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 2, 2014

Rewiring the Hardwired Brain

From the Rosetta Tarot, the Eight of Swords; from the Ascension to Paradise deck, the "Cockatoo:"
The red background and the group of swords successfully camouflage the open bloom of the red rose. I read an article in Tricycle magazine by Dr.Wendy Hasenkamp this morning that brilliantly sums up the problem behind this card:
 Through the continual process of neural association, we slowly build up strong networks related to the things we experience frequently. These neural networks reflect our personal knowledge about a given object, person, or situation—in the form of sense perceptions, memories, emotions, thoughts, and behavioral responses. As we move through our lives, brain circuits that are used more frequently become “hardwired”; that is, they are easier to activate than new or unused connections. Because less energy is needed for these familiar circuits to become active, patterns that are practiced become quite literally the “path of least resistance.” ...The result is our inability to truly perceive others (or ourselves) in the uniqueness of each moment. Thus viewed, delusion—our misperception of the world—is part of the natural result of a fundamental biological process, one that is beautiful in its elegance and utility, but also dangerous in its capacity for distortion.
The Eight of Swords is a Thoth-based deck, so this card is subtitled "Interference." Our hardwired thoughts interfere with reality. Yet according to Hasenkamp, we can build a bridge over these deep mental grooves through conscious effort; we can eventually weaken them and build healthy mental habits. 
Cockatoos as pets require a commitment. They are intelligent, social birds who can live to be 70 years old, and they bond strongly with their owner. Their message is to be unafraid of making a deep connection with others. Immediately, those eight swords pop up around me when I hear this advice. I can count on one hand the number of people I open my heart to without reservation. Hmm.... maybe I can pull up one sword at a time, and make a small opening as a start.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Maximizing Assets

From the Rosetta Tarot, the Nine of Disks; from the Ascension to Paradise, the "Skua:"
Meleen uses an abacus to illustrate this card; the green beads moved to one side suggest the tally is a favorable one. There is a sense of counting my physical blessings here, the good fortune of health, financial stability, and time and energy to spend on what brings me joy. Yes there are bumps in the road, but life is good.
I had to laugh when I drew the Skua card. Here I was feeling all positive and happy, and I then I get splatted with bird poo. The Skua is a large gull-like bird in the polar regions known for attacking other birds. They do so to get the other bird to dislodge its food, so they can steal it. The bird's message is an attempt to dislodge an issue I need to deal with, mainly my health. I was just talking to a friend the other night about how shocking it is to find that as I get older, my strength and energy quickly decrease while my weight increases. Maintenance didn't require so much work when I was younger. At this point in my life I find myself wanting to concentrate on spiritual development, but the Skua reminds me I can't exclude taking care of my body. While my eating habits aren't bad, I don't always make time for exercise. Yes, life is good, but if I want it to keep enjoying it, I need to start making use of my weights, rebounder and yoga mat that are gathering dust.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

THINK

From the Rosetta Tarot, the Ace of Swords; from the Ascension to Paradise, the "Honeyeater:"
Meleen likens the lightning bolts to neural activity - the production of thought. The wings on the hilt and the octahedron behind the sword both represent the element of air. Yet Meleen also includes symbols of duality in this card. She describes the branches as the olive of peace and the palm of suffering. The third eye of Shiva on the crown represents both wisdom and destruction. There is great potential for this Ace, a force that can be used for good or evil. Beliefs and words are seeds that contain great power.
The Honeyeater has a special brush-tipped tongue which is used to help it collect nectar from flowers. The contribution to the bird's diet is repaid by helping with the pollination of the plant. The message of the Honeyeater is to be aware of what I nourish myself with, so that what is produced is beneficial instead of harmful. Instead of allowing my thoughts to run free in my brain, I need to be aware of what I'm allowing to roam around there. I can use the mnemonic "THINK" to check them out:

T ~ Is it true? Is it accurate, factual information, or is it just hearsay or my opinion?
H ~ Is it helpful? Will this benefit everyone involved or just me?
I ~ Is it inspiring? Will this encourage or discourage others?
N ~ Is it necessary? Will harm come to someone if I don’t speak or act? Will an opportunity for good be missed?
K ~ Is it kind? Are the words I say chosen carefully and compassionately? Are my actions considerate and respectful?

Some of my thoughts and words need to be fenced in rather than let out to graze in the pasture.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Power and Purpose

From the Rosetta Tarot, the Magus (Magician); from the Ascension to Paradise deck, the "Pitta:"
 In order for us to use our power well, we must become a hollow bone. We must prepare ourselves to become a channel... We must be free of resentments, guilt, shame, anger, self pity and fear. If these things are in us, we cannot be hollow bones. These things block us from our power. ~ Joyce Sequichie Hifler, A Cherokee Feast of Days
Meleen's Magus takes on the form of Mercury, the messenger god. She speaks of him as being a channel, receiving and taking messages. In practical terms, this means I become receptive and listen to my inner Self, and then carry out the inspiration I receive in concrete ways. If (as Hifler states) my channel is clear of ego's demands, the information will be beneficial and produce solutions. Anything that is self-serving only and harms rather than heals is probably an illusion of the ego. Of course preparing to receive these ideas is only half the work; the big effort will be in manifesting them.
The Pitta card illustrates a lovely jewel-colored bird known for dwelling among the forest floor instead of the tree tops. For this reason, the authors assign its message as following one's "soul path." Do I believe that before we are born, we each have a particular purpose or mission to perform on this earth? I find such a declaration hard to swallow. But because we each have unique talents and personalities, do I believe we all have a way we can benefit the world around us? Yes, even if on a limited scale. But first I'm going to have to take the Magus' suggestion to be open to those spiritual nudges. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Step Through the Portal

From the Rosetta Tarot, the Fool; from the Ascension to Paradise deck, the "Tern:"
For the past several days I've woken up and groaned, "Oh god, it's morning." Polly Positive I was not. Yet today I've drawn the Fool, and I see him stepping through that portal from the known to the unknown without preconceptions, assumptions or expectations. He's not freaked out that there is a tiger behind him and a gator in front of him. He's completely open to the gifts of the moment instead. His swirls of fire and water remind me of Temperance, suggesting harmony with what is instead of worrying about what was or what might be. As the sun begins to come up here in my part of the world, I realize I can choose to walk through the Fool's portal too.
The tern is a part of the gull family but smaller and more graceful. They're built to fly long distances when they migrate during winter and summer. According to the authors, it represents finding and making a smooth passage towards a destination. Yet it may not be a physical trek; it can be an inner journey toward a desired state of mind. An attitude adjustment is what I need. So today I will attempt to attend to each moment and be grateful for the good around me.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Valor Doesn't Need Bling

This week I'll be using the Rosetta Tarot along with its companion book The Book of Seshet. This set was created by M.M. Meleen and published by Atu House. The oracle deck I'll be using is Ascension to Paradise, a book and deck set created by Jane Toerien and Joyce van Dobben and published by Binkey Kok. Today's draws are the Seven of Wands and "Hornbill:"
I'm waiting for the doctor's office to open this morning so I can tell them the antibiotic that made me feel better (that I'm supposed to take for 8 more days) has now made me sicker than I was to begin with. As I look at Meleen's version of the Seven of Wands, I see six artistically designed and detailed rods, and one crude wood one in front. That's kind of how I feel today; I tend to feel "less than" when I deal with people who I think have more power, knowledge, money or authority than I do. Yet the Thoth title of this card is "Valor." In other words, I need to buck up and build a backbone. After all, it is my body we're talking about.
The Hornbill is a large bird given its name because of the shape of its beak. When a female lays her eggs, she stays inside while the male plasters the structure around her. He leaves only an opening big enough for her hooked bill to protrude through. Once it hardens, it offers excellent protection from predators for the developing birds inside. The Hornbill's message is one of defense; the assertiveness of the Seven of Wands has nothing to do with "winning," but with guarding. My rights are important, no matter what my inner whiner tells me.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Look Up (Avoid Navel Gazing)

From the Wild Unknown Tarot, the Five of Pentacles; from the Pictish Oracle, the "Salmon:"
 Hold your face up to the light,even though for the moment you do not see. ~ Bill Wilson
We all know what it looks like on the outside when our physical or financial health is ailing; Krans illustrates what our spirit looks like on the inside when we go through these things. Maybe at first we believe things will improve. But as the days go by with no change, our worries increase and our spirit begins to droop like this rose. Just as the stem has lost its thorns, our feisty nature disappears. We give in to despair and begin to give up.
The Salmon in Celtic lore is a symbol of wisdom, yet its life cycle also represents tenacity. Its wisdom would tell the rose to look up from its self-centered hole of pity and ask for help. Hold its head up to the light and dig its roots down into the earth until it arrives. Persevere because change is coming. It might not come in the guise expected, but it will come - it is the natural cycle of things.