Gratitude, COM|PASSion + Community Trauma

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Some of us are holders and keepers. We feel deeply with the entirety of our beings and take on heart work like it’s an extreme sport.

Some of us are also particularly well suited for trauma because we have been trained by the unforgiving hands of socialization, marginalization and discrimination. We see it everywhere. Sometimes it feels that it is trauma that connects us. Everything in the world tells us that this… this… THIS is our storyline. Get used to it.

There’s no space for anything but this.

Don’t believe it.

Have gratitude today, dear friends, don’t step away from compassion even

“if the only thing we have to gain in staying is each other,

my god that’s plenty

my god that’s enough.”

Don’t stop talking, posting, giving hugs, sharing tears, listening with open hearts. Appease the lump in your throat, the tension at your neck and the grinding of your jaw. Speak forth through the heavy fog of silence and fear and ignorance but don’t get lost in it.

Take time to breathe and nurture and have gratitude for the spark of awareness rising up around us. Know that “the wound is an echo.” It is reverberating through our communities.

Lick your wounds. You can’t make it better, tell someone it’s better, or hope it better right this moment.

“Just say here we are together at the window aching for it to all get better but knowing as bad as it hurts our hearts may have only just skinned their knees knowing there is a chance the worst day might still be coming-

Let me say right now for the record, I’m still gonna be here asking this world to dance, even if it keeps stepping on my holy feet.

You- you stay here with me, okay?

You stay here with me.

Raising your bite against the bitter dark

Your bright longing

Your brilliant fists of loss

Friend.”

Take heart. Make space. Have gratitude that these things that have made us particularly suited to be holders and keepers also forge our spirits in a way that make us particularly suited to wield compassion in the face of our oppressor. Use your strengths. Believe in your superpower. Take your cape. Hold tight to…

“The ripchord of believing.

A life can be rich like the soil.

Can make food of decay.

Can turn wound into highway.”

In solidarity and offering,

COM|PASSionate REVOLT

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Compassion and healing can’t be separated from the source of the wounds. You can read Autostraddle’s list of articles and action tips on “How You Can Show Up for Ferguson” here. To read Andrea Gibson’s poem “The Nutritionist” in it’s entirety you can visit this dedicated blog space or learn more about  Andrea Gibson on their official website here.

 

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Kingfisher Lessons

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Last week, we took a first look at the 4 Directions spread, one of my favorite and most used spreads. Next week, we’ll take a second look and deepen that conversation. I meant to do so this week, but so many other things have been coming up that it feels appropriate to take a pause and draw a card instead. There’s a lot of rough news out there today. The holidaze is upon us. Let’s just do a little draw to support us keeping our heads and taking good care of ourselves and each other.

King of Arrows from The Wildwood Tarot deck
King of Arrows from The Wildwood Tarot deck

The King of Arrows watches from his perch, and moves with rainbow clarity of mind and purpose ​into the water, under the water, catching his prey and returning to his perch.

​Kingfisher asks us to consider: How do I move between airy and watery realms? What can I learn from this figure about purposefully bringing the sharp discernment of my intellect into play with my emotions?

This could look like maintaining one’s calm and reason when someone is blasting you with their emotion. ​

​ This could look like a mindfulness practice, creating little rituals or moments of witnessing from your perch, from within your busy day, and honing your focus.

This could look like remembering to take a break from all the feelings, pausing to take deep breaths, consider what you need in this very moment, having a snack, and using whatever support systems you have in place, before diving back into the depths.

​This could look like initiating a dreamwork practice, beginning to write down patches of remembered adventures as you break the surface of sleep, bringing something back with you as you come into your waking mind for the day.

How does your mentality support your emotionality? What tools or tricks do you lean on when you need a little more Air in your Water World?

Whatever they are, use them well this week –

Kaeti

Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

What’s In My Kitchen Cabinet

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In this episode of Quick Healing Tips With Ashley, Ashley shares information about some products in your kitchen cabinet that you can also use for natural healing DIY self-care.

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Ashley is a healing seeker, adventurer, provider and sharer. She offers healing services through her practice http://www.holistichealinghelpers.com and is working towards creating a mind body healing site in Honolulu, Hawaii.

 

COM|PASSionate Inspiration: The Wound

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There’s a lesser known Hindu Goddess I stumbled upon as I traipsed across the interwebs…

She’s the Goddess Akhilandeshvari, The Goddess of Never Not Broken.

I don’t claim her or own her- her image has not been something I’ve grown up with and yet whenever she graces my presence I have the innate knowledge that I have always known her. We haven’t spent a lot of time together but the time we’ve spent has been intimate and awe inspiring. She’s seen me at my most challenged, even when it was so dark no human eyes could make out shapes or lessons. From a deep pit with seemingly no way out she peaked over the ledge as I crawled and clawed my way up the sides, thirsty, dirty and bleeding with desperation and hopelessnes creating a lump in my throat  and wells at the corners of my eyes.

She didn’t offer me a hand.

I fell back a few times tumbling to the bottom- more scratches, more bruises, bones broken, muscles torn. I learned in the dark where my body met the landscape. Aches and pains screamed out to me from places of myself I hadn’t talked to for a great long while- the loudest most blood curdling screams came from places so hidden, off the beaten path, and without directions that I had managed to erase their existence altogether until that moment when I felt them rip open.

I struggled and my wounds spread. As my wounds spread light poured in- illuminating images of tears, and sighs, and traumas, and stories, strength and weakness, vulnerability and power. Flickering images connected one after another creating resplendent backlit stories where I was antagonist and protagonist, observer and observed, nothingness and universe. As my light grew so did hers, reflections of reflections, lifting me out of the pit which was suddenly full of pathways made visible and easily traversed.

As my wounds sealed over she faded into the distance but there remained a phosphorescent glow emanating from the path I had taken. As I looked behind me I saw the long trail of my story, lamplights hung where I needed them most.

You might not know her as Akhilandeshvari.

You might know her as Heartbreak, Grief, Suffering, Loss, The Tower or DISASTER.

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She remains NEVER NOT BROKEN to remind us that “The wound is the place where the light enters you {RUMI}.”

Take this darkness REVOLUTIONARIES, take these hardships, these marginalities, these struggles and most importantly these WOUNDS because (as the Collective Tarot Reminds us):

“Do not be afraid. Do not get stuck in Oppression. Coping. Trying not to change. You cannot control the disaster. The change is inevitable. It is our nature to preserve ourselves. Our dreams. Do not be afraid. The Star awaits.”

In Broken-ness,

COM|PASSionate REVOLT

A little dreamwork primer

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Ahoy dreamers!

Sometimes, waking up from dreams leaves you feeling a little like a kid who’s stumbled into a magical forest. Mouth hanging open in wonder and surprise. Or leaning in, but stunned and skeptical. Not sure what to do next. But certain you’re dressed for just such an occasion, and ready to wander around…

Forest Children

So for this week’s Dreamboat, I’m excited to share with y’all a little dreamwork primer.

Download the pdf, make a cup of tea, and enjoy!

Cheers,

Kaeti

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Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

Quick Healing Tips with Ashley: Mindful Activities and Vibrations

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COM|PASSionate REVOLT is excited to introduce a new video blog in collaboration with Holistic Healing Helpers. Ashley will be sharing quick accessible healing tips with the COM|PASSionate REVOLT community. We would love to hear any tips that you have! Send us a message to get involved in the healing dialogue!

View Ashley discussing the power of mindful activities and vibrations below:

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Ashley is a healing seeker, adventurer, provider and sharer. She offers healing services through her practice http://www.holistichealinghelpers.com and is working towards creating a mind body healing site in Honolulu, Hawaii.

4 Directions Spread: Cosmic Snapshot Part 1

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Happy Tuesday y’all – did you know we welcome submissions to Tarot Tuesday?

A reader wrote in, “I don’t really know how to interpret a directional spread,” but she’s playing with it – and she included a photo of a beautiful full moon spread she did while camping in the Cascadian forests.

4 Direction spreads have been my bread and butter for years – I love their flexibility and use them way more than the other common small spread, PPF or “past, present, future.”

(PS, “Spread” is what us tarot folk call the particular design guiding the cards’ layout after you draw them. It’s like laying out a feast. What a spread!)

Here’s what I love about the 4 Direction spread: It creates a little cosmos, giving you lots of room to explore aspects of relationships. That little cosmos is both circular and linear. Take a look:

Reader-Submitted "4 Directions Spread," using the Marseilles Tarot deck
Reader-Submitted “4 Directions Spread,” using the Marseilles Tarot deck

You see the circle clearly – the wheel created as your attention moves around the perimeter of the spread. It moves in both directions.

The linear is in the axes it sets up – I find myself using the word “axis” a lot when I read cards. These are the axles, the load-bearing places of support between cards: they give strength, seal connection, channel energy, and create oppositional movement.

Taken together, the two form an ancient and deeply archetypal symbol that has as many interpretations as we could throw at it, and then some.

The wheel and axes; also, the alchemical symbol for Earth.
The wheel and axes; also, the alchemical symbol for Earth.

Sometimes I’ll put a card in the center: a hub. This spread doesn’t have one. That’s okay. That’s part of the flexibility of this spread, and I often don’t include a central card when I’m just asking for a general picture of things (cosmic snapshot). Or, I’ll do the spread and then pull a card for the center about how to deal with all the lessons the outer cards have presented. To ground me as I move back into the mundane world. Anyway, this spread clearly has some beautiful ritual & magic going on in the center and that will have its own power in this reading for Our Dear Reader.

Some positions have more than one card: that’s cool too. Sometimes you need a little extra for certain positions – you have a question, it sparks another question, or you just don’t know what to do with the first card (the wtf factor). I am a big fan of just drawing another clarification card, even if you’re not sure why yet.

Another thing I love about this spread is that it is deeply orienting. Imagine me, or you, the querent, or the issue in the center – and then the spread encourages us to ground into that center, and then to take a minute to look in each direction, and then to really be with what’s there. Before I start playing with axes, I go around the circle and be with the card/s in each position. It has the effect of making a place, giving some ground from which to consider whatever the issue is, and understanding that issue not as a thing but as an ecosystem.

One kind of ecosystem. Clickthrough for some ecosystem basics :)
One kind of ecosystem. Clickthrough for some ecosystem basics 🙂

Part of sitting with each direction will include bringing your associations and meanings for each direction to bear on that image. This kind of practice (associations with directions) shows up in a lot of cultures, and we tend to take it for granted (especially in pagan communities) as something that belongs to us, just something we do. One of the places it comes from is Medicine Wheel, which belongs very specifically to various indigenous American tribal traditions. This is not something we can just take wholesale and plop into: East means this, West means this, according to the Great Indian Shaman, case closed. Especially for those of us practicing on this land, I feel very strongly that awareness of this history and our capacity to participate in its legacy of violence via cultural appropriation is a part of right relationship. Many Western pagan traditions do have their own sets of directional correspondence: great – use what works for you. But if you’re copying lists of meanings from (books about) indigenous cultures to whom you do not belong and with whom you have no relationship outside of your consumption of them, this paragraph is especially for you.

And so this is not to say we can’t practice directional spreads, or some form of Medicine Wheel meditation. It is to remember the importance of doing our own work, and to remember that personal spiritual practices are part of the web of collective life and history. To remember that the 4 directions are not lists of meanings but experiences of aspects of the ecosystem we live in.

That said, you probably have a blend of associations and meanings that belong to the different directions for you – a mix of personal experiences, things you’ve read, practices you’ve studied, and sheer intuition. I can’t encourage you enough to start practicing bringing your awareness to the different directions, and thus building your own library of associations to those directions for you. Maybe you regularly encounter a certain animal, or color, or goddess, or feeling when attuning to a direction: these are associations full of potential exploration.

Our dear reader, chillin' in the East with Kwan Yin at Sekhmet Temple, creating new associations to her personal East <3
Our Dear Reader, chillin’ in the East with Kwan Yin at Sekhmet Temple, creating new associations to her personal East ❤

Bringing them to bear on a spread might look like: “The East is where the sun rises, a place of light and hope and restoration and newness. I associate it with qualities of Air, and stillness, thoughtful practice, and a refreshed heart. How might the Page of Wands embody those qualities, or what would she have to say about them?” Look how, in the actual spread, she even faces the East, and perhaps the coming dawn. I might close my eyes and connect with the East, visualize a landscape or setting there, and then allow the Page of Wands to wander on stage. What happens next?

Or: “The West is where the sun sets – where the darkness grows, the home of night, the gateway to dreams. I associate it with qualities of Water, especially ocean, because I live on the west coast; also I link it with change, and moving between worlds.” Look at how, in the spread itself, the two queens in the West regard each other; what kind of tone does their interaction have for you? How might this go down in the wild West I described? What kinds of power are at play?

Then, I might think about the axis. This horizontal axis I often associate with time. The West may reflect what is passing away from the present, where the sun is setting, what has come before – while the East reflects what is on the horizon.

It may also reflect different choices or influences: on the one hand, on the other, a kind of weighing. It may speak to fears (the growing darkness of West) and hopes (the rising sun of East). It may talk about where your emotions are at (the Watery West) vs. what your head is doing (the Airy East). Western Moon speaks with Eastern Sun?

You can see how deep a spread like this can go. And we haven’t even really gotten into more magical directional correspondances, or specific meanings of cards outside our immediate reactions to them. We haven’t even touched the cards of the vertical axis, or gone around the wheel. I’m telling you, 4 positions + your central attention is all you need to explore your mini cosmos, to get a snapshot of your psychic ecosystem.

Another "4 Directions" spread, using The Collective Tarot deck - and another way to trace relationships in a reading!
Another “4 Directions” spread, using The Collective Tarot deck – and another way to trace relationships in a reading!

Clearly we could go on (and on) with this one, but that’s about all the time and space we have for today. Next week we will look at the vertical axis, and dig a little deeper into this particular spread. I hope this little intro has sparked some ideas and excitement about using this spread for you though! I know Our Dear Reader who submitted this lovely query would enjoy any of your thoughts, for anyone who wants to jump into the comments and practice interpreting, or share their 4 directions stories. I encourage you to send in other questions, spreads, or ideas for us to play with too!

Be well!

Kaeti

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Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.