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

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Adding and Subtracting

From the Motherpeace Tarot, the Seven of Discs; from the Toltec Oracle, Mikistli:
          The Seven of Discs represents growth but also waiting. The down time allows an opportunity to assess how things are going and what changes might need to be made. When I look at the woman sitting among the melons with her swollen, pregnant belly, I want to ask her, "Are you ready for this?" Whether it's enlarging one's family, expanding one's business or adding to one's daily duties, it pays to be prepared for the changes that will be unavoidable. Mikistli (Death) for the Toltecs was not an enemy of life but a partner. Death represented an ending, but also a time for embracing what was new. The woman in the last stage of pregnancy will soon have her life irrevocably changed. Her choices will soon be dictated not just by what she wants to do but also by what benefits her little one. What happens in the world will now be viewed through the lens of raising and protecting a child. All additions require a letting go of something; we can only cram so many clothes in our closet, pieces of furniture in our house and hours in our day. Adding necessitates subtracting.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Loosening the Mind

From the Motherpeace Tarot the Shaman (King) of Swords; from the Toltec Oracle, Kuetspalin:
          The Shaman/King is a source of both power and experience. The four-petaled red flower is the four directions, implying she is able to see all facets of a situation (not just what she would prefer). The ladder with the kite perched on top suggests she understands the long-term effects a decision will have, and how it will impact all people instead of a select few. Noble describes her as having an 'unloosed mind,' meaning she is able to think and perceive beyond assumptions, prejudices and opinions. The Toltec card, Kuetspalin, means Lizard; it was considered a guardian of the temple and a guide for the shaman. Above all, it grounded the shaman and prevented him from losing his connection to the earth. When dealing with the intellect, it is easy to get lost in arguments and ideas that don't really have much to do with real life - with what is useful and beneficial all people. I am reminded by these cards of the 'Black Lives Matter' movement and the white folks who adamantly reply, "All lives matter." They have missed the point, which is that white privilege protects and offers opportunities to those of us with white skin that those with black skin don't have. If all lives matter, we need to act like it by making sure no one is oppressed simply because of the color of their skin. Below is an excerpt of an article written by Lori L. Hutcherson for onbeing.org giving examples of what white privilege is (which doesn't have anything to do with how open-minded and loving someone is); these are just a few incidents of many she's experienced:

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Tender Touch

This week I'll be using the Motherpeace Tarot created by Karen Vogel and Vicki Noble and published by U.S. Games. As a companion to the deck, I'll be using Noble's book Motherpeace. The other deck I'll be using this week is the Toltec Oracle deck and book set, created by Victor Sanchez and published by Bear & Co. Today's draws are the Six of Discs and Ketsalkoatl:
          The illustration of one woman using healing energy on another made me think of how important gentle, physical touch can be in the human world. Some instances that I know of are:
  • Reiki offered to patients in 'chemo chairs' as they let chemicals drip into their bodies.
  • The presence of a friend who sits next to another while she anxiously awaits news.
  • Tender caresses given to an elderly person, particularly one in a nursing home.
  • Giving a hug or holding someone after a great loss (no words needed).
  • Rocking a distraught child.
While none of these things make the problem disappear that caused the distress, it is amazing how something as simple as physical contact with a caring individual can help restore our equanimity. Ketsalkoatl - 'feathered serpent' - symbolizes the integration of opposites (in this case, the eagle and the serpent). Consider all the things that create conflict and cause imbalance: the things we cling to and don't want to release and the things we push away and don't want to accept. Perhaps the physical presence of a compassionate person can help us find that integration and balance. Then maybe we can embrace the whole of life instead of just the parts we like.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Eagle Eye

From the Sacred India Tarot, the King of Arrows (Swords); from the American Pen Oracle, Terry McMillan:
          Arya has chosen Garuda to represent the King of Swords, the cosmic eagle and mount of Vishnu ("The Preserver and Protector"). Garuda was known for his speed, martial prowess, and great strength. Massive enough to block out the sun, he was an enemy of the serpent deities and fed exclusively on snakes. That last bit of information made me think of the phrase "snakes in the head," a phrase describing persistent, crazy-making thoughts. Such speculation makes a person so afraid he can't look at his beliefs long enough to separate what's valid and what isn't. What could be better in such a situation than to have an eagle or sword to separate those dire emotional feelings from the truth? McMillan offers her wisdom along the same lines: If you jump to conclusions, you make terrible landings. She makes a good point; if I am reacting (or hiding) based on a reality seen through an emotional lens, I'm going to end up in a deeper pile of poo than if I'd just dealt with the facts from the beginning.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Positive Production

From the Sacred India Tarot, the Queen of Staves; from the American Pen Oracle, Flannery O'Connor:
          Swaahaa is the wife of Agni (Vedic god of fire) whose name must be said to purify any offering to the fire. She is considered to be the personification of Shakti, the feminine energizing principle of the universe. Analogous to the concept of Sri ('expanding radiance'), she contains the power that helps others creatively manifest according to their natural abilities. The Queen of Staves' energy and optimism help others to be confident when following their passion. Her belief is that one should tackle a project with wholehearted dedication rather than half measures. O'Connors words of wisdom give an extra bit of fire to the Queen: You have to quit confusing a madness with a mission. When I get enthused about a new creative idea, I have a tendency to plan, buy stuff, research, buy more stuff, redo my original plans, etc. What I often don't do is get started and make progress; I get stuck in the preparation stage. Both these women strongly urge me to do something constructive that actually produces a material object.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Awareness of the Past

From the Sacred India Tarot, the Six of Lotuses (Cups); from the American Pen Oracle, David Ignatow:
          Parvati, daughter of the mountain lord, wanted to marry the god Shiva. But Shiva was content to stay deep within his meditation, even going so far as to burn up the love god Kama when he showed up with his bow and arrow and interrupted him. Parvati finally figured out that her beauty would never impress Shiva, only spiritual practice. She began performing tapas ("to heat") - rigorous ascetic practices designed to burn away past karma. Her intense, inner cleansing did make Shiva take notice, and he accepted Parvati as his wife. This version of the Six of Cups reminds me of the 12 Step "searching and fearless moral inventory" that is required to be able to see patterns of past behavior and realize what part a person played in how his or her life unfolded. Choices and actions based on fear, anger, pride and self-centeredness are examined. The process is not meant to bring shame but awareness and illumination; it allows a new, liberated way of life to begin. In a poem to his daughter, Ignatow writes: When I die choose a star and name it after me, that you may know I have not abandoned or forgotten you. His words make me wonder what others will remember about me when I am gone. Will it be acts of kindness or acts of frustration and resentment that shine from the darkness? Though I can't rewrite the past, I can learn to live more mindfully in the present.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Back to the Hoe

From the Sacred India Tarot, the Seven of Discs; from the American Pen Oracle, Eudora Welty:
          The Buddha was reluctant to teach his friends the Middle Way, but not because he wanted to keep it for himself. While the teaching was simple to explain, the application of it was difficult. Yet like the Seven of Pentacles (RWS) farmer who pauses to assess his crops, Buddha's friends had observed and noted a great transformation in him. In Deer Park, Buddha acquiesced, sat down and shared what he had come to realize through his own experience - the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. Buddha encouraged them to take stock of their own lives: "One by one, little by little, moment by moment, a wise man should remove his own impurities, as a smith removes his dross from silver." (Dhammapada) Like the farmer resting on his hoe, there was more work to be done once their original assessment was over. Welty's words of wisdom are a warning not to rest on one's laurels: Never think you've seen the last of anything. When I arrogantly think, "Oh, I've got this," I'm likely to miss the pests that will sneak back in given a chance - resentment, fear, despair and ignorance. Like any good farmer will tell you, no pause is meant to last forever.