Earthing establishes a connection
The Classical Elements
Elemental Earth is one of the “classic elements”, along with Air, Fire, and Water. This concept dates back to Ancient Greece. So, it’s not just something Wiccans cooked up, mid-20th Century. Aristotle added “Aether” to these four. Wiccans usually refer to the fifth element as “Spirit”.
The graphic at the top of this article speaks to me. I cropped it a bit, because the grammar of the caption was atrocious. Still, the photo nails the concept.
I first encountered the notion of Earthing not in Wiccan reading, but Ceremonial Magick. In his book, Modern Magick, Don Kraig describes elemental connections. Ceremonial Magicians also use the Classical Elements. Kraig suggests seekers regularly connect with Earth.
The first time I read Don’s book, I rolled my eyes when I got to his Earthing techniques. He suggested that women wear a skirt with no underwear, so they could sit in even an urban park, spread out a skirt, and let skin connect Earth. It sounded a bit cheesy. A second reading changed my mind. It made sense. You want skin to connect with the element!
Rolling in the mud
When I refereed soccer, I remember one coach, preparing his youth players for a game on a muddy day. He told the boys to lie down on the ground and roll around. The moms were horrified! After a minute or two, the boys were filthy. No worries about protecting the sanctity of those uniforms! They had fun. The moms had laundry.
This woman walking in the damp dirt is a great visual. Walking through freshly-grass works. So does a sandy beach. They’re all aspects of Earthing.
Earthing ties you to all aspects of Elemental Earth your tradition recognizes. For most Wiccans, that means connecting to the North compass point. Feel the North Wind as you tie to Earth. Visualize your personal Guardian for North. Some see the Archangel Uriel. Some see other beings, or they focus simply on the Winds. I like seeing Uriel as something other than the Angel of Death.
Five of Moths is the thief!
Delta Enduring Tarot
Five of Moths is the thief!
The Moths in the Delta Enduring Tarot are the equivalent of the Swords in a typical Rider-Waite style deck. The Five of Swords usually depicts a young man who appears to have bested his competition, and now holds all of their swords. The competition sulks away. When I drew this particular card, the Five of Moths, I didn’t see that traditional meaning. My thoughts immediately went back to Robin Wood’s interpretation of the card: Thief!
The Five of Moths shows a young man with a look of contempt on his face. He hasn’t bested equals, though. He’s a contractor, wearing a hard hat, ready to start demolishing homes to build “Luxury Condos”. Even the words on the sign above the homes sneers contempt, with a fleur-de-lis, mocking the people this new development will displace.
This is a very New Orleans version of the thief. The contractor has bested the neighborhood, and now the residents are forced to load their belongings in a truck and move away.
After doing a daily Tarot draw for a while, I began to see that the cards which turn up do so for a wide range of reasons. I’d been working on an article about “ghost signs”, signs painted on the walls of buildings over a century ago. The buildings are still there, and the signs, albeit faded over time, are also still there. What’s changed is the purpose of many of the buildings. What were once businesses are now condos. In the case of the Warehouse District, what could be affordable housing now becomes condos for the privileged. The Thief in New Orleans.
Now, is this a call to personal action, or a card that’s simply telling me, this is how it is here? Well, that’s why it’s called a “reflection” moment.
Hurricane Season is stressful
Nine of Moths and Hurricane cards, Delta Enduring Tarot
Hurricane Season is stressful
Yesterday, I was shuffling my Delta Enduring Tarot deck, and these two cards jumped out at me. I didn’t want to go into detail on the combination at that moment, so put them back, re-shuffled, and did a second draw.
I do my best to do something with Tarot daily. Usually, it’s a single-card draw, combined with reflection on how that card fits with what’s going on in my head. It’s a good way for me to slow down for a moment, and I like to share the cards I draw with others on social media.
I usually do my card draw in a public place, like a coffee shop. I’ll shuffle the deck until I hit a point where the card on top “feels” right, or maybe another card sticks to my finger a bit. It follows a suggestion I read years ago, by Robin Wood. She said, if you’re shuffling and a card pops out of the deck, don’t just put it back. It’s trying to tell you something. So, that’s become my approach over the years.
Sometimes that single card sticking up is actually two cards. In those cases, I usually ignore them, pushing them back, and continuing the shuffle.
Delta Enduring Tarot
This deck is a bit different. Its focus is very much on Southeastern Louisiana, with a lot of cards focusing directly on life in New Orleans. It’s a traditional RW style deck, with 78 cards. The deck also has a few extra cards, beyond the standard 78.
There are two approaches to a deck like this. If you’re RW person who sees the cards as the same across the work of any artist, you’d likely remove the “extra” cards. I approach the decks I own as individual entities. The RW structure is there, but the variations the creator adds to their deck have merit. I’ll look at the notes that come with the cards, perhaps even buy the companion book.
The Delta Enduring Tarot has slightly different suits:
- Moths = Swords = Air
- Oaks = Wands = Fire
- Oysters = Cups = Water
- Cast Irons = Pentacles = Earth
They work for me. Moths aren’t sharp and stabby, but they’re annoying and get in your space. They have that edgy irritation of the swords. The Oysters as Cups is wonderful for someone who grew up in New Orleans. You get the idea.
Nine of Moths
The Nine of Moths follows the RW-style Nine of Swords. The moths are behind the figure in the card, as are the swords in the classic design. I like how they’re hung on the wall, that they’re more a permanent fixture in the seeker’s life. When considered with the Eight of Moths, they tell a story of someone trapped, then free. That freedom has a price, though. Nightmares, PTSD in our modern way of thinking. So, the seeker is released from whatever traps them with the Eight, only to have sleepless stress in the Nine.
Now, add this “extra” card in Delta Enduring Tarot, Hurricane. Many of us living along the Gulf Coast have harrowing hurricane stories. We were trapped by the storm(s), gained release, but the experience hasn’t left us. Hurricanes dredge up a lot of bad memories for many.
So, apply this to my draw yesterday. Two cards standing out? Usually I’d push them back down. I didn’t. The combination felt strong to me. Hurricane stress? Yeah, I’ve got stories. I was at a coffee shop in our Lakeview neighborhood. Is it possible someone near me was stressing more than I do?
As we approach the second half of August, we enter what is, historically, the worst part of hurricane season. The memory of 29-August-2005 is powerful. Twitter presented a memory of Katrina recovery, when Clint Smith, III, tweeted about his experience at Benjamin Franklin High, here in New Orleans. That let me to play “Hurricane Season” by Shorty.
We won’t be out of these woods until November, but if we get through August, it’s a bit of a victory.
Eight of Pentacles, Steampunk Tarot by Barbara Moore
The Steampunk Tarot by Barbara More is still in my around-town computer bag. Today’s single-card reflection draw was the Eight of Pentacles.
The eights represent work. The Eight of Pentacles specifically indicates pride of work, pride of ownership. For me, that pride of ownership often is reflected by worry. I regularly worry that I’m going to screw up in the writing. As I approach a publication deadline (like right now), getting it right weighs on my mind.
Pride of Ownership
Taking pride in the work and making sure it’s the best it can be isn’t a bad thing, but waking up in the middle of the night means I need more coffee to get through the day. There is a good side to this, however. When the work is done, and you sit back to admire the finished product, beaming with pride is allowed.
The Steampunk Tarot presents the Eight of Pentacles in a factory/assembly line environment. The artisan is surrounded by steam. She’s got a conveyor of Pentacles moving past her, yet she still takes pride in the work and gets them right. It’s not just churning out something manufactured. She gives the items a personal touch. There’s a bit of the artisan in each one. When those Pentacles go out, to shops, or hung in homes, the final owners may not know the artisan, but they feel her influence.
Legacies are important to humans. We like the knowledge that we’re making an impact. Hopefully a positive one, at that. When you go to work, consider that for a moment. You may be in a job where not everyone sees your influence. Still, maybe it’s a note you leave in work papers, or perhaps an email reply for a group project. It doesn’t take much, but the artisan knows that even the little things help.
The start of the Imbolc festival 2006. Marsden. Huddersfield (courtesy flickr user malcolm)
One of the spokes in the Wheel of the Year approaches. Imbolc, mid-winter Sabbat, is celebrated on February 2nd, which is Thursday.
Imbolc is a celebration of Light and Fire. It’s the Sabbat that recognizes the waning of Winter and the approach of Spring. Strictly speaking, the days have been getting longer since the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. Throughout January, though, it’s difficult to detect this. The increase in daytime builds slowly. By February, though, sunset is noticeably later.
Additionally, the sun is out more! Climate change (and less winter in general) aside, we start to see a shift in weather patterns. There are more nice days than gloomy as Imbolc rules.
Christians recognize Imbolc as Candlemas, and/or the Feast of St. Blaise. Candlemas, the blessing of the candles used in the local church for the coming year, was the initial compromise between the Celtic holy day and worship of the White Christ. The crossover is typical of many Christian observances. Still, some folks didn’t want even that much of a connection to pre-Christian paganism. So, the church attached observance of a saint’s feast day to the celebration. St. Blaise is the patron saint of illnesses related to the throat.
In addition to blessing the candles, Catholics come to church to get their throats blessed. Usually, this blessing is done by a priest or deacon. The priest holds two candles in an “X”, placing the candles around the necks of the faithful. He then pronounces a blessing. So, we get the candle observance in, but filters enough to make those uncomfortable with the old ways happy.
Over time, however, it was clear that Imbolc observances dominated recognition of St. Blaise, so the church made a change. February 2nd became the celebration of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. That makes the Christian observance a Big Deal. Well, a bigger deal than a saint’s feast day. Blaise got bumped to 3-February.
The easiest way to observe Candlemas/Imbolc is to light candles! Welcome the Sun! Acknowledge that Winter is passing and Spring is on its way!
I’m working on a solitary observance this week (on top of everything else going on), so I’ll post more on that tomorrow.