Drawing from 78 cards that are touchstones for direct experience, monthly readings are specially oriented towards spiritual process and transitions. Why transitions? In myth and art, the borderlands are minded by gatekeepers whose task it is to block the path of the uninitiated. If we cross that threshold too soon, we will not be able to safely integrate the new world that beckons.
Theme of the month: Intimacy, authenticity, service, warriorship
The Quote: “Mother Earth reiterates that there are no ‘safe places’ anymore — only safe people. Intimacy is a reciprocal exchange of honesty and vulnerability where we are safe from having to defend our hearts. Into-me-you-see. Contrary to popular imagination, a capacity for softness is an essential part of becoming a warrior.”
Summary: We are covering some deep ground this month, into the heart of what holds us back from owning and expressing our unique gifts in the world. Our vision gets clearer as we resolve old loyalties to cultural systems, and we find our innocence set free amid the arduous process of dying to the self.
The Spread: Rebirth
Situation: Mother Earth
Immediately we are put on notice by this card. This is asking for a deep examination of our motives, no matter how noble they appear at the surface. We can see the chaos of a world in transition and the heavy toll that denial, repression, and abuse take on the planet — and in turn, we are being asked where we are holding denial and repression in our bodies and psyches. Where are we engaging in self-abuse, in even its most subtle, and therefore insidious, forms?
Mother Earth appears here in the guise of tough love. It’s time to be firm with boundaries. It’s time to give priority to substance over image. It’s time to give value to authentic (non-violent) communication based on honesty, intimacy, and respect.
If boundaries in relationship are not honoured, then how can we have boundaries with the whole world when there is so much pressing need, so many pulls on our attention?
Mother Earth reiterates that there are no ‘safe places’ anymore — only safe people. Intimacy is a reciprocal exchange of honesty and vulnerability where we are safe from having to defend our hearts. Into-me-you-see. Contrary to popular imagination, a capacity for softness is an essential part of becoming a warrior. The warrior knows when to have solid boundaries with the world, essential to maintaining compassion, and when to relax them with trusted others. As Earth changes continue unabated, and the stakes are raised for collective evolution, we must find our safe people.
Mother Earth in the Situation position, in other words, is calling on us to become noble warriors, for our planet and for humanity.
Crossing (supporting or hindering influences): Huachuma
Huachuma is a member of the cactus family native to the Andes of Peru, also known as San Pedro. The medicine of this grandfather-like spirit is depth, compassion, slowing down, gentle contemplation, healing, and grace.
It appears here as a supporting influence or energy, offering a profound counterpoint to the rush of the technology-saturated modern world. Beyond a call to meditation and slowing down, it asks us to pay close attention and create spaciousness. Its message might be Make haste slowly.
There are universes to discover inside ourselves if we take the time and space for an exploration of our depths. These dark places are made light by our own awareness and from here, resolution to old issues can appear like the hand of grace. We just had to slow down for long enough to allow what was within us, to ‘save’ us.
A secondary meaning can be derived from the name ‘San Pedro’. St Peter, in biblical lore, was the rock on which the Catholic church was built. From a purely symbolic point of view, what does this mean here? If we were to plumb our own depths, it might suggest rediscovering the bedrock of our incarnation. It is solid, solid ground, not ephemeral or aspirational. If we are to become comfortable with the unknown — to be the empty vessels for Grace — then this solid grounding in our principles and our path is essential. It is the passage from the known to the unknown.
Together, Mother Earth and Huachuma suggest finding the ground deep beneath our feet as infinitely supportive, in order for us to be noble warriors in the world; in order for us to be the new ‘rock’ on which the universal temple is built.
The obvious meaning of Moon in the Unseen position is the drawing out of layers of conditioning buried in the subconscious and collective unconscious. This may make for an active dream state, where old wounds and worldviews take highly charged symbolic shape. It speaks to how the personality formed itself around our foundational wounds, as coping mechanisms, beliefs, and a sense of self, or identity. In this fluid state, our wounds are brought to our attention for healing through awareness.
The purpose for such uncovering work is to create more space. And here there is a brighter sense of possibility attending the Moon’s penetrating light once this space is revealed. We can dream and drift in these uncharted waters without being fixated on desires or outcomes. We can afford to be whimsical and enjoy the ride, stunned perhaps to find our innocence set free amid such an arduous process of dying to the self. Which leads us to what exactly within us is dying.
Kawak is part of the Seer’s rite of the Andes. The card can refer to the third eye and the ability to cut through illusion. It also speaks to being able to access higher levels of consciousness and ‘stepping down’ that information for the benefit of a larger audience or group. In the Death position, Kawak raises the issue of the inconvenience of seeing uncomfortable truths. This deserves a fuller explanation.
Children learn to disregard their unfiltered impressions in favor of survival — and this means adapting to the culture of the family and the culture at large. Children see and feel in their bodies, directly, the contradiction between what is being said by the caretakers around them and what is being acted upon; between what is presented as truth and what is energetically true. (In its worst form, this phenomena is called gas-lighting.)
For sensitive souls, that contradiction is registered as a dangerous discord in their energetic field and later in life, inauthenticity in relationships can be a trigger for anxiety and a hard-to-locate sense of danger or wrongness.
So what is dying? Our loyalty to out-of-date family systems, and all systems of control through psychological manipulation. Culturally, such manipulation is so embedded, it’s rarely truly challenged. A corollary to this death is a new appreciation for what we do perceive; new credibility being given to our ability to see uncomfortable truths and not turn away. This ties in directly to the space created by the Moon in the previous position. The conditioned guilt and shame is being blasted by lunar light, and so we are far more unlikely to fall into old patterns of invalidating our own perception.
In short, those old guilt trips (internalized or otherwise) just won’t work any longer.
This is the title character from Hermann Hesse’s classic book. At one point in the novel, Siddhartha notes that he can “sit, fast and wait”. To sit is to be unmoving and committed to not allowing the mind to distract us from our purpose. To fast is renunciation, a commitment not to be distracted by the tastes and flavors bidding for our attention. To wait is to have no attachment to an outcome, but to rest fully in the spacious awareness that whatever is needed will arrive in its own form.
Detachment, patience, trust. Yes, these qualities are being born in this position as growing capacities. To what end?
Siddhartha experienced both the world of renunciation, and the world of sensuality, until he grew heartily sick of them both. He found the middle path through meeting the ferryman, the river, and life itself as his ultimate teachers. In his meeting with the Buddha, Siddhartha turns his back on the newly Awakened One and chooses his own path.
So the card here indicates that we are coming alive to our own utterly unique paths. In truth, we cannot be born to what we already are. Instead, we are reborn in awareness to what was always there. We are coming home to our true selves and our destinies. Life has molded us well. What’s next?
We can see from the previous cards that courage has been cultivated all along. We have been galvanized by life and our gifts of service are the accumulation of a lifetime’s experience. So the Rebirth position indicates how we re-engage with the world after our inner transformation.
Courage here I feel refers to the ability to be radically free — and that means only one thing: being radically ourselves. Now it’s about showing up in the world and being seen.
We have a much more clear-sighted vision of what we can offer, and how it dovetails with our passions, our magic, our transcendent joy. So why courage?
It’s two-fold: Courage was the path to get here, and an acknowledgement of our strength and resilience. But courage is still required — we have been molded but the world at large seems unchanged. It takes courage to be seen, to hold our ground, to have trust in the face of evidence to the contrary. Thankfully, we can sit, fast and wait. And this may be necessary as we model a new world to an old one still lurching in its death throes.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends A Witch Alone (Thirteen Moons to Master Natural Magic).
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