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

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Lights in the Darkness

From the Animal Totem Tarot, the Ten of Pentacles; from the Organic Oracle, Starry Darkness:
          Even if I intentionally tried, I don't think I could have picked two cards that suit each other so well. The rabbit is prey rather than predator, and so it must multiply rapidly in order to survive. That might sound like a terrible thing, but it appears this family is taking a moment to appreciate their deep, safe burrow and the moonlit field of clover they have to eat. Forget the saying "Who dies with the most toys wins;" I think it should be, "Contentment comes to those who appreciate what they have while they have it." The prompt for this card asks, "What will you do now that you have what you need?" The Starry Darkness card is an answer to that question. Sea salt was added to black ink, then gold paint added, creating a scene that looks like a star-filled night. I have been amazed by the generosity of people after the destruction left behind by the tornado here. People have sent money and gift cards to my friend who lost her home and belongings (many who don't even personally know her). They are the lights in the darkness for her. I too have a choice: hold tightly to what I have in fear, or be willing to create a legacy of kindness and become a light too.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ephemeral

From the Animal Totem Tarot, the Tower; from the Organic Oracle, Ephemeral Form:
          Mound-building termites live in Australia, Africa and South America and can create some imposing structures. The mound is full of complex system of tunnels and conduits that serve as air shafts; the nest itself is underground. Robertson suggests these towering mounds resemble the ego and its need to be validated (mound) and protected (nest). She asks, "Have you merely constructed a monument to your ego?" But the kicker is that everything in the physical world is vulnerable to change. Which leads to the Ephemeral Form card that Carole created with oil pastels. The green pastel melted on top makes it resemble the northern lights (aurora). These lights appear under certain conditions (when electrically charged particles from the sun enter the earth's atmosphere) and are constantly changing and never permanent. In the same way, anything I use to shore up my ego will be transitory rather than lasting.
Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us. 
~ Jane Austen

Monday, March 20, 2017

Burying the Carcass

From the Animal Totem Tarot, the Five of Cups; from the Organic Oracle, Fresh Beginning:
          The Five of Cups is illustrated with the capybara from South America. It can live up to ten years but generally lives four; hunted by humans, it is also the favorite prey of the jaguar, puma, ocelot, caiman, eagle and anaconda. Though capable of running as fast as a horse, they are also at home in the water, able of staying submerged for five minutes. The capybara in the water is swimming away from a home that is no longer safe. Grief will have to be postponed until it is out of danger. The companion book asks, "What ghosts of the past are you letting influence your presence?" Trauma, pain or heartache from the past can resurface when a trigger of that memory occurs. It can generate so much emotional energy, that it seems impossible not to generalize to the present. Yet the Fresh Beginning card appears from the Organic Oracle. Carole used an actual shed snakeskin to make a template for this card, thus its meaning of a new start that doesn't drag the past with it. I've been adept at putting my pain in sealed compartments at times, so I don't have to deal with it. But it often seeps into my conscious mind when similar situations or people remind me of it. Better to do the work necessary to process and heal the suffering than carry around a carcass with me forever.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunbathing

This week I'll be using the Animal Totem Tarot, created by Eugene Smith with a companion book by Leeza Robertson; the set was published by Llewellyn. I'll also be using the Organic Oracle, a set of cards created by my friend Carole Beasley as a result of "mindless art" (creating without a preset concept). Today's draws are the Sun and Joyful Peace:
          The ring-tailed lemur is the only lemur active during the day; it begins the morning by warming itself in the sun. I felt this way yesterday when the sun came out and the temperature climbed after several cold, dreary days. The sun offers energy, heat and light that everything on the planet depends upon. One of the questions asked by the book is "Do you keep a list of all the positive things that happen in your daily life?" This query leads seamlessly into the Joyful Peace oracle card. It makes me feel as sunny and content as I imagine this sunbathing lemur does. The white paint spatters remind me of rain drops that threaten that contentment. Why is it that we can remember in great detail a wrong that happened a year ago but have trouble coming up with something that made us smile yesterday? I'm a firm believe in a daily practice of remembering at least one wonderful moment from that fills me with gratitude. It is the umbrella that helps keep my sun shining no matter what the weather.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Yield and Heal

From the Tyldwick Tarot, the Star; from the Antiquarian Lenormand, the Cross:

          The trickle from the mouth of the fountain represents the cleansing and refreshing properties of water (much needed after the Tower experience). The hexagram symbol around the mouth of the fountain is an alchemical one. The union of the fire symbol (triangle pointing up) with the water symbol (triangle pointing down) is a combination of opposites representing transmutation. The combination implies accepting the good and bad in life which allows us to become the vessel in which transmutation occurs. The Greek piece of pottery is a wine jug (entitled by the Metropolitan Museum of Art "Dionysus and Eros in Procession"). Wine is used both to celebrate and relax, a fitting drink for this card. It is time to appreciate making it through our challenge, but also a time to relax and gain our strength before the next one comes along. The Cross card shows a recruiting poster for nurses during World War I. War in any capacity requires sacrifice, but for nurses it meant energy expended in healing the injured. As with the Star card, the idea of taking time to rest and renew is repeated.


Friday, March 17, 2017

Fools and Their Friends

From the Tyldwick Tarot, the Fool; from the Antiquarian Lenormand, the Ring:
          Instead of climbing into the mirror like Alice (Through the Looking Glass), this Fool is about to step into physical reality. The butterflies allude to the transformations that will occur as a result of his experiences, while the artist mannequin (featureless and movable) implies he has the potential to shape his life and become whatever he would like. The greyhound looks impatiently at his companion; he is ready to leap from the mantel and get this journey started. As I start my day, I too have the power to view the day ahead with enthusiasm and wonder or sigh about my aches and what needs to be done. Into what shape will I mold it? The Ring symbolizes commitment, and it immediately made me think of an old friend I'll be meeting for coffee this morning. We haven't seen each other for over a year, even though she is local. She travels extensively for her job and to visit her family; my obligations to family and the five women I sponsor in the program keep me busy too. Yet she takes her friendships seriously and has frequently emailed me about possible dates for a meet-up. Rather than giving up when our schedules don't coincide, she stays in contact. What fool wouldn't be excited about starting the morning off with such a loyal friend?   

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Taking It In Stride

From the Tyldwick Tarot, the Wheel of Fortune; from the Antiquarian Lenormand, the Lily:
          This Wheel of Fortune garden has two types of plants: annuals that die each year (some of the flowers and herbs) and perennials that will come back for several years before dying (such as the roses). In the perennial group there is also evergreens (like the ivy) and deciduous plants that lose their leaves each winter. The garden is a perfect analogy for the changes that occur over time. Some changes seem quick (annuals), some a little slower (perennials), and some we hardly notice (evergreen perennials). Water drips downward from a fountain head to keep the wheel moving. It follows the flow of gravity and reminds me that all change is natural like the seasons. The Lily can represent both peace and healing or an elder. The flower's bloom faces the Wheel and could imply the way an older, more experienced person might view the ups and downs of life. No matter how big the change, he or she could take it in stride, calmly aware that nothing lasts forever.
There is no hill that never ends. ~ Masai Proverb