Sacred Arts Spotlight: The Fool’s Journey Tarot Inspired Oils – The Emperor

Learning and Community

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elcome to a new segment on Canto – the Sacred Arts Spotlight! These are articles dedicated to reviewing products from Sacred Arts purveyors that I know members of our community will be interested in. Although I personally know and love most of the folks and products that I will be turning the spotlight on in this series, the opinions that I give you are not influenced by that – if something is awesome I will tell you, if something is less-than, I will tell you that too.

The reviews are fair (hello, Libra) and genuine. I may receive the products or offerings to review for free or at a reduced cost but I receive no financial kick backs for making these reviews available. The goal here is simple: get Sacred Arts based products and practitioners some air time and introduce them to my community so that we can all support each other.

Kicking off this series is my review for a very special line of oils crafted by the goblins at Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs. I have talked about the lab before and have been intending to do a full review of their tarot-inspired oil collection known as The Fool’s Journey. So far the lab has released 5 scent families in this collection: The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, and the Emperor. I have received samples of all of the scents and I will be backtracking and reviewing all of them – because really, making tarot inspired perfume is pretty awesome – but currently the only oils in stock are those of the Emperor. Also, it is election day here in the US and so the archetype and essence of the Emperor is one that we should probably spend some time with, yes? Yes.

The first thing to know about each of these collections is that they are divided into two categories. So there are the aspects of the Emperor and then the Faces of the Emperor. The category of Aspects covers specific symbols, instruments, tools, and physical characteristics of each card while Faces category speaks to some of the most archetypal essences distilled in the figure of each card.

Before I get into each individual scent I just want to remark on how excellent this concept is as a whole. Students of mine and clients know that I often talk about the different physical senses of our bodies and how they can all be worked with in our Sacred Arts and magical practices. When we typically think of a fairly organized and cohesive system like Tarot we often immediately think of pre-defined meanings of each card. You learn the meanings are you are good to go. This is one of the reasons why I created 20 Question Tarot – which provides another possibly way of getting to know the cards (through asking questions). Black Phoenix has provided yet another way – they have created families of scents for each card. This is such a fantastic way to bring tarot immediately into your daily life, by wearing an oil or a blend of oils that have been inspired by the images of the cards. I love the multi-sensory approach in coming to this old system of knowing.

If you go and visit the BPAL website (you should, you should!) you will notice that each scent has an evocative description of the primary fragrance notes often paired with powerful quotes, allusions, or literary passages. My reviews are going to give you my personal sense of how the oil smells as well as how I like to work with it.

So with that said, I give to you the Emperor:

Aspects of the Emperor

The Emperor’s Armor – I love the quote by John Steinbeck attached to this scent on the BPAL website: “Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts.” Can I get an amen! To me this scent is clean, clear, and strong just the way our minds should be when we don our own armor. I see this scent as one that is good for protection (obviously) but also good for clearing away fear and stepping confidently into our own power. I also think this is a really good scent to wear before exercising, doing a martial art, or engaging in any kind of activity that calls on your physical power.

The Emperor’s Beard – This one, as the BPAL website says, is for the hipsters, but I have to tell you I love it. Its a little glam in an old school way and reminds me vaguely of Old Spice – the original scent my grandad liked to wear. To my mind that’s what it does, like a snowy white beard, it gives you the appearance (for a time at least) of having some deeper wisdom and insight about the human condition. Wear it if you need to appear august.

The Emperor’s Crown – To me this scent smells like gold. Not the gold found deep in the earth but the golden light of the sun radiating down to touch the brow of a mere mortal – that image after all is one of the inspirations behind the making and wearing of crowns. I like working with this scent whenever I am doing any solar based work that requires my mind to be firmly fixed on an aspirational goal or endeavor. It is a bright scent and clear-eyed scent as well and I would recommend it for anyone who is stepping into their sense of right power and needs to be able to hold their head up high.

The Emperor’s Rams – The Rams have a spicy, cinnamon-y scent that resonates perfectly with their astrological sign of Aries. The Rams are located on the Emperor’s throne, they are where his hands would rest when he allows them to do so. To me this is an oil of protection with a fiery element – it is not just “back off” it is “back all the way off, NOW.” It is a scent that can galvanize people who are fighting the good fight or engaged in any kind of social justice advocacy. It is a scent that is not afraid to inspire us to draw lines, say No, and mean it.

The Emperor’s Scepter – This oil is a little sweet smelling for my own personal taste – I go for slightly more bitter, acerbic, and smoky notes. But I like the fact that it is a tinge on the sweeter side for the Scepter because so often this tool is seen as one of influence and command. Here the message carried along the scent lines is that kindness and sweetness can be powerful foundations of true influence and real, inspiring, command. Wear it when you need to control a situation AND remember to be kind.

The Emperor’s Throne – I love this scent personally, it is clear and clean and has a note of cedar that does it for me. It is a strong scent, one that I would wear when I wanted to encourage myself to know my place – by which I mean know where I stand, what I stand for, who I stand with. For it is that knowledge that allows wherever we stand or sit to be our throne, our established place of potency.

The Fiery Mountains – Mountains have so many symbols attached to them. For me they always speak to our hopes and dreams as well as the obstacles we face in attaining them. This scent, which smells like a certain kind of spicy fire itself, is ideal for lighting a fire under you in pursuing those hopes and dreams and can also be worked with effectively to burn away the various obstacles that plant themselves in your path.

The Orb – Of all of the Aspect scents this one to me is the most personal. If I was upfront and close to the Emperor this is the scent I would expect him to exude. It is rich and earthy and also bright all at the same time. The orb is the round golden ball he holds in his hand. It is time, the cosmos, the material plane, the sacred hoop, the whole. This is the scent I would work with when you find yourself in a position of authority and need to see the WHOLE picture.

The Red Robes – How does your power need to be shielded and protected? This is the question that this scent inspires me to ask. The answer it gives me is surprising: it is red (like the robes), brilliant, and juicy. It reminds me that there is a sacred aspect to play and that allowing ourselves to be fully in the mud and muck of the world confers a special kind of strengthening and seasoning of our inner power.

The Stream – This scent is clean and nourishing like the stream of water that runs through a relatively dry and desert-like landscape. It is a scent I would wear when I want to emphasize the streams of power that inspire my own work, one that reminds me about the lineages of power that we all have available to us. It is also a scent of refreshment and restoration.

Faces of the Emperor

Pater Populi – He is the benevolent father of all of the people. I love this scent as a way to honor fathers and ALL people who father regardless of gender. It is woody, clean, and bright. I have worked with it to call in forces of Justice to good effect and also to repair and mend old father wounds.

The Eternal King – This is the scent of the Underworld Emperor, of the Emperor at his time of death so it is dark, earthy, sweet, and loamy – one of my favorites. It is a scent of sacrifice and would be ideal to wear when you are looking at your own realm and deciding what needs to be culled in order for new life to continue.

The Horned God – To me this scent reads like a labyrinth, taking us back in time behind the face of the old wise man, behind the face of the sun child, or the young king, and into the first woods where the antlered animals stand out as Emperors within their realms. There is something primal and wild about this scent and also a call to remember what power and ruler-ship really mean, or really can mean, when we show up at our best.

The Huntsman – I love pairing this one with the above scent, although this one is more faerie kissed and calls to mind the right hours for hunting and riding with the hunt, early, early in the morning when the sky is black as pitch and the stars surround you, and there are shadows everywhere limned in moonlight. It is a reminder of the wild, unpredictable, nature of power and a call to be devoted in preserving that.

The Imperator – How do you take care of your people? That is the question this scent inspires me to ask and in a way that crystallizes the entire Emperor line for me. Power is not something that we can be content to outsource to someone else – be it person or party. Power is something we all have a personal relationship with and I see this line of scents, like the Emperor card itself, asking us to engage in that relationship consciously. The Imperator is the protector of his realm and his people. But we all have realms, we all have people. How do we protect them? How do we nourish and care for them? How do we defend them? And, perhaps the most important question for all Emperor’s to ask: how can we be of best service to our people? This scent inspires the hunt for those answers.

Check out the entire line of Emperor scents here. And leave a comment on this post for a chance to win an ENTIRE set of out of stock Magician oils! A question to consider for those of you who want to comment: How do you define power?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home, Vol. 5: A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

Uncategorized

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iracles,

Happy upcoming New Moon in Cancer! If you need a blessing for this New Moon I have one for you right here – it is all about the ways that we can honor our armor. This New Moon finds our family getting ready to make our annual pilgrimage to the blood red mountains of Northern New Mexico where we will spend the next few weeks.

So as I have been packing and doing laundry (so. much. laundry.) and gathering various bits and bobs that will be needed during our trip I wanted to share a few gathered loose ends with all of you that may have gotten lost in the excitement of baby-having and book writing.

First things first though – the family update. Heath is doing beautifully. Thanks in no small part to all of you and your beautiful prayers and well-wishes for him and for us. Jasper, our seven year old, maintains his position as best big brother EVER, and Heath is full of snuggles and love. He has started cooing and focusing more with his uncanny blue eyes, and he loves nothing more than to snuggle (preferably against my chest for all the obvious reasons). We are looking forward to the cooler weather in New Mexico and the opportunity to do some hiking and exploring with our sweet boys!

Our animals have been so interesting to watch with the new baby. Each one of them guards him in their own special way. The cats circle around him, especially if he is fussy, trying their best to soothe him with their purrs and the dog will come and get me anytime anything seems slightly amiss. (Speaking of cats, that is Hades, our beautiful black boy, lounging on the bed that my mom brought for the dog…yeah, we see how well that worked out).

Since we are on the topic of animals, I have some exciting news to share. Earlier this Spring I was invited to contribute to an anthology that will be released in 2019 from Sounds True – the Karma of Cats! Dog-lovers don’t be jealous, Sounds True released the Dharma of Dogs awhile ago. This is an anthology where various writers, spiritual teachers, and animal lovers were invited to share the lessons they have learned from their feline friends. I was honored to be included and look very much forward to introducing the world to Hades and Aphrodite, two kittens that came to our family in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Another exciting tidbit is this little podcast I recorded with Theresa Reed aka The Tarot Lady on how to cleanse and bless your Tarot decks. Enjoy it and as always let me know if you have questions.

We have entered into the launch season for Spinning Gold! The course is not officially open until August 7th but through the months of July and August we are sharing samples of the wonderful guest teachings that are new to this year’s program – so much goodness here. You can get a taste of Spinning Gold and check out the guest teachers yourself by signing up for the mailing list here.

I’m still taking time off and won’t be back full time to work or social media until August, my plan for the next four weeks is to fully enjoy the depths of summer and embrace this magical and liminal time. Wishing a gorgeous season to all of you too!

In love and blessings always,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Choose and Be Well

Foundations

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ear Miracles,

Someone dear to me asked that I write to my Lunar correspondents about how to gain perspective in troubled times.  Understandably enough. The month of August 2017 has given us whiplash – first, Charlottesville, then the remarkable eclipse, ending with Hurricane Harvey.

I have a few thoughts about all of this, but I decided it would be best to hold off before answering, and pull some cards from my classic Marseilles deck first, in the spirit of the Delphic Days we started over a year ago. I had my beloved lend assistance, since this is a concern we both have together.

What do we need to know in troubled times, I asked, and what is the appropriate way to respond?

The first card we pulled was the diagnostic card: the Tower Card. And then the answer to the second query came in two parts: Death and the Sun, Le Soleil.

I actually love the Tower card. It speaks to change – swift and absolute. There is nothing subtle about this card, no easing one into the difficult times. Rather, they land on your doorstep, on your television screen, in living color and undeniable.

The Tower also speaks to a core tenet of the Sacred Arts – that beauty is found in the broken places. And so it is. I have been privileged now to watch hundreds and hundreds of people sift through and stand knee deep in their broken places. Without fail they find treasure. It is always unexpected. Not always clearly applicable in the moment. But treasure nonetheless. I like this card too, because it tells you what you are dealing with straight up – it feels like the end of the world because in some ways, it definitely is.

In the Marseilles deck “Death” is simply “XIII”, that is, it is unnamed. In my experience with the card generally, and what I encourage my clients and students to see, is that Card XIII is nothing to be scared of, and can lead to very interesting and useful insights.

When we divine, we are looking for a way of understanding not only what might be, but also what is, and what has been. And whenever one is engaged in this project, it is much more useful to be led by curiosity as opposed to passionate feelings that are often called up by organizations that have their own agendas (hint: not concerned with what is best for you).

So as diviners we ask questions, and the interesting one to ask with Card XIII here is…why is it unnamed? Why is Death not written on the Card? Every other card in the Major Arcana has a title – for example, The Sun or The Tower. I will have more to say about this question below. But let’s begin with the final card that came up in the reading, The Sun.

What is the appropriate way to respond? we asked.

Under the brilliant rays of the sun, two people hold each other in a caring embrace. This was especially poignant to me as something literally needed for significant parts of my home state of Texas – to dry things up, to shine once more, to remind us that all was not lost.

The first thing many of us do in troubled times is look out for number one. It is so deeply an instinctual urge that very likely no human being is immune from it. Disaster looms and the first thought is: I’m going to get mine, I’m going to take care of me, it’s a dog eat dog world.

Thomas Hobbes, a political philosopher whose work still shapes the world today, said it like this: “life is nasty, brutish, and short.” He believed that men responded in kind to that reality, making life, and politics a zero sum game of winner takes all. It is easy to write off that idea as another irrelevant notion by a European man, but the man had lived through some serious devastation and war. He had witnessed events first hand that gave him this impression. And we have some sense of what he is talking about. But the upshot politically is that our common life all comes down to force – not justice, not something beautiful and good.

We can feel it physically when this attitude comes over us. Jaw juts out. Voice gets louder, harsher. Shoulders hunch forward, eyes narrow in suspicion, and we are just waiting and ready to drop down into fighting stance. We say things we would normally never say. We treat people in ways we would normally never treat them. We harden ourselves in every possible way; feeling and fearing that we cannot afford to stay tender. For to do so equals death.

We know this way of being; we have seen it in others, and if we are honest we have seen it in ourselves. But we also know something else. While a nihilistic, me-first, attitude is part of our experience it is not the only part, and we are certain that it is not the best part.

For what we also see is that saving your own skin is the last thing that actually counts in troubled times. What matters, what inspires, enlivens and teaches is having and helping each other, moving through it together. Not you or me, but we, all of us, together. We feel this physically too. It opens up our chest, we breathe deeper, our throats close up and our eyes fill with tears; we soften, letting tenderness in. The love found in helping where and when we can, even at personal loss, shines far brighter than the fear that would have us betray right relationship for a survival that is lonely, isolated, and apart.

I’ve heard multiple people from both sides of the political aisle say that Hurricane Harvey has been a kind of blessing because after the hatred, ignorance, racism, and division we saw in Charlottesville we needed to know that we, as a country, could come together. This strikes me as wrong for multiple reasons. I don’t think hurricanes work like that for one thing. For another it feels far too sentimental. I shudder to think of the attitude it could foster. Could precipitating a disaster be justified to ‘bring people together’?

But what I do find interesting is the yearning that I see across cultures, ethnic, and racial lines to be led by our better angels, not our worst selves. We know we have within us what is required to fuel more Charlottesvilles, for hate comes easy. We aren’t so sure, I think, that we have what it takes to mitigate a disaster like Harvey. We aren’t as sure any more that we can love that hard. So when we see that at least some of us can and do love that hard, I think a breath held by the collective is suddenly released. Maybe the sun will shine again after all.

Le Soleil – The Sun – recalls to mind the ancient Chinese concept of virtue, ren, which is a pictograph of a human being held within the number two, the number of relationship. This is a picture of humanity.

Our humanity – that is, who we really are – begins in at least two, in relationship, not with ourselves alone, egoistically conceived as prior to all other relationships. The starting point is right relationship, not isolated ego.

This is one part of the mystery held in the teaching found in many First Nation and indigenous communities, that life is made up of “all our relations” – people, creatures, rocks…all beings. Together.

In the Gospels, Christ drives toward the same idea, advising his people to be like the sun whose rays shine everywhere. Your deepest love is not partial. He doesn’t mean to say, um, be like a flashlight, shining on one thing (yourself) and forgetting about the others.

In Plato, the Sun was – playfully – the Good. Most of all, the Sun is fullness of vision and clarity of mind and consciousness – and consciousness is healing. This is the moment the sun returns after the troubling storm departs: now the rebuilding can begin.

When I see radically different groups of people, from different times, different parts of the world, and different cultures working hard to say something very similar, I pay attention. I think in all of the above examples there is an articulation of what it means to strive, together, to find wisdom and healing at the exact times they are most likely to disappear. I see that in each of the above examples there is a call to love, not as a way to avoid or escape the Tower crumbling and falling, but rather as a way to meet it, head on.

In a Delphic Days conversation, what I pull from my deck is not authoritative: you would also ask the question of your oracle of choice – whichever one works for you – and we would share and sort through the results, and let them guide us, as we move together slowly and collectively toward wisdom and healing, toward a perspective that counts.

I want to tell you, though, tenderly, that no useful perspective is forthcoming until we can recall out of the flooded lands and muck, some scattered old words back into our speech and into our reflections on our hardest experiences – until we can call some wanderers home again.

The disappearance of words in the mud of self-forgetting is surely an event in history. Since the time of Friedrich Nietzsche, it has been de rigueur to try to go “beyond” good and evil, to be the sort of people who create our own values.

Good and evil were understood to be bourgeois categories, guaranteeing mediocrity and stifling our (as it was understood) truly heroic and freely creative natures. We washed our hands of all self-righteous moralistic talk, disgusted with the moral absolutism and injustice it all-too-often inspired.

Case in point: the institution of slavery. We wanted a more just world, and in order to create it we knew we needed to stand on new ground, turn a fresh page, and cut out the language of good and evil that had been used to excuse and encourage barbaric practices.

The approach makes sense. It comes from the best possible place. The consequence, however, is that the concept and language of virtue has passed out of our line of sight, losing its currency in our ordinary ways of thinking and talking about hard experiences of life.

Virtue has even come to mean the opposite…sanctimonious hypocrisy, prejudice. Worse than that, the concept of virtue is becoming more and more language owned and used by some of the loudest and most hateful voices. I heard many people say many things about what happened in Charlottesville. I heard no one call it – for very long or at all – by its proper name: evil.

And here’s the thing that anyone whose lineage and life has been touched by slavery can tell you: You don’t erase the underlying thing by erasing the word. Even though we have lost the language of virtue, the phenomena of virtue or – what is more precise – the problems which virtue speaks to, are still there, everyday, practically unnamed and wandering about among us, homeless, sometimes with great harm and sometimes with astonishing grace.

We have seen virtue and its opposite on display in August, first in Charlottesville and then in Houston. We have seen it; but few of us have the language to speak to what we have seen. Which means that we also do not have the capacity to think and feel through those events with as much integrity and clarity as we might otherwise be able to. Which means in turn, that our actions in response may not be as rooted, clear-sighted, helpful, healing, and loving as we would have them be. That means that things like Charlottesville will happen again and again and again. And when we are at the point where we look to a massively destructive storm to make us feel better about ourselves, I think we need to re-assess what’s been given up and whether the trade off was worth it.

It is no coincidence, to my way of thinking as a Sacred Artist, that the Marseilles “Death” card Number XIII is unnamed. On the one hand, we know what it is. Death doesn’t need to be introduced. The Holy Names are sacred too – better to leave such things unnamed, the things that surpass all comprehension. But just look at the dismembered body parts strewn about under the sway of that sharp scythe. Death is unnamed because that is what fear does: it unnames us, freezes us, renders us mute.

Now flip this over and you can see something. Finding the true name of a thing, like your own true name, is not in fact dis-membering, but re-membering, bringing it back together, unifying, whole-making and holy. This is the challenge of the Death card. Do you know your name? Do you know yourself? Do you remember? This is why in my tradition we make such a big deal about remembering our Beloved Dead; in remembering them, we remember ourselves, we remember our capacity not just for fear but for love.

Perspective will come, then, when we can finally see that – after all – even though we don’t like to speak in absolutes, and we don’t want to be unjust people, we are not at all beyond the problems of good and evil, we are not beyond taking a stand for the good and for what is right, and perhaps even not beyond naming them for what they are in fact.

Maybe it is time, then, to humbly and simply welcome our homeless wanderers – those problems of good and evil – home again in our thinking, give them a place to reside, to clothe and nourish them, help them re-enter society – to educate them, to learn the lessons of the past, for the sake of our future together. Maybe they too are like ancestors and maybe it is time we start to remember them as such.

I suspect that when we do that we will know with more certainty that we are here to love hard and that we will be able to see with more clarity the ways and places that hate seeps in like so much poison and stop it in its tracks.

In the aftermath of August, we hear some popular speakers saying things like “human beings are “wired” to fundamentally good.” So attractive, for it offers a simple solution to life’s problems, but it is a silver bullet solution. I submit that this view, far from expanding our sight, in fact narrows our vision, blocks perspective – by obscuring what may be staring us in the face.

My thoughts have lately been with a specific client base that I have, and wondered what they would think about some of these popular speakers and their claims. These clients have been with me a very long time. They are mostly African-American, women, and in between the ages of 55-65. They are church-goers, and they have a deep memory: they remember the Civil Rights movement, they remember some of the events that made it necessary and that still do. I heard them say in their calm, alto voices, “People are fundamentally good? Bullshit. People make a choice to be good.” I love these clients of mine. They are not on Facebook. They are brief and polite in their email exchanges. They strongly prefer to speak on the phone. They don’t want to take a web-based anything, but they very much appreciate a straight up card reading. And they call it like it is. They have taught me so very much.

Sacred Artists and Soulful Seekers get relationships. We get awareness and paying attention. We are down for those projects. We even understand the need to choose love over fear. But we shy away from remembering that there is good and evil in the world for all the understandable reasons. But my “church ladies” – as I think of them – would have us remember something else: everyday we make choices, and if you have lost the language that describes what you are choosing then how will you make the best choice? How will you choose good? How will you choose love? How will you look at hate in the face and give it a name so that it might be vanquished, not forever, but for today?

Here is what’s known: Towers fall, Death comes, and the Sun will rise once more.
Here’s what’s not: How will you choose? Where will you stand? You or me or us, together? Fear and self-preservation? Or the much harder path of love that doesn’t turn away and something that, once upon a time, was called good?

Remember yourself.
Choose and be well.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Sacred Arts, Faery Tales and the Wild

Ceremony and Ritual

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Miracles,

You return from that trip to an exotic place – or perhaps to the wilds of nature. There to greet you on the front porch steps is your life again, waiting for you. Then what?

You discover something unsettling.

It’s like you’ve never left in the first place. For awhile you feel fresh again, but then all the bills are there, the push and pull and tensions of everyday living are. still. there.

Ugh! What’s happening? We try to get away and refresh, and maybe it works for a little while, but then the same problems crop up – and repeat themselves.

Since the days of Rousseau (and actually much earlier), all too often we’ve accepted the view that the natural wild is a realm “over there” away from where we live, from our lives.

To begin our journey then, our really soulful work, we believe we must somehow make a big leap, if it were even possible, over into that realm and start from there.

In truth, not only is no such leap is necessary, but the leap itself can actually makes things worse. For the wild – the true wild – is a property of the heart and the real inferiority found in us and in nature, within relationship; and it is found in those encounters where we least expect it. That can happen to us wherever we are – in the car, in the doctor’s office, at the bank, on the street, in the city, the country, the mountains.

Now many important lessons can be learned by stepping outside the human realm and into nature, or outside the familiar to a realm that is foreign and different. Don’t get me wrong.

For the Sacred Artist, it is simply a matter of where you begin. As the old stories teach, the exotic realm is not the wild at all, and not a starting place, but a kind of abstraction. Where the true movement begins is right where we are.

The story of Sir Gawain and Lady Ragnelle – the guiding story of Module IV of Spinning Gold – speaks directly to this, and how it plays a role in a life that manifests real enchantment.

It begins with the scene of a deep betrayal, and as a consequence the land of the kingdom in the story dries up, crops wither away, and there is no longer water, moisture, or vitality of any kind. People are not able to have children, all of the food crops and animals are destroyed, the living land turns into one perilously close to death. Spiritually, psychologically and pragmatically, we lose the power to manifest our dreams, desires and intentions.

A betrayal occurs or is experienced: someone tells us “not to quit our day jobs” or that our “sister is really the talented one” or that our art making, prayer making, sanctuary building, word crafting, is a “nice hobby”.

Sometimes the betrayal happens within: every time we tell ourselves that there isn’t anything worthwhile or relevant or meaningful in the creative work we are called to do, anytime we stop ourselves before we even start by getting busy cleaning or talking to a friend or doing five errands all before noon, then we too feel that icy wind blowing across our soul soil and snuffing out our creative spark. Creatively we feel “stuck”, “frozen”, “bored”, “dried up”, “numb” and “dead”.

And so, in order to right this wrong and bring life back to the land, Sir Gawain, bravest and truest knight of the Round Table, is given a specific task: he must learn the answer to a singular and shining question.

And so must we, in our own context, learn the answer to the question.

Failure to do so results not only in the loss of life for the land, but also in the loss of Gawain’s own life. (So you know, no pressure).

Gawain goes into the wild, and it takes him the traditional initiatory time, a year and a day, to discover the answer to his question, an answer that comes at a wild and wondrous price as those familiar with the tale know. Without spoiling the ending of the tale, I can assure you that both life and true wildness return to the kingdom.

The quest, the traveling into parts unknown, and wondering through the deep wild wood, are all necessary steps along the way to retrieving the fuel that can keep the creative spark burning and it is this way for us as well.

Like Gawain, we must brave the icy wilds, go on a quest and find the needed answers that will provide fuel for our brilliant and bright spark to burn once more.

But the wilds need not literally be wilds – like literally wilderness area. For it is only when he returns, that the real magic begins to move: he has an encounter that changes everything and restores wholeness.

Gawain’s story and teachings focus specifically on the Sacred Arts of Ritual and Ceremony and concrete practices you can try out.

The story, like all the fairy stories we encounter, speak in particular ways as helps in breaking down the idea that there is this world of here and now and another world of dream and magic that we can yearn for but never fully participate in.

The practices we learn in the Sacred Arts of Ritual and Ceremony, as well as others, help us weave the worlds back together through stories and the Sacred Arts.

Those soulful seekers who practice the Sacred Arts can attest to not only more creative vision and ideas, but more creative vision and ideas that become concretely manifested so that they may be shared with the world. We should expect this result. For if we can learn to see gold in straw, then we can certainly remember the ways to care for a practical intention or a project from start to finish, so that it is able to emerge fully whole and intact.

And it is those concrete manifestations of your creative brilliance that turn anywhere you are, and everywhere you are, into terrain that is wild and overflowing with wonder.

The next Spinning Gold guest teacher I would like to introduce, Ryan Edward, is all about the intersection between the Sacred Arts and creativity. With several Tarot and Lenormand decks to his name, Ryan’s work has been published by US Games and is beloved within the Sacred Arts community, and for good reason: his work is quite gorgeous and his skill is matched only by his kindness. In fact, as a professional designer, he sees the the creative work of design as a form of the Sacred Art of Divination. Intrigued? Give it a listen!

Bri

Ready to Spin some Gold? Register Now 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Ask and Answer Tarot Meanings: The Chariot

Learning and Community

F

ollowing on the trail of the Lovers, today we are going to explore the Chariot in this next Ask and Answer Tarot post, the companion to my e-course, 20 Question Tarot.

Remember: In the Ask and Answer Tarot series I am going to give you 6 questions that each Tarot card inspires you, the reader, to ask either yourself or the person you are reading for and 2 questions that will help you get to know the card a little bit better.

The Chariot

Card Number: VII

Ruling planet: The Moon

Element: Water

Season: Autumn

 





Questions for the Lovers:

These two questions will help you get to know the Chariot a little bit better:

1.) There are three primary figures in this card, the individual driving the vehicle and the two sphinxes what is their relationship to each other?

2.) Looking closely at this card we see that the golden wheels are not depicted as touching the ground so we have an image of the Chariot transcending or on the verge of transcending the green earth what do you make of this?

 

Questions from the Upright Chariot:

When the Chariot card appears upright in a reading, these three questions will help you reveal its message.

1.) Where is the movement in this situation?

2.) What is the alignment and cooperation in this situation?

3.) How do I transcend this challenge?

 

Questions from the Reversed Chariot:

When the Chariot card appears reverse in a reading, these three questions will help you navigate its advice.

1.) How can I best address the lack of cooperation?

2.) What elements need to be brought together in order to achieve victory?

3.) What is the tension in this situation creating paralysis?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Ask and Answer Tarot Meanings: The Lovers

Learning and Community

O

ne of the most beloved cards in the deck, the Lovers, is the focus today’s Ask and Answer Tarot post, the companion to my e-course, 20 Question Tarot.

Remember: In the Ask and Answer Tarot series I am going to give you 6 questions that each Tarot card inspires you, the reader, to ask either yourself or the person you are reading for and 2 questions that will help you get to know the card a little bit better.

The Lovers

Card Number: VI

Ruling planet: Venus

Element: Fire

Season: Summer

 

Questions for the Lovers:

These two questions will help you get to know the Lovers a little bit better:

1.) What do the Lover’s help you do for other people?

2.) Recount a time when you fell deeply in love with something or someone? What did you learn about yourself?

 

Questions from the Upright Lovers:

When the Lovers card appears upright in a reading, these three questions will help you reveal its message.

1.) Where is the harmony and unity in this situation?

2.) How can two apparent opposites (people, forces, circumstances, etc) come together in a creative way?

3.) Where is the love and commitment in this situation?

 

Questions from the Reversed Lovers:

When the Lovers card appears reverse in a reading, these three questions will help you navigate its advice.

1.) Where is harmony and unity being blocked or thwarted?

2.) What role does anger and hate play in the situation?

3.) What is the temptation to be aware of?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Ask and Answer Tarot Meanings: The Hierophant

Learning and Community

F

rom the worldly realm of the Emperor, we move into considerations of the spiritual with the Hierophant in the next installment of Ask and Answer Tarot, the companion to my e-course , 20 Question Tarot.

Remember: In the Ask and Answer Tarot series I am going to give you 6 questions that each Tarot card inspires you, the reader, to ask either yourself or the person you are reading for and 2 questions that will help you get to know the card a little bit better.

The Hierophant

Card Number: V

Ruling planet: Venus

Element: Earth

Season: Spring

Questions for the Emperor:

These two questions will help you get to know the Hierophant a little bit better:

1.) Like the High Priestess, the Hierophant sits between two stone pillars showing a kind of middle way or path; what does a middle path look like to you? What does it feel like?

2.) What is the Hierophant’s relationship to formal religion?

Questions from the Upright Hierophant:

When the Hierophant card appears upright in a reading, these three questions will help you reveal its message.

1.) What is your relationship to spiritual leaders and/or religious authorities?

2.) Where in your life do find spiritual succor and sanctuary?

3.) What is the role of charity in your life both giving and receiving?

Questions from the Reversed Hierophant:

When the Hierophant card appears reverse in a reading, these three questions will help you navigate its advice.

1.) Where is there too much dogma?

2.) What spiritual beliefs and traditions might be creating a challenge for you at this time?

3.) Are you ignoring the messages you are receiving from the Spirit World?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.