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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

 "The world's full of people who have stopped listening to themselves," wrote mythologist Joseph Campbell. It's imperative that you NOT be one of those folks. 2019 should be the Year of Listening Deeply to Yourself. That means being on high alert for your inner inklings, your unconscious longings, and the still, small voice at the heart of your destiny. If you do that, you'll discover I'm right when I say that you're smarter than you realize.

       --Rob Brezsny

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Meredith Everwhite
    Meredith Everwhite says #
    Beautiful, and so synchronicitous & relevant for this time. I just wrote and posted a "water oracle" message on my personal blog o
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    I missed seeing your comment before today, but thanks so much for being here, listening, and sharing this experience!
'Flower of Trees': An Ostara Song by J. R. R. Tolkien (Well, Kind Of)

Well, you gotta love word geekery.

As a college student learning Gothic, the now-extinct language that is the oldest Germanic language for which we have any substantial documentation, the teen-aged J. R. R. Tolkien—himself an good Hwiccan lad—was not content simply to learn the language.

Of course not. Tolkien being Tolkien, he composed poetry in Gothic as well, using (of course) the old Germanic four-beat alliterative line.

Bagmê Blôma, “flower of trees” (this would be “Beams' Bloom” if we were translating into English cognates) is Tolkien's hymn to the “mistress of the mountain,” Lady Birch, the very arboreal embodiment of Spring.

Scroll forward some years. Linguist and Tolkienist Eric Kinsepp translates Tolkien's Gothic into Modern English, thus giving us words singable to a tune by 20th century English composer George Mantle Childe.

And lo: the witches sing this song at Ostara to this very day.

Sometimes even in Gothic.

Flower of Trees

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Tarot Elements: The True Meaning of "The Star"

The Star of Tarot is a very watery, spiritual and high-vibration card, the only other one as supremely watery being the Ace of Cups. Predictably, both are among my top favorites.

It is also probably one of the most popular images of the Major Arcana, (particularly the Waite-Smith version, which I refer to) yet also one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted.

The Star is frequently interpreted with keywords like “hope”, “renewal” and “inspiration”. While inspiration may at least come closer than any other term to the true meaning, Arthur Edward Waite himself described the most commonly attributed interpretation of hope as “tawdry”.

Frankly, I have never understood how or where anyone ever got “hope” regarding the Star, even in my earliest days as a Tarot novice. It has been the repetitive insistence from countless Tarot teachers and “experts” that the Star means hope, combined with my repetitive intuitive suspicion that this can’t be correct, that led me into an extensive search and analysis of just what this card really means.

It was a great “I knew it!” moment when I finally read Waite’s Pictorial Key to the Tarot and his explanation of the Star, especially his calling out of the old “hope trope”. It was an even more enthralling and enlightening moment when astronomy and chemistry played a part in proving the real meaning of this card. But we’ll get to that.

The Star, according to Waite, is Sephirah Binah of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life; the Great Mother who gives and who is supernal understanding. He says the mottoes of the card are “Waters of Life freely” and “Gifts of the Spirit”.

So, people very ironically misunderstand the card that is about understanding. A lot. Is there maybe a lesson or message here?

He describes the female figure in the card as expressing eternal youth and beauty. The number of the card is 17, which reduces to 8 - the symbol for infinity or, more poetically, eternity. There are also eight stars on the card, the large one in the middle being surrounded by seven others.

The number 8 – as a lemniscate or infinity symbol – appears on only two other cards of the Major Arcana: the Magician and Strength. I think there is a clue here and a relationship between these cards and the Star.

The Magician, who most basically represents manifestation, is pointing a wand towards the heavens and his finger down to Earth, representing “As Above, So Below”, as well as a conduit between the two planes.

The suggestion throughout is therefore the possession and communication of the Power and Gifts of the Spirit,” Waite says of the posture and action of the Magician. So there is that key phrase that directly ties the Magician to the Star.

Supernal means “pertaining to heaven or the sky” or “celestial”…the stars. The Magician bears another symbol of eternity – the ouroboros, or the serpent around his waist eating its own tail.

This is familiar to most as a conventional symbol of eternity, but here it indicates more especially the eternity of attainment in the spirit.” (A.E. Waite)

In Strength we see a young woman taming a lion with ease. The lemniscate floats above her head just as it does the Magician’s. What do these cards have in common that may be indicated by the presence of this symbol? She too has a similar additional symbol of eternity around her waist, like the Magician.

However, in Strength it is a vine of blossoming greenery tying her to the lion, at least in early printings of the deck. In later reproductions it is unfortunately not illustrated as joining her to the lion though this is significant. I believe it symbolizes, among other things, a natural link between humans and animals. Ultimately we are animals ourselves and Strength conveys the necessary control over certain baser animal instincts.

Waite elaborates however,

[These higher meanings] are intimated in a concealed manner by the chain of flowers, which signifies, among other many other things, the sweet yoke and the light burden of Divine Law, when it has been taken into the heart of hearts.”

The flower chain around her waist very curiously resembles the flowering boughs over the Magicians head, perhaps a further representation of the feminine spirit and understanding being poured down on him from Above?

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Stupid Question, Stupid Answer

“What part of their bodies do men dry off first when they get out of the shower?”

“Hunh?” I reply inelegantly, thoroughly lost.

My friend explains.

“We noticed in the bathhouse this morning that when a woman gets out of the shower, the first thing she dries off is her face, so I was wondering about men.”

The observation is an interesting one, certainly. I'm embarrassed to admit that I'd never really thought about it before, but when you're wet all over, of course you dry your face first. Just what this may say about our species, I'll leave you to suss out for yourself.

But the act of “othering” inherent in her question annoyed me, not to mention the sexism. I figured that a stupid question deserves a stupid answer.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    lol I thought I dried my face first because I wear glasses and I want to put them on right away. I didn't know people who don't we
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I dry off my hair first so the water doesn't run into my face.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Burgeoning

It’s definite now: the light is stronger, the days are longer. Here in the northern hemisphere, winter is passing, and spring is coming on.

Where I live, in coastal Northern California, the very first wildflowers are the milk maids, and they are already gone now, faded to buttercups and hounds’ tongues and shooting stars: the survivals of what once was a landscape carpeted with flowers in the spring. European grasses have forcibly taken over our hills, but the native flowers yet persist.

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  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    Of course! https://atheopaganism.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/an-atheopagan-rosary/
  • Kile Martz
    Kile Martz says #
    So glad you found a new path of employment, though I envy you your relationship with spring. Here in the upper Midwest we are stil
  • Carla Benejam
    Carla Benejam says #
    Mark, happy to hear about your new job! And reading your column made me want to add that the first wildflowers here on the "centra
  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    Thank you! Yes, mustard is an early arrival here, too, but I was sticking to the native Californian wildflowers--should have menti
  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    Good luck! I hope you get it.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Wolf Oracle: Be Brave (Aquarius Moon)

Here on the blog, I’ll be sharing a spirit animal painting and message from my Elfin Ally Oracle Deck picked especially for the zodiac sign that Mama Moon is currently transiting. Enjoy!

Keyword: Courage
Meaning: Be brave and strong for you have a task to do.
Reversed: There is a con artist close by so be cautious.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Rethinking the Ostara Hare

 I shall go into a hare, with sorrow and sighing and mickle care,

and I shall go in the Devil's name; aye, till I come home again.

(Isobel Gowdie)

 

The first theological argument that I can remember getting into had to do with which was better, Santa or the Bunny.

Everybody else liked Santa best, but I held out for the Bunny.

Santa just brings you clothes and underwear and stuff that they think you want or that they want you to want, but that you don't really want at all.

But the Bunny not only brings you bad stuff.

He makes you work for it.

 

Once the chocolate eggs are eaten up and the baskets put away, we tend to forget about the Ostara Hare.

We shouldn't.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    There didn't USED to be any rabbits in Australia, but somebody thought it would be a good idea to import them. That didn't work o
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    Are you familiar with the 1978 film version of Watership Down? The rabbits have their own cultural myths; the creation myth tells

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