With my birthday right around the corner from Samhain (Pronounced sow-in or sah-win not sam-hane)this is always a special time for me. It's not only the end of the summer where we release that which no longer serves and make space for the quiet and creative colder months cozied up at home, it's also the closing of another year of my life.
As I enter this 50th year, the end of a half century on this crazy spinning rock in space, Samhain is a wonderful time to allow myself to be quiet and reflect on the previous season, the year just passed.
I don't know if this will be helpful to someone reading this, but here is what my process looks like. Please keep in mind, there is not a specific process that works for everyone. We are all individuals with different experiences and ways of processing information. As I've delved into embracing my neurodivergence I am learning more and more how important it is that I have a grounding and centering practice and that I write things down so I can reflect back on them later.
If this resonates with you, too, take from it what works and leave the rest for someone else.
Around Samhain and my birthday (November 5th) I always ask myself the following questions:
- What served me well this year?
- What didn't serve me well that I'd like to release or change for the coming year?
- Which relationships did I find the most joy in? Which caused the most friction?
- Is there something in that which creates a space for growth in the coming months?
- What do I wish for more of? How do I bring more of that into my life with ease?
- How can I create more ease in the coming year?
- How can I create more abundance? (This isn't necessarily money. It could be health, wellness, friendships...you get the idea).
- How can I use that ease and abundance to give back to my relationships, my community and my creativity?
- What is a major milestone I'd like to achieve in the coming year?
- What is blocking my path that I need to release?
As I answer these questions, the process usually brings up even more and I follow the threads as I tug on them. Some years this is a quick process. Some years, like this one, it's going to take some time. Probably a couple weeks at least to really delve into these questions.
In a desire to focus my attention, because I can get a little all over the place, I occasionally turn to tarot or oracle cards - not necessarily to find answers though sometimes I do - but to shine a light on things I may not have thought of otherwise. Often, it is a vehicle for me to ask better questions.
To do this, I like to use the following 6 card spread. Please bookmark this or save it to your Pinterest board if it's something you want to come back to later. If you do use it, tag me on social media! I'd love to know if it was interesting or helpful for you.
- Card 1: Where am I now?
- Card 2: Where do I want to be?
- Card 3: Habits & Strengths to develop
- Card 4: Relationships to develop or nurture
- Card 5: Knowledge and skills to learn or improve
- Card 6: Where to focus my intentions
If you've not already learned how to read using a tarot or oracle deck, here are just a few simple basics you can start with that work for me. I choose to keep it simple. It's not something I do regularly enough to get fancy with it.
Remember, if this process doesn't resonate with you, or only bits and pieces resonate...trust your intuition!
Find a quiet spot. Remove distractions. If it's noisy outside, put on some soothing music that makes you feel relaxed.
Spend a moment, or however long you need, mindfully breathing. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth letting all the stress and tension grain away from your body on every exhale.
Sit comfortably with a straight spine and with eyes closed, take a deep, deep breath and imagine a thread connecting your spine down into the floor, deeper into the earth, connecting with that grounding and centering energy at the core of our planet.
Feel your shoulders relax.
Your eyelids soften.
Let your tongue drop from where it is pressed to the roof of your mouth and enjoy this moment of calm and grounding.
When you're ready, open your eyes. Roll your head side to side and loosen your neck.
At this point I like to do a simple smudge with cedar, sage, rosemary or palo santo depending on what kind of energetic medicine feels right in the moment. I may also hold a black tourmaline or other crystal that feels right. There's no exact science to this. Do what feels right for you.
Now set your intentions. I like to speak them out loud because the vibration of our voices, the vibration of our bodies moving, bears weight. It creates ripples of energy that set actions. My intention today was to find clarity on what I need to release, where I want to be, what I need to nurture and develop and clarity on what I need to achieve those desired results. Today was a hefty list. It's the closing of this year, but also, so important to find these bits of clarity as I plan my coming year (more on that after my birthday).
If you converse with your spirit guides, ancestors or are working with a particular Goddess, call on them now and ask them to help you find this clarity and achieve your desired outcome.
Only now, after good preparation and being present in the moment, do I put my hands on my cards and begin to lay out cards in the spread.
Today I chose the Urban Crow Oracle from MJ Cullinane. It's one of my favorites because of the imagery, her thoughtful descriptions of each card and my personal affinity with crows and ravens.
Once I've laid my cards out in the spread I will take notes on each card. For example:
- Card 1: Where am I now? Today's card in this position was "Release" and hooooo weeee do I have some shit to release! I'll come back to this and make notes of what I want to release, what I need to release and what is no longer serving me. I'll perform a releasing ritual with those tonight.
- Card 2: Where do I want to be? This turned up the Trickery card and at first I was all...WTF. I don't want trickery to be my thing! Looking at the card and reading the description I realized this was just the right card in just the right spot of the spread. "Your situation could benefit from allowing for some innovation and creative thinking" resonated so hard with me. I'll be coming back to this theme over the next few days and making notes on this topic.
- Card 3: Habits and Strengths to develop. This card landed with Abundance. Well. Shit. yeah. It's so true. I definitely have issues with accepting abundance. It's something I'm exploring and releasing but to move forward the description suggests, "Focus not on lack but on what you know is out there. your intuition will be your guide." All the yes!
- Card 4: Relationships to develop or nurture. I drew the Influence card. The line that made the most sense to me was, "Are you letting someone influence your behavior?" and "You may find someone strong and healthy is inspirational, and because of their influence, you too feel motivated to make positive changes."
- Card 5: Knowledge and skills to learn or improve. I drew the Direction card here and just bust up laughing. Direction is definitely something I have room to improve. I tend to choose multiple directions and it's all well and good until I get overwhelmed and just want to hide in my loft with the kitties until the direction is clarified again. I'll be writing down a road map for my upcoming year instead of just winging it. That always helps me when I stray from the path to revisit that plan and get refocused. Sometimes I choose to chuck the whole plan and write a new one...regardless, I am someone who needs direction or I just wander aimlessly.
- Card 6: Where to focus my intentions. This one baffled me a bit when I drew the Night card. I mean, I'm ALL about the night. I work best at night. I have my best thoughts at night. I'm most focused at night. (Hello neurodivergence. I see you there). The description that resonates for me is "The noise and action of the day subsides and quiet returns. What event had the most significant impact to help you grow? Are there events such as petty squabbles that serve you little and can be released into the dark?" I'm not completely sure where this one will lead my mind but I'm going to ponder it for the rest of the day, for sure. The release theme is strong and I'll admit I'm always ready to dive into a petty squabble to find the source and resolution. Perhaps I don't need to spend my energy there.
Perhaps I am going to start a new daily journal about that question...What event had the most significant impact to help you grow? I could answer that one on a daily basis, a weekly basis, monthly...yearly. I'm sure there are nuggets of gold in there to be gleaned.
Hop out onto Instagram and tag @gravesco if you try the spread. I'd love to know if any of this resonates for you!