A Tarot Spread for Samhain

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Cards from the Spiral Tarot, The Halloween Tarot, and The Green Witch Tarot

Monday is Samhain, or Hallowmas, the beginning of the deepest and darkest part of the year. Some people love the long, dark days of winter, and others dread them. I feel a little bit of both. Winter can be a challenging time for me, especially if we have a particularly gray winter. I can find myself sinking into depression and despair as the fog settles into they valley.

This is a time when our natural energy cycles can slow down, when we desire to rest, to find silence, peace, and stillness. Yet our culture doesn’t recognize the need to slow down, we are supposed to go, go, go all the time. We must be productive at all costs! We must be ready for the seasonal round of parties, shopping, and celebration. I love the seasonal festivities, but it is important for me to also honor my need to rest, be silent, and to go within. I often think that depression, colds, and flu come to force a slowdown when we choose not to give ourselves the rest we need during this dark time of the year.

I created this spread to help us find ways to make friends with the dark and to honor the gifts it brings us as the natural world around us settles down for its own winter slumber.

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Question: What do I need to know during this next turn of the wheel?

  1. Overall theme
  2. Key opportunity
  3. Key challenge
  4. What can I do to help ease my descent into the dark time of the year?
  5. What gifts does the darkness offer me?
  6. What message does the Wise Crone have for me during this season? (You can see this as a wise guide, a Goddess, or your own wise voice within, whatever works best for you.)

I will use this spread during my Hallowmas ritual, and will post my reading then.

I’d love to hear about your reading, and would enjoy discussing it with you if you have any questions.

May your journey into the dark season be filled with rest and peace!

Success!

Catching the rabbit went much more smoothly than I had anticipated! Sunday afternoon my next-door neighbor came over to tell me the rabbit was the yard between our houses. I went out and managed to get him corralled in a fenced area of my yard. Then I sat out there with him, talking to him, sending him Reiki, and offering food and little treats like bits of apple and banana. He was pretty calm and had no problem taking the treats from me.

After a while I went in to get a snack of cheese and soda crackers for myself, and brought it outside to eat. As soon as I sat down a very excited rabbit came over and put his paws on my leg begging for crackers. I had found the magic food to entice him into the cage! First, I looked online to make sure they wouldn’t make him sick (they really shouldn’t have food like this, but a few small bites wouldn’t hurt him).  A couple of tiny bites of cracker in the carrier and voila—I had caught myself a rabbit!

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Meet Mr. Bumbles. Adorable, right?

I kept him in my bathroom that night and spent most of the evening in there with him. Somehow his name morphed from Bun Bun Nickles to Bumbles as I spent time with him. It only took him a few hours to get used to me and he was soon coming over asking to be petted. Of course, I fell madly in love with him and tossed and turned all night worrying about taking him to the shelter the next day, but I know my living situation is just not right for a rabbit at this time.

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Rabbit flop! I did a lot of reading about rabbits and learned that when they are content, they flop over on their sides like this. The first time he did it, though, I was afraid he was having a heart attack!

So, with a heavy heart, I packed him up Monday morning and took him to the shelter. I expected to leave there crying and miserable, but they were so nice and reassuring. The woman who helped me get him into his cage was obviously very knowledgeable about rabbits, which made me feel better. They said they have really good success adopting out rabbits, and all I could do was hope and pray that he would find a really wonderful home.

I came home exhausted and took a nap. When I got up, I finally got around to doing my daily tarot card draw, and when I looked closely at the card I laughed out loud—there is a brown rabbit on the card!

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From the Gaian Tarot

This made me feel so much better, like Goddess was saying, “Don’t worry, I’ve got this.” May Mr. Bumbles find a wonderful home like this, full of tasty things to eat and someone to love him unconditionally and take excellent care of him. So mote it be!

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I mean, seriously, who could resist this face???

Highs, Lows, and a Rabbit

It has been an up-and-down couple of weeks around here. I came down with a cold that lasted over a week and lost my momentum blogging and making art. We also had a series of storms come through that brought us over nine inches of rain in about five days, so between my cold and the weather, I spent a lot of time stuck indoors.

This past Tuesday was my mom’s surgery day, and I spent the morning sending her Reiki and prayers at the healing altar I set up for her. I also drew The Star as my card of the day—hope, faith, peace, grace—such an encouraging message for the day!

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My healing altar for my mom

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A message of grace and hope

My mom came through the surgery very well, and once she was home and resting, I took advantage of finally getting over my cold and a partly sunny afternoon to get outside. Oh my gosh, how I needed that!

I went to the same park where I spent the Autumn Equinox, and was surprised to see how much higher the river was after all of the rain. The rocks I had been sitting on at the edge of the river were now mostly submerged and very far from the shore!

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That rock way out there is the one I was sitting on at the Equinox!

A couple of very nice older men came down to the river while I was there. They have been coming up every year for twenty-five years to fish for steelhead, and we marveled over how high the river was this early in the season and swapped flood stories with each other. When we started talking about birds, they told me how they had a Great Blue Heron land behind their chairs while they were fishing and demand part of their catch. If they didn’t volunteer to share, he just helped himself! They had really gotten a kick out of him and had been happy to share what they referred to as “garbage catch” with him.

I took a walk, singing songs of gratitude and blessing to myself and admiring the fall color. I also saw a large flock of wild turkeys. I felt so blessed!

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Beautiful autumn color

I spent the rest of the afternoon helping my mom, who was feeling remarkably well after her surgery. But then came a very big low—a family member accidentally hit one of the neighborhood cats as they pulled into our driveway. The neighbor he belonged to was thankfully very gracious about it (he was an outdoor cat and tended to be more of a “neighborhood cat” than a family pet), and I was frantically making phone calls to find a vet that could take him in to euthanize him because he was very badly hurt.

It was horrible. Awful. He was a favorite visitor and came to see us often for treats and attention, and we were all heartbroken and a bit traumatized. I’m still not really over it yet. It’s amazing how quickly a good day can be turned on its head, isn’t it?

But good news came yesterday—my mom is cancer free! They found no other cancer around the lump they removed or in her lymph nodes. A big, big sigh of relief and much gratitude is being felt around here!

Then last night I discovered what was obviously a pet rabbit running around in our yard. I asked my neighbor if he knew anything about it, and he said the rabbit showed up a couple of weeks ago and has been hanging out under another neighbor’s porch. This morning I talked with that neighbor about trying to catch the rabbit and take him to a shelter for adoption, and he agreed I could set up a feeding station and trap in his yard where the rabbit seems to spend most of his time. So I spent today running around buying rabbit food and renting a live trap from the animal shelter and generally trying to figure out how to catch a rabbit! Wish me luck! I’ve named the little cutie Bun Bun Nickles.

I keep thinking back to my Autumn Equinox tarot reading and how accurately it has played out so far. It has been a crazy few weeks. I’m hoping for a bit more calm from here on out. Well, once I am able to catch Bun Bun Nickles, anyway!

An Autumn Afternoon by the River

It has been way too long since I spent time nature journaling outdoors, so I took advantage of the gorgeous day yesterday to do some sketching down by the river. I wasn’t really focused on making a beautifully composed page, but was just having fun drawing and painting whatever caught my attention.

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Sketching by the river

There was a flock of Canada Geese paddling and feeding on the river. Drawing something that never stops moving is always a challenge, so some geese came out better than others. Then some honeysuckle berries caught my eye. They are translucent red and were literally glowing in the sun—so beautiful!

I found the wild grape leaf on the ground near where I was sitting. Normally they just turn yellow in the fall, but this one was gorgeous in shades of gold, orange and magenta. A teeny-tiny spider marched across the table while I was sketching, so I added her in, too.

I saw a Pileated Woodpecker, which is the first time I have seen one in this area. They are always exciting to see with their magnificent red crests!

The sun was warm, there was a soft breeze, the river was splashing and singing as it flowed over the rocks, and I heard several large splashes in the water—could it be salmon coming home to spawn? It was a beautiful time to enjoy the world around me and forget about worry, and cancer, and the election (oh my goddess, the election!!!) for a while. A much-needed time out.

I wish you gorgeous autumn afternoons full of sunshine and peace, and maybe even a little sketching!

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The final page

(P.S. I just realized I dated my page wrong! It should have been the Oct. 9. Oops! I’ll have to fix that.)

October Transitions

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Can you feel the change in the air? October is one of my favorite months, but this year I’m really noticing how full of transition it is. One day is gray and rainy, the next is sunny and warm. Some trees are still mostly green, while others have completely turned red or gold. There are flowers that are still in full bloom, while others have already died back for the winter. The energy is fitful, restless, up-and-down, changing from one day to the next.

I feel the same way—restless, out-of-sorts, up-and-down. One day I’m still feeling the bright and active energy of summer, the next I feel the pull of the quieter, introspective energy of autumn. I’m finding it hard to focus, hard to settle down to any one project. Like the weather, I’m feeling a bit moody. One day I want change and excitement, I want to shake things up! The next I want to hide under a blanket with a book and ignore the world.

Outer transitions lead to inner transitions, outer changeableness leads to inner changeableness. We are so much more connected to the world around us than we sometimes realize. Are you feeling it, too? It can be a bit of a wild ride!

So to help me deal with all this restlessness, I’ve been making plans to give myself something to focus on as well as a couple of things to look forward to.

I have been feeling a bit disconnected spiritually, and wanted to challenge myself to refresh my spiritual practice. I decided that for five evenings each week during the month of October, I will turn off all electronics by 7 pm and spend time at my altar praying with my goddess rosary, then spend time in meditation. The rest of the evening I’ll journal, sketch, read, etc., but no phone, computer or TV. (I’m usually in bed reading by 9 or 9:30, so this isn’t such a long period of time as it might sound to those of you who are night owls!) I started this practice this week and I already feel more centered and connected to Goddess.

To give myself something to look forward to, I am planning to take Joanna Powell Colbert’s Ancestor Prayer Card class at the end of the month. I haven’t felt drawn to working with my ancestors in the past, but this year I am feeling a strong pull towards this work and am really looking forward to this class.

I also decided that I want to do Beth Owl’s Daughter’s Solstice Sun Wheel Prayer Circle this year (I’m really planning ahead with this one!). I’ve known about it for years, but haven’t participated before. This year the practice is really calling to me, and I’ve already ordered an advent wreath so I’ll be ready to go. I don’t know if she’ll be leading the circle again this year, but if not I will follow along with the posts from last year.

So, here’s to honoring the seasonal shifts and our own internal shifts as we move deeper into autumn! May it not be too bumpy a ride!