Sep 6, 2017 | Personal experience, Plant Ally cards, We are Nature
It was around 2009 when I had my first ‘intentional’ spiritual experience with a plant.
I am not professing to be an expert spirit guide or anything, but more an example of being open in the moment to whatever comes up. Simply, an innocent encounter that has impacted my creative life and journey. It literally planted a seed (no pun intended) in my subconscious for a future time; an intoxicating imprint on my soul that moves me right to the bones when I recollect it…
and so it goes
It all started when I was volunteering at Garth Organic, a hillside Permacuture garden hidden in the hills of North Wales. The experience of working there was one of the most enlightening decisions I have ever made: as it was the initial small steps to reclaiming my artist soul. One particular day in 2009, we were invited to spend an hour or so with a chosen plant that was residing within the garden space.
‘Choose a plant that speaks to you…’ the shaman(P) advised. ‘Sit with her quietly and study her shapes, smell, touch; listen to her; draw or paint her‘.
Therefore, I diligently obliged without the foggiest idea of what I was doing and why. I chose a (sister) Mullein plant. At the time, all I knew was that I could feel a connection to my chosen plant–a kindred spirit of some kind. I remember the sun beams warming my face; I remember noticing fur-like leaves and yellow eyes looking back at me; I remember her standing tall and proud next to a Hawthorn bush–that had an old rope, shaped into a heart, on the ground below.
So, I continued to follow the instructions from P until we were beckoned into the nearby hut (which housed a cosy old stove, lit in order to make mint tea). P took out a drum and started to beat a rhythmic tune. She described a journey that she would like to take us on, supported by the gentle drumming beats. I had no idea what to expect from one moment to the next. I remember my heart thumping in my chest, thinking that I was possibly out of my depth…
Very soon I nestled into the moment and opened my heart to a new experience. I remember seeing an image of a tree and a path with various items and animals along the way. I remember the ground was red, dry and weatherbeaten.. I remember going down a long tunnel to reach a clearing…and then.
There it was! A dancing flicker of a ‘sprite-like thing’. I could see it, but I could not hear what (s)he had to say. He seemed to be moving quickly and with urgency. To communicate his message, he jumped up and down utilising his hands as signals. He had bright yellow flame-like hair that peaked and quivered towards the sky . He was wearing a dark green tunic and leggings. He was jumping in earnest and possibly aware of my limited time on the journey. Momentarily, he looked up to the sky pointing with both hands and then on his return to the ground, he would point to the earth. Repeatedly jumping and pointing and jumping and pointing until I acknowledged the message. By now the drumming had intensified to indicate a retreat back up to the starting point. I said goodbye and thanked him and then swiftly returned to my usual reality.
As I re-told the journey to my group, I noticed P was smiling.
‘Stay grounded and be open and receptive to the light‘ I reflect back to P.
‘Welcome to the spirit of Mullein, what a gift to receive on your first journey‘ P added.
I knew, back then, it would be one of the most influential moments on my lifepath; though I had no idea how;)
so what does this mean?
I am not a plant spirit guide, I am an artist. But, I do understand and feel the connection to Nature. I am not concerned with knowing the literal botanical detail of every plant … My art and creative work simply evoke the feeling and experience that I have as I connect in with Nature. I am ignorant of many of the written plants details (my memory does not seem to be wired that way). Yet, I know how they help me to heal and how they communicate with me in subtle ways.
I know that if I stay open in the moment, my art is channeled from somewhere that I don’t need to understand. I notice that I adopt this ‘beginners mind’ approach with all my work and just see what comes up. I accept each new piece no matter what my personal judgement may be and I freely share them on social media. That is how my artwork evoles. Additionally, experiences of Nature are an essential part of my creativity and that is how I approach all of my art.
So, thank you dear Mullein plant for your special message and healing wisdom. I often need to ground myself so that I don’t get too spacey. I also need to be looking towards the light! It’s a perfect evolving balance of receptivity and groundedness.
Sep 3, 2015 | Plant Ally cards, Product information, Tree Wisdom cards
May I invite you to spend 6 minutes of your time watching my latest video about some of the processes and story around the making of my new Tree Wisdom card deck. They are about to be launched from 11th September and you can find them here in my shop. My intention was to make a 2 minute video, but I underestimated how long it takes me to communicate certain points. I have left the video unedited as I am adopting a renewed process of finding ease in my work and keeping the urge for over editing and re-dos at bay;) I hope you enjoy my first video take or at least have an idea of whether the cards are a good fit for you… Warm wishes, Lisa xxx
Vlog about the Tree Wisdom Cards from Lisa Mcloughlin on Vimeo.
Here is a quick 1 minute run through video of the front of each card …
Tree Wisdom Cards from Lisa Mcloughlin on Vimeo.
Over to you
If you know somebody who would love a deck of these nature-based cards then do share with them or your social media preference. Thank you
Jul 29, 2015 | Personal experience, Plant Ally cards
In September 2014, whilst holidaying in Southern Ireland, something happened to me…
I was walking through an ancient woodland and suddenly experienced a kind of…well it is hard to explain… a kind of internal shift. It is tricky for me to articulate.
For the duration of my walk, I felt a deep sense that everything is okay. A feeling of safety whilst absorbing deep nourishment. Something changed within me and has been unfolding ever since…
Most of my adult life, I have been on some sort of evolutionary self-improvement journey. I made the assumption that I already had a good grasp of the key ingredients for living well. On reflection, perhaps more of an intellectual grasp than an experiential one. I did not expect more subtle developmental layers to reveal themselves so clearly. It is as if I am wearing a better pair of glasses.
I now have a fresh understanding of how my past experiences in life have shaped who I am today. It is humbling. It is reassuring. It is my unique journey. I have a greater awareness of the ways my behaviour and being in the world are influencing my experiences. The stories I tell myself in the present are heavily based on my past and affect my future. I see that we are all doing what we can with what we have. I see what I cannot change or control. I see what I can change. I feel strong enough to look at my life through a magnifying glass of awareness of body and mind.
These are not all pink and fluffy revelations of spiritual enlightenment with eternal blissful happy endings. No, it has been ugly and highly unpleasant at times…sometimes shocking! But, I have a broader perspective that is now safe to lean in to, feel in to and learn from. I endeavour to let go of what no longer serves me…until the next layer…then the next… Rinse and repeat…Rinse and repeat. The internal struggle goes on. That’s okay now…I get it. The internal struggle goes on and plants a seed for the next stage of healing.
I am learning to roll with my stealth-like ego punches that sling me a left hook when I least expect it.
I have finer powers of discernment with more space to allow things to soak in before I act. When I think I have the measure of something I can sometimes find myself back down on the ground and having to pick myself up again. That’s okay.
I am picking through the litter of my life experiences and finding the rubies. With open curiosity and oodles of kindness for self and others, I am finding more joy and contentment. I can feel my self-worth developing strength, instead of remaining withered from years of cultural conditioning and ‘shoulding’ all over myself..
I am uncertain of how things are going to go in my life and business. Somehow, I am okay with that. I feel hopeful for us all.
I am writing a new story… My wisdom tree cards are part of the story.
The wisdom of trees card deck
Trees are our strongest allies. They stand as sentinels in a symbiotic relationship with humankind. They are wise, with a quiet centre of being and patiently respond to the seasons whilst the world reacts and changes around them. They have a lot to teach us.
Whenever I am amongst trees, I feel calmer. I am a much better person whilst I weave through the woods, in awe looking up, down, through and around. My playful innocence comes alive as I gaze open-mouthed in wonder. I notice the numerous gradations of green, the textures the smells: my senses delighted. I notice the faces within the tree bark which adds to their personality and energy.
I had an idea to create a deck of tree cards that could encompass some of the childlike innocence I experience amongst trees and to act as evocative invitations to help with Wholehearted living. I asked my social media community for feedback and proposed a few ideas. I was amazed by the interest and also how many people love trees. So a new deck has been created. A deck of 55 trees combining tree essence qualities, the seven Chakras, faces observed in the tree trunks and my own creative expression. They are inspirational words from our wise friends to empower our own ability to thrive and flourish mixed with my creative interpretation of the intuitive nudges I have paid attention to. They compliment Plant Ally cards or stand alone as their own deck. I will write more about my developmental process in my next blog post.
Below is a 15 second video of me sketching a tree. It may not play in all browsers…
A gift for you
As a little gesture of appreciation, I have created a playlist of tunes that incorporate trees in their title and words. They are quirky easygoing tunes that you may like to listen to.
Over to you
If you love the idea of my Wisdom Tree cards then do share this blogpost amongst your social media choice. If you would like to be informed about how and when my tree cards are going to be launched then do sign up here for a notification email. I do not intend to send updates often and it is easy to unsubscribe.
Apr 27, 2015 | Plant Ally cards, Product information
I have had a wonderful response to my Plant Ally card deck since I launched them at the beginning of this year. I have carefully listened to feedback and have since revised them a little to embrace this new information. There has been a lot of positive interest in them, but also a little confusion. As a long-term user of oracle cards, I made an assumption that most people knew exactly what they are and how to use them. So, I decided to write this post to honour your need to understand what my cards are truly about and to also help you decide if they are a good fit for you.
What are Plant Ally Healing cards?
Within every woman there lives a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. She is the Wild Woman, who represents the instinctual and wise nature of women (Clarrissa Pinkola Estés).
The Plant Ally Deck has been created to facilitate and help you reconnect with the many aspects of the feisty, healthy, visionary attributes that form part of this instinctual nature.
It seems only natural that the essence of nature’s plants combine with the free-form style of an oracle deck to be a useful foundation for this deeply intuitive energy.
I believe we can all connect with plants in our own unique way: whether that be by direct contact or by visualising a plant. If we simply open our hearts, we can receive the rich nourishment a plant can freely provide.
The cards are the intuitive expression of what I visualise in my mind when I connect with aspects of the flower essence of each plant I have chosen for the deck. Flower essences are said to contain the healing energy of plants. Some of the qualities of these essences are utilised in the making of these cards.
In total, there are 55 plant ally cards included. Many of the plants selected are wild flowers, as they demonstrate immense powers of strength and resilience. Their intention is to act as prompts to inspire you whenever you feel the need for extra support or guidance.
Each vibrant card contains a beautiful piece of artwork combined with a powerful word(s) of wisdom on one side and a carefully chosen aspect of the flower essence information on the other.
The visual feel of the plant essence is created to enlighten and bring some additional meaning to your life.
Why an Oracle deck and not a Tarot?
Tarot cards are part of an ancient tradition of divination. There are usually 78 cards that are broken down into 22 major arcana and 56 minor arcana. The minor arcana are then broken down into suits, typically pentacles, swords, wands and cups. Each suit has a meaning, as does each card positioned within the suit and of course each of the major arcana also have their own specific meanings. A Tarot deck follows a particular set of rules which I personally feel are too formulaic when my desire is that these cards be accessible to all and easy to use. However, they do compliment tarot readings beautifully.
An Oracle deck is more free-form and can be anything – there are no rules that must be followed (which I love!!!). They are useful for anyone looking for answers and meaning. They can have any number of cards, with or without a reference book and can be designed around any theme (in this case, plants).
With less structure to an oracle card deck, there is more scope to allow your intuition and the connected universal guidance of life to truly shape the reading. It is about you, your intuition and your interpretation being left to its own devices to guide you, as opposed to a structured reading from a tarot card.
How to use your cards
Firstly, it is worth noting that increasingly, many therapists, coaches and healers are purchasing these cards for 1:1 and group work to be conversational prompts for healing ….
Here are ways you can use them for yourself…
The way you begin your day sets the tone for the experiences that will follow and how you will react to them. So, there is always an open invitation for you to choose a card each morning, trust your inner wisdom and from that it can form a message for the day, or an aspect of yourself to focus on. In fact, pulling cards like this is a great way to build your intuition.
What is truly wonderful is that you may use them in any way that feels resonant. Here are just a few examples of ways to enjoy them and to help get you started. Treat them as invitations and not a formulaic rule book. You will find your own way.
Gently shuffle the pack and start to think about your intentions for the cards.
One example for selection is to place the illustrated front of the deck uppermost and divide the deck by sorting into one or more piles (depending on your choice of reading, see below). The card on top of the cut deck is the one you select.
Or, you could simply select cards from a fan shape arrangement.
For a single card selection you may ask yourself:
‘What shall I call into focus today?’ or
‘What do I need to know right now?’ or
‘Which plant ally wishes to step forward to support me right now?’ or
‘What action or response would be most nourishing for me right now?’
You may then flow-write in a journal about a card selected, simply carry it with you during the day, or prop it somewhere you can see. Notice what thoughts and feelings crop up as you mull over the card that has been selected. The feelings may be positive or negative. Note that and see if you can unpick the reaction/response a bit more. You may want to explore how the essence of the card applies in your life right now.
Two card selection:
This could be the theme of a question and the theme of the answer or, just a free-form combination to see if anything speaks to you and your situation right now..
Three card selection:
The order in which you divide the deck into 3 could indicate:
Past – Influences from the past related to the card theme
Present – What is occurring positively or negatively in the present related to the card theme
Future – Insight or guidance into what lies ahead.
Tell a story with the themes of the card such as:
If I act on card 1 + card 2, I may create card 3.
Write a free-flow story that starts with the sentence ‘ Once upon a time there was a woman who was learning to love herself…’ Once you have incorporated all three cards into the story, substitute ‘the woman’ for ‘I’…then re-read the story and see what crops up for you.
Or, select three cards from different decks. Here I have used ‘Connected and Free’ Alchemist’s Oracle and ‘The Little Sage’ Oracle deck here.
5 card selection for a plant layout:
This spread may provide you with a deeper insight into an overall situation. Lay the 5 selected cards in the order of selection, to correspond with the numbers on the image. It is best to lay them out with the picture uppermost. The layout represents the following:
- The Seed: The point from which growth stems and the root subject of the current situation. It is often what has been an issue in your past.
- The Sprout: This cards gives you hints into the understanding of the issue and what is within conscious thinking.
- The Growth: This is what wants to be unravelled and revealed from your inner self, though you may not be consciously aware of it right now. It is about to be revealed to you.
- The Stem: This grows out of the seed and is very much part of what is unfolding in your present.
- The Flower: This is your flowering potential in the near future.
Allow intuition to guide you. You do not even have to apply the expanded information on the back of each card, as they are simply there for people who prefer a little more detail to help with understanding. Some people may feel inhibited by extra detail, so go with what is truly resonant for you. I hope to make these cards as versatile and accessible as possible. Ultimately, it’s you – your connection, intuition and interpretation – that shapes the reading, not just the cards.
Over to you
In what ways do you like to use Oracle cards? I would love to know your thoughts and experiences.
Perhaps The Plant Ally Wisdom Deck is just the right fit for you, or as a gift for someone special. If so, pop over to my shop and take a look. Thank you for taking the time to read.
Feb 24, 2015 | Personal experience, Plant Ally cards, Product information
Have you ever had those times where you find the courage to show up in the arena of life and have a go….. but it then feels yuck?
You basically put your heart and soul into something because you love what you are doing. You are passionate about it and you want to share it with the world?
It feels incredibly uncomfortable and totally out of your comfort zone, but you are also loving the journey and not…to the point of almost wanting to give it up before its even got going?
Can you relate?
Yep, well that is me right now. I am experiencing a vulnerability hangover and it is draining my energy and affecting my confidence to keep showing up and having a go. I launched my first product on Sunday. Hurray! Yep, my 52 Plant Ally Deck of cards: a project that I have loved creating and planning. I was so happy to see 50 people sign up to my interest list (some big beautiful surprises for me in there too) and my confidence was beginning to rise. I think I ran around my flat a dozen times screaming when Susannah Conway commented on my Instagram feed that my cards looked amazing!! I had a whole range of products mapped out from that moment. Ha ha.
But, I was not quite expecting the amount of emotional turmoil of self doubt, fear of criticism and being judged, fear of failure popping up all over the place: the old stories. I have spent so much time researching and creating these beautiful cards and caught up in the passion and flow of making them that I forgot how much I need to receive love, validation and acceptance for what they are and what I have done. I feel frustrated that I can’t just settle for self love of my own achievements.
I also have a plethora of advice and activities that are supposed to help dig me out of this hole…things I have picked up over the years. I forget that when you are actually in the hole it is hard to feel and find a way out. Right?
So what’s my advice?
We are in this together…we are all doing our best and we all want to be loved. There is something about leaning in and allowing my body to feel and be in this uncomfortableness….a kind of surrender to the not knowing, in the hope that the energy of this turmoil will fizz through and out of my body. There is something about ‘little steps’ and just taking gentle exercise outside, eating nourishing food, asking for a hug, opening up about the angst and sharing it.
I have 50 packs made and I may never produce any more. Regrets? Nope…but I have to acknowledge how fragile I am right now and the difficulty finding the courage to keep going no matter what the outcome may be.
So, I hope you can connect with this feeling and it would be lovely to know your thoughts. Do comment about your own experiences and ways through.
Love and light to you,