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

Monday, September 26, 2016

Woodpile of Ideas

From the Tarot of Pagan Cats, the Knave (Page) of Wands; from Brownie Wisdom, Be Off:
          I can just imagine this young cat thinking, "Finally! A decent scratching post in this boring place!" It took him under an hour to run through the pyramids, and now he's already restless for something new to explore. His high energy and willingness to take risks does not lend itself to meandering slowly through a place. He likes to learn at one speed, and never from the same book. Of course his mind does the same with ideas. He'll have a wild thought about doing or creating something, then he heads off in another direction. He's like a brainstorming committee that tosses everything out on the table, regardless of how reckless or impossible it sounds. The knave isn't mature enough to follow through on any of it, but if you need a fresh direction to move in, he's your guy for possibilities.  The Brownie explains how to deal with scoffers: don't listen or simply walk away. People who are afraid of anything different will automatically attempt to squash any spark before it turns into a flame. Although everything in the knave's woodpile of ideas isn't feasible, there just might be a few suggestions too good to ignore.
The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
~ Rob Siltanen

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Snap Out of It

This week I'll be using Lo Scarabeo's Tarot of Pagan Cats (mini) with booklet by Barbara Moore and art by Lola Airaghi. Paired with it will be Brownie Wisdom, the smaller deck included with The Brownies Oracle created and self-published by Doug Thornsjo. Today's draws are Judgment and Keep the Heart Light:
          On a plant covered balcony, a cat has suddenly taken an excited posture. There's no frog or moth that's got him interested, but a constellation made of all his kitty ancestors. The booklet suggests he hears a call to action, from a dead situation into a new one. Have you ever found yourself in a spiritual rut, where you felt numb to everyone and everything around you? You move through your days doing what it is you're supposed to do, but the meaning behind it all seems to have evaporated. It feels like you'll be in this place of purgatory forever, but this card suggests that inspiration and encouragement is just around the corner. Snap out of the mental fog and be alert with your ears and eyes wide open. The Brownie shows up to add a message of optimism to keep the heart light because things are changing. He reminds me of the words of Harriet Beecher Stowe: "When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you until it seems that you cannot hold on for a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time when the tide will turn."

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Finding Balance in the Dark Night

From the Rohrig Tarot, the Two of Disks; from the Master Tarot, Twice Born:
          The Rohrig Two of Disks has a much more natural feel to it than its RWS cousin. A swoosh of moist air rises from the water and winds between the two spheres.The moist air suggests an emotional tie between what is happening in the outer world and the inner. Just as the weather is constantly changing, so too is life. We can either adapt or suffer (and we will indeed suffer if we refuse to accept such changes). The Thoth calls this card Harmonious Balance, suggesting that there is a way to walk with equanimity between gains and losses, weakness and strength. The Twice Born card refers to the raising of Lazarus from the dead. The deck's booklet makes the comparison between this event and experiencing the dark night of the soul. I think I'll let Eckhart Tolle explain this one:
It is a term used to describe what one could call a collapse of a perceived meaning in life…an eruption into your life of a deep sense of meaninglessness.  The inner state in some cases is very close to what is conventionally called depression.  Nothing makes sense anymore, there’s no purpose to anything.  Sometimes it’s triggered by some external event, some disaster perhaps, on an external level.  The death of someone close to you could trigger it, especially premature death, for example if your child dies.  Or you had built up your life, and given it meaning – and the meaning that you had given your life, your activities, your achievements, where you are going, what is considered important, and the meaning that you had given your life for some reason collapses.
It can happen if something happens that you can’t explain away anymore, some disaster which seems to invalidate the meaning that your life had before.  Really what has collapsed then is the whole conceptual framework for your life, the meaning that your mind had given it.  So that results in a dark place.  But people have gone into that, and then there is the possibility that you emerge out of that into a transformed state of consciousness.  Life has meaning again, but it’s no longer a conceptual meaning that you can necessarily explain.  Quite often it’s from there that people awaken out of their conceptual sense of reality, which has collapsed.
They awaken into something deeper, which is no longer based on concepts in your mind.  A deeper sense of purpose or connectedness with a greater life that is not dependent on explanations or anything conceptual any longer.  It’s a kind of re-birth.  The dark night of the soul is a kind of death that you die.  What dies is the egoic sense of self.  Of course, death is always painful, but nothing real has actually died there – only an illusory identity.  Now it is probably the case that some people who’ve gone through this transformation realized that they had to go through that, in order to bring about a spiritual awakening.  Often it is part of the awakening process, the death of the old self and the birth of the true self.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Temporarily Stable

From the Rohrig Tarot, the Four of Disks; from the Masters Tarot, the Straw and Beam:
One half of the world fears stagnation and the other half change.
― Marty Rubin
          The Thoth meaning of this Four is Power, the kind that comes from material stability and establishment. And while this seems comfy, its also a subtle warning not to get to attached to how things are. One thing Nature can teach us is that it continues to live, thrive and survive through change, whether seasonal or evolutional. I found the Straw and Beam card a strange pairing at first, as it suggests getting the beam out of one's on eye before pointing out the straw in another person's eye. In other words, don't judge anyone else unless you have no faults to work on. I can see a parallel with this and my husband's health. Now that I'm feeling better, I've been pushing him to see another back doctor. (His spine has been described as a nine car pile-up.) He finally did agree to see another fellow who has started a few new therapies in hopes of relieving some of his pain. But both these cards imply that just because my body is feeling good doesn't mean I should ignore it. I need to pay attention to its needs too. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Taste of Bread

From the Rohrig Tarot, the Ace of Wands; from the Master Tarot, the Lilies:
          There's a folk saying in the rural South that if a snapping turtle bites you, it won't let go until it thunders. I imagine the purpose of that myth was to keep kids away from them, as snapping turtles have fast reflexes and cranky dispositions. But that folk wisdom reminds me of the Ace of Wands, and the way we can get seized by a creative idea that won't seem to let go of us. It's as if we are passionately driven to do something with it. But most people - no matter what field they're in - get stymied after they begin by their thoughts: "Will people like this? Will they want to buy it? What if all this time spent will be for nothing?" Personally I think that spark is an innate part of everyone; humans just like to create. But the Lilies story of the bible offers an incentive to keep going as long as one's motives are honorable:
Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? ...Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? ...See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. ...Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-34)
Of course I'm not naive enough to think one doesn't have to keep a roof over one's head and food in the cupboard, but sometimes we get overly concerned before the horse even gets out of the barn. The booklet puts it succinctly: "We are missing the taste of today's bread while earning tomorrow's."

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Between Fear and Recklessness

From the Rohrig Tarot, the Eight of Disks; from the Master Tarot, the Vine and Branches:
          In the Rohrig card, a tree stump burns, but the group below envisions what will rise again from their renewed efforts. The card before this one is subtitled 'Failure,' so it is no surprise that this one would be called 'Prudence.' Things were not done with care and consideration in the beginning; the crash that resulted has taught them the importance of proper management and setting priorities. Prudence sails between the middle of fear and recklessness. As Bill Wilson put it, "Prudence is rational concern without worry." There's no need to go off the deep end if there's no evidence of anything to worry about, yet accountability and responsibility are still vitally important. The Vine and Branches is a story about paying attention to what is bearing fruit and what isn't. It's easy to get so caught up in trying to make something work, that we forget to take care of what is working. Wouldn't it be better to prune off the dead branches and take care of what is living?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Lawyers and Samaritans

From the Rohrig Tarot, the Knight (King) of Disks; from the Master Tarot, the Neighbor:
          From the spiral of coins and cogs coming from his head and the bills around his face, it's easy to see what this King is about. The companion book describes him as having an uncompromising pursuit of his own interests, both hard-working and tenacious. His Thoth title is Lord of the Wide and Fertile Land, and like the earth, he is a provider of life. Though he provides the harvest, he is also known as the healer - of body and land (note his headband). I'm sure he knows about crop-rotation, cover crops and compost to keep the soil healthy. He sounds like a decent ruler, but does he care anything about people who are outside his realm? Likewise in our global world today, is it necessary to care about people in another country? What if these people don't look like me or have the same beliefs I do? The Neighbor shows up from the Good Samaritan story in Luke to provide an answer. A lawyer, who was trying to weasel out of helping everyone, asked Jesus to define exactly who his neighbor was. Most readers would say the story defines anyone who needs our help as a neighbor, but Jesus ends the story with a twist. He says the Samaritan who helped the wounded man proved to be the good neighbor. In other words, quit trying to figure out if you're morally obligated to give aid and just offer it if you can.