Archive for Seasons – Page 2

O darkest Year! O brightest Year! / O changeful Year of joy and woe,
Today we stand beside thy bier, / Still loth to let thee go!
~ Julia C. R. Dorr, poet ~

Happy New Year!

A brand new year and all that implies. New beginnings, new opportunities, new dreams. So much promise waiting in the New Year.

But only if you break the shackles of the past year.

Like Scrooge’s ghost of his old business partner, Marley, too often we enter a new year clinking and clanking with the chains of the past, including the year just gone.

The year that held successes and failures, good choices and bad ones.

Success hampers with higher expectations of what should be accomplished, while failures and mistakes hamper with doubts about abilities to succeed, and fears of what will happen if you don’t—or if you do.

I consulted Robert Place’s The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery

Robert Place's Tower from Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery

Robert Place’s Tower from Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery

and drew a card to answer the question, “What is necessary to break the chains of last year?”

Not surprisingly, the answer was the Major Arcana card, the Tower.

The card that everyone cringes at when it turns up in a reading. Because it is not an easy card, it is a challenging card. And, like the Tower, breaking the chains of the past year is not an easy thing to do.

The Tower is the structures that keeps you feeling safe and secure (whether it does or not), such as a job or career, or a committed relationship. Or the personal and even harder to shake loose structures of ego and self-identification.

When this card comes up in readings, I tell clients it is time to shake, rattle and roll or the Universe will do it for them. So it is time, as you enter this New Year, to shake, rattle and roll, to release old ways of being and perceiving, to release the past.

Because there is a difference between being guided by the past and being shackled by it.
Be generous with your creative gifts. Do not, like Scrooge, ration them out, fearful there won’t be more.
Be responsible as well as generous. Manage your resources of time, money and energy, so that you have what you need to continue to create.
Don’t be distracted by fame and fortune. Commit honestly to your work and to do work that is honest, no matter its gifts or shortcomings.

Release the past, good and bad. And celebrate this new year of 2016. Another year to create, to practice your special magic.

Years ago, when I was writing the first draft of my book Weaving a Woman’s Life: Spiritual Lessons from the Loom, I went on retreat in the Poconos. Because it was after ski season and before the busy summer season, I had the place almost to myself.

In the afternoon, after hours of writing and thinking, I’d take a walk along the curving main drive to visit with some special friends. Tall, healthy, old, silver, smooth-barked beech trees.

Treetops of beech trees - view from bottom up

Treetops of beech trees – view from bottom up

These trees impressed and awed me with their size and age. Hugging them, my arms encompassed just over half of the circumference of the trees. I spent time stroking their smooth bark, listening to their silence and their whispers, imagining the depth and reach of their roots, wondering at all the events they had witnessed over the many years of their growth. They grounded and refreshed me after the mental work of writing.

Trees are an ancient and enduring symbol of this holiday season, whether it is a lovely Yule log or the traditional Christmas tree, covered in lights and ornaments. But sometimes we forget to really appreciate the tree itself. Not how pretty it looks with all the lights, but the life and energy of the tree.

Trees are such a gift.

Especially for writers. For centuries, trees have gifted us with ream upon ream of paper, box upon box of pencils, and board upon board of wood for desks and tables, the tools of our craft.

Trees are our Magic and our Muses.

This holiday season, whatever and wherever your favorite tree is, decorated with lights or a new snow, or unadorned…

Give it a little love.

Categories Seasons, Writing

It’s that time of year. Beautiful, flame-orange pumpkins are everywhere—on lawns, on porch steps, in windows and even serving as heads for ghosts. While some are pristine in their pumpkin-ness, others have been carved with ghoulish glee to delight or frighten. They are a sign of the season, representing harvest and celebration and good eats.

Upset jack-o'-lantern looking at smashed pumpkin.

Upset jack-o’-lantern looking at smashed pumpkin.

Unfortunately, they also continue to be an irresistible invitation to destruction, and the more imaginatively carved they are, the more likely they are to be smashed. While most of the destruction occurs Halloween night, I’ve already seen a few smashed pumpkins. Read More→

Categories Creativity, Seasons, Writing

This time of year in the Northeast, you drive through the countryside and suburbs where banners of bright orange tiger lilies wave at you as you pass. The tiger lily is a hemoracallis or daylily, meaning that each individual bloom only lasts for 24 hours. Yes, only 24 hours. The reason it seems like the blooms last weeks is because there are so many buds, especially this year.

But there are also hundreds of cultivated species of daylily IMG_0395 in a variety of size, color and even petal shape that populate garden beds around the country. The differences between these cultivars are Read More→

Categories Creativity, Seasons, Writing

Fire is a good companion for the mind.
~ May Sarton ~

Fire. Not the element you’d normally associate with spring. And yet, if it wasn’t for the heat, the fire of that ever-nearing sun warming the Northern Hemisphere, snow and ice wouldn’t melt and fill the rivers, and lakes. And the moisture in the air would fall as snow instead of rain.

At this time of year when it is often still too cool to do without heat, Bob and I warm the house with fires in the woodstove, nicely contained.

Yet uncontained, unrestrained fire can destroy a home, a community, or a forest and take lives with it. Like all of the elements, fire can be both friend and foe.

In the tarot, the element of Fire is usually represented by the suit of Wands, candles symbolizing the aspects of spirit, creativity, career and work. In the Northern Hemisphere, it represents the direction of the South, source of more heat from the sun. And, in the zodiac, the fire signs are Aries, sign of spring, Leo and Sagittarius.

Thinking about Fire, he appears as a wonderful Read More→

Do you make New Year resolutions and set goals? If you do, and all you do is write them down—or even if you write out some of the steps and actions involved—then you are doomed to failure. Doomed.desk

Why? Because new goals and changes require an environment to support them. Otherwise, it is too easy to slide back into old habits and old ways. It is too easy to act as the old year you instead of the New Year you.

So, here are some tips to set you up to succeed with your goals and changes for the New Year.

1. Throw the old and unused out. Old, unused stuff weighs you down, keeps you stuck in the old year you. Creatives hold onto stuff because it might come in useful…someday. Suddenly, instead of a studio, you have a warehouse. Look around. I bet there are items you can pitch. Magazines you intend to read (from the beginning of the year or even last year); books you’ve read (or haven’t) but don’t need any more because you and your work are changing; cards, letters and supposed keep-sakes that are more dust-collectors than anything else; and odds and ends of old or deserted projects. Let go, let go, let go. If the items still have value or service to them then sell them or give them away. Getting rid of stuff you don’t or won’t use makes space for new items or opportunities. You’ll feel lighter. Energy will move again.

2. Clean up the clutter. Even if you are obsessive compulsive about keeping your space clean, I am sure there is a least one area in your workspace where clutter reigns. But that clutter in your work space can create clutter in your brain as well so there is no room for the Muse when she comes to call. Check out your nearest office supply place for containers and organizing systems, and, if you have the money, hire a professional organizer, someone who understands the creative mind so that the organization works with your creative style.

3. Create areas and containers for the goals or changes. You have to make space for the new goals and changes, not try to squeeze them in amongst the old. If you prefer working with printed material, create file folders for research, or a binder for printed manuscript pages, or find a lovely box to keep it all in. That way, you’ll know where to find your material when you need it and the clutter of papers and leaflets, etc. will be out of sight. If you do everything online, then create new folders online and be sure to keep your material organized there. Clean out old emails! Organize books by topic and keep reference books closest to hand. Designate certain areas for certain activities such as reading, research, spiritual centering, or creative playtime.

Don’t forget to give your work area a good cleaning and vacuuming. Smudge your space with some favorite incense to release old emotions such as lingering frustrations or disappointments. Bring in a vase of flowers. Set up a picture of one of your goals, a story character, a favorite author, or your self-created cover of a current work-in-progress. And make sure your tools work well, are clean and close at hand.

Don’t doom yourself for resolution failure, especially when it comes to your writing and creativity. Whatever your goals and desired changes for the New Year, support them and yourself by setting up your environment for success.

Categories Creativity, Seasons, Writing

Halloween, Samhain, and Dia de Muertos, All Saint’s Day. These holidays mark the time of year when the veils between the worlds are thin and dreams of those who have died are common.

So, not surprisingly, I dreamed a few nights ago of my mother who died in 1984.

I worked with the dream as I usually do but then decided to consult the tarot to see what else I could learn. I used a spread for dreams that I learned from Robert Place, creator of The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery, the deck I used. In the spread, three cards represent the dreamer.

The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery by Robert Place

The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery by Robert Place

I pulled Gabriel (Judgment), Prudence (The World) and Stella (The Star), all Major Arcana cards, representing Read More→

Categories Dreams, Family, Seasons, Tarot

Autumn…makes a double demand. It asks that we prepare for the future—that we be wise in the ways of garnering and keeping. But it also asks that we learn to let go—to acknowledge the beauty of sparseness. ~ Bonaro W. Overstreet

The autumn equinox, or Mabon as it is called in some traditions, is a solar festival that marks the second time of the year when night and day are equal in time. And from this point onward until the winter solstice, the days grow shorter than the dark of night.

In the northern hemisphere, this is a time of harvest. We gather in the crops and hunt the game that will carry 7 of Coins us—we hope—through the long, cold season of winter. And after the gathering is the celebration.

But, from the shadows beneath the oak, Persephone, Goddess of the Underworld, who returned to the world amidst the joyful celebration of the spring equinox, now Read More→

Categories Creativity, Seasons, Writing

In the last few weeks, I’ve had conversations with clients and friends who are experiencing a lot of stress 6 of Swords and challenge in their lives and in their creative work. Sleepless nights, accidents, a restless sense of something not just right…

And it’s no wonder because Pluto, the planet of depth and desire, death and transformation, evolution and rebirth, is one of four planets in this month’s Grand Cardinal Cross which peaks on April 23 with its Read More→

Categories Creativity, Seasons

Spring is finally here.

And just like the birds preparing to build nests, first there is some cleaning out to do.

If you live in the Northeast , you are probably throwing open the windows and doors to let in the fresh air. You may already be cleaning and putting away those heavy winter coats and clothes and bringing out the lighter garments. When I do this, I am often also getting rid of clothes that don’t fit properly or are too worn or outdated for anything but the rag bag or the dump. Even your home furnishings may receive some cleaning or be passed on to someone else or thrown out.

This spring ritual always creates an opportunity to assess whether or not your things, your possessions are still serving you or have become dead weight, weighing you down with the time and resources necessary to maintain them.

Creativity also needs a spring cleaning. Now is a good time to get rid of or purge:

1. Materials. What materials are you not using anymore but you continue to hold onto them with the idea of “someday”? Paints, yarns, fabrics, wood, paper, metals, gemstones, magazines. You name it. If you love to create with your hands, there is always the temptation to hoard, to not let go of something you might use. Maybe it’s time to re-examine that idea. If you sold those materials you’d have money to buy more materials that you are using. If you gave them away to a hospital or a senior center you could always write them off as a charitable deduction next year (check with your tax person).

2. Tools and Equipment. These are often a bigger investment than materials which makes it that much harder to let go. But think of how much space those tools and equipment take up. How much dust they collect. Think of how sad they feel sitting there unused. I made the decision two years ago to sell an eight-harness table loom that I hadn’t used for years. I then used the money to pay some business bills. I seriously considered selling my 60″ floor loom until the interior designer I worked with for years contacted me a few months ago to weave off throw samples for several clients. So I guess I’ll hold onto my big loom for a while but I do have a steam table…

3. Beliefs and Rules. This is the really hard category to clean out because half the time we don’t even realize what beliefs and rules we’ve set up for ourselves that are limiting us. Oh sure, they were great rules or beliefs when we first established them, but today? Those rules and beliefs may be as dusty and inefficient as those worn out tools that you just keep using out of habit. So first, you have to sit down and think about what you believe you have to do to be creative and productive. What rules have you set up about what you can and can’t do in your work for it to be successful? What part of you and your creative impulses and directions do you believe you have to hide or suppress? Really look at what now supports you and what actually only holds you back.

Finally, you don’t have to do all this in one day or even one week. Give yourself enough time to do the cleaning while also giving time to your creating. You may find that, as Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way suggests, the more cleaning and purging you do, the more your creativity will expand and be energized.

Categories Creativity, Seasons