Today is the 9th anniversary of The Oracle of Initiation deck’s official beginning. The journey has brought me to places within and without that I could never have imagined, and I honestly could die a happy woman because of co-creating at least one deeply satisfying project in this lifetime. The deck has brought me to the eerie beauty of subterranean graffiti tunnels, found me nude and covered in mud taking photos in desert canyons, and bathed in blood-red water as New Mexico soils mixed with a downpour initiating the release of outmoded soul contracts. There have been other projects, and hopefully I shall keep birthing more for many years to come, but this was my first-born and it will always have a special place in my heart.
One segment of the deck that needs a little more love and explanation are the Gateways. Because the Painted Body images on the majority of the cards are so luscious and compelling I notice people can be confused about how to embrace the messages of the eight initiating portals that begin each of the realms of the deck. If you have used the deck and had this reaction to the Gateways you are not alone, and at times I have also felt the same things: “It’s not as pretty as the Painted Body spirits,” “What do I do without an ancient cross-cultural guardian to guide me?” Along with exploring the Gateways a little deeper, I also have an incredible story about being pursued by sacred symbolism connected to one of the Gateways that will be shared. If we ever questioned the connections between everything and the orchestration of our destinies, this will remind us of the truth once again.
The Gateways are similar to the Major Arcana in the Tarot. They are the distillation of the archetypal stages one will undergo during the journey of spiritual integration. They are the portals that will usher you into new versions of yourself, the GPS coordinates to navigating the current phases of initiation you are in. They were designed to be mobile petroglyphs, inspired by the Sami’s drum symbolism from my Norse heritage. The image itself is a hand drawn version of their lavo, their portable dwelling that mirrors Native American tipis. The Gateways are the humble contrast to the glamorously Technicolor Painted Body photographs. They are the reminder that the Mystery contains many paradoxes, one of them being that the seemingly inconsequential may be enormously powerful. Our human egos need to be tricked sometimes to fall into our destinies, and if we really knew what we would grow into we may hide under the covers because we are not ready to carry that yet. So when you consider that we are incarnating the divine in these clay-footed vessels, maybe a magical little funky hut is the direct pathway to the kingdom of embodied sovereignty. Below are some Sami drums and symbols as well as my own prototypes for The Oracle of Initiation Gateway imagery.
One of the things I always say to people who are new to the deck is that we are all apprenticing to it’s mysteries. I was the channel that brought it through, but I too am a servant to it’s vast, wild magic. When I was in Santa Fe over the holidays I got to catch up with one of my favorite people, Helen Henry. She attended the Temples Illuminated: Women’s Journeys into Their Sacred Inner Landscapes workshop I taught when I live in New Mexico, and the level of heart and grace she carries in truly beautiful. She has been working with the deck for many years, and when she told me this story after we had a reading I was floored. Symbolic downloads are potent things, and Helen’s epiphany about a life long calling to weave ancient traditions together took the Gateways to a whole new level. Enjoy and happy anniversary my beloved creation. Thanks for coming through me and I look forward to seeing how you grow and evolve. Love Mama Mellissae
Helen Henry’s Gateway Epiphany:
I was trying to finish all the work for my design classes this semester and I got hung up because I wanted to redo my “personal symbol” project. I had spent all day grappling with the question of “what is my personal symbol?” and had not been able to get close to an answer. I had no trouble coming up with transpersonal symbols, but creating a personal symbol, which represented uniquely who I am, just wasn’t happening. So I decided to draw a card out of the Oracle deck. I simply asked that I be given help with creating my personal symbol. The card I chose was #41 – Empowerment, the Gateway of Balance. Yes, I thought, I need some empowerment, but how does this help me? I read all the information, but I couldn’t find anything that would help me make sense of my problem.
I left the project for a while and then decided to look at the card again. I was astounded. Since “Empowerment” is Gateway card, the image is hand drawn. At the top of the image there is a vertical line intersected by three horizontal lines. It is a triple cross, the same cross that I always wear as a pendant around my neck. The triple cross is an esoteric symbol used in Christian iconography, but it also is the basis for the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. For me, this is significant because I am studying Pranic Healing and the founder of Pranic Healing, Master Choa Kok Sui mapped a version of the human energy system using eleven chakras, onto the Kabbalistic Tree of Life (which has eleven sephiroth.) He also correlated the lines of the Christian Lord’s Prayer to each chakra/sephiroth – a beautiful cross-cultural image which, when practiced consciously, circulates energy through the body. Here’s an excerpt from his book “Universal and Kabbalistic Meditation on the Lord’s Prayer”
The Universal version of the Chakra Meditation on the Lord’s Prayer correlates each phrase of the prayer to each of the eleven chakras and their corresponding deeper meaning. While the Kabbalistic version correlates each phrase of the prayer to each of the eleven sephiroth. The Chakra Meditation on the Lord’s Prayer is a system through which you can clean, energize, and activate the chakras of the body. This meditation also awakens the kundalini or serpent fire, which is located near the base of the spine. The purpose of activating the chakras and awakening the kundalini energy is to accelerate the spiritual development of the practitioner.
Seeing this symbol in the card was pretty amazing, but even more amazing is that fact that I also recognized it as a personal symbol that I had been drawing since I was about 10 or 12, except that I draw it horizontally – three short vertical lines with a horizontal line going through the vertical lines, representing my initials – a stylized version of HH. The card had simultaneously brought together the personal, the transpersonal and past and present all in one moment, reminding me that everything is one seamless reality.
Here’s an image of the Tree of Life with the corresponding chakras. http://www.amazon.com/Universal-Kabbalistic-Meditation-Prayer-Master/dp/B002HN3SO8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420066782&sr=8-1&keywords=Universal+and+Kabbalistic+Meditation+on+the+Lord’s+Prayer
Leeza Robertson and I did a twenty-minute interview about the Oracle’s emergence last week that dropped today on it’s birthday:
Here are a few more links incase you wish to learn more about the Gateway card’s creation, the Sami, and their Drum symbolism:
My first post about the Gateways:
Symbolism on drums:
Shamanic drum as cognitive map: