I use tarot and oracle cards as a tool for reflection and contemplation. Rather than divining the future, they are a way for me to look more deeply at the "now."

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Seed Sowing

From the Cosmic Tarot, the Three of Swords; from the L'Oeil de Lotus, "Karma:"
          Instead of a heart, a rose has been pierced in this Three of Swords. What was beautiful has been destroyed, and the woman and two men seem to be having a funeral of sorts. When I moved back to my hometown after college, a man with whom I'd previously had a relationship wanted to start dating again. But only a few weeks after our rekindled relationship began, I discovered that he was currently engaged to another woman. I will not write the words I said to him, but suffice it to say it was fiery and sharp. He attempted to apologize by sending a dozen roses to my workplace each day for a week. Every day they arrived, I cut off the rose heads and left the vase full of stems on my desk. They were a symbol of what he had done to our relationship, and I wanted to be reminded so I would not be lured back.
          A crystal is a solid structure whose atoms and molecules are arranged in an orderly, repeating pattern extending in all three directions. The "repeating pattern" of this mineral makes it a suitable image for karma. Imagine planting a flower garden with one black-eyed susan and five purple coneflowers. Each flower head will produce dozens of seeds with the potential to sprout the following year. From a Buddhist perspective, the intentions behind my thoughts, words and actions can produce karmic "seeds." These seeds may be wholesome or unwholesome; each seed will be patterned after the motivation that created it. But if I recognize these seeds (habitual patterns), I don't have to water and tend them - I can choose a different response. It is typical for most humans to want to lash out when they have been hurt or to turn inward and soak in self-pity. Either response is self-centered, and the Karma card cautions that such a reaction will produce seeds I won't welcome when they sprout later.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Endings and Outlooks

From the Cosmic Tarot, Death; from the L'Oeil de Lotus, "Hope:"
          Maybe it's the bird perched on his bony finger, but this Death doesn't seem intimidating to me at all. He reminds me of Discworld's Death, lover of cats and kittens, who is more of a hero than villain. The destruction around him looks similar to what was left behind when the flood waters receded here in 1994 (with less mud). Watching the waters rise higher and higher, I remember well the emotional reactions back then. First came the fear of the impending catastrophe, which was followed by numbness and then grief for the losses. As with any ending, hopefully there is acceptance at some point; I embrace my feelings yet become willing to let them go. No amount of anger or sadness will rewrite history. The Hope card shows a young man planting a tree. With the right care, it might produce apples in a few years. Or not. That is the tricky thing about optimism - staying positive without building a concrete expectation of what happiness will look like. The tree might not produce apples, but it might provide shade and beauty. Without assumptions, I can welcome what comes.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Full Up

From the Cosmic Tarot, the Ten of Cups; from the L'Oeil de Lotus, "Union:"
          This woman sits on her bare bum among ten overflowing cups. And though she doesn't look ecstatically happy, I believe she is content. She has learned to ground her emotions instead of being carried off by them. Life has been lived fully, and lessons have been assimilated. But there is no diploma or graduation; her restlessness will move her to choose one cup and start another journey. Yet nothing will be wasted; she will carry the wisdom of those other cups with her.
          And where will this lass be headed? The Union card suggests toward a partnership or commitment of some kind. There can be emotional fulfillment when I learn to compassionately accept myself, but there is another kind when I find this contentedness with another person or group. Ideas, hobbies and goals are much more fun when I have someone else to share them with. Even the challenges don't seem as insurmountable when someone walks the road with me. So I'll raise my cup and watch the horizon, eager to see who I will meet along the way.
Tarot Pink
Just wanted to give a shout out for the Indiegogo project "Tarot Pink." Here are a few of the cards Hexi shared on Aeclectic:
From what I understand, the deck/app will be published regardless if they reach their goal, but it would mean less money for cancer research. If you can, I hope you'll support their endeavor.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Use the Key

This week I'll be using the Cosmic Tarot, created by Norbert Losche and published by U.S. Games. I'll also be drawing from L'Oeil de Lotus (Eye of the Lotus), created by Colette and GĂ©rard Lougarre and published by Vox Arkhana. Today's cards are the Nine of Pentacles and "Choice:"
          With her feathered friend right outside the window, I imagine this woman to have bird feeders and bird houses on her estate. The key in her right hand is an indicator that she is not a "kept" woman, but has control of her own life - an independent, self-made person. And while the financial resources she has make her life comfortable in many ways, all the stuff she might buy isn't what bring her lasting happiness. Her contentment comes from having the time to enjoy the beauty of her garden and the blue hue of the sky. Time is a precious commodity.
          The Choice card shows a forked road, one that leads up the mountain and one that leads down to the valley. The memorial on the right lane suggests the way most often traveled in the past. Going downhill, it is the path of least resistance. But if you toss in the tarot card's meaning, there is the added influence of having time, energy and resources to spare. Wouldn't it be better in such a case to push outside my comfort zone, to challenge myself to explore, learn and attempt new things? I believe I've just been handed a set of keys.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Results and Backers

From the Greenwood Tarot, the King of Stones (Pentacles); from the Shaman's Oracle, the "Ancestor of Tribes:"
          This is not a young horse or pony in the Greenwood card but a Przewalski's horse - the only true wild horse left in the world today. Like the King of Stones, this stocky horse is built for survival. The King demands not only that you put your money where your mouth is, but also your time and energy. Dreams aren't worth much to him if they're never brought into reality. Common sense and hard work are the ideals he holds, but he wouldn't object to taking time to enjoy the fruit these standards produce. The Ancestor of Tribes is a reminder of the collective support that can come from family, friends and acquaintances. When trying to make an aspiration or goal into something concrete, it's good to have a group that's got your back. Even if they're not financial benefactors, those who encourage and gently nudge us can make a huge difference in whether we're successful in our endeavors.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Reset Button

From the Greenwood Tarot, the Four of Arrows (Swords); from the Shaman's Oracle, the "Hunter of Dreams:"
Zen teachers often tell their students, "Return to your original state," meaning the state of mind that is uncluttered and spacious. It makes me think of computers, ipods and other technology that allow you to return the system to its original factory settings if infected with bugs or viruses. Too bad humans don't have such a button; I tend to use walks in nature, meditation (active or passive) and sleep to rest and clear my mind. The Hunter of Dreams isn't just looking for an enjoyable dream. He's looking for ways to open the door of perception so that transforming realizations can enter the mind. Seeing the butterfly hovering over the sleeping man, I'd say that is exactly what's happening.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Muddy Waters Will Clear

From the Greenwood Tarot, the Queen of Cups; from the Shaman's Oracle, the "Ancestor of Hope:"
          I've witnessed herons standing still in water for long periods of time, watching below for food to swim past. They are a perfect representation of the Queen of Cups, who has no problem standing in her emotions (unlike me). When I feel anger, fear, grief or frustration, I want to act to make the discomfort go away. But Pema Chodron says I should embrace and watch it instead. What? You want me to stand in that icky, algae-covered, muddy water? "Acknowledge the feeling, give it your full, compassionate, even welcoming attention, and even if it’s only for a few seconds, drop the story line about the feeling. This allows you to have a direct experience of it, free of interpretation. Don’t fuel it with concepts or opinions about whether it’s good or bad. Just be present with the sensation," she replies. Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor, in her book My Stroke of Insight, notes that emotions run their course in ninety seconds. Only if they get rekindled by the story line behind them do they last longer. If I can pay close attention to the sensation of the emotion and let my thoughts glide on by, it will pass soon enough. The Ancestor of Hope card shows the painting of a horse and symbolizes the strength of perseverance, the ability to hold on to hope without any expectation around it. Movement and change is inevitable. As Chodron put it, "You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather."