Goddess Oracle: Sekhmet (Anger and Rage)

This particular card made me a little uncomfortable when I first pulled, but maybe once I meditate on it, it will make more sense…

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Mythology:
Sekhmet, the lion-headed Egyptian Sun Goddess, is known as the destructive aspect of the Sun.  Vowing to destroy all humanity in a fit of rage, she went on a killing spree.  She was stopped by the intervention of Ra, the high God, who put huge vats of beer mixed with pomegranate juice in her path.  Mistaking it for human blood, Sekhmet consumed the drink and became intoxicated. When she woke up, her rage was gone.  Red in this image signifies Sekhmet’s scorching, smoldering nature.

Meaning of the Card
Sekhmet leaps into your life to help you face your anger. Does anger, yours or someone else’s, make you feel uncomfortable?  Do you fear your anger because you were taught anger isn’t nice? or expressing anger is ugly?  Have you repressed or disconnected from it so much that you don’t know how to express it now?  Perhaps you’ve gone beyond anger to rage.  Rage is accumulated anger gone out of control.  Perhaps you’re in a slow boil all the time and don’t know how to take the pot from the fire. Sekhmet says our anger is part of our power as women.  Don’t give away your anger. Learn to express it in a way that it can be heard.  Learn to transform it so it empowers and energizes you.  Your path to wholeness will be more vital when you make your anger your ally.

Ritual Suggestion: Dancing with Sekhmet
Find a time and place when and where you will need not be disturbed and where you can make noise.
You will need a drum or pillow or bataka bat (a bat made out of foam that is safely used to express anger).
You can dance or do this while sitting, whatever feels appropriate for you.
Sit or lie comfortably with your spine straight.
Take a deep breath and release it slowly on the count of eight.
Take another deep breath and sense, visualize, or feel a beach.
It can be a beach you know or one that you imagine.
Take a slow deep breath, inhaling the smell of the sea, and as you release it, go there.
Feel the hot sun on your skin, and the cool breeze from the ocean.
Call Sekhmet and ask her to be present to help you with and to witness your anger.
She appears, and sits in front of you.

Ask yourself, “where do I have anger?” and listen for the answer.
(It can be a recent anger or a long-buried one.)
Sekhmet tells you to search for your anger in a relaxed way and assures you that if you call, it will come.
When you have it, allow yourself to relive the incident in which you felt anger, while repeating the words, “I am angry.”
Also say what you are angry about.
Sekhmet witnesses your anger, and says “I hear you are angry.”

From your safe space on the beach, either sit or stand, but keep repeating the words, “I am angry.”
If you have a drum, beat your feelings of anger on the drum.
If you choose to beat a pillow or a bataka bat, allow your body to feel the anger and express it.
Move, vocalize, dance, or do whatever feels right.
Above all, allow yourself to feel your anger and express it fully.
Know that it is safe to do so, that Sekhmet is witnessing your anger and loving you for it, that it is yours and you have a right to it.
Press deeper into the anger until you feel done or until it changes into something else.

When you are finished, take a deep breath, inhale all the energy you have raised and transformed.
Sekhmet tells you what a joy it is to have witnessed and held the space for you to express your anger.
You feel energized and refreshed.
You thank Sekhmet and she asks you for a gift.
You give it to her with an open heart, then she leaves.
Take another deep breath and, as you release it, open your eyes.
Welcome back!

After going through this, I am feeling that it maybe isn’t put here for me, but for someone who reads…I hope it resonates with one of you and is helpful…

Goddess Oracle: Yemaya (Surrender)

Took a short break from the Goddess Oracle cards to take in the ones I’ve looked into so far..ready to move on!

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Yemaya (pronounced ee’mah-zha) is a Santerian African – Caribbean goddess of the sea, who gave birth to fourteen orishas, or spirits.  Originally known as Ymoja, the West African Yoruban river mother, she also came to Brazil where she is known as Iamanja. At her celebration on the Summer Solstice, her worshippers arrive at her shorelines dressed in white and launch little boats loaded with flowers, candles, and gifts. Sometimes she accepts the offerings and prayers and sometimes she sends them back. It is said that those who come to Mother Yemaya and surrender to her find that their troubles dissolve in the waters of her embrace.

Meaning of the Card:
Yemaya swimming into your life signals a time for surrender. Are you carrying more than you can handle comfortably? Do you think you must do it all by yourself? Have you come up against a wall and feel the only way to get to the other side is by breaking through?  Surrender doesn’t mean giving up; rather you are giving over, asking for assistance so you can do what you want to do.

Wholeness is nurtured when you realize that the only way through some situations is to surrender and open to something greater. The act of surrendering is one of opening and trust. When we open and trust, we allow Goddess energy to work with us to achieve what we need.

Ritual Suggestion: Surrendering
You can do this ritual at the ocean or another body of water, or you can do this journey in imagination.

Prepare yourself by centering.
Take a deep breath and bring your awareness to your womb.
Breathe in and out from your vulva.
When you are ready, slowly and reverently enter the water while calling out to Yemaya to meet you.
Find a place where you can float on your back in a safe and comfortable way.
Feel Yemaya surrounding and supporting you.
Let yourself go into her embrace.

You can experience the total embrace of Yemaya by physically surrendering to her, or you can give over to Yemaya an aspect of your life with which you need assistance.
Do you need help with your finances or love life or job hunt or search for housing?
As the water washes over your body, as you float, Yemaya rinses you of all the burdens you carry.
Let her take them from you.
Give them to her willingly.
See, sense, or feel yourself handing them over to her with relief and certainly that all will be taken care of.
Let yourself go into the immensity of the ocean.

When you are ready to return, thank Yemaya for your time with her.
Then head back to the shore, feeling lighter, more vital, and clear.
Welcome back.

This one feels strange to me. Admittedly, when I first pulled the card, I thought – “Surrender?  I don’t need that.”  The Leo in me likes to be in charge (and I shouldn’t always be!), and the Gemini likes to think I understand and know ALL the things (I don’t.) The concept of needing help is tough for me, even though I know it’s necessary to be whole.  I just don’t automatically think I need it.  Not the best tendency.

Lately, the thought of surrender has come to me in regard to friendships. It’s no secret to those who know me well that friendships are something I have long struggled with. When I genuinely like someone, I immediately want to know all about them, communicate with them often – I wear my heart on my sleeve.  Then I experience massive disappointment or sadness when I realize I just like someone way more than they like me; that I am invested in them and they couldn’t give a damn. One of the light sides of Leo (thank goodness there are at least a few) is that I tend to feel really generous with people I care about.  When the relationship feels one sided, I get my emotions trampled on. I’ve experienced this very recently in a few different instances.  Being the one who texts or calls or e-mails and gets zero in return, and then realizing I am always reaching out, and if I stopped, I’d probably never hear from that person.  I don’t want to carry a friendship alone.  UGH.  I feel like that idiot sensitive girl crying in her car, wondering why someone doesn’t love me.  It feels so silly.  I want to give myself the pep talk about being complete in yourself and not being needy.

But on the flip side, I want to honor myself.  I know what I can give, and I am always more than willing to give it.  I am so far from perfect…it’s not funny.  Maybe my Leo side is upset because it doesn’t feel appreciated or liked, and, as sad as it is, Leos need that.  I know I am independent and may not APPEAR to need others, so maybe they distance themselves from me.

At any rate, maybe this is an area where I need to surrender.  Perhaps I need to let it go, and live, and know that the universe will send me the right people who won’t make me feel that way…or that it will teach me something internally so that I don’t feel that way.

I may have to sit with this one and try the ritual…if only I had a pool, or a beach nearby. (I don’t get into lake water…I love nature, but it feels…ew.)

Goddess Oracle: Minerva (Beliefs)

After spending two weeks with Artemis, I am ready to move on, and the next goddess coming into our awareness is Minerva.  She feels fitting as well – I have been digging into my family tree and (very deep) ancestry, which has lead me back to roots all over Europe, but especially back to the Romans and their kingdoms as they expanded across Europe.

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Mythology:
Minerva, the Roman and Etruscan Goddess of intelligence, creativity, wisdom, domestic skills, and handicrafts was the patroness of artisans, of all people whose handiwork was guided by their minds.  Her very name comes from the ancient root for “mind.”  Minerva appears here with her sacred tree, the olive.  She wears an aegis, which is a breastplate edged with snakes, and an owl on her headdress which identifies her as a Goddess of death and the deepest mysteries.

Meaning of the Card:
Minerva has come to tell you it is time to examine your beliefs and change them if they do not nurture your wholeness.  How are old, outworn, unhealthy thoughts undermining your life, your energy, your happiness?  Do you believe what other people think and/or say about you?  Are you still running the tape of negative messages your parents or caregivers gave you when you were a child?  Do you believe the worst about yourself, or the best?  Are your beliefs too rigid to permit and support your evolution?  We are all born with a story.  It is our choice whether we want to live the story we were born with or create one that nourishes all we want to be.  Minerva says that wholeness is nurtured when you see yourself with all your parts – both dark and light – and choose your beliefs to serve your highest good.

Ritual Suggestion: What’s in My Attic?
Find a time and place where and when you will not be disturbed.
You will need paper and pen.
Sit or lie comfortably with your spine straight and close your eyes.
Take a deep breath, breathing into all the parts of your body, letting the breath fill you as if you were a balloon.
When you are absolutely filled, release it.
Take another deep breath, and release it.
Close your eyes and sense, feel, or see a flight of stairs leading up to an attic.
It can be an attic you know well, or one you imagine.
Climb those stairs.
At the top of the stairs is a door.
You have the key to the door on a cord around your neck.
Take the key and open the door.
You enter a room.
On one wall are shelves.
On one of the shelves is a box marked “beliefs.”
Take the box down and open it.
Inside the box are your beliefs.
Reach inside, pull one out, and examine it.
After you have finished examining it to your satisfaction, ask yourself the question: “Does this belief serve my highest good/wholeness?”
If you answer yes, put it back into the box and take out another.
If you answer no, then change the belief into something that serves you, something that feels good, something nurturing.

Repeat your new belief several times and feel it sinking into your heart, into your consciousness.
Let yourself feel the joy of having this new belief.
When finished, put the new and improved belief back into the box and return the box to the shelf.
Close the attic door and lock it with your key.
Come down the stairs.
When you arrive at the foot of the stairs, take a deep breath and exhale slowly as you come back into your body.
When you feel ready, open your eyes.  Welcome back!

Note: If you find that your belief seems to resist your efforts to change it, repeat this ritual at another time.  This is a process and the beliefs you are working with have been in place for a long time.  Commitment is important here.  You might even try writing your new belief and posting it in a prominent place where you will see if often.

Goddess Oracle: Artemis (Selfhood)

For some reason, this week’s card feels RIGHT and I am drawn to it: Artemis – Selfhood. 
How can we look at, learn from, and work with her energy this week?

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Mythology:
Artemis, another multidimensional Goddess reduced by the Greeks to the domain of moon, virgin, huntress, and childbirth, really represented the Feminine in all her aspects.  She was the huntress who protected animals and the virgin (whole and complete unto herself) who made love in the woods. When Artemis was a little girl, Zeus, her father, wanted to give her a gift and asked her what she wanted. Artemis replied: I want to run forever wild and free with my hounds in the woods and never, ever marry.

Meaning of the Card:
Artemis has shot her arrow of selfhood into your life to help you focus on yourself. Have you been too much at the service of others without making sure you get what you need for yourself? Has it been too long since you had time to yourself or a space of your own? Do the boundaries of your selfhood seem blurred and indistinct? Do you feel you have no right to a self of your own, but must always be thinking of others, putting their needs first, until you don’t know who you are or what you want? Now is the time to come into yourself. Now is the time to pay attention to the whispering voices of your own needs. Now is the time to take yourself back and celebrate and strengthen who you are. Artemis says that wholeness is nurtured when you honor, respect, and give time to yourself. She also asks how you can expect to hit any targets if you don’t have a self from which to shoot?

Ritual Suggestion: Taking Yourself Back
This can be done at any time and in any place. You may choose to do it alone or in front of the person or people to whom you have given pieces of yourself.
Sit, stand, or lie with your spine straight. Close your eyes.  Take a deep breath and release it.  Take another deep breath, breathing into your womb, your center.
Look at your body.
Ask yourself if there are any missing pieces.
Open to allow yourself to get a sense, image, or feeling of where those missing pieces are.
For example: did you give your lover your joy piece and now can’t experience joy without him/her?  Did you give your children a large chunk of yourself and now that they’re grown you feel lost?
Call those pieces home.
Sense, feel, or see those missing pieces coming back to you.
Let them reenter your body and, as they do, feel yourself grow stronger and more vital.
When you are finished taking yourself back, you may want to reinforce your boundaries and name your pieces.
Thank your pieces for returning, and open your eyes.  Welcome back!

Take care of yourself this week, dear reader!

Goddess Oracle: Pachamama (Healing, Wholing, Holy)

This week’s Goddess Oracle card: Pachamama – Healing, Wholing, Holy.  How can we look at, learn from, and work with her energy this week?

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Mythology:
To the Pre-Incan peoples of Peru and Bolivia, Pachamama (or Mamapacha) is the Earth, worshiped and revered in her many forms: the tilled fields, her mountains seen as breasts, the flowing rivers as her milk. To ensure good harvests, corn meal is sprinkled at planting and rituals celebrating her are performed.  When the people fail to honor her, this dragon goddess sends earthquakes as a reminder.

Meaning of the Card:
Pachamama waits for you with open arms.  It is time to open to Pachamama’s embrace.  Now is the time to heal, whole, and remember your holiness, remember yourself as a sacred being.  Do you feel a connection with the Earth Mother as a living entity, or do you consider the earth an inert rock beneath your feet?  Are you in the middle of some emotional pain that nothing seems to ease?  Do you eat food and drink water without giving thanks to the earth?  Are you looking for answers to questions?  Do you spend time in nature opening to the earth and her vital energies?  Opening to Pachamama can occur any place. You can commune with her in a city park, your own backyard, some remote forest, jungle, or desert.  Pachamama says that healing/wholing is nurtured when you open to her.

Ritual Suggestion: Opening to Pachamama
If you can go out into nature and find a place where you feel safe, do so.  Sit, stand, or lie comfortably on Pachamama with your spine straight.  If this is not possible, find a time and place indoors where you will not be disturbed.
Take a deep breath and inhale Pachamama’s fragrance.  Do you smell her leaves, plants, or flowers?
Take another deep breath and, as you release it, open to Pachamama.
Let her surround you with her smells, her sensations.
Let yourself feel enveloped by her in a loving, nurturing way.
Pachamama is mother to all the creatures that walk on her and inhabit her.
Let her healing ways comfort you, let her reweave any rips in the fabric of your being.
You may see or sense her standing in front of you, sitting next to you, or holding you in her arms.
Be with Pachamama in whatever way is appropriate for you.
Allow yourself to stay open until you feel filled, satiated by her.
With an open heart, give her whatever she asks you for with gratitude.
Take a deep breath and release it slowly.  When you are ready, open your eyes.
Know that you and Pachamama are connected.  Welcome back.

I think a little outside time is calling to me this weekend…how about you guys?

Goddess Oracle: Amaterasu

This week’s Goddess Oracle card: Amaterasu Omi Kami – Beauty.  Fitting for this time of year – anther sun goddess!  Plus, the ritual suggestion is a “bath”, which goes perfectly with the sun’s energy in Cancer right now.  Let’s look at her energy and how we can use it this week, shall we?

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Mythology:
Amaterasu Omi Kami is the Shinto Sun Goddess of Japan.  When insulted by her crude brother, Susan-o, the Storm God, she withdrew into a cave and refused to come out.  Distressed by the withdrawal of the sun, Uzume, the Shaman-Goddess, did a comical bawdy dance to entertain the Gods and Goddesses and to provoke Amaterasu’s curiosity.  When Amaterasu opened her door to peek, she was dazzled by her own beauty, reflected to her in a mirror the Gods and Goddesses had installed, and came out.

Meaning of the Card:
Amaterasu is here to tell you to bask in the radiance of your own beauty.  Do you know your unique beauty or do you feel you can’t be beautiful because you don’t look like a model or movie star?  Are you in your crone years and feel that age is ugly?  Perhaps you are afraid to express your beauty, afraid that you will attract unwanted energies.  Amaterasu says that all women possess the light of the Feminine and that light is beauty.  She advises you to let go of your preconceptions about what beauty is and allow your beauty to be.  Wholeness is nurtured when we celebrate all our aspects and being female means that we are beautiful.

Ritual Suggestion: Beauty Bath
All you need for this ritual is a mirror and the willingness to see your beauty.

Find a time and place when and where you will not be disturbed. Sit or lie comfortably with your spine straight.  You may remove your clothes or do the ritual with your clothes on, which feels appropriate for you.  When you feel ready, take a deep breath and release it, letting everything go.  Take four more deep breaths, focusing on the rhythm of your breathing.  If at any time during this ritual you feel uncomfortable, just take a deep breath, experience the feelings while continuing to breathe deeply, then slow down and continue at your own pace.

When you feel relaxed and ready, pick up the mirror.  Look at your face.  Just look.  If judgements or criticisms come up, acknowledge them, and let them go.  Focus on the uniqueness that is you, reflected in your face.  Look at your face and allow yourself to feel compassion, tenderness, acceptance, and love.

Next, look at your eyes.  Say to yourself: “My eyes are beautiful.” Look at your nose and tell yourself: “My nose is beautiful.”  Then your forehead, cheeks, mouth/lips, teeth, ears, skin, bone structure.  When you are finished enjoying the beauty of your face, go on to the rest of your body.  When you have acknowledged your entire body, take a deep breath and look in the mirror.  Tell yourself: “I am beautiful.”  Say it over and over.  Allow yourself to bathe in your appreciation of your own beauty, till you feel a tingle of appreciation and delight.  Continue for as long as you wish, till you are filled with your beauty.

When you feel ready, take a deep breath and exhale to the sound of “ahhhh”.  Take another deep breath and bring your attention back to this time and place.  Welcome back!

Goddess Oracle: Corn Woman

This week’s Goddess Oracle card: Corn Woman – Nourishment – let’s explore how we can work with her energy in the week to come. Read on for a journal prompt and ritual suggestion!  How fitting is it that I drew this tonight, on the weekend of Litha, when we celebrate the sun and all the nourishment we receive from it?

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From the Goddess Oracle:
Southwestern indigenous aboriginals and pueblo peoples – the Arikara, Pawnee, Cheyenne, Mandan, Hidasta, Abnaki, Cherokee, and Huron – see corn as a goddess.  Corn Woman encompasses the figures of Corn Mother, the Corn Maiden, and Yellow Woman. They all relate to corn as a sacred being who gives of herself to her people to sustain them and nourish them. The Arikara Creator God, Nesaru, fashioned Corn Mother from an ear of corn which grew in heaven. Corn Mother then came to earth and taught people how to honor the deities and to plant corn.

Meaning of the Card
Corn Woman brings her love for you in the form of food to tell you it is time to nourish yourself. Eating is a sacred act.  Something living dies and you take it in, whether you hunt/kill the animals you eat with your own hands or buy your vegetables in the supermarket.  Part of being human means causing death in order to live.  To treat the act of eating as a chore, as something to be feared or avoided, is to denigrate the gift of love from Corn Woman and the plants and animals.

Do you fear food? Does just looking at food make you feel like you are gaining weight?  Are you too busy, too stressed, too involved with more important things than nourishing yourself?  Do you nourish others but not yourself?  Do you have a love-hate relationship with food?  Corn Woman says that eating is one of the most basic acts of self-nourishment and that the way to wholeness for you lies in coming into right relationship with food.

Ritual Suggestion: Sacred Eating
The time is breakfast, lunch, or dinner and the place is where you eat your meals. You can do this alone or with loved ones or friends. You can either prepare the food yourself or have others prepare it. When the food is ready, sit at your place. Take a moment to look at the food, to see, sense, or feel the life force of the food before you. Then close your eyes and take a deep breath. Notice if any feelings come up. Now feel the energy from the earth moving up into your toes, into your calves, your thighs, and so on, into each part of your body until you feel centered, focused, aware, and fully in your body. Take another deep breath and feel all your cells breathe with you.  Open your eyes.

Serve yourself some food. Honor the plants and/or animals by expressing words of gratitude.  As you take a bite, slow down, be with the food, with the sensations, with all your senses.  Chew slowly, giving yourself time to really taste, smell, and savor the flavors.  Try to taste all the ingredients. With your next bite, focus on the life force. Do you feel a tingling as you chew, like energy surges pulsing in your mouth?  Feel how you and the food become one as it dissolves and moves into your body. Let yourself take in the life force of the food and feel it nourish your own life force. Give yourself permission to fully enjoy the pleasure you get from eating.  Continue to eat in this sacred, focused way, being present in your body, paying attention to your senses, until you have eaten what you need.  When you are finished, take a deep breath and let the energy you have gained circulate throughout your body.  Give thanks to Corn Woman and to yourself for nourishment!

Journal Prompt:
Am I correctly and fully nourishing myself?
Do I approach food in a sacred way?  What might change for me if I did?

Goddess Oracle: Brigid

This week’s Goddess Oracle card: Brigid – Inspiration – let’s explore how we can work with her energy in the week to come. Read on for a journal prompt and ritual suggestion!  I appreciate this card – I have so much fire energy in my natal chart, it resonates with me.

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From the Goddess Oracle:
Brigid, which means “bright”, is a Celtic triple goddess of fire: the fire of inspiration, smithcraft, poetry, healing, and divination. Her inspiration was vital to the bards (poets) who called upon her freely. Legend says that Brigid was born with a flame reaching out from the top of her head, connecting her with the universe. The new (Christian) and the old (pagan) Brigid were merged into St. Brigid in AD 450. St. Brigid, daughter of a druid, was a goldsmith and healer. Nineteen priestesses/nuns guard her sacred fire in Kildaire, Ireland. On the twentieth of each month it is said she appears and tends it herself.

Meaning of the Card
Brigid comes to ignite you with inspiration.  Are you feeling a lack of direction? motivation? energy? Has your path gone out of focus, your life become unclear? Are you yearning for something but can’t quite put your finger on it? It is time to nurture wholeness by taking in the sparkle and crackle of inspiration. Brigid says that a life without the fire of inspiration is dull indeed. She further counsels that by allowing inspiration to nurture your life you become sharper, clearer, and more energetic.

Ritual Suggestion: Journey to Brigid
Find a time and place where you will not be disturbed.
Sit or lie comfortably with your spine straight and close your eyes.
When you feel ready, take a deep breath and release it with a sigh, letting go of all you need to let go of.
Take another deep breath and let it go with a hiss.
Take a third deep breath and, as you release it, picture or sense a cave, a cave you have visited before or one that exists only in your mind.
Now take another deep breath and, as you release it, stand before the cave.
Run your fingers along the wall of the cave. Smell the cave.  Enter it.

Inside, the cave is well lit and warm, and you find yourself going down, down, down, deeper and deeper and deeper.
It is a pleasant and comfortable feeling to go down, down, down, deeper, deeper, deeper.
There is a light at the back of the cave.
You are at the threshold, the place where the cave ends and the Otherworld begins.
Step out not into the Otherworld.
Notice the dazzling sunlight, the freshness in the air, the vivid colors.

Brigid is waiting for you beside an ancient stone well.
You walk over to her across the soft, spongy, emerald grass.
She tells you she is happy to see you and glad that you have arrived.
You tell her you seek inspiration.
Brigid asks you for a gift, and you give it to her gladly.
Then she rings you in a circle of fire and lights a fire in your crown chakra (the top of your head).
You feel a tingling and stimulating of that energy center.
You feel your energy opening and expanding.
Your power to visualize clears and grows stronger.
You feel inspired!

It is time for you to say goodbye.
You thank Brigid.
She tells you all you need to do to activate inspiration is to visualize that flame at the top of your head.
You enter the cave.
Now you are coming up, up, up, through the warm comfort of the cave, feeling relaxed, energized, refreshed.
Up, up, up, till you reach the entrance of the cave.
Move outside the cave, and take a deep breath, and as you slowly exhale you are back in your body.
Take another deep breath and when you exhale, if ready, slowly open your eyes. Welcome back!
I could use inspiration at times, and will post how the ritual goes when I use it!  Comment if you try it as well – let me know how it goes.

Journal Prompt: How do I usually deal with feeling stuck, or uninspired?  What makes me feel that way?  What makes me feel the flame of excitement and inspiration in a good way?

Goddess Oracle: Aphrodite

After our spring chalice circle gathering, I decided that I really like the Goddess Oracle cards a friend had – the fact that the book gives you some rituals to really delve into the energy of any goddess is worth the $20!

I pulled my first card today: Aphrodite (Love) – so let’s explore how we can work with her energy in the week to come, shall we?  Can’t we all use a little more love in our lives? Read on for a journal prompt and ritual suggestion!

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From the Goddess Oracle:
Aphrodite, ancient Mediterranean Mother Goddess, traveled to Greece when the Greeks colonized Canaan. The Greeks say she was born of the union of the sky and the fertile sea womb, when the castrated penis of the former Sky God Uranus fell into the ocean. (Fun image, right?) Although traditionally revered in all her multitudinous aspects, including battle, the Greeks, in their effort to assimilate her, relegated her to a love Goddess. When she arrived at Olympus, Zeus (the chief god) married her to Hephaestus, the lame God of smithcraft. He made her exquisite jewelry, but she preferred the passionate Ares, God of war, in her bed.

Meaning of the Card
Aphrodite is here with her dance of love, inviting you to luxuriate, bask, and revel in love for yourself. Do you spend the day without thinking or saying how much you love yourself? Do you do little loving things for yourself? Or are you miserly, keeping yourself on a diet of starvation rations? Do you listen to your needs in a loving, respectful way, or do you criticize yourself for balking at the schedule you keep, for complaining about the job you hate, for bemoaning the relationship you endure? Now is the time to love yourself. Aphrodite says that to be able to love another, you must be able to love yourself. Loving others means being able to allow them to be exactly as they are. It means witnessing yourself and your loved ones with love, amusement, and delight. The amount of space we can allow another is dependent on the amount of space we can allow for ourselves. Wholeness is achieved when we can hold infinite space and patience for ourselves first and then extend it to others.

Ritual Suggestion: Holding Space
This can be done anytime, anywhere, for as long as you feel is appropriate.
Take a deep breath, and release it.
Take another deep breath and as you release it, feel, sense, or see a circle of space around you.  It can be any amount of space that you need.
Now fill that space with love in any form that pleases, delights, tickles, or makes you feel good.
Once the circle is filled, put yourself in the center of the circle, in the middle of all that love, and take it into your cells, into the marrow of your bones. Take it in, whether or not you feel you deserve it.  Take it in, regardless of how you feel about yourself.
See, sense, or feel yourself filling with love for you.
As you are holding the space, look into your own eyes and heart, and say “I love you.”
Keep repeating it over and over until you feel your love for yourself dancing in your heart.
Feel the love circulate through your body.
Now take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and open your eyes.  Welcome back!

If you’re brave enough to do the ritual, comment and let me know how it makes you feel.  Love for ourselves is definitely something most of us need to work on, including myself.

Journal Prompt: How can I express more love to my self on a day to day basis?

Spider Medicine & Goddess Oracle: Ix Chel

This week in Witch Camp, we’re learning some animal medicine and working with Spider energy.  I’ve never been particularly afraid of spiders, but I’ve also never felt drawn to them.  This week’s lesson gave me some new perspective I thought I’d share:

“All animal wisdom (or Medicine) is derived from the traits of the animal itself. So while you can go to a guidebook or check out an online site for info about a particular animal’s Medicine, you can also simply look up the animal’s habits and lifestyle and extrapolate from there.

Here’s the deal with spiders:

  • Like humans, spiders are builders. They are the only animal besides us that builds a trap for its prey.
  • Like snakes and snails, spiders must shed their outer shell in order to grow bigger.
  • Spiders are good mamas, raising their young and, in some extreme cases, allowing their young to feed on their bodies.
  • They are weavers. The silk with which they make their webs is created within them.

So, this translates to symbolism:

  • Spider (like snake) is seen as symbolizing both life and death, creation and destruction.
  • Spider sits on its web, which looks much like the Sacred Wheel. The spider itself has 8 legs. From a Celtic point of view, this can be seen as the 8 celebrations on the Wheel of the Year. From a Native American point of view, it is the 4 directions and the 4 winds. Spider’s body is in two parts and looks like an hour glass, the number 8, an infinity sign: so Spider represents the wheel of the year going round indefinitely.
  • Spider’s web is near invisible unless wet, so it confers invisibility.
  • Spider web was used as spiritual protection against arrows because the arrow would have to get through the web (empaths: try working with a little Spider energy!).”

I found that all super interesting.  I read this today, and then in our chalice circle, I pulled a Goddess Oracle card – and of course, it was the Mayan goddess Ix Chel, complete with her weaving of spider webs in the card imagery, and a focus on creativity.  She also represents having children, birthing and healing…themes for me to rest with during this moon cycle.

ixchel2