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

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful in all Situations

From the Deirdre of Sorrows Tarot, the Tower; from the Victorian Flower Oracle, "Cactus:"
Often we think of egolessness as a great loss, but actually it's a gain. The acknowledgment of egolessness, our natural state, is like regaining eyesight after having been blind or regaining hearing after having been deaf... Egolessness is a state of mind that has complete confidence in the sacredness of the world. It is unconditional well-being, unconditional joy that includes all the different qualities of our experience. ~ Pema Chodron
          This card - showing a before and after of the Twin Towers - is not what I'd prefer to draw on a national holiday, especially in light of all the recent worldwide events. I was curious as to what O'Donoghue would say about it: "You have been building your security on shifting sands and now, out of the clear blue sky, a thunderbolt has exposed your vulnerability." She concludes by saying the sun casts a new light on the situation, implying a deeper understanding. Yet look at the way that saucy Cactus stares at the eagle. Her keywords, "prickly situation," suggest a difficult diplomacy that is going to require mindfulness and tact. Suddenly these cards narrow their beam from a national level to a personal one. I will be traveling today to visit with relatives, none of whom share my opinions or ideas about any of those touchy topics. There is no need to cower during the discussions over Thanksgiving dinner, but neither is there a need for me to build a tower of arrogance and narrow-minded around my beliefs. If I can remain open, I might just learn something useful. I can choose to focus on the positive - that I will share a meal with people who love me, regardless of my convictions.  
Thank you to all my friends - old and new - who've read or posted on my blog this year. I am grateful to have you in my life, even if it is only through the internet. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Beware of Thistles

From the Deirdre of the Sorrows Tarot, the Eight of Cups; from the Victorian Flower Oracle, "Thistle:"
          A woman walks away from a home with her hand over her heart. Was her husband abusive or unfaithful? It may be a career that she's leaving, realizing that the money isn't worth the all the stress. With the cups lined up alongside the road, it feels as if she is confronting the choices she's made that led her to this point. There's no need for shame though; she's realized there is no joy or fulfillment in this situation and has made the decision to leave. Yet she is headed straight for Thistle, who is given the keyword "threat." When I'm emotionally vulnerable, it's normal to seek comfort and solace. But I must be very cautious at whose feet I lay my tender and hurting heart. Like the thistle, I might be drawn to the colorful flower and fail to see the thorny leaves. Careful attention is necessary, or I could wind up with more wounds than what I started with.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Break from the Usual?

From the Deirdre of the Sorrows Tarot, the Star; from the Victorian Flower Oracle, "Dahlia:"
          A naked woman sits at a pool in an oasis; perhaps having had her fill, she pours the rest of the water back into its source. She represents those times of vulnerability, when we seek refuge in order to rest and heal. As nice as it would be to stay here indefinitely, the sun is already beginning to rise. The coins at the bottom of the pool suggest a return to regular life and its responsibilities is imminent. In this quiet place, has she found guidance and a new understanding to take with her?
          There are 42 species of dahlia, and their blooms can range from 2 inches to up to a foot in diameter. They can be found in a huge variety of floret shape and color. It's no wonder "choice" is the keyword assigned to them. These two cards imply a decision needs to be carefully considered. The woman has been through hell but has now recuperated. Will she continue to do things the same way as before when she leaves her oasis, or will she choose a different way? Those habitual patterns can be hard to shake, even when we've been given helpful suggestions.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Love What You Do

From the Deirdre of the Sorrows Tarot, the Three of Coins; from the Victorian Flower Oracle, the "Pomegranate Flower:"
          An artist paints a potter's hands at work. O'Donoghue suggests the mill's waterwheel behind him implies a flow of ideas that inspire him. He's good at what he does because of three things: his knowledge about his craft, his experience and practice with it, and his passion for it. I've never met anyone at the top of their game (and more than a flash in the pan) who didn't possess these three qualities. These types of people tend to want to share their expertise with others instead of hoard it all for themselves. Why? The bold, bright pomegranate flower indicates it is because of the joy and happiness it brings. It naturally spills over to others in a generous way. This is not just about the financial rewards; it is an expression of enthusiasm and sincere fervor for what they do.
Love what you do and do what you love. Don't listen to anyone else who tells you not to do it. You do what you want, what you love. Imagination should be the center of your life.
― Ray Bradbury

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pause and Remember

This week I'll be using the Deirdre of the Sorrows Tarot, a self-published set created by Deirdre O'Donoghue and illustrated by Wayne McGuire. Along with it, I'll be drawing from the Victorian Flower Oracle, created by Alex Ukolov, Karen Mahony and Sheila Hamilton; it was published by Magic Realist Press. Today's draws are the Knight of Coins and "Nasturium:"
          Not only does grass grow under this Knight's feet, so do flowers. This gentleman farmer likes to work slowly and methodically; he's liable to take frequent pauses and check his work before moving on to the next task. But look at what's on his riding boots - spurs! Slow and steady might be his usual way of getting things done, but he's prepared to kick up some divots if necessary. As I prepare for the holidays, I feel like him as I check items off my to-do list. The second card, the Nasturium represents sad memories and regrets. The holidays naturally make me think of friends and family members I've lost and still miss. Perhaps the Knight is pausing to honor the memories of loved ones. Although he experiences sorrow, he also feels grateful for having had them in his life.

For Marion 

Spring in the South 
Transforms the wisteria's bare stems. 
Cascades of purple flowers 
Tumble down the towering pine. 
Such graceful charm and beauty 
Disguise an inner strength and tenacity 
That allow it to reach the uppermost branches. 
Marion was skilled 
In the fine art of Southern graces. 
Yet underneath her refined manners 
Lay a will and spirit of steel. 
She was our matriarchal vine 
Gathering her family together 
With a fierce love for us all.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Wide Embrace

From the Fairytale Tarot, the Nine of Cups; from the Tree Affirmation Cards, "Weeping Willow:"
          "Puss in Boots" is a tale of a trusting young man who inherits a cat, and the cat who shows off his talents by providing his master with a castle and a princess. Mahony describes this card as going after the good life - a comfortable life filled with good company. For most folks, I'm sure contentment involves something simpler than royal status and a kingdom. Yet to be able to sigh with satisfaction at the close of the day is a gift for which to be grateful. Do you smile and feel fortunate each evening, or just collapse in the bed with relief that the day is over?
          With branches that reach down to touch and embrace the earth, the weeping willow is symbolized as the Divine Mother by Lewis. It represents "the ability to nurture and to receive all with unconditional love." When I'm having a Nine of Cups kind of day, this is a piece of cake. But change that number to a Four or Five, and it's difficult. I think of gratitude and acceptance as spiritual practices that I must work to develop. They require me to be aware when I closing my mind and heart to what is unpleasant, rather than embracing it with the knowledge that it is just a natural part of life. I don't know if I'll ever get to the point of loving unconditionally what scares me or causes me frustration or pain. But I can at least try to make room for it.
With such a vast heart,
immense as the wide-open sea,
suffering cannot overpower us,
just as a small handful of salt
cannot make a great river salty.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, November 20, 2015

Direction and Focus

From the Fairytale Tarot, the Ace of Wands; from the Tree Affirmation Cards, "Poplar:"
          Jack was a character that proved even if you make a few bad choices along the way, opportunities will still present themselves. If you're like me though, there are a lot of things to attend to that can be distracting (many of which aren't worth all the time I give them). I might easily miss that chance altogether. As Zig Ziglar stated, “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” To back up this idea, the Poplar card appears with the keyword "focus." Instead of stretching out and up, this tree primarily grows in an upward fashion. If I'm going to take advantage of favorable circumstances, I'll need to let go of some of those preoccupations so I can concentrate fully on the task at hand. In the words of Winston Churchill,"You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks."