The High Priestess

The High Priestess

 

I think it was in 1995 that I first became aware of the Tarot.   A friend suggested that the High Priestess archetype was waking up in me.   I had no idea what that meant so I went searching and somehow had a vague idea that it had something to do with the Tarot.   All I knew was the Tarot was part of the forbidden world of “the Devil’s workshop” bringing eternal damnation to those who use it. I worked through my fears of a fiery inferno and bought a book called Living the Tarot by Amber Jayanti.   I devoured the book and still use it as a treasured reference.  No longer afraid for my eternal soul, I realized the healing and wisdom of  the High Priestess and  never looked back.

The High Priestess is the lunar goddess with the waxing, full and waning moon as her crown. She has the crescent moon at her feet showing her receptiveness to the subconscious.   The moon holds the power of the tides, and this quiet and gentle goddess holds the power of the subconscious.   Her beautiful blue dress becomes the river flowing to the ocean of the unconscious, the Divine Mind where we originate.

It is in silence that we access the subconscious, the place where the Great Mysteries lie dormant until we realize that our busy and noisy lives keep us from entering the inner worlds. These mysteries, the Wisdom of the Ages, are accessed between the two pillars, Boaz and Jachin, the entrance to Solomon’s Temple.

Our goddess holds the Torah, the book of law, the Akashic Record where knowledge and experiences are recorded; she doesn’t have to look at this book because she has a perfect memory.   She holds the key to memory which is to sit quietly and let the remembrance of the eternal rise to the surface.

We use the Tarot as a system for recall; the 22 pictures of the Major Arcana go directly to our subconscious to help us remember the wisdom in the soul’s journey.   When we remember we recreate like Isis “remembering” Osiris back to life.   The High Priestess is Isis, Sophia, the Virgin Mary, beautiful, pure, quiet wisdom.

Call on the High Priestess to help you break subconscious patterning, cope with painful memories, worrisome situations or to become more neutral and therefore receptive.   As you mature you will move from being controlled by unconscious behaviors to tapping into the world of the subconscious through mediation, self-reflection and deep silence.

I’m glad I was able to step over the threat of hell fire and my unconscious conditioning to open the doors wide for the wisdom of the High Priestess. She has been a constant companion in my life.   When my girls where little I use to sing them to sleep with this goddess lullaby:

We all come from the goddess

And to her we shall return,

Like the drop of rain, flowing to the ocean.

 

End of Summer

pool2

My old neighborhood pool

Caroline has my car and Alexandra has my house.   Let me elaborate on that.  Caroline’s car won’t be repaired until Tuesday so she has my van.  Alexandra is having a retreat with 18 fellow students in my house to write the show she is producing this October at her college.    So where does that leave me?   In the apartment over the shop, which is full of books ready for sorting in the bookcase, with the big red pick-up for transportation and lots of time to read.

Three months ago today I left for Spain to walk the Camino.   I miss it terribly.   I’ve spent the weekend reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed.   It is her account of walking the Pacific Crest Trail, a much, much harder version of the Camino but so many of the emotions and experiences are the same.   Although you don’t carry many material goods on these types of expeditions, your heart accumulates a lot and I’ve barely begun unpacking.    Cheryl had been back 18 years before her book was published.

Since I’ve been back I’ve spent 10 days in Florida and 12 days Minnesota at my Mother’s 80th birthday celebration.  I was able to find a new strength somewhere deep to stand-up for myself in a way I had never done before.  I gave a lecture and a power-point presentation, never did that before either.  After only one change of clothes for weeks Alexandra and I have been happy with far fewer clothes and we each lived out of a small suitcase the rest of the summer.

I’ve sorted out rooms and rooms of my mother-on-law’s possessions, splitting them with my sister-in-law and finding new homes for the leftovers.  It has been a monumental task, as my mother-in-law lived to accumulate after the great deprivations of childhood.  But now I have finally found my basement and garage.

Most importantly I’ve sat at the pool.   For the last 15 years I’ve belonged to a little neighborhood pool.  It was built in the 1970’s and is old and tired but I don’t have to clean it and many days I have it to myself.  If it was fancier or in an exotic locale I wouldn’t be happier, my happiness quotient is filled by this spot on earth.  I spent many delightful summers with my girls swimming and eating pizza by this pool.   Now I go by myself and read, drink iced coffee and float.   That pool has received so many of my emotions the last few years and this year it has accepted many new ones.   Thursday was one of the saddest days of the year for me, the last day I could go to the pool for the season.

As I head in to autumn, the most magical months in East Tennessee I hope to leave the summer busyness behind.  I asked the Camino to open doors and it has, and will continue and I am ready. In the mean time I hope to do one of my other favorite things besides float in a pool—watch leaves fall.   The summer of 2014 will be in my heart forever.

books

Many books to sort

 

The Knight of Pentacles

knight

I just love the Knight of Pentacles.   He is my kind of guy, reliable, trustworthy, committed and responsible.   This card is a lesson in practical values, making sure everything works and is on time.   I don’t know about you but I really love when things are practical and work.

The Knight of Wands loves a crisis, the Knight of Cups is afraid to take risks, the Knight of Swords is charging in to take over, but our handsome Knight of Pentacles is just steadily taking care of business.   He is not rushing or scared but sees the steps that he needs to take to build his foundation toward the goal.   He methodically follows though and completes his entire assigned task.

This Knight sits steady on his horse, ready to carry his values out into the world and defend what is right and true.   He carries this code of honor everywhere he goes, shedding his light throughout the countryside.  His helmet and the horse bridle are decorated with oak leaves which show his strength and depth of commitment.

So when you feel like crisis or fear is standing in your way, have the Knight of Pentacles bring you back to the simple and practical steps that will get you to the goal.   Showing up and taking those daily steps can calm your nerves and help you shine your light wherever you are headed.

Aunt Julie

pink flowers

Twenty-nine years ago this summer I was decorating my first apartment.   Hamilton and I were engaged and we added an apartment above his shop for our first home.   We lived there for nine years, it was rent-free which allowed me to finish school and stay home with my babies.   We only needed one car because Hamilton just walked downstairs to work.   After we moved to town the apartment was continuously occupied by family members, friends and employees, giving them a rent-free space to live.   Now we are back on the farm and want to use the apartment as office and guest space but the interior is pretty tired so I’m in the process of renovating.

As I am back in the space for the first time in 20 years memories of that time of my life have come flooding back, almost like watching a movie.   As I started to take down the 80’s wallpaper I thought of Aunt Julie.   Hamilton’s cousin Tony built the apartment and his Aunt Julie offered to teach me to wallpaper the bathroom.    I was so excited to make my little place as cute as possible.

Over the years I would periodically call Aunt Julie.  There were many times I needed her gentle support.  As in most families, I have a couple of close relatives who can be very difficult.  Aunt Julie was the one person who really understood.   We never talked badly about anyone but I knew she knew what I was going through.  I just needed to be reassured that although there was nothing that could be done someone saw me.

Around this same time I was student teaching.   I had a very difficult supervising teacher who was not allowed another student teacher after me.  Those were hard days,  I came home to my only friend, General Hospital on the VCR.   Every day I would take a few students to a reading specialist named Karen.  She was always kind and went out of her way to speak to me.  We never spoke of my difficult teacher but once again I knew that she knew.   Yet again someone saw me.   That was all I needed to soldier on.

I’m so glad to have these memories of kind women who helped a young twentysomething negotiate tough interpersonal relationships, not by advice but by just simply being there. I hope that I have passed on this kindness to someone else.   Please thank a friend or relative that has done that for you.  Aunt Julie has passed on but this week I’m remembering to say a prayer for her and her sweet kindness.

wallpaper

1980’s wallpaper on the way to the trash

A Fawn

fawn

Hamilton was on his second attempt to bush-hog the field across the street.   The first time he was interrupted by a mighty thunderstorm.   He hadn’t gone but a few times round the field when he saw an animal out of the corner of his eye.   He first thought it was a rabbit but then on closer inspection saw that it was a new fawn.   The mother had hidden the little guy in some tall grass and it was too young to walk around on his own.

He called me and I came to see what could be done.   I called the local vet school and talked to a wild life specialist.   She said it was too young for them to take so we agreed that I move him out of the 90 degree heat to the shade and hope the mother returns.   I carefully wrapped him in a towel so I wouldn’t touch him and moved him about 20 feet to the shade.  Only the size of a long legged Chihuahua, he was delicate and beautiful. I couldn’t believe I was picking up such a tiny baby.    We left the area in hopes mom would come back soon.   I did some internet research and was reassured that we did the best thing for his survival.

It is rare to see such a tiny one since the mom usually has them well hidden.   Hamilton went back a few hours later and was distressed to see him still there but on my way to check on him we were lucky enough to see the mom bounding around nearby.   We left the area with hopes that mom would find him and he would live to be a magnificent buck.

I sent Alexandra a picture of the little guy and this is her return text. “TOO MUCH TOO MUCH IT HURTS OMG OMG PLEASE BABY DEER DON’T DIE”.   When I told her the plan she sent this text “Okay good. Keep in mind; I am willing and able to raise him as my own.”    A kind offer but unfortunately illegal so we left him to his mother’s care and took the tractor out of the field so we could give him time to grow.

A week later Hamilton went to finish the field and saw the little guy up and around and able to run out of his hiding place and saw the mom in the creek bottom, a happy ending to the story.

In the language of animal totems, deer means gentleness and a new innocence being born in you.   I like to be reminded of gentleness, we all need to be gentle with ourselves and each other.   There is far too much harshness in this world.    The doe keeps her baby hidden and nurtured until he is strong enough to be in the world.   We too need to keep our deepest experiences, new insights and joys hidden and nurtured, away from the harshness of criticism and ignorance until they are strong.  Alexandra doesn’t want to talk about her Camino experience with her friends, she wants to keep it her private joy, safe and nurtured.    So try a little gentle love on your spiritual journey so your heart can have the space to be safe and grow into something magnificent.

 

Essential books for your spiritual library:

Animal –Speak and Animal-Wise by Ted Andrews

Animal Wisdom by Susie Green

 

St James of the Field of Stars (Santiago de Compostela)

 

photo81

Chapel used for English Mass

It wasn’t until the last week on the Camino that I could even think about Santiago, yet that was always the goal.   Every day I concentrated on the next 20 km or talked about the next big town, Pamplona, Burgos, Leon.   After Astorga, Santiago started to come into focus.   There were rumors about a celebration in Santiago about the time I planned to get there.  That was when I realized that if I arrived one day early I would be in Santiago for Pentecost, a holy day and a guaranteed Botafumeiro, the mammoth swinging incense censer in the nave of the Cathedral.   See a video of the Botafumeiro here.

Pentecost is the graduation day for the Apostles, including St. James, after Christ’s Ascension.   The Holy Spirit came to them in the Upper Room and sent tongues of fire to anoint them to go preach the Gospel.   No more perfect day to finish my pilgrimage and graduate to the next stage of my life.

While Alexandra slept I spent Pentecost with St. James.  I first listened to the beautiful chant of the Rosary.   Next the Botafumeiro made its mighty journey through the Cathedral to the sounds of the organ and choir.  I dreamed of this moment along with the centuries of pilgrims who had dreamed that same dream.   I went to a chapel to celebrate Mass in English with an Irish priest.  He read the story of Pentecost and we sang songs and lit a candle for all of the continents and peoples.     I joined the main Mass where the Archbishop presided over Confirmation.   I was having my graduation ceremony.  I had completed my task.

I didn’t realize how much I was going to need those extra days in Santiago to process my experience.   I saw pilgrim friends I hadn’t seen in weeks and we hugged and congratulated each other on a job well done.   It was special to be at Pilgrim’s Mass with my fellow travelers, a shared experience to the end.    I saw everyone I had hoped to see again and exchanged contact information.

I went to dinner with my friends and we talked about our favorite and least favorite Albergues, tales of the food, injuries and blisters and things we learned.  One pilgrim was in tears because he finally forgave his father, others had come to terms with their past or had new hope for their future. We were all proud of our strong bodies and loose hiking pants.   I cherished every moment of the language of the pilgrim, I miss it so much.

The next day my friends arrived by car with clothes for me and to share my triumph.   It was hard to move out of the pilgrim world.   The first day I put on a new shirt.  The next day I put on different shoes but still wore my hiking pants.  I had to reenter the world gradually.   We went to Mass together and they were treated to the Botafumeiro, and I was glad to see it another time.   We went behind the altar to touch the statue of St. James and went below to the crypt where his bones are kept in a silver casket.

All of my pilgrim rituals where complete and it was time to go.   I left my worn out shoes and some clothes I couldn’t bear to wear again and a piece of my heart in Santiago.

Please listen to my interview about my adventure with Steven Frampton at http://psychicaccesstalkradio.com/showarchives.html   Go to the June 26 show– A Pilgrim’s Journey.

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Worn out shoes

Day 38 Santiago

We got a bit earlier than usual and headed out while it was still dark. The trail was muddy from the rain and there were storm clouds threatening. We walked about 3 km until we found a place open for breakfast.

We had our usual 20 km to walk but today was so different, it was our final day of walking.  The morning was the usual tree lined lanes and fields. Both of us felt a bit emotional about our final walk. We have loved it so much, we can’t believe it is over.

A plane flew low over me and scared me. I haven’t seen a plane in so long. It was strange to be reentering the modern world after five weeks in a totally different dimension as a pilgrim. Pilgrims live in a strange isolated world within rural Spain. The outside world rarely touched us.

After our final hill we enjoyed this large monument to pilgrims and St James. It is on Mount de Gozo, hill of joy, where pilgrims got their first glimpse of the cathedral.

Mount Gozo

The walk into Santiago was long as we followed a line of pilgrims headed to our final goal.   It was so exciting to finally see the cathedral. We both felt we had really triumphed.

Cathedral of Santiago

Cathedral of Santiago

We found the pilgrim office and got in line for our Compestela, the official certificate, and celebrated with our friends. It was a long wait with our packs still on so we were totally exhausted and hungry when we finished. We struggled  to find our hotel so we finally got a cab and we so glad to finally take off our packs.

Cathedral of Santiago

A hot shower and a rest helped us revive enough for a 7:30 pilgrim’s Mass. The priest reads a list of the starting points and the number of pilgrims from each country who started there. It was said very rapidly in Spanish but we heard our starting town of Roncesvalles, 750 km ago.

The Cathedral is beautiful with the most elaborate Retalbo I have see yet. Totally gold and silver with enormous angels holding the canopy over St James.

Golden Retalbo

Our big adventure is over. We made it safely to Santiago after 750 km and five weeks.   We are so grateful that we had no injuries or blisters and were able to enjoy every step.  Both of us have this strange feeling that it was easy but yet I know that we worked hard and sacrificed for this journey. We will miss the walking, friends, animals and the beauty of Spain. I loved being in nature everyday, all day for 5 weeks. We feel privileged that we were able to walk this ancient path. We are forever part of the Camino and the Camino is forever part of us.

Blessed are you pilgrim who knows the the real Camino starts when you arrive home.

I want to thank all who helped us on this journey.

My Dad who taught me to love walking. My mother  who gifted us airline tickets. Hamilton who has been so supportive of our dream. Laura and Leslie who healed my ankle. Jane my walking partner and dear friend. Bert who helped us get the perfect equipment.   Valarie who volunteered to pick me up in Santiago, and my lotus family where all epic adventures begin.