Category Archives: Synchronicity

Navigating Mercury Retrograde with a Smile

It was mercury retrograde that made me a believer in astrological influence.  When I first started this path so many decades ago, astrology had been placed in the “yeah, mayyyyybe?” file folder.  I was experimenting with runestones, talking to spirits, but the idea that spinning planets out in space can influence patterns here on Earth was just a bit much.  Heck, when I write it out I still find myself scratching my head a little.   Then, I had a horrible and frustrating two weeks.  Nothing was working.  Everything I tried to push forward collapsed inwardly or became a tangled mess.  Transportation plans were a mess and my car broke down.  I was a member of a pagan group at the time and I was whining about my past 14 days when someone said something like, “You know it’s mercury retrograde, right?”  They pointed me to an excellent astrological reference and urged that I look into it.

Cassini_apparentSo, I looked it up and cross-referenced the astrological tidings with my journal I was keeping at the time.  The correspondences were amazing.  Here I was trying to plow forward with a bunch of yang energy during a tidal flood of yin energy!  In the end, it caught my attention.  What finalized the deal for me is when I would have a mercury rx period marked on my calendar and I would watch other people’s lives and plans go into a tailspin.  I started keeping internal notes and started reading what I could on how to work with the energy in a positive way.  In the end, and after navigating several retrogrades, I like to think I understand it a bit better.  (This works up until the point where you FORGET about the upcoming mercury retrograde which, when you think about it, is hilarity in and of itself!  See my previous post for all of that.)

Because of that last post, I decided to dowse out what I could of the coming retrograde period.  On a scale of 1 – 10, this upcoming period registered a 5 for me personally.  On a global scale it registered a 7.5 – 8.  Due to this,  I thought I would hurry up on my idea of sharing some of the ideas that help me get through a mercury retrograde instead of waiting till next week.

I won’t be getting into the astrological details.  I’m not an astrology expert and you can find lots of information in several places online.  I’ll list two of my favorites at the end of the post.  The goal of this advice is to be practical, simple, day to day navigation during a mercury retrograde.  Do with it what you will.

What are the key things that Mercury effects?

  • Communication
  • Formal agreements and Contracts
  • Travel and transportation
  • Coding and computers
  • Emails
  • New endeavors
  • Straight Thinking

Any and or all of these items will go a bit bonkers during a mercury retrograde.

Key things to remember regarding Mercury Retrograde as it approaches.

  • Bottom line – It is not a time for expansion.  It is a time for reflection, staying put and cleaning out or up old messes.  Anything that is begun during this time period will end up being a mess, will tangle or just be forgotten about when Mercury goes back direct.  Slow and steady wins this race.
  • If a trip, plan, party, etc is to occur during the retrograde but it is planned BEFORE the retrograde period then it should go rather smoothly.  (Tickets purchased, hotel rooms booked, cars rented, etc) There will be hiccups but getting all the “ducks in a row” before the retrograde starts will ensure things will go much straighter than they would if you didn’t!
  • For some reason, you will have a ton of what sounds like great ideas during this period of time.   Alternatively, you might meet a bunch of great people or have a great first date.   The crucial thing to remember is to not act on any of them!  Write them down, list them, archive them and, when the retrograde period ends you can go back over the list and see how you feel about them.  (During the retrograde period this will kind of feel like torture but if you do this, you will see what I mean in a few weeks.)
  • Find loose ends and tie them up!
  • Double check your car and get an oil change.
  • Back up important files on your computer, especially things you might be working on “right now.”  Double check your virus protection on your system.  Give it a good scrubbing.
  • Go over and review any and all plans during the time period.  Take some time to get as many little details sorted out as you can.
  • A retrograde period seems to have a peak time at the beginning and end.  Things tend to settle in the few weeks between.  A week or so before the energies begin to get a little cross-wired.  At the end points, you will begin noticing all sorts of things beginning to go haywire and you may start hearing friends and family say things like, “Oh my god, what is going on?  I can’t get anything done!”  In between that, depending on other astrological connections occurring, the dust settles a bit, kinda, sort of.

What to do during a retrograde period for peace, harmony and sanity (for yourself and those around you.)

  • Focus on settling back and working on things that have been half-forgotten or dusty.  Some examples are…
    • Cleaning out closets, sheds, filing cabinets and email inboxs
    • Bringing out old craft projects and sorting out whether you still want to do them or not!
    • Sorting an old collection.
    • Turn energy inward and work on clearing out your internal spaces.
    • Redo an old something.  A project, a story, a plan.
  • As you work on cleaning out older projects, plans etc, you might have the idea of starting something up again.  This inspiration is good and very much part of the retrograde energy.  However, trust me, unless it is life or  death, DON’T DO IT!  You’ll be wasting your time.  As stated earlier, place it on the list and check it again in a few weeks.  If it still sounds good, go for it then.  Write it down and then go back to that nurturing yin energy of cleaning out and sorting.
  • Plan on taking that trip or going to that convention!  It’s ok.  It’ll be fine (especially if everything was wrapped up well before the retrograde started.)  However, do grab extra maps, batteries, an extra phone charger, etc and be ready for some delays here and there that might seem a bit out of the norm.  The idea here is to be mindful of the prevalent energy and which leads us to the next step.
  • Use this time to practice patience and trust.  I know, I know, it’s a big one but just do it, ok? just think of the improvement you’ll have in five weeks!  Don’t push at anything unless you just feel like testing this whole “mercury retrograde thing.”
  • Do internal work.  It’s a perfect time re-assess where you are and who you are.  Just don’t take any action on it, not yet anyway!
  • Watch how it effects others.  Many years ago my workplace decided, right in the middle of a Mercury RX, to launch a new initiative and to have a large, full company meeting about it right away.  It was an absolute disaster and the effects of it were one of the reasons the company collapsed years later.

In regards to dowsing and oracle work

  • Be mindful of the energies occurring.  Information and communication are bit jammed up.  As long as you stick to review processes, cleaning and simple planning things tend to go well and, dare I say it, productively!
  • Now is the time to assess and review energetic connections.
  • Now is NOT the time to start that new dowsing project or that new oracle blog!  (Yes, this is the voice of experience…)

Here are some great astrological sites I’ve found that have helped me along the way.

I hope this is helpful for someone.  Just remember, internal not external, review instead of advance.

Good roads!

 

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A Lesson in Not Knowing

(A brief warning, this is not a happy story.  However, I present it as an illustration of what sometimes occurs in a spiritual/magical life.  I felt it was important to do so.  There are things that occur and you are left with only a sense that “something” occurred but given no hard data, no magical entrance of a spirit teacher to explain it all out for you.  Oftentimes, these are sad things.  You are left with only enough information to make out a dim sense of what it “might” have been about.  This is one such story.)

Occasionally, my intuition will kick in and give a very loud warning that is very hard to ignore.  It is hard to describe.  When it occurs in my life now it is an overwhelming tightness in my shoulders and a mounting sense of dread.  It happens very quickly and I get information on what to do just as fast.  I jokingly refer to it as my “spider sense.”

The first time I realized I had it was when I was very young and we were taking my father to the airport for a flight.  We were in a hurry as he was late.  It manifested differently then.  I remember being very nervous, distraught and did not want to get into the car.  I was also very nauseous.  Being, I think, 7 years old, I voiced my concern but it was misinterpreted by my parents as a small boy not wanting his father to leave on a long trip.  On the way there, we were nearly in a fatal accident when a semi-truck flipped over an overhead overpass and landed directly in front of us!  We were unhurt but ever since that day it drove into me the fact that intuition is a very real thing and the importance of paying attention to it no matter what.

Whenever I am driving, I will sometimes feel a strong jolt of information that says, in short, “Do not continue the way you are going.  Take a different route.”  I always hear it but there have been times in the past where I did not listen and wish I had.  To be fair, there have been a few times when nothing dangerous occurred.  However, there has ALWAYS been something occur along the route I had been warned not to go whether that be a near-miss from a running cat, a herd of deer running across the road or a drunken walker stumbling along the side of the road.  Even then, I wonder what would have occurred if I had not been on edge while driving that route and ignoring my intuition.  As I grew older I stopped being stubborn about it and simply turned when my intuition told me to turn.

A few nights ago, I was driving my family home from a wonderful Mother’s Day visit.  It was dark, rainy and we were on the highway.

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Ripples on the Ocean

So, I was unable to get a post out last week which means that you get two posts this week!

First off, let’s talk about staying flexible in the middle of your practice!  After all this talk of “staying in the present” and no future/no past in your oracle readings, a very interesting video came across my “virtual desk.”  As these things often happen the minute you try to solidify an approach, this video, from Eckhart Tolle, talks about the mindset needed when you engage planning and looking to the Future.  Not only that, further along at the 4:35 mark, he talks about the importance of reviewing your Past.  In all of this he talks about the mindset necessary to NOT get off track of where you are in the Present.

All in all, a very helpful teaching.  It was if the Universe, as a beneficial instructor, was adding a bit of commentary to everything I had said previously.  As if to say, “Well, you’ve ALMOST got it right.  Now, add this into your recipe…”

Take the things I have said previously and give yourself the gift of thirteen minutes to watch the video.  Go get a coffee, or a tea and a snack.  He says it all a lot better than I ever could!

So, then, how do we apply this into readings?  I could jokingly say, “very carefully.”  However, in review, the key concept is not to fall out of balance with your Mind and your thoughts (which is what I was saying originally.)

What I have to correct is my early feelings that the Future and the Past are dangerous tools of the Ego.  Well, they are BUT I believe it could be better said that they are dangerous tools if you let them stay in the power of the Ego.  Otherwise, they are simply tools.  A hammer is a dangerous weapon if placed in the wrong hands but an amazing and effective tool if used properly and then placed back in the toolbox.  So, yes, I am correcting things from my previous statements.

We CAN use the Past and Future in our readings.  See, flexibility in practice.  The key, after watching the video, is not making them overly important!

Now, again, this gets tricky if you draw a card that is overly dire for the Future spot!  The wisdom we can apply here comes in at the 6:20 mark where he talks about how projected outcomes no longer effect who you are in the Now.  He goes on to offer some very powerful wisdom over the next minute or so and I’ll simply let you listen to it, gain what you need from it.  After the 9:00 minute mark it tends to get off the mark but watch it till the end for the absolute joy of watching him come THIS close to to dropping the F-bomb.

So, where does that leave me?  Well, to be honest, it leaves me at a point of being happily derailed.  Perhaps this is why I did not post last week because I’ve been processing the information?  I still feel very strongly about the Past and Future placements being illusionary but I feel that with this new information they can now be used sparingly and with caution.

More to come later this week as I try to put together a spread that captures this new information.

 

 


The Tarot of Now

In my previous post I spoke about doing card readings with no sense of past or future, using the cards to get advice on a subject while staying as much in the present as possible.  This was inspired in me after reading Eckhart Tolle’s “Power of Now.”  If you are new to this, I recommend checking out that post to get my full thoughts.  This concept took me several weeks to get my brain around due to habit and good, old-fashioned stubbornness of wanting a timeline.  I simply had the hardest time letting go of concepts of Past and Future when doing a reading!

For this post I’m going to talk about a simple one card reading with no talk of “spreads” or placements.  A lot of it could be considered pretty basic, simple steps to a reading.  It’s funny how we always come back to the simple things, isn’t it?  If you’re a more advanced reader I imagine the next few paragraphs may be boring…

Let’s get started.

The first thing necessary is to quiet your mind and gain a sense of Being.  Isn’t that what is recommended before every single kind of divination and energy practice in all of existence?  Gosh, I wonder why that is?   Regardless, it is not as difficult as it sounds.  Remember what I said about returning to simple things?  We seem to think that getting connected to that sense of Being needs to be complicated.  This is simply the Ego trying to make something more complicated because by doing so it makes it more important, right?  It is, in actuality, not complicated at all.  I often use one or two of the practices offered in Tolle’s book and I’ll cover my favorites very briefly.

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The Then, There and Now of Divination

As it should be obvious by now, I’ve been interested in  oracles and divination systems for a long time.  I’ve worked with them for so long they have become a central part of my daily life.  One of the first concepts anyone who studies divination learns to work with is the basic, 3 card Past, Present and Future spread.  Matter of fact, it becomes a foundation of any reading from there on out.  It takes different forms.

“What I need to know from the past?”
“What experience from the past is influencing the issue now?”
“What can I expect of the issue in the future?”
“What should I know a month from now?”

It is, after all, what oracles are for, right?  They are there so you can learn about things in advance, so you can prepare for them, right?  Right?

You take those three ideas, Past, Present and Future and, as you become skilled, you build a reading around them with other questions or ideas in order to get a clearer “image” of the issue.  Those three questions became a tripod of support for nearly all the work I’ve done with divination in all it’s myriad forms.  I’ve done it this way since I picked up my first rune stones.

You can imagine the upset to things in my sandbox when Eckhart Tolle came along with new wisdom and kicked over the Past and the Present and informed me they carried no weight! No matter what the cards might say those sections of past and future simply did not exist.  The cards and the moments of Past and Future were simply illusions, curtains of the Ego.

I might have dismissed his information simply out of habit or out of a deep set sense of Ego, of not wanting to, in effect, “start over” or “be wrong.”  Matter of fact, I know I would have done all of this if not for the fact that almost immediately it was proven to me he was right.  The Present is all we have AND all we will EVER have.  It is hard, simple, elegant, and sacred Truth.

So, what is someone like me to do when they’ve built up a skill set with tools based around the principles of Past and, more importantly, Future?  The cards still exist.  I still have a connection to them.  I cannot ignore the experiences I have had with them, the deep conversations and insights gained.  Yet, if one is going to stay in the Present what is the point of divination?  Trust me, I came around to the answer but first, an example.

10swordsHow many times has the following occurred to you as a reader or as someone who has had a reading?  Let’s say it’s the weekend and you are doing a reading to see ahead to an upcoming week.  You are using the Tarot.  The deck you are using is very good or perhaps the reader you’ve been consulting is very accurate.  You feel connected and in sync and you shuffle.  You draw a card for the past and it seems very spot on.  Your card for the Present is something pleasant like, say, 4 of Wands.  You’re starting to get psyched up for the week, right?  Then, for the future card, you draw the Tower or, perhaps, the 10 of Swords.  Uh-Oh!

Quick, damage control!  red Alert!  Maybe you draw a card or two to get a better angle on what might happen?  What will help me?  How can I alleviate things?  How can I avoid the lightning blast of the Tower?  Oh, sure, the first of the week looks good with that 4 of Wands but what is going to happen at the end of the week?  As the week progresses you walk on eggshells. You’re constantly on guard and alert for the results of that card.

In the meantime, what has happened to being connected and, more importantly, the faith of that connection?  The minute you see the negative card in relationship to the Future what happens to your energy? To being in a receptive state?

Maybe you get to the end of the week and nothing happens or if something does it’s minor like an argument with a co-worker that makes you rethink your job?  Well, that wasn’t too bad, was it?  Or, maybe, the Tower does happen.  Now what?  Did it help to know in advance? Possibly.  Did it help to waste all that energy looking for it to happen?  Did it help prove anything?  Were you REALLY any better off to handle the situation while worked up to a fever pitch of anxiety?  Perhaps you over-reacted to the situation because you were on edge in the first place?

A similar scenario can be played out when looking at a Past card to a present issue.  Does a Past card bring up those memories of being hurt?  Of betrayal?  Does it trigger an emotional response that perhaps give you focus but more often than not brings up anxiety and possibly even a sense of pain or vengeance?  Not necessarily healthy, right?

With this example I’m pointing out the crux of the problem I have been working on.  As I said previously, the Past and the Future are illusions and, honestly, they have a way of causing trouble.  Is it possible to even continue working with an oracle if one removes the Past and the Future from the equation?

The short answer is, of course, “Yes.”

The idea of this is new to me (and I’m still proceeding slowly through it) but it comes down to this for me.   Prognostication needs to be cautioned against, observed and, if possible, removed from any layout.   The other curveball?  Oracles should be used as a conversation on the present issue in the present tense.  Everything else needs to be carefully watched for too much connection to either past or future issues.

DocBrownTime

Due to the numerous habits I’ve built while working with oracles, this is both easy and difficult to do.  For instance, my Questing Path Spread breaks down as it relies heavily on what is going to transpire as you move forward in time.  On the other hand, my Triskelion spread does not use any sense of time and, instead, talks about and interconnects three related subjects with no sense of past or present. (A spread I think I will be going back and revisiting soon.)

Needless to say, this has been a large turning point for my work with oracles.  One of the reasons why I was not posting here is because I was trying to work through this very issue over the past month or so.  As I did, I worked on using the cards from the single vantage point of the Present.  The oracles were used as conversations but with no sense of “how will things work out” or “What thing from the past is causing problems now.”  All of that has been removed.  The result?  A reduction in stress when a negative card pops up and an amazing amount of clarity in the readings.

There are two components to this style of reading.  The obvious one is no placements in the spread for Past or Future.  The less obvious one is the question being asked!  I no longer ask, “What do I need to know about Issue X in a month?”, “How will the project idea work out?” or “What does my upcoming Summer look like.”  I avoid those questions all together.

The Future, I am finding, will take care of itself.

The idea is to have a conversation with the cards while, at the same time, being very aware and careful of the trickiness of your Ego who, by the way, absolutely adores the Past and the Future and essentially cannot function without it.  They are, in effect, the Ego’s playground.

In my next post, I’ll be going through a full reading with these new ideas fully in play and hopefully illustrate what I am talking about further.  In the meantime, I would like to hear your thoughts on the ideas presented. Can oracles function without using any sort of time stamp?  Also, give it a go yourself.  Do a reading with no placement for Past or Future, just what “is” and let me know your results!


Questing Path Spread

As Solstice finished I began to look ahead to Lammas.  I wanted to do a reading which would help me understand what I was to work on during this time period, what was to come next?  I felt very strongly about having a “quest” or an assignment for me to pursue which would also be in conjunction with the energies of Lammas.

I looked over the internet and through a few of my tarot books.  None of the spreads I found felt right and I knew I was going to need to design my own spread.  The first thing I do when designing a spread is to get a blank piece of paper and write out aspects of what I want to cover in the reading.  Not all of them make it and many get combined into a single position.  I also like to keep the number of position totals to either 5 or 7 for manageability.

I liked what I read about the Camelot Oracle and it’s pathway cards and I decided to use it as inspiration.  I wanted a card to represent the “type” of path before me as I headed towards Lammas.  A descriptor card that would show more with it’s images and feelings evoked then the actual meaning from the book.  I also wanted to know who or what my allies would be along the way and what challenges or experiences stood before me.  I also wanted to know where the path led.  What was the destination?  Again, like the path card, I wanted it to be more of a descriptor-style of card.

I wanted a reading that felt “different” from the standard past, present, future set-up.  I fiddled with things for around an hour before I came up with the simple spread below.

QuestngPathSpread

I used the pendulum to dowse the sequencing of the card pulls.  I do believe that it will need a bit of tweaking here or there and so I fully expect a Questing Path 2.0 version soon enough.

Here is the description of each position.

1. The Path – This is a descriptor card and you should look at the overall image of the card to help describe your path.  You can also find a keyword for the card and use it to fill in the blank on the phrase “The Path of _____ .” (See below for an example of this.)

2. Mid-Point Navigation – This card points to a midway marker or event between the beginning of the path and the destination. This is not a descriptor card.  This could be a direct challenge or it could be an experience I was to look for along the way.

3. The Destination – Again, another descriptor card.  Look at the image on the card and where the scene is that is taking place.  Given that this spread is for Lammas, I’m looking for not only the feel of the card but a location where I might want to acknowledge Lammas when it arrives.

4 and 5.  Allies Along the Way – This card would point to energies and entities along the way that I could call on for clarity, support and assistance.  They would remind me of my strengths and my experience and might also be individuals, physical or non-physical, that I might encounter.

6 and 7. Challenges – These two cards would show me not only where the sticky points were going to be but also how to identify my greatest teachers on the path from here to there.

QuestingPathLlamas

Let’s take a look at what they say.

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The Quest, Part Two

With very little time left in the day I had been forced to find a new spot for my hike and my Spirit Quest.  I’d arrived at the new location’s trailhead with about three hours of daylight left.  I estimated I had about two and a half miles of hiking, most of which would be off trail and up and down a few ridges.  It would be alright.  I was on a quest from God.  (Sorry, couldn’t help myself…)

In a very non-meditative or even thoughtful way I sped down the main trail.  I passed a few trail runners (or should I say they passed me?) and we greeted each other with a nod or a smile. Otherwise, I was moving fast and trying to get to the spot on the main trail that I had decided would be my “leaping off” point.  I figured, if I hurried, I could get to the ridge top I wanted, set up camp and be making a fire for tea right at first dark.  The only way that would happen though is if I wasted absolutely no time.  This was when the training I had been doing paid off.  Even with a very heavy 50 lb. pack I didn’t feel the changes in elevation.  That was all to change soon enough but the first part was good and I enjoyed the feeling.

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