What Brings Your Life Meaning?

WinterSolsticeArchIn my process of seeking joy this past year, I ended up reading a lot of articles and watching TED talks about what makes people happy, what people regret, and what gets people through the trauma and difficulty. Are you looking for more meaning in your life?

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The Sun Card and the Solstice for #TarotBlogHop

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Solstice Alignment, by Shauna Aura Knight (Prints available on Redbubble)

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I somehow scored the Sun card on the Summer Solstice Tarot Blog Hop! I’ve always been fascinated by the solstices, even before I really understood what it was to be Pagan. I was obsessed with Druids and megaliths as a kid, and I even tried to track where the sun rose based on alignments from my window.

Before I look at the usual symbolism of a Tarot card, I like to go back in time before there was a Tarot deck, before the “established” esoteric and occult symbolism, to the source of what probably inspired a lot of those symbols in the first place.

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Dreams of the Past

shutterstock_149360276Ever have one of those dreams about someone for your past that is so compelling, you dive into Google to try and find out what they are up to these days? A few days ago I had a dream about a guy I had a crush on in high school. I was a freshman, he was a senior…I thought I was being so subtle and keeping things under wraps…it wasn’t til after he graduated that I found out that pretty much everyone knew about my crush.

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Lughnasadh: Abundance and Seeking Your Dreams

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The Lotus Queen: One of my large mixed media pieces with gold, metal and glass pieces.

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I’m joining the Tarot Blog Hop on the theme of the Lughnassadh (harvest), and the abundance of the Queen of Disks.

In order to harvest, you have to have first planted the seeds. I find that when I’m the most often wrapped up in the spiral of self loathing and overwhelm, the root cause is that I wish I’d gotten things finished (or started) sooner.

You can’t realize a dream if you haven’t watered the garden and tended the land.

In my case, I look at the magical map I’ve created as an intention setting. I call it a Grail Map. I see the crucial projects that must get finished so that the bigger, larger-reaching dreams can be realized. Sometimes I get stuck thinking, “I should have had a novel published when I was 25,” “I should have gotten those MP3’s recorded by now, ” “I should have finished that book on facilitating ritual by now,” “I should have done dozens more paintings,” “I should have gotten more gigs doing magazine covers and book covers.”

“I Should” is a pretty big red flag; it’s a big time blame game.

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Beltane and the Union of Opposites

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I’m joining the Tarot Blog Hop on the theme of the Beltane and the Union of Opposites.

More and more I have a challenge with opposites, or more specifically, binaries. Here’s what I mean. I think that they can be useful way to frame things, and in fact, I think people naturally think in binary terms. However, binary also creates black/white thinking. We humans get too used to the boxes, the pendulum swing…and we forget about the spectrum in the middle. This causes us no end of problems; typically when I write about that it’s in one of my leadership blog posts, but it finds its way into our magical and personal growth work as well.

On the other hand, there is some seriously powerful magic when we find that centerpoint, that balance of opposites.

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Equinox: Planting Seeds of Rebirth

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I’m taking a break from my ongoing series on Grassroots Leadership to join the Tarot Blog Hop on the theme of the Spring Equinox. Although, the particular magical act that is the rebirth of spring–and planting the seeds for the dreams you wish to bring into fruition–is an important part of a leader’s work.

I don’t know about you, but it’s been a long, hard winter for me. I’ve been in a wrestling match with the depression that tried to take hold after my car accident in December, and I’m so grateful for the longer days and melting snow. The past month has been incredibly reinvigorating for me and I’m really ready for spring planting.

Some people are physically planting seeds at this time of year, but for most of us it’s more of a metaphor. And yet, the seasons still have their pull on the ecosystem of our bodies. I often look at the time November through the silence of winter as the time to release what we really need to let go of. To identify what seeds we need to actively not plant in our garden again.

 

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Assumptions, Expectations, and Boundaries

7898846_xxlIf you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it. But asking is sometimes the hard part.

“Let’s meet at ___ location at about 6pm.” What does “about” mean here? Does “about” mean, “I want you to meet me exactly at 6pm?” Does it mean that we might be there by 5:45, but that it also is acceptable if we aren’t there until 6:15?

“I like it when someone else takes the trash out.” What does that mean? Does that mean the person is hinting that I should take the trash out?

“Someone needs to design a flyer.” What does that mean? Is someone being asked to design a flyer?

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Curses, Hexes, and “I’m Under Psychic Attack”

I’ll be totally transparent here: I don’t believe in curses and hexes. Or–to be more clear, I don’t believe that curses work in the way most people think. And most of the people who I hear talking about being under psychic attack or dealing with an energy vampire have very different issues going on.

But then again, I’m a pretty pragmatic Pagan, and I tend to lean on the idea that psychology and science are core pieces of magic. As usual, I’m getting ahead of myself, so let me back up and explain where I’m coming from on this. And let me also be clear–my intention is not to be dismissive of your experience. Rather, to offer a different perspective on what might be going on beneath the hex.

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Common Leadership Problems: Honest Mistakes

7597600_lThere are a lot of problems common to leadership that trip up people who haven’t had training in group dynamics, communication, or who haven’t been encouraged to do self-reflective work. Or even just people who have poor self esteem and have no idea how that impacts them and the group they are running.

We’ll call this “honest mistakes.” These are the honest mistakes that can cost us a great deal; they can blow up a group, and leave us wondering what happened.

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Authenticity, Boundaries, and Shadows

393673_xlAuthenticity is a complicated word. We are told to be authentic. However, we also face a lifetime of expectations, of being conditioned by the cultural norms to try to meet the expectations of others.

When we begin to first stretch our wings, to be authentic to what we really want, there’s sometimes a clash between trying to continue satisfying everyone else’s expectations of my actions and doing what I have previously committed to….This sometimes conflicts with our desire to live an authentic life, to follow the dreams we may have only just admitted we have for our lives.

And those dreams may be very different from what everyone around us “wants” for us or expects of us. Trying to become more authentic is where many of us first learn to say, “No, that’s not what I want for my life.”

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