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

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Is it Useful?

From the PetraK Tarot, the Eight of Wands; from the Astrodice, "Mercury/Taurus/2nd House:"
          This Eight of Wands reminds me of the red hot poker plants my neighbor grows in his yard. Yet if he were to place a concrete slab over the ground they spring from each year, the plant would wither and die. Likewise, this card suggests a need for freedom in speaking, thinking and acting in order for progress to be made. If given free rein, solutions will be found and challenges met in a swift manner. Sounds simple, right? But the roll of the Astrodice shows the eloquent, quick-thinking Mercury has combined with the conservative, stability-seeking Taurus in the 2nd House (resources). Taurus is the concrete over Mercury, obsessively fact-checking and testing every little detail before doing anything. In the book I'm currently reading (10% Happier), Harris questions his mindfulness teacher Joseph Goldstein who encourages him not to think and worry so much. Harris protests that his job and life require him to plan and worry if he wants to be successful. But Goldstein suggests that after Harris runs through the same scenario in his head for the seventeenth time to question if such thinking is useful. Useful, no. Neurotic, yes.

Friday, October 9, 2015


From the PetraK Tarot, the Five of Swords; from the Astrodice, "Pluto/Sagittarius/9th House:"
          In the PetraK painting, the central sword is pinned down at the hilt while two other swords prevent any forward or backward motion. This is defeatist thinking at its worst; something negative happens, then suddenly all opportunities are avoided because of a fear of failure or loss. I know exactly why I drew this card today - I'm leading the meditation group tonight. Lately for every meditation I do, there is always someone who doesn't like it. If I do a listening meditation with ocean waves, someone tells me they prefer a guided meditation to keep their thoughts on track. Then when I do, someone else tells me there was too much talking. They request relaxing music with no words, but the music doesn't suit some folks (none of whom want silence only). It has been frustrating, and I do feel like giving up.
          The roll of the dice pairs the transforming change of Pluto with the good-humored honesty of Sagittarius. The 9th House implies a search for meaning, which fits well with my feelings of frustration. Yet the Planet and Sign suggest if I want things to be different, it's going to require me to explain how I feel. But I must be careful that I don't lash out in anger ("If you don't like it, then maybe you should do it!") or try to lay a guilt trip on anyone. Perhaps the biggest change should be with me - I need to stop taking things so personally.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

But It's Practical

From the PetraK Tarot, the Prince of Disks (Knight of Pentacles); from the Astrodice, "Sun/Pisces/2nd House:"
          Köck-Reiter explains this painting as the Prince's large disk surrenders to gravity. Representing the airy part of Earth, his inventive ideas always become grounded in practical creations. If it's not useful, he sees little reason to spend his time on it. With the roll of the Astrodice tossed in, the power and vitality of the Sun meet the dreamy imagination of Pisces; the 2nd House includes one's resources. Rarely have I bought anything only because it was useful. Aesthetics matter to me. It is not enough to have a bed to sleep in; I prefer a bed that looks inviting and comfy. Having a house is helpful for shelter, but what I put in it and on the walls makes if feel like home. Beauty and that which enlivens my senses add so much more to the practicality of the Prince.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Active and Receptive

From the PetraK Tarot, the Ace of Wands; from the Astrodice, "Moon/Cancer/9th House:"
          A friend once sent me a ruby in the rough; though lovely, most people probably wouldn't give it more than a glance in its raw, unpolished state. Likewise, the burning wand suggests I have an untapped supply of energy and enthusiasm at hand. Though unrefined, my will can shape it and put it to good use. It can provide me with the passion and motivation I'll need to get things done. Yet the roll of the Astrodice balances out this fiery, masculine energy with a feminine approach. The intuitive and receptive Moon links up with the sensitive and nurturing sign of Cancer. Combining such opposites can be quite the tightrope act. The "bulldozer" side of me likes to get things done, but age is teaching me that an encouraging nudge is often better than a hard shove. Slow, mindful movement with my intuitive antennae extended should lead the way, to make sure no one gets run over. The 9th House suggests all of this has to do with finding meaning through travel, study or spiritual searching.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Making a Splash

From the PetraK Tarot, the Three of Wands; from the Astrodice, "Mars/Gemini/6th House:"
          These three staffs have been firmly planted into a hole together. There appears to be water splashing outward, indicating an impact has been made. The Thoth tradition assigns this card the keyword "virtue," because there is responsibility behind the actions. I'd call them the three Cees. First is clarity: knowing what it is I want to do, understanding what I am capable of doing and having a plan for doing it. Second is confidence: a belief in my abilities that perseveres even when met with challenges. And finally is cooperative coordination: being willing to reach out and work with others who can help me achieve my objective.
          The roll of the Astrodice combines the fiery courage of Mars with the restless versatility of Gemini. I can see Mars working well with the first two cees, having the passion to focus clearly and stay the course. Gemini is flexible enough to figure out an alternate path if an obstacle appears and can bend enough to accommodate working well with others. But this planet and sign are like having a roomful of young children - lots of energy that needs to be carefully channeled. The 3rd House represents the daily routine as well as health. At least a loose schedule is going to be needed to provide some structure, including slots for taking care of basic needs.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Head-slap for the Heart

From the PetraK Tarot, the Tower; from the Astrodice, "Saturn/Scorpio/1st House:"
          Instead of being blown to smithereens, this Tower is being split in two, as if cracking an egg. There is something inside of value, but what is protecting it must be pulled away to get at it. I recently had an epiphany about myself which made me feel as if I'd been head-slapped. I realized that although I might forgive people who've hurt me in the past and bear them no ill will, I build an impressive wall around myself so they don't ever get back in. It is a way of protecting myself from ever being vulnerable again. When I say this out loud it seems ludicrous, but inside it feels like a rational strategy for survival. Yet having a compassionate heart means I'm willing to sit with my own pain instead of covering it up. My hurt is what can connect me to others; it is an experience we all share.
          What happens when the patient and responsible Saturn meets up with the emotional intensity of Scorpio? Probably exactly what is happening in the Tower card. The strong, detached facade gets removed to reveal a frightened child within. In the Dhammapada, the Buddha is said to have stated: “Should you find a wise critic to point out your faults, follow him as you would a guide to hidden treasure.” The treasure is that child, a girl who can learn to love and accept without fear, because she'll figure out just how resilient the heart can be. The 1st House is the face I present to the world; I think I would prefer it to be open and receptive rather than adorned with a "No Trespassing" sign.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Cloudy Condtions

This week I'll be using the PetraK Tarot, created by Petra Reiter-Köck and published by Piatnik. I'll be pairing with this deck a roll from the Astrodice, a kit produced by The Wessex Astrologer Ltd. Today's card and roll are the Eight of Swords and "Neptune/Pisces/2nd House:"
          In the Thoth tradition, the Eight of Swords is referred to as Interference. Here is the mind that loves to analyze each detail until it has squeezed all the sanity right out. Toss in a bit of fear, and any idea or solution triggers a "yes, but..." in return. The mind spins and spins in circles yet makes no progress. Looking at the Astrodice roll, the reason for this endless mental cycle becomes a bit clearer. Dreamy Neptune pairs up with the poetic Pisces, which would be great if the objective was of an artistic or spiritual nature. But the 2nd House is about resources - those material things that keep us comfortable and provide stability and security. This planet and sign are two of the most impractical for such a grounded purpose. The sword at the bottom of the card remains in the yellow light and suggests pausing until logic and reality shed a brighter light on the situation.