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, July 25, 2016

Chance Encounters

From the Norse Tarot, the Wheel of Fortune; from the Wolf Pack, Friends:
          The three Norns were believed to govern the fate of man; even the gods had no influence on how they wove their web. The oldest Norn looked toward the past, the youngest toward the future and the middle-aged one focused on the present. The rune associated with this card is Rad (Raidho), and like the Wheel, it implies travel, movement and change. The Friends from the Wolf Pack reflect my thoughts lately of old friends who were once close buddies but now have either moved or found other interests that occupy them. I used to live under the impression that true friendships would never fluctuate or diminish, but now I understand they must change in the same way everything else does. Sometimes I'm just a strand in the web of fate, a bridge for someone else that allows me to offer knowledge, nurturing or companionship (and in turn, a person may be a bridge for me). Other times we may simply be following a strand that arcs in the opposite direction from each other for a period, but eventually our paths cross again. Yet as long as I'm facing the present, I'm not going to overlook any new strands that pass my way. That chance encounter might just turn out to be an unexpected but fortunate meeting for me.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Soft Spots

This week I'll be using the Norse Tarot deck and book set, created by Clive Barrett and published by Aquarian Press. I'll also be using the Wolf Pack, created and self-published by Robert Petro. Today's draws are the Queen of Cups and Wolf Pack:
          I could learn a lot from the Queen of Cups, a bodhisattva in training. When those I mentor come to me with their problems, I often just give them a reality check instead of sympathy. This particular Queen isn't one to hang out in anyone's pity party either (notice that rock she's standing on). But she's still willing to empathize with the person she's listening to, putting herself in their shoes. It takes a special person to be willing to remove the armor from her heart and experience the pain of another person. Yet it makes me feel vulnerable and afraid to expose my soft spot. However the kicker is that such protection doesn't really protect; it just keeps makes me in a constant state of fear. Here is my Obstacle, shown by the wolf behind the fence. To become a compassionate warrior (in a spiritual sense), I must train so that I stand firm rather than run. Practices such as tonglen and loving-kindness meditation can help. But sometimes I need to remember why that soft spot is so special, and why I need to leave it open. For that I use a 'Benefactor Moment' meditation (click 'Read More' for the meditation).

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Supporting Initiative

From the Nigel Jackson Tarot, the Ace of Staves; from the Viking Lenormand, the Dog:
          Jackson describes the Ace of Staves as 'swift initiative.' Just for the heck of it, I looked up 'initiative' on Thesaurus.com to see what other words were similar: drive, push, enthusiasm, eagerness, enterprise, inventiveness and spunk. Those words represent my feelings when I have a great idea or insight and want to put it into form. But before taking action, one of the first things I do is share my thoughts with those who are supportive yet honest with me - my friends (the loyal Dog of Lenormand). There is a line in the children's book Charlotte's Web where Wilbur (the pig) asks Charlotte (the spider) why she went to so much trouble to help him. She replies, "You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing." What a tremendous gift indeed is friendship, and one that helps me thrive and grow in a world that is often a hard taskmaster. In the words of Ana├»s Nin, "Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born." To all my friends, both old and new, close by and far away, I offer up a sincere 'thank you.'

Friday, July 22, 2016

Don't Fall Asleep in the Clover

From the Nigel Jackson Tarot, the Seven of Coins; from the Viking Lenormand, Clover:

          Instead of a time to pause, reflect and assess one's progress, Jackson sees the Seven of Coins as a delay caused by laziness or procrastination. My family would laugh until they cried if they could see this version. I am one of those people who likes to have everything done in advance, weeks before the due date. Instead of resting when it's done, I double check for errors and tweak anything that needs it. So I had a really hard time trying to figure out how this fit my pattern. But then I drew the Clover, which generally means good fortune or an opportunity, but it is short-term only. That's when the shoe dropped. I can't stand to poke people I've hired to do something when they don't do it as specified. But if they have a good reason for doing things differently and explain it logically, I'm okay with that. This morning I had an email from a woman about my lojong deck. When I went to Printer Studio for a link, I noticed they had increased the price of the deck by more than $10! I didn't want to get into an ongoing, back-and-forth communication with them, but neither did I want anyone to be overcharged for the deck. The Clover reminded me that things can work out if I'll do my end of the work (contact them) and not put it off. I have done so, and now I'm hoping to hear their explanation soon.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

In Need of a Mind Shift

From the Nigel Jackson Tarot, the Ten of Staves; from the Viking Lenormand, Bouquet:
          Jackson's Ten of Wands looks even more onerous than the Rider-Waite's heavy bundle on the back. His booklet states it suggests the "danger of an established power becoming oppressive." (At this point I'm chanting in my head "please don't let Trump get elected."). I'm purposefully not watching the Republican National Convention on television, yet I can't get away from its rhetoric. This particular card illustrates well the themes of this group:

  • Make America Safe Again - Be terrified! Arm yourself with guns and ammunition! Build a wall! There are people out to get us!
  • Make America Work Again - Don't give us your excuses; all Americans have the same opportunities! You're just lazy and don't have any ambition!
  • Make America First Again - We want to be the school-yard bully among nations! We want to have it all (we're God's chosen nation, and therefore we deserve it more)!
  • Make America One Again - As soon as you adopt our beliefs and our agenda, we'll all be on the same page!
I'm not a fan of Hillary Clinton, but at this point the election seems to be a decision between someone who is sane and someone who is so far off the charts even the DSM has no category to put him in. Thankfully the Lenormand Bouquet shows up to remind me to focus on what is good and positive in my life instead of being influenced by the fear-mongering. If I feel provoked or overwhelmed, I need to change the channel in my head and reflect on what is simple but beautiful.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Discerning Knowledge

From the Nigel Jackson Tarot, Temperance; from the Viking Lenormand, Book:
          The colors this angel wears suggest to me two extremes: the fiery passion of our beliefs, values and opinions (red) and the innocent mind that goes along with the flow (white). Jackson calls Temperance the supreme combination of opposites, which in this case might be called discernment. Living on this earth requires the ability to make decisions and act on them, so going with the flow (while sounding serene) is not always an option. If there are situations in my world that are unjust, harmful or destructive, I need to step out of that flow. On the other hand, completely operating from my preferences or prejudices places a veil in front of reality. All my preconceptions can keep me from seeing with clarity. If I am discerning (the middle way), I will be able to see what is actually unfolding without blinders. The Book suggests knowledge and information based in fact. There is so much fear and paranoia, hate and blame in the world right now, but most of it seems based in ignorance. It is easy for me to let my emotions outrun my intellect, and not ask myself, "Do I absolutely know this to be true?"
Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. 
Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Readjust the Focus

From the Nigel Jackson Tarot, the Knight of Coins; from the Viking Lenormand, Lily:
          Maybe I'm just in need of breakfast and coffee, but this fellow's coin looks a lot like a loaf of Serbian slava bread. For someone who is supposed to be laboring in the fields, the garments he wears are quite dressy and his horse is standing still. The Knight of Coins is known for being a responsible, detail-oriented guy who will get the job done right. Perhaps it is a loaf of bread he holds. Instead of working he's celebrating, because the fields have been harvested. (A bit of trivia: "Slava" means celebration and involves honoring a family's patron saint.) Marking the end of one season's yield with a special occasion sounds justifiable to me. Lilies always remind me of my grandmother, so I tend to lean towards the "wisdom, elders and maturity" interpretation of this Lenormand card. I think those who are older and wiser are more likely to pause and celebrate life's little victories instead of waiting for something huge to happen. Life is too short to stay focused on what is bad or wrong in my world; I'm better off looking for the small things to celebrate and appreciate whenever I can.

ETA: It dawned on me after posting this that August is coming soon, as is Lammas ('loaf-mass'), a harvest festival. :)