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."

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Not This or That

This week I'll be using the Dark Goddess Tarot, created by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince and published by Arnell's Art. Today's draw is Alchemy (Temperance):
Fire purifies. Water restores.
According to the Encyclopedia Mythica, the Celtic goddess Brigid has three aspects: (1) Fire of Inspiration as patroness of poetry, (2) Fire of the Hearth, as patroness of healing and fertility, and (3) Fire of the Forge, as patroness of smithcraft and martial arts. She crosses the boundaries of faith and beliefs. Said to have been the foster mother of Jesus, she was declared a saint by Christians. Yet she is beloved by Druids and other pagans for her creative inspiration. Brigid is hard to label as this or that; she mixes nurturing, motherly characteristics with those of a warrior goddess. She reminds me that it is possible to blend fire and water, at least on an internal level.

The oracle I'll be using this week is the Tattwa Cards, based on the teachings of John Mumford. This morning's choice was "Water: Seed of Air:"
During the summer, as the temperature rises drastically, many lakes and ponds here must be aerated to prevent the fish from dying. As water temperatures increase, water loses its capacity to "hold" oxygen. Pumps spray the water through nozzles, allowing it to pick up and redeposit oxygen back into the lake or pond. As a person who loves to learn (air), sometimes I forget to practice what it is I am learning about. Reading every book ever written about love (water) will not make me a compassionate person; I must be a person who carries out acts of kindness.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Finding the Center Point

From the Ellis Deck, the King of Swords:
With his missing eye and birds, this King reminds me of the Norse god Odin. According to Ellis, the ghost of the king visits the Knight of Swords and explains to him why a battle based on anger and revenge will never bring peace; it would be the same as going to battle to get back the eye he lost. With such an attitude, it makes sense the King of Swords has his blade in a sheath across his lap. The white and black birds on his shoulders also made me think of the three pillars of the Tree of Life in Kabbalah. Mercy and Severity are the outer pillars, with Equilibrium (the king) being the center pillar. The King of Swords is mature enough to know the difference between a need to protect and defend and the desire to punish to feel vindicated. He reminds me to look for that center point of balance today.

From the Oracle of Shadows and Light come "Strange Valentine:"
The companion booklet states that love doesn't always look like we thought it would. Sometimes it is the severe "tough love" we offer to prevent enabling the unhealthy behavior of other folks. It  may look like merciful love, a time when we overlook words or actions because we know a person is grieving or going through a tough time. My guess is that most of us try to strike a balance between the two; like the king above, we protect and defend, instead of becoming a doormat or wiping our boots on the other person.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Shift into Neutral

From the Ellis Deck, the Four of Swords:
After many battles and deaths (including the king), the queen has told this knight there will be no more blood shed. What does a warrior do when he's told that his services are no longer needed? What will he do with himself now? He chooses not to process all this information at once, and instead decides to "just sleep on it." This is a new choice for him; he's used to responding to a crisis or a emergency instantaneously. A time of rest and recovery will allow old beliefs to fade, leaving a space for new ideas. His control setting has changed from "active" to "receptive," a move that will be much more beneficial than those bloody swords.

From the Oracle of Shadows and Light, the "Eclipse Mermaid:"
The message of this card (a powerful energy shift) makes me think of shifting into high gear, not shutting my engine off. But the booklet describes this mermaid as calm, still and observant. That sounds like meditation to me. So perhaps this message isn't far off from the Four of Swords as I first thought, since they both encourage stillness and detachment.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Finding My Own Happy Groove

From the Ellis Deck, the Nine of Cups:
When you're away from human companionship, do you dress the way you want? Do you cook what you you feel like eating or only what you 'should' eat? Are your hours filled only with obligations to complete, or do you manage to enjoy hobbies and other leisure activities? In his online notes, Ellis explains the jubilant man in this card: "In his solitude, he had rediscovered what was still missing." As long as I look to other people for my contentment, I will be sorely disappointed. It's not that I don't enjoy being with family and friends or making new acquaintances - I do. But I need time alone to figure out from where the source of my joy springs, the places and things that bring both peace and inspiration. Without being hampered by expectations and codes of behavior, I'll discover my own happy groove.

From the Oracle of Shadows and Light comes the card "Two Little Witches:"
It's amazing all the "shoulds" people pick up along the way as we grow older. And what a guilt trip we take when we break one of those rules! These two little witches offer me their broom to sweep out all those presumptions, and they adamantly demand that I stop all my people-pleasing. If I'm going to have room in my life for what brings me satisfaction and joy, some of that "should" collection is going to have to go.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Wayshower and a Shiny Sword

From the Ellis Deck, the Three of Rods:
I admit it - I am directionally dysfunctional. I can get turned around in the parking lot of the grocery store. So there are times when I need help, someone to point me in the right direction. This young girl has her plans in action, but has lost sight of the trail. She's found an ally in the fox spirit who will be her wayshower. With the bankruptcy of my mother-in-law's senior residential community, we've become buried in documents and papers filled with legalese. We are relying heavily on others to point out the paths we need to walk in an attempt to secure her investment and home. Lawyers, paralegals and close friends have provided us with information that has been immensely helpful in finding our way through this legal mess.

From the Oracle of Shadows and Light comes the "Fairy of the Highlands:"
When I was young I embraced and enjoyed every fight; as I've grown older, I avoid it if possible. Instead of running toward conflict, I stay back and try not to get involved. But this young fairy tells me there is an appropriate time to pull out that heavy sword - when I need to defend and protect. If I don't speak the truth and put up a strong front, I risk being taken advantage of in this legal battle. One thing I've already learned is there are no stupid questions, only unasked ones. Information and knowledge (the sword) is power.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Full Cups and Candy Canes

From the Ellis Deck, the Ten of Cups:
I am quite emotionally wrung out this morning after being in the middle of a heart-rending situation last night. There's a part of me that wants to climb a mountain and live by myself at the top to avoid swimming in such deep, stormy waters again. Looking at this card, I notice how the two mermaids are connected at their tails, and I realize that to be alone means having no one to share my joys or sorrows with either. Genuine love requires me to face my fear of being the stable rock while the waves crash around me. At some point the person under water may seek a dry spot to catch their breath and get their bearings. The Ten of Cups is a card of compassion and kindness; it is important that everyone has a chance to have a full cup, not just me.

From the Shadows and Light Oracle comes the "Candy Cane Angel:"
I have a hard time spending money on myself. There is an underlying guilt when I allow myself to indulge in even a small pleasure. I constantly ask if I've done enough to earn it, as if living day-to-day wasn't enough. So this angel has shown up to bonk me over the head with her sticky candy cane and remind me that all of us need a treat now and then to boost our spirits. So instead of wondering if I deserve a bit of joy and fun, I'm going to do my best to actively go after it today (as soon as I get the sticky candy out of my hair).

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Finding Our Own Truth

From the Ellis Deck, the Hierophant:
I rather like this depiction of the Hierophant, who looks more like an Eastern guru than a Pope. However, his stern expression and that stack of books he sits on tells me he likes doing things according to tradition. In his online notes, Ellis explains the need this card represents: "the rules may seem dull, but if he does not have a container for his fire, it will consume him." On some level I get this; I spent many years after leaving the church on a spiritual quest trying to find a label for myself. I got consumed by all the exciting, new practices I found, but instead of sticking to one, I channel-surfed. While I learned quite a lot, I'm not sure there was much spiritual growth during that time. At some point, I finally realized I needed a daily spiritual practice (not a religion) that would help me grow. Though I am still studying, I have a foundation now that keeps me focused on my goal rather than on entertaining my ego.

From the Shadows and Light Oracle comes "Violet Duchess:"
I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.
~ Rita Mae Brown
When I first saw this card, I misread the title; I thought it said "Violent Duchess." She does look like she's about to implode or explode. This Duchess reminds me of two things. First, I need to leave the lid off the "container" to allow for fresh air. What suits my needs and beliefs now might be a poor fit in ten years. Secondly, what seems perfect for me might be ill-suited for someone else. I have no right to force my experience on someone else. We each are responsible for finding our own Truth.