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 The Hebrew Letters and The Qabalistic Tree

The Hebrew alphabet is called the Aleph-Beth and each of 22 letters is assigned to a specific Path on the Tree of Life. Each letter has multiple meanings associated with it and carries the energy of the specific word associated with it. When used in conjunction with the attribute and energy of the Path of connection on which it is placed, there is a greater depth of esoteric knowledge to be gained about the inner keys and workings of that Path.

It should be noted that this is merely an extract of a much larger process of study and should only be considered as a piece of the greater puzzle of a Hermetic system that has its roots in Jewish Mysticism and has stood the test of time in its efficacy and use as a tool of deeper gnosis within the Western Hermetic Mysteries. I encourage you to look at the references at the end of this writing and formulate your own opinions about its fuller application to your own spiritual path. This post will provide some basic information about Kaph and its work on the Path of Opening.

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Kaph is the Hebrew letter placed on the 21st Path connecting the spheres of Chesed and Netzach. Kaph means open hand, or specifically the “palm of the hand” in English. An open hand invites participation. The open hand indicates offering and receptiveness to what is offered or what is to be received. The center point of the hand is the palm. This is where all pools and accumulates in its fullest form and it is from this central space that what was accumulated flows freely out when the hand is opened and flattened. This energy speaks of the receptiveness to work co-creatively and in harmonious collaboration. In divination, the palm of the hand reveals ones destiny and choice is then offered by free will as to what will actually come of that pre-determined fate. This energy moves through this path of creative expression. The anticipated outcome from the influx of flow of each of the connecting spheres would be a product of elevated form. The test lay in what course is chosen as each has desire for its own dominance.

In order to understand the work of Kaph and its path, you need the point of reference of the connecting spheres that lay at either side of this path.

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The Sphere of Chesed is also known as Gedulah or the sphere of majestic authority expressed through the refined Power of Love. The love of Chesed is one that has the ability to see well beyond what is ego driven desire and what is the correct alignment of heart infused by Higher Will. Chesed is known as the Mercy. Love and the broad perspective that is all inclusive becomes the merciful action that can justifiably wield its power in a place of Divine authority.

The Sphere of Netzach is the place of establishing the balance of hedonistic and aesthetic ideals. Love is the primary focus, but not at the expense of over indulgence in physical pleasure. This is also the place of expression of Love of Nature in all her forms and the creativity that is called forth to fulfill that task. Netzach is known as the sphere of Victory. The principle of victory here is not one of wanton take-over and infringement of another’s space, but rather victory that is found within the triumph over oneself.

The 21st Path is one of opportunity for grace. The state of grace has many meaning but within this path it is the reflection of the beginning of refinement of self and surroundings to become in alignment with the spiritual aspiration of selflessness and greater perspective. The lens of the camera opens and the world in which we claim our victories is seen for its narrow view. As the lens opens wider the expanse and truth of what we have claimed falls away and the real worth and value of those experiences is revealed as part of a larger whole that encompasses the victories of much more than ourselves. What happens in the stages between as each of the extremes coalesce on central ground determines the outcome of ascent to claim the Higher Self or descent for further refinement and accumulated experience.

The same may be said of the clenched fist that inflicts pain in its expansive thrust or the choice of reaching out with hand open to gently caress and comfort. The energy of Kaph is the choice of remaining in a state of openness. Of trust that all will be well when receptivity is available and also knowing that there are times that call for the harsh fist that crushes what it grasps. This is the ultimate lesson of Victory and Mercy and what measures will be taken towards the balance of each in accord with what is right action.

Each of the Paths of the Tree has the attribution of an element. The 21st Path is one of water. If we think of the properties of water and the image of the open hand the invitation is one of flowing and graceful movement. As we move our hands, currents of energy flow, move in response and are made to be responsive in a variety of ways. The great works of art created by the hand move the emotional waters within the individual.

Kaph is the path of opening. Kaph is the human expression of physical form reaching towards another. Kaph is victory that is birthed from the creative hand that gently holds the fragility of beauty in its palm. Kaph is the mercy that draws to itself ability to preserve life and then release it so it may soar.

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Excerpted in part from:

The Inner Chamber Series: Volume 2
Poetry of the Spheres
R. Fennelly. February 2013. Serpent’s Gate

The Inner Chamber Series: Volume 3
Awakening the Paths
R.Fennelly. March 2014. Serpent’s Gate

For More Information: Robin Fennelly Books

To Find out More about the Hermetic Qabalah:

Qabalah Basics
The Might of Geburah(The Magickal Pen)

A Special Event Held Every 4+ Years

To Experience the Qabalistic Tree of Life:

Climbing the Tree (Weekend)
Hosted by The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel
Georgetown, Delaware
September 26-28.2014

About:
This is an immersive experience in the Hermetic Tree of Life taught with Pagan sensibilities. There will be workshops, pathworkings, a ritual, and evening discussions. The ritual involves literally walking the Lightening Flash from Malkuth to Kether with the experience of a mini-ritual within each Sphere. The glyph of the Tree is laid out in 9 foot circles connected by paths covering a large field. Climbing The Tree is an incredible experience to plant the tree deep with yourself. Pre-Registration is required.

In Preparation for Climbing the Tree I am teaching:

An Introduction to the Qabalah
Sunday, August 17.2014
5-Hr Intensive
Springfield, PA
Pre-registration is required

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At some point as you pursue a spiritual path you will encounter the term “journeying”. A spiritual journey may take many forms and is not always what you expect it will be. This journey may be physical in component, such as a pilgrimage to a scared site or more surreal within the realms of consciousness and subtle body. Some of these are initiated and guided by shamans, witches, gurus, therapists or others who have been trained in such processes. Some are self-initiated through lucid dream work, meditation, astral travel or self-scanning.  These are those journeys of intent that we choose to set aside time and space to execute. These are also the journeys that become part of the tool box of learning we use as we build the scaffolding that supports our aspiration towards spiritual pinnacle. Whatever the vehicle of transport is, the intent is one of change, transformation and growth.

One of the primary contributors towards making the use of spiritual journeys effective and viable tools for spiritual growth is the way in which the consciousness responds to these inner travels and the expansion of that state into realms that are not of manifest reality. We remain in the waking realms of conscious thought for most of our day so that we can function in the physical world in the way that is expected and required. The forays into awareness of limitless and timeless space are those we encounter in a dream state as we leaving our physical state of awareness and entering into one that moves outside the boundaries of space and time. If disciplined sufficiently, this dream state can become one of lucid (or conscious) dreaming. The normal dreaming mind surrenders itself to the needs of the physical body for rest and unencumbered and unfettered is now able to move into the subconscious and beyond.

Those journeys we experience that are guided by the drum of a Shaman, the guided pathworking that is part of a workshop or ritual are a combined effort of the surrender of consciousness towards expanding awareness by the one embarking on the journey and the triggers of sound, spoken word, etc… of the one facilitating the experience. This is the reason that when a group participates in the same pathworking or shamanic journeying, there will be a variety of responses and reports regarding how deep the individual was able to go, the information received and whether it overtly “worked” or not. Suspending our state of alert consciousness is for most not always an easy task. Control factors largely in how flexible that surrender is. The element of trust looms large, particularly in a setting of guided or group work and as a society we have been conditioned to mistrust even our own self-guided experiences and their results.

Creating an environment that is conducive to allowing the consciousness to move freely and in an open and receptive manner and incorporating visual stimuli that is familiar and is associated with the goal at hand opens the inner paths that are part of the function of memory. Incorporating sound, as in the case of drumming for Shamanic journeying, creates a field of resonance that the seeker is carried upon energetically towards what is being sought. Toning, chanting, relaxing or atonal music produce the same results if constructed in careful manner to affect the ebb and flow of energy and the peaks and dips of consciousness. Stirring within something that resonates with those parts of ourselves that are not normally accessed in this way. The alert conscious states takes in the stimuli, processes it through the receptors of recognition as the subconscious opens revealing the memories and information that is more deeply anchored to what has entered into its deep waters.

Although the setting we create as we enter into a journey of consciousness often serves as the catalyst toward opening up the appropriate neural pathways, there is no need for a secluded space, candles or other ritual paraphernalia. We generally associate journeying only in the setting of spiritual growth, but the most common form of journeying is one that largely remains uncategorized. This is the journey we take while daydreaming-something that we all have engaged in at one time or another. Imagination and visualization factor highly into this experience and depending on how deeply you can disconnect from the mundane world surrounding you, can be as real and visceral in sensation as any physical experience would be. These are all the same components described in guided spiritual journeying, albeit in this form the steps are transparent as we slip into whatever world we have created.

Creating An Inner Temple

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One of my favorite forms of journeying is in using and writing Pathworkings.  Pathworkings take you on a journey through an inner landscape of keys that will unlock the stores of memory and bring to the ultimate destination of transformation. Actually, the writing of the Pathworking becomes a journey itself, as I allow my consciousness to open to being receptive as the setting, keys and environment unfolds, drawn up from the depths of the subconscious. The exercise below is a pathworking that incorporates physical and astral journeying in the creation of a Temple to be used for your personal inner work. Blessings on your journey!

Step One:

Turn your focus and attention to your breath. Allow the space of your consciousness to move with the rise and fall of your chest and the filling and release of the lungs. Continue in this manner for several breaths; allowing each to become softer, smoother and slower. With each breath your physical body appears to become lighter and your center of consciousness floats upwards towards the inner eye. You feel enveloped by the mist of transition between the Physical and Astral. And as this veil thins you step through a veil of dark blue mist and find yourself standing centrally in a circular room. As you look around you see that this space opens out to a star lit night sky. The velvety blackness above holds a twinkling of starry light that fills the panoramic view above. The walls encircle you and are of a deep bluish purple.

Stand in this space and offer up the intent that it will mold and shape its interior to what your needs are. Now, take some time to decorate this space as you will. Add whatever you wish to this space that will make it uniquely your safe haven and sanctuary to visit and work within. With each new addition, breathe into that addition, empowering it with your own dynamic and energetic fingerprint.

When you have established the space to your liking, take a moment to look around at what you have created. Take a mental picture of how this space looks. Make note of the feelings evoked when you scan your creation and the anticipation you are feeling at the thought of return to this space to renew and practice your craft. Allow all of this energy to wash over and through you and as you scan the last object you feel the mist of veil forming around you. The clarity of your Temple begins to fade and you find yourself once again as observer looking at the blank inner screen colored in the veiling that just surrounded you. Breathe into this space as observer and the knowledge of gateway that is available at any time for your access. Bring your focus of awareness back into the pattern of breath- the rise and fall of your chest and the expansion and contraction of lung. Bring your awareness into the physicality of your body on chair or floor- the sounds of the space in which you are sitting. Breathe deeply and fully and when you are ready and fully re-anchored in your physical being, gently flutter your eyes open.

The Physical Foundation of the Journey

Allow several days to pass before you return to your Temple; but each day in between, call up the vision of what you have created, breathe into its structure and feel its enlivening within you. Now, envision what the outer doorway of your Temple looks like, if you were to approach it via a path. In a journal write down or sketch what the doorway of your Temple looks like. Add as much detail as possible. See it clearly in your mind’s eye on your inner screen. Now, write in your journal what you would like to accomplish within this Temple. This may be spell work, energetic practice, devotional or connecting with the Divine. These actions engage the physical you and call you to be attentive to what has been created in the inner realms. Do this consistently for the days leading up to your next journey to your Temple.

Step Two:

Now that you have established your Temple, sitting quietly where you will not be disturbed, begin again as you had in its building. Establish a relaxed and even pattern of breath, allowing your consciousness to float up to the third eye and your inner screen. As you sit observing this blank screen, envision yourself walking towards it. Each step creates a stone that forms a path leading to the doorway of your Temple. Continue walking as far as is needed, engaging your senses in the power of projecting this manner of manifestation within the astral.

When you finally arrive at the doorway to your Temple space, gently breathe into the space in front of you. Make note of its construction and any symbols that may adorn it. Does it resemble what you had crafted in your physical experience or has it changed? Allow whatever presents to hold dominance in your visioning and allow the doorway to open with the intent of your will. Step inside, take a moment to make note of any changes since you were last here. Breathe into each of these changes offering thanks for the deeper lesson that is unfolding within your consciousness that are represented by the changes here. And, now begin the work of your making.

When you have completed any given task you decide upon always take a moment to scan your surroundings, making note of any changes. Take some time to offer up thanks to the support of this space and any insights received. Return stepping through your doorway noting the sound of the door closing gently and securely behind you. The path of stone you created stretches ahead of you. Take a deep breath in and begin walking back on the path, reaching a few stones away and finding yourself enveloped in a gentle mist of transition. You step through and find yourself standing once again as observer of this inner screen. Breathe into this space as observer and the knowledge of gateway that is available at any time for your access. Bring your focus of awareness back into the pattern of breath- the rise and fall of your chest and the expansion and contraction of lung. Bring your awareness into the physicality of your body on chair or floor- the sounds of the space in which you are sitting. Breathe deeply and fully and when you are ready and fully re-anchored in your physical being, gently flutter your eyes open.

Other Resources:

The Healing Temple

Pathworking or Guided Meditation: Part 1

Pathworking or Guided Meditation: Part 2

Foundations of Practice: Journaling

Digital Image by Luke Bailey

 

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Recently, a dear friend of mine reminded me about the eventual effects of continuing to make withdrawals on those reserves that make you more fully human and not compensating with the appropriate deposits of what feeds that humanity. As you fill your coffers with spiritual tools and resources there has to be a point of counter balance (note I did not say equanimity) of what anchors you in this lifetime’s experience of manifest reality and all that goes into the informing of that life. This is not a new conceptualization of the need for renewal but one that we often overlook relying solely on the belief that the Universe will provide all that we need. The Universe does supply, but we are also tools of attraction, so if what I am setting out as the magnet of attraction is depleted in what makes me fully human than the spiritual resources I attract will not have the maximum potency of effect.

Being the driven and disciplined (or perhaps conditioned) individual that I am it is not uncommon for me to completely forget my physical needs in deference to the path of service and work that I wish to do. There are many forms of conditioned response we establish as we mature so it would be easy for me to blame conditioned response in this case from years of self-abuse as a classical ballet dancer. But, that thinking would only be a small piece of a larger puzzle. Chronological time factors in to the equation, at times insidiously, and as I am getting older, the feeling that “time is running out and there is still so much spiritual work to be done” fuels the furnace of neglect of that very container that enables that work to be accomplished. After all the greatest work is that of being human and having the capabilities of a physical being. As aspiration toward perfecting the spirit grows in urgency (very different word from Informed Will) this human aspect of our being can largely go completely unfed.

The irony is that I know all of these things and yet, somehow, I still do not consider my own human needs to be of the same importance as my spiritual. You could think of this as basking too long in the fullness of the sun’s light which dehydrates and burns the flesh that is the necessary container used to experience the pleasure of sun bathing The trick is to come to a point where the shade and shelter that is needed is derived from the physical/manifest sunblock that has been applied with each physical connection that allows us to safely enjoy and be rejuvenated by the brilliance of spiritual light.

In thinking about the reminder given and the need for restoration my plan is to reconnect to those things that brought me pleasure and fed my physical senses at a time when I was more wholly in touch with myself, and the experience of my human nature.

Reading Readiness

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I love to read and for over a decade the “soul” source of the tomes have been non-fiction geared and carefully selected to inform my teaching and broaden my base of knowledge. So, for me, returning to a place of reading simply for the pure joy of losing yourself in the story means reading a fiction book. I have always loved everything about books and my rule of thumb has been the smaller the print and the thicker the book all the better. I worked as a page at our local library as my first teenage job and reveled in the smell of hardbound books, the feel of holding the book in your hands and turning each page not knowing what great adventure would continue written on its surface.

When you read non-fiction as a steady diet there is a decided difference in how you perceive the world around you. Suddenly, everything becomes a petri dish ready for examination. Even in the process of testing and questioning the facts obtained, it is still through the lens of the observer. Imagination may enter the equation, but the end goal is in seeking the truth. Taking a breather from this constant scrutiny offers opportunity for unstructured imagination to flow and awakening the space for languid and fantastic inner journeys. Ironically, listening to the wisdom of your own psyche will usually give you clue when its time to ease off. The periods of time where I simply could not read another book have been more frequent. Over saturation is the way I would describe it. Forcing the issue just results in having to reread what you set to because nothing is sticking. Time to “un-think” the diet and re-introduce some new foods.

I remembered how much I enjoyed reading the Anne Rice novels and the chapters I’ve read so far of the new series have been great.

Color It Simple

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One of my favorite pastimes as a child and young adult was to color. A new box of 96-color crayons or colored pencils was my idea of visual and tactile delight. The kinesthetic quality enforced my appreciation of the skill and deftness of hand required. Engaging my visual sensitivities in the selection and matching of colors opened a new frame of reference about the varied tones, hues, shades and values available in this rich palette. The products of these experiences took the forms of embroidery, sewing, drawing and painting. Using this tool of expression I could control the result while allowing the inventive energy to flow and a single brushstroke or stitch done differently would completely alter the visual impact of the finished product. A trip to AC Moore and our basement (our eldest daughter is a Visual Artist) provided me with everything I will need to dive back into this place of renewal. A coloring book of Mandalas and a Paint-By-Number Owl should be a good start.

The Gift of Music

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Music has always been a part of my daily life. There was a time when I would sit quietly day dreaming as I listened to my favorite composition. The sound would carry me into my own world of creative imagination and the effect was soothing and renewing regardless of the intensity or anguish of the tones I was hearing. I realized that for some time now, music has become the habitual background that plays on even though I am not focused in the listening. I do use music and sound regularly, the singing bowl, drum or correct tonal frequency to effect and stimulate spiritual growth; but, rarely just for the pure joy of surrendering myself to the sensation without expectation and intent. I thought back to the type of music I used to listen to that commanded my attention- and imagination. I downloaded some of my favorite bands and set off on a journey that took me where it willed and called up the visceral physical and emotional response in the memory of how much pleasure I had derived from it originally.

Dance Like No One is Watching

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And, finally I return to what made me feel most alive and fully connected to my physicality and transcendence of its limitations. For me this is the ultimate test in turning off the critic, teacher, choreographer and goal of perfection (very human, though non-productive human responses) and allowing my body to move in a response that is purely of its own making. This is the exhilarating joy of painting a vision of space and energy crafted by the interaction of the physical form moving on a canvas that is limitless.

When I was performing, the rehearsal studio was Sacred Space and the theater was the Temple that called out to those appreciative of the art form. As we prepared backstage and transformed into whatever role was to be played, you could feel the palpable effect of this transformation on yourself and knew that any who were witness would for that brief amount of time be carried with you into the realm of imagination and forever changed because of it. For me, this is the space of interface between spirit and human.

I am older now, and joints often hurt, and muscle memory can be a real pain (literally), but none of those things can prevent me from reconnecting to that part of me that is most human. The soul infused abandon interwoven with the physicality of manifest form is the gold bullion that’s a valuable asset of deposit in both my spiritual and human banks.

Ready for What’s In-Coming!

For now, my Great Work of Spirit is to be receptive and aware of feeding what connects me to Humanity. To enjoy the flow of in coming experience that is self-initiated, physically driven. The “fun” part of the journey is to explore the potential held in nurturing a space of joy and levity in fostering a deeper appreciation of the gift of being fully present in that human experience. This is what sustains when times become challenging both mundanely and spiritually.

So, next you hear the phrase that you “are a spiritual being having a human experience” don’t forget about tending to all the needs of that human experience. Allow your senses to open to receiving the in coming flow of your own humanity.

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My spirit moves in a
Constant state of
Veil and light
Straining towards the moment
Of pause- rest-quiet.

And, once achieved- the motion begins
Newly birthed from the inertia.

Breath and body moving
Towards each extreme of being
One being agitated by the other
The urge towards balance.

Ma’at’s sillhouette embracing
The shadow of moon that is the
Fulcrum of all things mastered.

Haze of blue fury
Support and equilibrium
Feather poised with sharpened
Tip delicately and precariously balanced.

Harmony restored through the
Anguish of chaos and uncertainty
And for this brief moment
Illusion is suspended
In this body of hanging in
The balance of Divine Light.

A few days ago, in the early hours of the morning the Moon waxed full in the sign of Libra and the energy of balance and refinement was enhanced by a Lunar eclipse. All of this held the potential for reshaping the depths of our emotional waters and reclaim the balance of what is brought to the light and what serves as support within those dark waters of being.

What remains unbalanced within you and where will you seek the wisdom of restoration of what lofts us from the sea of inertia and complacency?

Read more about the energy of this past Full Moon here..

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Image: Rider-Waite Tarot 

What do you hold sacred and
Who are your Gods?

You stand before me and
Hope that I will show you
The way of return.

I am wisdom and the hidden knowledge
Gained from effort and sacrifice.

I have achieved the balance
Of foundation and
Now may be the
Disruption that
Spawns new
Direction.

I sit within the
Place of anchor
And all that flows from
My discourse will
Take root.

The mystery is how
To initiate that seed of
Root and the form it may take
For that is your path
Only to reveal.

The halls of knowledge are
Ever open.

Where will you find
The courage to
Pass through?

Keywords:

WISDOM
SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP
SKILL
DISCERNMENT
SELF KNOWLEDGE

The Hierophant sits upon a throne of sorts, the Pillars of Polarity to his right and left. He is the Middle Pillar of balance, union of polarities and guardian of the Supernal wisdom. This card is one of my favorite cards in the Major Arcana. Looking at the card gives a sense of peace, as well as a call to action of the highest aspiration. I see this card as a call to “service”. What form and who that service impacts are exerted by the choice of free will and where you have chosen to give your attention and focus.

The Hierophant appears as the quintessential spiritual advisor, bestower of Divine blessing, master of ageless wisdom and beneficent authority. Saying all that often brings a feeling of security in the knowledge that a higher authority – other than our human selves – exists and to whom we may placidly entrust the guiding of our spiritual growth.

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Image: The Alchemical Tarot (Rosemary Guiley)

I particularly like the image of the Hierophant represented in the Alchemical Tarot Deck. The balance of lunar and solar, feminine and masculine energies seen through the arch of window. When we think of a window we imagine a space to see out from and a haven of sanctuary to stand as observer and perhaps go unobserved. I think of this depiction as the natural tendency we have to see these energies of the Moon and the Sun as something apart from ourselves and that we look at longingly through whatever safe haven we have ensconced ourselves within. The Hierophant being the bridge or point of interface between the two, holding open the book of knowledge that will enable us to recognize our place within these two states of being.

The statues of male and female at the left and right hand of the Hierophant are smaller in size and are reminder that our physical form is only a small piece of the greater mystery. That we too may sit in the place of the Hierophant as we draw into our core (the middle pillar) all aspects of our true nature, moon, sun and cosmos; male, female and manifestation and rise as guardian of our Higher Self as the Hierophant looms large in the place of center.

All of the aforementioned is true; but another part of the Mystery (definition of: a spiritual reality that transcends normal reasoning) lies in the Key number of the card – #5- the number of rebellion, change and disruption of the status quo to move us beyond the false security of an earthly foundation. Five is the occurrence of the stability of equilateral Four opening up and reaching out towards the unknown. The foundations laid in the structure and order of a four-sided figure (square) are now being tested and stretched to their limits. This is the primary principle of nature abhorring a vacuum or inertia. If we remain too long in the comfort of everything being the same, we become stagnant and dis-eased. Nature steps in and causes illness and discontent (the number Five) stirring the call to action that will ultimately bring us to a place of transformation.

If we combine this information with the other attributes of the card, we realize that the lesson of this card is that with every embracing of and opening to higher levels of understanding and spirituality there will also be the necessary resultant disruption of the security felt by simply remaining where we are. By seeking the strength contained within the Emperor- who appears more than a man- but, still a man grounded in the physical reality- we can experience the Self-Knowledge and spiritual security of the Hierophant.

Wherever this card falls in a spread, expect, changes and the need to take a closer look at those things we consider the foundation and pillars of our Spiritual Path. The number Five is also the number of sides on a shield – four sides of the square and the point of a triangle. With the Wisdom of the Hierophant, we may deflect from ourselves what would harm, gather the energy into its space of security and then turn the focus of that shield’s point of light and Divine Wisdom to illuminate our way along the Path.

The Shield of Focus Spread (rcf)

I seek the highest Spiritual Truth
For my guidance and inspiration.

I seek to unify the inner world of Spiritual Illumination
And the outer world of personal experience.

I seek to walk in the Light

Remove The Hierophant Card from the Deck and place it centrally in the position of the anchor, face up. Focus your query and intent in a meditative way directed towards The Hierophant key. Lay 4 more cards face down in a semi circle in the order presented below:

This spread takes on the form of a shield. Four sides create the foundation upon which we hold and direct the energies we wish to direct in a focused and refined manner through a singular tip of expression. The Hierophant sits in the center as hidden anchor. His energy is felt at a deep level of internalization rather than in an overt and obvious manner. There are many cross paths contained within this spread that await your revealing.

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Lower Row:
1. Action- This is the place of first steps. What is indicated here shows where movement needs to be made.

2. Restraint- This is the place of what needs holding back, and where there is needed a pause and taking a breath before moving forward.

Middle Row:
3. Information- Information about the situation that is not on the surface. This is what needs to be retrieved so that the action required may hold greater choice and potential for outcome.

4. Protection- This is the place of safeguarding and may give indication of those things not quite ready to be revealed or acted upon.

5. The Point of Focus:
This card indicates the place of releasing the appropriate course of combined action and information having been processed through the filters of restraint and protection. This is the synthesis of those cards that form the base or foundation. This is the point where those efforts and indicators for change and action may now be released in a synthesized stream for the most effective use.

This posting is a Sneak Peek at:
The Inner Chamber: Volume Four
A Walk Through the Major Arcana
By Robin Fennelly
Release Date: Fall 2014

 

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How deep will you allow yourself to go in seeking the truth? How much will you lay bare to realize your full potential? How much will you offer up to the Divine to see the radiant image of your own divinity? What pearls are you hoping to find?

As I have gotten older, in place of fear at revealing what may be hidden behind the various masks I wear, there has been a certain type of comfort that has come from purposefully and intentionally diving deeper into the murky waters of what makes me tick. I am not only talking about the deep work of embracing the Shadow, but also the journey of realizing what my strengths and weaknesses are, how I respond or react in certain situations, what personal barriers I set for myself in achieving goals and most importantly, how all of these states effect my spiritual growth.

Whether we are consciously aware of it or not we all wear different masks throughout the day, showing these varied aspects in accord with what we perceive to be the energy that is surrounding. Some serve to hide the lack of confidence we have, others serve to quiet and calm the anger that is raging beneath, and others allow us to communicate more easily and comfortably setting a tone of collaborative spirit and concerned effort. Beyond these we wear the masks of our place in relationships, the friend, lover, mother, wife, husband, child, father, teacher and the list goes on and on. Each fitting neatly and layering one upon the other until there are times when we are not sure which is the dominant.

And, with each additional layer we are also modifying and making adaptions to our spiritual nature. Each becomes another drop in the vast ocean that holds the space of our adaptability and the flow of our emotional self. From these depths and vast expanse are formed the truths we call upon as we seek to know our true nature. From each flowing seamlessly into the other becomes the surface that gently supports us as we face upwards towards the light of the Sun, the sky of our breath and the greater cosmos that is our lineage. But, before we can truly know the mysteries of these realms we must first come to trust and explore the depths of those waters that hold us in their embrace as we flow trough our lifetime’s experience.

As we turn to face these waters we have built up and informed by our strivings to project the correct images and facades choice is offered to dive deeply into the reality of imaginings or to remain comfortably floating on an ever rising sea that accumulates with each new experience and each new mask created.

The first diving is the most terrifying; although we may tell ourselves differently. Moving into the buoyant space of that first mask of who we are and gently peeling away the years of what we have thought to be true of ourselves is unnerving. But, seeing the glow of what lay beneath it and the beauty of spiritual gifts and knowledge of the power held in that acceptance open new inlets of healing water’s flow and opens our acceptance of other’s now that we are able to see the reflection of their spiritual nature.

We breathe into this information and come to the surface renewed and with a sense of curiosity about what other revelations may be held in these waters. We dive a little deeper on the next journey. Seeking the many masks of the places we hold within the network of relationship. We marvel at the sheer weight of each and the smaller bits and pieces that comprise the larger whole follow like schools of minnow safe and secure in their numbers. We take up each and inspect it for the life that may be hidden within the ornate shell of its exterior. We allow to gently float away those that no longer serve us and gather together those that are viable, strong and worth the price of their effort in maintaining, knowing that the catch of the day will be in the wearing of the most prized one. We rise to the surface bringing with us a new perspective and more informed way of expressing ourselves in the roles we fulfill in the mundane. These expressions spill over into the many ways we interface and interact with the Divine; the gentle or demanding nature we bring to ritual and the passion or calm we use to infuse our magickal workings. Each of these roles eventually lead us to our most prized statement of being, that of a Divine Being fully engaged in the experience of humanity.

And, as we continue to move deeply into these waters of support and each journey brings back another piece of our individual truth we come to a place of the pearl of great price. The depth of the waters no longer a concern, the pressure of expanding outward in understanding no longer constricting and the vision clouded by the churning of waters being reformed and refilled now clear with purpose and intent. This pearl has been formed by the irritation of layer upon layer of the many masks you have worn and what you thought to be true of yourself. This pearl is the coalescing of all that you are, magickally and mundanely and in the bringing of its orb of iridescent light to the surface you have finally gone deep enough to unmask the real you.
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Photo: Natalia Avseenko

I dove into waters
Deep and foreboding
In hopes of finding
The wealth I desired.

I told not a soul
And hid well behind
A mask that proclaimed
Great fear in diving so
Deeply into waters unknown.

I went about my daily business
As mother, lover, friend and wife
Still not quite content with these
Masks I had crafted and
Claimed as my life.

By day I engaged in each
Task presented me in
Rote and routine style
But at night I would
Sit by deep dark waters
And contemplate what
Lay hidden under watery miles.

Images of gold and silver
Vast treasures and reclaiming
Of what had been discarded
Spoke of great wealth to uncover
Great wealth ripe for the taking.

I dove into these great waters and
Many nights they seemed to rise
As by day I donned new masks of
Deception wanting to claim the great prize.

On each I began retrieving a
Piece of my effort’s great worth
The waters began to lower and
My may masks to disburse.

Until one starlit night as all knowing
Moon shone brightly above
I dove seeking nothing
No treasure
No silver or gold.

I claimed on that night
A single pearl of great beauty
From the deep waters that
Flow within me calling me to
Dive deeply and claim the
Revealing of my True Self.

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What seeds have you planted lately? Spring is just beginning to take hold and the time to plant what we have tended during the long cold winter is at hand. A beautiful garden awaits our hand of action. This is the garden that lies within and needs weeding, tending and harvesting just as the outer garden requires these same things.

Each thought or inspiration we have is a seed of idea that can be brought to fruition or remain the stuff of daydreams. Every emotion we have warms or deadens what our responses or reactions will be in any given interaction. Every action we take is in the form of either weeding and refining or destroying and laying waste to what was germinated.

When we align our mind with right action and feed it with emotion and intent that is guided by our higher self, our garden will thrive and grow. Each seed that is planted will be done so with care and nurtured so that it may reach the ripeness of its full potential. The necessary release will come in the form of the harvesting of those rare fruits of spiritually empowered effort and action. And, all with whom you interact will reap the benefits of your bountiful nature.

As with any garden the ground in which we plant and the grounded rooting that occurs are the precursors to success or failure of bloom. Our inner garden is held in the firm rooting of our stability as grounded individuals as we move through our mundane tasks. The strength and fertility that is the natural by-product of remaining grounded and present in the mundane is the fertile ground in which we see the blossoming of our spiritual growth within. These actions are what create the stable path that we continue our journey upon. These become the roots that feed the great trees of our continuing cycle of growth.

Holding a grounded attitude throughout your day allows you to remain flexible and centered regardless of the discordant energies around you. The winds may blow furiously trying to uproot the seeds that have newly taken hold and the emotional rains may seek to drown and over saturate the place of your anchor, but the more you practice and strive to maintain a grounded attitude throughout allows you to become the graceful tree whose roots reach hungrily into Mother Earth and bends and sways with the flow of the winds, always resilient; always pliable.

Below is a simple grounding technique that can be used anywhere at any time of the day.

Stand with your feet placed firmly and directly underneath your hip-bones with knees slightly bent and relaxed. Your spine is elongated and your shoulders are relaxed with your head resting gently on top. Bring your awareness to the rhythm of your breath; the filling of your lungs and the gentle exhale. Each exhalation releases another bit of tension from the day’s activities. As you continue to breathe, imagine a line of energy connecting you to the ground beneath the floor on which you are standing. Each breath in draws the grounding energy from the Great Mother up into your being. This energy of life moves progressively upwards, moving through your feet into the lower legs, up into the pelvic region, up into the belly, up into the heart center- the throat and finally passing up and through the crown chakra. As you continue to draw this energy upwards, it extends towards the sky above. Imagine that you are like the branches of a tree.

You feel wholly and completely connected to the grounding of the earth and the limitless expanse of sky above. Breathe in this energy and breathe out a cascading flow of energy that anchors you as you move through your day.
Raices

As you go about your business of daily activity give some time and planning towards the creation of an inner garden. Select its seeds as carefully as you would from a catalogue for a Spring outdoor planting. And, then begin the sowing of what will be your beautiful garden that leads into the path of growing roots.

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I love using my hands. In particular, moving them in a way that allows the fingers to flow in an expressive way. I love to watch others use their hands as well; most often completely unaware of the grace of beauty and form as fingers trace patterns in the air. Our hands open in offering as the grace of abundance flows from wrist to finger-tip. Our hands close tightly in rejection of what is being offered and hold safe the central point of chakra and opening as sacred seed not yet ready for quickening. If the eyes are the gateway to the Soul, I believe the hands are the co-creators in painting the visual expression of that Soul’s work.

In spiritual work hands and the placement of the fingers to create specific shapes and forms punctuate the energy desired or directed and the container in which that energy will move in receptively or flow out projectively. The mudras of the yogi tell the store of creation and the mystery of how creative energy flows.

Our hands are able to grasp manifest materials and the fingers gently hold those treasures in place or crush them back to their base elements. The sensitivity of touch and the sensing of surrounding energy as we reach out into the enveloping space set in to motion visceral and neural response to what we are experiencing.

The carefully directed flow of intent-filled energy as finger becomes the working tool of magickal space offers opportunity for our physical form to literally become the vessel of the magick we are weaving. No need for wand, sword or athame if flesh, blood and bone work cohesively to produce the desired effect.

Our fingers point and guide the attention to whatever direction is the center point and the light caress of fingertips reveals the love and desire flowing through another. We use the fingers as the drawing and guiding tools of pulling someone in for a closer look or loving embrace and we repel with first contact of finger and hand to keep another at distance.

Our fingers and hands create the space of entertainment on shadow lit walls as creatures and scenes come to life. And, serve as the filling support for puppets at play. With gentle syncopation and accent and the dynamic grasping of baton, music carries us to faraway places and inner adventures woven like stories from notes and vibrating air. Instruments respond with harmony or intended dissonance at fingers’ correct placement and fingers fly with mercurial speed on communication across silver and gold flute.

Our fingers can soothe or harm as extension of love or anger’s guise and the impatient drumming of finger on smooth surface can drive to distraction. And, the same repetitive motion turned now towards plucking of harp strings uplifts and brings us closer to the ethereal realms.

We type ad write, paint and craft as creativity flows through in tactile and kinesthetic form. Our mind’s great thoughts drawn down through upper body and final product a vision of inspired act. The gifting of a book or piece of beautifully crafted art holding the indelible finger-prints of our hearts exchange in offering to the chosen one.

Our hands are marvelous things that hold the depth and wisdom of causing change, inspiring action and holding steady and strong. They are powerful and gentle and fit so comfortably together with that of another. So, pick up the brush of finger-tip and dip deeply into the colors of energy and life. Let the painting of your work fill the canvas of a life’s journey. Tell the story, let the energy flow and look into the heart of your creation as arms, hands and fingers wrap round to embrace the being of creative life that you are.

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Etch the words carefully
As finger presses against paper
My thoughts spill through
Each pore as inspiration flows.

Accent the meaning with
Strongly pointed and directive
Finger and bring the truth of
My telling to gather in the heights.

Gently cradle newborn’s body
Knowing that your actions
Will soothe and calm as
New life is held tenderly
And fingers caress smooth skin.

Breathe into the creation
Color flowing from brush
Of finger and paint the
Story of your making
And the vision of your Soul.

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The heat moves through me
Calling me to flow along
Its path of blazing light.

I call to the ashes that
The Phoenix may rise up
Within me to break free
Of what has held me inert.

Wings beat furiously and
Strain with expansion upwards
Quickening the spark of flame.

Blinding light flashes
And I move through
The flaming center of
The sun and into
The black iciness of the
Enlightened Will.

Fire is the Dance
of
Transformation – Will – Desire – Destruction – Rebirth

A roaring Fire is exhilarating. Flames dance and heat reaches out to caress. The colors move through scales of orange and red, the white of pure intensity and the vibrancy of color gives way to the charred blackness of ash and soot. When we place the action of this Fire on our desire and will, passion flames and the urge to do, to act is fueled by the intensity of its need for change.

Fire courses through our bodies as the electrical charges that provoke immediate response to pain or pleasure. Our bodies heat as we exercise and move and the fires of digestion break down the food we take in as sustenance. Anger rages hot when we are challenged and confronted and the fire of desire takes hold when attraction draws us into lover’s embrace.

Fire blazes its way through our world in the form of communication, electrical wiring, technology and more. We are surrounded, permeated and interwoven into the inferno that excites and calls us to express ourselves and the will we have cultivated. To work with the energy of Fire is to invite radical change and irrevocable transformation. Let’s take a look at is many forms and areas of impact.

FIRE, unlike the other elements cannot exist in physical form without consuming and destroying something else, thus causing transformation of that thing. It is out of that destruction that the potential for the most growth often occurs. This action is that of the legendary Phoenix rising from the flames of ash.

In magickal practice, Fire represents the state of action and the fires of will. We call to the energies of Fire to stir the flames within as we aspire towards integrating our will with that of our Higher Self. At a spiritual level, Fire carries the seeds of transformation that are the stuff of initiatory change, action and development of the Higher Will.

At a purely mundane and physical level Fire is associated with heat. The warmth of the Sun and the heat of the wood stove that keeps us warm in wintry weather. When we take it to the mental level, Fire becomes the passion that excites and ignites. It is the catalyst that creates movement and it is the creative spark that leads to new invention or manifest creation.

Energetic workings and practice are vital to keeping the internal will enlivened and ready for action. Fire is the flame of will, desire and intent. It quickens and catalyzes in its expansive form and destroys and removes in its nature of contraction.

The Universal Laws of Fire

Many years ago I came across these Universal Laws as they relate to the four basic elements. It may seem odd to equate the elements as following certain “Laws” particularly in the semantics of that word and its normal connotation. But, everything must follow some sort of order and structure to be successful; albeit, sometimes that order appears to be the most disordered mess, it is still order nonetheless). This is also true of magickal workings. There are specific laws or rules (whatever word you prefer) that govern the order and structure of the Universe and its workings. These are but a few of those and I offer them now as food for thought as you move through each of these elements. Some are overt in their relationship to a specific element and others are a bit more occult (hidden) in their meanings.

Law of Polarity

When we speak of polarities, there are many different examples that could be given; male and female, light and dark, negative and positive to name a few. When we perform magickal workings we draw upon the nature of the polarities to bring a state of action to that working. If there were no darkness we would not know how to define the light. If there were no negative action, the desire towards the positive would be non-existent.

The element of fire is aptly described by this Law as one of its primary functions is to stir up, to excite, and thus to transform and potentially transmute that which was being worked upon. When we call the energies of Fire into our workings, we are automatically putting in place the potential for action to occur. We are forcing ourselves to move beyond a place of inertia and undefined focus of intent to catalytic change that will be either the positive or negative charge that is needed for desired outcome.

Law of Cause and Effect

This is the natural by-product of working within the realms of polarized action. For every action, there is a reaction. Thus, for every cause there is an effect. The measure of that effect is usually in keeping with the amount of will exerted, although the comprehensive out-picturing of that statement is not always apparent. This is typified in the cautionary advice to be careful what you wish for.

Some Correspondences

Western Magick:
Color: Red
Tools: Wand, Staff (sometimes Swords)
Attribute: The Will – Action

The Elementals:
Monarch – Djinn
Elementals – Salamanders
Archangel: Michael

Eastern Tattwas:
Shape: Triangle
Color: Red
Direction: South

Qabalah: The Spheres of Connection
Netzach – Green – Victory
Geburah – Red – Might

Alchemy: 
Color: Red
Qualities of dry and hot

Astrology:
Aries (Cardinal)
Leo (Fixed)
Sagittarius (Mutable)

Suggested Practice

Spend a few minutes each day outside in the sun. As you sit facing the sun (be sure you have on sunscreen and limit to no more than 5-10 minutes) close your eyes and allow the warmth to penetrate your body. Imagine being filled with the radiance and strength of the sunlight and feelings of renewal at every level of being.

Engage all of your senses in the experience of being bathed in the light and energy of the sun’s rays. Step into the shade and make note of the difference in your physiological response. And, then step back out into the sunlight; making note of the difference of experience.

Excerpted in part from: The Elemental Year. R. Fennelly

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I wrote last week about the challenges of a spiritual practice. Continuing that thought, this week’s post explores the inevitable detours we find ourselves encountering on our chosen path.

Daily mundane life is ripe with detours.  We decide to go one route to work in favor of another, which takes us further out of our way because of construction and find ourselves on yet a third route.  We plan to have a nice quiet evening at home and forget about the promise we made to volunteer for the schools bake sale.  We tell ourselves we will go to the gym faithfully every other day after work, you know, just “do it for me time” and the car needs unexpected repair, the dog has to go to the vet, work needs an extra hour and before you know it the week has come to an end and exhaustion wins out.   Now before this post takes on the tone of Debbie Downer, let me wholeheartedly tell you that detours, distractions and otherwise annoying events that keep you from doing what you had planned are a positive step towards keeping yourself honest in your spiritual work!

A healthy path to growth involves disruption.  In fact that is how we physically grow. Shedding old skin cells, replacing with new; limbs stretching, muscles growing, healing and renewing.  Expansion and contraction of flesh and bone and settling in to what a matured human being looks like.  We take these as a given and don’t give much thought to how this movement in all directions is vital for healthy growth.  As children, we constantly took detours and the less beaten paths.  This was how we learned what was safe, what caused harm and what was risky but well worth the risk. These little forays into and off of the structured course formulated many of our preferences and who we became as adults.

As teens we constantly tested the boundaries, detouring from what our parents wanted in search of pure and unfettered joy in existence and being unstoppable and indestructible.  We didn’t think of these excursions as detours, but each was in its own way self-imposed roadblocks that led us down the path that struck our fancy at the time.  These side trips helped to set the course for what we thought our life could be and the grand visions and dreams we crafted for our adult experience.

Now, all of these examples may seem purely mundane and you may question how these relate to our spiritual practice/path.  We strive on these paths to interweave the mundane and the magickal.  We proclaim the fact that we live our spiritual truths 24/7 365-days per year.  So in essence, everything that takes us off the main course we expected and all of the delays and roadblocks encountered at a mundane level are the products of the work accomplished on the paths of our spiritual course. Conversely every spiritual detour we take offers new wisdom and lessons learned that directly relate to how we move through our physical affairs and world and what we seek from the mundane to feed the spiritual.

I have been High Priestess of Oak and Willow for 13 years and during that time there have been many members who have joined and many who have left.  Most departures have been amiable and most often the result of spiritual growth that has set that member in a new direction.  Some may consider it a detour taken from the pagan path they began; particularly for those who left the Wiccan path and began the steps of Eastern practice or return to Christianity.  Although saddened by each departure I have also honored the truth that any productive spiritual seeking will involve becoming more aware of what the choices of expression are and the many roads that may be taken.  The challenges encountered in defining what our spiritual path and practice look like become the opportunities to detour from what is expected and explore a road less travelled.  New experiences, new community and new beliefs come to light.  Some may give deeper perspective and knowing as we continue on this detour and eventually return to the original road we began the journey on.  Others may completely take us in a different direction, having the wisdom brought forward from where we began and refining it in accord with the new road taken and stayed upon.

Embrace these detours, roadblocks, set-backs and more.  They strengthen your resolve in what you truly believe and wish to pursue in devotion.  They allow time for pause and reflection in a world that often moves too quickly and leaves us hungering for what we would never have known or been able to use. They bend and mold and change who we are and who we will become.  So, the next time you are driving and come to a detour, set off down a new road and grand adventure and an opportunity to perhaps appreciate the direct route you are normally able to take.

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Stop, pause
Ready, set- Go!
Damn, another roadblock!

Try the other route
Not quite right but
Maybe I’ll get through.

Yellow sign ahead
Another detour on the path
Ok, just breathe
Maybe this route won’t be too bad.

Stop, pause
Ready, set- Go!
Lots to keep your
Interest on this new route.

Stop, pause
Let’s give it a try
Detours are so bad after all!

Never would have tried
Something new that
Became my new passion and
Answered my heart’s call!

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