I put my favorite deck (the Shadowscapes) aside some time ago, with no intention of picking it up again. My readings with it had become frustrating and stressful, to the point where I would have a visceral reaction of displeasure to most of the images. As much as I loved the artwork, I didn’t think I should use it any longer.
After that, I switched deck styles completely, using various “historical” decks, like the LoScarabeo reproduction of the Visconti-Sforza. (It’s very shiny). Learning to read the simple pips is a fun and ongoing adventure. Recently though, I felt drawn back to my Shadowscapes. It was strong enough that I actually did take the deck out despite my misgivings, and pull a few cards. I felt the old connection with it come sparkling back.
Later, I messaged a friend wondering why I felt so strongly drawn to this old deck again. She simply replied that it probably had something to teach me. I wondered what on earth that could be, so I took the cards out one more time and shuffled them. Then I pulled one; It was the Heirophant.
Not very subtle.
So. You’re godbothered. What do you do?
- Are you godbothered? I mean, really. Use your discernment and common sense. Is it a god who’s come to call, or is something else going on? These are the main possibilities to consider:
- It is a god. More on this below.
- It’s not a god, but it is some sort of entity that is not-you
- Gods are not the only thing out there, and one can have very intense encounters with entities as seemingly humble as a tree spirit. (I have)
- It’s not not-you
- This one is very tricky. Only you know the inside of your head well enough to make this call. Is that numinous feeling a god’s presence, or is it the side effect of a new medication? (I’ve been there). Keep in mind the Delphic maxim and know thyself.
- So, it is a god. What next?
- Did you ask for this?
- No, I mean literally. Did you ask for a god in your life? If you didn’t and one drops on you like a ton of bricks, you’ve already had your boundaries disrespected.
- Do you want this?
- If you didn’t ask for a divine presence in your life and suddenly find yourself with one, that is an even bigger red flag that the entity in question (god or not) has boundary issues, and possibly other issues as well.
- Are you enjoying this?
- This last question is actually pretty important. It’s not wrong or impious to end a relationship with a deity if it’s making you miserable.
Saraswati is associated in Hindu lore with the a bird called a hamsa, hence the name of this blog. The identity of the hamsa is somewhat debated. Is it a goose or a swan? Personally I don’t really care. Geese and swans, as well as the other bird Saraswati is associated with – the peacock – are all quite lovely creatures.
Geese get a bad reputation as dimwitted and ill-natured, but this isn’t really correct. They are actually quite intelligent birds, and also very brave. The problem is they are often both too clever and too brave for their own good.
Swans are aesthetically more pleasing than geese, according to popular conception. In fact, I’ve seen this put forward as an argument for the hamsa being a swan and not a goose, rather than anything really solid such as linguistics or biology. Of course, swans (and peacocks too, actually) share a reputation with the geese for being mean and stupid despite their beauty.
I’ve always felt that both swans and geese are suitable to be the hamsa, and along with the peacock they are truly worthy companions for My Lady. They are graceful in flight and on water, and proud when they show their true colors. It is not simply their beauty but their boldness that makes them hers.
I realized a little while ago that I make many of my decisions out of fear. I honestly don’t think this is unusual for someone in my position and with my personal history, and it doesn’t surprise me.
What did upset me was realizing how much of my spiritual path was based on fear. I’m not afraid of hellfire and damnation, mind you. I’m afraid of being yelled at. Afraid of being bullied. Afraid of being called out. I’m afraid of being wrong.
I’ve been so afraid of being called wrong that I don’t know what I think is right.
So I’ll start with what I know is true.
I love you, Saraswati Devi.
My Lady Saraswati is a being of the most utterly refined sattvic energy, according to Hindu sources. Poems and prose describe her as beautiful, fair, luminous like the full moon. She is crystalline and shining. Saraswati is pure consciousness given form and dynamic energy. Saraswati Maa is my love and my life. I live and breathe for her. In many ways I live and breathe thanks to her.
I used to call myself Buddhist. There’s nothing wrong with that, as I am Buddhist, but I would call myself Buddhist sometimes as a way to discriminate myself from those people who merely claimed to be Buddhist and didn’t really “get it.”
Do you see the problem here? I may be a Buddhist, but that was not Ethical Conduct. Being a self-righteous ass is not Buddhist.
I didn’t believe in omens, or rather I didn’t believe I’d ever see one. My practice is so small-scale and personal, why would I need the “cosmic clue by four” as it’s called? My Lady is usually both very direct and very gentle in getting my attention, and in my head, omens were neither of these things.
Then came the move from my apartment back to my childhood home. I was relinquishing a great deal of independence (and space), and I wondered how Saraswati Maa felt about it. I was worried, frankly. Would she be ashamed of me? Angry? Should I apologize, since most of Our things had to be packed away?
The last day I went to the city to clean and pack, my mother took me to a fast-food restaurant I used to love. Wouldn’t you know it? Outside there were two geese, with their little pack of fluffy, adorable goslings.
OK. That was about as gentle and direct an omen as I could ask for. ❤