The Magician: A Magical Lunar Cycle Spread

TarotTuesdayBannerLet’s talk about magic.

1-magician-rider

When The Magician came up for today’s card, I had to grin: of course! Today’s a big magical New Moon, and new moons are generally a great time to play with tarot for divination, exploring thoughts or beliefs that no longer serve you and are ready to be released, planting new seeds of intentions, or making reflective space for new ideas to come to the surface. Today’s new moon in particular comes right on the cusp of Capricorn and Aquarius, as we straddle the boundary between the gravity of tradition that weighs on our bones and the electric future sparkling before our eyes. It’s also conjunct Circe, an epic magician adept at powerful magic in the service of self-care and transformation. Tomorrow, Mercury turns retrograde, which deepens the pull to slow down and turn our gaze inward. Time for tarot, meditation, or journaling during this window promises to yield some pretty powerful and useful insights.

The Magician asks us to take advantage of this opportunity. The Magician is all about taking our awareness of cycles, patterns, environment, and energy and introducing our will, our hopes and desires, into the mix. The Magician reminds us that we can not just notice all these things, but take action and participate!

MoonFabric
Attribution disappeared into the internet – if you recognize this image, let us know ❤

Here’s a spread you can use to explore the opportunities this period holds for you. It follows through the lunar cycle as it interacts with Mercury for the month – because what better structure to follow for magic-making reflection than the dance of the moon’s own rhythm with the hermetic magician himself? You can lay it all out at once, or pull cards for each part of the cycle as we move through it – or both!

1TheVision0° Aquarius New Moon + Circe (Jan 20): The Vision.

How am being called to evolve beyond my traditional or habitual boundaries? How does this image illustrate possibilities for serving my community, in a way that actually meets my needs and serves me too? What intention can I set to participate mindfully and heartfully in this magic?

2TheKnotMercury Retrograde 1° Aquarius (Jan 21): The Knot.

Where is the Trickster drawing my attention? What kink is being unraveled in the service of this magic? What needs to be lost or released in this process?

3TheGardenWaxing Quarter 0° Taurus (Jan 26): The Garden.

How do I meet my intention in the sensual world? How can I enjoy myself and find pleasure in this process? How can I get creative with this magic?

4TheRoaringHeartFull Moon 14° Leo (Feb 3): The Roaring Heart!

This is where your intention for this cycle finds full expression. How does the card you pull here reflect an image of your own power? Are you aligned with your own power? Do you feel overwhelmed or disempowered? What do you need to express out loud?

5TheUnexpectedLessonMercury Direct 17° Aquarius (Feb 11): The Unexpected Lesson.

How does this shift your intention, moving forward? How can you adjust to weave this into your ongoing magic?

6ThePurgeWaning Quarter 23° Scorpio (Feb 11): The Purge.

What has surfaced in this cycle that you no longer wish to house within yourself? What can you do to shed these elements and make fertile room for new growth?

7Renewal29° Aquarius New Moon (Feb. 18): Renewal.

An image that reflects your dedication to honoring yourself as a part of your beloved community. Rinse yourself clean after the lessons of the last cycle, and know that you are devoted to your own process of evolution, whatever your journey is. What is your vision, moving forward from here?

Blessings on your magic-making endeavors!

—-

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.

On Armor, Self-Creation, and Accessing Our Inner Worlds

92b72-bannerpic

Part of the great power and mystery of dreaming is that, in dreams, you find yourself in relationship with the rest of you: who you are when you’re not performing your daytime, waking-world persona; who you wish you could be, or hope you’re not. In dreams we can come into contact with disowned and discarded elements and aspects of ourselves – as well as new, emergent parts of us that we’ve never met yet. Dreams also present us with the forgotten or repressed facts of our living connections to each other – and to the animals and plants we share the living world with, to our shared histories and futures, to dreaming Gaia Herself.

Dreamwork creates reflective time for us to be with these mysteries and unfold ourselves into new awareness about ourselves and our world.

Dreams ask us to take an attitude to them that can be very uncomfortable. Waking, we are always discerning the boundaries of our conscious identity: this is me, that’s not me, that’s has nothing to do with me. Dreams ask us to become more porous and curious in our thinking, and become concerned not with what something is or isn’t but with how we relate to it (and how it relates to us).

Dreamwork asks us to practice a faith in our deeper selves by honoring that whatever comes up to the surface – the dream itself, our reactions to it, our associations to it – has its reason, has something to do with us, even if we don’t know how to recognize it yet.

fishandbird
Art by Geninne: blogdelanine.blogspot.com

This can be a powerful release and relief, for the conscious mind to accept that it’s not in control of everything that goes on inside us, nor does it have to be.

This can also be a balancing practice for many of us whose minds have had very good reason to become protective and stay in control.

Every day, we are bombarded by images, values, policies, and judgments that don’t represent us and that do us harm. In the dominant racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, ableist and capitalist culture, strength and survival can mean adopting an attitude of crafting and defining and valuing our identities on our own terms. That attitude of revolutionary self-creation serves us well in the waking world – but, when it becomes a habitual armor, it can cut us off from the deeper dreaming wellspring of ourselves, our connections to one another, our healing, and our inner guidance.

Our roots go so much deeper down...
Our roots go so much deeper down…

This is not even to really get into how the same dominant culture in general cuts us off from our inner selves, and teaches us not to ask questions, not to draw connections, not to identify empathically with an other. These thought patterns belong to this culture and its legacies of violence, and it’s impossible not to internalize them to some degree. For those (most!) of us who inhabit marginalized identities and have to work hard to claim our value, this can be a double-whammy of a cut-off.

If you find yourself saying things about your dreams like, “That was meaningless,” “That was a stupid dream,” “I wish I could just forget that dream,” “That has nothing to do with me,” or “Phew! Woke up and escaped, now I never have to think about that again!” – then the armor of your waking mind is protecting you from something in your own inner world that wants your attention.

Here’s a small way to begin practicing a balancing attitude in your dreamwork:

moonfishing

  1. Make a quiet space for yourself – half an hour on the couch, some quiet tea time curled up on your bed, a blanket in the park, a walk on the beach, whatever you got to work with.
  1. Actively imagine yourself taking off a piece of armor and setting in on the ground beside you. A helmet or a chest-plate would do nicely. Tell yourself something like I am taking off my armor in order to be with myself, or In this quiet space, I am free to relax and get curious, or even just I am safe here or I come in peace. Take a breath and feel your body adjust to this attitude.
  1. Get your dream journal and either write down a fresh dream or turn to one you wrote down fairly recently. Pick one element of it that challenges, confuses, or bewilders you and name it, write it down.
  1. Give yourself permission to free associate – this means that, without having to understand or interpret anything, you get to brainstorm any and all images, feelings, or memories that come up as you contemplate your chosen dream element. Associations can be very personal but they don’t have to be – they can be old stories, characters from tv shows, current events in other parts of the world, etc. Let it all just blurt into your journal – notice if you feel hesitation or embarrassment, but remember that you are safe here, no one will see but you, and your only job is to take note of what comes up.
journalwolf
Dream journalling gets wild… Art by Christian Schloe.
  1. Reflect on what you’ve journalled – allow yourself to ask questions without needing to answer them right away. The point here is to practice being curious and holding the possibility that you are connected to the images and feelings that came to you.
  1. Pick a few elements of your associations to remember and carry with you during your day – not as a problem to solve, but as something to carry lightly in your mind. As you go about your day, notice when events or feelings arise that remind you of your dream elements. Meaning or insight may or may not come to you in this process, and that’s fine – the point is to practice staying in connection to the inner world, and noticing when something in the waking world resonates with your inner dreaming world.
  1. Thank yourself for making time to connect with your own dream life!

—-

Want to learn more? Check out my Dreamwork for Survivors course, coming this Spring with Califia Collective!

DFS

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.

The Flow of Creativity: 3 of Stones

TarotTuesdayBanner

I’ve been drawing today’s card a lot lately (twice this week!) – and it has me kind of loving the Wildwood Tarot’s take on the three of pentacles:

3 of Stones

3 of stones

A traditional take on this card would have us thinking about work – specifically collective work, work that joins you to your community or is a harmonizing effort of all the parts of yourself. But I think that emphasis tends to get redirected in our cultural focus on work as linear, directed, goal-oriented, productive, and commodified – our thinking that work is about what you produce, and its value, and how that defines your value. This particularly trips us up, I think, when we feel the lack of creativity in our lives. I often hear people say “I’m just not creative,” “I miss being creative,” I need to be more creative,” and they tend to be talking about making things. Making artistic things, maybe, but making things nonetheless. Producing.

The 3 of Stones offers a different view: work as process. Work as connection to being. Work as being grounded. Work as being in the flow – the flow of the earth, the flow of intuition, the flow of inspiration. The flow that roots in its own place – and gives energy back to its own place, becomes part of the ecosystem. The flow that communes with what cannot be seen. The 3 of Stones reminds us that all of these process are themselves creative, and part of what it means to be creative.

I love that this card challenges us to just get into our flow, whatever that looks like today – whether giving or receiving, connecting to nature, dancing with intuition and ideas, taking care of our physical needs, meditating, connecting to source, drawing strength or inspiration up from our roots – and say: “I’m being creative.”

Because a dimension of “work” is recognizing or attending to the ways energy flows through us, connecting us in partnership with the living and more-than-human world around us. Our deep connectivity is a font of creativity. How does your work change when you send roots down into this place? What dimensions of creativity open up to you when you see this image?

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.

Climbing Mount Stewart: Exploring Place in Dreams

92b72-bannerpic

Last night, I dreamed:

 I ride my bike and walk up a large hill or small mountain. As I climb, everything goes wonky – the path narrows and curves at a bizarre angle, gravity and perspective and the very directions seem to shift in ways I can’t understand. It’s all I can do to stay on the narrow gravelly path, as if I could just fall right off it as I go. From the top, I can see new green fields all around, and there’s a civic park there at the summit. Gathered there sitting on a wall are some women I knew in high school, with their young children, and a young man who was a childhood neighbor and playmate. One of the women smiles and speaks with me. I begin to have visions of maps, and understand that this place is called Mount Stewart.

I’m excited to begin 2015’s Dreamboat by introducing  some my favorite tools for exploring dream imagery, taking you step by step through fresh dream work. There are obviously many elements of this dream that could be unpacked – the strange climb, the various people at the summit’s park – but my focus here is on the mountain as it reveals itself to me: Mount Stewart.

Places in dreams – in particular, specifically named places – hold a lot possibilities. I don’t know any place with this name in my waking life, nor does it remind me of any place I remember visiting. So the first thing I do is use the best tool for researching dreams, imagery, synchronicities and such that I know: the almighty  google.

Google informs me that Mount Stewart is:

  1. A California mountain situated on The Great Western Divide, in Sequoia National Park, named after “The Father of Sequoia National Park,” in an area of the park called Valhalla. Stewart was an early conservationist who was also a journalist and fought to save the Big Trees (the park houses the biggest tree on earth).
  2. A small community on Price Edward Island, where a bridge across the river was an important transportation hub linking the two sides of the island.
  3. A place on Victoria Island, B.C. near Thetis Lake.
  4. An Australian asparagus farm.
  5. A memorial in New Zealand dedicated to early European settlers.
Picture 003
Mount Stewart

That’s quite a list! I take some time to see how each facet of this list resonates, and what associations arise for me:

  1. That there is an actual Mount Stewart within a day’s drive is exciting. Looking at the map, I see that there is no road that goes there – it’s deep in the forest and can only be accessed by trail. Deep Forest and Mountain have been showing up in dreams and travel with increasing regularity and power for me, and I have never been to Sequoia but a dear friend considers it a spiritually transformative place that deeply affected her when she visited. You can be sure I will now be scheming on how I can make a retreat there sometime this year.
  2. I note that my only association to Prince Edward Island is that one of my favorite childhood authors lived and wrote about life there, and maybe I will revisit one of her books, since one of my intentions for 2015 is to reconnect with literature and fiction writing. I also note that I have ancestors who lived in Nova Scotia, although I know nothing about them or even which family line they came through. I will do some research on this.
  3. Victoria Island was a place I visited as a child, but was too young to remember much. I note Thetis lake because it’s good practice to note mythological figures who may be woven into the dream’s landscape – Thetis being an Archaic Greek sea goddess whose pre-patriarchal worship was deep and widespread and which record is largely lost, and who is remembered now for being mother to the hero Achilles. Also, another Canada connection. I take from this to be on the lookout for a connection to early childhood, powerful forces from beyond memory, and/or a reminder when working with this specific place of a larger context of the living earth and sea.
  4. Asparagus farm! The tag line goes, “We grow fresh green asparagus 8 months out of the year” and my first reaction is about how asparagus is a tender, early Spring vegetable – I feel a distaste toward the idea of over-forcing something out of its season. The “fresh green” reminds me of the green I see from the park.
  5. A memorial dedicated to early European settlers – I have been thinking and reading recently on ideas of whiteness, privilege, settler colonialism, and my own relationship with my ancestors. This process indeed feels like a long climb where the way the world works suddenly shifts, I have to account for different perspectives, and I have to tread very mindfully.

You can see how many facets of the image of Mount Stewart start to appear when held and turned in different directions. Exploring associations like this is one way of doing so. Another way of doing so, and one of my absolute favorites, is to explore the language itself. Where words appear, dreams are great punsters and make much use of the poetic depth of language and etymology.

First, I look at the word as it shows up: Stewart is an old Scottish name, connected to a line of royalty, of Old English origin by way of a Breton knight. (I note that I think I have some Scotch ancestry that I know nothing about. I think this may be connected to the line that wound up in Nova Scotia about which I also know nothing.)

From it comes the English word “steward:” a person who manages the household, or the affairs of another; a manager, caretaker, or guardian.

Digging deeper into the etymology yields the Old English stīġ + weard.

Stīġ: 1) house, hall, building, enclosure for animals. 2) An especially steep or narrow path. (!)

Weard: 1) guard or watchman, protector. 2) a protected place (neighborhood, section of community, area of a building, division of a forest).

Weard is also closely connected to an Old Norse word for cairn, a man-made pile of stones acting as a trail-marker, burial-marker, astronomical device, or spiritual monument. I note that this doubles the image of the small mountain with man-made park at its summit. I also note that part of my ancestry includes Norse folks, and with the earlier Valhalla connection there’s a doubling of this influence too.

800px-Cairn5

For me, Mount Stewart thus becomes a dream-place named for the process it embodies and illustrates: a careful climb up a steep and narrow path, which requires an attitude of oversight, guardedness, and stewardship (including the ecological stewardship for which the historical Californian Stewart was known). The park at its summit is a protected place, and needs to be approached as such. Whatever or whoever is beginning to be represented there by the people I meet in the dream should also be approached with these attitudes. The protected and stewarded nature of the place may reflect the purposes of cairns: orienting and connecting during movements between realms. As I deepen this dreamwork by turning to the figures and my relationships with them, I will bear all this in mind.

I understand this dream to speak to ongoing processes of learning and growth for me, touching many layers of my experience and practice: my relationship with mountainous terrain which was renewed last Fall when I traveled in the Carpathians; my relationship with forest terrain and its creatures, which are regularly present in dreams; my desire to have more travel and working retreats in my waking life; my relationship with the land of California, which has revealed itself to me in dreams before like this; my deepening practice of ancestral study and how that connects to issues of privilege, settler history (that great Western divide), and my stewardship of all this in terms of my own right relationship with the land I live in.

MtStwart

You can see the rich weave of information and influences these ways of working a dream create. The beauty of these tools is that you don’t need a lot of special equipment or education. Access to the internet, a playful and curious mind, and an intention to explore and expand an image (rather than collapse it into definition, as I might have done by looking up “mountain” in a symbol dictionary) are all you need. Held this way,  a dream becomes a puzzle that yields orientation, guidance, confirmation, and fresh ideas and directions to look toward. I hope you find it useful!

—-

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.

Swords and Resolutions: A New Year’s Meditation

TarotTuesdayBanner

I rung in 2015 this year with a small tarot party of old and new friends, all of us filling up my kitchen table with tea and sass and little charms and laughter, a few tears, and of course a gaggle of tarot decks. It was lovely and fun and super orienting – and a little surprising! It has me actually excited to talk about something that’s often spoken of in tones of dread, confusion, disappointment, or bewilderment.

RWaceofswords

That’s right: let’s talk about Swords.

Or some aspects of them, anyway. I think talking about swords, despite their (rightful) reputation for pain, vulnerability, grief and distress, is an apt way to come into the new year. Because New Years generally has us doing a lot of swords-y activities from the quiet space after the holidaze and before 2015 gets into action:

Taking stock. Looking back and making some judgements about how things went. Taking accountability for our parts in all that. Looking forward and crafting visions of how we’d like things to go. Taking responsibility for nurturing those visions into reality. Setting goals. Breaking those goals down into pieces, making plans, committing to taking steps. Discerning and choosing. Dreaming and scheming.

RWS deck's dreamy Page of Swords
RWS deck’s dreamy Page of SwordsWS

The thing about swords – particularly the Ace, the quintessential sword that holds all the possibilities of swordiness – is that they cut both ways. And how we treat ourselves in going about these things is a great litmus test for how we are using sword energy. Do our resolutions hold us with their promise, inspire us, give us definition and motivation and evolve with us as we get into action? Or do our resolutions become another weapon that turns on us, another reason to cut ourselves down, punishing us when we slip or fail or don’t achieve something the way we hoped?

Swords talk about mentality – our thoughts, beliefs, fears, judgements, goals, unconscious scripts, critical thinking, ideas, inspiration, vision, discernment, communication, language – and our relationship to these things in ourselves and each other. They can also be about how these things interact with particularly intense and deep emotions – how they support or impede us in the thick of those feelings. Swords are tools, too, and they can be used in service to ourselves. I think it’s very common to feel at the mercy of one’s thoughts – whether they are oppressive one-liners that run on loop, or unconscious beliefs that continually undercut our ability to make change, or suffering that cuts so deep it feels impossible to think through and cuts us to pieces instead. Our relationship to these dynamics are very much connected to how we feel empowered to make the changes we want in our lives. Sometimes, it’s revolutionary just to remember that you can pick up the sword and use it to cut yourself out of such patterns, and to reflect on them instead of being pinned down by them.

queenofswordsrws
This lady is The Queen of facing even the most difficult reflections…

Take your deck and lay out the sword cards (or google up some images). Do any remind you of how you talk to yourself, how you react when things don’t go your way, how you treat yourself when you feel like you’re doing a bad job of something, or what happens when you try to make a change?

Swordsknight 8s-rws

Do any images remind you of tools you have, skills you’re learning, different perspectives available, helpful stances to practice? Is there anywhere in the images you feel a sense of balance, lightness, or empowerment?

swords
Thoth deck’s 2 of Swords & Mary El deck’s 5 of Swords

Can you give yourself permission to be with the Ace of Swords – and remember what it’s like to feel empowered and purposeful? Or know that things will change as the new year gets into gear, and you are capable of discerning and then making whatever adaptations are necessary, and this is not failure but its own kind of strength?

AceofSwordsWildUnknownEven the word resolution acknowledges that things change: resolution is re + solve – to loosen, free, figure out or cut apart again. Hidden in the word itself is the implication of swords at their cutting, discerning, liberating best. A resolution is not a bond, which one is punished for breaking. It is acknowledging that even when you think you know something’s form, it will dissolve into pieces and become something else again – which you can then examine, learn from, make new decisions about. It is knowing that there is more than one solution. It is realizing that judgement and accountability are processes in motion, with plenty of opportunities for taking responsibility in new ways.

I know I’ll keep checking in with the Ace of Swords this year as a reminder of all this, and of how my relationship with swords energy is of just service to me and my own vision. I offer this meditation to you in hopes it sparks some interesting thoughts and helpful ideas for you as well. Please share them in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the suit of swords and how you use its imagery.

And of course, cheers to your 2015!

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.

The Light in the Dark

TarotTuesdayBanner

Winter Solstice is this weekend, and has me thinking a lot about The Sun…

The Sun from The Gaian Tarot
The Sun from The Gaian Tarot

Here she is in her full glory – something we remember as we connect to her during this shortest, darkest time of the year. The light in the dark. The core of heat and vitality in the cold emptiness of space. The force of warmth and life-giving power that rests as deep in the earth as it does inside each of us. We celebrate our ability to endure, share, and honor what’s born anew. We surround ourselves with reminders of what sustains us and nourishes us in dark times – community, color, sweetness, spice, warmth, fire, food, drink, joy, solitude, cozy comfort, and more.

Here is one of my favorite meditations on Winter Solstice, with a little bit about tea and magic, from the lovely creatures of Worts and Cunning. My Winter Solstice tea this year includes St. Joan’s Wort for sun and light, Star Anise for stars and dreaming, Transylvanian Mountain Mint for calm, ease, and a reminder of the year’s magic adventures, Hawthorne Berries for heart and movement between worlds, Rose Hips for sacred heart and vitamin C, and locally gathered pink peppercorns for the flavors of home and a little peppery kick. Have fun brewing and charming your own holiday tea!

Some teatime magic from Worts and Cunning!

I am loving practices like candlelight yoga – basically candlelight anything. (Attended by music about the descent to and return from the Underworld no less!) Being with the quiet and the dark, tending the spark and seeing by its light. Holding the spark of whatever comes to me in these quiet moments as a seed, held and nurtured by the darkness as it germinates, waiting to bring new magic  into my life in the coming year.

What might you do to mark this time of honoring the light in the dark?

IMG_20141216_094140

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.

You missed out.

No, seriously, you missed out.

The Califia Collective Holiday Market was AMAZING!

holidaymarket

There was of course the lovely Dream Workshop by our COM|PASSionate REVOLUTIONARY, Kaeti Gugiu, the highly anticipated Elixir Bar + Potion Lab, lots of lovingly made and magically imbued goodies and most importantly community gathering!

Those who swung through were lovely, folks with lots of healing knowledge themselves, aromatherapy and plant medicine aficionados, those just entering wide eyed into the world of quirky holistic healers and medicine makers, serendipitous new connections  and even some unexpectedly familiar faces! We were quite busy heading up to the event (and even almost missed it by a day due to confused chaotic holiday scheduling on our end) but we’re so glad we did the hustle to get there! It was truly a testament to opening up to new connections, trusting and heading in with open hearts.

photo(10)

Because… when you’re open to new connections, trust and head in with open hearts sometimes you come out well dressed, smelling delicious, warmed up from the inside and also vaguely sparkly from a fortuitous trade with a radical midwife who’s partner makes magical goodies like Unicorn Sparkle Balm!

Yup. You missed out. In fact I hesitated too long and missed out on the Dragon Balm! Life lesson: If someone, ANYONE, offers you a magical gathering and sparkly things in jars labeled after mythical creatures there’s no room for hesitation… I REPEAT, NO ROOM.

Lucky for you, though, dear reader, the magick women nurturing the collective, Kirsten + Alexis,  are continuing to busily create revolution in our local community with lots of new healing events!

Stay posted! We know we will! Check out links after the fold for holiday healing treats, services and revolutionaries!

———-

Traci is a patron of the lost art of mythical creature balm making, queer family building, community dreaming and naturally sweet smelling arm pits. She writes and dreams for COM|PASSionate REVOLT, facilitates mind/body summits through yoga and offers herself as a humble witness of process through her therapy practice COM|PASSionate REVOLT Healing.

REVOLUTIONARIES mentioned in, alluded to or complimentary to this post.

Califia Collective

Worts + Cunning / The Lunar Apothecary

Long Beach Apothecary / The Crazy Herbalist

Dreamwork for Survivors

Holistic Living With Kristy

Spinsters R Us

Taproot Midwifery

Dream Inspired Design

 

Califia Holiday Market!

92b72-bannerpic

Special Announcement!

Please join us at Califia Collective’s Holiday Gathering & Market, tomorrow night!

The good folks at Califia are bringing me on board to teach with them, and tonight will be my first event with them. I will be there speaking about dreams, sharing a little zine version of the Litte Dreamwork Primer, and announcing my Dreamwork for Survivors course that will be debuting in the Spring! I’m so excited and pleased to be able to share this all with you. Our wonderful Compassionate Revolt team is going to be there too, sharing all kinds of lovingly crafted goodies and healing tools. This is a wonderful chance to meet, build community, support local healers, and get your little paws on some one-of-a-kind treasure.

Plus: FREE herbal elixir bar and make-your-own dream pillows!

So excited. See you there!

holidaymarket

A Dream Considered Through Personal, Collective, and Gaian Lenses

92b72-bannerpic

Today, I’d like to take an old dream of mine as an example for one of my favorite ways of working with dreams. I don’t have a catchy name for this tool, and maybe it’s more of a philosophy than a tool, but I think it’s incredibly helpful.

Lots of folks talk about dreams as working on multiple levels. Jungians are maybe best known for this, and they break the levels down in various ways. The language that feels simplest, cleanest, and most useful to me is to think of dreams as working on 3 different levels: Personal, Collective, and Gaian.

Personal: this probably already makes sense to you. There are dreams that easily slide into this microscope, and you can gleam all kinds of information about yourself, your psyche, your history, your evolution…you get the idea.

Looking through the microscopic personal lens...a beautiful hidden world!
Looking through the microscopic personal lens…a beautiful hidden world!

Collective: this probably also makes sense to you somehow. On this level, we might talk about archetypal dreams, ancestral dreams, prophetic dreams, shared dreams, dreams where you receive specific information about something other or bigger than you, dreams that touch experiences that you share with many other people, and dreams where you are part of a larger drama.

The mind boggles.
The mind boggles.

Gaian: this may be where you’re cocking your eyebrow at me, because we don’t have much language about this in the dominant culture. This is the level where we acknowledge that humans are not the only carriers of consciousness, and that we are only a small part of the dreaming world. Dreams can be a field of communication with other phenomena – places, weather, animals, and the ways we all embody the larger organism which is Gaia. Dreams can be a place where we connect to the immense suffering of the world, and engage in the important work of grieving and creating new relationships with the Gaian world. If you’d like to read more about this, I refer you to the striking work of healer Deena Metzger.

Click here to access Deena Metzger's powerful essay Living By Dream, in the inaugural issue of Dark Matter: Women Witnessing
Click here to access Deena Metzger’s powerful essay Living By Dream, in the inaugural issue of Dark Matter: Women Witnessing

It’s important to note that these levels are not “kinds of dreams.” Personal, Collective, and Gaian are stances we can take toward any dream; they are attitudes and approaches. We can hold a dream and turn it carefully over, looking through each lens, one at a time, allowing the dream to express its multidimensional fullness. They help us to practice a multivalent awareness and to grow our understanding that meaning happens on many levels, in many ways, from many perspectives, all woven together. It is never just one or the other.

Here is a dream that came to me in Spring of 2010:

A dark, underground sewer. A woman has been floating down, and now emerges from, the muddy stream. She is brilliant red, glowing, bloody and screaming in agony because she has no skin, she is skinless. She will grow a new skin.

I first considered this dream personally. I thought about all the change and transformation I was undergoing, having been “in the shit” of my own healing for a while at this point. I thought about how painful this process can be, how in the disorientation of deep, healing change it can feel like you’ve lost your skin – feeling everything, feeling too much, having lost the old filters and barriers that helped you deal with all the shit you’ve been swimming in for so long. I thought about the brilliant red and the fact that the figure is emerging from the sludge, ready to grow a new skin, and I felt hopeful about my own emergence and new growth, even if it was still underground.

Imagine my surprise when, a few days later, I was looking through my collage-fodder picture books and stumbled across this image:

From the Splendor Solis
From the Splendor Solis

It was the very picture of my dream! – only above ground, instead of below. This is the kind of thing that happens on the collective level. Like tuning into a frequency or tapping into a current, our sensitive psyches light up with stories and images that have been around for ages and ages of human experience.

This is an alchemical painting, and, to add to the synchronicity, a few days later I went to school where our evening training that session was in Alchemy. I spoke to the professor briefly about this experience, and she encouraged me to deepen my exploration of it as a collective dream. She saw in it a powerful image of the raw Feminine, so sensitive and so mistreated in our dominant American culture, violently expressing Her rage and pain – and calling me to help in the work of re-growing Her skin. I was being reminded that even in doing my personal healing, in re-growing my own embodied sensitivity and containing selfhood, I was helping anchor the same kind of renewal on the collective level. I am just one place where this re-emerging Feminine is happening in my culture.

Whatever we mean by “the Feminine,” it is something that has as much to do with what we call “the natural world” as it does with human women. Both women’s bodies and the earth itself have been subject to the same kinds of objectified exploitation. Understanding this figure as an expression of the Feminine is a way to expand even further, out into the Gaian stance. From this perspective, we can see the skinless woman’s screams as the pain and rage of Gaia, the living earth, engulfed in human sewage. I had this dream during the period of the BP Oil Spill, as I was becoming interested in ecopsychology and other methods of including the more-than-human world in healing work.

OilSpillBird

This dream was a major message for me that as I grow into a new relationship with my self, and with whatever the Feminine is in our culture, that necessarily includes my relationship with the more-than-human world of interconnected life that I now refer to as Gaian.

Of course, this is only scratching the surface of this dream and its story. But my hope is that this shows you how powerful just a single dream image can be, and how richly it unfolds when considered using different lenses. I love how each not only enlivens the dream’s message, but each layer creates new texture for the others, creating multiple points of access and meaning that deeply inform one another. I hope this becomes a useful tool for you in exploring the beautiful multiplicity of your own dream life.

Sweet dreams,

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.

Show Off That Wild Heart Of Yours

TarotTuesdayBanner

Happy Tuesday y’all – this is a full week for me, rich with travel and rainstorms and teaching  and a sparkly full moon and rolling birthday celebrations, so today I bring you a wild and juicy little tarot meditation:

Apprentice of Bottles from The Collective Tarot
Apprentice of Bottles from The Collective Tarot

What if you wake up tomorrow and decide it’s time to dress up and show off your courageous heart?

Where would you most like to bring some charming extravagance to your world?​

And how big a splash can you make ​bringing it?

Your imagination defies gravity.​

Use it well!

xo

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.