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The Singers and The Cycle of Initiation

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Amashelle  Amashelle is offline
Join Date: 07 Feb 2009
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Post The Singers and The Cycle of Initiation

I'm sorry, this turned out to be a fairly long post, but bare with me, please, as I would very much like to hear your thoughts.

I don't know if any of you have read Ralph Blum's book The Rune Cards but when I first read it, a few months ago, I was intrigued by chapter 6: The cycle of initiation. Apparently, there are 13 runes that make up a cycle of life, though it may repeat in our own lives many times over between birth and death. The cycle of initiation is a journey, a series of trials and wonders that bring us steadily closer to what he calls the divine, but which I consider Unity.

Because there are also 13 singers in the Fairy Oracle.

Blum has a narrative on pages 74 and 75 that details the journey of the cycle, and it only takes a bit of modification to make it fit with the Singers.

Here is my version of the journey:

The self is encouraged in its natural urge to grow by Solus, who operates between Unity and the Self. The self, recognizing the call to grow and change, answers and embarks on a journey. Solus prepares the self, sending the messages it will need to understand, and as the self grows and learns, it retreats to where it can take in the lessons and make them a part of it. It falls into the Chalice, opens itself to trust and miracles, and allows the flow of energies to peel away old ideas that hold it back, scour away the things it no longer needs. Freed of those things, the self is Transfigured. It releases the old and re-makes the whole. This change is an inner change, but it encompases all.

Next, the self goes through a time of healing. Out of the healing comes the possibilty of new beginings. The self enters a new level of Initiation. Old habbits can be triumphed over, and the energies they drain can now be directed to new things. This change is an inner as well as an outer change and truely does leave the self strengthened. Now the self needs Courage to begin to reveal the changes and share its NEW self with the world.

The self can begin to reach out with new-found wisdom, pursuing the path of the heart, understanding others as well as itself. Using this newfound Intuition, the self can reach out to others and find Connections, building strength, because all are stronger than one, and with empathy, the self is made ready for the arms of She of the Cruach. She takes the self deeper into Unity, to that ever-changing river. Everything is in motion. Life dances. Love sways. The self must be a part of this. Must join the dance. Only then can it move forward. The benign dance is disrupted by He of the Fiery Sword. He brings new will. Still newer ideas. With his sword, he cleaves away still more of the self's old habbits and ideas and prepares the self for the final leg of the journey before sending it on its way through to the Gateway.

The life and will given to the self by She and He give the self the strength to climb to the gate, and it may not be easy, but it is the Guardian who ensures it does not pass before it is ready. Once through, the self it greeted by the wings of Extasis, triumph of success, the joy of peace. This a period of meditation. A time to reflect on the journey and understand its purpose. Only in that moment of understanding and breakthrough does the self truely move closer to Unity. "Firm in its faith, and with a new ability to see the Light, the self is once again assisted in its boundless urge to grow" (Blum, 75).

Blum has a simple excersize for locating yourself in the cycle: just separate the cards (in this case, the 13 singers) and shuffle them, asking the cards to tell you where you are. Choose a card and consider how it applies to your life at the moment. Then look at the cards that (numerically) pecede and follow your chosen card to get an idea of what you have just gone through and what you can expect in the future.

There is also an excersize called the 'Wheel of Initiation' which is originally based on a Medicine Wheel and was going to be the main point of this post, but I think I might have rambled on enough for now, so I'll let anyone who's interested digest that before posting the rest of it... assuming anyone actualy read this whole post. Sorry about the length.
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oak_woman  oak_woman is offline
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This is really interesting - thanks for posting and PLEASE don't apologise for the length!

I will look at the Singers within the cycle you describe and see if any thoughts/insights emerge.

And I'd love to hear about the Wheel of Initiation whenever you feel ready
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Amashelle  Amashelle is offline
Join Date: 07 Feb 2009
Location: Alberta, Canada
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The Wheel of Initiation

Okay, this might proove to be a bit difficult to describe now that I think of it, but I will do my best.

Blum's Wheel of Inititation is based on a Lakota Sioux medicine wheel and the research of anthropologist Joan Halifax. Movement around the wheel goes South (the place of trust and innocence), North (the place of thought and philosophy), West (the place of introspection), and East (the place of vision), but I believe that these associations are mutable: they can be rearranged to suit the individual's traditions.

To begin, create a circle and mark north on it. You can draw it on a peice of paper, or, if you are a ceremonialy inclined occultist (for lack of a better word), you can cast the circle of your faith.

Remove the Singer cards from the deck and place Solus, face up, at the center of the circle. He is the link between the self and Unity. (In the runic version, the rune used is Ansuz, or Signals). Shuffle the other cards. Since there are so few of them, it might be easier to turn them face down and move them around until they are good and mixed up.

Take three cards and lay them face down in the south. Arrange them so that, when you are facing south, they are laid out before you like a simple three card spread. These cards represent your child self: your essencial nature. Take the rest of the Singers and lay them out the same way in the north, west, and east. The three cards in the north represent your adult self. The three in the west represent Initiation, or what challenges you face, and the three in the east represent vision, or your life's purpose/direction.

Each group of three cards is read from left to right while facing the direction they reside in (so, when reading the eastern cards, you are facing east, etc: you should physically move around the wheel as you progress from one direction to the next, and should turn Solus so he is always upright when you look at him).

The card on the left is the "qualities with which you were born"
The card in the middle is "how you manifest those qualities in the world"
The card on the right reveals "how you express your Gift"

Begin in the south.

Flip over the card on the left. It is up to you if you wish to icorporate reversed meanings. If not, arrange the card to it is upright.

Question: "What is the gift my child was born with?"
Answer (example): Connection
Meaning: The gift is the the impulse to connect with other people and bring them together. You were born with an open heart. (Clearly you can take the meaning deeper than that, but this is just an example to get my point across. Meditate on the card and its meaning to you.)

When ready, move on to the middle card.

Question: "How does this Gift teach my child?"
Answer: The Chalice
Meaning: This gift teaches you to trust in miracles. To find balance and joy in all things. To be creative. To love and find joy in all things.

The Right card:

Question: "How are the wounds of your child to be healed through this gift?"
Answer: Courage
Meaning: By finding strength and courage to remain open and balanced, you are able to face the challenges of youth.

And now you can move on to the north.

Question "What is the gift given by others that helps me to realize my full power?"
Answer: The Guardian of the Gate
Meaning: Through your relationships, you are compelled to grow and become ready to pass through to new realms: the way a parent might prepare you for university, pushing you to succede at your own goals.

Question: "What am I to learn from this Gift?"
Answer: Unity
Meaning: You are to learn that all things are one, and One is in all things. By striving to grow, you will grow to learn the deeper connections between yourself and others.

Question: "How am I to express this gift in my life?"
Answer: Initiation
Meaning: By proving yourself. By passing the tests of others, you will grow and help them grow, too.

In the West:
Question: "How do I enter into the realm of the unknowable/the mystery?"
Answer: She of the Cruach
Meaning: By nurture and love. Through service to others, and to life in general. By manifesting Desire and giving shape to Will. By allowing Her arms to encircle you, you will find your path to Unity.

Question: "How do I receive the girft of the Unknowable? That with cannot be named or described in its essence?"
Answer: Extasis
Meaning: By allowing Joy into your life. By opening your heart and trusting completely in the fact that all are one and taking joy in that.

Question: "What is the gift that the Unknowable awakens in me?"
Answer: Intuition
Meaning: It awakens in you the ability to tap into that flow of subconsious knowledge that surrounds us all. Your own oracular powers.

In the East:
Question: "What s the gift from the past that is the source of my vision?"
Answer: Transfuguration
Meaning: Your vision is born of change. Your vision comes from the ability to look back on how things were with new eyes.

Question: "How does my vision heal me?"
Answer: Healing (I really am choosing these at random, you know)
Meaning: It heals through healing. In looking back and understanding, you are able to heal yourself by healing others around you. Their body, minds, and spirits.

Question: "How does my vision heal others and the world?"
Answer: He of the Fiery Sword
Meaning: Through action, justice and protection. Your vision reveals much about the past and you are able to apply this to making life better and avoiding damaging mistakes from repeating themselves. You are able to bring justice and protection to the world.

Now, take the rest of the fairies and shuffle them. The spread is almost done

The Questions of the Four Allies, or Guardians, are meant to guide you and offer the means to open the gate at each stage of Initiation. Take four cards from the deck and lay them out, face down, above the middle card of each trio.

The ally of the south:
Question: "How can I foster steadfastness and unity of mind and heart in myself?"
Answer: The Laume
Meaning: You must practice charity: both the giving and recieving of it, and through that you will learn control of your emotions, and will find peace within yourself.

The ally of the north:
Question: "What is my motivation, my true intent?"
Answer: Nelys the Alchemyst
Meaning: To bring about change that will benefit those around you.

The ally of the west:
Question: " What must I give away in order to heal myself?"
Answer: A Collectin of Pixies
Meaning: You must surrender to the lightheartedness of the dance and give up on being so serious all the time. Some things HAVE to be done, and laughter is one of them.

The ally of the east:
Question: "How can I live a life of compassion?"
Answer: The Faun
Meaning: By being in tune with the meaning of nature, you can show compassion towards all things.

And that's it.

Blum notes that this spread can be done more than once but that it is best done when one has heard the call of initiation (often, an event or change of heart/mind that makes you want to change your life or something along those lines) and you are quite sure that you are about to begin or are in the middle or a cycle, as that is when the spread will have the most meaning to you.

It is a complicated spread, I know, but I wanted to share it with you all anyway.

Ack. I tried to be succinct, but I also wanted to give examples so you would know what I meant. I hope at least SOME of you read this whole long ramble...
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oak_woman's Avatar
oak_woman  oak_woman is offline
Join Date: 06 Dec 2007
Location: Norfolk, UK
Posts: 1,427

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Well, I've read it - and I'm inspired. Thank you

oaks xx
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