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, September 19, 2017

Granny's Got Her Groove On

From the Granny Jones Australian Tarot, the Two of Buttons (Pentacles); from the Button Oracle, Mask:
          Dang, Granny has got a groove going! Not only is she tossing and catching buttons, but she's got a hula-hoop in play too. I recently spotted a box of these at a local store, so I stopped and gave one a try. It takes a lot of hip swiveling with flexibility to keep those hoops going - much more than I remembered! But it's that same kind of flexibility (especially on a mental level) that I'm going to need when my perfectly constructed daily schedule begins to fall apart with the arrival of the unexpected. Yet the Mask Button implies that I don't need to plaster a smile on my face when things go wonky. In the words of Jim Morrison: "You trade in your reality for a role. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask." What happens when I pretend to be okay when I'm not? No one will offer assistance, because they think I'm handling everything just fine. It would be much better to be honest, admit that I'm struggling and take any help I'm offered.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Completion with a Caveat

From the Granny Jones Australian Tarot, the World; from the Button Oracle, Dragon:
          Granny's card reminds me of the many television shows here in America that focus on remodeling someone's home. Usually they hide the family from the rebuilding activity, then when it is finished, they bring them back. The builders have something blocking the family's view at first (like a large truck); when it is moved, the family gasps in gleeful surprise. When I have shouldered the responsibility and done the work to bring about my own achievement, I often feel fiercely protective of the result. The Dragon Button represents that reaction but with a caveat. In the words of Carl Jung, "protection and security are only valuable when not excessively cramping to our existence." Just as that new house will get dinged, scuffed and dusty, I can't keep my life and what I accomplish under a bell jar. But I can enjoy what is here now, without clinging to the hope that it will never change.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Stalemates and Possibilities

This week I'll be using the Granny Jones Australian Tarot, created by Granny Jones and published by Kangaroo Press. Along with it, I'll be drawing from the Button Oracle, a set I made myself from a collection of buttons. Today's draws are the Two of Swords and Lizard:
          Uh oh... Instead of having a nice afternoon over tea, it looks like these two friends ended up butting heads over some issue. Each obviously held a firm opinion which led to the discussion going nowhere, because neither was willing to consider another perspective. It's a hard day when a friendship is tossed because of a point of view. The Lizard Button represents communication, because these reptiles rely heavily on body language and color to define territory, resolve disputes, and entice mates. The quote that goes with this button is by George Bernard Shaw:
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. 
Trying to convince another person to accept your viewpoint is debate, not discussion. Discussion seems to be a form of communication that is no longer in style (especially judging by what gets put on Facebook). Both the card and button reminded me of something I read by Krista Tippett in her book Becoming Wise:
I can disagree with your opinion, it turns out, but I can’t disagree with your experience. And once I have a sense of your experience, you and I are in relationship, acknowledging the complexity in each other’s position, listening less guardedly. The difference in our opinions will probably remain intact, but it no longer defines what is possible between us.
When we share our stories (instead of just opinions), we begin to see how life has shaped each of us. And once we see each other as simply human (not good/bad, right/wrong), it is possible to relate openly with each other.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Three Es

From the Dark Goddess Tarot, the Wheel of Fortune; from the Tattwa Cards, Water: Seed of Earth:
          Fortuna, the European goddess of fate and fortune, is a lot like La Santa Muerte; neither goddess cares about labels like good/evil, rich/poor, or famous/unknown. They deal the same cards of change and death to everyone. How are humans supposed to find contentment in such a world? Surely not externally, where all the impermanence is happening. So that leaves the mind, where three things can trip me up: emotional labels, expectations and entitlement. When I start sorting situations by label (awful, fantastic), it becomes easy to self-identify with the emotion attached to them. I can find myself chin-deep in a bog of feelings from which it seems I'll never climb out. Along with labeling, I can set myself up for disappointment when I assume that a certain action will lead to a specific result. Life doesn't work like math, and unfulfilled expectations can leave me disappointed and looking for someone to blame. The third 'E' could learn from today's Tattwa card, which is often given the keyword 'alliances.' Entitlement comes from self-cherishing, when I think my circumstances are more important above all else. I notice this when there is a major event that affects me - it always feels like the world should stop turning and pay attention. But what actually helps me is to realize that everyone without exception goes through similar experiences. I agree with Andrew Weil; instead of chasing pleasure and happiness, I should be working for contentment: "an inner sense of fulfillment that's relatively independent of external circumstances."

Friday, September 15, 2017

Taking What is Not Given

From the Dark Goddess Tarot, the Seven of Air (Swords); from the Tattwa Cards, Air: Seed of Earth:
          Laverna is the Roman goddess of thieves, con men, and rascals - basically anyone who succeeds through deceit. She delights in upsetting balances and creating confusion. I could see how such a goddess would be a good partner in battle, but not so much when trying to live peaceably. She would think that was way too boring. There are times when the status quo needs to be disrupted, such as when life has become unfair and oppressive for certain groups. But there are also folks who like to be rebels, yet they have no worthy cause. The bottom line is, 'Who benefits?' Is the result helpful to the whole or self-serving only? Air with a Seed of Earth suggests seeing the humane side of things and being able to perceive how one's ideas would play out realistically. It is easy to assume this pair of cards deals with taking things that are valuable to others. However, the second precept of Buddhism reminds me it involves more than just stuff: 'I vow not to take what is not given, but to practice generosity.' Do I selfishly take time away from others by always dumping my problems on them? Do I take over conversations because I think I have better knowledge to share? When I sit among others, so I use chairs for my personal belongings instead of allowing someone else to sit there? Time, energy and space can also be used with generosity or without.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Join the Dance

From the Dark Goddess Tarot, Death; from the Tattwa Cards, Air: Seed of Ether:
 Impermanence is a principle of harmony. When we don’t struggle
against it, we are in harmony with reality. – Pema Chodron
          La Santa Muerte (Our Lady of the Holy Death) is the patron saint of death in Mexican folk religion. Although the Church condemns the devotion of her followers as a “celebration of devastation and of hell,” her devotees say they are drawn to her by her non-judgmental nature (everyone has the same destiny).  Many who feel excluded by the Catholic Church welcome this Lady who accepts everyone just as they are. By embracing death (seeing it as natural as the change in seasons), Santa Muerte believers say they are free to live their lives without fear or anxiety. Air: Seed of Ether represents transformation that occurs because of a fresh perspective. It's like being shut up inside a tiny office with no windows all day, then suddenly finding yourself at the beach with a sea breeze blowing. We see things differently because we are able to understand them in a new way. La Santa Muerte isn't a demon, but an honest representation of life. She might not always symbolize what pleases us, but she's as real as it gets.
The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.
Alan W. Watts

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Shifting Patterns

From the Dark Goddess Tarot, the Ten of Water; from the Tattwa Cards, Air: Seed of Air:
          Ixchel appears at times of great change - when a cycle begins and when it is completed. The water pot she pours from represents the rainy season of tropical climates when air quality improves, fresh water is available, and vegetation grows substantially. However it is also the period of floods, erosion and malaria. What is poured out is some both, just as it is in relationships. Though we may enjoy the bonds of love and friendship, these connections also engender times of anger, hurt and grief. There's no way to have one without dealing with the other. Air is one of the most invigorating of the elements. Yet we can become loopy with too much oxygen and faint with not enough. Air with a seed of Air represents the potential for great change. It must be monitored closely so as not to be caught off guard (like tracking a storm on the Weather Channel). The combination of these cards suggest pausing to pay attention to shifting emotional patterns in relationships. Someone might need a shoulder to lean on or a hand to guide them.