I’m curious about my spiritual dimensions. Very curious. In fact, curiosity is the motivation for my Path. Over the years my spiritual path has wandered around, moving from one deep idea to the next, while always keeping one very discerning eye open and looking for the threads that connect. I keep what seems legit to me and discard the rest. I’m content to develop experiments to perform and have fun with, using my body and the ability to make choices as the clay. It’s really that simple. In fact, this whole website is a demonstration of that exercise.
And then there’s my family and “career” that’s been unfolding alongside all this curiosity-driven spiritual hopscotch. I've had an equally hop-scotched career and I enjoy putting my skill set to use every day at my day job. And in my personal life too it turns out.
So: the goddess project I’ve been working on and mentioned before on this very blog. I’m fairly new to drawing cards and divination exercises – ideas that weren’t exactly embraced growing up as a preacher’s daughter. I usually begin one of my mad scientist excursions with the basic burning question “is this bullshit?” and go from there. So to start unpacking the question “is the act of drawing pretty cards bullshit?” I began drawing a card from the Goddess Guidance deck upon arrival at the office almost two years ago while asking the question “who walks with me today?” Why this deck? Well, it’s a positive deck with lots to learn cross-culturally about feminine divine. I work with a few other decks too – and those have some of the more intense cards. But I’ll get to that in a second.
Anyway, the deck I use for work is extremely positive and affirming. I draw a card each day and post it to a private Instagram account. I’ve been doing this for well over a year and a half now, even though I’ve been working with the deck almost two years. I’m hopeful that in a subtle way that the tiny universe of people I follow and that follow me back on Instagram can also tune up with these cards. They’re really quite beautiful and interesting. They help to remind me that magic is for real and that mystery is alive in the world and these multi-cultural feminine role-model-energies invite me to align myself in an evolutionary direction for the benefit of all beings. That while yes, life has a ton of suffering, it’s also equally joyous. The miracle of our person-hood sits at the center of that paradox and rides the waves of life, over and over again. I’m choosing (for me) an uncharted direction. Like I said, I’m curious!
Except I got curious about what would happen if I started to “chart” what I draw each day. And then “chart” the other cards I work with at home: a slightly more intense Goddess Oracle deck plus and Animal Medicine deck plus an Ascended Masters deck. If you think that’s a lot, wait there’s more! What if I layered on a higher cosmological order: the moons, the seasons, the retrogrades, all of it. And what if I also plotted when my cycle was against this data? Deeper still, what if I also tracked what color dress I wore that day and as I experiment with wearing certain colors. What might bubble up in the data? Which cards have I drawn the most? Who shows up the most on Friday’s? Who are the repeat combinations? OMG! It’s so exciting, right?!
Anyway, my skill set is good but not good enough for the type of data analytics I’m interested in. I’ve hired the smartest business analyst I know (Lunches can go a long way! Thank you! You know who you are!) to slice and dice my data and make pretty charts and graphs. Why? Why not? I’m want to know how much of all this card divination stuff is bullshit…. Or not.... I’ve never ever worked with cards before but once I started – I jumped right into the deep end of the pool because perhaps that’s where I’m most at peace. It can be a little quieter (and lonelier at times) out there. And it’s ok if folks don’t understand my desire to chart a bunch of cards and track them in a spreadsheet. Frankly, I don’t either. “I” am a mystery to even “myself”.
Here goes – over a year’s worth of data of drawing divining cards while layering on a higher cosmologcial order:
Home Goddess (from the Goddess Oracle deck):
The top Goddess drawn was Aphrodite (30 times!), drawn only once on a full moon and twice on a new moon. Here she is when compared against the Animal Medicine deck (home deck) and the Goddess Guidance deck (work deck):
Home Animal (from the Animal Medicine deck):
The top Animal drawn was Hummingbird (33 times!), drawn once on a new moon and twice on a full moon. Here it is when compared against the Goddess Oracle deck (home deck) and the Goddess Guidance deck (work deck):
Also, I'm not sure if it's worth noting or not, but I never once drew Hummingbird while I was ovulating.
Work Goddess (from the Goddess Guidance deck):
The top work Goddess drawn was White Tara, drawn once on a full moon and never on the new moon. Here is where she stands across a large data set:
While on my cycle? I’m glad you asked. Rhiannon was number one from the Goddess Oracle deck (home deck) while there was a tie between Isolt and Rhiannon on the Goddess Guidance deck (work deck). What’s going on with Rhiannon there?
Rhiannon’s influence runs deeper still: when working with the Oracle deck (home deck) she showed up 88.2% of the time while Mercury was in Retrograde and 11.8% of the time when Mercury was Direct. Thanks, Rhiannon? Her mythology is fascinating, by the way. Who knows what it means, if anything.
Dream Teachers and Clothing:
As far as clothing goes, the dress I wore the most was a teal floral dress followed by jeans and a top. The top Dream Teacher from my Ascended Masters deck is a combo of Thoth and White Tara (my current dream team). So while I have one deck for work life, a couple of decks for home life, I use the Ascended Masters deck sparingly for my sleep cycle. I don’t have a set rhythm for drawing those like I do the others.
(Note: Virgin Mary and Mother Mary are the same. This is evidence of “human error” when tracking on a daily spreadsheet, LOL.)
And here’s my top Dream Teach by color of clothes:
In the end there are 41 pages of these charts and graphs, sliced every which way and I just can’t post them all. Biggest takeaway? With so many columns of things I’m tracking and with 44 cards per deck, I’m continuing this experiment for a bit longer to get a larger data set. It’s a pretty dilute matrix of variables and the real juice will come after a couple-few of years worth of this practice should it continue longer term. So: for now, I go back to my rhythm - tracking it all in a big spreadsheet with a continuation of a wonderfully strange science experiment. Maybe we’ll catch up in a year’s time with more data points and more insight. Or bullshit, TBD. The jury's still out on this one I think.
May it be so.
I did the frog thing (kambo) yesterday. Yes, I’d recommend it, but with a few cautionary comments. Here’s how it went down for me…
Kambo’s been on my radar on and off for some time but it really didn’t “call my name” as they say until just recently. As I understood the homeopathy of it, you make yourself super sick with the frog secretion (originally I had "venom" here and got schooled that it's a secretion) in order to stimulate healing - and there’s something not that appealing about that folks. Anyway, a friend said she was doing it and did I want to as well. Without really thinking about it very hard, I said YES. In the weeks and days leading up to our appointment, I’d periodically google things like “kambo deaths” or “is kambo safe” or perhaps “benefits of kambo”. Everything I was reading was not encouraging me to do it in the logical sense. And yet, I continued to have a big YES on the inside.
Typically you do kambo first in the morning – reason being that you need to do it on an empty stomach. First thing in the morning is truly optimal having naturally fasted all night long. Just before my 6am alarm went off I was having a BIG dream, you know the ones. My orange kitty Lady Constance and I were in the back bedroom at my grandmother’s house. I was putting a little bell around her neck so I could find her if she wandered off in an unknown place. We started to walk into the living room and that’s when I saw the biggest, baddest most intimidating black panther ever walk out of my grandmother’s bedroom. She was calm, confident and powerful in her gait. I reached for Lady Constance (to protect her?) but she slipped through my fingers and ran under the sofa to hide. Thinking quickly, I slid out of the sliding glass door to my left, leaving this big cat in the house as I considered what my next steps would be… Right then my alarm went off. Related? Who knows. But the dream was totally profound to me and the timing seemed relevant.
I dressed in comfortable clothes as requested and headed out to the private home where this ceremony would be held. I packed a series of blankets and my meditation cushion as instructed. I’d followed all the pre-ceremony advisements: no hot yoga, no supplements etc etc for three days before (this also applies to after the ceremony too). I wasn’t scared, per se, but definitely a bit nervous. I met four other friends and we spend the next hour or so quizzing our practitioner about what to expect, where the frog medicine comes from, safety precautions and more.
Our practitioner explained that the frogs are lured down from the trees in the jungles of the Amazon through songs. Once down, they are splayed out and the glands of the frog are gently scraped to extract the poison, excuse me, secretion. They are released and the shamans know which frogs to extract from because once they’re released they have little scars on their wrists and ankles. Apparently they leave those frogs alone until their scars are healed. Our practitioner is a member of the International Association of Kambo Practitioners and they only work with specific tribes that do this work ethically and with as little harm as possible to the frogs. Another added benefit is that we knew we were working with someone who has been trained to give this frog medicine safely. She explained some of the magical qualities of this frog: it’s so poisonous that no other animals will mess with them and so they display extraordinary confidence in the wild. Also, these frogs mate face to face (very unusual) and they are incredibly helpful to each other. She encouraged us to consider these qualities as we took their secretions into our bodies.
Taking the secretion in is a whole thing. Little burns are seared into the top couple layers of skin with a tiny round point. Right ankles for women and left arms for men are the “traditional” placements. The burns didn’t hurt too much. She has clearly done this hundreds and hundreds of times - her own confidence and precision verified that for me. After the burn marks are placed, you're instructed to drink a TON of water. About 2 liters or so. Then the frog goo is scraped off a stick (where it had been collected and dried in the forest) to make what look like little "boogers" which are then placed onto the open burn marks, called points. This is the only way to ingest it. The original practitioner of this method (centuries ago) was “told” this method by the forest under the influence of ayahuasca. No eating it, no drinking it, no IV'ing it, just through burn marks, straight into the (what we now know is) lymphatic system. Other methods of delivery can easily cause death.
This is where it gets interesting. She did a test point to begin with on each of us - to get a preliminary feel of how each person will react. She watches the reactions closely before deciding how many more points to place. In the end I had two points placed even though she’d made three burn marks as her standard. The points burn like fire once the frog secretion has been placed and it takes about 30 seconds for it to hit your system. And when it does, WHAM! Heat began to circulate. My ears began to burn super hot. I felt incredible pressure in my head. My face felt like it got hard. And then the nausea started followed by a laughably huge purge. Purge after purge of clear water to start with, which quickly turned bright green with a little foam on top. It felt like it was scraping my insides with heat and poison to pull all kinds of gunk out: old residual pharmaceuticals, toxins of all varieties and more mysterious stuff we can’t articulate at all.
Everything about it sucked. It hurt, I thought I was going to die, all of it. About 20 minutes in, she wiped off the frog secretion from the burn points and it was only then that things began to settle down. I curled up in a fetal position under a blanket and just breathed for a little while as my friends finished their experiences. When it was over, we each had a little râpé (tobacco snuff) up each nostril to clear the head and we were complete.
We talked and processed our experience for a little while before leaving. It was wild to see the different colors of our poison purges. Our practitioner said she’s seen every color, even bright blue come out of people’s guts. It’s super mysterious to even her. All of it is.
I won’t lie – the rest of my day was tough. I went to a restorative yoga class at noon followed by a healthy lunch to break my fast. I watched a low grade headache set in. Intuitively I knew it was coffee-related because I hadn’t had my usual morning dose of caffeine. (Noted, frog, I’m addicted!) I took a couple of naps on and off and went to bed early.
And now today? I feel GREAT! Beyond great. One of the purported benefits is a healthy sense of stability and clarity. I feel these sensations, yes indeed. Something about me feels “cleared” and I’m finding it easy to get a deep breath in and feel the oxygen circulate. Something has shifted, to be sure. I just don’t know what – but I’ll be keeping an eye on this in the coming days. Tradition says that the hunters of the various Amazonian tribes use kambo just before a big hunt – for clear vision and one-pointed attention.
In the end, I’m glad I did it. I’m open to doing it again but I need a few weeks before I take the plunge again, if ever. There’s something about it that’s super traumatic and perhaps it’s the contrast of feeling like total shit just the day before that makes today seem brighter and clearer. Again, who knows, right?
Our practitioner works with people who have cancer, HIV, depression, and ailments of all sorts. She’s seen complete cures of a variety of illnesses – physical and spiritual. A quick poisonous shock to the system with a roving flash-fever seems to be the method of promoting self-healing via the frog. Which makes complete sense to me – how else do you deftly activate your lymphatic system to stimulate self-healing? The whole thing seemed extremely practical to me to work with the body I’ve got – one that has served me well and one that I want to continue a relationship with for years to come.
I’m a believer in the frog and I’d be delighted to share the contact information of this practitioner if you’re interested. Just shoot me an email. Healing yourself is a beautiful thing. May it be so.
I was getting ready for work this morning and considering what to wear, you know, as we do when we have to go out and face the day. It’s cold today and it’s supposed to rain later. Plus, I have a radio event tonight at an indie record store so I already knew I needed some sort of a “cool factor” in my garment choice… I picked out some jeans and a very quirky blazer. In determining the shirt, I gravitated towards one of P’s old Course of Empire band T-shirts. CoE is the (semi-famous) local band he used to be in during the decade or so prior to our union. Their sound is industrial, loud, bold and it was super sexy to be a girlfriend of one of those guys back in the day. I entered the equation at the band’s peak and so my memories of their shows are extremely fond. The band broke up just after P and I got married.
Anyway, there’s this wizard-looking dude on the front of the T-shirt and I knew the whole get-up I’d picked out would be perfect for my evening rock-and-roll event. But before I committed to wearing this to the office all day long, I texted P “who’s this guy on the CoE shirt?” He texts back: Ming the Merciless.
Google. Google. Google. Do what? Turns out Ming the Merciless is the archetypal evil villain from the Flash Gordon series….
Note the T-shirt and then check this guy out - Behold! Ming the Merciless! Bwahahahaha!
Right. So within seconds I see that Ming the Merciless has a daughter who’s in love with the good guys. It’s a big part of the plot. Her name? Are you ready? Princess Aura. Princess! (my birth name!) And Aura. Like, really? For real?
Without going too far down this rabbit hole, I could see numerous points of connection instantly. Too many to count and too specific to ignore.
P and I texted throughout the process. I think my exact words were “without connecting very many dots there’s a lot of very strange and specific synchronicity with this don’t you think?” and “this is a very unique convergence of inter-dimensional realities here… WTF!”
In the end, it felt like it did with the Rice University journal. Mysterious, connected, specific, for ME and I can allow myself to get sucked down into some pre-existing mythology and believe it; buy into it; make mean everything. I can continue to google around and probably make a zillion more synchronous connections. Or, I can detach for a second and settle into the very grounding “H” in Aurah, get settled into my Heart and remember that I am Love. I am here to Grow. I am Free to Forge and Author my own Mythology - and I am and I will, thankyouverymuch.
In the end, I detached from the serendipitous weirdness and pulled myself together for an actual day of beneficial work in the Default World because I choose to. I also choose to make this mean that I'm in the right place at the right time. A "godwink" as my Burner friend Delay calls them. May it be so.
Hey, it's another year, another holiday card! One that we've essentially kept consistent for all these years (save two years 2006 and 2009 as you'll see). Same bedroom mirror that we haul out into the same yard and sit in front of the same Indian Hawthorn bush. The cameras have changed, P's beard has changed along with my haircuts. The various animals have come and gone and our children have literally grown before our eyes. Also, I can't seem to find 2012 (didn't the world end that year?) so who knows.
May all beings be happy and free. May it be so.
Periodic updates from Aurah in the Field.