I use tarot and oracle cards as tools for reflection and contemplation. Rather than divining the future, they are a way for me to look more deeply at the "now."
"The goal isn't to arrive, but to meander, to saunter, to make your life a holy wandering." ~ Rami Shapiro

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Ready to Serve

From the Prairie Tarot, the Emperor; from the Medicine Cards, Raccoon:
          This fellow looks like he's seen a few seasons come and go (and appears to have outlived his totem, the ram). But does age make him a wise ruler? Dr. Ursula M. Staudinger (who has done extensive research on aging) suggests several qualities are associated with wisdom: self-insight; the ability to demonstrate personal growth; self-awareness in terms of your historical era and your family history; understanding that priorities and values, including your own, are not absolute; and an awareness of life’s ambiguities. It takes more than a long life to be a good leader. Raccoon was often called 'little bandit' among the southern tribes and was seen as a protector and generous provider. Raccoon medicine assists without enabling and doesn't need recognition or praise for help offered. The Prairie's Emperor shows his feet on steps, as if he paused between coming and going. His posture reminds me of the Bodhisattva Green Tara, who is often depicted with one foot extended as a symbol of readiness to come to the aid of those who suffer.
Those who believe in the importance of serving others should lead the way by fighting against the temptation we all have, and maybe especially as we age, to close in upon ourselves. ~ Marvin Olasky

Monday, July 24, 2017

Hitch Up the Wagon

From the Prairie Tarot, the Eight of Cups; from the Medicine Cards, the Hawk:
          I appreciate Ator's inclusion of the covered wagon in her illustration of the Eight of Cups. This leaving didn't occur because someone got their nose out of joint and stomped off into the night. There was time to think things through, because all of this person's belongings had to be packed and the horses harnessed. It is interesting that the cups line up as if the relationship had been balanced, but that may be because of common interests - hobbies, politics, culture, religion, etc. On the outside it may have seemed like a stable and equal partnership, but emotionally something was off-kilter. Hawk's keyword is message; the companion book states to "observe the obvious." Rarely does a day go by that I don't see or hear a hawk on my walks. I found a primary feather of a red-shouldered hawk last week (This is a large feather responsible for thrust, direction and lift in flight.) These feathers are shed in pairs, one from each wing, which keeps the bird balanced. Both these cards suggest that in relationships of any kind, it isn't healthy to have one giver and one taker, one who fills the other's cup while their own remains empty. Yet until we clearly see and understand the part we played, our wagon will likely take us to another relationship that looks much the same.

Sunday, July 23, 2017


This week I'll be using the Prairie Tarot, created and self-published by Robin Ator. Paired with it will be the Medicine Cards, a deck and book set published by St. Martin's Press and created by David Carson and Jamie Sams. Today's cards are the Six of Cups and Hummingbird:
          Anyone who's spent time outdoors with preschool children has probably received the gift of a dandelion or other weedy flower. On the outside it might not look like much (especially if wilted and bent from being tucked into a pocket). But this humble gift of beauty is a child's way of honoring someone they care about. In the same way, the cup of flowers represents the gift of memory. We have memory cups of all kinds - some filled with briers, others with sweet-smelling blooms, and those with a cloying fragrance. They all reside in the mind, and I can choose which one to dwell on. Hummingbird represents joy; it's hard not to smile when watching these small wonders zip around the garden. Though they take nectar, they also help pollinate the plants. The companion book suggests "Drop your judgmental attitude and relax." Face-planting in bouquets that relive pain and resentment aren't beneficial to anyone. Joy is everywhere - past, present and future - but I will need to open my senses and mind to see it.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Feminine Control

From the Tarot of the Master, the Empress; from the Paracelsus Oracle, Fortuna Major:
          In the tarot decks of old, L'Imperatrice was more of a ruler than a fertile, emotional earth mother. Her keyword for this card is 'control,' suggesting she does more than sit on a throne. Yet she is a balance to her husband's rigid rule. She believes in communicating with rather than to those she leads; maintaining relationships are important. She prefers peacemaking and diplomacy rather than ultimatums and aggression. Quality of life is of utmost importance, and she won't hesitate to morph into protective mode if the situation calls for it. Greater Fortune shows up again from the Paracelsus Oracle, but this version has to do with health. However this has nothing to do with winning the gene lottery, but represents a natural flow of events and circumstances like water running downhill. As the Empress would agree, when you compassionately care for all the parts (whether a kingdom or a body), things tend to run a bit smoother.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Knowledge of True Importance

From the Tarot of the Master, the High Priestess; from the Paracelsus Oracle,
          The keyword for this tarot card is 'knowledge' and is symbolized by the open book. In Reading the Marseille Tarot, Jean-Michel David suggests a connection between La Papessa and Lectio Divina (Divine Reading), a practice of scriptural reading, reflection and prayer. This type of meditative reading requires receptiveness, patience and trust that insight will unfold. The purpose was not just a divine connection through a word or an idea but for a revelation that opened the heart. In my wheelhouse, this would relate to bodhicitta, an awakened heart and mind. Acquisitio means 'beneficial gain;' it is given the additional meaning of 'ties or bond.' Would you rather have more money than you know what to do with, or genuine friends to share your life with? When I can sink below the rush of daily activities and all my plans, I find that some things are more important than others.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Research and Discussion

From the Tarot of the Master, the Hermit; from the Paracelsus Oracle, Laetitia:
Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. Carl Jung 
          The Hermit's keyword in this particular deck is 'research.' What does he study? The Delphi Oracle would reply, "Know thyself." Socrates thought it was ridiculous that people would try to figure out obscure things before they even knew themselves.
The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That’s the ground, that’s what we study, that’s what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest....If we are committed to comfort at any cost, as soon as we come up against the least edge of pain, we’re going to run; we’ll never know what’s beyond that particular barrier or wall or fearful thing. 
 ― Pema Chödrön
Laetitia means 'joy,' and this card adds the meaning of 'discussion.' The two cards together made me think of the Tibetan form of debate. The goal was not to win, but to discover the truth based on reason and reality, not dogma or opinion. We must learn to hold on to our truth loosely in order to consider other viewpoints. Research shows that we develop 25% of our understanding from listening to teachings, 25% from reading by ourselves and 50% through debating different points of view. So behind the playful aspect of debate (rather than a combative competition) lies a very powerful method of gaining wisdom.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Pause, Preen then Proceed with Wisdom

From the Tarot of the Master, the World; from the Paracelsus Oracle, Via:
          The World always feels like a long-held breath is finally released, and there is both a mix of ease and elation. With completion there is closure (like Death), but with the World it is because choice and effort have brought about this conclusion. The fixed signs of the Leo and Taurus bear banners with the seasons on them, while Aquarius and Scorpio hold a wreath of fruiting and flowering plants. It is harvest time, but like all seasons, it won't last forever. Via literally means 'way,' as in a path toward a destination. It seems appropriate since the lovely lady in the wreath can't stand on that stage forever. The deck also adds the keyword 'wisdom' to this card, suggesting that it would be wise to be guided by prudence and the experiences of others before taking off down that new road.
Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won't have time to make them all yourself. 
~Alfred Sheinwold