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."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Adding a Suit

From the Tarot of Durer, the Queen of Swords; from the Philosopher's Stone, "Complement:"
All of the queens have the ability to nurture and encourage according to their suit. The Queen of Cups lets me know when I'm not being kind (to myself or others). The Queen of Pentacles reminds me when I'm being impractical. The Queen of Wands will push me to be more assertive when I'm too passive. And the Queen of Swords points out when I've given false thoughts free rent in my head. When I am spiraling out of control, I imagine she would tell me to play detective and ask myself questions similar to these from J.C. Peters:
  • What thought is contributing to this feeling?
  • What evidence do I have that this thought is true?
  • What else could be going on?
  • What evidence do I have for those alternatives?
The pieces of boulder on the Philosopher's Stone card is similar to a jigsaw puzzle; they fit together nicely. In considering the four queens above, they also complement and balance each other out. It made me stop and think if the friends I have (people I look to for advice) could be sorted this way. If not, I might benefit by adding in the missing suit.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Keep Plodding Along

From the Tarot of Durer, the Chariot; from the Philosopher's Stone, "Depth:"
A man on his way to sell his goods at the market is slowed down by his wife's chatter. She's not worried about time constraints or what he might get in trade, she's focused on him attending to the gossip while he's in town. The Latin phrase associated with the Durer Chariot is "Those who are everywhere are nowhere." Unlike the rat on the tree limb who grabs her food and takes it immediately to her den, this man is distracted from his task. Likewise, my mind can easily be led astray. I can't count how many times I've sat down to "quickly" check my email, then found myself still in front of the glowing monitor an hour or two later. I need self-discipline to stay on course.
The Depth card shows the stone man with a large boulder and a much smaller rock in front of him. No matter what we are trying to accomplish, there will always be challenges to face along the way. But sometimes I get caught up in things that are in the past (and need to stay there) or situations that are none of my business. Before I get sidetracked from my task, I need to see the depth of what has caught my attention. How important is it, really? Of course some of these will be responsibilities I need to deal with, but if it's just a little mud puddle, I need to keep plodding along.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Coddling My Own Opinion

From the Tarot of Durer, the Emperor; from the Philosopher's Stone, "Solution:"
This is a rather jolly looking Emperor; the Latin phrase below his throne reads: "No person can lead well unless he has learned to obey." I would guess that this guy wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He has experienced the same sort of life of his subjects, and he knows intimately the kind of daily challenges they must face. The vulture (who dines on road kill) suggests the Emperor knows how to be content with what is available. Several years ago we had a fellow running for the office of U.S. President. His net worth was conservatively estimated to be at $250 million. He owned three homes, one a summer compound worth $8 million. Had this man ever faced real hunger? Did he ever have to choose which bill not to pay because he had an unexpected medical expense? Was he ever without a job and worried about his family being homeless? My guess would be that he had not; he had little in common with the people he wanted to preside over. No wonder he didn't get elected.
The Solution card shows a stone in the shape of a Century Gothic question mark from the front, yet its shadow casts the shape of an exclamation point. In chemistry, a solution is two or more substances evenly mixed together. It suggests brainstorming, where even the wildest ideas are considered in order to find one that helps fix the problem. These two cards suggest I need a wide perspective to find the answers I seek, which will involve listening with an open mind. Coddling my own opinion will only keep me staring at that stone wall.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Crack in the Facade

From the Tarot of Durer, the Seven of Wands; from the Philosopher's Stone, "Tension:"
The booklet that comes with the Durer explains this card as "the ability to act and avoid problems." Yet this guy is sitting on his bum and has hidden most of his body behind his shield. There doesn't seem to be anything that suggests being proactive, instead he appears to be hoping the lion on his shield will scare people away so he can continue to sit there. He's living in the illusion that if he pretends there's nothing to deal with, maybe it will just go away on its own. However, he's got himself sandwiched between a row of staffs and a shield which tells me on some level he knows otherwise.
The boulder and earth seem to be having such an effect on each other that a fissure has developed. When we experience a healthy dose of adrenaline, we get pumped up to take flight or fight. Either way, we are dealing with the situation that confronts us. But the Philosopher's Stone card shows what happens when the stress becomes so great that we freeze instead. We start coming apart physically, emotionally and mentally. My advice to the soldier would be to do something, anything, that is different from his habitual reaction. The result can't be much worse than what's about to happen now.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Pleasure of the Present Moment

This week I'll be using the Tarot of Durer, created by Manfredi Toraldo and Giacinto Gaudenzi and published by Lo Scarabeo. The oracle deck I'll also be using is the Philosopher's Stone, created by De Es and published by AG Muller. Today's draws are the Three of Chalices and "Stop:"
 In the Durer deck, each suit is associated with an animal: the dove with Cups, the fox with Swords, the lion with Wands and the eagle with Pentacles. This morning's card is quite different from the usual "three ladies dancing" version. Here the dove holds a cup, the tree winds a branch around a cup, and another sits at the man's feet. I am reminded that having a joyful experience doesn't always look like the usual party. Yesterday I had a long walk, paying attention to what was new or changing in the green world. Last night, I had a wonderful time at the meditation group. Today, my daughter and I plan to meet one of our book club buddies at the coffee shop. All three experiences embrace this Three of Cups card for me.
Generally I would read the Stop card from the Philosopher's Stone as a barrier or restraint of some kind. But adding in the Three of Cups puts a different spin on it. It suggests that when I am in a joy-filled moment to stop and truly appreciate it. I don't need to be planning what I'm going to be doing next or thinking about what happened yesterday. It is only important to experience the pleasure of the present moment.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Inspiration for Change

From the Pages of Shustah, the Ace of Batons; from the Pages of Shustah deck, the "Coins:"
The Ace of Batons/Wands show's Mercury's caduceus (not the medical Rod of Asclepius, which has one serpent). Mercury was a messenger and also a god of occupations and commerce. One myth about his staff is that he used it to separate two snakes in combat, and thus it came to be a sign of peace. The action of the Wands suit is, "I create, I do." I am hoping this card points to a peaceful solution for my daughter, who is struggling with choosing a career. Though she has the smarts to do whatever she chooses, she is crippled by ongoing anxiety and a lack of self-confidence. As a parent, I feel helpless (though I have made sure she is getting emotional and medical help). Inspiration and a dose of tenacious courage would be more than welcome right now for both of us.
The Coins suggest an investment that brings about a positive return. This investment does not only apply to the physical, but also the emotional. I have to believe that my love and support (along with that of others) will eventually turn the tide. After all, another term for coins is "change."

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mona Lisa Smile

From the Sheridan-Douglas Tarot, Fortitude (Strength); from the Pages of Shustah deck, the "Angel of Summer:"
Something about this woman's actions felt very familiar. Then I remembered prying open my tomcat's mouth earlier this morning so I could give him his daily dose of antibiotic. The tarot does have a sense of humor. The booklet that comes with the Sheridan-Douglas describes this card as: "Instinctive drives directed toward positive ends." I rather like the idea of using the energy of frustration for a creative outlet or a beneficial purpose. The blue of her outfit represents the calm composure she feels when her energy is directed in this way; the white trim emphasizes her pure motives.
The Angel of Summer represents a time when there is a high level of activity - much like the summer harvest in farming communities. It can be exhausting and demanding to keep up with the amount of exertion required for success (which this angel assures me is coming). This is not the time to become bitter or throw up my hands and complain about how life isn't fair. Life is tough for everyone. Those who can keep a Mona Lisa smile on their face know how to sustain their stamina for a favorable result.