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."

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Attitude of Alliance

From the New Revised Art Tarot, the Four of Wands; from the Viking Lenormand, the "Woman:"
          The square shape of the rods, as well as the small triangle above, indicate stability. The shape makes me think of the phrase "square up," which could suggest settling a bill or making something conform to a set guide. The "T" inside the triangle represents a Masonic T-square, a symbol of measurement and order. Well-planned thought and action are necessary if a solid foundation is to be created. The Woman (read as an oracle rather than Lenormand) would represent nurturing, receptive and cooperative qualities. So what does the Ace of Spades above her have to do with the feminine? The T-square gave me a clue - measured words. Women do tend to be more verbal than men. In this case, whatever is said needs to be based in truth with an attitude of alliance. Clear, respectful communication rather than assumptions will be a top priority.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Spraying Napalm

From the Revised New Art Tarot, Force (Strength); from the Viking Lenormand, "Man:"
          This definitely isn't someone's pet lion - look at all those broken bones around his feet. When was the last time your anger became rage, burning everything around like napalm? I remember clearly; it makes me physically ill to dwell on it. Like the lion, I left metaphorical bones in my wake too. There were no wrongs made right, no defenseless person protected and no acts of valor - just destruction. The Force card reminds me that this power can be contained and channeled to help rather than hurt, but only if the situation is viewed through eyes of compassion. 
          The Man card made me think of an excerpt I read of Robert Augustus Masters' book, To Be a Man, on Spirituality & Health. He lists the factors our society uses to identify manliness: "Showing no weakness; emotional stoicism; aggressiveness; holding it together and not losing face, no matter what’s going on; sucking it up." But the irony is that today's women in the West are taught these same ideals, particularly if they want to be successful. Show any female cop, lawyer, politician or soldier that list, and they would probably recognize themselves in it. I surely do. Masters suggests how to redefine masculinity in order to make it healthy: "True masculine power is rooted in this dynamic blend of 'soft' and 'hard' attributes — showing up as a potent alignment of head, heart, and guts. When head (thinking, rationality, analysis), heart (caring, compassion, love), and guts (resolve, resilience, bravery) all inform each other and work together."

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Intellect and Industry

This week I'll be using the Revised New Art Tarot (also known as the Revised Knapp-Hall). Originally created by J. Augustus Knapp and Manly P. Hall, this deck was republished by the Philosophical Research Society. Besides the booklet that comes with the cards, I'll also be using "Oracle of the Tarot" by Paul Foster Case that makes use of the Knapp-Hall. The oracle deck I'll be pairing with the RNA is the Viking Lenormand, hand-drawn and self-published by my talented friend Carole Beasley. Today's cards are the Eight of Coins and the "Anchor:"
          If one square represents a firm foundation, then two means the walls have been added and the house is almost finished. The Knapp-Hall booklet states the cube with the sign of Mercury suggests: "the full potentiality that the intellect could achieve in density and matter." Or in plain words, with knowledge at full capacity, you can accomplish much in this world. Case uses the keyword 'prudence' for the Eight of Coins, implying common sense and good judgment. Hard work using both brawn and brain are going to be needed.
          The Anchor suggests if both industry and intellect are used, stability and security will be the result. Reading the Nine of Spades from a tarot perspective, it would be wise not to let paranoia or anxiety get the best of me as I work toward my goal. These rewards won't be served up on a platter - determination and perseverance will be required. I've got to keep both engines running and not be tempted to sail into the harbor just yet.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Cat Naps

From the Tarot of the Pagan Cats, the Four of Swords; from the oracle Cat Wisdom, "Reflection:"
          Humans guzzle tea, coffee and energy drinks to stay awake and alert. But the stress of being "on" and at full throttle can work against us.  Cats on the other hand spend 15 to 20 hours sleeping each day. They've learned how to curl up in a corner and switch off. Last night at the meditation group, I handed out markers, clipboards and pages from Lucy Mucklow's book Color Me Calm. We each quietly colored for the first half of the meeting. Everyone was amazed at how enjoyable it was, and the peaceful feeling it created. Time-outs, whether a cat nap, meditation or a relaxing hobby, can refill my "tank." Then I'll be more likely to come up with innovative ideas or creative solutions.
          While the Cat Wisdom deck is full of adorable kittens, too many of the cards rely on the simple image of one gazing sweetly at the camera. I if were to choose an idea for "reflection," I would have a kitten looking down at a book of photographs. Which then made me connect the dots between the tarot card and this one. After I take time to rest and renew myself, I can look back on what I've done. What worked well and what didn't? Do I need to tweak something to make it work better, or should I start fresh? I may be curious about what I haven't tried yet, something completely opposite of my normal choices. Then I must take action; as Soren Kierkegaard put it, "Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward."

Friday, February 27, 2015

Dreaming of Plush Pillows

From the Tarot of Pagan Cats, the Fool; from the oracle Cat Wisdom, "Don't Worry:"
          I was slightly confused about the dream cloud hanging over the cat's head. The lwb states: "You may have an idea about where you want to end up, but you have no idea how to get there." Resting on a plush pillow does sound nice after dealing with two very sick moms, one out-of-sorts daughter, and the unexpected death of a friend this past week. But I don't have a magic wand to get me to that peaceful place right now. Life feels like I'm on the "learn as you go" plan. The Fool would probably say that plan is perfectly fine and suggest I stay in the moment and chase some butterflies. Added to his philosophy is the kitten who says "Don't worry" (and automatically makes the Bob Marley song play in my head). My anxiety will only exacerbate the problems, not help solve them. My duty is to help where I can, offer compassionate support and let go of what I have no control over (which is a lot).

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Eyes Wide Open

From the Tarot of Pagan Cats, the Hierophant; from the oracle Cat Wisdom, "Take a  Closer Look:"
          When I first saw the older cat surrounded by the coin, cup, knife and wand, I thought I had drawn the Magician this morning. But I suppose it makes sense to have this teacher or mentor surrounded by these items. Any group leader will make sure relationships are developed to maintain a cohesive unit through a feeling of belonging (Cups). He will teach certain ideas and beliefs the group upholds (Swords). He inspires and motivates his students to act in certain ways (Wands). And the group is generally funded by the individuals that make it up (Pentacles). Yet the Cat Wisdom card suggests that what looks shiny on the outside may only be a veneer hiding something rotten underneath. Leaders often allow their egos to trample on the trust their followers give them. Maybe not intentionally at first, but power does have a way of twisting minds and hearts. I am reminded that being part of a group doesn't mean I have to swallow whole everything on their menu.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Inadequate Materials

From the Tarot of Pagan Cats, the Two of Pentacles; from the oracle Cat Wisdom, "Surprise:"
This cat has his paws full, as he tries to keep the rat pinned down while not spilling the goldfish bowl. Having watched my two felines perform amazing acts of balance - on narrow window sills or from atop a rocking chair - my money is on the cat. They are some of the most graceful and flexible creatures I've ever seen. Which nicely segues into the next card: surprise. There's nothing like being overwhelmed with obligations, then finding the unexpected has been delivered to your door. But this kitten doesn't look fearful or angry, reminding me that my attitude has a lot to do with how I manage things. There is a line in Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath that says, "it was her habit to build up laughter out of inadequate materials." Finding humor in my humanness and the dilemmas of this physical life can help me maintain my equilibrium throughout those ups and downs.