The Next Lesson

The Next Lesson
Feb, 2012
I needed to inject some humor into a rough day, so it seemed a good time to share this allegory I wrote last year . . . Me, a trickster? Naw! :-)

A spiritual teacher had three students she taught for many years. After they finished this vigorous training, one went to a dance class. He found enlightenment in that first dance class, and thought, “Ah, this is much better than what I received from my spiritual teacher, this is the real thing.” Another of the three students started a garden. In that greenery she found God, within only a few days. She thought, “Wow, look how quickly Nature brought me to God. All those years with my spiritual teacher could not do that.” The third of the three seekers became a wealthy banker, and donated millions of dollars to alleviate homelessness. Years of serving this way was his path to enlightenment, because when we do service, God enters us to live within.

The teacher, upon hearing about her students, thought, “Yes, good, my lessons worked.”

FDG2013JCrop

Francesca, 2013

Then she did what she had done every day she had trained the three of them, though they had not known it: She walked out into her garden and danced with God, who lived there, in her garden, as well as in her spirit and heart and hearth. As always when they danced, trees in her garden grew money. People threatened by homelessness, or who already suffered from it, came from miles around, because they could pick that money at will, to pay for shelter and whatever else was needed to escape tragedy.

After the dance, the teacher said to God, “Now, I hope those three students are smart enough to come back to me for the next lesson.”

One Great Promise

PillowcaseStudyOn Pinterest, a photo of an open cottage door,
huge and solid oak,
is one . . . great . . . promise.

In my imagination, other singular promises emerge:

The tendril of hair escaping from a carefully groomed coif,
that one bit twirling down along the cheek
is an invitation, is life flirting with me;

The ivy that, in my childhood, came through
my bedroom window
and crept along the wall above my bed;

The moss growing on tombstones;

The rebellion in my heart—a consistent flower,
forever breaking through the civilized urban cement
that I too often adopt, mistaking it for morality;

The faerie road stretching before me—
I’ll find a bower along it that’s a gateway to another realm,
fellow travelers will delightfully mystify me,
I’ll meet challenges and dancing lights,
While gathering up gems and accomplishments;

The tumbled-down shining castle
where I will finally be safe
from betrayal, cruelty, and bone-wrenching disappointment.

Faerie tale images, all.

There is no place for them
except the open mind and heart
that wander from logical absurdities
to accept “once upon a time . . . ”
Then the adventure begins, it is your life,
the heart and mind are full.

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PiloCsStudyAfter writing the above poem, I’m impelled to say: Want to live in a myth of your choosing? Take my next class, whether or not its description mentions myth. For upcoming class announcements, sign up for my free e-newsletter. Adventures begin when someone is told, “Now is your chance” and goes for it.

Spirituality, Small Groups, and Promotion

Fool, tarot card, Francesca De Grandis, 12-03

Fool, tarot card, Francesca De Grandis, 12-03

Been in an interesting process. Wld luv yr insights.

I was in a position to blog at HuffPo. After mega-deliberation, I decided that it’s not for me, at least not yet. (I’m not anti corporate media: I watch tv and movies, published with HarperCollins, scripted a segment for a major tv network, enjoy YouTube, etc.)

Interestingly enough, after my decision re HuffPo and some other corporate media, I was asked to blog for Dharma Trading Co. And I have absolutely loved working with them! Their audience is nowhere near the size of HuffPo‘s, but it feels right.

Yesterday, Anne Newkirk Niven, editor of Sagewoman and other pagan rags, asked me to blog for her. I was given a choice between blogging for http://witchesandpagans.com, which has 30,000 Facebook likes, or the soon-to-be blog for Sagewoman (7000 likes) that will become part of the larger witchesandpagans site.

After looking at the site, praying, and meditating, I chose Sagewoman. That might seem the poor promotional choice, because I don’t know if it means less readers. You’re supposed to get as many readers as possible, right? But numbers aren’t everything.

Strength, tarot card, Francesca De Grandis, 12-03

Strength, tarot card, Francesca De Grandis, 12-03

Narrowing my focus sometimes implements one of my life goals: authentic connectivity, which can require a community I get to know.

I am not saying that no one gets to know anyone at witchesandpagans.com. I am not saying I chose Sagewoman in order to narrow my focus. In fact, I am not stating here why I chose Sagewoman. My process of choosing Sagewoman was complex—and partially sheer intuition—and I do not fully understand it yet, so will not try to outline it here. My point is: I made my choice despite the possible numbers, and the choice is in keeping with my life goals. I am not making a pronouncement on what is “right,” I am just sharing my process. Speaking of which:

I do not strive to be queen of the witches. I want deep connection so that, whether in print or in oral tradition, we can get spiritual work done. Am i knocking big numbers? No. There are types of spiritual work you can do in big numbers. There are types of authentic connection that can happen in big numbers. (I must say, though, that big numbers too often consist of folks spouting off about how much they know, telling you how superior they are to you, and decrying the pagan they now think is a jerk.) When going for large numbers feels right and honorable, I do it. The rest of the time, I do work that requires smaller groups. I usually limit class enrollment, for just that reason.

What do you think of all this? My process is terribly against-the-grain in some ways, so I wld love your thoughts, whether you post them here or on Facebook.

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Want support from a shaman who lives intuitively and successfully meets life’s demands? Please make an appointment for a session.

Being Seen in Truth

Self-portrait

Self-portrait

Recently, a new student told me, “I expected to be blown away, but not in the very first class. Wow!” That felt great, but frustrating, because my work’s exceptional quality is hard to believe, so when I describe the nature of my classes and counseling, and the benefits of working with me, it sounds like promotional hype or an ego party.

(I should represent my work as mediocre, more people might study with me, LOL!)

It is crazy-making to be extraordinarily gifted and not get to use that as much as I could to serve folks, bc some fool told them my class descriptions are hype. Ok. End of vent. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

The solution: I trust the Universe is divinely, correctly aligned; I keep telling the truth re who I am and what I do; and I hold foremost in my thoughts the immense blessing I am given—that some folks fully see me, the same way I see them; as I reflect their full beauty and power back to them when we work together, they are my fellow seekers, awesome camaraderie and support in my spiritual growth.
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I’m so excited to offer Archetype Coaching in a one-hour appointment, instead of only as part of something else—such as a class—which is how I have done it til now! http://stardrenched.com/archetype-coaching/

Solstice Snow-Kitty

The kitten almost knocked over huge houseplants trying to get a good view out the window. I figure that was pretty clear guidance from the Universe to take a break from shipping books and go outside with my kitten into the snow.

Our venture probably lasted only ten minutes, and was just us hanging out. But I felt joy and wonder.

Cosmic Cat Nap, Francesca De Grandis

I feel blessed today that I find immense joy in small things, despite daily challenges that would’ve killed many people in both spirit and body. I also feel the hope that my classes impart the same sense of miracle in the wee gifts amidst enormous difficulties. That is not necessarily spelled out in my curriculum descriptions, but it is innate in an authentic spiritual teaching and methodology: life brings challenges, and with them great sorrow; life also brings us great joy if we open to it despite our struggles.

There are, of course, times when trauma or other challenges will overwhelm. Then my job during class or a counseling session is not to be a Pollyanna who callously insists, “If you were really spiritual, you would be cheerful anyway!” The recent deaths of Connecticut children has us deeply grieving. At such times, I share coping and grieving tools, ways to heal, and methods to overcome problems.

We cannot always have the joy the World Tree offers us, and must face inevitable pain. My hope, in my heart today, is that I help my students and clients do that and also help them find as much joy as possible, when it is possible. I am an ecstatic, in love with the world tree, and I believe, deep in the cells of my heart, that the world tree is in love with each of us, so It wants to celebrate existence with us.

On solstice day, I smile thinking about my little faerie kitten looking up at the snow, studying it thoughtfully, and I wish you happy solstice.

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I experience profound love from—and connectivity with—the Divine. Do you want spiritual reading that reflects accessible Divine love? How about that honors your idea of Divinity (e.g., God, Goddess, God within, World Tree, Universe)? Read Sprinkling Faerie Dust on Breakfast. Available here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/114317006/sprinkling-faerie-dust-on-breakfast

Living Tarot – the Major Arcana 

Living Tarot – the Major Arcana 
An Eight-Week Class

Strength, tarot card, Francesca De Grandis, 12-03

Strength, tarot card, Francesca De Grandis, 12-03. Click on the painting to see it large and without blurring that occurs when WordPress shrinks a pic to fit the page.

A traditional tarot deck consists of major arcana Cards and minor arcana cards. This class focuses on the Major Arcana’s metaphysical teachings – esoteric wisdom that empowers on the mundane and otherworldly planes – and divinatory meanings.

Methods to draw on these powers will be taught in an organized and experiential program of inner change and magical spellwork.

No background in Tarot is needed.

Students are required to have a deck of Rider Waite cards with them during all classes.

We meet in a group phone call. No computer or special equipment needed. Just dial your phone.

To those of you who saw previous announcements of this class, there  are now two different groups meeting:

* One group starts Wednesday, November 14, at 6 PM EST. There will be eight meetings, which will be consecutive except we’ll skip Nov 21 and Dec 26 to accommodate the holidays. Meetings are one-hour long. RESERVE Jan 23, same time, for a makeup class in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned sessions.

* The other group starts Sunday, November 18, at 4 PM EST. There will be eight meetings, which will be consecutive except we’ll skip Nov 25 and Dec 30 to accommodate the holidays. Meetings are one-hour long. RESERVE Jan 27, same time, for a makeup class in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned sessions.

TUITION is $250. TO REGISTER, sign up for “Special Event” at http://www.well.com/user/zthirdrd/specialevent.html  You might pay long-distance charges, depending on your long-distance plan. If so, they appear on your phone bill. The event’s area code is a U.S. #.

Upon receipt of payment, your place is reserved, and event details emailed to you. No refunds.

If you need more info, can’t use PayPal, or want to discuss scholarship or trade, call me: 814-337-2490. Don’t email me; disabilities = I can’t discuss events by email.

Fool, tarot card, Francesca De Grandis, 12-03

Fool, tarot card, Francesca De Grandis, 12-03

My qualifications: I have been a tarot reader since the 70s, professional since the 80s. Most folks do not know that Third Road started as Tarot classes! I continued to teach tarot as tools for divination, personal growth, and magic for many years. I still do occasionally. My shamanic techniques are so innovative that they have been integrated world wide into many systems of inner change, so often that a lot of these techniques are now considered traditional anonymous material.

This group can be used as one of the electives required to participate in Third Road Advanced Shamanic Training. Register here.