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She Said: My 5 Favorite Crystal Healing Techniques

I obviously like rocks.  I can feel the “buzz”, which certainly helps in this field. Over the years I have explored many ways to interact with stone energies.  The following techniques are among my favs.

Crystal Grid

1) Crystal Grids:  This would have to be my most favorite way to work with stones.  This is fairly advanced work, but there isn’t anything truly “difficult” about it.  It essentially uses sacred geometry and the process of activating an energy field from stones that are arranged in a type of mandala configuration.

The benefits of this kind of technique is that you can get the energetic effect of a very large specimen with a few or more small pieces.  Also, you can weave together many different energies in a way to create a combination that is supportive of very specific issues.  The activation technique is easy once you learn it and it’s pretty easy to learn it.  Remember doodling daisy flowers when you were a kid?  Yeah, that’s about as hard as the activation technique gets.

The difficulty of this technique is that I usually use 6 stones of each type of stone I want to grid.  Unless you are using rough stones, this can get expensive.  Also, you need some dedicated flat space to get it going.  We have an information and free grid template downloads on the website.  Just click on the photo of the grid above.

pocket rocks

2) Pocket Rocks:  This is really just the process of putting rocks in your front pockets with a little bit of thought about it. The front pocket position is the root chakra position in crystal healing.  The root chakra deals with how you relate to the material/real world.  It is also the energy center that defines how well grounded you are.

Since I am often working with high vibrational issues or energies, I can sometimes feel quite spacie, or what we call, “ungrounded”.  It’s like being on too much cold medicine. If I’m doing active healing work or other wooey specific work, being a space cadet is usually a very good thing.  Wooey specific work (Reiki, energy healing, crystal work, doing readings, praying, etc.) requires me to be connected and aware of non-ordinary states of being.

Otherwise, I sort of need to be able to stay in my body and get shit done.  I co-manage a retail store and a website.  I have quite a few “real world” tasks that I have to accomplish each day, but I also have special needs that can make doing “real world” things harder because I have a tendency to deeply feel all sorts of emotional and energetic information around me.  It’s distracting.  So, one of my favorite fixes for being a space cadet is putting grounding rocks in my front pockets.  I do it almost every day.

The benefits to this technique is that it’s easy.  You don’t need to do anything but shove some rocks in your pockets.  Generally black, brown, red, or metallic stones are the best kinds.

The difficulty is maybe in finding the “just right” size for your pockets, otherwise it looks like you’re happy to see everyone…which just confuses everyone if you are a girl. (Unless you live in Asheville.)

Gem Elixir

3) Gem Elixirs: This is the process of imbuing a fluid with the vibrational energies of a rock, then you usually drink it, bathe in it, spray it on yourself, or whatever.  It’s “buzzy water”.

I don’t use this method every day, but I love it and use it often when I need a lot of energetic intervention.  I also love flower essences and often create combinations of both flower and gem essences.  I really like being able to “drink” in and process energies this way.

The benefits of this technique is that you are almost taking in the vibration like a “medicine”.  It’s a tangibly good way to integrate energy.  You can make a larger blend of several stones, or keep it to single stones.  You buzz up the glass of water you are about to drink down or create a blend that you can preserve and use by the drop.

The difficulties of this technique is that not all rocks are suitable for making elixirs if you put them in direct contact with water.  Some rocks are poisonous and toxic.  It would be a bummer to create an elixir that makes you sick or dead, so don’t do that.  There are non-contact methods you can use to make sure you don’t accidentally poison yourself.

4) Direct Attunement: Umm, this method had to come before any other method, and I consider it ~step 1~ in learning to interact with stones.  It basically means… you hold a rock and ask to attune to it’s energy.

Yep, that’s it.  Hold a rock.  Ask to attune to it.  Then let it rip.  The inclusion of your intention to receive an energetic adjustment so that you are in alignment with the energies of a rock is huge.  Intention is huge.  I usually also include, “so long as it is appropriate and in my highest good”, because…well, it’s just  a good idea.  (I will write an article about “Spiritual CYA” at some point that will explain the processes that I go through to make sure that I’m not wandering willy nilly into energetic and spiritual realities without full oversight.)

The benefit is an immediate shift.  Also, you can wander through a rock shop and literally do a pretty full healing session on yourself.  That’s cool.

The difficulty with this technique is just getting your hands on the rock that is going to shift you in a way that you desire.  That tends to be as hard as just going with your gut.  So, not really that difficult.

Jewelry

5) Wearing Jewelry:  Yeah, this doesn’t need much explanation, does it?  Humans have been into jewelry forever.  I tend to like to wear jewelry in a way that is a bit more intentional, such as pendants that support my heart or throat chakra, earrings that support throat or crown chakra, and anklets that are grounding.

Hands and wrists, via the meridian system, can influence the larger system.  So rings and bracelets can be any stone or color.  I usually keep in mind my receptive side and projective sides.

The benefit of jewelry is that it is beautiful and you can easily hide the fact that you are using stone energy to support yourself in some way.  A lot of people think that is bat shit crazy and would be thrilled to judge you about it.  So, doing it on the down low is nice.  The heart center is often an energy center that needs more support, so a nice pendant hanging there can be very useful and energetically appropriate.

The difficulty of this technique is that jewelry is often expensive.  Not always, of course.  I love elastic stretchy stone bracelets.  Cheap and very useful.  I also like some very affordable stones to hang out by the heart chakra, like rose quartz.  But sometimes, well… my taste is far more fabulous.  There is a multi-colored tourmaline collar necklace at the store that I adore that is about 2K.  It’s dreamy.

Updated 2/17/2015

 

Fooling with the Deck: Week 8 to 11: The Four Two’s (2)

This blog is part of a series on the historical and metaphysical tarot, Fooling with the Deck:  A DIY Journey through the Tarot.

What do the two’s represent in playing cards?

The two of each suit is also known as the “deuce”. The word derives from the Latin duo, meaning two. Deuce itself comes from the Middle French deus and originally meant “a roll of two in dice”. In games of chance with two dice, it is the lowest score possible, equivalent to the modern “snake eyes”. Like the ace, the deuce originally signified bad luck. In card games where the ace is high, the deuce becomes the lowest card.

Deuce is traditionally a euphemism for the Devil, as in the expression, “What the deuce!”. Just as 1 may represent unity, 2 can signify change, conflict, or duality, like the separation between God and Satan.

Where do the images on the two’s come from?

Historically the pip cards were marked with different suit signs, in their respective numbers. For example, the two of cups literally has two cups on it. Some decorative elements may also be added, like vegetation. The notable exception is the late 15th century Sola Busca tarot, whose numbered cards have illustrated scenes incorporating the suit symbols.

Most contemporary decks are based on the Rider Waite, originally published in 1909. It was the first modern tarot to have illustrated pip cards, court cards, and trumps. A. E. Waite and Pamela Colman Smith were inspired to do so by the Sola Busca tarot, even adapting some its cards. Photographs of the deck were exhibited in the British Museum in 1907, making its imagery available to the public again.

Where does the meaning of the two’s come from?

Most contemporary card meanings are influenced by:

1: Numerology: The numerology of the tarot has been influenced by both Classical Greek and Jewish thought. The 19th century author Alphonse Louis Constant, writing under the pen name Eliphas Levi, theorized a connection between the ten numbered cards of each suit and the ten spheres of the Tree of Life in Kabbalah. For example, the pip cards from 3 to 9 are associated with one of the seven classical planets, taking on its characteristics.

2: Elements and the Suits: The most popular model of the four elements and suits also comes from Eliphas Levi:

Wands: Fire
Cups: Water
Swords: Air
Coins: Earth

Each suit took on the characteristics of its element. For example, the cups may represent emotions, the unconscious, and intuition, all derived from the symbolism of water.

3: The Astrological Decans: The tarot was popularized by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a Victorian magic society interested in Western esoteric tradition.

They associated the pip cards from 2-10 with one of the 36 decans, Egyptian divisions of the zodiac signs, all ten degrees wide. Each is ruled by a different planet. The astrological compatibility of the planet and sign was used to determine the meaning of the card.

© 2014, Christopher Lee Matthews

Fooling with the Deck: Week 7: The High Priestess (2)

This blog is part of a series on the historical and metaphysical tarot, Fooling with the Deck:  A DIY Journey through the Tarot.

Early form of High Priestess
(An early 18th century Popess card, from the Jean Dodal version of the Tarot de Marseille, after which most 19th century esoteric decks were based.)

The High Priestess was formerly known as the Popess or Papess/Papesse, the female Pope. The card depicts a seated woman, with a veil behind her, holding a book on her lap, wearing the triple papal crown.  Other versions of the card include a scepter, a crosier, a staff modeled after a shepherd’s crook, or a pair of keys instead, all symbols of the Catholic church.

The identity of the woman on the card is debated. Mainstream tarot historians interpret the card as an allegory of faith.  The church has often been depicted as a woman, either as the “bride of Christ” or the “Mother Church”, sometimes with the attributes of the Pope. The seated pose with an open book is similar to period representations of Mary during the Annunciation. According to tradition, she was reading when the angel Gabriel appeared to her. The veil and book may also reference the sibyls, female pagan oracles often paired with male Biblical prophets in Christian art.

Some believe the card represents either legendary or historical female popes.

Authors during the late 19th century to early 20th century  “occult revival”, who showed a renewed interest in concealed spiritual traditions, believed the tarot hid a secret wisdom. This belief originated with the Egyptians, was preserved by Kabbalah, the esoteric branch of Judaism, and was revealed by Christian magicians during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.  Many of them described or even produced their own “rectified” tarot decks.  They thought by correcting the names, imagery, or number of the cards, as they understood them, they could restore them back to their original form.

High Priestess
(The High Priestess card from the early 20th century Rider-Waite deck, after which most of our contemporary decks are designed.)

The Popess became the High Priestess.  In A. E. Waite’s influential deck from 1910, she wears the horns of the Egyptian goddess Isis, the moon is at her feet like Mary, and her veil suspended between the two pillars of Solomon’s temple.  The card came to symbolize sacred mysteries throughout time, especially those of the Divine feminine, the unknown, and initiation.

Many tarot trumps have obvious partners, like the Sun and Moon.  In some regional versions of the game of tarot, the Popess, Pope, Empress, and Emperor are known as the papi (Italian, literally “fathers”, but also implies “popes”).  The two pairs symbolize religious and secular power and are all given the same value as trumps.  If two or more papi are played during a round, the last one always trumps the others.  This represents the power struggles between the institutions.

Much of the meaning of the trumps today comes from number symbolism.  The numerology of the tarot has been influenced by both classical Greek thought and Jewish Kabbalah.  While the number 1 represents the point, the number 2 represents the line, the first of the two dimensional objects.  Since a line both separates and connects, the number 2 has taken on opposing qualities like separation, change, and conflict but also relationships, connection, and balance.

While the point represents potential, the line is the building block of all two and three dimensional objects.  Therefore the number 2 signifies the birth of the physical, material, and duality.  While the number 1 is usually not gendered, other odd numbers are often seen as “masculine” and the even numbers “feminine” because of the line’s role in birthing all other shapes.

You can also learn about stones used for psychic development, intuition, and divination.

Copyright 2015, Christopher Lee Matthews

Fooling with the Deck: Week Three to Six: The Four Aces (1)

This blog is part of a series on the historical and metaphysical tarot, Fooling with the Deck:  A DIY Journey through the Tarot.

Before reading about the four aces, you may want to read the introduction to the pip cards.

As discussed previously in the Magician card, the number 1 paradoxically represents the lowest and highest.  We also see this in the symbolism of the four aces.  The word derives from the Latin as (“one, a unit, a copper coin with a low value, like a penny”).  Ace itself comes from Middle English and Old French and meant “rolling a one on a die”, equivalent to our modern snake eyes.   Because it was the lowest roll possible, it signified bad luck.

As cards spread and new games developed, the role and meaning of the aces changed.  They were sometimes more valuable or even the highest card, like in poker.  In the game of tarot, aces are typically low and tens high.  However some of the older rules split the suits into two pairs with opposing rankings.  While the court cards remain the same, the highest and lowest pip cards was reversed in cups and coins.

Highest to Lowest Value:

Wands and Swords: King Queen Knight Page 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Cups and Coins:  King Queen Knight Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Because they represent one, the four aces are also associated with providence, the origins of things.  Historically the artist’s or manufacturer’s name and the printing date were found on specific cards, typically an ace or a two, sometimes a four, often in the suit of coins.  The small number of pips and their even spacing allowed for the additional text.  Older decks sometimes have heraldic devices like a coat of arms on these cards instead, signifying their owners in luxury hand painted decks or local rulers in mass produced ones.   The court cards or certain trumps like the Emperor and Empress may represent actual royalty.

Over time authenticity became more closely connected with the aces alone. Playing cards were taxed as luxury goods until fairly recently. A seal on the outer packaging or a stamp on one of the cards showed this fee had been paid and also proved the deck was new. An ace often served as both the maker’s mark and duty card. The ace of spades was chosen in England and the United States, since it is the top card of an unused deck. A tradition of richly decorating it developed, further shifting the meaning of “ace” from the lowest to highest.

© 2014 Christopher Lee Matthews
Images: Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Fooling with the Deck: Week Two: The Magician (1)

This blog is part of a series on the historical and metaphysical tarot, Fooling with the Deck:  A DIY Journey through the Tarot.

Magician
(18th century Magician card, from the Jean Dodal version of the Tarot de Marseille, after which most 19th century esoteric decks were based.)

The Magician depicts a colorfully dressed street performer, holding a stick, standing behind a table with props used either for sleight of hand or games of chance.  It was originally known in Italian as Il Bagatella, which may mean “a trifle”, something almost worthless. It has a low value when used as a trump.

In other versions of the game, the Fool (0), Magician (1), and World (21) are special cards known as bouts (French, “ends”) instead. They are found at the ends of the trumps, as the unnumbered, first, and last cards. If the Magician (1) is played during the last trick, it scores extra points. All three of the end cards are worth additional points later when scoring. Technically the Magician should be the lowest ranking card but is made valuable in certain situations by changing the rules. This reflects period beliefs about the transgressive character of magicians, similar to the Fool card.

Confusingly Il Bagatella is often translated into English as “The Juggler”. The meaning of the word has narrowed over time. Juggling originally referred to any activity like acrobatics, sleight of hand, or illusion that was a form of “magic” distinct from witchcraft.  Although popular as entertainers, the magician was an ambiguous figure because of their wandering lifestyle and association with gambling, deception, and idleness.

Magician
(The Magician card from the early 20th century Rider-Waite deck, after which most of our contemporary decks are designed.)

Authors during the 19th century radically transformed both the appearance and meaning of the Magician card. They believed the objects on his table represented the four suits (stick = wands, knife = swords, bowl = cups, ball/coin = coins) of the tarot.  Some versions also include a pair of dice.  While two dice can produce 36 different number combinations, only 21 are unique pairs. They may symbolize the 21 trumps other than the unnumbered Fool card.

During this period there was revival of interest in the esoteric spiritual traditions of the West and other cultures, including ceremonial magic.  Many thought the four suits represented the tools of Medieval and Renaissance magicians like the wand and staff (staff), cup, blade and knife (sword), and lamen (disk), a geometric talisman of wax, metal, or paper used when invoking spiritual beings.

Since each suit was associated with one of the four classical elements (wands = fire, cups = water, swords = air, coins = earth), a new set of Victorian magical tools developed, inherited by most contemporary magical traditions like Wicca. The Magician card morphed from a street performer to a ceremonial magician with an altar bearing elemental tools.  The large floppy hat of the medieval card became a lemniscate halo,  a horizontal figure eight, associated with infinity.

The Magician card is traditionally associated with the number 1.  1 is paradoxically the greatest and the smallest of the numbers.  For example, the Magician card is sometimes known in French Tarot as Le Petit (“The Little One”) because it has the lowest value as a trump.  However in many numerological traditions 1 represents potential, unity, and the Divine as the source of all things.  Rather than an actual number, one was considered the well spring of all numbers.

The Magician is not only the first numbered trump, it also depicts the aces on the card, the first of each suit.  Because the numbers 1, 10, and 4 are related symbolically, some believe that the structure of the tarot was inspired by number mysticism, with its four suits of ten pip cards.  Because we use a decimal number system, grouping numbers in tens, 1 and 10 represent the beginning and end of a cycle.  10 and 4 are traditionally related because 10 can be understood as the sum of 4 + 3 + 2 + 1.  Both numbers represent a unity of parts to a whole.

Copyright 2015, Christopher Lee Matthews

Fooling with the Deck: Week One: The Fool (0)

Fool
(A 15th century Fool card, from the Jean Dodal version of the Tarot de Marseille, after which most 19th century decks were based.)

Much of the Fool’s symbolism originates in its name and imagery, directly related to its original function in the game of tarot. The tarot began as a deck for a trick taking card game similar to bridge. In bridge one of the four suits (spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs) is named the trump suit and has a higher value during the game.

The tarot has four suits (wands, cups, swords, and coins) plus an additional suit of 21 permanent trumps and one wild card, the Fool. Because it excuses a player from following suit, allowing them to protect a more valuable card, it is also known as the Excuse. However the Fool cannot win the trick and using it allows the next player to change suit.

The Fool’s association with spontaneity, changing direction, and calculated risk are all derived from its original wild card status.  Likewise disruption, reversal, and chance.  These are also qualities of the trickster archetype, who uses delay, repetition, or inversion to bring awareness to an unaddressed crisis, often through absurdity, humor, or breaking the rules.

fool5
However those outside the hierarchy of society are not always welcome.  The 15th century Fool card at the top of the page depicts someone in poverty, wandering on the edges of society, being harassed by a guard dog.   The disheveled Fool from the 15th century “Charles IV” tarot above is being driven out of town by stone throwing children.  He wears donkey ears to represent his foolishness.  The card represented lunacy, madness, and folly to 18th century cartomancers.

By the 19th century, both its meaning and representation had shifted dramatically.   The Fool came to represent the hero of the tarot and the dog his faithful companion, warning him about his obliviousness to the danger ahead.  The card came to symbolize a leap of faith, wisdom rather than worldly knowledge, and the beginning of our spiritual journey, represented by the remaining 21 tarot trumps.

foolcard4
(The Fool card from the early 20th century Rider-Waite deck, after which most of our contemporary decks are designed.)

None of the trumps in the earliest tarot decks were numbered.  Later card makers gave them numbers to show their relative rank as trumps.  As the wild card though, the Fool remained unnumbered and was later attributed to 0.  In the original game of tarot, the Fool was “worthless”, unable to win a trick, but incredibly potent because it changed the flow of the game.  Because of its association with 0, and therefore the start of the trumps, it came to mean new beginnings, potency, and nothingness as a metaphor for the spiritual realm behind the material world.

Copyright 2015, Christopher Lee Matthews

Fooling with the Deck: The Sequence of the Cards for Study

foolcard2

(The Fool in the Minchiate deck. A cousin to the Tarot with additional trump cards.)

The following article gives instructions on the sequence of cards covered for this free, self-study tarot series, “Fooling with the Deck”, by Christopher Lee Matthews of Enter the Earth.

Where does the symbolism of the Tarot cards come from?

Most of the meanings attributed to the tarot today are derived from:

1:  The symbolism of individual cards.

2:  Numerology.

3:  Historical correspondences, especially those used by 19th century authors. During this period, specific cards were connected to different elements, numbers, and planets.

One way to study the tarot is to organize the cards by these traditional associations, especially number.  Rather than advocating for a particular model, this reveals the inherited structure that lies just beneath our modern understanding.

Why group together the numerically related trump cards?

Cards have taken on the symbolism of the particular numbers attributed to them. For example, the High Priestess is typically represented today as a robed woman, seated before a veiled temple door, with the crescent moon at her feet.  This name and imagery associates it with feminine wisdom, spiritual mysteries, and things just beneath the surface like intuition, instincts, and the subconscious.

Some of these traits are also reflected in the number two, attributed to the High Priestess.  It symbolizes cycles of change, decision making, and balancing duality.  Similar themes are seen in the number 2 pip cards of each suit and other trumps related to 2 numerologically.

Numerology focuses primarily on numbers between 1-9 or 1-10. Anything higher may be broken down into something smaller.  For example, many believe the High Priestess has a relationship with Justice, connected to 11, and Judgement, connected to 20, because these numbers can be further reduced to 2 numerologically:

11 = 1 + 1 = 2
20 = 2 + 0 = 2

Because number symbolism is so key to understanding both contemporary and historic models of the tarot, I have grouped the cards together by their numbers.  For example:

FIRST NUMBERED TRUMP: TWO: High Priestess

FIRST NUMBERED PIP: TWO: Two of Wands
SECOND NUMBERED PIP: TWO: Two of Cups
THIRD NUMBERED PIP: TWO: Two of Swords
FOURTH NUMBERED PIP: TWO: Two of Coins

NUMERICALLY RELATED TRUMP: TWO: Justice (11 = 1 + 1 = 2)
NUMERICALLY RELATED TRUMP: TWO: Judgement (20 = 2 + 0 = 2)

Why group together the numerically related pip cards?

19th century authors linked each suit with one of the four classical elements. The most popular model was:

Wands = Fire
Cups = Water
Swords = Air
Coins = Earth

They also linked the numbers 3-9 with one of the seven classical planets:

3 = Saturn
4 = Jupiter
5 = Mars
6 = Sun
7 = Venus
8 = Mercury
9 = Moon

The pip cards were understood as a union of these two sets of symbols.  Cards were given meanings based on their status as a harmonious or dissonant combination of the element and planet.  For example, the 6 of Cups = Sun (6) + Water (Cups). It signifies things like childhood, memories, and generosity. It was considered a harmonious blend of the Sun (consciousness, vitality, and the “masculine”) + water (emotions, the unconscious, and intuition).

All the 6’s are stereotypically positive cards because of their association with the Sun.

On the other hand, the 5 of Cups = Mars (5) + Water (Cups) signifies things like emotional loss, agitated feelings, and focusing on lack rather than available resources. It was considered a dissonant blend of Mars (movement, aggression, and the “masculine”) + water (emotions, the unconscious, and intuition).

All the 5’s are considered more challenging cards because of their association with Mars.

Although the foundation of these 19th century theories is rejected my mainstream scholarship, the tarot having an Egyptian origin, being preserved by Jewish Kabbalah, and hidden in plain sight as a card game, it continues to shape our divinatory understanding of the cards today.

How are the cards being organized?

Week 1: ZERO: Fool

Week 2: ONE: Magician
Week 3: ONE: Ace of Wands
Week 4: ONE: Ace of Cups
Week 5: ONE: Ace of Swords
Week 6: ONE: Ace of Coins

Week 7: TWO: High Priestess
Week 8: TWO: Two of Wands
Week 9: TWO: Two of Cups
Week 10: TWO: Two of Swords
Week 11: TWO: Two of Coins
Week 12: TWO: Justice (11 = 1 + 1 = 2)
Week 13: TWO: Judgement (20 = 2 + 0 = 2)

Week 14: THREE: Empress
Week 15: THREE: Three of Wands
Week 16: THREE: Three of Cups
Week 17: THREE: Three of Swords
Week 18: THREE: Three of Coins
Week 19: THREE: Hanged Man (12 = 1+2 = 3)
Week 20: THREE: World (21 = 2 + 1= 3)

Week 21: FOUR: Emperor
Week 22: FOUR: Four of Wands
Week 23: FOUR: Four of Cups
Week 24: FOUR: Four of Swords
Week 25: FOUR: Four of Coins
Week 26: FOUR: Death (13= 1 + 3 = 4)

Week 27: FIVE: Hierophant
Week 28: FIVE: Five of Wands
Week 29: FIVE: Five of Cups
Week 30: FIVE: Five of Swords
Week 31: FIVE: Five of Coins
Week 32: FIVE: Temperance (14 = 1 + 4 = 5)

Week 33: SIX: Lovers
Week 34: SIX: Six of Wands
Week 35: SIX: Six of Cups
Week 36: SIX: Six of Swords
Week 37: SIX: Six of Coins
Week 38: SIX: Devil (15 = 1 + 5 = 6)

Week 39: SEVEN: Chariot
Week 40: SEVEN: Seven of Wands
Week 41: SEVEN: Seven of Cups
Week 42: SEVEN: Seven of Swords
Week 43: SEVEN: Seven of Coins
Week 44: SEVEN: Tower (16 = 1 + 6 = 7)

Week 45: EIGHT: Strength
Week 46: EIGHT: Eight of Wands
Week 47: EIGHT: Eight of Cups
Week 48: EIGHT: Eight of Swords
Week 49: EIGHT: Eight of Coins
Week 50: EIGHT: Star (17 = 1 + 7 = 8)

Week 51: NINE: Hermit
Week 52: NINE: Nine of Wands
Week 53: NINE: Nine of Cups
Week 54: NINE: Nine of Swords
Week 55: NINE: Nine of Coins
Week 56: NINE: Moon (18 = 1 + 8 = 9)

Week 57: TEN: Wheel of Fortune
Week 58: TEN: Ten of Wands
Week 59: TEN: Ten of Cups
Week 60: TEN: Ten of Swords
Week 61: TEN: Ten of Coins
Week 62: TEN: Sun (19 = 1 + 9 = 10)

Week 63: WANDS: Page of Wands
Week 64: WANDS: Knight of Wands
Week 65: WANDS: Queen of Wands
Week 66: WANDS: King of Wands

Week 67: CUPS: Page of Cups
Week 68: CUPS: Knight of Cups
Week 69: CUPS: Queen of Cups
Week 70: CUPS: King of Cups

Week 71: SWORDS: Page of Swords
Week 72: SWORDS: Knight of Swords
Week 73: SWORDS: Queen of Swords
Week 74: SWORDS: King of Swords

Week 75: COINS: Page of Coins
Week 76: COINS: Knight of Coins
Week 77: COINS: Queen of Coins
Week 78: COINS: King of Coins

Copyright 2015, Christopher Lee Matthews

Fooling with the Deck: A DIY Journey Through the Tarot

foolcard

(The Fool card on a split ammonite fossil.  Both are symbols of the spiritual journey.)

Join us each week as we attune to a different Tarot card, exploring both its traditional meanings and insights from your own guidance.  The cards will be grouped by their number, helping us understand the 19th century models of Tarot interpretation that lay just beneath our modern versions.

The cycle will begin Sunday, July 13th.  But you can join anytime, following the program at your own pace.  Information about the cards will be posted here on our blog.  You can discuss your experiences with others in our Facebook group, the Metaphysical Corner, the comments section in our Meetup group, WNC Crystal Toting Tree Huggers, or the comments section here on our blog.

Information about the traditional and contemporary meanings will be posted monthly in batches of numerically related cards.  The schedule of cards is posted here on our blog.  We will spend a week with each card, looking for insight in both our inner and outer lives.

There are many tools available to do this:

1:  Attunement:  Ask the Divine, or your spiritual helpers, to attune you to the energies of the individual tarot card during meditation, prayer, or ceremony by holding it to your third eye or heart chakra and asking.  An appropriate intention statement might be:

“I ask to attune to the wisdom of the Fool card in a way that supports my Highest Good, now please.”

2:  Intention Sets:  Write out a series of intentions for the process and offer it up to the Divine, to correct for imperfections.

3:  Research Its Symbolism:  Read more about the history of an individual card or its modern variations.

Ask for a deeper understanding by scaning the card with your eyes or energetically with your hands until a single element pops out.  For example, the dog, sun, or pack of the Fool card.  Researching this symbol may give you further insight about the card itself.

4:  Meditation, Visualization, and Shamanic Journeying:  Many meditation techniques can be adapted to use the tarot.

Use the image of the card as your meditative focus, bringing your awareness back to it.  You can use this to attune energetically to the card or bring awareness to the thoughts, emotions, and feelings in the physical and subtle bodies it activates.

Use the card as the inspiration for a visualization or shamanic journey.  Enter the card, explore the landscape, and interact with the elements inside.  Alternatively you can imagine yourself as the main figure or figures.

5:  Dream Messages:  Connect to the card before bed and ask for understanding to come in your dreams.

6:  Have Awareness of Synchronisitc Events:  Most spiritual processes are thought to create synchronistic events in the inner and outer life.

Inner Life:  Meaningful, repeated, or seemingly related thoughts, feelings, and memories.

Outer Life:  Meaningful, repeated, or seemingly related situations, symbols, or objects.

Awareness of these can give insight both about the tarot card and yourself.  For example, the Fool has historical associations with feathers, as a symbol of folly, and air but it does not have much association with birds today.  However when I am working with it I am surrounded by birds, see my friends who own them, and randomly encounter them in books, television, and the objects around me, including finding actual feathers.  This has greatly influenced my personal understanding of the Fool card.

I highly suggest journaling during this process to record your research, personal insights, and other experiences.  Using a dedicated deck is also recommended because the work is believed to deeply charge your cards.

Copyright 2015, Christopher Lee Matthews

How to Use a Body Layout on the Chakras

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Hello, everyone!

Our workshop this past weekend on body layouts was very popular.  For those of you unable to make it, here is a summary of the basics: how to use a body layout on the chakras.

Sarva mangalam (Sanskrit, “May all be blessed”),

Christopher

What are the chakras?

The subtle body is believed to mirror our physical body and consciousness, support our health, and represent our spiritual development.  Models come from many different spiritual traditions and often disagree, even within the same religion.  The version most popular in the metaphysical community today is derived from Hinduism.  The first documentation for this shat chakra model (Sanskrit, sat chakra, “six chakras [energy centers]”) comes from the 11th century.  Although named after six, it actually describes seven energy points called chakras (Sanskrit, cakra, “wheel, circle, turning”), produced where lines of moving energy called nadi (Sanskrit, nḍi, “flow, river, conduit”) cross at locations across the body.  The chakra above the head was thought to be so different, representing the Divine, that it was not included in the count.

Why place stones on the chakras?

Disturbances in the energy body are said to correspond to imbalance in the physical, mental, and emotional bodies, interpersonal relationships, and obstacles in the outer world.  Energy work is believed to restore balance by removing stagnant dense energies, replacing them with fresh refined energy, restoring proper movement, reintegrating parts of the system to the whole, and spiritually sealing the work for longevity over time.

Energy is also thought to flow through stones, when they are used intentionally.  When placed on, around, or under the body, like beneath a massage table, bed, or yoga mat, their energy field is said to entrain the energy body.  The most popular method for the laying on of stones is using a stone on each of the major chakras.  The stones are spiritually activated through prayer, connecting to universal energies around us, or working with a particular healing modality like Reiki.

Although located along the spine and skull, each chakra traditionally has a trigger point on the front of the body, known as a kshetra/kshetram (Sanskrit, ksetra, “field, place, sacred site”) in the original Hindu model.  The term originally referred to the boundary of a sacred space, defining its sphere of influence, like the aura of a temple.  Therefore stones may be placed at the chakra positions on the back or at their equivalent positions on the front of the body.

What are the colors of the chakras?

Although the position of the chakras has been fairly consistent over time, other elements have radically changed, like their symbolic correspondences, directionality, and color.  Most models today adapt a rainbow color scheme introduced by Christopher Hills in the 1970’s:

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(Example of a chakra set with 3 root, 2 heart, and 2 crown chakra compliments used in the workshop.)

Crown Chakra:  Violet
Third Eye:  Indigo
Throat Chakra:  Blue
Heart Chakra:  Green
Third Chakra:  Yellow
Second Chakra:  Orange
Root Chakra:  Red

Over time, additional chakras and colors have become popular.  Clear, white, and golden stones are now associated with the Crown Chakra, or chakras believed to exist above it, pink stones with the Heart Chakra, and opaque, black, and brown stones with the Root Chakra, or chakras believed to exist beneath it.  These other colored stones may be selected or used at additional positions beyond the main chakras.

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(A series of mini grids underneath a massage table at the workshop.)

Placing stones near the Root Chakra and Second Chakra may be difficult on yourself or inappropriate on another person.  A set of stones may be used instead.  For example, place a stone between the legs and one on each hip to support the Root Chakra.

Although using stones that represent the contemporary rainbow model are a popular technique for chakra work, it is not the only one.  Stones may also be selected and placed intuitively.

Copyright 2015, Christopher Lee Matthews