by Seer Matron Elisa
Greetings as we look ahead to 2022, Sisters!
Although the Avalonian new year, having begun at Calan Gaeaf, is well underway, it is impossible not to acknowledge that January is, for most of the world, the month that heralds fresh starts and the turning of the page on the past and looking forward to the calendar year ahead.
We are now in the third moon in the Avalonian Cycle of Revealing, the Moon of Transformation. I personally love that this moon typically falls in January since January already lends itself to being a time for new beginnings. This moon, in this month, also gives us the opportunity to revisit those goals we so confidently called forth just two short months ago and, if necessary, recommit or make alterations to them. To me, above all else, this moon, true to its name, transformation, harbingers change. As we learn from working the cycle, change does not come about simply through desire or intention. Of course, it all starts with an idea or a vision of what we desire. Still, it requires action and purposeful alteration to the habits and ways of thinking that bind us to shadow-living.
As I fanned the Avalonian Oracle cards out before me, I wondered what message the Lady might send us this moon to help us decide the actions we should consider during this time of change. I thought about the energy inherent in the Moon of Transformation and considered some of the keywords and phrases associated with this moon offered in Jhenah’s books, The Mythic Moons of Avalon, and the Avalonian Oracle. I found the terms wisdom-earned, meeting challenges, applied wisdom; and instruction to remain flexible and flow through challenging situations. As importantly, recognizing that the ability to shift can bring wisdom. The ability to shift.
I sat, closed my eyes, and drew from the deck of cards that were spread out before me:
Calling the Barge.
I mused over the card and thought of all the potential it has always held for me. It felt precipitous that I would draw the Calling the Barge card in the first month of the New Year. As a Tarot reader, I tend to make associations between different cards from different decks. This card, Calling the Barge, resonates with me as both Fool energy: full of faith and ready to embark on a new journey into the unknown; and Ace energy: energy that is raw, unformed, and as yet, undirected, but full of potential. I saw a lot of ways the divinatory meaning of Calling the Barge could guide us in our work, particularly at this time.
The character on this card is each of us, I believe. As she faces toward the body of water, the barge just visible but still in the distance, we find ourselves at the beginning of our journey. Again. The first directive of this card is found in its title, in the word calling. Whether internal or external, we must take action, and that action begins with a call. It is not enough to imagine the change we want to manifest in our lives. For me, calling is a physical act. I believe the power of the spoken word has resonance and vibration that the universe is attuned to. Calling our intention into being is not unique to the Avalonian tradition. Still, it is central to it as part of our Sacred Isle mythos.
When calling the barge over the years, I have had experiences of feeling both powerful and powerless. There have been times when I truly did not believe that the barge would come because I doubted the work I was doing and felt undeserving. Then there were times when I felt like the power-wielding Goddess herself as I set my course to wholeness! Those are good days.
Calling the Barge is not a one-and-done proposition. It is an ongoing discipline that we must recommit to over and over again. For each of us, this surely means something different. In my work, it means constantly reassessing where I want the barge to take me. Am I on course? Do I need to make adjustments…to shapeshift myself as Gwoin Bach and Ceridwen did?
Here would be a good time to recall that we are still in the time of Ceridwen, the third of her four moons, to be precise, and that her myth is still ongoing. We’ll remember that Gwion Bach was the unintended recipient of the Drops of Wisdom that Ceridwen had been preparing for her own son. Ceridwen’s anger at Gwion for receiving her magical brew, rather than her son, resulted in a long chase between herself and Gwion. In hopes of escaping Ceridwen’s pursuit, Gwion shapeshifts into different animals and finally a piece of grain, but the Goddess likewise transforms herself throughout the hunt and ultimately captures Gwion and consumes him. From hare and greyhound, to salmon and otter, wren and hawk, and finally grain and hen, Gwion and Ceridwen, demonstrate how valuable it is to be willing to shift our strategies and even transform ourselves when the universe calls on us to do so!
The Moon of Transformation calls on us to seek wisdom through change. The ability to shift or change is not something that our society particularly appreciates or values. Consider how politicians are punished when they shift a position they previously held; or how, in our own lives, we might be criticized when we have a change of heart, even when it is over something as small as what movie we said we wanted to see! Personal transformation is even more challenging than changing an opinion or an idea, not only for ourselves but also for those around us. It is unfamiliar and possibly scary, and people, even those who love us dearly and want to see us grow and be fulfilled, may resist changes they see in us. I experienced this, myself, many years ago and confess that I did not see it coming.
Rather than making abrupt and sweeping changes, I learned to do a version of shapeshifting which employed balance (another of those key phrases associated with the Moon of Transformation found in the Avalonian Oracle). Indeed, the key to balance, for me, is today summed up in The Mythic Moons of Avalon, p. 138: “The transformational journey through the elements can be a map for us to follow in our search for true Wisdom.” Working through the elements and embracing each as part of ourselves allows us to hold to our truth and stand by the conviction of who we really are while at the same time being sensitive to what this means to those who have known us in a single shape, so to speak, for so many years. I cannot strongly recommend enough the prompting questions on pages 138-139 of Mythic Moons as a way of diving into the energy of this month’s moon—or any time of year, for that matter.
Shapeshifting also allows us to see things from different perspectives, which in turn allows us to be gentler with others and especially ourselves. Early on in my Avalonian work, I somehow believed that a slower, methodical approach on my path somehow meant that I lacked determination or commitment in becoming the priestess-self I so desired to be. Today, I see the path to transformation as a fluid and creative process, and one that does not take place in a vacuum but in the midst of every person I know. While this doesn’t mean that I put the need of others to see me in a certain way or ahead of my own need to be true to who I am, it does mean that I now make less abrupt shifts spaced over time. This insight freed-up huge amounts of energy that I had bound up in misguided beliefs of what it meant to be strong and convicted. And a priestess.
I hope you will find ways to incorporate the energy of the Calling the Barge card into this month’s powerful Moon of Transformation, sisters!