Friday, December 21, 2012

Tarot Blog Hop--Yule 2012--Christmas Is So PRESENT!

This is the Yule version of our Tarot Blog Hop, a wonderful ongoing project of a number of regular tarotists and bloggers who take a seasonal theme and do their best to give their own take to it. If you've been following the 'Hop, you probably got here from the wonderful work of Joanna Ash, and when you're done here, you'll want to move on to Jordan Hoggard's blog. And if you get lost, or hit a broken link, there's a Master List to get you back on track.  So...let's start Hopping. I promise, Yule like it!

I was absolutely fascinated by the wordplay shared with us in this BlogHop assignment--here, I'll let you see for yourself. From this 'Hop's Wrangler, the amazing Alison Cross, here's our topic:

"‘Christmas Present’ Do I mean ‘Christmas present’ as an noun, like ‘a gift’? Do I mean ‘Christmas present’ as an adjective such as ‘Christmas past ‘ and ‘Christmas Future?’ Why not both?! Heck, if you can even work something out for ‘Christmas Present’ as a verb I say GO FOR IT!"

And of course, being a wordie myself, I did think of a lot of ways to use that concept--and somehow, I did think in terms of "present", like "being here now". And I think there was a wee bit of the idea of Dickensian ghosts in there, not to mention the idea that there is an actual "Christmas mindset", that somehow is "present" throughout the season, whether it is the season, for you, of Kwanzaa, Chalica, Diwali, Hannukah, Yule, Stellarium, or Christmas. My grandkids have often asked me "Mamo, why can't people act like they do at Christmas, all the time?" I thought that was a very good question, and I couldn't answer it. And I do believe in the concept of being "present" in the moment, of really loving and appreciating every moment of our lives and our relationships, no matter the season. Or the reason for the season. I also notice that people act differently, kinder, more patient, more real, more grateful, when Christmas/Yule/The Season of Love, is actually "present". So--how to use divination, and specifically Tarot, in order to illustrate the concept of "Christmas present", or of being truly "present" in Christmas? Well-- I do have some ideas. 

I decided to create some questions for my spread, which is going to be three cards. I am going to ask myself--"How can I be truly 'present' in Christmas?", "What does Christmas 'present' to me?", and finally, "How can I make Christmas be 'present' in my life when this season is over?" I did a random draw from several decks, and this is what I found:

1) "How can I be truly 'present' in Christmas?" The card I drew this time is from Daniel's Bootstrap Tarot, and is the Nine from the Major Arcana, the Hermit:

This card is particularly cogent to me in this instance, because Daniel's Hermit is focused on his own inner Self, walking away from the encounter with everyone and everything else, and his eyes are fixed on some unknown horizon, while he withdraws into his own Soul. And this, albeit counterintuitive, is the essence of being Present as I see it in the response to my first question, "How can I be truly 'present' in Christmas?" The fact is, most of us do not let ourselves be truly present in any aspect of our lives--we spend a lot of time "living until" and "living to do" and very little "living to be". And for this season, that quiet contemplation may be the most important kind of Presence we need to experience. Yes, it is about family, love, gifts, parties, kids, laughter, and the holiday spirit--but above all else, whether you are celebrating the birth of Jesus, the sacrifice of the Holly King, the miracle of the nine days' candle of Hannukah, or whatever your observance, this festival is about the return of the Light, whether you spell that Sun or Son. And the fact is, you can't cherish the return of the  Light, if you do not first go into the Darkness. So, silence, solitude, some kinds of contemplation in quiet, that is the preliminary mindset to the full enjoyment and experiencing of the Presence of Christmas.2) "What does Christmas 'present' to me?" Again, my random draw came from Daniel's Bootstrap Tarot (and I have four decks mixed in this folder from which I draw, so someone must be trying to tell me something--maybe that my friend Daniel makes awesome Tarot cards!)
And the card that came up on the draw this time is the Eight of Coins. The traditional meaning of this card is, "apprenticeship, learning, new endeavors" and other meanings connected with the concept of applying oneself conscientiously to something that one doesn't really do very often, and determination to make a success of it. And I can't think of anything that more exemplifies the conscious effort to make the most of the opportunities "presented" by the Season of Light. Here I am 'presented' with the opportunity to really think, as that hockey player in the card needs to be doing, about how to 'guard the goal'. How will I connect with that neighbour I don't really know? A card, or a compliment on their decorating? What do my grandkids really want for Christmas, and how can I do the very best of gifting without harming our budget? And what is the 'reason for the season', as far as I am concerned, and how can I make the most of the opportunities Christmas 'presents' to me in order to experience my own, personal, individual Return of the Light?3) "How can I make Christmas be 'present' in my life when this season is over?"
And once again, I am drawing at random, and here is the card--the Two of Coins, again  from my friend Daniel's Bootstrap Tarot. And his Two of Coins is not the traditional "Juggling Fool" but a bull, facing a bullfighter, me, as I gaze into his eyes. So--what I need to do is dodge, dance, keep my balance, and maintain my composure in the face of the vicissitudes of life after the Christmas season is over. And then I think of the traditional meaning of this card, which I can express as "prioritizing, maintaining one's consciousness, making oneself aware of distractions and keeping one's balance in the dance of Life". And this, of course, is the actual "present" I am receiving from Christmas and from answering this question. I need to simply remain in the same headset we all get to in the holiday season, and I need to remind myself that the question my grandkids asked me is, after all, the whole crux of the reading. In order to keep Christmas "present" in my life, I need to "present" to myself the "present" of living in the "present"...of conscious "presence". The only way to maintain my Christmas mindset, the present of love, and awareness, and the holiday glow, is just, simply, to DO it. And that is my intention--I will myself be my own Christmas present, and I will then be Present in the season for as long as I choose to. So--there is my wordplay, and the play of the cards, on the concept of "Christmas Present". And hopefully, you have enjoyed rambling through words and cards with me. If you are going backwards through this Hop, Joanna Ash is your next stop, and if you're moving forwards, Jordan Hoggard is the next Blog you will see. And have fun Hopping, and may Christmas in your life be--well, Present! See you next year!    

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Samhain Blog Hop--Searching The Shadows....

Tarot Blog Hop: Me And My Shadow

You've probably come here from the blog of Morgan Drake Eckstein, my neighbour in this round of the Tarot Blog Hop. And when you leave here, Joanna Ash has something to say to you. Please enjoy the journey. And if you should happen to lose your way amongst the spooky trees and shining jack-o-lanterns, Amethyst Mahoney's blog contains a Master List that can get you back on track....

And so, we look to the focus of the Samhain Blog Hop. This Samhain, we have a very intriguing challenge for the 'Hop. Here, in the words of our Wrangler Amethyst, is the topic for our Samhain Blog Hop: 

"Explore your Shadow side. What aspects of yourself do you feel like you have to keep hidden? Sometimes this takes form of hiding our magical selves from the “normal” world. If Harry Potter taught us anything, it is that we must hide from the Muggles. Even within our own Pagan and spiritual communities, many of us are ridiculed and shamed for our beliefs. Whether you are told you are too Light and too fluffy, or too Dark and too Vampirish, everyone seems to have an opinion of how you “should” be. This Samhain, take the time to get in touch with the True You. Who are you really, once you shake off the expectations of your community and the World? If you find things you do not wish to publicly share on your blog, share a little about your journey, or perhaps a Tarot spread or ritual that you did to get you there. Or share if you felt differently and what changes you may make in your life because of it. While most people spend Halloween pretending they are someone or something else, you dear one, can find time to pretend to be who You really are. Who is hiding beneath the normal every-day mask you wear for the World? I look forward to meeting you."

I looked forward to meeting Me, too. The one thing I know about the Shadow is that your Shadow Self -- well, to put it simply, "hides in the Shadows." In other words, you can't just go find your Shadow by looking for it. You need to do as we of Traditional Witchcraft are instructed to do when we "approach the Altar"...look backwards over one shoulder, standing on one foot, not attempting to go directly to the Source but using the roundabout method of intuition, inspiration, and intrigue....So. I found a meme on Facebook that gave me an idea for a spread...have you seen that "Who do ______ think I am?" thing that's been going around? It occurred to me that the main idea of finding the Shadow is that one doesn't necessarily recognize one's own Shadow even when you find it. Instead, we have to look through filters, through other sets of eyes. And so-- a layout, drawn by inspiration and at random, that might give some suggestions as to the tropes that identify the we go. Follow me into the Shadow Realm and see how much of this might apply to you.

Who My Mom Thinks I Am: This card represents the view of our Shadow from those people, symbolized by our "Mothers", who always seek, and see, the very best in us, regardless of what is really going on. The first thing we need to do in looking for the Shadow is to ignore the refrain of "oh, you're just fine the way you are," whether it is being voiced by other people or our own conscious mind which is resisting looking inward. The Chariot card reminds us that there is a race going on, it is a competition, we are needing to pull ourselves together and look at the racecourse the way it really is. "Mom" may see us standing triumphantly on the teetering seat, coming in in first place. But we know in order to keep our balance, we need to be constantly aware of the course and the obstacles thereon. Rachel Pollack says, "The Chariot indicates the importance of willpower in dealing with the problems shown in the reading. If the Chariot appears in the position of Self in the Celtic Cross, it says that the person has a strong will and this may help to bring about a satisfactory outcome. In a difficult situation, it may show a will to continue. In fact, meditation with this card can increase the person's will power. If several cards in the reading suggest weakness, but the Chariot appears in some key position such as Possible Development, then it advises the person to approach the situation with optimism and determination." In this place in this layout, I see the Chariot representing the fact that the race is ongoing, difficult, and perhaps not where we want to go--but we still may prevail, if we choose to keep our balance. "Mom" says we are winners. The race is hard, but we can do it. Maybe even within our Shadow Self, there are ways to prevail.

Who My Friends Think I Am: Here we have the Seven of Swords, and the word inscribed on the foot of the card is "Uselessness" does that compute? If people are our friends, how can they think of us as "useless"? Well---this is one of those times when what we think we see isn't exactly what was intended. "Who my friends think I am" is probably more correctly interpreted, in this instance, as "Who I think my friends think I am." As we said, one of the Guardians to this Quest is understanding our own use of filters. And false humility is a very common filter all of us use in evaluating our Selves. Most of the time, whether or not we are willing to admit it, we think our friends don't have as high an opinion of us as we have of them. Most of us feel somewhat inferior, and as if we need to "pump it up", in order to deserve the friendship of the people with whom we associate. We usually feel as if we are lucky to have the friends we have, and that they are doing us a favor to be our friends in the first place. This is one of the first Gates to the Shadow Realm--our feelings of inferiority, and our willingness to think ourselves of less importance than are other people. If we are going to discover the Shadow, we have first to identify who we already are. Your friends think you are every bit as wonderful as you think they are. Those Swords are standing in the way of a true assessment of your Self. If you want to see what your friends think of you--sheathe the sword, and simply ASK. You might be--you WILL be--pleasantly surprised.And in order to identify your Shadow, you need to know, first, what it isn't.

Who My Cat Thinks I Am: A little giggle here, but also a truth. Animals do have an acuity about us, knowing our moods and temperament sooner, more accurately, and even more in depth, than we do ourselves. And yes, for most of us, the animal allies in our lives do see us as the Hierophant, the source of wisdom, home, comfort and kitty-treats. But there's a truth hidden here that might not be immediately accessible--'my cat' is a metaphor for the animal instinct present within each of us. We do have a mammalian soul, and that part of us is not subject to logic, does not respond to rhetoric, nor can it be persuaded to act against its own interests. When attempting to access the Shadow, it is essential to look to the mammal-mind, that part of us which is always guarding our own best interest and sees only that which is necessary for us to live and thrive. What does your "inner feline" really want? Don't forget that many times it is this kind of "selfishness" that is perceived by the conscious mind as "shadow"... we somehow have convinced ourselves that it is WRONG to think of our own "best good". But that is not shadow--that is necessity, and it makes possible the expansion of the psyche to embrace the good of others. That "animal instinct" is, in this reading, expressed by the Hierophant, and is indicative of our own Inner Wisdom. So--look at yourself through cats' eyes, with cat's wisdom, and see the real You hiding there behind the food-dish. Be Wise about your Self. What do you really need, really want? And--is that Shadow, or is that Sense? Only by clearing the extranea and misconceptions out of the way can you see what is really lurking in your own personal Shadow Realm. Miaou!!

Who My Mate Thinks I Am: Here, we've drawn the Ace of Cups, which is probably one of the most positive cards in readings about relationships. If you were reading for yourself and your partner, this card represents the Marriage Cup, the Holy Grail of happiness as contained within your relationship as the Cup holds the Wine. But in this instance, the Grail Quest is a bit more complex. Who does your Mate, the person closest to you in reality, who does that person think you are? Are you truly the person your Mate sees when s/he looks at you, or is the first place your Shadow Self manifests in the most important relationship of your life? The spiraling gold of the Cup in this card is elegant, regal, quintessentially perfect. But the wine? what is it, how does it taste, and does it "measure up" to the elegance of the Cup? And--how does this relate to the Self you have shown or are showing to your life partner? In many cases, we "groom ourselves" to find a partner--we try to become something we are not, thinner, more sexy, more elegant, more made-up, more successful-looking, so we will attract the "right kind of man/woman." And, unfortunately, this sets up a layer of deception which usually persists throughout the relationship, until one day, you let your "real self" out and all Hell breaks loose. When looking for the Shadow, many of us need look no further than what J. AlfredPrufrock calls the "face" we have "prepared to meet the faces that we meet." So on the Shadow Quest, we need to examine closely the persona we are using in our deepest relationships. Does the person you love, love YOU, or some cognate of "my best self" that you have created? And, if you currently don't have a partner, are you more interested in "finding the right person" or in "being the real person"? When on the Shadow Quest, one of the first stops in that journey is to look into the eyes of the Beloved, and see the Self that is reflected back. Does your Mate really know, love, understand, YOU? And if not--maybe that's a good place to start on this journey.The first stop on the journey to understand the Shadow is to let the person/s you love see you as you really Are. 

Who My Ego Thinks I Am: "Ego" in this context is what Starhawk calls "Talking Self", the rational mind, the "Sun Sign", spoken astrologically. It represents the "me" that we see when we look in the mirror, the Self that we present to the world, the Being that we think of when we hear our own Names. And--the card this time is a rather interesting choice, because Ego, which translated from Latin simply means "I", can be the "eye" we have on ourSelves when we are out in the world--the person(a) which we expect to be "Me" as the world sees me. And yet--the card is the Hermit, the avatar of solitude, the Being who withdraws from the company of others and seeks out only the company of the Self, who revels in solitary contemplation, who speaks to, and listens to, and learns from, only the Self. This one scarcely needs an interpretation, but since I have a tendency, like most Virgos, to state the obvious, I will go ahead and point it out for you. Simply put, this card is telling us, we who have embarked on the Quest for the Shadow Realm, that the "Ego" we see in the mirror, the persona we wish the world to associate with our Name, isn't who we really are. We are being instructed here to go Within, to look deeper, to spend time in our own House of Silence, our Inner Realm, and to find out who really lives there. There are layers upon layers of misconception about the Self by the time a person reaches maturity--some of them have been wrapped around the persona by the expectations and insistence of others, and some of them have been willingly donned by the Self as protections against the perceived parts of the Self we don't care to acknowledge. But the Ego--the "I" of you--must, above all else, tell itself the truth. And so--retreat to the Hermit's Cave, forget the false apperceptions of "who I think I am" and "who I wish I was" and take a long, hard look at "who I really am." This is the first real challenge of the Search for the Shadow...and it is the one without which the Quest will die before it is born. Look at your Self, honestly, frankly, completely. Don't make your Self any less, nor any more, than who you are. And--be ready to be surprised, often positively, by what you will find.

Who I Really Am: I will admit, I was surprised to see the card I drew here, the one that is intended to convey what may be found at the bottom of the Well of Shadows. Most of us, myself included, see the Shadow Realm as terrifying, see the possibilities of "ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties" hiding in our own psyche as quite a sufficient reason to keep that gate closed forever, thenkewveddymutch. And yet--here at the apex of this reading, I draw the Two of Swords, the card that represents the Will to Peace. Swords are always potentially dangerous--unless sheathed. And two swords at rest recognizes the potential for hostility but affirms instead the choice of Peace. And so--how does this relate to the Shadow Quest upon which we have embarked this Samhain? What does the Two of Swords tell us about the discovery of our Shadow Self, and what to do with the knowledge? Rachel Pollock's interpretation of this card is perhaps the best place to start. In her words, "In readings, the Two of Swords means tranquility. It speaks of achieving a sense of serenity, possibly in a difficult situation. For now, the conflicting forces are kept apart and all is quiet. The forces (the two walls) may refer to people quarreling, especially if the subject of the reading finds him or herself in the middle. Peace is stronger than battle, at least for the moment. The time of peace may provide opportunities for prospering, or new growth. The person needs to be sure to take the proper steps so that growth will continue." This speaks very cogently of the state of mind inherent upon us as we discover the Realm of Shadow within us. We may not like all we have found. Perhaps we discover that we are, indeed, arrogant, or unskilled, or deceptive, or whatever qualities within ourselves we feel least inclined to acknowledge. We want to fight with this knowledge, to battle it, to refuse to acknowledge it as truth, to defeat it. But--the card says, "Be at Peace with that, whatever it is." And why? Does that mean, just accept what we find, and walk away? Not at all. This card reminds us that "peace is stronger than battle" and tells us not to attempt to reject our Shadow, but instead to "take the proper steps so that growth will continue." The Shadow Self is a toolbox. There is something to be said for accepting the pieces of our Selves which we find difficult or hostile, and looking with calmness and serenity upon them, and thinking, with the eyes of the Hermit, "What can I use this for? What can I make of this? What kind of a TOOL is this thing?" Is your perceived arrogance a cloak for self-respect and refusal to be abused? Is your supposed lack of skill merely an indicator that you are trying to do the wrong things? What can you do with your faculty for deception...storyteller? poet? politician? (insert small giggle here). And the answer to these questions may make it possible for us to find Peace within the Shadow, and further our Transformation. The Quest for the Shadow Self is really an invitation to Become. And all of us are capable of doing that, if we really look.

Samhain Blessings on your journey beyond the Veil. Treasures await you in the Shadow Realm. Be at Peace!

beith seidh,

Aisling the TarotWitch

And, speaking of journeys, don't forget to visit Morgan Drake Eckstein, my neighbour in this round of the Tarot Blog Hop, if you didn't get here from there. You can move from here to Joanna Ash, and if you should happen to lose your way amongst the spooky trees and shining jack-o-lanterns, Amethyst Mahoney's blog contains a Master List that can get you back on track....Happy Hopping!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mabon--The Hidden God...The Power of Transformation

You've probably gotten here from the wonderful work of Sandie Worthy  on the Tarot Blog Hop. If not, you can click the above link to read her musings. And of course, you're going to want to travel onward when you're done here. Look to the bottom of this blog for your ongoing link. And so, who is "Mabon" and what does he have to do with the Autumn Equinox, and with The Power of Transformation?

"Mabon" is the name of a mythic hero of Welsh mythology. He is the son of Modron, the Great Mother, and is "stolen away from between his mother and the wall" at the age of three days. He is sought by his mother for many years, but remains unfound. Finally Arthur, the High King, is assisting in the quests of Culluch, the Welsh hero, in order that he may marry Olwyn, the lovely daughter of Ysbaddaden, Chief Giant. And even this part of the story is relevant to our quest on the Autumnal Equinox, because the harvest of transformation only is gathered after questing and seeking. Arthur, to assist Culluch, comes with his knights to the search for Mabon, the Son of the Mother, and over many days he goes from bird to beast to tree, looking, seeking Mabon, but not finding him. At length, the Salmon of Wisdom assists him to find the Lost God, who has now become an adult, and who is powerful beyond expectation, successfully assisting Arthur and his Knights in the Quest for which they have been seeking him. "Mabon", as we stated, means "Son of the Mother" and he is representative for each of us of the "Shadow Self", the part of ourselves which is hidden, the part of ourselves which we only reveal to ourselves by searching and seeking, as well as invoking the power of transformation. Mabon's feast corresponds with the Autumnal Equinox, the time of Solar Balance, when day and night for a moment are equal, and it is Balance we seek in finding the Hidden Self. And Mabon also corresponds with the Vine Moon, the grape harvest, and for many of us is the season of mead-making...and therein lies a tale, and the crux of this festival for me.

In mead-making, one takes the freshest, sweetest, most succulent grapes, and the most powerful and natural of honeys, and one mixes them. Lovely, and wholesome, is this mixture, and will make wonderful mead, won't it? Not unless you let it ROT. WHAAAAT? you screech...ROT? What you talkin' 'bout, Willis? Well...therein lies a tale, as I said. Fermentation, in other words, the rotting of the grape which produces the alcohol and turns the juice into luscious liquor, is the only way mead may be created. And, when we think metaphorically, destruction of the Ego is necessary for the discovery of the Hidden Self, the Shadow, the deep lore and mystery of your own Being, without which you cannot be whole. One must, at this time of the Last Harvest, discard all that no longer serves, bring oneself into Balance, and permit destruction and change to take place in order to produce Transformation...

And so, to the cards. I thought about the concept of mead-making, and the process of self transformation, and I have decided there are some cards that definitely represent the phases of this process. I am trying something new here, rather than using the Tarot, because my own focus on Mabon is actually connected with the way I use the Celtic Tree Calendar in my personal practice. And there are four trees. actually, which occur in order in the Tree Year, which represent the journey of Mabon and which illustrate the cycle of transformation which is celebrated at the Autumnal Equinox. So, let's journey through the forest and see the hearts of these trees, and in so doing, let's discover our own personal Hidden God/dess.

First, at the end of August, or the beginning of September, we look to the Hazel tree. Hazel is the traditional Celtic symbol of wisdom. The old tale tells of Fintan, nine years a salmon and fed upon the hazel nut, who became thereby the wisest man in the world. (Please remember that it was the Salmon of Wisdom who assisted Arthur and his Knights in the search for Mabon, the Hidden God.) The hazel bears nuts after a nine-year cycle, which was a magickal number in Celtic lore. It is a small round nut in a seemingly seamless shell, which is nearly impossible to crack forcefully without smashing the nutmeat; therefore it became a prime exemplar of the kernel of truth or hidden wisdom...hidden sweetness which must be achieved with time, patience and art rather than brute force. Indeed the kernel of the hazelnut with its compact strength and sustenance is the source of our saying, " That's the whole thing in a nutshell." As the number nine indicates, eating of the hazel nut brought all the wisdom of the Nine Arts of the Celts: Music, Lore, Dancing, Truthtelling, Farseeing, Talemaking, Worldwalking, Healing, and Rebirth. At the Hazel Moon, Wise Ones concentrate on the lore and wisdom of their elders, on nurturing and expanding their own inner wisdom, and on studying the wisest ways to deal with the situations of their own lives. And so the Hazel Moon, for our purposes, is the goal-setter, the Tree that represents our discovery of the need for transformation, of the need to discover our own hidden truth, and sets for us the task of finding the hidden sweetness which will take our time, effort, and focus. So--the task is set. Where in the Forest do we travel next?

Well, interestingly enough, the next Tree we encounter in the calendar is the Vine. The Vine, in and of itself, is the raw material of the harvest we seek, but the lore of this Tree tells us that there is more to be done here than merely picking grapes! The drawing of this card is concerned with the release of prophetic powers. The uses of the grape and the effects of wine are well known. The phrase "in vino veritas" almost expresses the meaning of this card. Wine dissolves the inhibitions and often allows you to speak more perceptively and truthfully than you otherwise would. in a similar way, you need at times to let go of your logic and intellectual attitudes and gather other resources in order that subtle intuition can surface and lead. During such periods, your psychic sense will be a more reliable ally than common sense, you must permit instinct alone to show you what should be done and allow your deepest emotions to show freely and openly. Allowing all your senses to open in such a way is a sign of inner development, as you learn to place your trust in them when they are acting for you strongly. Let your soul open so that it is able to harvest and gather together all the signs and omens that it is so capable of comprehending, if only you will permit it to do so. And so with Vine, we do not see the fruits of the harvest, but we do learn the techniques necessary for the success of our Quest. Think clearly and honestly within yourself. Let your inhibitions dissolve. Work with your intuition and insight, temporarily shelving the thought of "common sense" and instead reaching for "uncommon sensibility". In the nature of Vine, we find both tools and potential. But--potential of what sort? Well--maybe we'll get that answer when we look at the next Tree. 

The Tree in the Celtic Tree Calendar which follows Vine is, interestingly enough, Ivy. One of the most characteristic features of a vine of Ivy is the way the leaves and stems twine in on themselves in an ever-narrowing spiral. And, of course, the symbolism there is exactly what we're looking for.

On our Mabon-quest, we enter the complex labyrinth of our own psyche. The spirit turns inward, rather as must have Theseus, following his thread into the labyrinth. Theseus's act may have symbolized his exploration for the secret centre of his own being, which may appear monstrous, lying hidden most of the time. Of course, there is a reason we call what we are looking for the "Shadow Self". This quest, coincidentally occurring as the year is beginning to darken, leads us into the darkest, inmost recesses of our own souls, into the places where we have hidden away the parts of our own Self that we fear to admit, acknowledge, or encounter. This exploring, or soul searching, is as necessary to the Quest for Mabon, for Transformation, as was the journey of Theseus. Indeed, it is the center of the Quest. Such a journey may be in itself transformative, revealing to you spiritual strength and depth you may never previously have tapped or known about. And, of course, like the pattern of the Ivy spiral, there is more than one side to this spiral dance. Your spiralling dance through your Dark Self also eventually turns outward, linking you with others through the group soul or collective unconscious that pervades and encompasses all life. You have a part to play---to assist in the spiritual journey of others, as they also do in yours. This card represents the spiral of the Self, and the search for Self. Ivy represents the wandering of the soul, circling both inward and outward, seeking to face the shadows within, but also seeking nourishment and experience from the outside, to finally achieve its goal of enlightenment, of finding the Hidden God. And here it is well to recall, for all of us, that Mabon, when he was found, as it were, at the center of the labyrinth, was not an untaught, foolish, and bewildered child or youth, but a full-grown and skilful man who had taught himself, in silence and shadow, all he would need to know. And just so, the Shadow Self at the centre of your own quest, where the Ivy spiral will lead you, is going to amaze you with the value, worth, and sweetness buried within the darkness.

And so, then, what of the Transformation we seek at this season? Where does the Forest Path take us in order that we may, finally, achieve our Harvest, come face-to-face with our own personal Hidden God/dess and learn the value of that Being? Well, the final Tree in our Journey is the Reed, and this tree actually represents the successful culmination of our Quest.

Reeds were used to create the bundles of thatch which were used to roof the houses of the Celtic tribes. The reed itself has a multitude of uses, everything from roofing materials to whistles to arrows to brooms for cleansing, and many more uses. This Tree is telling you of all the multitude of possibilities for personal and familial or community transformation that may result from your discovery and acknowledgement of the Shadow Self. Just as the Vine reminds us of the necessary destruction and change which produces wonderful wines, the Reed indicates that we must be aware of potentials and possibilities, and that we are capable of finding order where others find only chaos. Your results are as sure as the intentions with which you started. You progress by keeping your aim in sight. The Reed gives you the capacity to make house and home safe and secure under your own roof, create, if needed, spiritual weapons like the arrows made of Reeds, create beauty and artistry as the Reed was used for flutes and whistles, and above all, conform, as does the flexible and pliable Reed, to the chance and occasional chaos of outside circumstances, bending in the wind and storm but refusing to break . With the Reed you are able to find direction and to give meaning and purpose to your Quest, your discovery of the multi-talented Mabon, the Hidden God/dess within you, and you are able to decide what you will do with this Transformation and how you will use it to better your own life and those of others.

Please journey along the Blog Hop to the home of Gary Ormond  to discover his take on the Power of Transformation. By chance, should the link on a page break, there is a Master List here which will make it possible for you to move forward And may the Winds of Mabon bring you balance, transformative energy, and many tools with which to travel onward. Blessings from your TarotWitch, and may your Equinox be joyful, productive, and ever wonderful for you. 

Mabon Blessings from 
Aisling the Bard