New Moon Tarot Layout

New Moon is such a potent time for planting seeds, for setting intention, for taking stock. For me, the dark of the New Moon excites me. It seems so potent and full of potential for me. Plus, that inward reflection for me plays beautifully into my own introversion and need for alone time. I mean, this isn't isolation. It is solitude. It is time to check-in. I often do my most powerful readings during this time period, because I do it ready for release. Hell, the New Moon makes me sleep well, but also finds me cranky. I am not always good with too many personalities, so I pare things down. I connect with the cards, with Spirit, with my own needs. 

I often do the Medicine Wheel Layout or even the Solstice layout, but recently, I have been doing this New Moon Layout I've been playing with. This is really potent for those who aren't really sure what energy they are really ready to call in at the New Moon. It is great for the question: Where should my attention be right now?

As always, please let me know how you like this layout and show me your readings. I am offering distance readings again, so please reach out if you are interested at angie@themoonandstone.com

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medicine wheel layout

The energy of Summer is upon us--that fire in our belly. In terms of the Medicine Wheel, we are facing South, the direction of Fire, of mystery, of passion and heat and action and creativity and, and, and....there is so much going on the South, it is no wonder we break a sweat. The South moves us from the airy East into the deep fires of the lower chakras--the root, sacral and solar plexus. This is where we ground, we create, we do. Red, Orange, and Yellow combine to create those flames of  DOING.

Many tribes use the Horse as their symbol of the South. I certainly use her as my Southern Totem. She is the Great Sojourner, the Carrier of the Warrior and the Maiden, the traveler, the explorer, that fearless movement forward. We call in the energy in the East in Spring, and it flies overhead with the energy of Hawk, Eagle, even hummingbird (hummingbirds have been all over my land this year with her busy, fast dance.) These high fliers have the vision to align you, to see the bigger picture, to see the forest, but what that vision does is move you into South, where we actually do the dang thing we have been visioning. When I am in the South, I find myself creating all day, painting, sketching, playing guitar, singing, doodling. My creativity is awakened. Creativity and action begets more creativity and action. I am ready. I call on fire to burn away that which sit stagnant in my energy field. I call on fire to start me on my wild journey.

I move through the Medicine Wheel constantly--we all do...each day, year, and in the cycle of our life, we move through east, south, west, and north. Each morning, in my prayers, I call in the directions for healing and to guide my days. I use this model for my Tarot readings too. This isn't exactly a new layout, though I didn't "copy" it from another source. This is just how I have always intuitively done reading around the Medicine Wheel. I drew it up in a Tarot Layout that is shareable and useable. I thought we could try it next Tarot Share for our group reading.

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beltane tarot spread

I have really enjoyed creating tarot spreads around the seasonal energies this year. It has been such a challenge for me to think about what we need to know at different times of the year around these cycles. I connect with cycles and even created an oracle deck based on the different cycles we tap into through our life. It's not available yet. I just use it for myself. But I think about this so often when I do readings for my clients. First, what cycle of life are they in? What cycle of their year? What universal cycle are they in--what is the astrological or lunar cycle are all of us facing? This seems like such an important part of the work of reading energy to me.

Beltane, May 1st, is one of those important points on the Wheel of the Year. Spring is in full bloom--flowers are blossoming and the world radiates a thousand shades of green in every corner. The lightness seeps into us all. The Solar Horned God earns his name and is ready to mate with the Lunar Goddess. This is where the idea of Lusty May comes in. We certainly understand Spring Fever and we really enjoy a time of fertility and growth. We celebrate the light, the sexuality and creativity that lies within that sacral energy. It is within us. Now, how are you expressing this time?

I create these tarot spreads to help us easily tap into the energetic and magickal work important around these different points on the Wheel of the Year and in our life. It is such a powerful time to check-in with a relationship or partnership you have. And if you are more interested in a creative project, you can also think of that birthing out of the same energy of Beltane. Remember you can do this reading at any time you want to check in with a relationship or project of any kind, not just Beltane. Let me know how you enjoy this layout.

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Blue moon tarot spread

So much of this energy of January is about the two full moons that act mark the beginning and ending of the month. The second blue moon on January 31st is super special--it is a blood moon, a full lunar eclipse and then of course the Blue Moon. 

Tarot is a perfect way to tap into this energy and use it to manifest your beautiful goals. This Leo Blue Moon is one of bringing in and setting intentions around some long-term goals and dreams. I mean, these are those dreams you dare not speak aloud, the ones that feel too wildly awesome to imagine. I used to be all about magical thinking, and fear of jinxing my good fortune. Pshaw!! Not anymore and not since so many of the dreams I dare not speak aloud have come to be. I am living my wildest dreams (and I'm still uncomfortable sometimes, by the way. The discomfort just stays for so little time, and makes me too curious to suffer for too long!). So, what is that dream for you? Are you so out of touch of your childlike awe and curiosity that you forget? 

Tarot is great for uncovering your subconscious and superconscious selves. So, tap into it with this layout, and let me know how it goes!

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understanding the medicine

When we see an animal die before us, what are we supposed to interpret and understand from that medicine?

On the way to our last circle, one of my students hit a deer. She was devastated. The deer most certainly will die, or already had died. She asked me, “What does this mean?” As a circle keeper and an earth medicine walker, I found myself stumbling over my words. Why does this happen to us who walk an earth medicine path? Others chimed in with their thoughts—the deer knew you could hold space for its transition; it was destined to die; better you than someone else.

A few years ago, after a circle, I was driving home. I live in the boonies, as we say, out in the sticks, where I worry about hitting deer. Pennsylvania ranks as the second most deer collisions in the country. So, I drive slowly, cautiously through the fields, and frequently stop for all kinds of wildlife. But I was still in the city, headed home, and bam, a deer ran into my car. It hit my front quarter panel. I pulled over and the deer laid on the side of the road, panting, clearly injured. I called the police and sent Reiki. I envisioned the Reiki energy repairing the deer’s legs and head, and strengthening it. I did this Reiki for almost 15 minutes, and the deer stood up, steady and whole, then ran right out into the street to get demolished and killed by a massive truck.

The truck tore the deer apart. I shook and cried as well.

What does this mean? Is it still medicine for us if we see our medicine dead on the side of the road? And how do we interpret it?

As I meditated on the death of the deer, I could see this interplay between the deer’s medicine and the encroachment of humanity. The medicine of deer resides in its deep vulnerability. When deer interact with humanness and urban environments, we begin to see just how vulnerable these magnificent creatures are.  Humans have disrupted the balance of the predator and the prey. Our ancestors decimated the predators—wolves, mountain lion population, the bears—who would have hunted the sick and weak, keeping populations down. Massive deforestation also affects deer populations. Whitetail deer flourish in edge environments, right where the forest meets the suburbs. Streets and cars encroach on the delicate ecosystems. And hunting is down around the country with the ease of shopping for meat in the supermarket.

So, deer medicine is not only a medicine about the individual deer’s vulnerability to predators but the species. Deer, particularly those with antlers, have a strong connection to Spirit. Their antlers are said to reach high to our guides and angels as antennae for messages. Deer connects with the subtle energy system and has heightened senses from hearing to vision to smell. They are always sensing the disruption in the force.

I could not help thinking as my student told me about the deer and her accident that this was part of the critical message for her. Knowing that she is going through a beautiful spiritual opening, deer medicine can come in this way to remind us of our vulnerability during our spiritual opening. When we experience all this light and love that begins to channel through us from Spirit, we live in a bubble of good vibes. When I started opening, I just was always blissed out and only able to tolerate other lightworkers. When we take all this gentle light and vulnerability into the real world, our first encounters with the sickness of our society, the toxicity and negativity of people, the harshness of the news and the suffering of others, we experience this world just like the deer, hit out of nowhere by real life. This modern world is cruel to the vulnerable. Deer medicine embodies vulnerability, quiet, and gentleness. Nothing is more profoundly indicative of the imbalance then when nature interacts with urban life. Where we see how pollution hurts wildlife, or cars kill deer. 

This grounded, counter energy to very high vibrational work is part of the medicine lightworkers need to carry as much as the light message of our power animals.  When you open in profound ways, you are, of course, more susceptible to those deep wells of grief and compassion. But it goes deeper. There is nothing natural about carrying vulnerability or being an empath in a narcissistic world. We also have to experience and learn about the shadow medicine of our animals. Shamanic work is not always easy or light or fun. It is mostly about challenging ourselves to go beyond the surface, to experience the more profound message, to become stewards of the Earth, spokespeople for the Mother. When all of this starts, we want to live in that amazing Other World of Spirit. When we practice earth medicine, we become intrinsically tied to Mother Earth and Grandmother Moon, and their incredible cycles. Life and death, happiness and grief, masculine and feminine—this delicate balance becomes second sight to us We can see it without trying. Impermanence and suffering of life and of the human condition is part of our medicine and the spiritual experience. We must hold space for both light and darkness, birth and death. As we begin our opening, this can be a harsh reality.

If this happens to you, or you are driving and notice an animal sacred to you, dead on the side of the road, my suggestion is to begin asking what is the medicine for you—both in the animal’s living experience (how does it live, love, eat, hunt, raise its young, etc), then as your medicine interacts with the brutality of this world. 

  The prayer stick I created for the Vulture I harvested in 2016.

The prayer stick I created for the Vulture I harvested in 2016.

We can also show reverence for the medicine of that animal by creating a prayer stick. This is a way of honoring your deer and helping its Spirit make its way upward. You take a stick. I suggest about a foot to a foot and a half long. I would walk in an area where the animal was killed, or an area sacred to you. Do not take a stick off of a living tree. Forage on the earth for it. Remember to sing and leave an offering for found objects. Tobacco is traditional, but lavender, a piece of hair or other offering is proper. Hold the stick, and commune with it. Talk to it.  Take all the bark off of it. Bark represents the ego, and we take the bark off to humble ourselves before Great Spirit. Sanding the stick, and working with it in some way is important to connect your energy to the tree energy. You can decorate it with red leather or red fabric, crystals, feathers or other offerings. You can paint it with colors, or symbols. Attach leather or yarn to float in the wind. Feathers are traditional because they carry the prayers to heaven, also the soul of the deer or animal hurt.  Take some red flannel and make a little offering or prayer tie to Spirit (tobacco or sage is traditional) and tie it to the Stick. Some traditions use a Y shaped stick. Then place it in the earth. This grounds your prayer and gives it a solid foundation. Also it connects Mother Earth and Father Sky. If you want, you can place it where the deer was hit, or you can place it in a sacred place in your yard. Sing a song to offer its soul to heaven/Great Spirit. I did this for the Vulture I harvested last year, and it felt important and honoring of the medicine and nature.

If you are able and feel up to it, take the hair or an item from the animal that was killed (always remembering that if it stinks, it will always stink. If it has bugs, your house will have bugs, so only newly killed animals can be harvested, but that is another post) and use it in ceremony. As medicine keepers, we need to honor the medicine and the allies and giving them a good death is part of this process. You can use that medicine you harvested on your altar or in a medicine bundle.

One thing I know is that none of us aim for the deer or squirrel or bird, so release guilt. Guilt is the illusion of control (if I did something different, it would have changed the outcome). Just be with the profound grief. That is enough suffering. Create a ritual of honoring the medicine of the deer. Sit in the discomfort of your humanness and the ways in which we can mitigate the harshness of our living on the earth. Allow the tears their flow. Fall into ritual and ceremony. 

Remember anything, all of our human experience, can become our medicine. To ignore the death, suffering, and violence inherent in our animal medicine is to ignore the full power of its medicine. May you walk gently on the Earth, friends. 
 

samhain ancestor tarot spread

Creating Tarot spreads has become one of my new favorite past times. It is amazing when, as a reader, you have that deep shift in your bones about Tarot. You go from doing everything by the book (whichever book you have given authority to in that week) to playing with your cards. To realizing they are in relationship with you and you can bend and ask and instruct and prescribe how and what messages you need. This is so powerful when you create a Tarot spread.

You literally start with a question: What information is most useful for me right now? What will help my soul grow? And for me, one of the things I find most powerful is: How can I tap into the seasonal energies to create a layout that helps me grow spiritually? This has been my goal in the last few months with these new layouts I am creating...designing layouts that move us through the Medicine Wheel and the Wheel of the Year. 

Every month, I host a Tarot Share at Alta View Wellness Center. We get together and read for each other. This has been 18 months strong, and I'm so proud of the community we have created. We decided to do a Tarot Share Costume Party this year for our monthly Tarot Share, and to come dressed as our favorite card. We actually chose cards last month out of the Majors and Court Cards, and I pulled the Devil. I cannot wait to get all Devilish for our group. (Incidentally, as a Capricorn, the Devil is my card, and it happens to be my card of the year too. Isn't Tarot AMAZING?!?)

ANYWAY, the Tarot Share works like this. It is for other Tarot readers. We gather and exchange readings. Usually, we get to exchange one on one, then most of the time, we do one large reading for the whole group. We often do a reading around the seasonal energies, or the moon cycle. It has been amazing to see how much each of us relate to the big reading. So, for Samhain, I wanted to create a layout that both taps into the ancestral work of Samhain and the idea of releasing and bringing in. So, I thought you might enjoy this too for your Samhain gatherings. Let me know how it goes and how this layout worked for you.

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belonging + be-longing

it’s been a while…that’s not from lack of love. In fact, every week, I put my weekly love letter to you on my To-Do list. When I write to you, my heart takes over, and even when I’m promising myself I’m not going to go deep, suddenly, there I am talking about that thing that I didn’t want to talk about.

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It’s that way with this work I am called to do too. We want to stay light and shallow, but Spirit has a way of asking more of us, demanding we get honest and authentic right now. Presence, in fact, is just being where we are and honoring that walk.

I revisit grief this month, as my close friend lost her battle with cancer at age 45. Grief is this deep global, ancestral and cultural experience too right now, as we move through October—the month of collective honoring of the dead, and then on the heels of the hurricanes, earthquakes, fires still raging in the West…with all the natural disasters, racial violence, the shooting in Las Vegas (hell, the shootings every day in the US), with our own private and personal tragedies, we must sit with this extreme discomfort. I have no special magic trick for doing this work, except to just do it. Just sit and weep. Talk about how uncomfortable you are. Write long poems about injustice if you must.

I did this in August when I traveled to Niagara Falls, NY, to spend the day with Marybeth Bonfiglio at a writing workshop called Of Blood + Belonging. It was so good. I mean, so good. We explored the ancestors and this deep cultural grieving we are all going through. We cannot shift, raise our consciousness, ascend without pain. It is painful to let go of unhealthy ways of being—when we quit coffee, we get a headache; when we quit racism, misogyny, anger, violence, we get protest and violence and discomfort. When we hurt our environment for centuries, we get an Earth in revolt.

Marybeth asked us to ask how we belong, and how we be-long. And I thought about this so much since then, as what I see in the news and in the media sometimes makes me feel very Other. But that is not what I do anymore. I reject Other. I want to be Of. I want to be in your tribe, and in the tribe of all, even the ones who hate me. And so I wrote this:

I belong to the Earth. I belong to the morning. I belong to the Moon and her mysteries. I belong to the group of misfits and outcasts that belong nowhere with nothing, moving towards the abyss in the sacred dance of the wounded. I belong to Shadow and Light and Shadow again. I belong to the darkness that mines my suffering, my sins, my losses to bring light to another in the depths of the valley of hurt and grief.

I belong to all people, to all the people who don’t belong anywhere. I belong to the tribe of the untribed, to the citizens of the liminal spaces, that walk between life and death, between whiteness and brownness, between hetero and homo, between sober and drunk, between American and Immigrant, between the worker and the master, between the singletons and the twins. I belong to the exiled. To the runaways. To the orphans. To the unmothered and untethered. To the betrayed and the betrayers. To the spies and the sell-outs and the druggies. I belong to the Vultures who circle overhead, transmuting the rot, eating away the parts of us that no longer work.

I belong to the ones who are afraid of death and afraid of life, and manage to make that sacred. And I be-long, I mean, I long to be of the fearless, those that fear nothing and no one, who fear the boundaries which keep us from recognizing we are one. But I belong to the afraid who do it anyway.

Sometimes anger and bewilderment is our starting place.

This is what my work is about—creating a circle of seekers and misfits. I have some amazing classes coming up. I want to share them with you. In my circles, my center is about helping you process all this, and belong somewhere, even if it is among those that belong nowhere. There is space for doubt and for discomfort. Join me.

Past Life Relationship Spread

As a Tarot Reader, I am privy to the most interesting questions. People often come to me in places of confusion about their relationships--marriages, lovers, clandestine affairs, friendships, frenemies, parental/child relationships, co-workers. When we feel strong emotions on either end of the spectrum, we know something important is happening within the relationship. Deep wounds AND deep healing come from relationships.

There is no mistake that the Lovers card of the Major Arcana features Archangel Raphael over the lovers (the Devil's dark card comes from the same imagery as the Lovers), and that in the Minor Arcana, the Two of Cups, has the Caduceus--the two snakes wrapped around the staff of Hermes has represented Medicine and Healing for a long long time. 

At times, healing in relationship confounds us. We don't always understand why someone provokes such strong reactions in us. Why someone's benign comment leads us to anger and another person's same comment sounds comforting. Or why we continue to attract and have the same types of relationships. Or why no matter how much therapy or talking or healing we do, we cannot repair the relationship with our mother, or father. When we get to the end of the line, we often ask questions like "What am I missing here? What is my lesson with this person? Do I have past life karma with this person?" People ask this if they feel deep, immediate love and connection for someone and if they feel the other extreme--revulsion, anger or deep hurt. 

This layout came about after a reading with a friend of mine. She asked me what her past life relationship was with her husband. They had been together for over twenty years. She wondered why she felt so obligated to the marriage and to him. She asked if we could find this out via the Tarot Cards.

Sure. Why not? I had never asked such a question of the Tarot before, but the Celtic Cross is incredibly versatile. As I laid it out, I began changing the meanings of the positions and moving some of the cards around. After I was done, I realize I had naturally created a sacred spiral. I had done another reading like this connecting with someone's passed over loved one (I'll post this layout soon). In crystal gridding, I use a spiral for past life grids, to open to the deep knowledge within, like unscrewing a lid of the jar to view the past life.

We have done this spread many times in Tarot Share, playing with questions for each other to see how this layout works. One night, we did this for everyone at Tarot Share, looking at our past life karma with each other. It was fascinating to find out that when we ask about those people who have created deep love and deep anger/resentment/fear, we often get lots of Major Arcana cards. We see archetypes. We see reversals (lots of reversals). We see a spiritual journey, suffering. Do not be surprised if you see these kinds of things in this layout. It may be disturbing, but it also validates that the strong emotions you feel. Major Arcana always deals with soul journey. When we would read for each other (people who get along and often only interact during Tarot Share), we had all Minor Arcana and not too many reversals. It is not that we didn't share a past life, but that it was easy and light, and often in the context of a village or family environment where our souls and soul work is more removed from each other. 

In the best case, these cards reveal their deep past life meanings to us easily during this layout. It can be hard to discern exactly what is going on in Past Life readings, but try to expand on what you already know of the card. And have fun playing with this layout. Comment here or on one of the social media platforms where I share this layout about how it worked for you. I'd love to hear!

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eclipse reading

One of the gifts of Tarot is how versatile and beautifully flexible it can be with our own spiritual work. Tarot flows through our own journaling and work in whatever way we need it. I've been journaling my daily Tarot readings again, after taking a wee hiatus, and it reconnects me to my Higher Self, my guides and my daily self-care regimen. 

As a professional Tarot reader, I sometimes fall out of the habit of journaling. When I connect with Spirit for other people, I end up taking something away that I also needed to hear. And to be honest, sometimes I get burnt out from the cards. I know what they mean, so I'll throw a reading, then look at it. "Meh, yeah, I know. Quit harping on me, Tarot." But the truth is--Tarot has so much nuance and layers of meaning that this thought is just me being lazy. When I journal, I take a new deck, and use the book, or I go really in-depth with one card in relation to my question. 

The best part of this new journaling journey is that I have been creating so many NEW layouts for myself and others. This time, though, I am creating graphic layouts to help others go deeper with their cards. 

Of course, this new eclipse energy is kicking my ass. I mean, really. So much shadow has reemerged, and I realize now that this eclipse energy emerged for me in June, and has grown darker and deeper through this summer. We are at a culmination of release energy. I created an eclipse tarot layout at look at this shadow work. This layout can be used at any new moon, not just eclipse new moons. It is about going deeper with your own discomfort. One thing I always find confounding is this idea of Letting It Go (Elsa, I'm sorry!) I mean, sometimes I just look at someone with the head turned to ask, "UH, HOW?!?!" This layout has a card that asks just this question, "How do I let it go? How do I release?" I also ask, "What do I need to forgive?" Forgiveness work seems the key to this eclipse energy. Forgiving the self, forgiving others, forgiving our childhood, forgiving our bad decisions...so, that was my thought here. Forgiveness, shadow, release.

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I hope you enjoy it and I would LOVE to hear your experience with this layout. And as a sidenote, I thought tomorrow that I might do a Live Reading on FB of this layout for the entire audience. I do offer distance readings, if you are interested in having a reading with me. Send me an email at angie@themoonandstone.com

 

altar creation spread

If you didn't know, one of my passions is altar making. I have an altar 100% of the time on my bookcase in my meditation room. On one side, i always have a crystal grid going, just to raise the vibration of the room and my soul work. On the other side (because the bookcase is long and thin), I place a statue of a goddess or angel, or a picture, or a statue or fetish of the animal medicine I'm working with. Then more crystals, ones that work with the crystal grid or medicine wheel I have on the other side. I change it out depending on the holy day or sabbat, my soul work or journey work, shadow issues that arise, messages I am getting from Spirit, Animal Medicine, health or family crisis...whenever I am facing a new challenge, passion or phase in my life, I look to the altar first. 

I have been facing so many different exciting changes and circumstances. My health journey has been challenging this year. My work life has expanded with hibiscus moon and then my client base in harrisburg is always expanding and changing. My soul work has been on a nice even keel, and then I went to SouLodge Earth Medicine Gathering and uncovered many layers of what I need to do. Where do I even start with all this?

Well, that was my question. Where to start? Where does Spirit want me to start with all that information? Being an intuitive isn't always so clear cut. I get tons of messages. Right now, my dreaming is through the roof (Last night, i dreamed an incredible dream, and then when it was done, I decided to have that dream again, and then reworked it into a new dream with a new ending. Talk about lucid dreaming on steroids!) And sometimes I get that analysis paralysis, or rather information overload!

Because of all this soul work, I have rededicated myself to morning journaling and daily tarot pulls. AND WOWEE! it is awesome. What is awesome is finding a new passion for something I do so often for other people. When you pull tarot for clients, you often don't pull for yourself. Part of it is that i easily dismiss my messages--yeah, yeah, I need to stop being so hard on myself. Okay. Scoop up the cards, and immediately forget the message. So, journaling keeps you accountable, and I decided to play and explore some new decks beyond my beloved Rider-Waite, specifically the Chrysalis deck by Toney Brooks and Holly Sierra as well as Motherpeace by Karen Vogel and Vicki Noble. I've been using the BOOK! (I always joke with my students about getting OFF BOOK! and now I am back ON BOOK [and incidentally loving being on book. I even went on Rachel Pollack's book with the Rider Waite just to keep it going.]) 

All of this is to say, this morning, I tweaked a spread I do for myself for creating altars when I have a short attention span and cannot figure out what to focus on. It incorporates Oracle decks with Tarot; in fact, it incorporated four additional oracle decks--Visions Crystal Oracle, my own oracle deck called Cycles, of which there is only one deck and it is all about ritual, The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit deck and the Ascended Master deck by Doreen Virtue. Then I used the Chrysalis Tarot deck for my main work, which has guides in and of itself. (Such a fantastic deck. I was at first obsessed with the pips, but now, I cannot get enough of the Majors. Ariadne is stalking me, I swear. And Kali for that matter.)

Anyway, here is the spread as I pulled it:

So much of what this reading said to me was that it was time to allow transformation to happen. The shadow work here is around letting go, surrender and joy. I often struggle with joy. Joy is a bugger for me. So, this work with snake centers around this shedding of control and desire to figure it all out. The ritual card here is one I created called Enso, Imperfection. I used to have a fairly steady and daily enso painting practice. I don't paint ensos anymore--life got complicated with my adventurous two year old. But I decided to paint a rock to remind me of this for my altar, using this enso ritual as a jumping off point to explore an imperfect creative practice to funnel some energy.

Here is the altar and grid that arose from this spread:

You also can play with this spread, as I have compiled a little easy Tarot Layout for you to incorporate into your practice. In fact, I created a few of these for Pinterest, since I use SO MANY pinterest layouts these days, having not so recently discovered that they exist. Enjoy and share, if you can. It is great to have a Tarot community to bounce ideas off of. LOVE to YOU!

dreamwork

Dreams have always been a part of the spiritual experience from Jacob's dream in the Book of Genesis (or Joseph to Pharoah) to the very early Muslim dream manuals. The Ancient Greeks and Romans took a dream interpreter into battle with them. Oracles used dreaming as a way of communicating with Spirit and the Gods or God. In cultures all across the world, dreamers who could travel to the dream realm have been a vital element of the spirituality of that society. In some Native American traditions, dreamers are said to walk through a gateway into the dreaming dimension where Spirit, ancestors, and humans can meet as equals, learning from each other. As Western society rejected this societal dream work, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung turned it more inward, and have both advanced dream work by helping recognize the great teachings that come from having and understanding a symbolic language of dreaming. Personally, I have been told often that my guides work with me deeply in my sleep, helping me integrate medicine and ritual into my daily life and work by repeated lessons in my sleep.
 
From a young age, I have had a deeply spiritual and active dream life. I have been a Lucid Dreamer since my teens, which means that I am conscious of being in a dream while in it, and can also change and interact in my dream life as a tool for connecting to Spirit, the spiritual realm, and my Higher Self. I even connect with passed love ones this way, and sometimes have glimpses of the future, albeit in that surreal dream world that makes clarity challenging. Prophetic dreaming has been a source of curiosity and probably the most talked about and accepted psychic phenomenon. 

Symbols of and in Dream Work

Because of this personal background, I often talk about dream work, which is what I label the spiritual work, visioning, and remembering of our dreams. I often recommend dream work to my clients who are working with me for my Moon Cycle Coaching services, in Tarot readings or in my mentoring circles. In my readings, a number of Tarot cards have come to represent dream work to me--the Two of Swords, the Four of Swords, and Nine of Swords. Swords naturally represent dreams, because they often associate with perception rather than reality. In the Major Arcana, the High Priestess and the Moon (even the Star) can recommend using dreams as insight. In fact, some Readers see the two pillars in the background of the Moon as the gateway to the dream realm. Any card with nighttime can be seen as opening the door to dream work. While lucid dreaming may seem impossible to you, dream work can be as simple as remembering your dreams and journaling about them.

Like all psychic work, the symbolic language of dream work is individual as each person. You begin developing your symbols and meanings as you begin going more in-depth. There are of course some universal symbols and mythology we all can tap into when we begin interpreting our dreams. This is so similar to my feelings about crystals and Tarot--using a reference book is a great place to start, but eventually, you begin to learn your own language for dream interpretation. Journaling is important in this way, because you can refer back to the dream symbols, and begin to make notes. Remember your psychic language--the symbols you use in psychic readings, oracle card interpretation, and Tarot interpretation--are going to be the same in your dreams. And vice versa. So, when you journal for Tarot, daily reflections, oracle cards and dreams and make connections in your day to day life, you master the symbols your guides, angels and truly your Higher Self speak in. This is your psychic language. You learned it. You speak it. You understand it. So, trust yourself.

A few years ago, I have created a medicine bundle for the year with the intentions--Release, Purify, and Path of Service. I asked my guides for signs of what I need to release or what shadow work I must do. My dreams in the next few days were what I would call, "Anxiety Dreams." You know, those dreams of showing up at school in only your underwear, or trying to get to work in time, but being delayed every moment. I wrote them all down, and began really explicating them. What were these anxieties? Oh, right. This is how Spirit is answering my question. These ARE the things I need to release. They ARE my shadow work. As I reflected on them, wrote about them, I really discovered these deep-seated fears were flying under the radar. So, while at times we have very detailed dreams with our angels and guides, the majority of our dreams are about regular life. Don't expect to see your guide in front of you with a sign, "YOU MUST RELEASE GUILT!" Allow your psychic and symbolic language to be Spirit's voice. 

Remembering Dreams

Remembering your dreams requires diligence and dedication, but no special tools. Dream cycles happen every 90 minutes, and you might have read that waking yourself every 90 minutes is the way to go. You certainly can choose to do this, though I know if I did that, I would be a wreck the next day. Honestly, during phases of getting more fully in-depth with dream work (and when I was younger with more stamina and less need for sleep), I have set a gradual alarm every hour and half after my initial three hour early sleep. And it does work to hone your skills as a lucid dreamer. If you decide to do this, try a gradual alarm. There is one for iPhone that gently brings you out of deep sleep with gradual bells. Gradual is the key here, because a shocking alarm can sometimes be the enemy of dream recall.

The most important aspect of dream recall remains getting enough sleep. Self-care in all aspects of psychic work stands alone as your single most important ally--enough sleep, water, movement, clean food, and regular meditation. No matter what happens in the day, I maintain a nighttime routine of face washing, water drinking, prayer, and meditation. Also screen time is a no-no at least an hour before you sleep. Do not neglect yourself when you are trying to do spiritual work. Actually, you'll want to step it up. Also it is best to abstain from alcohol or drugs. You do not have deep, lasting, restorative sleep when you have alcohol in your system.

 So, how to begin this process? Dream work requires simply a notebook and pen, or audio recorder. I love the latter if you are in a place where you won't wake anyone with your possibly incoherent dream talking. If you are going to fumble with it in the morning or be confused by it, don't use it. The scrabbling may throw off your dream recall. Use something easy for you to handle in a half-awake stage. Most people use a notebook. I keep a dedicated clean spiral notebook for my dream work. My friend Rachel designed a cool handmade spiral book for me, and I loved using that as a dream notebook. But alas, I filled that baby in a year. 

I begin my work in prayer, as in all my spiritual work, and simply pray for my angels, guides, ancestors to help me fully awaken with the detailed memory of my dreams. I also think it is wonderful to meditate before sleeping, to clear your mind of clutter from your day. There are some wonderful guided meditations that ease you into sleep. I have used the Delta Sleep System. And again, iPhone, Android, iPod and other gadgets must have biaural tones for sleep enhancement.

In my notebook I write the date, and my intention before going to sleep. "Angels and Guides, help me gain insight into my relationship through my dreams," I may write. Or perhaps, "I easily recall my dreams with detail and insight." An affirmation for dream recall. If you have had trouble with dream recall in the past, you may want to pray, "Dear Angels, please work with me in my sleep. Remove any blockages that I have to recalling my dreams."

Again, you can train yourself to wake up, or simply allow your body to ebb and flow in and out of consciousness in the night. When you do wake, stay still. Try to stay in the same position, and ask yourself what you dreamed. Tell yourself the story of your dream. Not shifting quickly, or turning on the light quickly, helps your recall. It is imperative that you write down all your dreams, even just images that you recall. Or even if they seem stupid or unrelated to any depth. You might be right, but just right it down. It is often the catalyst to remember the deeper work. If you think it is boring or a mundane dream, begin writing it anyway. You might find how important those discoveries are. Try desperately not to edit yourself. Get every symbol, image, name, words, phrase down. The more you do this, the more you will remember, and the easier it becomes. It is also helpful to sometimes write in the present tense rather than the past tense. So, rather than saying, " I walked into my childhood home." Say "I walk into my childhood home." Like you are telling a story. That sometimes make it easier to go back into the dream. But you also don't have to write it as a story. Sometimes it is just a symbol, number, picture, animal, friend, place. I often dream of the same places that I do not know in my waking life--a broken down city, an inside mall-like society, a series of roads twisting around a building. After you've detailed these places, you might name them, so you can shorthand your recall in the future.

I try not to turn on a light before writing. Some people, and I think this is a fabulous idea that I have (caveat) never used, is to use a gentle light to wake up in the morning, vs. an alarm. So it is like a gradual light un-dimmer, mimicking the sun rise. That would be ideal for waking, I would think. I sleep with a nightlight (mostly for my children), but it gives me enough ambient light to write in the middle of the night if something comes up for me. If you trust yourself to write without light, do it. I often cannot read my handwriting without light, mindfulness, and careful concentration, so I need all the help that I can get! But that is something I do religiously, write down my dreams after every dream. In the middle of the night. In the morning. Humans have a light sleep between dream cycles. This is often when we wake up in the middle of the night from a noise, or have to go to the bathroom. I would recommend writing down all night if you are serious about dream recall and engaging in dream work. 

Tools for DreamWork

Whatever spiritual work I do, I try to create sacred space. This picture is my bedside table. No, how it really looks! The bowl of herbs and crystals, along with how to create a sacred sleep space, teas to drink to enhance dream work, and other cool dream tools. When I am doing moon cycle work, I always sleep with my medicine bundle, as I suggest to all my clients too. And as suggested, I always have a notebook and pen bedside. I use Moleskin now, because I like how it opens. I also adore Himalayan Salt lamps, which incidentally is a great light to keep on all night, if you choose to go that route. The beautiful statue is one I was gifted from my sister, and for me, part of creating sacred space. As a clairvoyant channel and medium, she can see my Spirit Guide, and when she saw this statue, she told me he looks just like this! I love having White Bear there all night, watching over me. 

As I mentioned before, if you do wake to an alarm clock, keep it close, so you can stay as close to your original position as possible. When we talked about remembering, we talked about how important it is to keep the original position of your body, keep the light low, not do anything but remember first, which is why alarm clocks can really block dream recall. Gradual alarms, or Zen Alarm clocks, have been around for a while. You can also find them as an app on your phone. I have one called the Progressive Alarm, which wakes with Tibetan singing bowls by gradually getting louder and more frequent. This eases you out of your sleep, rather than shocks you out. I fortunately (or unfortunately) wake before the sun rises in the morning out of my own internal clock, so I don't use an alarm unless I have to get up at an ungodly hour before 5a. I mostly rise 5:30-6a out of my own strange inner timer which craves the sunrise.

If you haven't noticed, I love ritual. For those who have had readings with me, you know I often recommend ritual or meditations with my readings. I am currently working on an oracle deck to help bring ritual and meditation into the reading. It is all about cycles. Through the years, my dream rituals created my nighttime routine. I eat half of a banana before bed (potassium helps your memory). And often I drink Dream Tea. I blend my own dream tea, but there are quite a few awesome dream teas on the market. One tea I like is Dream Tea by Mountain Rose Herbs, which has my favorite dream herb Mugwort in it. Mugwort is a key herb, in my humble opinion, for dream work. In my younger days, I would smoke Mugwort before bed (when smoking wasn't a big deal to me.) If you smoke chanunpa, or a sacred pipe with Kinnikinnick , you can add some mugwort to the mix. Since I do not smoke anything these day, I add it to my own blended dream tea. Other herbs that aid in dreaming, lucid dreaming, and dream recall are lavender, chamomile, and valerian--these are all good for falling and staying asleep and achieving good restful sleep. It seems obvious, but good sleep is the most important element of dream recall. Peppermint is a good blender for mugwort, which is not that good on its own. I have read a great deal about Calea zacatehichi, as well as other shamanic herbs for lucid dreaming, but have not used it personally. Very simply, but also delicious and effective, combine lavender, mugwort, peppermint, damiana, and chamomile for a gorgeous dream tea. 

Beyond drinking (or smoking) herbs, you can use them for dream pillows--small, easy to construct pillows filled with the herbs that rest next to your head while you sleep. You can also add crystals to these pillows for added vibrational medicine. Another great idea--put herbs in disposable tea pouches (you can buy these at Mountain Rose too), or reusable muslin tea bags, and put them in your bath. Warm baths ease you into a dreamy state, so adding dream crystals and herbs to your bath, keeping lights low, and sipping dream tea enhances your susceptibility for spiritual dreaming and spiritual remembering. Remember all these ideas are just starting points, you can build and work with anything here. You might find that you connect more with valerian as an herb for dreaming, or you might want to hunt around the internet for your own rare Shamanic herbs for dream recall. Awesome, go with it.

I also keep a small pottery bowl on my bedside table. In it, I use Athena's dream recall set with her dream herbs and If you have never used her products, I urge you to try anything. She has another Dream set which looks amazing too. I use all her oils for my ritual work, and if you have worked with me, so have you. I love this little set, and the crystals are magic too. I have talked about this before, but keeping crystals in your environment does not have to be complex. Having small bowls of herbs and crystals is not only gorgeous, but a great way to interact with your crystals on a day-to-day basis.

Speaking of crystals, let's talk about some great crystals for dream recall. Amethyst probably remains the most popular, easily obtained and effective crystal for crown and third eye work. And actually, those are the chakras we are focusing on in dream work. We stimulate those two chakras--one for our inner vision and seeing and the other for our connection to the Divine, angels, our guides, and the universe. So, you can work with any of those third eye stones that you like--Azurite, Sodalite, Lapis Lazuli, Dumortierite, and Blue Kyanite. Sugilite is a highly recommended dreaming stone. Both Green and Purple Jade are often used for dream work. 

Some magical and moon time stones also aid and assist dream work like Moonstone, Labradorite and Black or Grey Moonstone--they are highly effective if you are using the moon cycles to work with your dreams. I have found the Black to be particularly effective as a dream aid. Prehnite is a wonderful psychic ally for dreaming, and I have used it for lucid dreaming. I have been working with Azeztulite and Spirit Quartz at night these past few months. Clear Quartz is always an ally, and is often good to enhance the work of another stone. So, if you have a small Sugilite, (which is all I seem to have right now) you might want to use Clear Quartz with it. 

I often focus my dream work on crystals or other tool, so I take a crystal, Tarot card, Oracle card, or other tool to bed with me for dream work; that is, I ask my guides to give me more information in my dreams about this tool, card or crystal. In that way, I love to work with Smoky Quartz or Garnet to help ground my dreams, or Fluorite to help me focus on this one tool, rather than have a chaotic, surreal dream. Some other crystals I have enjoyed working with for dreaming are Crown Chakra crystals like Selenite, Stilbite, Herkimer Diamond, and Scolecite. You can refer to my Crystals for Angelic Communication blog post for some recommendations for crystals for Angelic dream connection. 

It would be remiss of me not to mention some crystals for astral traveling and projection--Moldavite and Tektites are great ally for this work. Be careful sleeping with these, as some of them are very high vibrational. I was working with a Moldavite at night, and my son slipped into bed with us. He was two at the time, and all night, he was jumping in his sleep! It was like his body kept traveling and popping back into his body. I finally had to move the Moldavite to my ground floor so he could sleep! So, work with them in meditation and waking life before taking it to bed with you. It is a very far out crystal.

Whew, now that is a ton of crystals to go and find. But I recommend reading this list and working with one of these crystals that you already own. Or just letting one jump out at you, and search for that. There is absolutely no need to purchase all of these. let your intuition guide you.  If you have a good idea of mixing crystals for work at night, then do it! But mostly, I recommend working with one crystal for two to three nights/days. See how effective it is, or not. It would be good to note in your dream journal what crystals you are working with.
 

mothering

The breath catches in my chest. The cold hits me, energizes me. I am drawn outside. The winter air calls. I want to hike in the snow--to walk and walk and walk until I am way up in the mountains. The sound of my breath echoes in my ears, the cloud of it leading me deeper into the wood, higher into the ether. The sun flickers through the pine trees. It doesn't matter to me that it is cold. I dress warm, and stop when I grow tired, watch for signs of life. But that is not what happens when I step outside, daydreaming about walking for hours, rather a little one pushes through my legs and pops out the door ahead of me with no pants on, giggling wildly. I have children with me always. I wake up with a kid draped on me, his little feet finding a place to knead, a head finds its perch on a shoulder. When I close the door to wee in private, the door flies open, like the black hatted villain in a Western just slung open the Saloon door and is saddling up to the bar. Then it is the insistent, persistent calls for Mama, MAMMMMMMMMMMMA. Where you at? as my two year old says.

I was born maternal, nurturing my twin in the womb. Stuffed animals and baby dolls and then naming each fly that landed on my arm, and feeding it bits of water and fruit. Mothering is encoded in my dna, and writ on my body now is silvery stretch marks across my belly. I had three children in three years, then my fourth five years later. And I left my career to be there for my children. My body now is all mother--soft and low hanging breasts and lines around my smiles and eyes that show the love and joy my babies bring me.

For me, for many of us, mothering grants a daily spiritual experience. We bring this absolutely vulnerable being into this world, and then nurture it, watch it grow stronger. We love without conditions. We accept without limits. We give selflessly to them without a scorecard. Whether you mother human bubbies, or little fur babies, or your writing, or your artwork, or your home, or your own healing, the heart chakra cannot help but burst forth. 

And then imagine if we love ourselves this way. 

We would start a revolution. A wild love warrior revolution where we say to those negative voices, to the ones saying we aren't enough, or have enough, or give enough, "You are wrong, and I love you anyway too." Spiritual women and men often get teased about nurturing their inner child, as though it is a joke. And yeah, maybe it makes us sound a little woo-woo and emotional, but hell, I am a little woo-woo and emotional. I'm okay with that. The mothering of the Self is such a vital important part of us being able to mother anyone else.

As I continue on my work with Earth Medicine School in the second level, Pixie takes us deeper into who we are and what we do. And it has been an absolutely fascinating discovery into who I am. When I listed who I am, my first word was Mother.

I am a mother.

This is what I do all day. If you follow me on Instagram, I may post some artsy pictures of communing and meditating and doing cool artsy, bohemian stuff, but most days I am in the nitty gritty with a rambunctuous, curious, awesome, goofy two year old and two big kids with bigger emotional needs. I try to also post pictures of my kids crying too, because that is my life. It is all of it. The other day, for example, the baby had a bit of diarrhea, and screamed in ten minute increments on and off since he woke up. Because his bum hurts and he keeps pooping and he doesn't know what to do. And my job is to just hold him and rock him and change that smelly diaper and smooch his head and make sure he's hydrated and keep a stream of beauty coming so he can make it through an awful day.

When I go to work, I deal with people from all walks of life dealing with all sorts of issues, but maybe they too are in the same place as my son. They feel uncomfortable and don't know what to do.

I recenter my practice in what I know. When my children are feeling out of control, it is time to center. Breathe. Then I begin asking the questions:

Are you thirsty?  Drink water.
Are you hungry? Eat an apple.
Are you tired? Nap.
Are yousad? Cry.
Are you lonely? Call someone.

This is the same with my clients. Let's get simple. Let's breathe. Let's assess. Let's figure out your goals. What is uncomfortable for you right now? Is it your spirit? Is it your body? Is it your mind? Is it your heart? How are you uncomfortable? Are things too tight? Are they too loose? Is what you thought you had gone? Is it too heavy to carry? Is there a hole that needs to get filled? This sounds very basic, but it is the checklist I make in my head when I talk to a client. 

Nurturing comes by from setting boundaries some days. Other days nurturing is a warm blanket and tea with a good book. Other times it is saying yes to help. We don't mother each project the same nor do we treat each issue the same in session. With clients, I am a source of acceptance and non-judgment. How could I judge? I have worked on all kinds of people. People that look scary, people that look beautiful, soccer moms, alcoholics, witches, Christians, Buddhists and everything in between. I've worked on ex-cons and drug addicted moms and people with cancer and people who have survived the unthinkable. And whenever I close my eyes, their guides come. ALL of their gorgeous angels and spirit guides, animal guides and ascended masters come in droves expressing absolute, perfect love. They don't smell the cigarette smoke or judge that this person cusses when ordering take-out. I can feel that perfect love for each person. There is never judgment there. Only a suggestion, a reminder of our ability to release what is no longer serving, sometimes a redirection, but the thing that blows me away every time I work on a client is the amount of immense love, overwhelming love, Spirit has for us. It is profound. It is unconditional. Spirit loves us like we love our babies, with absolute awe and wonder, with reverence and endless compassion. And Spirit says what I so often tell my clients, "I wish you could see yourself the way Spirit sees you." As light. As love. As a heart. As a baby. As a wise sage. Who am I to judge when Spirit does not? It is overwhelming powerful and humbling.

But mothering isn't just about love, it is about constructing frameworks and boundaries, teaching ethics and how to behave in lovingly firm ways. I am not necessarily warm always. I am pretty masculine at times, blunt and to the point to avoid confusion about my expectations, but I like to laugh. And practice loving my clients as I love my children with awe and reverence and patience.

How are you showing up in your life? Who are you and how does that filter through your work? What or who are you mothering these days and how does it differ from the way you mother yourself?

crystal storage

I acknowledge my poor neglected blog, so this year, I want to focus more energy on my blog, newsletter, and writing about my work (and maybe finishing one of those books I have started). I am going to mix it up with pieces about tarot, crystals, soul work, incorporating mysticism and shamanic work into your life, earth medicine, and earth centered parenting. So, I thought I would answer some of these questions on my blog, have some conversations with people in the community, and just muse on my own. So, send me your crystal questions, or tarot questions, or spiritual questions you'd like to hear me tackle in the blog. Now onto my musings for today.

When people who begin getting interested in crystals come to my classes, or email me on-line, the questions they generally ask me revolve around normal logistical questions. One of the questions I get the most is "How do you store your crystals?"

I have many ways of keeping my crystals. First, I have this beautiful cabinet that my friend gave me from her father's art studio. They kept his slides for artwork and inspiration. I have kept his letters, and now fill it alphabetically with crystals. I have one of these cabinets at work in my healing studio and one in my home, and yes, they are both filled with crystals. 

Inside this cabinet, I have each crystal in a bag labeled with the crystal name and sometimes the Moh's hardness, etc. These are things I like to know, and even though I am pretty good at identifying crystals, it is much easier to have them listed out and accessible in each drawer. It is my Earth-sign nature to keep things color-coded and alphabetized.

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This is primarily for tumblies that I sell or give to clients. I often give little mojo bags to clients. I sometimes have rare smaller crystals that I have one piece of in these cabinets too. For gridding, I have bought art bins and storage bins for art supplies. I find that trying to come up with six crystals of relatively the same size and color can be difficult. I never seemed to have the right amount at the right time, and sometimes I have two extra-large tumblies and four small ones. So, I began collecting and buying crystals six at a time, or if I buy a nice pound or two for a class or the boutique at Alta View Wellness Center , I will nick six of them for gridding. I store them together in these containers. The top open one is for smaller tumbled stones. I always store six stones, as that is sort of the number I use for most of my gridding. The one on the bottom has bigger specimen pieces for gridding or tumblies for gridding. It is about 4" deep. I had them labeled, but they don't completely match anymore to their label. 

I do have larger specimen pieces that I use to center grids, or for altar making. I keep them in our old secretary with fossils, old bottles I collect and other curio items. I keep it them all in my meditation room, so the vibe in there is Ah-mazing. It is probably my favorite place in the house.  

For my crystal healing practice, I have to carry my crystals back and forth from my home to the office. I share the room with other healers, and one of them talked about how the vibration is too strong for her clients, so they began traveling. It isn't the easiest situation. Rocks are heavy, and I like to keep a variety available for my clients. So I found this perfect case for them and it has broken and cracked, and I still keep using it because I cannot find another that is exactly the depth and size I need for my practice. I took a picture of it this afternoon after weeding out the crystals I am taking with me to Tucson for the Gem Show, so it isn't as full as normal.

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Again, I chakra coordinated it, and it holds nice thick pieces and also small ones stay together. I also keep full layouts I use on people in there. I keep this and some of my items I need for a healing session--like a huge magnetite, selenite wand, eye pillow, pendulums, and a box of lemurians, malachite, smoky quartz point, auralite 23 wand and another laser wand for special work--in a box carrying case from thirty-one bags. Someone once came to a class I had and saw my carrying container and snarkily said, "A shaman carrying a thirty-one bag?!? Now I have seen it all." I don't call myself a shaman, but other people do, and their ideas about what a shaman, mystic or healer is and is not is really none of my business (this should probably be a whole blog post in and of itself!). But my first response was, "Shamans are practical, and this thirty-one bag can carry a whole hell of a lot of stones." It is the most durable bag I have. Seriously! 

That was a serious tangent. A tangent supreme.

AT any rate, the whole reason all of this came up is that I am trying to find a way to carry a very pared down version of my healing kit to Tucson without exceeding the weight limit in my bag, busting crystals or otherwise causing crystal mayhem. So, I went searching on-line and found my friend and fellow ACM Paula Martin's etsy shop with these cute little chakra bags that zipper. Then I bought a cool larger bag from East and Market. And it fits everything.

I love that it is color coordinated, and I can easily find which crystals go where. It also fits my selenite wand and my huge magnetite, which I posed next to my normal size hand for perspective.

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And unbelievably, it all squishes in there. All my chakra stones, a few five + inch crystals (lemurians and smoky) and other smaller crystal points for bridging chakras, plus fifteen hematite for a few layouts...it's amazing and only 8 pounds. (um, maybe I shouldn't say only.)

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Eh, voila! So, these are the various ways I carry crystals and store them in my home. How about you? Where do you keep your crystals? How? Let me know in the comments, and don't forget to share what you want to read about on this blog and in my newsletter.

Love,

Angie

 

releasing

from my newsletter, january 2017. You can subscribe here.

I've been a terrible penpal. Truly.

I suppose you can say, I haven't been writing about my work, I've just been doing my work. This autumn I started not one, but two psychic development circles with women. What amazing, interesting, gifted women! And each circle has its own personality and beauty. It is always a gift to sit in circle with women open to Spirit, honoring their path. I have also been diving deep into my second certification with Pixie Lighthorse in Earth Medicine School. It is very personal work that will bring me closer to you.

One of the beautiful questions Pixie asks us is "Who are you? Who are you not?"

Who am I?

I'm a mother.

All day, I am elbow deep in diapers and kid toys and listening to violas being played and having balls thrown at my head and eating around multi-day games of Monopoly with my three wee ones, but I also mother in circle. I nurture my clients. I set healthy boundaries with them, and give them gentle direction. So, yeah, mother seems to fit.

I am a daughter of the Earth.

When I was a child, I would run to the nearest wood, even if it was two tree deep, and construct long stories about the kingdoms there. I would curl up on a patch of moss and sleep. I would climb vines, and swing down and take journeys into the woods, studying footprints and scat, searching for arrowheads and interesting rocks, collecting bones and feathers. In my circles, I guide women and men into shamanic journey, I describe the scene to them, which often looks like the woods around my grandmother's house, the stream to the right and the deer trail which is perfectly suited to me and you together, the fallen tree we need to step over. When I walk in the woods, I am the most me-eyes full of wonder and awe.

I am a bone picker. 

Vulture picks through death. My beautiful Vulture totem isn't for the faint of heart, but her job is invaluable. She transmutes death, the rotting unusable parts of us. She finds the goodness in the most unlikeliest of places. My job with clients is to pick through all the stuff, the assets and defects, the things no longer serving--can we let this go? Are you ready to have a sky burial for this anger that once served the purpose of justice, but now holds you back from love? Can we release the stuff that clutters your art desk? Can we let go of your sabotage? 

I have been doing this for myself this autumn. As my autoimmune issues flared after a particularly stressful October, I found myself looking at it all. What needs to go? What needs to stay? What no longer serves, but has been here so long, I don't think is possible to go. I felt such weight on me, emotional, mental, physical weight. I began praying each morning with another person, staying accountable, then I decided to release my hair. It was holding energy, heaviness, and clouds of bubbles. Truthfully, it felt like a dead limb. So, I started slowly. 14 inches came off. I wrapped it into bundles and mailed it to a place that makes wigs. My hair was still at my shoulders. A few weeks later, I went to my friend and said, "It is still too heavy. It needs to all go." And when it all went, I was naked. Standing in front of everyone. Where is my sorceress hair? Where are the curls, the twists of fate, the curious streak of whiteness underneath? Where is the cover I had so you didn't have to see me?

When we release, we not only stand with lightness, we also stand with vulnerability. Who am I when you take away my anger? Who am I when you take away two feet of hair? Who am I when you take away the boxes on my art table and I can create again? Am I still me?

Who am I?

Who I am not is that I am not someone who uses hair as an identity. Who I am not is someone who is ready to hold onto something that holds me back from allowing the world to see who I am.

I am the bone picker and this first bones I have to pick are my own. 

I intend to write more to this beautiful newsletter, and write more about myself and write more about why I do what I do and how to live this life. What do you want to hear about? Who are you? What bones are you picking? What are you releasing?

Email me and let me know you too. angie@themoonandstone.com. I also have been revising my website, so check it out and let me know what you think. Under Events, I have the local Central Pennsylvania events coming up. I also do on-line readings and distance healings, so check that out too.

With love, Angie

PS. I am headed to the Tucson Gem Show in February (from the 2nd to the 8th). Are you going? I'd love to meet you and connect in person, so pop me an email (angie@themoonandstone.com) and we can figure out a time. I can't wait!

thanksgiving

Two years ago, the snow gently fell all day, as I cuddled next to the fire with my newest little one, Zachary Michael. Though I was scheduled for induction, our little crystal baby decided to arrive early. My water broke and I labored for over thirty hours until he finally made his appearance. In distress, fluid in his lungs, they admitted my son into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for a few days until his breathing calmed, his x-rays showing his lung strong and clear again. My arms ached for him. I held myself for fear of falling apart, sending him Reiki from chair outside of his little plastic crib. To say I was in constant prayer was not an understatement. I called all the angels, the saints, the goddesses. I sat still in meditation and asked for Reiki and prayers on Facebook. I placed my hands on this crown and feet--soul and earth stars--helping incarnate. That is what it felt like--he hadn't quite figured out how this body thing worked yet. My friend Jack said, "It is hard for a spiritual being to become human. May the rest of his adjustment be easier than mine." And we laughed. 

As I sat in the NICU, watching my son struggle to breathe, I just kept thinking, "Scream, baby." They told me that the fluid in his lungs may have been caused from his easy birth--three strong pushes. That is what I prayed for after all and focused on--for my baby to just come quickly. He didn't scream right away, expelling that fluid in his lungs. He was content, lying on my bare breast after an easy delivery. But all that struggle down the birth canal serves its beautiful purpose of pushing out all the fluid in the lungs and pissing those little babies off enough to scream out the rest of the fluid that may cause pneumonia or infection in the lungs down the line.

I thought about that so much as I sat in the huge room of the NICU with all those very little sick babies. We have to scream and struggle against our own contentness sometimes. One of my Religion professors, my mentor really, used to say that babies cry and scream because they want justice. We come into the world knowing we deserve comfort, love, food, heat, people to care for us. No baby feels unworthy. No baby hates themselves. Babies scream because they won't settle for being ignored and unloved. And they stop screaming when people prove them wrong. 

The world talks about gratitude so much at this time of the year. But in this community, it is one of those spiritual principles we talk about all year. It is the elevator of vibration, carrying it up and open. Gratitude elevates our energy, opens us to healing. It is the gateway to forgiveness, love, and spiritual awareness. But I find that blanket statements of gratitude and platitude frustratingly miss the point. I think most of us recognize that we can say, "I am grateful for everything" and be done with it. But listing each of those things, appreciating the gift of them, the work we put into achieving and keeping them in our lives, recognizing their impermanence, focusing on those quiet moments of absolute thankfulness, are more the point. 

Gratitude isn't simple. We often have grief, sadness, suffering, illness, death, depression and other circumstances that create a stuckness in our own story. This stuckness can be an essential part of healing. It is the point before the scream. It inspires us to say, "I am worthy of NOT suffering." Think of the baby and mama pushing to get him out for longer than three pushes. They are suffering, pissed off. They are stuck in this tight space, ready for the world. If you have birthed a child, you know, this is the time when you are distinctly NOT thinking about how awesome it is to have a gigantic baby head stuck in your vaginal canal. You are thinking, "GET OUT." And the baby isn't contemplating how much fluid will be pushed out of his lungs. They are in stuckness, and feeling overwhelmed and can't really see the light at the end of the proverbial and literal tunnel. I think we do a huge disservice to tell people to be thankful when they are in that place of suffering. I believe with all my heart that all our suffering is there for a purpose, and yet it is not so helpful to be reminded of that during the suffering.

Struggling with gratitude IS the practice of gratitude. All we have to do is trust that our feelings when they arise are right and important and valuable to the next phase of our healing, even if our contemporaries shame us when we feel negative or sad or self-pitying. So the suffering--the feeling less than, unworthy, stuck--let this be the gateway to the scream that gets it all out. Let it be the catalyst for feeling worthy of not suffering. Can you find gratitude in your own screaming? In your own declaration of your worthiness? Can your suffering be a prayer of gratitude? 

When I am suffering, grief stricken or sick, I keep it simple. I look out the window, and find myself grateful for the beauty of a leaf twirling to the ground, for the air, and for my own miserable suffering, which reminds me that I am human and not a Buddha. For me, gratitude is an important spiritual practice, but our holiday of Thanksgiving transcends this individual daily practice. We gather our tribe and not gift each other things, not celebrate an achievement, or a person, or a God, but to collectively appreciate what we share as a family, or group of friends. We take inventory of those values we hold dear, and really appreciate what we have. As a society, we take this time to quiet and focus on home.

That is remarkable. It is wonderful to have this yearly community ritual of gratitude rather than just our personal daily practice of gratitude. And yet, I get why the holidays are challenging for so many who face dysfunctional families, estrangement, divorce, or grief. A few years ago, I took the opportunity of Thanksgiving to talk about grief during the holidays. I republished it yesterday, because I know so many of us revisit grief and suffering during this time. It resonated with so many at the time, and if you face difficulties during the holidays, it might be a helpful read. 

But I wonder if we can't reinvent this space of gratitude for those of us who are suffering this year. Rather than shaming those who struggle with gratitude, allow them to scream, abide their stuckness, marvel at their own righteous indignation of their suffering. It is our birthright after all to scream. It lets out the fluid stuck in our lungs. Helps us to take in fresh clear air, filling our heart chakra with the love for ourselves that we deserve.

My son's second birthday was on the 22nd. He turned two and is a bouncy, funny, silly boy who bring joy. I have so much to be grateful for, but I found myself grateful for all the screaming I have done in my life. 

So, on this Thanksgiving night, here is my blessing. It is the same blessing I gave two years ago after bringing my baby home. 

Scream, babies, and I will be dancing to your beautiful siren song of healing.

nourish

Every so many months, I think about my Word of the Year, Remember that? All the way back from January?

I had decided on a word, then during a visioning class I taught, another wordspoke its name insistently in my ear. Nourish.

Nourish.

The word itself evokes that satiating beautiful contentedness that comes from being filled with what your body needs. Mind you, I said needs, not wants. What I want is entirely different than what nourishes me. When I am sad, I like to be alone, isolated, watching Real Housewives with a carton of ice cream and bourbon. None of those things nourish me. None of them are good for my soul. What nourishes me is time spent connecting, exploring, meditating, walking in the woods, sitting still, praying, moving and dancing, singing, being me without all the chatter and noise.

I don't think about my word every day, but I have spent these months digging deep within me about what is nourishing. I have surprisingly cut out so much of what was not nourishing me from food to habits to self-talk to relationships. The surgeon even cut non-nourishing cells from my body. And I have replaced many of those things with new nourishing routines.

For the years in which I choose a word of the year, it is remarkable how the word manifests itself in my life. Emerge felt like a birth--painful and profound. Roots helped me connect and gain footing in my new home. Nourish has been an important shift for me in self-care and self-acceptance.

What nourishes me right now is earthy rooty teas, like Herbal Coffee from Mountain Rose Herbs, creating grids on these amazing batiked grid cloths by Amanda Johnson of Tie-Dye Bill, eating this amazing Paleo granola in the morning when my energy is low that has coconut, pecan, currants, goldenberries, cashews, raisins, and almonds with almond milk, cuddling with all three children while all three still fit on my lap, running again, journeying with Vulture, and singing chants, prayers, and songs I wrote for the Earth.

Singing is a new thing for me. I have traditionally not been fond of my voice, but I began just not giving a shit, and singing anyway. And it takes me to new heights and understanding. Earlier this year, I began searching for other women who like to sing without giving a shit, and haven't quite found that tribe yet. Someone told me to start the group myself, but I'm not sure I am that confident in the not-giving-a-shit part. I just want to sing earth hymns and pagan chants with women in circle--honoring, praying and connecting. All those things that nourish.

I'll be talking about Voice tomorrow night at my monthly crystal workshop at Alta View Wellness Center. We still have room and would love to have you. Email me or call 717-221-0133. We will be talking about how to use crystals to speak your truth, honor your voice and listen with compassion. I am also excited to be starting a new Tarot session tonight! WOOHOO!! And then this weekend, join us all for the Spirit of Oneness Holistic Expo. I'll be offering mini-crystal healing sessions and doing a workshop on Sunday morning about using crystals for self-love and self-acceptance. Check me out at the Alta View booth.

What is your word of the year, and how is it manifesting in your life?

 

measuring progress

My vulture medicine altar had been up for a good long while, and not only did the things I want to transmute and release come, but all kinds of challenging aspects of my personality I wasn't quite done with arose too. You know, those things that feel so intrinsically part of your personality that when someone challenges you about them, you rise up and say, "BUT IF I CHANGE THAT, I WON'T BE ME!" I have heard friends (and myself, perhaps) say that about drinking, smoking, eating chocolate, drinking coffee, about gossiping and cynicism, about anger. In my experience, that is the first thing I probably need to change. Bugger.

 The Vulture medicine is not for the faint of heart, but it was necessary. I don't always want to look at certain aspects of myself, let alone release them. Those old ways of being are comfortable, worn, tried and true. And yet they are serving a pattern that fires me up and makes me feel shame. Discomfort often precedes spiritual shifts.
 
I spent the day canning bushels of Asian Pears and tomatoes from my parent's garden and orchard. Farm work is often tedious and consuming. Like I said in my last newsletter, I have had some shizzle arise, and it has been occupying a large amount of brain power. In fact, I am shocked at how much it has consumed my thoughts, how distracted I am, and how often I have to call my friends and spiritual advisors just to discuss it. Mind you, it is not actually happening to me. I'm just thinking about it. As I peeled and boiled and milled and mashed, I thought about how much I don't want to think about it. The baby crawled around my feet, trying to eat dropped pieces of fruit, and the children danced by with fairy wings and giggles. All this life I have is so beautiful. There is so much I am grateful for. I want to release this damnable thinking. And then I would find myself thinking about that thing again. Then back to how I want to release the thinking and how it is not serving me and besides, I AM DONE WITH IT! But then that old thought, "But I have always worried about this stuff and this person. If I don't worry about it, will I actually be me?"
 
The Full Moon rose above the neighboring horse farm this evening.The moon illuminates the horses, then the fields of wildflowers and the barns, and then our bamboo grove, then our home. As it rises, we feel the light enter the room, like a person. We were putting the children to bed, and I heard a hawk screech. I yelled to my husband, "Check the chickens, I just heard a hawk." The chickens were fine. My husband laid out a blanket under the moon where we could sit out with a cup of tea and talk after everyone was asleep. As I steeped our tea, I looked at my altar. Suddenly, all the vulture medicine felt wrong. I needed different energy. I pulled one of Pixie's animal painting cards (at the right), and Hawk arose. AHA!! That was the screeching we both heard. Hawk wanted to come screeching into our lives right now, helping us with vision and intuition, focus and staying present.

Hawk medicine is also about healing the heart, Pixie wrote. My husband and I created the altar together. We choose two oracle cards and both were Quan Yin--compassion and let it go. We set an intention, and I verbalized that I want to release this issue I have been talking and thinking about all week. In fact, this week we celebrate nine years of beautiful marriage. This is what should be occupying my mind. And so my intention became clear after reading the Quan Yin oracle card from the Goddess Oracle deck, "Transform harshness into gentleness by refusing to see anything but the shining light that is within each person and situation."
 
Later, as we sat outside talking about our lives and our future and our relationship, I began to speak once more about the situation and stopped myself. "No," I said, "I'm done talking about that situation." My husband reassured me that I could talk about it. And I said again, "No, I don't want to talk about it." And he just nodded and said good.
 
People often ask me how to release things no longer serving. It is part of what I help people do in my moon cycle coaching circles, in crystal healing sessions and in my tarot readings. I often use ritual--burning slips of paper, burying items, giving away others. I create altars and crystal grids. I wear stones that help my intention. But the work of release isn't simply all of this facade of release. Our progress arises through the way we interact with the world. When we set intentions, we often don't receive immediate, monumental relief from our ways of being that no longer serve, we begin with gentle curiosity and a subtle awareness of our behaviors. We pay attention. We decide to change one conversation we could have, one way of criticizing the world, one moment where we are not present. Through those thousands of very small decisions, we create profound changes. That is the extraordinary release we are granted, if we do all that tedious and consuming work of paying exquisite attention to ourselves.

truths

from my newsletter...

There is so much I want to say right now.

I have had a Tower moment or two the last few weeks. You know what I mean, when it feels like you are on the top of that Tower in the Major Arcana, as the lightning strikes. I'll probably talk about that another time. We just came back from driving across country with the three children to visit my in-laws. And more came in to shake us up when we walked in the door. Everything has been up in the air, and sudden news had me reeling. Insomnia and lack of appetite. I have been grateful for self-care and for exquisite self-compassion. My friend said to me, "Treat yourself as though you are injured, because you are. Your heart is hurt. Walk slowly. Rest often. Eat good whole foods. Take baths. Zone out with tv when it is too much." 

I have had more than a few Tower moments this year as I grappled with a new baby, surgery, and the blues. In the midst of it, I found myself saying things like
"I deserve this ice cream. I'm bone tired. I'm working hard for these kids and my job. I'm healing that sacral. Dammit, I deserve this ice cream." And yet, I felt awful after eating it, bloated and gassy, headaches and diarrhea. At some point, the uncomfortability was too loud. I started to pay attention again to every little part of my diet, weighing what was feeling beautiful in my belly vs. what was making me sick. 

Almost five years ago, I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. Wheat is an allergen for me that causes severe arthritic pain and stiffness and stomach pain and flare-ups that keep me on the toilet for days. I often would say, "I'm just going to have this one cupcake. I worked hard all day. I deserve that!" I said it about a glass of wine too all those years ago.

I am a lovely person. I don't deserve that suffering, even though cupcakes are delicious. And yet, I couldn't wrap my brain around this not-eating-sugar-or-chocolate thing. It felt like a punishment. As it is, I don't drink, smoke, take anything that alters my consciousness. I don't even drink any caffeine. Surely, I deserve chocolate!! Surely, I deserve that thing that makes me feel terrible and bloated, right?!

So, I decided this was an inside job. I wasn't going to search for some kind of ice cream that I could tolerate, or cupcake that serves all my needs. The sugar itself was part of the problem. I started to change the discourse from "I deserve chocolate" to "I deserve to feel good." I have eaten chocolate since that day, don't get me wrong, (though it has been many weeks, perhaps months recently). But the truth is when I began changing the voice in my head, my own cravings changed.
 
Sometimes we just need an editor to rewrite the story in our head.
 
We can sometimes be our own editor, but often we need someone else to read our story with new eyes and perspectives. Someone who understands our typos and strange patterns of speech that do not translate well. I consider myself a leader and a strongly opinionated woman, but I don't always know what is best for me. Case in point, cupcakes and chocolate feel like rewards, and good health feels like a punishment. What?!  I make terrible decisions sometimes. I have friends I call and ask their advice, or talk. I have mentors and a sponsor and a therapist and a mother. And I don't often go wandering in my head alone--there be monsters in those woods.
 
So, this week, I am giving you permission to ask someone for advice about some truth you have held for a long time. I would tackle that sneaking suspicion you have that this one truth is not serving your Highest Good. Ask them if it is true. Pick their brain. Maybe it is how you approach your work, or how you have envisioned your body, or what your childhood was really like. Whatever it is, remember to listen with wide eyes. I often quote this speaker I once heard who said, "It is not what you don't know that will kill you, but what you know with absolute certainty that simply is not true that will kill you."
 
I have been looking at how I do things around my classes and my work. I am reinventing my New Moon circles. I am still holding them. (Sunday, September 13th, if you are curious) But I am calling them Moon Cycle Coaching Circle, and we will work together more intensely through the three moon cycles. It will be a limited group and I am raising my price a wee bit. Creating medicine bundles is serious spiritual work, and I need to take the job of leading others around the work more seriously. I have also added a few new classes for the fall, including a creative journaling workshop, and a small group mentoring program for invited students of mine.
 
I also have been looking at my remote tarot readings. On September 1st, I will be raising the prices around my distant Tarot readings via pdf. It currently takes me around four to five hours to do what face-to-face would take 45 minutes. Those pdfs are pretty dang amazing, though. I end up channeling a ton of information for my clients through those readings. If you have had one and want to give a testimonial, I would appreciate it. But I am still offering them at the $50 price until then, so if you are interested, now is the time to get in on that action. The prices in person will stay the same.

When I am all jammed up, and I cannot remember to be grateful or that I deserve good health, I often stop and say, ALPHA WHISKEY ECHO. ALPHA WHISKEY ECHO. Those are the radio phonetic letters for AWE. It shifts me, makes me laugh, feels like a beacon in the darkness of my daily grind.

Have awe today. For yourself. For your truths. For your exquisite self.