Book Review – Breaking the Mother Goose Code

imageBreaking the Mother Goose Code:Ā How a fairy tale fooled the world for 300 years

by Jeri Studebaker

This is a fascinating book involving detection, ancient practices, fairy tales, nursery rhymes, our ancestors and goddesses, all revolving around the tale of Mother Goose.

Basing her ideas around two main theories 1) that Mother Goose was a European goddess in disguise and 2) that Mother Goose appeared from nowhere at the time that European Pre Christians were being dealt a final blow with inquisitions and witch burnings, Studebaker sets out to prove that hidden within Mother Goose was in fact a goddess, a way of disguising the evidence until it was safe to reveal it. The goddesses Holda-Perchta, Aphrodite and Brigid are all among those considered to be the goddess depicted by Mother Goose.

Painstaking research and a creative and delving mind are put to task in teasing out links however tenuous at first in order to support her hypothesis and then the wider field of the purpose of fairy tales.

The author also looks at the secrets that are hidden in nursery rhymes of the time and in the second part of the book, at other early or Pre-patriarchal fairy tales and the various theories over their purpose in society as well as their common characteristics and proposing her own ‘secret code theory’. Finally, over several chapters she looks at specific European fairy tales and the information they provide about our goddess centred ancestors.

I have no memory of the Mother Goose tale as set out in this book, nor have I more than a passing knowledge of goddesses, this however did nothing to lessen my interest, particularly in the second part of the book where I found myself totally caught up in the world of my ancestors as disguised in fairy tales.

Imbolc Inspiration

Imbolc is approaching fast so I thought I’d share with you some of the things that myself and a few of my fellow authors at Moon Books will be doing at the weekend.

It was put together by a colleague as a blog post, if you click on this link it will take you straight there šŸ™‚

Moon Books Authors Imbolc PlansĀ 

 

Web of Life Connections

imageLast week I was asked a question about the cards I worked with to find the teacher/connection for these posts. I was asked if I used images cut from magazines. As you can see the answer is no.

These are not my personal cards, the ones I work with when I am either planning a path for myself or looking for insight from my own teachers into something that has happened, I will post about them another week so you can see the difference. The cards you see pictured here are the ones that I use for quick inspiration, insight and messages from connections which for me at least are not my own personal teachers.

To find the connections for these cards I brainstormed all the possible connections that I could think of. Now if you bear in mind that everything that exists is interconnected and can communicate, you will understand that these are only a very small selection of all the connections that exist, however I needed this to be workable and also to be able to start somewhere. I also have blank cards set up on the computer so I can add to them if I come across a new connection that resonates in some way.

It is these cards that live in a bag and which I delve into once a week or so to find a connection or teacher that has a message for us.

There is no reason why you can’t make your own set, using connections that come to mind for you. Mine have a fancy border and were produced on the computer then printed, because that’s what I was drawn to do. They could just as easily be hand written and on plain card though. For this the energy is in the connection and the message it brings not the way it was made.

It might be fun, or if you are just starting out it could be helpful, to make a card of each connection that I draw and then sit with it yourself and see if you too can get a message. It would be interesting to see how similar or different the messages you get to the ones that I do so perhaps if you feel drawn to do this you could share your message in the comments.

Or you could make a whole set to work with for your own inspiration and insight.

Indie Shaman and Shaman Moon

imageĀ If you like the way I write you might be interested in an article I have in the latest copy of Indie Shaman magazine, it’s about the rock art of the San Bushman in Namibia.

I also have a brand new column in the magazine starting in this issue. It’s called Shaman Moon.

You can find details of how to subscribe to Indie Shaman magazine at www.indieshaman.co.ukĀ 

Monday Musings – Altars

imageThe only thing an altar should be is a special place to you, other than that it can be anything and be anywhere e.g. in the house, in a special room, on a shelf, in a window, on the floor, or even outside in nature. It can change whenever it needs to change such as over time as you change, with the seasons or with each turn of the wheel of the year. It can be a place where you go to connect with something e.g. spirits, the divine, with your ancestors, or with yourself. It can be a place where you worship or simply a place you like to visit.

The photo on here is of my own altar. It is basically the top shelf of a bookcase in my healing room. Despite having a Cambodian Buddha on it, my altar is not somewhere that I go to worship for I do not worship gods, goddesses or any spirit come to that. My altar is a place where I keep some of the things that are important to me and this includes some of the tools whose spirits I work with. All of the items there are present because their energy makes a positive contribution in some way.

The Buddha is on my altar simply because I like its energy and the peace it brings me when I look at it. The Buddhist prayer wheel is from Nepal which brings back memories, also I love the idea that inside it is the Buddhist peace prayer and that every spin of the wheel sends out the prayer 10,000 times to the world. Tucked in between the prayer wheel and the Buddha is a Reiki crystal which was a present from one of my students. The shape and energy of the crystal remind me of the purity of the energy of Reiki and the gift of being able to work with it and pass it on to others. The key on the blue ribbon was also a present. On it is inscribed that it is a journeying key and this reflects another very important area of my life, that of shamanism.

At the back are two fetishes from the witch’s market in Peru, a sun which, along with the small candle, represents the element Fire and the Condor which came from a witch who told me it was for a traveller. It also balances the energy of Eagle which is here in the small bundle of eagle feathers at the front right. I have other feathers there too, the large feather is from Condor and was another gift. Its spirit works with me in many ways including realigning, clearing and smoothing the energy field. There are other feathers here but the remaining feather that can be clearly seen is Owl. This was a gift at a time of initiation and its spirit now works with me usually at times of initiation of others. Feathers also represent the element Air whereas the various stones that can be seen on my altar represent the energy of Earth. I know how important it is for me to have balance in the energy of elements so also on my altar is, but perhaps not visible here, a shell which represents the element Water.

There are other items on my altar but I am sure that by now you get the idea. Sometimes I add to my altar, sometimes I take away. The cloth and colour of cloth changes often but there is no regular pattern to the changes. Some items are always there, some shift in and out depending on what I need. I always check the energy of the placing of things on my altar and while it may not always look amazing, the energy of it is always perfect for me and the space it is in.

One thing I hadn’t realised until I was writing this is how many of the items on my altar have been gifted to me. This does not have to be so but is how it is for me, at the moment anyway.

There are no rules about altars, no right or wrong, so creating an altar is always a very personal activity and reflects the person who has created it, their energy, their beliefs and what is important to them.

 

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Web of Life Connections – Red

I love how drawing one of the cards that I made for inspiration when writing Web of Life can so often bring me exactly what I need and that the messages I get resonate with others too. Today’s card was RED and even before I connect to it I am getting feelings of warmth, comfort and I can feel just the thought of RED lifting my energy.

Often when we stand in front of our wardrobes and choose what to wear by the colour of it, or find ourselves in a shop picking up clothing or something for the home in a colour we might not have chosen it can be because we need the vibration of that colour to feed our energy in some way.

Connecting with RED for some deeper insight and a message brought me this:

‘Like the warmth of a summer’s day let the vibration of RED fill you from head to toe, let it flow through you warming and energising your being. Breathe in the energy of RED and feel it lift your spirits’.Ā 

Shaman Pathways Web of LifeĀ 

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Shades of Grey

I don’t often get down so when I am it comes as a bit of a surprise. Yesterday was such a day and always one for a bit of self help I spent some time trying to work out what was going on, what had caused that way of feeling so I could try and pull myself out of it which gave me this list:

It’s grey.

It’s cold.

It’s too cold not to have gloves on inside so I can’t paint or draw easily.

I spent the weekend being one day out so on Friday I thought it was Saturday, Saturday was Sunday and so on …

I’m tired

It’s January

It’s dark even though it’s only 2pm

Nothing there to really explain the feeling then but maybe that is just it. Perhaps it is never really any one thing that contributes to how we feel, rather lots of small things that when they come together have a positive or negative effect on our well being.

I am lucky in that I know this will pass quickly and probably by the time this is posted I will be feeling more like my normal self but I do pay attention to how I am feeling and recognise the signs. AtĀ this time of year especially, many people are prone to feeling down or low. Grey overcast days, cold weather, snow, ice, winds, lack of energy, lack of money, lack of sunshine, lack of anything really, all take their toll. Yesterday was a firm reminder of how easy it is to slip into a blue funk.

I have several go to remedies that I can use when feeling this way. One is to treat myself with Reiki, especially working around my head in particular the back of my head over the occipital bones which are release points in many complimentary therapies. A second is to take some Waratah, one of the Australian Bush Flower Essences which is a fast working essence for the ‘dark night of the soul’. A third is to have a good laugh and cheer myself up, there is bound to be a video on Facebook that will make me smile or even laugh if there is no one about to help. A fourth is to wrap myself up and go out into nature to wake myself up and energise myself. A fifth is to write about how I am feeling which helps put it all in perspective – hence why I have written this.

I am not for one minute suggesting that any of these are magic solutions for anyone seriously depressed but we all have days when we feel down and on days like these we can help ourselves if we try and if we do so, we can stop ourselves slipping any further or getting stuck here.

 

Monday Musings – Deity and the Divine

imageI’m probably not the best person to be writing about Deity or the Divine for whileĀ I believe as do many who work with Shamanism, that everything that exists has a spirit I don’t really see these spirits as gods or goddesses in any way. For example, where others might see or speak about the god or goddess of a particular tree I would see this as being the spirit of the tree. Where others might speak of the god or goddess who protects their home, I would again see this as being the spirit of the home, important but not a god or goddess.

In my work and daily practice I work with, amongst others, the spirits of the land where I live, the spirits of the tools I use in my work and the spirits I meet when I journey but once again none of these would necessarily be Deities or Divine.

Sometimes though it can be helpful to have a name for these spirits, something that helps us connect with their energy and sometimes this energy may be described as a god or goddess.

Quan Yin, Kwan Yin, Guanyin, Kuanyin, Mio Shan, is such a spirit, one whose energy really resonates with my being especially at times of great need. She is known by many as the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion and exists in one form or another in all cultures.

Quan Yin is spoken of as being Buddhist, a Bodhisattva, an enlightened being or ascended master. She is also said to be The Lord of Karma as well as being the Divine Mother or Mother Mary. She is even spoken of as being the Tibetan Tara, who it is also thought is connected to the Hill of Tara in Ireland. The Celts would have know her as Goddess Tara, her name being the root of the word Tor meaning hill or mound of earth containing spiritual energy or in other words a connection to other worlds. Her name though is also said to mean Star.

The first reference to Goddess Tara is thought to have been in Finland 5,000 years ago in an ancient saga about a group of women known as Tar, the women of wisdom. Even as Tara she has many incarnations for example Green Tara, White Tara, Red Tara, Tarahumara in South America, and Goddess Ishtar in Ancient Egypt.

I first became aware of Quan Yin when travelling in Vietnam. Here it is difficult to pass a marble workshop without seeing the imposing statues that represent the goddess. Goodness flows from her every image and that she is loved by everyone became clear during my time in Vietnam. I later reconnected with her as Lady Tara when a friend who was training in Transference Healing brought her back to my attention for in Transference Healing, Tara is one of the ascended masters who is worked with.

Since then I have worked with Tara as one of my guides. She is not always present, far from it, but works with me when she believes I need her. I have worked with her at whilst on both Sun and Moon Islands in Lake Titicacca and from her have received great healing and profound teachings. More recently though I found her with me once again whilst I was awaiting test results from a scan. She came to me and reminded me to reconnect with her energy and spirit as both Tara and the energy of Quan Yin. This I did and it brought me real peace and calmness, taking away all the fears I had been generating and instead leaving me feeling safe and cared for.

Whichever form she takes, whichever incarnation is connected with, her energy remains the same, gentle yet strong, peaceful and calm, free from judgement or prejudice, there to bring mercy to all in need. A powerful and compassionate spirit indeed and one I am blessed to have working with me.

Web of Life Connections – Drumming

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Drumming is is one of my favourite teachers and has a firm place within my own Web of Life as a connection. It is a teacher that I really enjoy connecting and spending time with, so sitting and listening to its message today is a real pleasure for me.

‘Drum loud, drum long, drum softly, drum fast, drum slow, it doesnt matter how you drum only that you do. Drum for joy, for healing, for peace, for yourself, for others, whoever and whatever you drum for just drum. Feel its rhythm, feel it within you and as you do you will hear the message that drumming brings’.

I am lucky for I have a number of drums that work with me but even if you don’t then the arms of a chair, the edge of a table, a saucepan and a wooden spoon, anything you have to hand will do as long as you are drumming.

Shaman Pathways Web of LifeĀ 

Monday Musings – Personal Practice

imageI’m not sure if it’s my favourite practice but it is one of the most important things to do and that is to ground myself.

There are many ways to do this so I thought I’d share a few of the ones I use. There are many complicated ways to ground yourself which are wonderful when you have plenty of time or feel really ungrounded but these are a couple of quick and simple ways that are easy to do.

Grounding Exercise 1

  • Go outside and find a quiet space with some grass, where you turbed.
  • Take your shoes off and walk barefoot on the grass.
  • With every step be aware of your foot and its connection with the grass and the Earth.
  • As you walk, breath in deeply as you place each foot on the Earth.
  • Focus only on your breathing, the feel of the grass and the Earth energy as it flows into you

Grounding Exercise 2

  • Sit quietly with your feet flat on the floor, without shoes is best, and make sure your spine is straight.
  • Close your eyes and imagine, sense or visualise, roots flowing from the soles of your feet into the Earth (Don’t worry if you are not on the ground floor this will still work).
  • Send the roots flowing down, spreading out beneath your feet, anchoring firmly into the Earth.
  • Now breathe in deeply imagining the breath coming up from the Earth into the soles of your feet, up your legs and into your body.
  • Continue this for a few minutes at least and with every breath feel the connection between the soles of your feet and the Earth becoming stronger as if a magnet is pulling you.

This is also a good way of connecting with the energy of the place you are in or maybe somewhere you are visiting. It can also help to do this to ground yourself if you are visiting somewhere at altitude e.g. parts of South America.

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