When a Pantheon Finds You

It’s been a while since I wrote anything that isn’t a bit cagey about where I am on my spiritual journey, but the time feels right now as I’m starting to build the confidence to be a bit more open about it.

Although I can’t say I ever felt the inclination to call myself a Buddhist, I was very happy being label-free, studying the Buddha Dharma, reading about Buddhist philosophy and practicing meditation, while leaving the cosmology alone. As a long-time atheist it felt incredibly safe and comfortable because there is no requisite belief in deity, and I had grown up with Buddhist art around me, so there was also a feeling of familiarity. Not to mention, I find mindfulness practices and chanting very soothing. And while I have begun to move in a new direction, I still carry many elements of Buddhist philosophy with me because there is always room for more calm, love, respect and compassion.

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Thor by PantheonSkulptur on Etsy

I honestly hadn’t really thought about seeking out any gods for my spiritual practice until they just sort of appeared and could not be ignored. I have never before felt the inclination to pray to, honour or worship higher powers, but the pull became almost overwhelming and my comfort zone was swiftly smashed to pieces.

For a number of reasons I’ve been tip-toeing around ‘coming out’ as a follower of the Norse pantheon, firstly because I am still so new to it. Another issue of resistance for me was the stink of white supremacy that follows around Norse revivalism and reconstructionism. Although I must say I have been pleasantly surprised to find a number of friendly and inclusive online groups with a zero-tolerance stance on homophobia, racism and sexism. And while there are still plenty of the hyper-masculine ‘Brosatru’ elements around, they are much easier to avoid than I had first anticipated.

Anyway, it all started during a guided meditation when a couple of items and symbols appeared in significant points of the visualisation. Although I had studied runes and knew a number of myths, these symbols were unfamiliar to me, and after a bit of research I discovered they were all connected to the Norse tradition. After that, I felt a presence with me that I just couldn’t shake, and as I read and researched more it became clearer and clearer that the energy I was registering was undoubtedly Freyja. I’d always had an interest in the Norse myths from an intellectual perspective and I love reading runes, but I’d never felt any sort of calling towards it as a spiritual path. Much of this I have realised is the result of the general misinformation about pre-Christian pan-Germanic religions, not helped by the immense popularity of the Marvel comics and the pervasive focus on the Viking era by dudes who like to go on and on about Odinn and being destined for Valholl.

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The Norns by SJChilton on Etsy

Once I got to grips with the idea of a deity in some way making itself known to me, I kind of thought that was it. Like, okay, cool, I have a Norse goddess now. But that little opening it seems was all that was needed for more to come pouring in, with Freyja swiftly followed by Freyr, then Thor, now Frigg and Tyr too.

It’s been about six months now since all of this began, and while they aren’t kidding when they call it “the religion with homework” – and everybody seems to think everyone else is doing it wrong – I don’t think I have ever encountered such a personal feeling of rightness, or this unquenchable thirst to be always learning more than I have since the Norse pantheon smacked me in the face with a mystical two-by-four.

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Free Weekly Reading: A message for 19 – 25 June, 2017

From the Tao Oracle: Hexagram 27, The Corners of the Mouth, Mountain over Lightening

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The focus for this week is self-care and nourishment. So many of us feel disconnected or at war with our bodies, we feel shame that they don’t look a certain way or can’t seem to do certain things. We can feel burdened by our own bodies, often treating them as cumbersome vessels we would rather not have to look after, or at worst, feel a sense of loathing for.

This week it is time to extend your body some tlc; it is not just a means to an end or a vehicle for some distinctive or separate matter we call ‘soul’, your spirit is infused into every cell of your being, and it needs some love.

Continue reading “Free Weekly Reading: A message for 19 – 25 June, 2017”

The Tao Oracle – Deck Interview and Mini Review

I recently received the stunning Tao Oracle by Ma Deva Padma, the same artist who illustrated the Osho Zen Tarot. I can’t reliably receive post where I live so people coming to visit is usually better than Christmas for me. My dad recently arrived with a modest stash of my purchases (two decks and two books) and my mum, the primary deck mule, bless her heart, will be arriving in a week. A number of these goodies I have been waiting for almost a year to receive, so I’m very exited….and of course it is lovely to catch up with close family too!

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Free Weekly Reading: A Message for May 14-21, 2017

The cat, like the cards, has no positional meaning 😉

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Summary: You see that sweet little bird? The fearless one about to take its first flight stepping off that branch? The one who knows no limits and has an infinite curiosity in the world? The one who some call ‘Fool’? This week asks you to wipe the slate clean and be that little bird once again. 

WOW. Three Majors present us with some big opportunities for learning and growth this week! After drawing the first 3 cards I decided to get a bit of clarification as to the direction of the overall message so I calculated the ‘quint’ card (the quintessential message of the whole spread, as represented by a Major Arcana card): Sun 19 + Fool 0 + High Priestess 2 = 21 The World) to tie it all together.

In this spread we can see the reconciliation of a number of opposites – the Sun to the High Priestess’ Moon and the first and last cards of the Major Arcana, the Fool and The World. We have masculine, feminine, active and receptive, light and dark, beginnings and endings, innocence and experience. But what does it all mean???

Well, for the past week I have been trying to get my head around the Buddhist concept of ‘emptiness’, it is paradoxically complex in its simplicity, and apparently widely misunderstood. An element* of this concept that I understand so far however, looks a lot like the Fool. Emptiness isn’t about feeling empty or being wholly passive and void of personality, it is about freeing ourselves from the “I” that limits the experiences we open ourselves up to, and releasing the personal investment we feel in every moment.

This idea of releasing the “I” got me thinking about all of the “I am”s involved in maintaining a fixed and predictable identity. I’m sure we’ve all said something along the lines of “I’m not brave enough to do that”, “I’m not smart enough”; “I’m not a numbers person”, “I’m not creative”, “I’m short tempered”, “I am not spontaneous”, and so on.

While it can be nice to feel that we have a solid sense of who we are, an accumulation of all of these “I”s that we feel define us can severely restrict what we feel capable of. Rather than our perceived identity acting as a guide in helping us to get on with our daily responsibilities, it can start to act as a prison, restricting us from thoughts, beliefs and activities that do not align with its rigid construct.

Furthermore, it can dictate our reactions to different situations and limit our capacity to grow. Why do we react in certain ways, to either pleasant or unpleasant experiences, and then regret our behaviour later, berating ourselves with “Why do I always do that?” Maybe it is because we have outgrown those ways but have defined ourselves by them for so long that we forget we can choose another way to be? It’s not easy to quit behaviour/s we have entrenched as inherent personality traits or quirks, but if there is something that we do or think that instills a feeling of disappointment, confinement or even loathing in ourselves, it’s time to stop making excuses of “that’s just the way I am”, and allow ourselves to be something different.

On either side and above the Fool we have the Sun, the High Priestess and the World in perfect balance. Here I see the Sun representing self-realisation – the conscious understanding of who we are in all of our dimensions and contradictions, and an acceptance that all of these dimensions are changeable. The Sun includes the “I” and “me”, but is not limited by the turgid structures of ego-centrism, it is the highest self that also seeks evolution, expansion and transcendence. In the High Priestess I see the mysteries of the sub-conscious and unconscious mind, a trust in our intuition, and the acceptance of our shadows, working in harmony and integrated with our consciousness. The World then can represent the sum of these disparate parts, healed as one in the emptiness of the Fool – the one who does not fight against duality and the ever changing nature of life, the Earth and its surrounding celestial bodies, but flows with them, free from fixed nature and without pride or limitations.

This week’s cards ask you to explore the emotional and psychological structures that place limitations on your ability to engage fully with life. What are some of the “I am”s that restrict you? Imagine yourself without them, imagine all of the things that deep down you want to do, and would feel free to do, if you could just break those bonds. Imagine the freedom of  seeing you identity as tendencies, rather than absolutes. Finally, observe the natural cycles around you and within you – are you flowing with them, or fighting against them? Seek balance and harmony and understand that any dualities you feel within yourself can be reconciled if you release your pre-conceived notions and expectations of who you are – ‘You’ are nothing, you are empty, you are the Fool and you are everything.

*I am still in the very beginning stages of my Buddhist studies, so this is in no way an exhaustive look at ’emptiness’. Its meaning is far reaching and this write up only touches upon one of its simplest, most personal aspects within the context of this spread.

Wild Unknown Tarot by Kim Krans, 1st Ed. Now published by HarperElixir.

Why Six Swords? My Spiritual Transition …a Work in Progress

This blog has been up and running for just over a month now, so I thought it was high time for a little explanation as to my choice of Six Swords as my divination moniker and to share a bit (actually quite a bit) about my spiritual path, as the two are very much interconnected.

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This card is the calm after the storm of the fives, the clearing away of tension, static and confusion. It is a time of sadness, but also release, relief and healing. It isn’t the moment of change or transition itself, it is the moment just after we decide to instigate change. It is the realisation that in order to search for truth, we need to let go of what we think we already know, and be brave enough to sail to unknown shores.

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Continue reading “Why Six Swords? My Spiritual Transition …a Work in Progress”