Two weeks from now a playful tribe of co-ed explorers will gather for Camp Souldust. There is still time to secure your bunk if you are called to some raucous, earthy, creative fun in the Pacific Northwest woods April 21st to 24th about an hour from Seattle. The event is old school summer camp meets spirited transformation. I am one of the presenters this year and I want to share the reading I just did with my Oracle of Initiation deck for camp about embracing the power of play. I am a huge proponent of play, it is a core aspect of the creative process and it is just plain enjoyable.
My academic side has read a lot about the cognitive and social benefits of play (for kids and adults), and it all leads back to the fact that these instinctive aspects of ourselves are there for a reason. They are hardwired to help us be more human, to survive and thrive in this wildly beautiful journey. We are at a crossroads in our culture where it is more crucial than ever to embrace those unique aspects of ourselves and shine that light as gifts to ourselves and the collective. These gifts are different for everyone, and they are not always a “career” in the classic sense, but the ability to tap into the things that make you feel more aware, awake, and alive as Elizabeth Gilbert says are essential to embracing these changing times.
The Oracle of Initiation deck was a six-year project that emerged during a crossroads in my own world when the life I had been living blew up. Out of this meltdown I went on a seven-year vision quest throughout the west with horses, reclaiming my instinctive freedom. The deck is designed to be a guiding light through our powerful transformations. It is a Mystery School in your hands for how to reframe your challenges into your greatest brilliance. The photos in the deck look like dreamtime spirits, and the cross-cultural guardians offer a broad range of guidance on navigating the complexities of change. The images here show the two sizes of cards that the deck comes in, and I will share some of the descriptions from the accompanying book.
The question I asked the Oracle was
“What helps us embrace the power of play at camp this year?”
The cards that revealed themselves were an interesting mix and fit with the intense energies we are all feeling at this time. Overall my hit was the need for fierce dedication to our curiosity combined with heartfelt connections to the earth and each other to embrace the power of play.
I drew the cards blindly and intuitively placed them on the altar with three of the bigger Deluxe cards and two of the newer Tarot-sized option. I also used Tarot maven Carrie Paris’ Magpie Oracle Tarot Talismans casting charms to add another layer of fun and magic to the process. I will go from left to right reading each card, and I look forward to sharing camp joy with more of you this year.
22. Isolation (reversed) Phrase: “Desert Exile.” Guardian: Aganju the African Orisha of the volcanoes and the wild, untamed places.
This card is coming up regularly in all my readings and it says to me that we are coming out of the illusions of our separateness and coming together in ways we have always yearned for. This points to one of the core aspects of camp, which is finding your tribe of adventurous playmates. The charms on the card that stood out to me were the Mercury pendant flipped over (one of my personal additions to Carrie’s Talisman set) and the infinity sign. Mercury/Hermes is both the trickster and a translator between the worlds who is a powerful ally in accessing the wisdom of your muses. Our muses are part of the dance party that shows up when we open to play. Artistic inspirations come through epiphanies, and when we play we open the field to great inspirations. Because it is my symbol I also associate the Mercury pendant with the goddess Artemis, and that implies reconnecting with the primal wisdom available in the wilderness. The infinity sign reminds us of the limitless inspiration available within the process of play.
58. Remembrance “Release Ancient Encoding.” Cerridwen is the shape shifting Celtic moon goddess and cauldron crone who birthed Taliesen, maturing into the great magician Merlin.
This card calls in the alchemy of claiming your own unique recipe of skills and finding what you might birth from that. The nautilus shell in the image invites us to swirl down that rabbit hole of enchantment during camp and see what mysteries emerge. This card got an avalanche of charms on it and the ones that really called to me were the otter, ferry/faery boat (both my own charms) and the dancer with the lantern. This is our template for camp. Embrace the playful nature of the otter as we transition into the sacred NW ecosystem. Dance in whatever form that takes for you to shine your light for the other campers to see.
21. Release “Sift the Ashes.” Pele the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes and fire.
Pele is fierce. Along with Kali Ma these two have a take no prisoners side to their medicine and call us to burn down what is no longer working so we can “build our glorious temples of self out of the ashes of our liberation.” This is a powerful call for claiming what you really need for a sustainable life. Camp is designed to be playful and fun, and it is also a potent container for setting new intentions into motion. The charms are the Devil and Wheel of Fortune from the Tarot’s Major Arcana and they ask us to release the addictions to our limitations and to take our power into our hands to become co-creators in every aspect of our lives.
7. Awakening “Meet Your Muse.” Kali Ma the Hindu goddess of creation and destruction.
I love Kali Ma. She is a wild, bad ass mamma jamma and at times I think she is misunderstood with how much of a compassionate ally she truly is. In her message from the Oracle book she says, “Do you have any idea how much joy and power are released when you embark on a new adventure? I am the creative force fueling your movement so you may meet your sacred creator within. I am seen as dark and fearsome, yet my true essence is of great love and transcendence. I crave your deepest potential. I meet your destiny with the swords of impermanence, removing any obstacles keeping you from your dreams…I am the mother of creation, the fierce dancer of all our transcendent beauty.” Well that sounds like a playmate I want! The charms are the celebration of newly integrated emotions within community with the Ace of Cups and the Fool inviting us on a grand new adventure.
19. Retreat “Reverent Solitude.” The archetype of the Hermit.
The hermit card says to me that during the weekend we are also to honor the needs to go within and integrate all of the playful goodness if we need to. The spiritual teacher Matt Kahn shares in one of his Youtube videos that there are three types of energy: stagnant, circulating, and integrating. We shift the stagnation by doing things differently in our day-to-day lives making room for transformation to happen effortlessly. When we make new patterns, new pathways emerge circulating everything in our lives. During periods of massive change (circulation) we will then need tender periods of going within to integrate all of those new aspects into our psyche. The two charms that really spoke to me here were the Sun upside down with the need to beam that beautiful glowing light back into ourselves to nourish these shifts, and that we have many allies in the great earth goddess and angels to support these new versions of ourselves.
The heart charm with the Souldust sweatshirt!
When I blindly tossed the charms over the cards I heard one hit the floor. I looked over and next to my Souldust sweatshirt was the heart! Grounding our hearts in the beauty and power of nature as we come together as the Souldust play posse!
Wow, we are up for some deep fun at camp, and if you want to come I have a special 10% discount code (CAMPLOVE17ML) you can use to reserve your bunk. And remember to never underestimate the power of play.