Suit of Stones – Five

Like all five cards, the five of Stones is challenging. Stability is, inevitably, temporary. We cannot maintain an indefinite period of stasis but must eventually move. If we stubbornly refuse to change and attempt to hold onto what we think of as “ours” then we will be pushed, prodded, and poked into a new stance. This can be very painful. Stress creates growth and the five of Stones is the necessity that mothers invention. And so, traditionally, this card represents financial loss or decline in health. Bob Dylan sings:

“Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?
People’d call, say, “Beware doll, you’re bound to fall”
You thought they were all kiddin’ you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin’ out
Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next meal.1

And so the five of Stones offers a cautionary tale. No matter how secure we may feel sitting safe within the walls of the four of Stones, even the mightiest can fall. But for grace any one of us may be the beggar on the street. And so we must see ourselves in the face of the homeless, impoverished, and sick. The five of Stones is whatever loss is needful to propel us back into our Soul’s dance towards Wisdom.
Great losses often lead to greater gains. While it is impossible (and inappropriate) to quantify the exact effects of a death, financial setback, illness, or other loss, it is often the case that they mark turning points in our lives. It is when we are up against the wall or at rock-bottom that we learn the substance of which we’re made. We test our strength and resilience against the stresses of life. And, with Grace, overcome.
Many healers come to their paths through illness. By learning to heal themselves they realize a calling to a higher service of assisting others. Others use physical illness to re-set their priorities about what’s really important and to heal relationships that may have been broken. Job losses may lead to innovation and new independence. Divorces may take us into brighter, healthier emotional lives. While these are never “easy” transitions, they can be made into good ones.
Fives always represent change and movement. They also represent tests. And this five reminds us that: “this too shall pass.” It also reminds us to give gratitude even in the darkest nights. It is these times that temper our metal, refining and fortifying our essential selves.

      1. Look at the greatest losses of your life thus far. It may be difficult, but find the “silver lining” in them. How did they propel you toward your deeper purpose?

      2. During times of financial insecurity, like we’ve experienced collectively the last few years, it is easy to get caught in security fears. Look at the macro-economics of our world and consider how the losses could be turned to a more healthy, balanced distribution of wealth. Consider how you can contribute to such change. Consider the positive aspects of economic decline.

      3. How can illness be considered growth? What have your or others’ illnesses taught you about the life and death?

      4. Some thinkers argue that we are all operating out of a basic fear of death. Do you find this to be true for yourself? What is your deepest fear? This is not a surface question and the answer may be changeable. It is hard to know what we fear until we face it. Some people are motivated by fear of death. Others out of fear of poverty. Still others out of a fear of insanity. Consider your deepest fears and how they may influence your daily life. As you do your motivation will change from operating out of fear to operating out of positive states such as service, love, and joy.

When the five of Stones enters your spread, don’t panic! Sacrifice the fears of loss you may still hold and look for some way to move that energy. Understand good things can come from loss and consider the places in your life that are ill and may need to be sacrificed. Offer up those fears, anxieties, and illnesses and make room for positive growth.

1Dylan, Bob. Like a Rolling Stone.

© 2013 Heather D. Eggleston


Suit of Stones – Four

Once you’ve created a life of purpose in which the Soul is encouraged to sing its own Song you may reach a state of comfortable stability. The dreaming, hard-work, and integrity paid off and you have achieved a sense of security. Congratulations! It is time to take a vacation, invest in someone else’s future, explore expansion and growth, and just relax a little bit. Unfortunately, the danger of such hard-earned stability is that it can easily be turned by the spirit of greed. You’ve worked hard, accomplished something, and now need a good rest. And so the inclination may be to hold on to what you’ve earned and keep your resources close. This can, of course, be perfectly appropriate. The Four of Stones teaches us to secure our boundaries, make rules, and keep our foundations stable. It is of vital importance to learn how to make appropriate boundaries in life so that we are not blown over by the next big wind. Our boundary-making becomes tainted, though, when we lock ourselves inside our boundaries, refusing to share that which we’ve earned. Whenever we enter a space of stability we must first give thanks for what we have and then look around to make sure that we’re not holding on inappropriately to anything in our lives. This includes resources, relationships, ideas, and anything else we may start to think of as “our own.” When we create, we are participating in Holy alchemy, which is dynamic. Whenever we hoard we create an energetic stasis, which will have to be adjusted for somewhere else in our lives.
Resources – financial, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual – are meant to be free-flowing and dynamic. While it is absolutely appropriate to save for a rainy day, enjoy a sense of accomplishment, and secure our foundations, these practical considerations may be tainted by underlying anxiety and fear of losing what we’ve worked for. When these factors are our motivating forces then all the stability in the world won’t make us feel safe. No matter how many houses we may own or investment bankers are managing our assets, we still struggle with security. Greed is the crystalized fear of starvation and it is the demon of our age. When we hold back and hoard out of fear we participate in this demonic influence.

  1. What makes many of those who have the most security seem the most fearful to lose it?

  2. What makes you feel safe? Have you ever felt absolutely secure? What do you imagine could make you feel secure? Is your sense of stability related to financial independence? Or is it related to something more spiritual or abstract? If it is financial, then is it a certain amount of money in the bank account? Is there ever “enough” to make you feel secure?

  3. When you have been in a space of feeling lack in your life, what is your natural instinct? Is it to hold back and conserve? Or is it to expand outward? Light follows thought. Explore the bodily sensory emotion of both of these options. How does it feel to hold back in your body? How does it feel to expand in your body? Which state do you think is more natural to generating more wisdom, wealth, and joy?

  4. Now step beyond financial considerations and think on other resources. Where may you hoard in your life? Knowledge? Intimacy? Kindness? Time? Look at your relationships and with whom and when you are most generous. The path of Wisdom requires us to look unflinchingly at all aspects of our life. Understand it is important to secure your boundaries and maintain your spaces but it is also important to know when that appropriate maintenance turns to fear.

If the four of Stone appears in your spread, congratulations! You have achieved a sense of stability. Now it’s time to make sure your boundaries are secure so that you may enjoy your stability. Now beware of holding back out of fear of losing what you’ve worked for. Check to make sure you aren’t hiding behind thick castle walls, counting your gold coins while those around you starve. Remember we must give to get and spend to earn. Dynamic flow is required for abundance in all things.

© 2013 Heather D. Eggleston

The Suit of Stones – Three

Once we decide to step onto a path, any path, we begin the process of Creation. We are building a life for ourselves and so gather the resources and support system needed to map our future. The creative process is truly a magical experience. A life of purposeful success is alchemical. It requires a careful blend of passion, know-how, innocent trust, and tenacity. And the three of Stone encourages us to consider what makes our heart sing and excites our Soul’s voice, make a plan to accomplish those things, and bring the dream into manifestation.
When you were in second grade, what did you want to be when you grew up? How about eighth grade? College? Is the old passion of the dreams of your younger self in your life now? Joseph Campbell, scholar, mythologist, and sage of the twentieth century wrote: “Follow your bliss and the Universe will open doors where there were only walls.1” When we live in alignment with our passions we are capable of accomplishing far more than we ever imagined. The trick, though, is truly follow your bliss. Not the career path that was chosen for you, the practical one, or the “safe bet.” Rather it is stepping into the wild and doing what only you can do. Each one of us is capable of tremendous creativity but it must be infused with our essence. Creation without passion is not craftsmanship but manufacturing.

  1. Close your eyes and imagine the life you wish to create. Do not make it about things, although it is perfectly appropriate to have things, but rather about your purpose within that life. Step back from what is practical and into what is possible. Don’t try to make a map on how to get there just yet but rather just experience the flavor of purpose. It is less about what you do than about who you are and how you affect the world around you. Taste the possibilities. Dream. Were you able to easily access a blissed and purposeful life? Or is it a stretch? Keep playing until it is easy to experience yourself in a purposeful state.

  2. Now step back from the dream and place yourself into your position now. How aligned is your life now with the dream of the life of bliss? Bring the state of bliss into your life now and begin the steady process of integrating the feeling of bliss into your day-to-day life. This will allow you to follow the emotional resonance “home” as you create your future.

  3. If you are dissatisfied with your present life it’s time to make some nuts and bolts changes. This doesn’t (necessarily) mean quitting your job and joining a rock band but it may mean dusting off your guitar, inviting over friends, and enjoying music. Or it may mean looking at a certificate program in permaculture, or finally taking a creative writing class at the community college.

  4. Look at the people in your life and consider their influence on your motivation. Do they encourage your dreams by seeing the good in you or do they tear you down to keep you small? Or perhaps it is somewhere in the middle. Really take an inventory of how your relationships affect you. This is not to blame anyone else but rather to see how you’ve structured your life to be Loving and expansive or, perhaps, small and restrictive.

When the three of Stones is in your spread it is time to create. Make plans, collaborate, explore possibilities, and begin to make a map of not only where you are going but where you have been. Are you engaged with passionate possibilities or are you making do with what’s “practical.” Begin to redefine the terms of your life so they match your dreams.

1Campbell, Joseph. The Power of Myth.

© 2013 Heather D. Eggleston

The Suit of Stones – Two

The two of Stone is the beginning of choice. Once we have looked backwards from where we’ve come and begun to interpret how our ancestral inheritance influences our way of being in the world, we must choose whether we wish to play out those ancestral patterns in our own lives. The choice on the path of Wisdom is: “will I honor my ancestors by being my own player or will I act in the role “written” for me by my familial patterns?” At this point we must look carefully at our individual ideas about filial piety and respect in conjunction with what it means to be one’s own person.

Most religious traditions have an inherent rule of elder respect. The Judeo-Christian Ten Commandments instruct us to: “Honor thy Father and thy Mother.1” Confucianism, which still strongly influences the relational dynamics in China and Chinese influenced cultures, places emphasis on filial piety and appropriate respect within the societal power structures. The principle of hsaio states that because of the great sacrifices parents make for their children the child is responsible for bringing honor to the family, sharing their physical and spiritual resources with their parents, and furthering their parents’ values even after their death.2 In ancient Rome the paterfamilias had absolute power over his family, including slaves. It was only with his blessing that a baby lived or died, and he was the only property owner until his death. Even grown sons were dependent upon his benevolence for their households. With such familial power structures in our not so ancient past, it is unsurprising that the path of Wisdom starts with choosing to be one’s own person.

  1. In your family of origin, what does it mean to “respect my elders?” Is there an inherent implication that my choices must be approved by my parents (and grandparents and so on)? What are the consequences for disobeying or stepping outside of the family’s approval? Have you ever stepped outside of familial approval?

  2. Was a particular role written for you in your family? Perhaps the eldest child as surrogate parent? Or the black-sheep? Or everyone’s baby? How has that role affected you into your adult life? Do you find yourself still playing it and most importantly does it actually fit you as a person? Do you wish to move out of the constraints of such roles in your life?

  3. Were you expected to step into a certain career path, spiritual faith, or political affiliation? Have you found yourself deviating from those expectations? What has been the effect of relationships because of such deviation?

  4. Is it possible in your life to “respect your elders” and still be autonomous and independent? How can you reconcile your unique voice and the expectations of the Ancestors?

When the two of Stone enters your spread consider the choices you’ve made, the roles you may still play, and how you can make those roles work for you rather than merely fulfilling expectations of others. Look at what choices are placed in front of you now and weigh them carefully against your own heart, desires, and dreams. When it comes time to act, act in accordance with your heart and your Soul’s purpose.

1Exodus 20:12

© 2013 Heather D. Eggleston

The Suit of Stone – Ace of Stone

Stone and the wisdom in the bones. Ancient knowledge. True wealth. Connection to the tribe. This suit is an offering to the old ones and the skeletal structure of the earth. We connect to the realm of Stone through our bones. It is shared memory, tribal continuity, the nearness of our ancestors in daily life, and the divination of Earth. Stone is fiercely practical and relates strongly to survival but also the continuation of life after death. The original wealth was the ore and gems brought up from the deep places of the earth such as caves and mines. These were mined from the domain of the dead, which is ruled by Pluto, the Greek god of wealth and death and by Hel, the Norse goddess, mistress of death and keeper of crystal caves. These great beings remind us that all wealth is temporarily loaned to the living and returns to the dead with the mortal’s passing. The wealth of gems and jewels from the deep places of Earth is related to the true wealth that is ancestral memory, continuity, and wisdom. And so the art of geomancy, divination through communication with stone and bone, connects the realm of Stone and Bone to the human consciousness. Stone shows us the path of Wisdom.
The Ace of Stones holds the promise of true wealth through worldly wisdom. When you draw this card your ancestors are calling you to explore the power in your bones. You are beginning a journey, which will culminate in knowing yourself more deeply than you may have imagined possible. The Ace of Stones is the promise of worldly success. It is the path of going through the gateway into the realm of Stone to learn the meaning of wealth, what it means to succeed, and how to connect with the Old Ones and ancestors.

  1. Who are your ancestors? Where do you come from? Delve into your history of place and person. Look at the traditional ways of your ancestry and how those ways have changed in contemporary times. Are there remnants of your ancestral lineage in family traditions, foods, or ways of being? Or have they been lost in assimilation?

  2. What does success mean in your family? Is it financial? Or does it have a more subtle intrinsic value? Do you feel successful?

  3. How do you understand wealth? What role does it play in your life? Where are you abundant and where do you feel lack?

  4. Consider how wealth, abundance, and wisdom have played roles in your parents’ lives. Now your grandparents’ lives. Are you playing out their issues with wealth and poverty in your own? Do you wish to re-weave these threads and heal them in yourself?

As we move through the suit of Stone you will explore the ancestral voices and how they continue to live through you.

© 2013 Heather D. Eggleston

Stone & Bone (Part 10) – The Family Tree

Meditation: The Family Tree

Allow yourself to fall into a relaxed state. Feel where your body touches the floor and imagine you are in a great forest. You are seated in a virgin forest in which the canopy of trees covers your head and your heartbeat blends in with the sound of birds and the scurrying of animals. Every breath is fresh and the air tastes like purity. You are in a place that has never heard the sound of car horns. It has never tasted the flavor of exhaust or felt concrete poured over its tannin-scented floor. It is ancient, complete, and absolute in of itself and with each breath you take you become more and more a part of it. This primordial forest is the home of the Mother tree. The tree from which all our lineages are born. The Mother tree whose heart-mind nourishes and feeds all other trees in this cycle, in this existence. Know that She, the Mother tree, is near, with a voice that speaks through every leaf and nourishes through every root.

Now imagine a tree that is near you. A tree that speaks to you in a language your Soul instinctively knows. This tree speaks to you by calling your own Soul’s name and says: “I know you. I love you. I am you.” Then lean into this tree. Feel yourself drawn closer, embraced in the bark of this generous, loving Creation that breathes out the most delicious flavor of oxygen you have ever imagined for you to inhale. Feel the oldness of its bark and the softness of its leaves. Feel the voice of this tree wrap you up in its soothing songs. This is your family tree. This is the tree that nourishes your roots, your waters, since its original birth from the Mother tree herself. Now feel yourself as a part of this tree. Perhaps you are a piece of bark. Perhaps you are a leaf that turns with the winds. Perhaps you are a branch holding up smaller limbs. Perhaps you are all of these things. One with the Great Tree that is your family. Perhaps you will see other family members there. Your parents, siblings, children. Perhaps you will see family members from other places, other lifetimes. Perhaps you will feel your own essence in other forms. Know that you are One with the Great Tree that is humanity. Now feel yourself inhaling the essence of the Tree and with each exhalation make an offering to your Family Tree. Make an offering of Love, of compassion, of allowingness for each and every part of this tree. Know that you ARE each and every part of this tree. And as you exhale Love, compassion, and allowingness, feel the Tree grow stronger. Feel the roots deepen and brighten with Light. Feel the song of the Tree grow more resonant, more Soul-full, more joyous. And with each inhalation accept the blessings of the Tree itself. Accept the gratitude of your Family Tree as your love, your compassion, and your blessings, make its leaves more vibrant, its soil more fertile, and its limbs stronger.  

© 2013 Heather D. Eggleston

Stone & Bone (Part 9) – Ancestral Healing

Ancestral Healing Protocol

A basic exercise for ancestral healing follows. It begins by connecting to the bones of the Earth. Feel this deeply and completely, holding a Stone in your hand. Then connect to your own bones. Feel them within you, alive and bright. Treat your family as if they were distant ancestors and treat yourself as if she were a distant ancestor. It is important you let yourself feel removed from those who are too close. You may feel deeply and profoundly wish to make changes within your family but this is hard when emotions are too close. We must learn to sift between our own voices and the ancestral voices within. So we must connect to our true ancestors and disconnect from them at the same time.

  1. Connect to the bones of the Earth by feeling the Stone.
  2. Connect to your own bones to feel the resonance.
  3. Introduce yourself to your ancestors. Remember as you learn to hear the voices of your ancestors, you also learn your own voice. This is most important.
  4. Allow the ancestors the chance to speak through journaling an “imagined” conversation, divination such as tarot or runes, or simple impressions.
  5. Make an altar to your ancestors. Put what you feel appropriate on the altar and epoch your history. Photos of yourself and your family, especially with anyone with whom you need to feel healing, should be used. Include slips of papers, notes, and honest offerings.
  6. Call on your ancestors to help heal your family line. Tell them you will make yourself an object of healing (and as such, a healer) as an offering. Being such a vessel is powerful and sometimes intense. It implies deep acceptance of role as healer and healed. Remember the only healing is self-healing so we cannot be responsible for the healing of anyone else, even family. Make this offering, burn a light blue candle as a dedication, and lift the veil between your ancient ones and present self.
  7. Begin a forgiveness of self exercise. Many times a day say: “I forgive myself and my ancestors for all things done and undone.” This is something small but very powerful. It is important you imprint this on your very Soul. If you make this about your ancestors in the distant past who are now your allies, you will inevitably assist the healing of closer family (parents and siblings) as well. You will heal from both ends of the lineage.
  8. Choose a stone with the desire to do ancestral healing. This stone becomes ally and partner. Keep the stone on the altar when not communing with it directly. Sleep with it when you can. Hold it close and know you are loved.

© 2013 Heather D. Eggleston