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, October 30, 2014

Sangha

From the Shining Tribe Tarot, Tradition (Hierophant); from the Animal Tiles, "Eagle:"
       The red stones (the tribe) have created a sacred space; the green pathways represent the physical realm, and the yellow the spiritual realm. Inside is a place where people can gain understanding, find sustenance and feel the safeness of a refuge. This place is much like the Buddhist sangha, a community of people who share the same spiritual goals and offer encouragement and support to each other. As I deal with a boatload of stress right now, I can see how such a supportive community could be of help. Yet I do have structure from the practices in my spiritual toolbox; these I need to rely on for now.
       The Eagle symbol often shows up in my life when I feel shredded on the inside due to situations beyond my control. It always brings me hope by helping me to look at my life from a wider perspective and see through different eyes besides my own. I am not the only one hurting right now, there are thousands of others sitting in my boat too. And while I can't change what is going on in the outside world, I can work on changing what is going on within me.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Burrowing Under

From the Shining Tribe Tarot, the Four of Stones (Pentacles); from the Animal Tiles, "Cicada:"
       A figure resembling a cross stands in front of two gateways: one a temple entrance and another a dolmen. Unlike the the closed, restricted feeling I get from the RWS version, this card seems more open. Yet that figure reminds me a sacrifice will be demanded of me before I enter. The busyness I use to distract myself, the spending I use as anesthesia, and the "comfort food" that takes rather than gives energy will have to be laid down at the threshold. My body, finances, time and energy have taken a hit lately, and I need time to heal.
       I love the big, frightful-looking bugs known as cicadas; it wouldn't seem like summer without their loud, buzzing songs. These insects spend most of their lives six feet underground, for a period of 3, 13 or 17 years. Under the earth, they live on the sap of tree roots. At the end of the cycle, they emerge, molt, then mate, leaving eggs behind to begin the next generation. Cicadas are symbols of rebirth after a period of rest. Like the spiral found inside the dolmen, these insects teach me that conservation is a natural part of the life cycle. For now I need to burrow down and take shelter.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bunny Feet

From the Shining Tribe Tarot, the Gift of Trees (Queen of Wands); from the Animal Tiles, "Rabbit:"
       Pollack uses two snakes to illustrate the ida and pingala nadis, or energy pathways. While the third nadi (sushumna) runs up the spine and is connected with awakening, the ida and pingala are more directed at dealing with the day-to-day situations in our lives. The lunar ida is said to be nurturing and feminine; the solar pingala is described as stimulating and masculine. The Queen of Wands knows how to be supportive when needed, yet she can also challenge and inspire. Both sides are needed to reach the fruit on the tree.
       Rabbit (capable of producing forty offspring a year) is associated with creativity, a fitting partner with the Queen. But the rabbit is connected with lunar energy - prey not predator - and must constantly be on guard to prevent becoming lunch for a hawk, coyote or fox. I can sympathize with the hyper-alertness of the rabbit this morning. I've been tending to sick, struggling people and pets, none of whom seem to be improving. Unlike the Queen who will make sure she is taking care of herself while she encourages others, I have let those things slide which keep me sane while in a caretaker role. Yet I need to step into those big bunny feet when it comes to self-preservation, or I'm going to be the one who needs rescuing.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Rock-a-bye

From the Shining Tribe Tarot, the Five of Trees (Wands); from the Animal Tiles, the "Elephant:"
Rock-a-bye baby, on the treetop,
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby, cradle and all. 
Pollack uses a lullaby to illustrate the Five of Wands. Though there have been many theories about this song (all unproven), I personally think it describes the physical birth of the baby. First the infant is "rocked" as it is carried inside the mother, then the bough (water) breaks and the baby is born. Just as the mother endures labor to produce the child, so too can the struggles of these Wands turn into something constructive or rewarding.
Elephants are a contradiction of sorts. With their great size and power, they can easily crush whatever they encounter. Yet to watch them tending to one of their young or a sick group member is to recognize their gentleness and patience. Their lesson is that strength can come in many guises. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

He's Not All Bad

From the Shining Tribe Tarot, the Emperor; from the Animal Tiles, the "Spider:"
       I'm leaving shortly for a road trip (to visit my mom), so when I saw the Emperor I thought of how heavy my foot can get on the gas pedal when I'm rolling down the highway. If I don't want a speeding ticket, I need to be aware of how fast I'm going instead of getting caught up in the songs I'm singing along with. But then I noticed the bull on the card, and the phrase "bull in a china shop" popped into my head. The stag-like Emperor is blocking the way so this beast can't cause destruction in his city. I grew up during a time when people my age said things like, "Question authority!" Now that I'm older, I still think we need to keep an eye on those who govern us. Yet at the same time, I see the need for such a protective structure that keeps lawlessness and disorder at bay.
       Though their web designs vary, most spiders have a pattern of sorts when they spin their web. If they only spun one long strand from one tree to another, it is doubtful they would ever catch a meal. The sticky structures they create are formed with the intention of catching insects, so instinctive guidelines in weaving keeps them from starving. Spider reminds me that rules and regulations aren't just to keep me from doing things, they also help me do other things in a better way.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Enthusiasm with Experience

The week I'll be using the Shining Tribe Tarot, a deck and book set created by Rachel Pollack and published by Llewellyn. The oracle I'll be using is a wooden set of Animal Tiles, hand pyroetched by my multi-talented friend Carole. My draws this morning were the Place of Trees (Page of Wands) and the "Green Anole:"
 In the Shining Tribe, Pollack uses places to represent the Pages of each suit; this card reminds me of an Eden-like garden. Like the Page, I am most enthusiastic when I have a purpose. And when I am without one for any length of time then suddenly discover one, it does feel like finding an oasis in a desert. Such a purpose may involve learning about and enjoying the wonders of what is around me, working on a creative project, or being of service to others. It fuels my inner fire and makes me want to be alive.
The green anole is a small lizard found in temperate areas of the South. The male, with his extended, pink dewlap, is quite like the over-confident Page who exclaims, "Look at me! Look at what I know and can do!" The big difference is the Page doesn't have enough life experience to have produced a lot of common sense. The green anole on the other hand has developed coping mechanisms to survive. He can change from bright green to dark brown when he needs to blend in to his surroundings, and he has an autotomic tail that will break off and continue to move to distract predators. This lizard's arrival suggests I need to have a protective back-up plan before I dive into anything. Over-confidence and excitement can lead me into situations where I am taken advantage of or overspend when it comes to energy, time or money.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Wash It Off

From the Tarot of Durer, the King of Swords; from the Philosopher's Stone, "Self:"
As a child, did you ever find some treasure half-buried in the dirt while playing outside? If so, I bet the first thing you did was wipe or wash the dirt away so you could see clearly what you uncovered. That's what the King of Swords asks me to do in order to see a situation clearly. I must not rely on similar situations or be influenced by my emotional reactions. I need detachment in order to see with impartiality what is in the here and now.
Good grief, look at the size of that boulder in the Philosopher's Stone card. The Self image represents my personal identity or ego. All the experiences I've had and my perception of them create this ego. No matter what new thing happens, it wants to pull out picture books of the past and convince me that I should continue expecting more of the same. If I listen to my ego, I'll probably create a self-fulfilling prophecy instead of seeing the reality of the present moment. The King would tell me to shelve those books and take notes on what's happening now. Otherwise, I'll spend all my time wallowing in fear or resentment instead of enjoying what is right under my nose.