Spring is here! It’s exciting to experience the blooming trees, shrubs, and flowers in this part of the world. We need Nature and She needs us. Last week, we were in Key West. The trip was spontaneously planned after I was advised by my doc that I needed a vacation. I told her we planned one for later on this year. She advised that now was the time.. We went. I believe my spirit guides spoke through my doc because they know that I listen to her.
Those are some of the photos I took. My sense of awe and tranquility far surpasses my photography skills. We even went jet skiing. I alternated between closing my eyes and feeling at one with the water with feeling as though I was riding a horse on some of the more powerful waves.
But now, I’m back to sitting with Graciella and pulling a card for this week’s reading. We smudged to glorious sage, shuffled, and centered. Again, together we pulled the North Card. This one seems to be a favorite of Graciella’s.
This week the North reminds us to honor our ancestors, our truth, our backgrounds, and our backstories. There are memories and associations with each that we may not want to dwell on and that is fine. We are often pointed to by others who want to accuse us of not being enough or being too much. We receive the message that we’ve done wrong or we are stalked and clung onto by others who may want what they think we have. It’s important to know who we are from the inside out. By familiarizing yourself with your ancestors and guides you can glean the clues of what makes you who you are. Some of it you may love and some may bring up feelings of discomfort. Reflecting on our histories and those who came before us will undoubtedly free us from the ties that bind us. Let’s give ourselves opportunities to look into the mirrors of the lakes within. Let’s not adhere strictly to notions created about ourselves by others. Let’s listen to our ancestors and honor those roads they have paved for us. We now have the ability and tools to further those paths. If you feel you don’t have the tools, reach out. Look to the healthy-hearted ones for some guidance on which tools might be appropriate for you as you dig into the fertile ground of your existence.
Last week we attended a talk at Greenwood Cemetery about the Egyptians by the Brooklyn Museum of Arts curator, Egyptologist Edward Bleiberg. I was fascinated to hear how the affluent were able to install tombs laden with riches and items to ensure a safe passage into the netherworld. The process of mid to low range earners creativity to do the same was even more compelling.
This is a short post, not discussing all those wonderful details, but about something else- totally related to the dead of those and other times. The talk was given in the evening during those in-between times I like to write about and experience. The times when the veils are more permeable for communication for those in both worlds.
We watched as the evening darkened. While the speaker shared in a low lit room, we felt the presence of the dead become more and more palpable. When we exited into the twilight, the air was stirred by a gentle breeze. By the time we entered the car I knew we weren’t alone.
As soon as I arrived home I smudged with pungent sage. The feeling of being accompanied by a different energy lasted throughout the following days. It was very strong. Lots of voices attempted contact but they were not clear enough for me to decipher.
This past Sunday we were elbow deep in suds as we scrubbed our doggies. The ancestors speak when they’re ready. They were finally ready or maybe they felt I was ready to listen. They gave me their simple message. Please don’t forget us. They wanted me to share it with you too.
I’m the first to say that I don’t forget my dead. I pray, I light candles, and carefully tend to my altar. One thing I heard at the talk that was different was that the Egyptologist spoke about families having picnics at the tomb sites. Truly celebrating their dead. Interesting, isn’t it?
It makes me wonder about what other ways I can commune with the dead. Seances, Misas, meditation, and the like, for sure. Maybe a trip to my family’s burial site with a full picnic basket and blanket is next in order. I’ll let you know. You can let us know by writing a comment too.
It’s late morning and I’m sitting to write down this week’s reading courtesy of Graciella. I usually do this late afternoon, but today as I did the meditation for my next Graciella project, I pulled two cards. She has me doing both. Graciella is not afraid of work. I’ve mentioned she is a task master and I must keep up with her in order to channel her work of Compassionate Consciousness. I may have previously mentioned that I’m in the process of a book that goes into depth regarding the concepts that the oracle deck introduced.
Balancing the spiritual with the material is sometimes tricky. When I originally designed the oracle deck booklet I had included a section of the history of Graciella and also descriptions of several layouts that can be used while reading the cards. You may have noticed that layouts are not included in the small booklet that comes with the deck. The printing company allowed for a certain number of pages that included exactly what is there. I made the decision to write a second book that would cover the rest of the information. Each day I sit in meditation with a pulled card, listen to what Graciella would like me say, and write the information down. This activity expands on the lyrical poem on each concept that is in the current book. I also have more information on themes within the cards and will sit with the illustrator, Mara Alicia Cordova, to discuss her perceptions about the cards that are so rich in texture, depth, and color! I’m hoping to have the book ready by the end of the year. Actions into vision!
I’ve also had the joy of doing Oracle workshops and each time I’ve learned new things about the deck and the process. If you’d like to host one let me know. We’ve had loads of fun learning to read the cards and sharing spiritual insights.
When I pulled the card for the meditation, two came up. The one for this week is the Water/Agua card.
This card is the epitome of having fun where you are in the glory and loving energy of the feminine principle of water. Will you be out in the rain? Will you wash your auto this week? We can be glum and grumble about the drops of water that we dodge from. Or we can enjoy them. That old adage of April showers bringing May flowers reminds us that when days are rainy or gloomy that sunshine is certain to appear later for us. This week comes the arrival of Aries in the new moon on the fifth. day. This is a time when we are faced with the energies of being emboldened, we are likely to feel a surge to start something new, to shout out to the Universes in ways that may not be usual to us. Welcome this week of new. Allow yourself to be awash in the waters of the Great Mother! She is there for us as we have been for her. Allow your masculine energies to combine with your feminine. The strong points of each will aide you as you move forward in this new enterprise. Be there for yourself!
I waver between writing about the various situations in my life or going immediately to the reading for the week. There was a recent post I read where someone had lots to say about the blogger who went on and on about her upbringing and neighborhood when the ultimate post was going to be a recipe. I do believe there are times I don’t write enough about what I’m doing. I was intrigued by Julia Alvarez, I believe, who wrote on her website that she wasn’t blogging because she was writing. Blogging is like cross-training. It can’t always be a long novel. Or can it? I don’t know because I’m blogging and working a regular job and writing novels in-between times.
What’s up is that my novel Coney Island Siren is just about done. I’m down to the very last edits. I’ve given out a few Advanced Readers Copies and generally feel great about the book. The book launch will be at the Nuyorican Poets Café in NYC on June 12 and I’m doing a reading, conversation, and signing at Café con Libros on June 14th in my hometown of Brooklyn. I hope to see you there. There will be a couple of other spots I’ll be with the newest of my literary libations and I’ll let you know here and on other social media places like facebook and Instagram.
I’m back to the weekly reading. Last week I must admit I was busy at a private party hosted in the Bronx by an author buddy for a Graciella Workshop. There were seven of us in total. We had a great time. Eating, talking, teaching, and learning how to read the oracle decks using several layouts. I’m in the process of writing a second Oracle book that includes the layouts with explanations and much more discussion of each concept. Graciella is a task master! There’s lots of meditation involved in obtaining the information so there I go in-between times again. Don’t forget that if you’re interested in hosting a workshop, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tonight as usual I smudged myself and the oracle deck with wonderfully smelling sage in my abalone shell. I shuffled the cards, fanned them out facedown on my desk, and pulled. The North/El Norte card appeared.
It’s here that as Graciella merged her energy with mine that I immediately heard and felt, Ask the ancestors! What have you made of your relationships with your ancestors? Are you close to them? Do you hear them whisper in your ear? Do you allow them to help you as you walk a path that is often rocky? Do you allow them to help steer you away from obstructions? Some of us are not so knowledgeable about the North and the reference to the old ones and those gone by. There are still those here on this side of the veils who come before us and those who have already crossed over who are rich with wisdom for us to learn from. Again, today I see red flags of warning or alertness for us to take note of. That’s not to say that danger is in the air, it’s to say that we can be aware of pitfalls and possible dangers that we don’t need to get entangled or embroiled in if we listen to the prophecy of the elders. There are many points of advice or suggestions that are handed to us that can alleviate a mountain of problems if only we’d listen. Sometimes we are too headstrong and want to do things our way. That’s fine if we first attempt to discern whether the old way is a way that will allay potential stressors or whether we need to walk on those jagged stones in order to determine who we are. Sometimes we do but then again, sometimes we don’t. We may use that available energy and passion for other more worthwhile things in our lives. Look for the flags this week and listen!
After a weekend of relaxation and errands, I’m happy to come to the oracle. The oracle continues to give me guidance in my day and especially in the observance of what may be in store for me. It’s not as though the messages strike me like lightning, but it’s more of a subtle knowing and understanding revealed that I look forward to when I pull from the deck.
As always, most importantly I join with my spirit guide, Graciella, who has gifted us with the concepts and images. I spoke with someone recently who said he felt Graciella’s spirit as he played with the cards. I affirm that she is present in each card doing. It is her energy and decision to share her wisdom in compassionate consciousness that we join with when we work with the deck. We centered, lit a white candle, shuffled the cards three times, fanned them on my worktable, and pulled one. The card that showed itself is the Fertility/ Fertilidad card.
This is a magnificent card! I love the deep purple of royalty of the pouch that holds, what? I’m not sure. I do know that each individual has his or her own cache of riches that is filled with promise. It’s important to know what your store of treasure is, where it is, and how you closely you hold it to your breast. There are coins here that seem to be falling out of the pouch. Tonight, I see the possibility that the pouch of goodness may have been placed on the coins. The coins seem to be antique gold that are riches of their own, separate from the pouch’s valuables. The green leaves surrounding the pouch and the coins are light in color, and that tells me something new, something that is growing, fresh like the spring leaves that will soon poke through the earth wet by the snow and rains will be encountered.
Look within to yourself. Find that precious object or objects belonging especially to you and listen for your next steps as it shows itself to you.
I’ve heard individuals ask about creating a personal altar. They question whether they could build an altar to a deity or spirit. Of course one can. An altar can be created that pays strict homage to one’s deceased ancestors. The operative word is your when it comes to creating your altar.
There are no rights or wrongs to creating your personal altar. Some of us may have a cleared table with a candle or a couple of pictures of deceased relatives along with a small bouquet of fresh flowers on it. Others of us may have a low to the ground table with a small statue of Ganesh sitting on it. Maybe you found a special stone, crystal, or shell at the beach that you’d like to place on your altar. How you create your altar is dependent on your beliefs and your tradition.
Remember that your altar is yours. There’s no competition with who you might perceive to be more spiritual than you. While you may share notes in developing your altar, no one gets to the head of this class.
My first altar was an end table upon which I placed a candle and a wooden flute for a Native spirit who loves melodious music. It stayed that way for a long while as I got to know myself while listening to elders. As I began blooming spiritually, it grew. Right now it’s like a delicious smorgasbord for prayer.
I’m cautionary about taking pictures of my altar and placing them on social media. I just can’t see the value in advertising personal sacred items on the internet. I’m also a pretty private person about my spiritual life.
Finally, I suggest you listen to your heart space as you create your personal altar. Look around you and see what valued keepsakes you may already have in possession that have been waiting for a place on your altar.
Every morning, I pull a card from the Graciella la Gitana Oracle deck. Although I’ve been working with the cards for over fifteen years, I gain new insights and I’ve come to rely on the guidance that each card gives me. Graciella speaks through the cards and she is the most excellent spirit guide.
When I pull a card for the weekly reading it is a different card than the one I’ve pulled that morning. Today, Graciella and I combined our energies and we smudged with sage in the abalone shell. We shuffled the deck three times and placed the cards on my work table this time. I was a bit surprised to see that the same card I pulled this morning was the one that jumped out. The Cape/la Capa.
This card speaks to being ready to take action. That is an action in itself. We should have protection when we act. That is symbolized by the red color of the cape. Don’t confuse the red for anger, it is for protection in this case. The protection should be something that the individual has already devised for themselves. What looms large in this sitting is the stone wall that the person is facing. What does the phenomena of a stone wall mean to you? For some it is a memorable event that took place when the LGBTQ persons who were at the Stonewall Inn bar in the West Village decided that they were not going to continue putting up with being treated abominably only because of their choices to live fully as who they were meant to be. I’d like to add, as children of God. We are all worthy and valuable in this world. There may be a time this week when you are asked, maybe not in words, to stand up for yourself and take a decisive, not divisive, stance to proclaim that you are here! You mean something! You are important to this world and are ready to take a stand. A little drama may be in order. You are up to the task. You have been prepared!
This post has been inspired by the multitude of questions and answers I’ve read on social media. People enter social forums in certain traditions questioning whether they are allowed to build an altar for a particular deity. Others then offer their strong opinions on whether or not the individual is allowed to erect these sacred spaces. I’m usually horrified about the responses. I truly believe that the creation of a sacred space is between a person and their Higher Power. What I realized that before addressing the creation of an altar or shrine we should rather focus on creating our sacred spaces that may be our inner and/or outer dwellings.
It’s likely the questions about altars are posed because of an uncertainty about the relationship one has with one’s own Power Greater than Oneself. I like to think that one slowly grows this relationship and while it can be helpful sharing thoughts with others that learning to trust our intuition and not worry so much about being right or wrong or about what others think about this profound aspect of ourselves.
Spend time in that empty space. Let it envelope you in it’s warmth and love. Meditate in it. In meditation we are afforded insights into where we’ve been, where we are, and where we are moving. Meditation is most valuable when you do what’s right for you. It may be sitting for a few minutes with eyes closed or ambling down a wooded path. Just as in creating our sacred space, we ultimately decide which type of meditation works best for us.
I work in a women’s shelter and understand the potential real challenges of creating a personal space. Whether it’s sharing a dorm with eight women or living in a crowded space with a spouse and children, the difficulties can be very real. After having a space that I used for prayer and meditation turned into a bedroom for a year for my father who’d been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease I personally understand how hard it can be. I had to become creative.
Walking my dogs before sunrise while praying became my ‘go to’ sacred space. Running was my meditation. I cried about losing my sacred space until I realized I carried it within. It didn’t happen overnight. The struggle had been real. I had to work it out with my Higher Power and eventually found peace.
One of the earlier spiritual elders I learned from suggested that I find a small space to work with. I still had teenagers at home and space was at a minimum. I found that space and created my first altar in my living room. Let’s talk about creating that space next week. In the meantime, let’s work on that interior dwelling.
A pertinent reading to the construction of one’s inner sacred space is St. Teresa of Avila’s TheInterior Castle. It’s one possession I keep that reminds of my inner path work.
Last week’s post was about Change and there was a lot of change for me that I noticed especially toward the end of the week. Most of the changes that took place were of the inside of the chest kind- the ones that affect the heart. I’m feeling lighter, less worried about a toppling skyscraper falling down on my, and felt a clarity I seemed to have missed without even realizing that I was a bit hazy. I’ve added a Twitter account for Pollen Press and you can find us @LlcPollen! I’m excited about that. I already have one follower there. Come on over and check us out there. Ahem, once you’re done with this post.
Graciella and I chose the weekly card together as usual. I smudged with sage in my beloved abalone shell. We centered and gathered our energies together. Shuffled. Fanned. Pull a card. Voila! The Ancestors Card!
This is indeed one of my favorite cards of all! It reminds me that we are never alone. That we are here because of the ones that came before us and that we must never forget that we remain connected although they are on the spiritual plane. This week I did a wonderful spiritual reading for someone and the ancestors were in full force. I was reminded then, as now, that we can do small things to remind our ancestors that they are still in our light and love. What do we remember they loved? A cup of black coffee, a cigar, a deck of playing cards? A piece of cake dripping with honey? What do you remember about your ancestors that you can use to pay homage to them? A white candle, a glass of water on your altar, or a picture that shows them in the prime of health may be thought of by some as mementos, yes, but they are something more. They show that you still respect, love, and are providing the warmth, love, light, and progress for their spirits as they traverse in their ways through the Universe, providing you and me with light, love, protection, and guidance.
Some of us are also conscious of our ancestors that walk with us that may not be of the blood line we carry. These spirit guides also attend to us, whisper in our ears, hold our hands, and navigate us through the challenges and the celebrations of our daily lives. Think about your spirit guides today and give thanks either silently in prayer or by speaking aloud to the night skies. Your relationship with your ancestor is a sacred one. Be there for your ancestor. Your ancestor is there for you!
Graciella and I pulled this week’s card as usual. We’d tried last week, but I couldn’t seem to get the post picture inserted. I have to admit I was frustrated and irritated. My spouse and I were planning to go out and I had forty-five minutes to get the post in. Well, forty-five minutes later I was still tooling around with the picture that refused to show vertically. It insisted on a horizontal layout. At some point, I let it go. I needed to move on and that was the card I’d chosen- the traveler. I also felt that I wasn’t ready to start the oracle readings up yet. I needed to do the easier thing. So after three-quarters of an hour of going uphill I gave up. I am in a phase of letting things be so that’s what I finally did. I can be stubborn. It’s a Varela trait.
Today, Graciella and I shuffled the oracle deck. We fanned them out on the dining room table. This time I didn’t smudge. I think it will be okay. Together we pulled the Change/Cambios card.
The card image shows an arm reaching up for a particular cannister. In the process of doing so, it seems that another cannister has inadvertently fallen open. In the sweet sugar or flour that is spilled, there is another image. One of a chain of golden links that is in the shape of a heart. Sugar and flour are usually used to create a baked good or a confection. We may have to work a little bit for the tasty muffin or pie but it is usually well worth it when we bite down into it. While there could be minor annoyances, such as having to clean up a spill, the idea that something unexpected and pleasant may show up spontaneously in a favorable way, is the idea that Graciella would like to share.
A friend had sent me a beautifully touching letter today. She’d read yesterday’s post on the loss of my father and how I am adjusting. At the end she wished me all the courage I could muster as I move forward on this voyage. It was heartfelt and I’m in gratitude at the love sent in that letter. Today’s card speaks to the wonder and fulfillment about to be experienced in changes that will be encountered. I think that they’ve already begun. One example is me picking up a needlepoint piece that I’d put down a couple of years ago. I didn’t have the concentration or the patience to work on that piece. This weekend the ease of the needle work was calming and yes, comforting.
If you experience an unexpected satisfying change this week, will you share it here with us?