Feeling Connection

Art, Mundane Magic

Lately, I have realized how happy I am with my personal practice.

I used to scour the internet and books for a routine. I also relentlessly asked my spiritual friends, yogis and mentors what I “should be doing” to connect to my inner-most Self. I rarely asked myself these questions.

These people have it together I thought. What they are doing is clearly working.
That’s what I should be doing.

When I was told that writing in a journal about emotions can be a really useful way to experience them, I gave it a shot. Over time though, I realized that I’m a very verbal person…. I often use my mind to escape feeling things. Writing was intellectualizing what I felt and was therefore useless in this specific endeavor. This was a frustrating realization and the level of irritation I felt only reinforced just how badly I needed this outlet.

I took several things into consideration while tweaking this exercise. I decided that this practice needed to: be convenient enough to do on a whim, access my creative self, not take long to accomplish, and be something that I enjoy doing.

Collage was the answer. My collection of literary magazines, old college text books, National Geographics, art collections and children’s books served a turbo-charged source of inspiration. I find so much of the life I experience between those pages. Slicing them apart and piecing them together in a way that *feels* right has allowed me to match the emotion that I feel in the moment. The amazing thing about this process is that I am able to drop right back into that heart-space when I look back through old work.

The following is a peek into my Book of Shadows: the mirror of my Soul.

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“Hitched” by VasalisaTheWitch

 

Your move

“Your Move” by VasalisaTheWitch

 

taliesen

“Mounting Transformation” by VasalisaTheWitch

 

dawn of silence

“Dawn of Silence” by VasalisaTheWitch

 

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“Triggered” by VasalisaTheWitch

 

grail

“Fingerprinting the Grail” by VasalisaTheWitch

 

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“The Chain Unveiled” by VasalisaTheWitch

 

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“Black Seduction” by VasalisaTheWitch

 

porcelain perfection

“Porcelain Hand of Perfection” by VasalisaTheWitch

 

Devils direction

“The Devil’s Direction” by VasalisaTheWitch

 

cardiac hymn

“Cardiac Hymn” by VasalisaTheWitch

 

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“Impatient Dancing of the Dervish” by VasalisaTheWitch

A pocket of this blog will be dedicated to this Work. Some collages might eventually have some written context, some might not. Some of them may “make sense,” others might be totally bizarre. I love this Work because there is no right or wrong way to do it. The intention is to practice pure, unfiltered feeling.

How do you connect with your emotional Self?

Anchoring Manifestation

Mundane Magic

The new year has begun. We have swapped out our calendars from 2015 for those crisp pages of 2016 that hold so much promise. For me, January has always been the month of freshness surrounded by the fiery glow of potential. Year after year I find myself swelling with ideas that light me up and sweep me off toward that which I desire.

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I usually have my list of tasks, daily practices and first-steps planned all ready for after The Ball drops and this year was no different…. But my entrance to 2016 was filled with a week of phlegm and cough syrup. Then catching up on personal Work. Then a trip out of state. Then a mild blizzard. I felt so unprepared for this whirlwind of activity without my resolutions in place. Without them (I thought) how could my horse of Willpower spring from it’s gate with full force?

New Years Resolutions have always been important to this witch. However, I have discovered a method that allows me to successfully create and commit to something for a full 365 days. Because let’s face it: the sensation of “OH SHINY” is not sustainable. It’s easy to become distracted by the myriad of desires swirling around us and inside of us all the time:

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First Step:  Calculate the Numerology

Using basic arithmetic, I am able to reduce the sum of my birth date plus the most recent year I celebrated a birthday to a number between 0 and 21. This number correlates with a Major Arcana in the tarot deck, which reveals the theme/energy of my year. Sometimes, there is more than one Arcana involved if the sum can be added together again to a single digit.

EXAMPLE: My most recent birthday was on December, 26 2015

12 + 26 + 2015 = 2053
2 + 0 + 5 + 3 = 10 (main energy)
1 + 0 = 1 (supporting energy)

My birthday falls very close to the New Year, so this calculation is a useful first step in generating an intention for myself. This year, I will be spun around the Wheel of Fortune (with the support of The Magician.)

 

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Next Step:  Assess the energy

I crack open my tarot books and read about each card. I browse the internet for images from other tarot decks. I feel the emotions and ponder the thoughts each one brings up in me. I ask myself questions: How would I react to this entity if I met them on the street? If this card could speak, what would it say? What are the motives of this entity and how would they carry those motives into the world? All of this. Over and over. Until I have a good grip on what that specific Arcana means to me at this time.

To me,  The Wheel is about cycles, movement and Karma. The hand on the clock moves in one direction until it reaches the top and goes around again. Eternal. Spinning. The culmination of my Work and receiving what I have put out into the Universe (for better and for worse.) Immediate change. Gradual change. The Magician supports this energy by being an agent of manifestation. Things are HAPPENING. All necessary tools are available and ready to be used. A catalyst.

 

Last Step:  Create a Mantra

Using the knowledge above, combined with where I am at this point of my life, I decide how I want to engage with that energy for an entire year and put it into words.

Recently, I have noticed that I often try to manage my surroundings as a way to feel safe and in control. I’ve found that I also tend to rush through most experiences and despise feeling stuck. I Know that I struggle with trust… Trusting myself, others and even the Universe is so difficult for me right now.

I have found mantras to be the most effective when they are: phrased as an “I” statement, in present tense and short (usually between two to six words.) They affirm something that I want to remind myself of when I feel frustrated, overwhelmed and/or want to stuff myself into a hole in the ground. They’re simple, yet potent.

 

Which leads us to VasalisaTheWitch’s mantra for 2016:
I SURRENDER TO THE FLOW

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I (Vasalisa) + surrender (give up control/allow myself to trust) + to the flow (The Wheel/Will of the Universe). That’s it. A simple sentence serving as a reminder of what I have chosen to work on. It anchors my actions toward manifestation like a great ship settling into the port that is my desire. It is a core truth that I have pieced together to carry out in my daily life and it gives shine to the Mundane, where I have the ability to make this magic… even as I’m realizing that I’m late for work or receiving a generous cash tip from a grateful patron.

This post may seem a bit late in the month to be discussed, but I’m suddenly feeling grateful for waiting. It reminds me that there is always time to re-access my situation and check-in with my spirit that is constantly shifting it’s shape.

What do you want from your year?

 

Growing Sharper

Art, Mundane Magic, Tarot

Of all the divination tools out there, I really have quite an affection for the tarot deck.

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IMAGE: VasalisaTheWitch

 

Even before I had any inkling of what it was, the beauty of the cards called to me. After years of training and self-guided study, I have found the 78 cards of the tarot deck to be the complete set of archetypes that visually express what happens during life as a human being. These experiences occur in everyone’s lives and we cannot escape these happenings, no matter our sex, race, class, or creed. When paired with intuition and the humor of our fair Universe, I find them to be an invaluable tool of navigation.

Last April, I did a 12-card reading for my year. I laid out one card per month, to give me an idea of what energies will be present and pulsing. As October arrived, this guy showed up:

 

9 of wands

IMAGE: VasalisaTheWitch

 

While there is no handbook to the original set of cards, I interpret the 9 of Wands as: on guard, anxious, defensive, prepared, ready to engage, challenges, showing some backbone, and courage. If this archetype is what I can expect from my month, it will be a time of being on constant alert. Nothing is actively happening and the opponent has yet to show up, but the air is charged and the armor has been applied. Ready, steady… wait.

So how can a tarot card that depicts a guarded warrior prepared for battle serve as a source of magic after I’ve put the deck away?

One way is to open up and explore this specific energy during daily check-ins with the Self. I can notice the thoughts that scurry around in my head or witness how I am reacting emotionally to the day’s events. Using this card as a lens for my month means consciously experiencing all of the nuances that are present within this energy, and making decisions for myself from this perspective. If I knew that a strong odor of defensiveness was present within my center, should I choose to discuss an issue with my boss this week? Am I really able to give unbiased feedback to a friend soliciting advice regarding how to deal with her unmotivated partner?

Another way is to embrace and express this energy; not change it into something different, but recognize it’s significance and apply it’s power. I can allow these nine wands to flow through me as I prepare for a long run or a busy night at work. I can be honest with myself and gently suggest that maybe meditation is just going to be difficult right now. I could choose to engage in some social justice work in the field. Giving this energy permission to guide me at this point in time allows me to celebrate it’s existence and understand who I am when I embody it. I often use this insight to inspire collage, which is my personal process of fitting the parts together to create a complete picture:

 

"Stand By"

“Stand By” collage by VasalisaTheWitch

It can be really difficult to *see* everything that’s happening when thoughts, feelings, energy and the physical world collide in complex ways. Tarot cards (and all tools of divination) give us the opportunity to pick a very decorated whole apart to be observed and understood. Just like a paint-by-number portrait, each color is necessary to create the image and make it complete. Even if one part is missing, the entire whole is affected.

The name of this magic is awareness, which is our ability to perceive and act from a place of conscious knowing. It is this separation, exploration, opening, embracing and expression that allows each of us to create our desired life while the mysterious hooded figure called The Unknown perches in the corner of our eye…

“The Universe Is Full of Magical Things Patiently Waiting for Our Wits to Grow Sharper.” – Eden Phillpotts

 

ace of swords

IMAGE: VasalisaTheWitch