Using your Inner Cauldron at the Balsamic Moon

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The New Moon arrives on Friday, September 30 at 5:13 PM Pacific Time (Saturday, October 1 at 00:13 UTC), and Grandmother Moon will begin her monthly journey once again.

This will be the second New Moon in the calendar month for many of us (depending on our time zone). This is known as a Black Moon, similar to the Blue Moon, which has two Full Moons in a calendar month. For some, the Black Moons are significant for ritual and spellcraft, as it is believed the outcome of work done will be even stronger on the Black Moon. And perhaps even the energy of this Balsamic Moon will be stronger!

The New Moon is the dawn of a new adventure, a new project, a new beginning. You may have heard the expression “It is always darkest just before dawn”. And so it is with the Moon’s journey in this final phase of the Waning Crescent, also known as the Balsamic Moon (balsam refers to anything that heals, soothes, or restores). The light of the Moon is barely visible… a sliver of light arising before dawn and setting late in the afternoon, before Father Sun.

This phase of the Moon is associated with increasing yin energy and psychic strength, and with the wisdom of the Crone (aka The Wise Woman) and the Sorceress phases of a woman’s life, and with the Goddesses Cerridwen (Keeper of the Cauldron) and Hecate (a powerful Triple Goddess from ancient times).

These energies are deep, introspective, wise and intense. During the Balsamic Moon, we connect to our inner fire, our inner cauldron, and are ready for the alchemy of transformation. These Goddess energies can support us in the “work” of the waning phase of the Moon (that time from the Full moon to the New Moon): a time of completion, of contemplation, and release.

The shift to the Balsamic Moon in the three days before the New Moon is our Call To Action to complete that process… one last opportunity to delve deep inside and connect with our inner light.

The work we do in the final phase of this moon prepares us for the beginning of the next lunar cycle…. preparing the soil of our Soul’s Garden for the planting of new seeds, and for asking the Soul Questions that will help us complete and move forward.

Soul Questions for the Balsamic Moon

Last month I offered some Soul Questions for this phase of the moon, and those may be the ones that resonate with you this month.

If not, create your own questions based on your intentions for this month’s journey or consider these new Soul Questions for your meditations under this month’s Balsamic Moon:

  • What practices and beliefs have I clung to, yet which no longer serve who I am now?
  • Who have I become? What part of my true Self have I (re)claimed?
  • Who am I no longer?
  • Am I ready to release with gratitude the “old me” that served me well, but now needs to be put aside?
  • What are the new practices and beliefs that resonate with my true and authentic self?
  • What can I do in the next lunar journey, starting from this new sense of my Self?

Practices and Rituals

The Balsamic Moon is a great time to meditate, journal and to do a release ritual (so many posted in this blog).  I also like to work with my oracle and tarot cards for even more insight, either working with the Medicine Wheel spread I create at the start of each month or with a new spread for the specific phase of the moon.

Have you tried the spread created by Bree of Nyms Divination for our recent Fall Equinox Tarot Hop: The Cerridwen Cauldron Spread and Meditation?  It is so powerful and perfect for this phase of the moon!

Click here to read Bree’s article (and listen to wonderful Cerridwen meditation she created!) and to download the Cerridwen’s Cauldron Tarot Spread.

 

 


 

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Balancing at The Equinox: a transforming step in the Spiral Dance of the Year

wp-sidebar-graphicsThe September 22nd Equinox celebration is very special.

Several of us have banded together in support of YOUR Equinox Journey, offering new spreads; info on how to work with the Colours of Autumn; tips on working with your Inner Cauldron;  new additions for your Art Journal;  creative writing tips; working with Lilith; the journey of Persephone, Demeter and Hades, and much much more.

Click the image to see the full list of contributors and subjects, and to click on the LIVE LINKS for each article! We will also be sharing the links on Instagram.

At the end of my blog below, I’ve posted the link to the next step on your journey through the Tarot Hop.


The Magic of the Equinox

The Equinoxes of Spring and Autumn are magical times, turning points in the Spiral Dance in our Wheel of the Year, promises of things to come (Summer in the Southern Hemisphere, Winter in the Northern Hemisphere) and times of personal transformation as our energies shift from Summer’s peak through to Winter’s reflection, and vice-versa.

Embracing these shifting energies just as they are is key to our own harmony and balance. Energy is never static, and neither are we. Throughout the year, we dance with the opposites within us… waxing and waning, Yin and Yang, the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine, the light and dark, action and rest, expanding and contracting, abundance and lean times, breathing in and breathing out.

lughnasadh-blessingsWe need all of these opposites to create harmony and balance, to be whole. We are constantly transforming, rebalancing, and dancing between these opposites as we find our equilibrium. The awareness you bring at the focus points throughout the year — the Fire Feasts (Imbolc, Ostara, Beltaine, Samhain), the Equinoxes and Solstices — are an opportunity for self-reflection, for conscious transformation and to know your Self in all your energetic states. Yes, you are changing and transforming but always connecting to Self, to your Sacred Purpose and Sacred Contract.

And today I will share with you how I find balance and harmony at these times, including card layouts for both the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes.

But first, a reflection on the Equinox itself.

Spiral or Wheel?

wheel of the year 4We often look at the Wheel of the Year as just that… a wheel revolving throughout the seasons, coming back to its starting point with each New Year. But for me is it a spiral because we never really come back to the same place. We return with the wisdom and experience of the year before. We may have a different perspective. We might have new wounds or we may have healed old wounds. We may be coming from a deeper place, as we get closer to our knowing and connecting with our Wise Inner Self and understanding our Sacred Purpose and Sacred Contract even more.

SOUL QUESTION: What deeper wisdom awakens within you at this Equinox?

The Energy of the Equinox

The Equinox of September 22nd marks the “official” (astronomical) start of Autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere, and the first day of Spring in the Southern Hemisphere.

At the Spring and Autumn Equinox, the Earth is in perfect harmony: the days and nights are of equal length at this midpoint between the Summer and Winter Solstices. It is a time of balance and harmony, as the Sun enters Libra, the sign of Balance. But this is also a time of change and transformation, as nothing is static in our Universe. The energies continue to shift, to wax and wane depending on your location, towards the energetic and opposite peaks of the Solstice.

SOUL QUESTION: What energies shifted in you as we moved towards the Equinox?

pumpkins-1642249_1920I live in the Northern Hemisphere, and see daily changes in the Earth all around me… the days are starting to draw in, to shorten; the Sun’s warming powers are waning and the days are cooler; the deciduous trees are ablaze with vivid reds, purples and golds as they gently shed and turn in; many trees are ripe with fruits and berries and releasing them to the Earth; the fields are becoming bare again as we harvest the Earth’s bounty.

goat-1596880_1920In the Southern Hemisphere, the signs of the coming spring are seen in the longer brighter days, the greening of the grass, the birthing of lambs and calves, new leaves on the trees, the warming of the days and rituals like Spring Cleaning as we ceremonially move from the indoor life of Winter to the outdoor airy life of Summer.

These are all part of the Spiral Dance we celebrate through the Wheel of the Year, as we follow the energies of the Mother Earth, Father Sun and Grandmother Moon. Our ancestors wisely entrained themselves with the energetic cycles: active when those energies were rising, waxing; resting, nurturing and reflecting when those energies were turning inward, waning. They shifted from the outdoor world of farming and harvesting to the indoor world of preparing foods for winter, for prepping for the coming winter and the spring that follows.

But what of the changes in our Self? What happens with our energy?
How does the balance and harmony of the Equinox manifest in our lives?
How do we dance with the transforming and shifting energies?

Balancing at the Equinox

The Equinox is a perfect point in time for self-assessment and reflection, as we move from the abundance of summer to the reflective time of Winter (and vice-versa, of course, in the Southern Hemisphere). It is the perfect time to ask your Soul Questions as you ready for the coming changes.

I have a few tried and true rituals that support me in self-reflection and transformation:

  • a shamanic journey with my guides (and I would recommend this for any time of the year)
  • an oracle or tarot card spread, focusing on balance and transformation
  • a release ritual to release what no longer serves me, to help me move forward (you can also do this at any time of waning energy, such as between the Full Moon and the New Moon)

Soul Questions for your Shamanic Journey

SM 800 x 800-5I always prepare Soul Questions for my journeys… and sometimes I even get to ask them of my Guides! On some of my journeys, my guides have merely asked that I observe or listen. On other journeys, they are awaiting my questions, so it’s good to be prepared.

Create your own Soul Questions for your Journey, based on what you are currently experiencing and the guidance you need to move forward, and connecting with your heart… or use these basic questions:

1. What is beginning?
2. What is flourishing?
3. What is transforming?
4. What is the lesson?

TIP: Consider using the questions in the following Equinox Card Spread

Use your Tarot or Oracle Cards to balance

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The Seeds of Shakti Oracle Cards from The School of Gypsy Arts

I love working with both tarot and oracle cards, and find that sometimes I even use more than one deck for a reading. I might start with my Osho Zen Tarot deck but then call on my oracle cards to answer specific questions, such as Earth Magic, Soulflower Plant Spirit, The Enchanted Map or my new favourite, The Seeds of Shakti.

TIP: Work with the cards you LOVE, with what calls to you at this Equinox.

You may have a favourite layout that you use time and again. Keep in mind the energy of the Equinox and what questions you need to ask in order to reveal what is in balance (or not), how you can move forward, what you have learned this year and what you will be planning for next year.

You could start with a simple three-card layout, such as:
1. What is out of balance?
2. How can I restore balance?
3. What will help me moving forward?

Equinox Card Spread

If you’d like to try a new layout, try this new spread I created for this Equinox, using symbols associated with the Equinox such as the Sun, Moon, Libra (balance) and the Celtic Tree of Life representing the shifting energies throughout the year.

It includes questions/meanings for both Spring (Southern Hemisphere) and Autumn (Northern Hemisphere).

Feel free to create or rewrite the questions to make them uniquely your own, or even mix them up a little!

Click here to download your 2016 Spring & Autumn Equinox Card Spread

Celebrate!

And let’s not forget one of the most important aspects of the Equinox – celebration! Cultures all around the world celebrate the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, and the pagan Earth-based spirituality of our ancestors has found its way into many contemporary and religious celebrations.

The Spring Equinox is associated with festivals of awakening, birth and new life such as Easter and Ostara; the Autumn Equinox is associated with harvest, with gratitude and thanksgiving such as Mabon, Michaelmas, Alban Elued, and more.

How will YOU celebrate this Equinox?

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Equinox Blessings !


Are you ready for your next step on The Equinox Tarot Hop?

Bree Ferguson (@nyms_divination) has created a beautiful new spread and meditation for the Equinox, The Cerridwen Cauldron Spread and Meditation.

Click here to read the next article in the Fall Equinox Tarot Hop,
The Cerridwen Cauldron Spread and Meditation

You can also see the list of contributors by clicking here.


 

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Join me in The 2016 Equinox Tarot Hop!

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Today’s Equinox celebration (Thursday,  September 22nd ) is very special. And not only because it marks the “official” start of Spring in the Southern Hemisphere and Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere… but because several of us have banded together in support of YOUR Equinox Journey, offering new tarot and oracle card spreads; info on how to work with the Colours of Autumn; tips on working with your Inner Cauldron; new additions for your Art Journal; creative writing tips; working with Lilith; the journey of Persephone, Demeter and Hades, and much much more.

The Tarot Hop goes LIVE at 12 Noon Pacific Time (3 PM Eastern Time). And one of the best ways to hop through is via Instagram, as each blogger will post their blogs there and tag the next blogger, so you can hop through a series of fascinating articles all with the theme Tarot and the Equinox.

I’ve also listed all the Instagram links below (and will also be adding in the article links as the hop goes live), so you can see the wide range of topics. Definitely something for everyone!

Blogs are listed alphabetically by the first name of the author, and also notes their Instagram URL in brackets plus the link to their blog article or website.

Let’s Hop!

Bree Ferguson (@nyms_divination)
Cerridwen’s Cauldron Tarot Spread and Meditation (on the Nym’s Divination website and blog)

Cherise Williams (@cherisehealingmoon)
Halloween Tarot Spread (in the Healing Moon Lumina website blog)

Della Ratcliffe (@innerjourneyevents)
Balancing at The Equinox: a transforming step in the Spiral Dance of the Year
on the Inner Journey Events Blog (includes a Spring and Fall Equinox tarot layout with questions/meaning)

Emily (@awitchintheattic)
A Witch In The Attic: Harnessing the Power of Autumn & Major Arcana to Inspire Change (on the A Witch in the Attic blog)

Ethony (@ethony)
Colors Of Autumn Tarot Spread And Sample Reading (on the Ethony website blog)

Ethereal Tarot (@ethereal_tarot)
Fall Equinox Meaning & Tarot Spread (on the Ethereal Tarot website blog)

Katzi (@balancethesescales)
My Favorite Decks for Fall (on the BalanceThese Scales website blog)

Kiala (@kialagives)
Art Journaling with Tarot Cards (on the KialaGivehand.com website blog)

Kristen (@otmoraclecards)
autumn, haiku & tarot (on the Over the Moon Oracle Cards website blog)

Rose (@danceofthesoul.tarot)
Fire and Earth : Wands and Pentacles Through An Esoteric Lens (on the TarotOfTheDervish website blog)

Sharron Basanti (@gypsyarts)
Listen to the whispers of YOUR ancestors (on the GypsyArts website blog)

Tiffany Wilson (@elemental.enchantment)
Fall Blog Hop: Lilith vs. Saraswati Tarot Spread (on the Elemental Enchantment website blog)

Vanessa (@vanessasagelife)
The Hanged Man and the Equinox (on the VannessaSageLife webiste blog)

Victoria Wilson (@eternal.athena.tarot)
Death & The Cycle of Life (on the Eternal Athena website blog)

 

 

 

Create a relationship with your new oracle or tarot deck 

I have purchased several new oracle and tarot decks recently, and usually share my first reading from each of them either here, or on Facebook and Instagram pages for Inner Journey Events.

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Soulflower Plant Spirit Oracle Deck

What I find interesting is that I am usually asked the same question each time I post pictures and readings from each new deck:

What is your ritual for working with a new deck?

I think most folks develop their own ritual, and I’m happy to share mine. For me, it’s all about connecting with the wisdom — and personality — of each deck, with its individual magick. And I do change it up from time-to-time, depending on the deck itself, letting my intuition guide me.

I normally start with a quick smudge over the cards. I light a candle and maybe some loose incense, then sit with the new oracle or tarot deck and tune into it, taking some time with each and every card (yes! every card!), getting to know them, cherishing them, creating relationship with them, and feeling their vibration and wisdom.

 

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Seeds of Shakti Oracle Deck

 

I ask the deck (or even individual cards) several questions, holding the full deck (or the card) to my heart chakra, such as:

🔮 How best can we work together?

🔮 What is your medicine? Your magick?

🔮 In which area of life do you enjoy advising me?

🔮 How do you like to be cared for?

Animal Spirit deck from The Wild Unknown

And be sure to listen…. One deck said it would like to be wrapped in a purple cloth!!

How do you connect with your cards? 


If you like these decks, do check them out on-line (these are not affiliate links, I can assure you!)

Soulflower Plant Oracle Deck

Seeds of Shakti Oracle Deck

Animal Spirit Deck


 

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Shine On, Harvest Moon Child

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What is it about a Harvest Moon that inspires songwriters and lovers… from the old vaudevilles songs such as “Shine On Harvest Moon” to our own Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon”?

I know that I love gazing at the night sky when the moon if full… so warm, inviting and powerful.

Our beautiful Luna is almost at her peak, and comes into her full glory on Friday September 16th at 19:05 UTC (12:05 PM Pacific time, 3:05 PM Eastern time) in Pisces. Pisces can bring in deep loving and romantic feelings… time for a little mooning and spooning! And just the thought of the Harvest Moon got me singing some of my favourite tunes!

“So shine on, shine on harvest moon, for me and my gal.”
– Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth

“Because I’m still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I’m still in love with you
On this harvest moon”
– written by Neal Young 

We have another astronomical event the same day, a bit earlier at 16:54 UTC (9:54 AM Pacific Time) – a penumbral lunar eclipse which will be visible in the Americas. This serves to amplify the elements of the Full Moon… more emotion, more awareness, more wisdom.

Unfortunately, for us Left Coast dwellers, the Moon will actually be below the horizon at the time of the eclipse, so we will not be able to see it … but we will be able to sense it!

For those living in regions where the moon will be above the horizon, know that a penumbral eclipse is fairly subtle, as only the outer shadow of Mother Earth reaches the Moon. You may not even notice this eclipse, or just notice that the Moon looks a little darker.

The Full Moon also marks mid-point through our monthly journey with the moon, and it’s time to review Week 3 of our Medicine Wheel readings. In Week 3, the direction is West and the Element is Water… a wonderful synchronicity with the approaching Autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere, which has the same correspondence, and with the Pisces water energy.

Soul Question for Week 3: “What is Flourishing?”

I like to meditate on the weekly  Medicine Wheel question based on the cards I drew for the month and the monthly theme, which is Balance and Harmony. Take a moment to meditate on how Balance and Harmony are flourishing for you at this time, especially as we approach the Yang energy of the Full Moon which is expansive, uplifting, powerful…. hopefully, your own power is experiencing the same surge.

Pisces is a Water Element, so emotions may be running even more deeply and powerfully at this time. But the Sun is in the opposite sign of Virgo… very grounded, analytical, observant. How are you maintaining the balance between the Water and Earth elements of this Sun and Moon?

If you have a release ritual planned for this Full Moon (perhaps a gentle water release?), try to schedule it during this powerful period of the Eclipse Full Moon for an even more transformative release.

And remember to Shine On, Harvest Moon Child!

 


 

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Sustainability starts with awareness


We are all stewards of this planet, and the choices we make each day have an impact on its sustainability… or not.

This quote by Franklin Roosevelt was a powerful call-to-action during the 1930s, when vast areas of the US and Canadian prairies turned into dust bowls, exacerbated by farming practices based on an insufficient understanding of the ecology of the prairies. They felt the consequences of non-sustainable practices.

🌾A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself.🌾

We can support sustainability of our land — the source of our food and our air —  by adopting Zero Waste principles when we make, consume or dispose of our “stuff”. There are ways too — adopting permaculture principles, eating organically, supporting local artisans and farmers, sharing/borrowing, etc — but this is a good start!

What is Zero Waste? Per the Zero Waste Canada website, it is:

“a philosophy, a target, and it is a call to action that aims to bring an end to the current take, make, and waste mentality of human society.

Zero Waste encompasses the principles of conserving resources, minimizing pollution, maximizing employment opportunities, and providing the greatest degree of economic self-reliance.”.

Raise your awareness when making purchases, and do consider adopting Zero Waste principles if you haven’t already done so.

Read more at Zero Waste Canada, and for other resources and international links click here.


 

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Quarter Moon in Sagittarius: Meet your Mentors for the journey

The First Quarter arrived today, September 9th, at 11:49 UTC. It’s time to take those seeds and ideas you nurtured at the New Moon and take action, and to ask the Soul Questions “What is flourishing?” and “How do I move forward?”.

This Quarter Moon is in Sagittarius and wants us to think BIG… to look at the BIG picture.

Last month we looked at the obstacles that might come up in the journey when we reach the Quarter Moon, such as fear or self-doubt, and ways to conquer them.

But sometimes the obstacle is not fear… it may be a lack of inspiration, or a creative block, one where we literally cannot see a plan for manifesting our goal. We are thinking so big that we cannot see the details.

Our journey with the Moon is often compared to Joseph Campbell’s (s)Hero’s Journey. And at this stage of the journey, our (s)Hero finds their mentor or teacher, the guru who shows them their power and how to dig deep into their Wise Inner Self to understand that they are capable of the journey and to show them the way forward…. Think of Dorothy and her series of mentors such as Glinda and The Scarecrow, think of Luke Skywalker and Yoda, or Jason (of the Argonauts) and Hera.

Maybe you already have a Mentor or Guide. If lack of inspiration or a creative block is your  obstacle, sit with your Mentor and ask for their guidance.

But there is another way…. You can call on ANY mentor or guide who can help you, in a meditation (or journey) such as The Mentors Circle:

MEET YOUR MENTORS IN SACRED CIRCLE
Once you are relaxed and grounded, in your mind’s eye visualize (or journey to) the place you would like to meet your Mentors…. a place you feel comfortable and secure, perhaps with a flame of inspiration burning in the centre of the Sacred Mentor’s Circle.

Think of one question, the one question that when answered would free up your imagination to create your plan. It could be something simple like:

  • “What am I missing?” or
  • “What is the key to moving forward?” or
  • “What do I need to know here?”

Think of three (or more) individuals who could advise you. It can be anyone at all, perhaps someone you admire or look up to, or someone you have turned to before… they can be real or fictional, dead or alive, human or not. I had one client who called on James Bond. Another called on her childhood cat. Another called on Athena. Yet another called on Wolf.

Invite your mentors to the Sacred Circle you have created, and ask each of them in turn your question. Listen with awareness. Thank them for their insight and wisdom when complete.

Meditate on their answers, then ask your Self these questions for each Mentor:

  • If I were to take the advice of “Mentor One” (Buddha, Brigid, your Great Grandmother, your animal Guide, etc) as a starting point, what now opens up for me?
  • If I looked at my question through the eyes and wisdom of Mentor One, what else would I learn? 

Do this for each Mentor, and journal the insights that are now opening up for you.

Alternative
I love using Oracle or Tarot cards for my Mentor Circle, and the unexpected insights that a random (but we know that nothing is truly random!) three card draw can bring. I especially like Oracle cards for this. Doreen Virtue’s Goddess Cards, Colette Baron-Reid’s Enchanted Map of the World, Steven D. Farmer’s Earth Magic, The Wild Unknown’s Animal Spirit Deck are all favourites I go back to time and again.

Pull a card for each Mentor and follow the meditation/journey the same way.

And know that these Mentors are always available for you next month, or whenever you need their wisdom.


 

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