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."

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Can't Buy Me Love

From the Dark Goddess Tarot, the Ten of Pentacles:
Kin and kind, living and dead, all are part of one another.
For the Igbo people of Nigeria, Ala (whose name literally means 'ground') is the deity of earth, morality, fertility and creativity. She watches over all cycles of physical life: she is there when the crops begin to grow and babies are born, and she is there when someone dies and the field is plowed under after the harvest. When death comes, Ala receives him or her into her womb, known as the 'pocket of Ala.' I love the simple abundance present in this card; it reminds me that even though I'm not even remotely close to the 1% (in 2011, the average income of the top 1 percent of US households was $1,530,773), I am comfortable and have much to be grateful for. Besides, all of us will eventually come to the same end no matter how much we have. The Earth and her rhythms don't play favorites. 

From the Tattwa Cards comes "Water: Seed of Water:"
With water added to more water, I found it interesting that Mumford associates this card with diplomacy: the skill and tact involved in negotiating relationships. What does this have to do with the abundance above? I imagine it is similar to the way all streams and rivers flow into the ocean. We all have a common bond in that life is terminal for everyone, so why should I be jealous of what another has or too attached to what I own? I have to agree with George Horace Lorimer: "It's good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it's good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven't lost the things that money can't buy."

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Compacted Clay

From the Dark Goddess Tarot, the Witch of Fire (Queen of Wands):
Craft anew with the bones of the old.
Often portrayed as a white sow (a symbol of fecundity and fertility), Cerridwen was associated with rebirth, transformation, and inspiration. She possessed the cauldron of Poetic Inspiration (Awen) in which she brewed a potion to make her not-so-handsome son wise. Unfortunately, the servant boy who was stirring the pot got burned by the boiling brew, and without thinking, stuck his finger into his mouth. The magic entered him, angering the goddess who chased and ate him. She later "rebirthed" him as the famous Welsh poet Taliesin. Cerridwen reminds me that inspiration may take shape in unexpected places and through unexpected people. Though it doesn't look like the original plan I had in mind, it's still useful and beneficial.

From the Tattwa Cards comes "Earth: Seed of Air:"
Having lost most of our topsoil in two floods, it is extremely difficult to grow anything in the compacted clay that was left behind. It is like trying to dig in concrete, so I usually resort to raised beds or pots if I want to plant herbs or flowers. I can see myself in this compacted earth - practical and hard-working but stubborn and resistant to change. I need to occasionally be "aerated," allowing new ideas to reshape my goals when I become stuck. Progress demands that I keep my soil loose enough to plant in so that my aspirations can take root.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Space for Growth

From the Dark Goddess Tarot, the Fool:
Dare to come back to where you began.
These curious figures have been most often carved on medieval doorways and arches and primarily on churches and monastic buildings. Though the folklore behind the images was not recorded, there have been plenty of theories as to what the Sheelas represented: a protective spirit, a warning against lust, a blessing symbol for fertility or the remains of an ancient pagan goddess. I'm not sure I put much salt into any one theory, but I do believe the vulva represents a type of primordial gate to the unknown. Sheela Na Gig/The Fool encourages me to let go of my expectations and preconceived notions and cross the boundary into the mystery with a receptive mind open to the experience of each moment. The tiny flower buds that surround the figure hold the promise of something wonderful to come.

From the Tattwa Cards comes "Ether: Seed of Earth:"
For any creation, there needs to be space - emptiness - a place where growth can happen. The artist starts with a blank canvas and the writer with a blank page. It seems counter-intuitive that something can develop from nothing. But it is that limitless, boundless freedom that gives rise to an original, physical emergence. Fits perfectly with the Fool's message above.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Gate to Elsewhere

From the Dark Goddess Tarot, the Seven of Cups:
Drink from the cup. Enter the gate to elsewhere.
For a while now, I've felt restless, discontent and despondent, so it was no surprise to draw this card. These feelings wash over me like dew that condenses on the grass each morning. And just as the sun dries the moisture with its heat, my projects and obligations keep this discomfort at a distance. But here is Maeve, whose name in Irish Gaelic means "she who intoxicates." All her cups on the shelves are the many ways I've kept busy, allowing me to overlook those emotions. I've gotten a brief pleasure from each cup I've sipped, but none have been satisfying for the long run. Maeve encourages me to find a passion that lasts, one that gives my life purpose and fulfills me emotionally. It is my responsibility to find that "gate to elsewhere."

From the Tattwa Cards comes the draw "Air: Seed of Earth:"
Squaring the Circle
The phrase "squaring the circle" came from a problem in geometry which involved constructing a square that is equal in area to a circle. In common speech, it refers to trying to solve a difficult problem - quite appropriate for the challenge Maeve has tossed down at my feet. How do I choose one from all those ideas and fantasies (air) that is actually practical and realistic (earth)? Is there a holy grail for each person? 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fierce and Formidable

From the Dark Goddess Tarot, Destruction (Tower):
All the world changes
This may seem strange, but I actually prefer Kali over a burning, crumbling Tower. I suppose it's because I see her as a protective mother - fierce and intimidating maybe, but with my best interests at heart. This Hindu goddess is the consort of Shiva, and though both are associated with destruction, Shiva represents the big, eternal picture of time while Kali symbolizes the immediate side ("the time has come"). It's hard to have those things I'm attached to yanked suddenly away, because they shore up my ego. But Kali shows me what I think is a firm foundation is really just shifting sand.

From the Tattwa Cards comes "Fire: Seed of Water:"
When I was a child growing up in my grandparent's home, we had floor vents for the central heat and air conditioning. During the winter, my grandmother would fill empty soup cans with water and place them on the vents. She explained that all the heat dried out the air in the house (leading to sinus problems), so the water helped add moisture back to the air. As I see the formidable power of Kali in the tarot card above (fire), it is nice to know there is a seed of healing there too (water). 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Not This or That

This week I'll be using the Dark Goddess Tarot, created by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince and published by Arnell's Art. Today's draw is Alchemy (Temperance):
Fire purifies. Water restores.
According to the Encyclopedia Mythica, the Celtic goddess Brigid has three aspects: (1) Fire of Inspiration as patroness of poetry, (2) Fire of the Hearth, as patroness of healing and fertility, and (3) Fire of the Forge, as patroness of smithcraft and martial arts. She crosses the boundaries of faith and beliefs. Said to have been the foster mother of Jesus, she was declared a saint by Christians. Yet she is beloved by Druids and other pagans for her creative inspiration. Brigid is hard to label as this or that; she mixes nurturing, motherly characteristics with those of a warrior goddess. She reminds me that it is possible to blend fire and water, at least on an internal level.

The oracle I'll be using this week is the Tattwa Cards, based on the teachings of John Mumford. This morning's choice was "Water: Seed of Air:"
During the summer, as the temperature rises drastically, many lakes and ponds here must be aerated to prevent the fish from dying. As water temperatures increase, water loses its capacity to "hold" oxygen. Pumps spray the water through nozzles, allowing it to pick up and redeposit oxygen back into the lake or pond. As a person who loves to learn (air), sometimes I forget to practice what it is I am learning about. Reading every book ever written about love (water) will not make me a compassionate person; I must be a person who carries out acts of kindness.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Finding the Center Point

From the Ellis Deck, the King of Swords:
With his missing eye and birds, this King reminds me of the Norse god Odin. According to Ellis, the ghost of the king visits the Knight of Swords and explains to him why a battle based on anger and revenge will never bring peace; it would be the same as going to battle to get back the eye he lost. With such an attitude, it makes sense the King of Swords has his blade in a sheath across his lap. The white and black birds on his shoulders also made me think of the three pillars of the Tree of Life in Kabbalah. Mercy and Severity are the outer pillars, with Equilibrium (the king) being the center pillar. The King of Swords is mature enough to know the difference between a need to protect and defend and the desire to punish to feel vindicated. He reminds me to look for that center point of balance today.

From the Oracle of Shadows and Light come "Strange Valentine:"
The companion booklet states that love doesn't always look like we thought it would. Sometimes it is the severe "tough love" we offer to prevent enabling the unhealthy behavior of other folks. It  may look like merciful love, a time when we overlook words or actions because we know a person is grieving or going through a tough time. My guess is that most of us try to strike a balance between the two; like the king above, we protect and defend, instead of becoming a doormat or wiping our boots on the other person.