Last night, I sent this out in my newsletter, which you can subscribe to right here, but I wanted to share it here as well, and celebrate the holidays with a wee giveaway.
An wonderful activity that you can do in your Winter Solstice gatherings as a way to connect with one another and delve deeper into honoring the season of release and renewal is to do readings around Solstice and Yule. Reading Tarot brings so much togetherness to a gathering, and reading cards with the holiday in mind makes it doubly special. I love seeing my people all huddled together discussing cards, letting Spirit speak through them for one person. You can either have one person designated as the Reader, or you can all read together. Or if you are a Tarot Reader, you might want to be the one to offer this to your guests, or as a gift to each person at the gathers. I personally love gifting readings to my friends and family. This is also a great solo activity for those looking for ways to honor the solstice in solitary practice.
These Winter Solstice layouts I developed focus my attention for my personal ceremonies and spiritual work. During different phases of the moons, and always on solstices/equinoxes, I check-in with Spirit via a reading. This is a great layout to do with Tarot, or ANY Oracle Deck. Oracle Decks have such beautiful messages and really succinctly communicate the energy you have around you. So, if you are not a Tarot reader as such, oracle decks are great tools. Most come with a book with a nice detailed interpretation of each card. Oracle decks are easy to find, inexpensive, and make great hostess gifts too. There are oracle decks that involve Fairies, Angels, Saints, even one that wholly focuses on Mother Mary! Think of the Divine connection that most aligns with your beliefs, and use an Oracle Deck that speaks to that tradition. You'll understand the symbols and resonate with the message much more clearly.
Back to the Winter Solstice Layout, you can use this as a touchstone for your work in circle, or in privately. Then take this work into your 2014 Intention Setting or Power Word of the year. Remember, first is the release, then the welcoming of energy in your next cycle. I would use an crystal like Orange Calcite, Carnelian, Sunstone or Fire Agate as an ally in this reading. It represents the Sun, but more importantly, it represents the clarity that the Sun brings. In this way, using a Clear Quartz is always good if you cannot find a Sun stone. Just place your crystal by your candle and other sacred objects around your reading space. Creating sacred space is a beautiful way to begin your reading. I always blow and knock out the energy, shuffle eight times, then cut the cards three times. And I say my prayer of protection and openness which I learned from Deb Bowen of the Psychic Teachers, "I am a clear and open channel through which Spirit make speak truth and only truth for the Highest Good of All."
I have read and used other Winter Solstice spreads beautifully. If you google Winter Solstice spreads you can find a number of ideas. I prefer my own spreads, becaues I am intimately connected with these questions, and it more succinctly clarifies what I work on for Solstice. Some people suggest pulling out the Sun (XIX) in the center of this spread. I like to use a You Now card as a general check-in with Spirit. One beautiful way to use this spread would be to lay it out in a Winter Solstice crystal grid with a Sun stone as your center, and lay the card out between your crystals.
I created two spreads, really. The first one is great for groups, more succinct and really draws out clarity. The second is good for those who want to delve deeper for personal work on Solstice. It gives you insights into your releases, and the energy you want to bring in.
For example, I pulled this Spread for myself, pulling out the Sun as my You Now, or my Signifer.
In the position of my Strengths (position 2), the Judgment speaks to my ability to release judgment and forgive. Pulling this into the New year, I can see that my work with forgiveness--both self-forgiveness and forgiveness of others--is something I may have to draw on, and will be important for my spiritual growth. In the Roots position, or where I draw my strength (position 3), I pulled the World. I draw strength from every aspect of my life--my children, my home, my crystal work, my Tarot and psychic work, teaching, learning, writing, and art. I had wondered for so long which was my path, and have come to accept that all are my path. In the Release position (position 4), or what is no longer serving, I pulled the Four of Swords card, which is a card of retreat and meditation before battle. I believe this means that what I need to release is my over-analysis. My Analysis Paralysis, as they call it, and move forward with my work in this new space. So, I need to release inaction! In my Energy I am Ready to Bring into my Life (position 5), I pulled the Magician. Oh, hellz to the yes! This is the energy I want to bring in--achievement, magic, spiritual work, using all my gifts together.
In the Second layout, we just expand on the smaller layout to get more in-depth. It involves more reflection and self-examination.
For example, I pulled this second layout without using the Sun as the center, and pulling a card to represent myself.
In this layout, the King in position 1 represents me in the Now, someone who is financially stable and in my Earth sign element. In position 2, my strength is my ability to withstand chaos and massive change. Not that I will be facing it, but just to remember that I can weather any storm with aplomb and grace. In the position 3, where I draw my strength, the King of Wands was pulled, and this is a creative man, my husband, I think, who inspires me and grounds me. In the two position 4 + 5, these are the things that are no longer serving me--Eight of Pentacles and Page of Pentacles. I think the Eight is there to remind me that I am ready to move into a more teacher/owner role, rather than as a student, and the Page of Pentacles is immaturity with money. Financially, I think this means moving into amore mature approach with my business, not taking money from our home account for Moon + Stone, and begin treating it as a mature business. What I need to release position 6 is more of an emotional release for my spiritual growth. I believe this card, the Nine of Wands is any defensiveness, or heart protection. I need to wear my vulnerability, embrace it, accept it, wear it proudly. On the Future side, position 7, the Energy I am ready to Bring in is definitely circles of women. My peeps, where for art thou? Position 8, my meditation position, really is something to sit with, and journal about to achieve my release and renewal. I pulled Temperance, which is a card of purification and balance. Such an important card for me. In the 9th position, Outcome, the Queen of Swords is absolutely the energy I would like to welcome in my new phase. No nonsense. And not taking things personally. Also, nodding to my grief without having to live in it.
I hope reading my albeit brief interpretations of these cards in these new spreads helps you to read your own Winter Solstice cards. And so, in honor of Yule, I'd like to give away a free Winter Solstice reading, in the more in-depth layout, for some lucky reader. We can either do this face-to-face via Skype or Google Hangout, or via pdf, which I would email to you. I am opening this contest up until midnight of the 21st, and will do the reading on the 22nd. The only way to enter is to leave a comment on this post. Tell me what you think of these new layouts, ask me a question, or tell me about your Winter Solstice traditions or plans. Only one entry per person, please. You can create an extra entry for yourself by sharing this post either on your own blog, via Facebook, or other social media platform. When you do, copy the link, and share it in the comment section of this post. As always, I would love to hear all your experiences with your Winter Solstice gatherings, and your readings, so let me know via the Moon + Stone Facebook page. Go over and "like" the Moon + Stone Healing for another entry (if you haven't already, but don't forget to let me know here, if you did). Throughout the week during random times, I often offer free one card readings and share lots of delicious crystal information, so pop on over and join the conversation.
Blessed Yule, my friends!