This is the second Wisdom Wander of the 2015 Walking the Ways of the Summer Light series. The focus is on the element of Air. The purpose is to commune with the element and gather questions (rather than answers). At Solstice-tide a question will be selected to answer on a Pilgrimage.
To gather my guides and translators, I pulled 3 cards from the Oracle of Initiation as guides for my Air exploring: Collaboration, Sustainability, and Embarking To match the 3 Oracle cards I pulled 3 cards from the Shining Tribe Tarot’s Major Arcana and the suit of Birds (this deck’s suit connected to the element of Air) to point me toward Air’s lessons for me: Two of Birds, The Emperor, and The Magician.
On the week before’s Earth Wisdom Walk, I received a message that seemed as if it was for the collective as much as for me about paying attention to the stresses on the bee population. This week I had an even stronger sense of receiving two different messages: one more personal and the other more collective.
The cards and inspirations that came to me on the personal level were a continuation of last week’s message about communication between the seen and unseen realms and the continued connection I have to my late partner John. Once again there was a dragonfly, cards that I in some way associate with John, and if I’d been too dense to catch those things hidden all around me, the word LOVE was spelled out in stones at the bottom of the Mill River.
Though this appearance of Love emerged in the thread of my personal message, there is certainly a collective dimension to it. The earth loves and provides us with renewing gifts. The unseen ancestors love us and send their messages of support our way. And partnered or unpartnered, there are still streams of love from others that run through your life. Direct your attention there, nurture these connections, and our awareness of Love can only grow.
Just as the personal contained a collective dimension, my collective message became clear because of a personal connection.
My Wander ran through my whole day. I did my preparation in the morning and then went off to some regular schedule activities that included time at the Forbes Library. The library art gallery included a show called Airborn (what kind of synchronicity is that!) in which the artist made pieces using the fabric of a parachute brought home from World War II. Sustainability made her first appearance of the day under the artist’s clouds created from parachute fabric. There were even tacks included in the piece to support Sustainability for a quick clandestine picture.
Sustainability waited until toward the end of the walk to appear again. I came upon a gathering of silvered dandelions and by chance pulled the card from my pocket. While arranging my photo I noticed how similar the look of the figure’s and the dandelion’s head were. Dandelion, scorned as a weed but containing healing properties, had a message of sustainability to offer. Perhaps through the profusion of its seeds and the way they are carried on the wind to reach the next place of their growth.
To further ponder dandelion’s message I thought I would turn to science and Googled dandelion seed dispersal. One of the first sites to pop up was Ask Nature, which contains strategies from nature to help humans design in collaboration with the direction and flow of nature, and yes, is the last project that John worked on. Ask Nature says of the dandelion: “The seeds of dandelions are efficiently dispersed on the wind thanks to tiny discs of radiating threads that act as parachutes.” Dandelion can help humans learn from nature how to maintain community and health ecosystems through effective seed dispersal. The application for this strategy suggests mimicking the parachute-like attachments to seed to agricultural amendments (like fertilizer) without the use of toxic inert ingredients.
There is an earthy message from these ideas about the dandelion. Seeds that travel find new and fertile territory in which to grow. They diversify and enhance the places where they land. Healthy ecosystems are diverse ecosystems.
As we are in the element of Air which in the Tarot is connected to the mind, I can see the seeds as ideas. We might think of them as simple like the dandelion or as coming from unexpected and humble sources like a lowly weed. Perhaps it is not the experts in specialized fields but those living simple lives attuned to the needs of their community and the earth around them that can offer common sense solutions to the lack of sustainability in our current systems.
We may just need to pay attention to the natural processes hidden all around us and take them as our teachers to create more sustainability in our communities and, ultimately, for the planet. If we start doing this without waiting for a leader to save us, we won’t stop things like climate chaos that is already in motion and needs a globally coordinated effort, but we might slow its progression and make a softer landing (like one supported with a parachute) for ourselves. We’ll also be putting into practice the necessary solutions so when those “in charge” realized they don’t have the answer there in the center, they will turn to the edges for the needed innovation.
In The Earth Path, Starhawk explores how systems – natural and human – want to maintain themselves. Change doesn’t come from within, but when a system’s equilibrium is disturbed, the system does respond to try and right itself. The corrective to system is often at the edges. In nature this is the ecotone where two different systems touch: the field and the forest, the shore and the rocky coast. In the human world, this can be where people have stepped out of institutional systems and into alternative ones, including, to name just a few examples, Goddess spirituality, crowd funding, #blacklivesmatter and Twitter as news source, and the Tarot community. The seeds from these places can travel between systems and movements to bring new diversity.
So if you think you are not doing enough with your own sustainability efforts – whatever they might be – think again. The small and the humble are the seed of the change waiting to take hold.
REFLECTION AND QUESTION MAKING
In keeping with the Tarot’s idea of the element of Air relating to the mind, and, also then to traditions that pass on spiritual and philosophical ideas, this week’s suggestions for gathering in your questions turns you toward the wisdom and writings of the deck(s) you took with you on your Wander. Deck creators share their interpretations of the meaning of cards and sometimes offer questions to ponder. You can borrow their questions and also look to turn statements into questions for diving deeper.
Here are my examples from the 3 Oracle of Initiation cards that traveled with me:
- The introduction to Collaboration offers a juicy question: Who are you called into sacred collaboration with now?
- Embarking’s write up includes: “You are guided and protected by wise allies as you set out to discover your greatest gift yourself.” This invites questions like: How can I open to these wise allies? What will I discover when I connect with these allies?
- Sustainability’s admonition of what to investigate is easily transformed into a question: What is essential for me to live sustainably?
Walking the Ways of the Summer Light runs each year starting the 4th Monday before the Summer Solstice and running until two weeks afterward.