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

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Ride Your Own Wheel

From the Wayfarer Tarot, the Wheel of Fortune; from A Curious Oracle, 'Orange Grove:'
"The inventory was ours, not the other man's," says the Big Book on page 67. On the other hand, it is a time-honored axiom that we often see the faults in others that we ourselves have, so perhaps when we take someone else's inventory, we are really taking our own. ~ AA Grapevine

          The chaotic color and design outside this Wheel made me think of how often I focus on other people rather than attend to my own thoughts and actions. If I'm frustrated or unhappy, I often look outside myself to find someone else or a situation to blame it on. Yet these experiences may be mirrors that simply offer a reflection of me. For instance, I might judge someone as opinionated and inflexible, but an honest look within will show that I have issues that I'm just as stubborn about too. The Orange Grove has been assigned the keyword 'fidelity;' oranges have long been a symbol of love and marriage. Renaissance paintings of couples, such as Van Eyck's Arnolfini Portrait, sometimes have oranges placed discreetly in the background. This card suggests that I be true to myself by paying attention to what motivates me to think and act the way I do. That's enough of a job without worrying about why other people are the way they are.
Image result for thanksgiving
The Buddha encouraged us to think of the good things done for us by our parents, by our teachers, friends, whomever; and to do this intentionally, to cultivate it, rather than just letting it happen accidentally.Ajahn Sumedho
Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

It's Just a Phase

From the Wayfarer Tarot, the Moon; from A Curious Oracle, the 'Sun:'
          Vivid, bizarre dreams. Interrupted sleep. Overly-sensitive feelings. The phases of the moon represent the changeable moods we experience, sometimes because of outer stresses and other times because of buried information rising from the unconscious. Often it is the stress that triggers the released memories. The Grinch in me wants to write a snarky post because of the dark mood that engulfs me every holiday season. Yet I can emerge from these feelings if I remember and practice the words of Toni Packer:
  We are not the different states and feelings, moods and tempers succeeding one another. All of it comes and goes lightly, cloud-like, without leaving a trace, when thought doesn’t identify with any of it.
The Sun card is assigned the keyword 'recognition.' With clarity I can realize that I am not my emotions. When I stop identifying with them and narrating stories around them, they will pass. When I cease wishing things were or weren't a certain way, I can drop the cinder blocks tied to my waist and float, no matter what the tide.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Feeding the Mind

From the Wayfarer Tarot, the Queen of Air (Swords); from A Curious Oracle, 'Alchemy:'
          The Queen of Air feeds a group of crows, each representing different ideas and bits of information. What do I feed my mind with on daily basis? Once I turn on the computer, I've got news from friends and family as well as news from the world at my fingertips. I attend several groups where people share opinions and beliefs, and I am always reading books and magazines to educate and develop myself. In a world over-run with a variety of media, it's easy to experience information overload; I must be aware of how much absorb, taking in only what is beneficial and leaving the rest behind. Alchemy is a medieval philosophy and early form of chemistry based on purifying, maturing and perfecting substances. Not only was it focused on base metals, but human consciousness as well. DeFount describes this card as an intentional rather than accidental transformation. What do I do with the knowledge I mix together in my head? Is it used to make me feel better about myself or smarter than other people (fertilizing my ego)? Knowledge that smugly sits stagnates; knowledge mindfully applied transforms. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Spending or Spent

From the Wayfarer Tarot, the Four of Earth (Pentacles); from A Curious Oracle, 'Nazar:'
          Though most RWS versions of the Four of Pentacles show a miserly sort of fellow, the apple tree in this card suggests a healthy, common sense approach to my physical world. With one apple in her basket and the other three still hanging on the tree, the implication is not to spend all my time, energy or money in one area. As Black Friday looms in the near future with Christmas not far behind, I can see how this wisdom would apply. Though I'm not one to run up a credit card bill, I can overspend when it comes to energy and health. I can hear my chiropractor now, "Stop sitting on the floor when you wrap presents!" Nazar is an eye-shaped amulet believed to ward off injury or misfortune. The irony for me (because I don't believe in such things) is found in the name, which means 'attention' or 'surveillance.' When I'm in a hurry, focused on the future rather than what I'm doing at the moment, is when I'm most likely to make a mistake or hurt myself. Perhaps the real meaning of that eye is just to remind people to keep theirs wide open in the here and now.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Changing Flow

This week I'll be using the self-published Wayfarer Tarot, created by Stacy Salpietro-Babb with Margaret Shipman. I'll also be drawing from A Curious Oracle, self-published and created by Holly DeFount. Today's draws are Six of Air (Swords) and 'The Torch:'
          These birds appear to be migrating to a nearby island. Their flight reminds me of the huge flocks of blackbirds that come to the southern U.S. in autumn. Over farmlands and neighborhoods, hundreds of birds can be seen in the sky undulating like a black ribbon fluttering in the breeze. Because they are unlike geese who fly in a V formation and honk loudly to each other on the wing, researchers have been puzzled as to how blackbirds are able to stay so closely together. Thanks to high-speed imaging and algorithms, scientists discovered that each bird keeps track only of its six neighbors and coordinates its movements with them. That fact made me question how many thoughts I am consciously aware that I'm thinking. Could I tell you the last six thoughts I had? It's doubtful. But if I could (meaning paying more attention), I might be more willing to migrate from them to more wholesome and beneficial thoughts if necessary. The Torch has been given the keyword 'intentions,' which is like a map of how to move in the direction of one's aspirations during any given moment. Meditation teacher Phillip Moffitt explains it much better than I can:
Setting intention, at least according to Buddhist teachings, is quite different than goal making. It is not oriented toward a future outcome. Instead, it is a path or practice that is focused on how you are "being" in the present moment. Your attention is on the everpresent "now" in the constantly changing flow of life. You set your intentions based on understanding what matters most to you and make a commitment to align your worldly actions with your inner values.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Giant Swords, Angry Geese

From the Jolanda Tarot, the Seven of Swords; from the Bird Signs deck, 'Goose:'
          Nope, there's not an elephant in the room, but a giant sword separating this couple. In my imagination, they got a tax refund; she had plans for a vegetable garden, but he spent the money on a widescreen TV. The Seven of Swords is often described as 'lone wolf' behavior, a sure way to wreck any relationship. The sword represents truth but also communication. Judging by all the snakes at their feet, they need to stop pouting and start talking. At any rate, that cat doesn't look like he's willing to put up with much more of their childish behavior. The Goose represents protection (as anyone who's ever been chased by one of these hissing, wing-flapping birds can attest). Looking at that couple I want to ask each of them, "Whose interests are you trying to protect, your own or those of both of you?" The first is simply self-absorption, and the second is true partnership.
Love and concern for all are not things some of us are born with and others are not. Rather, they are results of what we do with our minds: We can choose to transform our minds so that they embody love, or we can allow them to develop habits and false concepts of separation. ~ Sharon Salzberg

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Real Riddle

From the Jolanda Tarot, the Seven of Cups; from the Bird Signs deck, 'Nuthatch:'
          In Greece, the Sphinx (literally meaning 'to squeeze') was part woman and part lion with the wings of a bird. It was said to have guarded the entrance to the Greek city of Thebes; travelers who wanted to pass through its gates had to answer a riddle correctly. In the Seven of Cups, the riddle isn't so much in what cup to choose, but how to bring about the emotional change represented by the chosen cup. If I want to feel good about my body, I might buy exercise clothes, equipment and healthy cookbooks. That's the fun part, right? But I haven't answered the riddle until I actually realize I must do something with those things to find that fulfillment. I've heard the nuthatch called 'the upside-down bird' because it often descends head-first and hangs upside-down beneath branches as it looks for food. It reminds me to be flexible in how I think and what I am willing to do. Unhealthy habits or patterns don't get interrupted without a willingness to change.
Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character.
Sow a character and you reap a destiny. ~ James Allen