I use tarot and oracle cards as a tool for reflection and contemplation. Rather than divining the future, they are a way for me to look more deeply at the "now."

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Undiminished Overflow

This week I'll be using the Vision Quest Tarot, a deck created by Jane Toerien  (Author) and Joyce van Dobben (Illustrator); it was published by AGM Müller. I'll also be using Bird Cards, a deck and book set by Jane Toerien (Author) and Joyce van Dobben (Illustrator); it was published by Altamira-Becht. Today's draws are the Three of Water (Cups) and "Cuckoo:"
The mind constricts and love unbinds. The mind says, "Don't let go or overflow." Love says, "Be free without formality." ~ Rumi
          Inside myself is a small, tightly capped container labeled "conditional joy and love." Like a million dollar bottle of wine, it is shown off but never shared; its purpose is to try and support my self-worth when it is sagging. If the bottle ever breaks, all is lost. But there is another vessel inside, one that is more like a hollow tube. Joyfulness flows in and out without ceasing or diminishing, because its source is not based on external conditions. The overflow begs to be shared, to be offered "without formality." Like the breath, it seems only natural to send out what has been freely received.
          The only information I've ever learned about cuckoos is that one of them really loves Cocoa Puffs. As the Bird Cards book is full of New Age ideas but no practical information, I did a bit of research about these birds. I found that the cuckoo family gets its common name from the call of the male Common Cuckoo (goo-ko) - no connection at all with breakfast cereal. The feathers of the cuckoos are generally soft, and often become waterlogged in heavy rain. As a result, they must sun themselves to dry out and relieve the heaviness. This card reminds me that emotional treasures aren't meant to be hoarded. As Reba McEntire sings:
Smile's not a smile until it wrinkles your face,
Bell's not a bell without ringing;
A home's not a home when there's nobody there,
A song's not a song without singing;
Love isn't love till you give it away.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Wise Conservation

From the Badger's Forest Tarot, the Four of Crows (Pentacles); from the Gemstone Oracle, "Crazy Lace Agate:"
          Crows cache food by burying it in the ground or hiding it in vegetation. It could be a temporary storage (if they have more to eat than they need, they'll save some for later), or it could be for winter storage. Crows are more methodical than other birds or squirrels when it comes to caching. They will lay a marker (such as a twig or tuft of grass) near the food to help create a mental image of its location. Though many RWS interpretations see this card as being miserly, I would instead describe this particular card as being prudent with one's resources. After all, I've never heard of a crow calling Jenny Craig or joining Weight Watchers.
          The quote and keywords chosen for crazy lace agate are:
Adaptation is a profound process. [It] means you figure out how to thrive in the world.
~ Charlie Kaufman
relocation, adjusting to new surroundings or people, adapting to change
Why would I need to conserve my energy, time, health and finances? It's not just the times that are changing, so is my body. In my thirties I could work all day outside in the heat of summer; I could enjoy high impact activities and exercise. Now I have to be careful what and how much I eat, as well as how I move my body. I can still do the things I enjoy, but I have to do them differently and with more care. If not, those berries under the stone might have to be used for a doctor's bill.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Independence Even in a Crowd

From the Badger's Forest Tarot, the Nine of Crows (Pentacles); from the Gemstone Oracle, "Tiger Eye:"
          The flock of crows over the field of grain remind me of the ribbons of blackbirds I often see on summer evenings winding across the sky. As my friend Sharyn says about crows, "they all go to work in the morning and come home together at night." Independently the crows may seek their food sources, but when the day is done they come together to roost in massive numbers (except in nesting season). Such groups offer protection from predators and allow the crows to communicate with each other about what they've experienced during the day. When my dad died unexpectedly several years ago, my mom quickly learned to be self-sufficient. Yet she realized she still needed the company of others; she said she never turned down an invitation that would include her in a group heading out for some fun. The freedom of autonomy can be enjoyable but inclusive involvement has its pluses too.
          The quote and keywords for tiger eye are:
Taking the decision-making process away from people disempowers them. It also makes them much less likely to buy into the decision, however right it may be. One’s own conscience remains the ultimate arbiter. ~ Lama Surya Das
personal freedom, independence, self-reliance, disciplined approach
The message of tiger eye appears to caution against getting caught up in the herd mentality. There's nothing wrong with hanging out with others and listening to their ideas and opinions about things. I have plenty to learn about the world, and like the crows, could benefit from any reliable information I might receive. Yet I still need to rely on my own conscience instead of jumping into any emotionally charged rally. I need to think with my head, not fly by feelings only.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Spoonfuls of Chamomile Tea

From the Badger's Forest Tarot, the Four of Rabbits (Wands); from the  Gemstone Oracle, "Magnesite:"

          This illustration made me think of Beatrix Potter's storybook, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. I can imagine Mother bunny waiting for Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter to come home for the evening. They are old enough to go off exploring during the day on their own, but at night they must return to the safety of home. Eventually they will leave and start families, but the bunnies still have some maturing to do. In fact, I'm sure Mother bunny has already gathered some chamomile flowers for Peter, knowing he probably has been busy stuffing his furry little cheeks in Mr. McGregor's garden.
          The quote and keywords for magnesite are:
Do not overlook negative actions merely because they are small; however small a spark may be, it can burn down a haystack as big as a mountain. Do not overlook tiny good actions, thinking they are of no benefit even; tiny drops of water in the end will fill a huge vessel.
~ Gautama Buddha
cause and effect, reaping what’s been sown, gracefully accepting responsibility for one’s actions
Whether raising a child or working on a project, there are times when a person can feel like nothing is making a difference. For me personally, I think I miss the progress that has been made because I have a specific vision of what the end result will look like. There's a good chance things are moving in the right direction, but taking a different route to get there. And so today I will have hope that those "tiny good actions" I do will one day bring things to fruition, even if today only a foundation has been laid.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Loss and Confrontation

From the Badger's Forest Tarot, the Five of Foxes (Cups); from the Gemstone Oracle, "Picasso Jasper:"
          A fox sniffs where he last left his mate and kits. He had been out looking for food when he heard the dogs and hunters in the forest. Now his family is gone and won't be coming back. Loss in the animal world is so different than in the human one. We have the luxury of grieving our losses, of taking time to honor what was. Animals (though I do think they grieve) have survival wired into their brains. They don't get a chance to sit in a housecoat watching television while eating ice cream for days on end. They must jump back into living life rather quickly. The only times humans replicate this experience is when there has been a natural disaster or when in the middle of an assault or battle.
          The quote and keywords chosen for Picasso jasper are:
Remember, confrontation is about reconciliation and awareness, not judgement or anger.
~ Dale Partridge
conflict (within or external), fear of confrontation, working toward a resolution
When I've lost something or someone I love, my instinctual reaction is to strike back at what or who I believe is the cause. I don't merely want to even the playing field, I seek total annihilation. It's as if I think the pain I wish to cause will somehow wipe out the pain I feel. Yet the Picasso jasper's message suggests that while confrontation could be a sane way to deal with an injustice, harming another (whether physically or through character assassination) won't make things better. That kind of revenge won't change the history of what has happened. But calm confrontation, with information rather than anger exchanged, might help heal my heart.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Possibilities and Infatuations

From the Badger's Forest Tarot, the Ace of Crows (Pentacles); from the Gemstone Oracle, "Malachite:"
          I have to admit VanderHoeven confused me at first with this image of a crow and a bird bath. I generally associate birds with air (Swords) and water with emotions (Cups), yet this card represents the Ace of Pentacles. However being ground foragers, crows do spend much of their time on terra firma. And here's what I learned about these corvids and bird baths: they often use them as a place to deposit their food. Since they don't have strong beaks for tearing flesh, they'll leave things such as rodents in the water to "tenderize." And because a nesting mother needs water as well as food, crows will let food soak up water before taking it to their mate (and babies too). Those pizza crusts weren't just randomly dropped in the bird bath after all. In a very unusual way, this card does symbolize the resources that are available for tangible development.
          The quote and keywords chosen for malachite are:
Strange, that some of us, with quick alternate vision, see beyond our infatuations, and even while we rave on the heights, behold the wide plain where our persistent self pauses and awaits us. ~ George Eliot
protection, a need for caution and prudence, avoid impulsive behavior
In her quote, Eliot speaks of those compulsive desires that another more rational side knows is not a good idea. As someone who frequently gets attracted to new card decks, art supplies or books, I can relate. Malachite's message is to wait, do some deeper research and then decide if what I long for is really worth having. Often what looks wonderfully bright and shiny at first turns out to be just a piece of soggy pizza crust.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Feeling Boarish

From the Badger's Forest Tarot, the Hierophant; from the Gemstone Oracle, "Turquoise:"
          Wild boars are an invasive species here in the States. They cause extensive damage to pastures and crops and eat everything from acorns to newborn mammals (including livestock). They also carry diseases that are transmissible to humans. It is telling that the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has a year-round open hunting season with no limit for them. Wild boars that are heavily hunted have adapted by foraging at night instead of the day. They are intelligent, wily and vicious if threatened. I admire their survival skills and tenacity, yet I respect and fear them because they are dangerous. The parallels between this animal and leaders (especially of religious or political groups) are obvious. Individuality is not favored; it is a closed community unless you want to join. But if you do, don't bring any doubts or personal opinions - they aren't allowed.
          The quote and keywords chosen for turquoise are:
There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.
~ Miguel Ruiz
lasting inner peace, contentment and satisfaction, equanimity, simplicity
Whoops... it appears from Mr. Ruiz's statement that my prejudice is showing. Just because I've had a bad experience with a few communities doesn't mean they are all bad. Many groups can give people a sense of belonging and offer encouragement when life gets tough. If life is chaotic and overwhelming, their philosophy can help them understand it and provide hope that things will get better. I suppose I shouldn't paint with such a wide brush.