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

Monday, September 22, 2014

Torch or Tinder?

From the Wild Unknown, the Seven of Wands; from the Pictish Oracle, the "Arch:"
One branch stands upright and blazing in the night, while six other "dead" branches wave below it. Why does there always seem to be a group that tries to put out the creative fire of another person? I can think of a couple of reasons. She might be younger than the rest and labeled an "upstart." Her ideas might threaten the status quo and (they fear) topple tradition. Or, the others might envy her for the recognition she gets, wanting to be acknowledged and rewarded themselves. However, they might simply be "trolls," who delight in ruining the joy and image of others because it makes them feel better about themselves. 
Though the Arch symbol resembles a horseshoe, it is very unlikely that it is; there is absolutely no archaeological evidence that the Picts ever shod their horses. However it does resemble an artifact of jewelry that they are well-known for: torcs, or neck rings. The torc represented the wearer's power and authority. In combining this symbol with the Seven of Wands, there is a warning to use one's power with good intent and for the benefit of all. While it might be nice to wipe off those smug smiles, feed them a large helping of crow, and place my boot on the back of their necks, it would bring me down to their level of understanding and compassion. Then I'd eventually be waving a dead branch too.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


From the Wild Unknown, the Mother (Queen) of Wands; from the Pictish Oracle, the "Double Crescent:"
The Wild Unknown is mostly a black and white deck, but take a look at all the reds and yellows in the background of this court card. These colors and the snake with its coiled body is a big hint that this mother/queen is full of energy and passion. The way she protects her eggs tells me she considers her projects sacred and will fight to keep them alive and growing. This card screams intensity to me, as if the queen has all her senses on hyper-alert.
The Double Crescent symbol found on incised stones suggests waning and waxing moons. It indicates there is a time to be engaged and bursting with enthusiasm, and there is a time to seek rest and renewal. Life can't constantly be lived at this mother/queen's level - in all caps with three exclamation points after each sentence. That kind of lifestyle takes a toll not only on her, but those in her inner circle as well. Besides, what were weekends created for?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Student Syllabus

This week I'll be using the Wild Unknown Tarot, created and self-published by Kim Krans. I'll also being using the Pictish Oracle, created by myself and brought to life in 3-D form by Alaska Laser Maid on Etsy. Today's draws are the Daughter (Page) of Pentacles and the "Goose:"
When I saw how the goose's head was turned back to watch the fawn, I thought of how protective I am of my daughter (even though legally she is an adult). When she was dropped off at college the other day, she was met by men in combat gear holding semi-automatic rifles. She learned later they were doing drills in case a gunman ever came on campus. I'm sure that little incident has something to do with my draw today. But I still think this combination has an underlying message for me too. The Daughter/Page is at a stage where she is learning and practicing her skills; though I am long-past young adulthood, I am still a student of many things. Besides being a symbol of protection, the Goose also represents being alert and watchful. It reminds me that books aren't the only things I learn from - people are also a vast resource. I can observe from them how to do things competently and intelligently, yet their blunders have much to teach me as well. Information can come in all sorts of packages.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Don't Go Back to Sleep

From the Margarete Petersen Tarot, the Tower; from the Elemental Dice, "Light + Water:"

The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you. Don't go back to sleep! ~ Rumi

The Tower painting looks like shattering glass and reminds me of an incident at home a few summers ago. We were about to sit down to eat one evening when two kids (intentionally) threw rocks through our window, sending shards of glass flying everywhere. It was quite a shock, the same type of jolt the Tower brings. But the Tower is not meant as punishment; rather it is a way to wake me up and allow me to see with a new perspective. 
The two dice form "Rainbow," a lovely combination to balance out the harshness of the Tower. It is the hope of healing and beauty, but there is a catch. After some traumatic life lesson in which I have an epiphany, I often feel the need to curl up and sleep. I seek comfort, not the bright light of awakening. Yet I must hold on to what I've learned, sit and process this emotion and knowledge, instead of allowing it to sift through my fingers. There is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but I'm going to have to follow the light to find it.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tears of Joy, Tears of Sadness

From the Margarete Petersen Tarot, the Wheel of Fortune; from the Elemental Dice, "Earth + Water:"
Petersen's Wheel is like looking down into a hurricane as the winds spin around the center. Life is about ongoing change, good and bad; yesterday was a good reminder. My mother-in-law has been agitated lately as her dementia progresses. She was convinced the "bug-man" who sprays for roaches stole some clip-on earrings when he came the other day. If we tried to look for them, she got angry, saying that we didn't believe her. So while she was with my husband at the beauty parlor, my daughter, sister-in-law and I had a covert operation at her home to look for the earrings. Of course they were found (stuffed in a box), but that made us question how much longer she will be able to live alone without 24 hour care.
The dice again produced the combination for "Rain," but today it feels more like tears. Do you know why we cry whether we're sad or happy? Our hypothalamus can't tell the difference; it only knows when it is receiving a strong emotional signal telling it to put our autonomic nervous system in gear. This system is divided into two branches: sympathetic ("fight-or-flight") and parasympathetic ("rest-and-digest"). The parasympathetic, which helps us calm down, is connected to our tear production. Reflex tears (such as when we are cutting up an onion) are mostly made of water. But stress tears (happy or sad) also produce a stress protein, allowing us to literally shed some of our stress. Well now that I've explained all this scientifically, I think I'll go have a good cry.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Long and Winding Road

From the Margarete Petersen Tarot, the Moon; from the Elemental Dice, "Wind + Earth:"
Petersen describes the Moon as: "groping its way from the ocean of unconsciousness to the mountains of knowing." While Freud believed the unconscious held only boogeymen ― memories of traumatic experiences, irrational desires and instincts, etc. ― modern-day psychologists consider it a file cabinet of both good and bad. It preserves and runs the physical body, stores and organizes memories, and makes associations between experiences. The domestic dog and the wild wolf show the problem with conscious and unconscious communication - the first uses logic and reason and the latter uses emotion and symbolism. I do agree with C.G. Jung somewhat: "Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." There are choices I make that are not based in reason. Some of these decisions can have a negative effect on my life, if I'm unaware of what triggers them. To solve the puzzle, I need to understand why I choose an emotional reaction over common sense. I'll have to use the language of the unconscious to do so, which means working with dreams, tracing emotional triggers from present to past experiences, creative expression through journaling and art, and working with stories (tarot is useful here). No wonder the path that crustacean has to crawl is so long and winding.
The Elemental Dice combination forms "dust storm." My mom just got back from Africa where she encountered such a storm. It doesn't just blind your eyesight, it gets up your nose, in your ears and in your mouth. All of your senses are basically useless; in the same way, trying to objectively identify and rationalize what comes up from the unconscious will not work. I'm going to have to think outside of the box.   

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Making Space

From the Margarete Petersen Tarot, the Empress; from the Elemental Dice, "Air + Fire:"
Instead of trees, streams, flowers and wheat fields, Petersen chooses to show her Empress creating an empty space. Why? To fill it up of course. Beside her are two halves of a fruit, like a shell that has been cracked open. What was inside has been released, and now a new space is being constructed. The image strikes me as being very Kabbalistic, as when Ein Soph withdrew to form an emptiness in which to create the Universe. I've been in creative mode until yesterday, working on a birthday present for a friend and planning which techniques to introduce to the meditation group. But now that I've completed my tasks, I feel restless. Yet the Empress suggests I need to allow some emptiness, and the Elemental Dice explain why. The dice combination is "lightning," suggesting a sudden inspiration. I must allow my mind to lie fallow for a bit if I want to have a harvest later. Author Julia Cameron suggests making time for an "Artist Date," a solo expedition to explore anything that is of interest: "The Artist Date need not be overtly 'artistic'– think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration." Sounds like a good idea to "seed" my brain.