Swan Blessing Past Life Story - Vow to Not Use Her Medicine

a9c994f89761de6fd50a8fe76969e287 Very often the vow that comes up to be released in Swan Blessing past life sessions is the vow to close down or reject our personal ancestral medicine. This can be very confusing in our present incarnation as we will still be drawn, and deeply passionate about our medicine but will find it very hard to embrace and share with others - especially if we try and embrace it as our vocation again. It creates pain, confusion and fear of something that should be treasured and celebrated - our natural gifts and power.

Many moons ago I used to teach tarot circles to help others to trust their intuition and to develop their own individual way of reading and sensing messages from the cards. I was always blown away by the beautiful readers who came to develop their gifts with us and I remember these years of sitting in tarot circles very fondly. Recently I was contacted by Candice, a student I remembered well, requesting a Swan Blessing past life session. I remembered Candice so well because she was one of the most naturally gifted readers Tony and I had ever spent time with - a very gifted seer. But there was an internal battle going on within Candice and I could see this too - she was afraid of her gifts.

Candice told me that she had recently begun to offer her service of tarot reading to the public. I was thrilled for her because this has been such a long time coming and she is so good! But she then told me how much anxiety she felt when having to give difficult news to her clients. I explained to her that a reader is merely an interpreter for the cards and that often in our life the difficult times are our biggest teachers and assist huge shifts towards growth. That I am always grateful when my cards inform me that it's time to release an old dream that doesn't serve or that I am about to go through a period of understanding my fears. The reader's role is not to give a sugar-coated sweet reading every time as that would be false and is not a true reflection of life and the sacred circle of birth, death and rebirth that we go through each day just like every cell of our body.

While Candice understood this on a mental level she said she could still feel something very deep and fearful about one day having to be the 'bearer of bad news'.

This is Candice's Swan Blessing story of the past life events that created these old beliefs and fears:

"I decided to have a Swan Blessing to discovering the blocks I have in becoming a tarot reader. For such a long time I had wanted to start my tarot business but could not find the courage to. I had so many fears going into it. I have tried to give tarot up so many times before with many times throwing out my decks, my notes and any books I had on the tarot. But for some reason I keep feeling drawn to it. It’s like a bad habit that I keep being pulled into despite my efforts to stop.

This journey into my Swan blessing was truly a blessing. As I closed my eyes and relaxed I felt the presence of my family, ancestors and spirit guides with me in the room as I went completely within myself. I could feel myself travel back in time.

I was directed to a lake and in this lake I saw a Native American with long black hair, at first I couldn't tell if it was a male or female then I realised it was a young male. He was 24 years old. He was me and I was him. I asked him what is it that is blocking me in reaching my full potential. With a hardness in his eyes he could not tell me like he had shut it off from his heart, instead he took me on a little canoe across the water. He was pointing to the other side of the mountain. He left me on the other side of the river and I walked to the other side of the mountain by myself as he did not want to come.

As I went there and walked on the land it was so hard for me to see what was there. There was so much smoke lingering around. It was all grey and white before me and the tents that remained were just ashy. As I realised who's village this was my eyes filled with tears as I realised that this was my own village. My village was attacked and destroyed.

I was then shown what I did in this life time. I was the seer of the tribe. Elders who held leadership within the tribe came to me for guidance for the tribe. I could not believe that those who were so much older than I held me in such high regard. I used a crystal of some sort to foresee future events. I was guided to see what I saw in that lifetime. I foresaw the tragic event of the destruction of my village long before it happened and I did not tell anyone as I wanted to be wrong and I wanted the best for my people.

When I saw that I actually foresaw the event happening my eyes welled up again and I had such a heaviness in my chest. I felt heartbroken. I felt helpless with so much guilt for what happened. Something that I could have prevented but I didn’t.

As a punishment for myself in that life time I isolated myself from everyone and everything. I lived alone in a cave until I was a very old man and died alone in my cave and I never spoke to anyone again. I never practised any more magic or seer again in that life time as it was too hard for me. I punished myself for what had happened.

My blessing allowed me to be with the man that I was, I told him that this was not his fault and he only wanted the best. I also told him that I will make this right in this life time. I got it. I understood all his fear, pain and sadness because I feel it in my current life time. All the times I read for others all the readings I have sent out the process of when I do readings all of the pain and anxiety was so familiar because it was all mine. The pain I have held onto that long has allowed me to suppress my gifts because I was still too scared to hurt another person.

For such a long time I had all these anxieties when doing readings and everything finally made sense. I had a fear for reading people older than me, I also had a fear when turning over the cards I saw just in case I saw something that was not favourable. I would actually stress for who I am reading for.

Now I have learnt with Julia and this Swan blessing that the not great things I see in a reading can actually be of benefit. Now when I read I have such an inner confidence within me. I feel confident that I am doing exactly what I should be doing and I don't fear the reading like I used to. This doesn’t mean I still don't have normal anxiety but I have an inner knowing that I came here to earth with this ability and to share it. I love my tarot readings and love helping people and now know that I have the ability to do so. And now I will with the confidence that I was actually born to do this!

Thank you Julia for allowing me to go on this journey back to myself. You have given me a gift that I will forever be grateful for. You have given me the confidence to truly believe in my inner strengths and abilities from lifetimes before. A confidence of knowing my true abilities and purpose and why I am here. Forever grateful to you and your gifts. Thank you."

Candice 2016, The Blessed Path Within

I am thrilled to hear Candice speak and write these words. Her gifts are beautiful and she brings such insight and clarity to her readings and now she can share them with a strong and open heart.

It is a terrible feeling to be withholding our natural gifts - to be afraid of our personal medicine. I'm very happy to see that there is a new respect and opening at this present time for the holding of circle together, ceremony and the intuitive arts. We are learning to break through our fears and release old beliefs that do not fit or belong to us in this time and often our biggest fear is our own power. I thank the great grandmothers who come to assist us in Swan Blessing, they remind us all that not too long ago our ancestors used and shared their medicine with love.

Bookings for Swan Blessing sessions with Julia 

Image: Medicine drum from 'Shapeshifting : Transformations in Native American Art' - Peabody Essex Museum

Winter Solstice - the Dreaming Egg

emu egg Sacred Familiar Last night was the Solstice. Here in Australia it is Winter and we experienced the darkest night of the year. I recently wrote about this in our latest MoonMedicine Letter and thought I would share some of this here today. Emu is the largest bird in Australia and I had the honour of holding an Emu egg  last week when I was told it was the first of the season. As the egg is incubated and cared for, it turns from green to blue to deepest purple. I had only ever held an empty emu egg before this and I was fascinated with the heavy weight of this egg. When I held it in my hand I also felt a comfort in my heart. I felt the strength of the shell holding and incubating the softness inside. Everything about this emu egg reminded me of wholeness. And magic too! Could there be a dragon inside?

Emu's breed in early June and the egg is incubated for around 8 weeks and so they are truly winter babies. They have lived all of their dreaming and incubation in the winter months and are born in early spring. I love that it is actually the males that incubate the eggs and also take care of the very young babies too. It's definitely a combined effort. When I feel called to add emu feathers to a medicine doll it's usually a medicine of strength and protection. Emu's can be very territorial and strong in protecting their families. The day after I wrote this a package arrived with Emu feathers inside - such a huge bird and yet such delicate and elegant feathers.. I had a doll that was half-made, she had camel fibres woven into her hair and shawl and it felt perfect that she would be wearing Emu feathers in her hair too. I called her She Dreams of the Desert.


Sitting here on the darkest night of the year I am looking at the Emu egg and I am reminded of what Winter is meant to be - a time of slowing down, feeling warm and nourished and incubating new dreams. Dreaming is very important to me and I have always had very clear and magical dreams that I have written down in notebooks ever since I was a child. Many of them contain messages and hints of what was to come - even years down the track. That's the tricky part about dreams, they are not bound to linear time and so we are often baffled at first and find it hard to reach the meaning. Writing down our dreams and then returning to them later on can be a really affirming experience of your intuition and knowing.

It can help when we can allow ourselves to flow naturally with the seasons and perhaps instead of seeing the long dark months of Winter as a time of being cut off from the world, we can see it as Mother Earth's dreaming gift. She has given us a great gift, this beautiful big egg full of promise and wish. But to see it grow into it's promise, we must be gentle with it, warm it and incubate it. Let the curtain come down softly on the world. We have been invited to journey deeper into the dreamtime.


Today I am also remembering Vali Myers and how she loved the cold months and for much of her life she loved to live between two countries always. One to dream in and one to be out in the world in. For a time, Vali's personal notebooks and journals lived in my home and they were so full of energy, magic and wisdom that I found it very hard to sleep with them so close. Today I remembered finding this dedication that Vali wrote to herself in her earliest surviving journal from Paris in 1957. It is a dedication honouring the dreamworld - a land that the artist must visit regularly to create. And so today I am imagining Winter to be a different country that I have moved to and I'm looking at changes I can make to live more comfortably in this slower, dreaming land.

The first change is that I have received a dream telling me it is time to open up Swan Blessing ancestral medicine sessions again. These sessions will be available from July by phone and Skype and you read Swan Stories from people speaking in their own words about their medicine and the journey taken to claim it back. It has been 4 years since the blessing was passed to me by my Grandmother and it has deepened and changed. I'm excited about sharing this again.

Winter is the time of the Grandmother and when I wanted to ask her for some good, solid guidance for this season. I thought of the Emu egg and how it is a perfect vessel to hold the Cosmic (inner) Child.  I created the tarot spread below 8 months ago to help me to listen to the Grandmother and the Child. I am using it today to prepare for this dreaming time and I'm sharing it here for anyone who wishes to do the same. For all our Northern family who are dancing in the Sun today the only difference in using this spread is that it is not advice for incubation (feminine) but a way to access advice for what needs to be done and put out into the world (masculine) right now. I 'd love to hear how you go with it x


GrandMother's Gift to the Cosmic Child (with The Wild Unknown Tarot)


Tarot Spread Positions :

1. What Is

2. What the Cosmic Child Wants

3. What the Cosmic Child Needs

4. How you are currently mothering the Cosmic Child – is this connected to your own childhood

5. Behaviours & Beliefs to be Released

6. Behaviours & Beliefs to Embrace

7. GrandMother’s Gift (Dreaming Egg) for the Cosmic Child

8. Your new journey (after Winter) with the Cosmic Child


You can read the latest MoonMedicine letter here in full and you can subscribe to receive it each New Moon. 

Book in a Swan Blessing ancestral session with Julia 

Turning Off, Tuning In - listening to the still, quiet voice within

Sacred Familiar spiral Last night our monthly MoonMedicine Newsletter when out to our subscribers and the main theme for April was turning off and tuning in. I've received a lot of feedback this morning from many people feeling the same way and saying they got a lot of clarity from the tarot spread I created about listening to the still quiet voice within and so I thought I would share it here too. I hope you get what you need x

I don't know about you but I'm changing - a lot. There are so many behaviours and beliefs I held in the past that I just can't relate to any more. And the great part of being where I am now - making dolls in the forest every day - is that I'm not worrying about it. Now THAT'S the strange part. In the past when I've gone through times like this I've almost worked myself into a panic trying to find or name the next 'stage' or 'path'. But for the first time in my life, I am accepting this strange period of change and a kind of nothingness. Why? Because the Lyrebird told me this time would be coming - if I let myself get there.

Three weeks ago I found myself in an environment with lots and lots of people. It was a confused environment and I was aware that there was a huge part of myself just not enjoying it but there was an old side of me that thought I should push myself out there amongst it, to step out of the hermit cave and find out what's going on in different circles, how things are being done differently by others. But I just found the whole experience hard work! I kept missing Tony, Fox, the forest and craved to be making a new doll.

On the second night I had a dream of standing looking at a huge messy freeway system that was looped and tied around itself like 10 different snakes. Cars and people were speeding along madly. It was very frenetic. And then I saw the lyrebird standing in the middle of what could only be described as a traffic island. He was standing in a small circle of grass in the middle of it all. The lyrebird pulled out one of his two beautiful tiger-striped lyre feathers and placed it in the circle and told me he was leaving it there for me but I had to come and get it soon because it would not be there for long and it definitely wouldn't be there forever.

The next morning I packed up early and came home. As I walked down the pathway to our house I looked out at the forest and it was as if the leaves and trees were glittering, shimmering... I felt the forest was happy to see me! And I was definitely happy to see the forest. I sat with the whole experience and especially the dream and I began to understand that I had changed and that there was nothing wrong with that or me - I just had to start making some new choices. I have slowed down so much, honing everything down to the singular practice of dollmaking and now it is very hard for me to feel grounded in very chaotic environments. I interpreted the fast moving freeways as other 'movements' perhaps movements that I had felt the need to be a part of before or just trying to 'keep up' with the outside world and the way others are choosing to be. The Lyrebird was giving me permission to just step out of it all and come and receive the gift of sanctuary.

I think that what we need and crave are too different things - I'm paying more attention to what is needed (simplicity) and letting go of cravings and what has created them in the past. (You can read this in full here)


turning, tuning tarot by Sacred Familiar

Turning, Tuning Tarot Spread

It's interesting to have a look at what we need vs what we crave - it's a good place to start if it feels like there are too many 'voices' in you head haha! Let's turn off all of the voices and opinions coming at us from every direction from the outside world and listen to the quiet voice within.

This is a simple Tarot spread that I created in the dark moon this week to help me listen to all aspects of myself: body, heart, mind and spirit. Take a moment and breathe deeply as you shuffle your cards and simply pull one card for Need and one card for Crave and sit them beside each other. Are they similar in their focus or at odds with each other? If you need to, you might want to pull a third card to act as a 'bridge' in the middle to show you a way of creating a balance between the two or a step to take to towards honouring your needs more than your craving.

Now that you know what you Need. Place this card as the central card of your reading. Put the Craving card back into the deck (pay special attention if this card turns up again in any other position).

1. Central card: What you Need (Daughter of Fire) 2. Bottom left card : Voice of the Body (Grand Mother) 3. Top left card: Voice of the Heart (Daughter of Air) 4. Bottom right card: Voice of the Mind (Five of Air - Fear) 5. Top right card: Voice of the Spirit (Still quiet voice within) Vision Quest

Read the full April MoonMedicine newsletter

And you can receive this monthly connection by email by subscribing.


Dollmaker Julia INglis

Gently, Gently in the Full Moon

Tarot with Sacred Familiar Happy full moon friends. The moon will be in the sign of Libra for most of this weekend - a long weekend here in Victoria. How is the moon affecting you? I had the message to be quiet and rest and turn off all other sounds to listen to the forest for longer periods in the day. I think the amount of electrical noise that is around us can be much more than we realise. I pulled this card from the Vision Quest Tarot today and I can see that it's not a time for decision making it is a time of resting and trust. Creating an inner peace within to see what that creates in my surroundings. And beside the Two of Air card is a fascinating stone that my dad found in his backyard in Tasmania. It is a very deep dark smokey quartz in the shape of an egg with a kind of scrying window at the top. It feels very heavy and comforting to hold - solid. And it looks completely black but if you hold it to the light it is actually completely transparent. Maybe waiting and seeing things in a different light can help us make better decisions too. Just like the balance of black and white in the magical Magpie feather.

Acorns with Sacred Familiar

This week I have been receiving a lot of signs from animals in my dreams to come away and go deeper into the forest, to keep moving away from the city. In my dream my little cabin was parked on the corner of Flinders Street in the city! And I had neglected my animals. This was a sign to me that I have been engaging too much with the 'busyness' of business and communicating too much (I was on the phone in my dream). The animal in my dream that came to teach me this was a very angry Red Bellied Black Snake and I had only just finished adding this snakeskin to a medicine doll the day before. The snake was arched up like a cobra in my dream and biting my legs - it didn't actually hurt me I knew she was 'waking me up'! Why live in the forest and still act like I'm in the city? It's a tricky balance to run a business out here in the forest and I've still got lots to learn. So this weekend my aim is to relax and make slowly. Message received from Snake!

Here is the Snake Spirit doll that brought the dream to me. A strange unfolding of the dream was when I showed this doll and spoke a little about the dream when I posted about her in the AnimalSpirit Dollmarket and I found out that a dear friend, Mishele who had given me the amber she wears in her heart and peach resin at her feet, had had a very similar dream of snake too. I love how the medicine keeps showing me the weavings that go far beyond what we think we can see.

snakeSpirit medicine doll by Sacred Familiar

And finally the doll below is another medicine doll birthing for the next online DollMarket and one that is very close to my heart.  She is still only half-made and was begun in a ceremony on the land of the Southern Ash Wildlife Shelter to honour the souls of the koalas that have not survived in the past. It was a releasing ritual held with the brave wildlife carers who volunteer their time and love at the shelter and have seen so many sad stories. Tony and I wanted to give them peace so that they could let go of the heavy past to feel joyful about the new koala stories and spirits to come. They each made a doll to help them to let go so that they could give even more love and strength to the koalas they help in the future.

I think it's so important as carers to have spaces to not only rest and let go but also to play. I see this in so many of my clients who are teachers, social workers and nurses. We need to remember that we are allowed to be joyful even when we face such hardship in our work.  And so for anyone who spends time with animals, children, the elderly and disabled - anyone who helps those who cannot help themselves - we thank you. I hope you find some peace on this long weekend to not only rest but play too.

medicine doll by Sacred Familiar

Hawai'ian Ancestor Doll - why we cannot wait to be perfect

vision Quest Tarot with Sacred Familiar Recently I was asked by a friend who is also a maker and artist if it is a good thing to create something for someone else when we ourselves are feeling down or unwell. I understand this question, I used to worry about the same thing and very strictly only created when in my utmost health. But one day I created a doll for a woman in great need of assistance, she was suffering panic attacks and I wanted to make her a doll right then when she needed it most. On that weekend I was in a state of grieving for someone in my own life but as I sat with the soft wool in my hands with all that colour around me - my favourite part of dollmaking is playing with colour - I realised that I began to feel a lot brighter and happier. What I discovered at the end of the creation process was that not only had I made a very beautiful and joyful doll, I was feeling so much better. I have found this to be one of the significant benefits of creating a healing doll for someone else - we receive that healing too. We heal ourselves through the practice of creating and I feel especially that in the act of sending good wishes and intentions to another, we receive the same blessing. A blessing doubled.

Last week, particularly around the Full Moon in Cancer, a Wolf Moon and first full moon of the year, the intensity of energy was enormous. Two astrological posts that I found very helpful to understand the energy at the moment were by Hare in the Moon Astrology and Mystic Mamma. Recently I have been dealing with an old back injury that I used to get when I was much younger. I have come to understand it is emotional and caused from 'holding on' and 'holding back'.  Just before the full moon I felt whatever was lurking down there in the depths for too long suddenly and terrifyingly rise to the surface - it was as if a sleeping volcano had suddenly awoken. At the same time, I was weaving a doll for a beautiful Hawai'ian sister, Wai'ala. I asked myself: can I make this doll when I am feeling so much of my own fear? Hesitantly I began preparing the medicine bundle to go inside her doll. As I did, I kept hearing the word 'orchid' and getting the message to include this flower for her. I knew I had 2 orchids grown with love by Tony's mother but for the life of me I couldn't find them. Finally I gave up and began to close up the bundle. But I kept hearing a woman's voice very firmly telling me to keep looking! She was not one to be argued with and so I looked again and finally found the orchids - in the last package of course! I placed them inside the bundle and I could feel right away the doll was happy.

When I shared the message with the Wai'ala about being told to find the orchid, she wrote:

'It's local folklore that our Hawai'ian goddess Pele loves and treasures orchids and it's been said she moves her lava flow around certain ones to save them and consumes everything else around them; preserving them alive in a surrounding sea of lava. I have great joy that the medicine doll requested one'.

Medicine doll by Sacred Familiar

Ancient Oceans medicine by Sacred Familiar

On the night before the full moon I dreamt of an elderly man coming forward with a carefully wrapped box. Inside the box he said was an ancient crustacean. I felt very honoured but also scared to be it's keeper as if it was too precious and I was not worthy. I was also unsure how to keep it. I was then shown through a series of lessons on how to care for myself more and how to honour and protect the precious animal and mineral medicine gifts that I receive. I was also shown how to release what I had been holding on to. When I awoke from the dream it was as if I was still living in it, it was full moon and I was aware that I had work to do and instructions to follow from the dream.

I woke up and began to finish the medicine doll and as I wove the colours into her dress I saw that she would be holding a crystal skull to represent her ancestors and adorned with fossils of ancient oceans. As I placed the fossils into her dress I realised that the elder in my dream was one of Wai'ala's ancestors. In the weaving of the doll for his granddaughter I had created a space where he could enter my dream and assist me. On completion, the doll told me her name was FireOrchid Flowing Water Woman. At first I thought that her name was too long, I tried to shorten it to just FireOrchid but the doll was adamant again, she was also FlowingWater. I placed her in a large medicine circle with all of the medicine dolls, my personal dolls too and also all of the animal, plant and mineral medicines that go into the creation of each doll. I held a ceremony at the full moon singing gratitude to every creature, every being, my ancestors, Pachamama, my animals guides and all that help me to create the medicine dolls.

The next morning I awoke to read a new message from Wai'ala:

'I am so greatly honored, and full of bliss that while bringing her into creation my ancestors visited you and helped heal you and grow your natural talents. Their gift of the crustacean is so beautiful and inspiring. I've been seeking a stronger or more open connection with them, and felt a medicine doll would facilitate that amongst many other things, but I think that facilitation alone maybe most healing. It sounds like that connection was forged in many many ways. I have so many blisssful comments on all the details and beautiful work....but I'll only ask; Did I ever tell you what my name Wai'ala means?? It's my grandmothers Hawai'ian name and it translates to English as, fragrant flowing water; flower water, or commonly known as Flowing Water.'

I was blown away by this - I had no idea of the meaning of Wai'ala's Hawai'ian name or that this doll was intended to open the pathways of ancestral medicine. To receive this message was the just one part of the huge healing I received from Wai'ala and her ancestors - another was meeting this little tawny frogmouth. They have been walking with me this whole week and they are strong teachers! I am happy to say that I am practicing more gratitude and discipline around my medicine practices and have even released my hold on certain medicines that I was informed were not for me. It has left me with a sense of trust in what I'm doing and deep honour of the animal world, even the ancient creatures who are no longer existing in the same way on our earth but are still here in other forms.

I think sometimes we wait to be perfect to make something beautiful. If we do this, perhaps we will never create anything at all, thinking that we aren't there yet or aren't worthy. I feel that would be very sad for all of us and especially Mother Earth. Each creation is a ripple of love, a teaching from the mother in birthing with love. In these changing times there is so much healing and assistance available to us, especially when we create with the intention of helping another. We are all a little broken at times, we are flawed and a little ragged. We are all human and we are all in this together. Our shadow helps us to keep connected to compassion and empathy and when someone comes to us and they are facing their own dark night of the soul, we may know exactly what is needed. Because we have have been through it ourselves, we can give them hope to keep moving forward.  A tarot spread that really helped me to face my fears during this moon time was a shadow reading I call 'shining a light on the scary'.

My deepest gratitude goes to Wai'ala! I look forward to hugging you in person under the Redwoods at Spirit Weavers Gathering! And my deepest gratitude to your ancestors. I am honoured to share their message:

'Let go of what is not needed, protect what is sacred, remember the living ancients and trust in yourself.'

Thank you FireOrchid Flowing Water Woman.

Medicine doll by Sacred Familiar

Tarot Spread for Animal Messages and Transition in 2015

Vision Quest Tarot reading with Sacred Familiar Hello friends how are you feeling in these early days of 2015? I'm not one for making New Year's resolutions but I'm very interested in contemplation and reviewing the lessons and messages that appear at the close of a year. I usually use January as a time to review the past year and gain clarity about the possibilities for the year to come. I always feel that I tune into the Chinese New Year much more - at the New Moon in February this year - I can physically feel the year birthing at this time. So I love to spend the month of January contemplating, releasing and dreaming - tilling the soil before planting new seeds.

And have I had time to contemplate this year -  on new years day I went for a walk for the first time in a week after being completely bedridden and unable to walk after putting my back out just after Christmas. Like most of us, I really wanted to be like this figure in the Sun card from the Vision Quest Tarot you see above - joyously greeting the new energies of the year to come. Instead I was living with the consequences of burning myself out at the end of the year, not stopping work even on Christmas Day. Because I love to make art, especially for others, I thought it was ok to just keep on going. Sometimes it's hard to believe that art is work too. But I had to have a good look at my work practices in that long week in bed - why did my feelings of worth come from being productive? Why do I pride myself on my working hard? And why had I forgotten how much I love to read for hours in bed?!!

Needless to say, I had a lot of time for reflection and one thing that stood out for me was how many animals had crossed my path over the last month. Tony and I had been lucky enough to meet a snake, echidna, caterpillar and lots of bees who are now visiting our home many times during the day to drink from a bird bath that we have filled with water gathered at a local natural spring. I realised that I hadn't spent a lot of time with the messages from these animal teachers and that perhaps they had been trying to give me hints about the burnout that was coming but I was too busy to notice.

caterpillar photo by Sacred Familiar

Echidna photo by Sacred Familiar

Photograph by Sacred Familiar

Last night I created a tarot spread to understand these messages. I wrote down 4 animals that had crossed my path in the last month and then I shuffled the 4 Aces from each different element or suit of the tarot. Each element relates to a suit and to 4 quarters of the wheel:

Ace of Earth : Physical world (body, finances, work)
Ace of Water: Emotional world (love, healing, creativity)
Ace of Air: Mental world (ideas, worries, teaching, communication)
Ace of Fire: Spirit world (passion, dreams, magic, willpower)

I wanted to see what part of my life or element each animal had come to teach me about. I shuffled the Aces (the gifts or blessings of each suit) and placed them beneath medicine representing each animal. For this you can also just write the name of the animal on a piece of paper. I then thought of an animal that has been a big part of my journey this year or perhaps my whole life, a totem and for this animal I chose a Major Arcana card to represent the soul message and also a Minor Arcana card to represent the practical advice from this animal totem. And finally at the bottom of the spread I began to tap into the tiniest, whispers of promise and opportunity available to me in the beginning month of 2015.

All I can say is I wish I'd done this spread before Christmas! I truly believe that after reading it I would have let myself rest. There were so many messages about slowing down and receiving pleasure, playing more and loving each moment for what it is not what I wanted or hoped it to be. My wish is that this spread helps you to understand the spirit of the last month and the gifts that came to you through your animal visitors (and they can be any animals at all - perhaps you read about a particular animal or watched a documentary that stayed with you for a long time. And of course they can be your own animals that live with you, our wise familiars).

This year I will be happily returning to sharing tarot circles and also creating an online tarot weavers web to share wisdom and spreads. We will be making these offerings to our subscribers first so please join our subscriber tribe if you wish to be notified. If you find it hard to read for yourself I will be taking bookings for Tarot readings from 10th January. You can book a Skype or telephone Medicine Tarot reading with me here.

Vision Quest Tarot card reading with Sacred Familiar

 Animal Elements for Transition Tarot Spread

Animal transition tarot by Sacred Familiar

First separate the Minor & Major Arcana cards and the 4 Aces.


1 - 4: Choose 4 different animals & write their names on paper - place in these positions.

5 - 8: Take out the 4 Aces of each element & shuffle. Place them in these positions. The element will tell you what part of your life this animal has come to assist.

9 - 12: Shuffle the Minor Arcana and choose 4 - place here. These cards represent advice on how to create balance and transition in these areas.

13. Think of a significant animal totem that has been appearing in 2014 or throughout your life and write the name of this animal and place it here.

14. Shuffle the Major arcana and choose a card for the Soul Message from this totem to you in regards to the best way to transition from 2014 to the energy and spirit of 2015.

15. Shuffle the Minor Arcana and choose a card for Practical Advice on how to integrate the Soul Message and apply it in a practical way to create a smooth transition.

16. Major Arcana: Opportunity for growth and blessings in the early part of 2015.

17. Minor Arcana: Opportunity for growth and blessings in the early part of 2015.


Oceans of love for you and your animal messengers. I'm looking forward to weaving together into the year of the Sheep xx

Tarot Spread - GrandMother's Gift to the Cosmic Child

The Sun Tarot Card RW This year my biggest teacher has been the inner child, thanks in no small part to the craft of dollmaking. I soon realised that when I moved beyond intellect, the wisest part of me was a child - I call her the Cosmic Child. The Cosmic Child is the part of us that knows what we love to do naturally and well and wants us to create more space to do it in. This is why connecting to her or him is so important when we want to recover our gifts, talents, or understand our calling. In essence - our medicine.

Recently I created a Tarot spread to work with clients to explore and integrate the Shadow called Shining a Light on the Scary. The scariest part of these sessions was not the truth, the shadow issues or the session itself - it was the fear that keeps us from wanting to know the truth - it was the lead up to the session when our minds create the worst outcomes. In almost every session, the treasure that was waiting behind the fear was often their greatest gift - held in the hands of the inner child. More often than not, the fear was in letting that beautiful and innocent part of us out into the world and share our gifts with trust - trusting ourselves to be open completely and share our love. And so once we understood what the shadow behaviour was that kept this treasure hidden, these sessions became more about getting to know the Cosmic Child!

Very often there is work to do to find the Cosmic Child especially when we are carrying wounds from our own childhood. But I'm not comfortable with calling that child the Wounded Child, I feel like we can get stuck in the past sometimes in those old wounds and the most powerful way of letting go of the past is to be present. No one is more present than a child. She helps me to remember that the soul is ancient and that the not too distant past is just one story in her cosmic journey. I like the image of the StarChild - ageless, ancient and futuristic and when I remember that she is the one that lives inside me, it helps me to expand beyond my old limitations and remember my medicine and to feel excited about trying new things. She is my connection to the stars, the cosmos and limitless potential.

So now I know the Cosmic Child how do I take care of her? I wanted grounded practical advice to help me not only co-create a life with her but also how to nourish and protect her. Who would know this better than anyone? Her GrandMother of course! And so this is the next step in this Tarot cycle - GrandMother's Gift to the Cosmic Child. I imagined visiting her ancient grandmother and drinking tea while she told me in no uncertain terms how I must tend and care for this child now that I had released her from the cave and brought her out into the sunlight.

My wish and intention is that this tarot spread gives you solid and practical advice on how to help your Cosmic Child THRIVE!

GrandMother's Gift to the Cosmic Child tarot spread with The Wild Unknown Tarot deck.

Sacred Familiar Tarot Spread


Sacred Familiar Tarot Spread

Tarot Spread Positions :

1. What Is

2. What the Cosmic Child Wants

3. What the Cosmic Child Needs

4. How you are currently mothering the Cosmic Child - is this connected to your own childhood

5. Behaviours & Beliefs to be Released

6. Behaviours & Beliefs to Embrace

7. GrandMother's Gift for the Cosmic Child

8. Your new journey with the Cosmic Child


Sometimes when we are emotionally overwhelmed or feeling blocked it can be hard to navigate and interpret our own readings, if you would like assistance you can book a reading with Julia here 

Cosmic Children and GrandMother Dolls

OrchidDreamer medicine doll by Sacred Familiar I had the best time creating this medicine doll for Tilda who is 11 and a budding young artist. She is the OrchidDreamer friendship doll and filled with orchids grown in Tony's mother's garden and lots of forest flowers that I picked close to our home. While I was making her one of favourite people came to visit and I'm sure all of that laughter and storytelling has been woven into her dress.

Tilda's request for a friendship doll came in the same week that I received 3 more invitations to create dolls for children. This is the CrystalReader doll for Emma who is 12 receiving a sun blessing on her crystal ball.

CrystalReader Medicine doll by Sacred Familiar

I have been inspired so much by the spirit of the child whilst making these dolls that I began to make some big changes in my life, creating space for my own cosmic child to play. I created a tarot spread to understand what the cosmic child needs and I will share this spread with our subscribers very soon on the 1st September - the first day of Spring here in Australia.

I believe that whenever we give we receive and this week I had a sudden compulsion to go to our local opshop. And look who I found - my own doll! Isn't she beautiful. I don't know anything about her except that she looks completely handmade right down to her woolly jumper. She reminds me of my ancestors from Scotland and Ireland. Perhaps she is Fox's grandmother and has travelled from the Shetland Islands to take care of us all. Thanks Tilda! I definitely believe you and the OrchidDreamer had a hand in this doll exchange x

grandmother doll Sacred Familiar

Tarot Spread: The Shadow that Hides Your Medicine - Illuminating the Cosmic Child

mt donna buang I don't know about you but I've been fighting an inner demon since that last super moon. She shone a big silver spotlight into the darkest cave and I have been feeling something moving back there ever since. But I've been too afraid to look. When I think of the moon I'm always aware of shadow and light and that the moon often helps us to illuminate what we might normally miss or deny. This made me think about the power of that super moon travelling closest to the earth and how we are made up of so much water - how could we not be influenced by her magnetic pull?

For the last 10 days I have been feeling anxious and sad. There have been so many tragic events taking place in the world. And I have felt SCARED! That's a really hard thing to admit isn't it?  That we can feel so scared especially about something that we can't even name. I've noticed this happening in my close friends as well. All of us spinning in our own orbit, distracted and well, a bit lost. I kept hearing myself and my friends asking, 'Is this it? Is this really how we are meant to be living, just working to survive?' Survival fears are our most primal and overwhelming. I couldn't help it they just kept returning each day. At the same time I was also hearing my friends talk about the afterlife, near death experiences and even their own memories of heaven. What if the moon shone a light on ways that we are now living that are hurting our spirits?  What if She came to illuminate our shadows so that we had to face them and begin to make the changes needed to live in a way that is meaningful and nourishing? Did a deep part of us remember these ancient and sacred times again since her visit? There is so much in western society that actively shuts down access to the mystery and to consciousness but that is becoming a door that will not stay closed. We are seeking again.

winter solstice medicine doll

Last night, Tony and I drove with Fox up to the top of Mt. Donna Buang to visit the natural spring that we love so much. It was dusk and as we climbed higher and higher we noticed chunks of ice and snow. It was a magical sight to see the spring surrounded by snow - a soft, white pillow for the medicine doll that I left behind as a gift to the next visitor of the spring. She was made at Winter Solstice and my wish was that she would be found by someone who really needed to remember that there is magic and mystery in this world. And I prayed to the spring and the spirits of the water and land that take care of it. I asked them to please help me. I didn't want to feel so tired and lost any more.

This morning I woke up early and began to feel the gnawing pain of fear again and I'd had enough! I got out my tarot cards and decided I would look at this fear - head on. I laid out my owl wing fan and whale bone, the wisdom and record keepers, and Touchstone Tarot deck designed by Kat Black who I'd had the honour to meet with years ago. I created a new Tarot spread: looking at the scary! What was that dark shape moving there at the back of the cave? I wanted to create a reading to help me to finally name and know my deepest fear. What I discovered were old beliefs and behaviours I was almost embarrassed to own but once I did I found they were hiding my greatest treasure – my gifts and my medicine. Treasure that felt so precious I was afraid to let it out fully into the world, to be scrutinised and judged. And who was holding this treasure – a radiant child! I call her the Cosmic Child – the one who has known my gifts and talents and medicine for lifetimes and is here to remind of them again.

Whatever way you choose to illuminate your shadow and face your fears, I encourage you to be brave! Go for it! There is nothing worse than living in fear and nothing better than knowing exactly who you are and how to help yourself feel better, stronger, free. So I can truthfully say that today I am in gratitude and awe at that mighty crystalline orb and what felt like the scariest 10 days I’ve had for a long, long time. Dear SisterMoon, thank you for your light! Cosmic Child I look forward to playing with you again wise creature.

facing fears tarot reading

Card positions and meanings (reading from bottom to top):

Position 1. (Bottom card) What Is: Position 2. What is your Scary: Position 3. Why is this so frightening: Position 4. The Old Belief that is feeding the Scary: Position 5. The New Practice that allow you to be an open channel for love and to shine without fear.

Sometimes when we are emotionally overwhelmed or feeling blocked it can be hard to navigate and interpret our own readings, if you would like assistance you can book a reading with Julia


Testimonials for Shining a Light on the Scary – Illuminating the Cosmic Child Readings

My session with Julia got to the core of my reason for being on this Earth! It also shone a light on my deepest woundings,  that hold me back from being the person I am, from living my highest potential and Blessed life. It was the story of this life time, revealing the myths and the truths for what they really were. I loved the reading, it gave me so much clarity and freedom to live the blessed version of my life, not the afraid and lonely version.. Shining forth!
(Shining a Light on the Scary – facing our fears Tarot session)


‘I had been in lockdown, scared to move either way for some unknown fear that was clawing in the pit of my stomach. I was feeling melancholy and having overwhelming thoughts, questioning everything I stood for and struggling with my life path. Julia’s reading unlocked answers on a cosmic level. In her shadow reading with me I got to face this fear with Julia’s assistance and found out that what I truly feared more than anything else was being myself and shining. I know right?! I feared owning my medicine, truly owning it.

It was time to come out of the cave and offer my medicine to all, rather than to a select few. I had been dulling myself down so as not to gain attention. Trying to contain my energy rather than share it. It was time to come out and that’s why I was afraid. Julia touched on a past life issue of a fear of persecution, fear of judgement from others – it has led me to wanting to ‘fit in’, wanting to be liked and normal (oh the horror). My fear was of showing my power and being ridiculed for my light. Fear of being labelled a show off. Fear of being noticed.

I am a healer, nurse, wise woman, witch, death walker and death doula. I walk between worlds and I have for as long as I remember. I’m the one holding your blood and guts in my hands. I’m the one with you as you take your last breath. Julia’s shadow reading was like being given a mirror to hold up to my face and there was no escape. It showed me the past, my shadow and the deepest locked away feelings and memories that I held at my core. Knowing and facing these fears helped me to step through them to embrace all that I am.’

Bec Rainbowalker, Nurse and Death Doula 2014

(Shining a Light on the Scary – facing our fears Tarot session)


crystal ball

New Moon Gift - Karmic Crossroads Tarot Spread

I would love to gift this New Moon spread to all who come to visit us here on our web-nest. This spread was birthed over the Dark Moon and New Moon in Gemini last week. It helped me so much in my decision making and this is my actual reading above. We held a Tarot sharing circle in the forest on friday night and we witnessed some beautiful transformations taking place as the readers worked their magic both in finding new pathways and helping others find theirs too. The Tarot deck I have used in this spread is the Gaian Tarot created by Joanna Powell Colbert a deck that is full of hope and earth wisdom.
With the clarity and wisdom I gain from reading Tarot for myself I can make conscious changes that help to weave and create a life that nourishes my heart and spirit and hopefully those around me. My wish is that this spread helps you to do the same. Please feel free to share this spread with friends and loved ones by directing them back to us here at the source.
From the Forest Dreaming, love Julia and Tony and Fox.