We all need a daily boost to the spirit! I will be posting images and words that have inspired me forward. I hope that you find value for your own life as well. Here is today's offering.
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Your dreams show you what a genius you really are. Just think about the creativity you need to produce a "vision of the night." The scriptwriter in you thinks up scenes and provides dialogue for each character. Your inner art director creates settings in exquisite detail. Some of these images are more original and fantastic than anything you've seen in science fiction. The producer pulls it all together to deliver messages that need to be told. Try accomplishing these feats with such ease in waking life!
If your own nightly experience doesn't convince you of the genius of dreams, consider this. Throughout history, solutions to difficult problems have been revealed during sleep. One of my favorite examples is that of Elias Howe, who is credited with inventing the sewing machine. Howe was about to give up on ever making his machine work. The thread, which passed through a hole in the blunt top of the needle, kept getting hopelessly tangled. Nothing he tried could keep the thread flowing smoothly.
One night, Howe had a terrifying dream. He was being attacked by a hostile tribe who were closing in on him with spears. Just as the weapons were about to stab his flesh, Howe woke up in a fright. But then he recalled something curious. Each of the spears had a hole in their point. A revelation flashed. The hole in his needle should be moved to the sharp tip! The new design work magnificently, and Howe was always in awe at how a dream showed him the way.
Have you ever awakened from sleep with a solution or revelation that eluded you earlier? A deep part of the psyche works on problems when we go into repose. We can make active use of these gifts by deliberately asking for help from the dream-self.
I say something like, "I don't what to do about [state the situation.] Please work on this issue while I sleep. Give me direction when I awake. Show me the way." If I don't receive answers immediately in the morning, I hold trust that the process is underway. I expect answers to drift in before long. And rarely am I disappointed.
The genius that conjures up our dreams has many gifts to offer. It can inspire creativity in our work, give encouragement when we need it most, send healing energies to the body and emotions, and open up whole new worlds of experiencing. This is why the Roman writer, Synesius of Cyrene, reverently called dreams, "Our oracles,...our quiet and unerring counselors."
Sunday, February 7, 2016
Whenever I am stuck at a boring event where the conversation is duller than dead, I have a secret remedy. I look around the room for someone who is sitting or standing alone. (Sitting is better.) I wander over to that person, and after a few warm-up sentences, I say, "Do you think that dreams mean anything? The reason I'm asking is that I had the most amazing dream recently."
Nearly always, I see those eyes spark awake. Nearly always, my acquaintance cannot help but ask, "What did you dream?" Then we enter a spellbound dialogue. The rest of the room fades away.
Dreams fascinate us at the deepest level. How can it be that one part of us lies unconscious in bed while another part ventures into incredible new worlds? How can we be in two places at once? I remember pondering this mystery as a child. In my own young way, I began to sense that our inner being was greater than we knew, that it existed in many dimensions.
I believe this is the real reason our eyes light up when we talk about a dream. The content itself may not hold high drama. But translating our experience into words helps us reenter the territory of enchantment. We feel a bit of awe, having touched infinity and returned to tell about it.
Throughout the ages, people have revered dreams. "Visions of the night" were believed to predict the future, deliver warning, reveal solutions, and open portals to other worlds. In my next posts, I will talk about some of these rich traditions.
In the meantime, you might want to recall one your more interesting dreams. Not only will you rediscover its original magic, but who knows, you may put it to good use at that next yawning event!
Images by Ellerslie, licensed for use.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
The Fair Fortune Teller, by Augustus Jules Bouvier (1827-1881)
Perhaps you love consulting oracle cards as much I do. My own romance with the art began in adolescence, when I learned to “read fortunes” with a playing deck. The only other divination cards available to me then were the Tarot, and I immersed myself in the mysterious worlds they opened. But I longed for more variety. Wouldn’t it be great, I thought, to have new images, symbols, and interpretations to work with?
My wish came true on a grander scale than I could have dreamed. Today, our divination treasure chest overflows. I counted more than 275 types of oracle card decks listed on Amazon. Their variety is dazzling. They draw inspiration from the skies above and the earth below, from angels and bones, orchids and rock n’ roll, Magdalene and Lord of the Rings. A friend recently introduced me to The Ghetto Tarot, a breathtaking work using images from the streets of Haiti.
But who could have imagined the newest evolution of oracle instruments? Online and app oracles bring us multimedia richness never available before. They allow us to interact with the material in fresh, exciting ways. In designing Ask The Guides, for instance, we delighted in creating cards (medallions) that rush toward you from visually stunning realms while celestial music enchants the senses. And we loved delivering oracle readings in spoken words as well as print.
I feel tenderness for the many-splendored oracle instruments we see today. They carry my thoughts back to the ancient world, when the arts of divination flourished in a thousand forms.But even beautiful instruments make no music without a player. That’s where you and I come in. When we use divination cards in the most artful ways, something sublime happens.
How can we receive the most beneficial guidance from oracles?
First, we approach the session with respect and ask questions that really mean something to us. I think of it like this. Suppose I were granted audience with a profound counselor whose knowledge and wisdom stretched far beyond my own. How would I use my time? Would I peevishly test my host with trick questions? Would I make pointless inquiries like, “Will I win the lottery?” I don’t think so.
When you approach an oracle with sincerity, you DO have access to that profound counselor. It is your own deep psyche, or soul, or divine nature. Whatever name you give this source, it holds a “matrix of knowing” vaster than the mind can encompass. We can access this wisdom through many channels. But oracular practice has always been an especially powerful tool. No other art I know makes such skillful use of symbols, images, and metaphor to open gateways of revelation.So we want to ask the best kinds of inquiries to obtain the best results. I have noticed that the most effective question does two things: it identifies my specific personal concern but also gives the oracle room to speak in its own way. Here are some examples:
“My relationship with (name) seems very troubled, and I don’t know what to do. Please give me guidance that will help me now.”
“I have been offered a job with (name.) But I don’t know whether it’s right for me. Tell me what I should know to help me make the right decision.”
“I am struggling with a health issue (describe it.) My wish is to recover completely, but I lose hope sometimes. I ask for your help and blessing. “
Questions like these are specific, but they don't limit the oracle's response to "yes" or "no."
Seeking a prediction of the future has always been discouraged. Most practitioners believe that future events are not fixed and that our free-will decisions help shape things to come. But I have noticed that future probabilities are sometimes offered by the oracle when this information seems helpful.
Visconti-Sforz Tarot, mid-15th century
RECEIVINGYou asked your question. You received words and symbols from the oracle. How do you make sense of them?
Remember, your deep psyche already knows the right answer or direction. Your job is to bring these insights to the surface, like raising glistening pearls from the sea floor. The symbols you were given are meant to help this process.You may immediately connect with the answer you seek. You may realize in a flash that the job you were offered is NOT right for you. You may experience an "ah-hah" feeling or a deep, anchored certainty within. Your own soul has spoken.
But often, we need more time for insight to surface. Let yourself go a little out of focus. Gaze at the images you received or let the words turn in your mind. Free associate. Apply the symbol meanings to your question. Chances are, something of value will arise for you.
Copper engraving of a 5th century, b.c.e, image of the Delphic or
At the end of every session, it is good practice to give thanks for the experience. The attitude of gratitude pulls in amazing blessings. Even if your session didn’t quite take you where you hoped to go, remember that the great Matrix of Knowing is always streaming guidance to you. Revelation may come from anywhere at any time. But whenever you wish to consult the oracle again, be assured that it eagerly awaits your return.
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Just as you are thinking about a person from your past, you hear a song ring out from a coffee shop. The song is rarely played now, but it was very important in your relationship. This is no mere coincidence. You feel sure you have received a sign.Experiences like this are familiar to the soul. Events come together that cannot be explained logically but have great inner meaning. They spark deep connections in the mind and heart. You may feel their impact as a soft electric charge, an underground shift, or a sense of awe. (See my post, "Did You Receive a Sign?")
But how can you understand what is the sign trying to tell you?
First, give the sign your attention and respect. Don't immediately dismiss the event as a random happenchance. Offer your visitor a chance to deliver its gifts. I approach signs with this attitude:
"My psyche and the Cosmos worked together to create this sign just for me. At some level, I already know what message it holds. Now my mind can enjoy discovering the meaning more fully."
The next step is to wonder, "What is this sign asking of me?" Genuine signs invite us to some kind of action, whether external or internal. Use your imagination to explore the possibilities. Is it time to make contact with the person in question? Picture yourself writing or calling. Now notice how you respond inside. If you feel a sense of peace or a gentle elevation of spirit, consider proceeding with your plan.
But if you experience a sinking, dark, icky, or alarmed feeling, pay attention. The action you pictured is not right for you. Contemplate other options. Perhaps you could send the individual telepathic messages. What would you like to express now? Consider writing these thoughts in a pretend letter.
In taking action, always work hand in hand with your good common sense. Oracles are meant to inspire us forward and open new doorways. They never push us to do anything, especially something unwise.
Third, ask whether the sign is trying to prepare you for something ahead. If the answer is yes, you will sense it, even though you don't have full information yet. Think about what kinds of events could possibly unfold. This mental activity will help prepare your psyche for whatever may come.
For example, the person you were thinking about may be getting ready to contact you unannounced. You two may have a chance to establish closer rapport. Or the relationship may be closing down in a more final way. You may hear that a former lover has gotten married or a friend has passed away. Whatever direction the story takes, you will feel more supported because of your sign.
If these steps aren't sufficient, bring in help. Talking about your sign with a friend or advisor can release the intuitive knowing that you already carry. The psychic field that constellates when "two or more are gathered" can help you soar.
You can also seek another oracle to give you more insight. I do this all the time. I consult Ask The Guides or I Ching or oracle cards, saying, "Please help me understand the sign that eludes me." It's amazing how well this approach usually works. New perspectives open up that lead me to that ah-hah moment.
Your sign came to you for a reason. It has a beneficial message to deliver. By working with your own inner guidance, you can receive those gifts designed by the Cosmos just for you.
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
You open a book at random. Your eyes fall upon words that seem to be written just for you, that guide you forward.
Or, a magnificent hawk appears from nowhere and circles close above your head. At that very moment, you had been wondering, "Should I take a chance and launch my plan?"
It seems that you received a sign. But how can you tell?
I have been studying this question for many decades, observing my own experiences and talking to hundreds of people about theirs. I've read countless ancient and modern writings on the subject. I believe I have identified some tests we can use to judge whether we have received a genuine sign.
Ask yourself these questions:
1. Was I dwelling on an unresolved issue or problem when the sign appeared? Signs come to us when other sources of guidance have failed. Perhaps your mind has weighed all the options a dozen times, but you still can't settle on a decision. Other people may have given you their best counsel, but you still feel stuck.
2. Did the sign arrive suddenly, taking me by surprise? Signs have a way of popping into existence out of "nowhere." That hawk was not there a second ago. Why did your hand reach for that book all on its own and open the pages just so?
3. Did I feel a small jolt inside when the sign connected with me? Important signs always carry a special psychic charge. I have observed this phenomenon over and over. It's like a stranger walks up behind you and speaks your name. You are startled, you pay attention, you have been addressed. Indeed, the word "oracle" comes from a Latin root meaning, "to speak." Oracles (signs are oracles) always address us in a deeply felt way.
4. Did the sign point me in a certain direction or help me resolve an issue? A true sign penetrates your psyche at a deep level. It makes connections for you that your conscious mind could not make. All of a sudden, you KNOW what to do. You may not be able to explain exactly why. But you know.
5. Did I feel a sense of peace afterwards? A universal quality of oracles is their power to bring us peace. We feel different inside. We feel aligned with something larger than the personal self, something awesome or sacred.
And why not? It seems as though the Matrix of Life has noticed our plight and created a sign brilliantly configured just for us. Because signs are so personal, other people may not quite get it when we try to tell our story. But we will carry the secret knowing within us always.
I hope these thoughts have been useful for you. I will have more to say about signs in our coming discussions. In the meantime, you might want to expand your ability to receive oracles by saying these words of affirmation:
I affirm that the Matrix of Life is always speaking to me. With joyful expectation, I watch for signs to carry me forward in the most beneficial way. I work hand in hand with my own inner wisdom to made good judgments in all that I do.
Friday, December 18, 2015
Hello and welcome! I am Dr. Dianne Skafte, creator of ASK THE GUIDES, our new iPhone app. I’d like to share with you a bit of my story. It will help you understand my purpose and aims for bringing this project to life.
Let’s roll back the clock to my 15th year, to a cabin shrouded by Spanish moss in rural Florida. An old woman whom I knew casually asked me if I’d like to have my cards read. I wasn't sure exactly what that meant, but there was something about Mrs. Cavallero that I trusted. So I said, “Sure."
Her little house was a museum of the arcane. Every inch of space was filled with curios, bronze statues, antique books, and paintings of other-worldly landscapes. Mrs. Cavallero raised the lid of a small wooden box and took out a deck of cards. She gazed at me serenely while shuffling. "Make a wish," she instructed, placing the deck into my hands.
That's when it happened. It was like all my senses opened at once and grew ten times in power. I could smell the leather books behind me and the musty Persian carpet under my feet. I could hear every cicada chirping in the jungle outside. I felt larger than myself, felt like I was part of something vast and ancient and eternal.
I hardly heard the "reading" she gave me. I only knew that I wanted to be part of the world I had just touched. It was the beginning of my life-long enchantment with oracles, inner guidance, and hidden realms of the soul.
My life path led me to psychology--naturally enough, for the word means "study of the psyche." Eventually I became a psychotherapist, professor, and author in the field of depth psychology.
ASK THE GUIDES is a joyful continuation of my work. My team and I wish to offer you a fun, engaging way to receive spiritual guidance and motivation. We have endeavored to make your experience as rich as possible by weaving together beautiful music, words, graphics, and interactive features.
Thanks for listening to my story. I would welcome hearing yours also, for every story is a journey of the soul.
And I look forward to sharing with you more adventures from the world of oracles and inspiration.
Dianne Skafte received her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado. She is a past academic dean and department chair of Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA. Her book, Listening to the Oracle, explores oracular consciousness in many times and cultures.