole time.

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It’s more than time to release the guilt and I think I’m finally ready and capable of doing so because I’m ready to forgive the pain. It’s time to forgive the pain. That statement might not make sense to some, it’s even a bit foreign to me. But right here, right now, as I come to the end of this blog post, in this quiet moment of writing and solitude, those words made themselves to my fingertips, where i pressed the keys and then shared them with you. I ask that you please read those words again and allow your heart to lead them to the right place and that you freely accept what they mean to you.

Let this New Moon be a time of releasing guilt and/or shame for the things you had no control over. Let go and freely forgive yourself, in all the ways, in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

The Real Me, The Real You

My True Self


It’s strange to think about all the roles I have played in my life. I was a daughter, then eventually an adopted daughter, only child, competitive figure skater, good little Catholic girl, a Duranie, rebellious teenage runaway, juvenile delinquent, friend, lover, teen mom, college student, wife, heart-breaker, teacher, occult student, Tarot reader, Priestess, & one who lives with chronic pain. These are just a few off the top of my head. Now obviously there are some roles I am not proud of and there are those that make me happy inside. Each one of those roles has been a unique learning experience and has led my life in many different directions. Two of those things I have been for more than half my life; and those two things are a wife and mom.


The role of a wife and mom are are what most people identify me as, because they are the two roles I show most to the world. They are big pieces of my life, and I love being those things. My journey as a wife and mom has given me some of my most beautiful and amazing memories and I know there are good things to come (even through the muddy waters of problem children). The roles of wife and mom are pieces of my life but they don’t define me. These roles are what they are; roles. The real me, (the real you, the real them) is infinite and immeasurable. Everyone is their own being with a unique spirit and a spark of the divine, and yet I can sometimes bog myself down with labels. Do you do that too? Yes, I’m married, I have children, I’m a pet owner, volunteer, and homemaker. I have many interests and hobbies. I am blessed with those things and those are a part of my being, but not the totality of me.

Why do we limit ourselves with our self-image? Why do we habitually identify our uniqueness with roles and titles, employment and status, what we own or what we don’t own, our personality traits and our looks? It’s self-limiting, and I don’t believe that’s the entire reason for this incarnation and most definitely not my soul’s existence. There’s so much more to me. It was time to knock down those walls I’d made. It was time to expand my sense of self and open myself up to new opportunities. There was room needed for my new dreams and ideas to flourish.

So, who am I?

In learning to know myself, I have had to become more aware during times of meditation, journaling, and when reading the Tarot for myself. From time to time I pause and ask myself if I am keeping to certain roles during this time of introspection, or am I floating free of those labels? Am I looking at the whole picture of me? This has helped me tremendously in letting go. I was surprised at first when I felt more complete the more I let go. Now it comes naturally when I’m in my quiet time and space of solitude. It has become an immeasurably important piece of my life, allowing me to step back in order see the strength and beauty of who I was, who I am, and the woman I aspire to be.


                  magic recievers - supernatural links often attributed to things that people do not understand. Mirrors seemto posses a power beyond the natural, a reflection of the truth, and so became a handy repository for many mystical and supernatural ideas. They did seem to be portals to another world at times..

    Blessings on your Journey )O(