Oracles and Divination Tools

August 31, 2010

Sometimes we can access our own wisdom by using an external tool or oracle.  When we read tarot cards, draw runes, or throw coins for the I Ching, we are creating an energetic imprint through our intention that reflects our intuition, inner wisdom or knowing. It is very important to recognize it is only that which resonates for you that has value. For many people I have worked with it is the evidence of their own experience that convinces then that this is a valuable support in decision-making. The best test is to try it. I will provide opportunities to explore at my upcoming workshop.

There are some cautions to be observed.  This is not about giving your power away to someone else, nor about having your fortune told. Divining tools provide opportunities for our inner wisdom to present itself to us.  They are particularly helpful in resolving the inner confusion that is often associated with challenging decisions. It is important to remember, that no matter what the words may say, the only insights that have real value are the ones that resonate with you; however it is also important not to allow preconceived notions or fears to limit your insights.  There are countless forms of divination tools and oracles and once you open yourself up to their mystery, you may find you are drawn to a particular perspective.  Visit a specialty store and explore what appeals to you.  Here are some of the ones I have worked with and explore in my workshops.

The I Ching (The Book of Changes) – This guidance is based on ancient Chinese wisdom and philosophy.

Tarot Cards – Carl Jung regarded the Tarot cards as representing archetypes embedded in the unconscious of all human beings. There are many themed Tarot decks from the traditional Ryder to William Blake and the Women’s Medicine Deck.

Runes – Based on the Runic alphabet, used by early Norse peoples including the Vikings, the runes have no clear origin as an oracle although the word “rune” derives from the Gothic word “runa,” meaning “mystery.” Their popularity today stems significantly from the work done by Ralph Blum, who dedicated himself to the re-introduction of this “sacred oracle.”

Medicine Cards – These are beautifully illustrated animal cards.  This divination system is based on the ancient teachings of Native America.  The text explains how the cards can be used to receive guidance and healing messages from the animals

The Pendulum – This is a system based on the historic principle of the divining rod.  Pendulums consist of a weight, or bob, which hangs freely from a chain or string.  The pendulum is trained to respond in a certain manner to indicate a positive or negative answer to a question.

Muscle testing – This is a way of using the body’s reaction to verify its own inner guidance.  Based on the concept of internal energy fundamental to traditional Chinese medicine, muscle testing is a noninvasive way of evaluating the body’s imbalances and assessing its needs.

Astrology – Most of us are familiar with horoscopes based on information attained through the placement of the stars in the heavens at the time of your birth.

Power Deck Cards – One of my favourites, developed by Lynn Andrews featuring great wisdom and magnificent art images. I always start my workshops with these cards.

As with any decision-making tool this is about finding your way. Take a trip to Banyen Books where you can find a wide variety of possibilities or take a workshop to explore further. I am offering a workshop on September 26th where you will have a chance to experience some oracles and divination options see for details.

Let My Vehicle Appear Part 4

August 31, 2010

The Subaru Outback

It is the last day of August and I still don’t own a vehicle. I did not buy the Sebring that I drove for five weeks. ( It was fun but made no logical sense at all; I needed a car for skiing, carry stuff to my Cortes place and occasional golf, yet despite all those obstacles I would have bought it at the right price but it just wasn’t meant to be. So I survived the summer without a vehicle. I rented twice for trips to Cortes; frequently friends would drive me to golf but three times I took transit, one was a two-change trip of an hour that somehow felt extremely satisfying. Now fall is approaching and I am wondering what to do.

I try and live my life guided by serendipity and synchronicity so I have observed a slight tinge of disappointment that my future car did not appear outside my door with a for sale sign on it. There was one exciting moment; I was leaving for Cortes and had just missed a ferry; this entails a two-hour wait so I decided to take a walk through Horseshoe Bay. I ascended the hill from the ferry terminal, followed a sign to Lighthouse Park, found a trail to the beach where I was rudely accosted by some angry crows. This caused me to take an alternate route back along a residential road. I climbed up a gentle hill and then glanced to my left and there it was: a Subaru Wagon, low mileage 1995, amazing condition, on sale for $1,000. Although much older than my preference, it was exactly what I was looking for and seemed an amazing synchronicity that I would encounter it due to missing the ferry. I had to memorize the number, as I had no writing materials; I anxiously recorded it when I got back to the car but of course I was leaving for a week. Perhaps I should have called earlier but I sensed that if it were supposed to be mine it would wait for me. Alas when I got home I received no reply to my message. False alarm, missed opportunity or wrong number, I shall never know but it was the end of my search for the summer.

Now it is September and likely a good time to buy a car as the new models arrive and the demos go on sale.

Suzuki SX4

However my on-line search has proved disappointing. I am down to two possibilities (unless the universe steps in with another); one is the Subaru Outback; the other is the Suzuki SX4 Hatchback. The Subaru is hard to find used, very expensive and without a miracle, is unlikely to happen. I shifted to my second choice and looked at the web site for Richmond Suzuki, which although challenging to navigate, did give me an option of sending an e-mail inquiry. I left my search feeling a little disheartened and decided to draw a rune. Reverse Strength or Uruz. That did not sound encouraging. I read these words, “Without hears to hear or eyes to see you may fail to take advantage of the moment…. minor failures or disappointments.” Well that sounded right and I resolved to continue to look for signs pointing the way rather than rush into anything, perhaps I am supposed not to own a car! Renting or is pretty good although a little inflexible for my needs. Perhaps a car co-op would be a possibility.

There were no new indicators over the weekend and I resigned myself to renting a vehicle for my upcoming trip to Cortes. Then on Monday I opened the newspaper 24 Hours and saw on the inside cover a full-page advertisement for Richmond Subaru featuring the SX4 but with front wheel drive. It reminded me that I had never heard back to my inquiry. However when I got home there was a reply. They had AWD demos available with a special deal. Was this a sign? I drew another rune and got upright Movement; that seems a lot more positive…. “signifies movement in the sense of improving or bettering any situation.” Time for a test drive!

Did I Really Marry My Mother?

August 30, 2010

No, this is not a re-enactment of the Oedipus story although it does underscore the relationship between the old Greek myths and the unconscious. One of the fascinations of the latter part of my life has been the exploration of my inner psyche and its relationship to unconscious behaviours. I am frequently astonished to find the buried complexes that regularly dictated my unconscious response to certain situations. For example my ongoing challenges with consecutive bosses during the early part of my career were all related to the “rebellious child” complex as each one to some degree became a father substitute to which my unconscious responded.

Recently a friend of mine observed that my inner work has focused almost exclusively on my father issues and there has been little recognition of the power of the mother figure in a child’s life. My response that for some reason it just hadn’t figured in my process, led me to make a commitment to do some writing about my relationship with my mother. I have mostly positive memories of my early childhood; my father was mostly absent authority; my mother was occupied raising six children. My sense of my mother is that she was very loving and forgiving, always there when we needed her but gave us an amazing amount of freedom that you rarely see today. From the age of five or six we would disappear for hours on end and return to be fed, only to disappear again into a world of a child’s adventures and exploration. My mother never wielded authority, delegating any punishment and reprimand to “ Our Father” but the threat alone would keep us in line. I recall that as my childhood unfolded, I felt more and more in control of the relationship; as a teenager I had little respect for her intellect considering myself smarter. I have happy memories of her reciting Tennyson to my brother and I in the bath “Half a league, half a league, half a league onward. All in the valley of Death rode the six hundred.” As I write these words I do not recall as a child, a cross word or major confrontation; all the memories seem so positive.

At the completion of my reflection, I considered my responsibility fulfilled. There seemed no major impact of my mother on my unconscious and no deep complexes to be discovered and healed. However, not long after while reading James Hollis’s book Under Saturn’s Shadow – The Wounding and Healing of Men”, I was fascinated on the emphasis he places on the power of the mother complex to change men’s’ lives. In case-study after case-study, he recounts stories of men with abusive mothers who who become abusers; men who get trapped living out the unlived life of their mother; and men whose need for mothering is so intense that every relationship fails based on not meeting his needs.

So I returned to my journal convinced that there must be some resonant consequence on my psyche of my mother relationship. I summarized what I saw in my mother: she loved me, she was always there for me, she gave me substantial autonomy to do what I wanted, I had the sense of being in control and I deemed myself to be smarter than her. I sat reflecting on this combination of attributes wondering what my unconscious would make of them. Then I saw it. My relationship with first wife was consistent with all of these characteristics. I had unconsciously married my mother. How bizarre. Yet in hindsight I could see the replay in my mind. We never argued, (only once in eighteen years). I always did what I wanted, she loved me, she forgave me and she was always there and she became a casualty of my mid life crisis. I sense that one of the consequences of unconsciously marrying your mother is that time and aging play havoc with desire. I am not sure how consciously one could resolve this realization but in my case my awareness came far too late to consider that possibility.

Now for the spooky part! When I first met my future wife she was quite unlike the archetype of my mother. In our courtship she was much more independent and challenging and at least once I had resolved to leave the relationship before she somehow sensed this and responded.  Somehow my unconscious was able to relate to her unconscious and anticipate what would be. How amazing is that?

Moments of Awe and Wonder

August 1, 2010

Reflecting on what feeds the soul, I decided to start to collect and summarize what I call moments of awe and wonder. As the list has grown I have begun more and more to appreciate the benefit of this idea. I have long believed in the value each day of having a gratitude list. I think there is a positive energy in being grateful that perhaps benefits not only ourselves but others, like sending out positive vibrations into the cosmos. So how to define moments of awe and wonder? Personally they are events that defy my sense of logic or practicality. Moments where I see a glimpse into the mystery that is so much vaster than my individual experience; often they are things that I can’t explain; sometimes they just leave me with a sense of wonder; occasionally they reshape my worldview and create an opportunity for growth and even cause me to revise my concept and place in the universe. I cannot explain it but I can relate to it as James Hollis once wrote, “The dynamic incarnation of the soul through the image manifests this energy.”

For example once I was driving up the road to Mammoth Mountain Lodge in the Sierra Nevada and I noticed what felt like an electric shock that was so noticeable that I pulled over beside the road and stopped. I sat and allowed my mind to relax sensing that something significant had just occurred. I had just passed a sign for a tourist attraction –an earthquake fault -– and I decided that I was being prompted to take the sidetrack. When I arrived at the parking area I found a distraught couple of Japanese Tourists who had locked their keys in their car and were stranded. I offered to drive them to the nearest gas station. I have always believed that somehow the shock and their predicament were connected. I don’t have to know how or why, that can remain a mystery.

Another extended moment of awe and wonder involved a psychic love affair. It was very confusing, as I had no previous experience of connecting with someone at such a level. For the first time I realized it was possible to exchange thoughts with another being. It culminated in an exchange of energy, which occurred only at night that seemed to be beyond the control of either one of us. Both of us became extremely concerned about the relationship and I knew I needed to get professional help. The universe brought me the perfect psychotherapist and somewhat apprehensively I shared the long, complex story with her. As I finished I remember asking her “Does this make any sense to you at all?” To my delight she smiled a reassuring smile and said, “Of course it does, it makes all the sense in the world.” Then she said some words that forever changed my life. “You have it all confused. You are not a human being having a spiritual experience, you are a spiritual being having a human experience”. Suddenly “the scales fell from my eyes” and I felt that I could see clearly for perhaps the first time in my life and my worldview has been forever changed.

Over the weeks I have been capturing my stories, the list has become longer: pouring boiling water over my hand while camping in California and not getting burned, healing a wound in hours that should have taken days, at a retreat being given an informational tape that addressed a situation that did not occur for another two days, more than one miraculous escapes that totally bemused my logical mind, as well as synchronicity after synchronicity. Then there are those mystical moments where heart engages in the mystery and tears flow; these are often connected with sacred music or movement; as my teacher Atum has said, “tears are the language of the soul.”

So why do this? Is there any substantive reason beside the positive trip down memory lane or is this pure self indulgence? I realize these experiences help build a foundation of faith that is there to support me when things are not going quite so well. It is like building a foundation, brick by brick that can support a great building;  helping to reinforce whatever God concept is sustaining me at the time and it helps to enliven the soul. I think Rumi says it best, “I cannot explain the goings and comings. You enter suddenly and I am nowhere again. Inside the majesty.”