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, February 23, 2017

Conviction

From the Victorian Romantic Tarot, the Seven of Swords; from the Dreaming in Color Deck, Passion:
          The figure in the Seven of Swords was adapted from an engraving that showed the destruction of Hirsau Abbey by French troops during the Nine Years' War. How is it that our minds can convince us that deceit or revenge is okay, as we blindly act without thought about who or what might get hurt or destroyed as a result? I think the Passion card explains it - a conviction of being right that gives us the courage to act. Yet what happens if we are mistaken in our belief through misunderstanding, assumption or prejudice? That kind of damage can't be undone, and evidence of our actions will remain in the hearts of others like the skeletal ruins of the abbey. I must pause before burning those bridges, which will likely not be rebuilt again. There may come a day when I have need to walk back that way.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Judicial vs. Judgmental

From the Victorian Romantic Tarot, the Hierophant; from the Dreaming in Color Deck, Aggression:
         The VR's Hierophant is one of my favorites. This teacher doesn't sit above his students on some papal throne while they cower submissively before him; he reclines as his students sprawl around him, relaxed but alert to his words. There is respect here, but obviously great love too. The knowledge of the instructor isn't used to make him appear better than those he teaches; his purpose seems solely focused on helping them understand it. The sickening shade of magenta in the Aggression card felt like a whiplash after the cozy feeling of the first draw. When someone is in the process of learning, criticism (grades or assessment for instance) is a necessary part. But there is judicial criticism, which is fair and constructive, and judgmental criticism, which is subjective and de-constructive. The latter type often feels passive-aggressive when given and can create an aggressive response in return. If I am the one doing the evaluating, it reminds me to be compassionate with the words and tone I use. When I am on the receiving end of judgmental criticism, I can look to see if there is any truth that I can use before discarding the rest, knowing that a person who tears down others usually has an agenda I don't need to enable.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Safe on Base

From the Victorian Romantic Tarot, the Five of Swords; from the Dreaming in Color Deck, Family:
          Two older boys intimidate and tease a younger one. While bullying has always been around, it seems here in America it has become more prevalent over the last years. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, we are training the younger generation to be this way. I've seen it when I've tried to talk to parents about their children's behavior in school, and they insist that little Johnny or Susie would never do or say something like that (and thus excuse their cruelty). It's beginning to seem acceptable to earn power and self-esteem by denigrating and destroying other people. An even greater example is our newly elected Tyrant-in-Chief. "Love your neighbor" obviously only counts when you're sitting in a church pew on Sunday morning. Sommers gives her card the keyword 'family,' but insists it includes any personal place or group that acts as a refuge. Like children playing tag who have a safe 'home base,' this is the place we can go to get away from the craziness and rest. Yet even here, I must be cautious not to allow the media to infect my sacred space. As one of the Five Precepts states (in Susan Moon's rendition): "I vow not to intoxicate body or mind but to cultivate a mind that sees clearly."


Monday, February 20, 2017

Suspended

From the Victorian Romantic Tarot, the Hanged Man; from the Dreaming in Color Deck, Ascension:
          The creators offer the phrase "a state of mental suspension from everyday things" for the Hanged Man. I immediately thought of the class of fifteen 3-year-old preschoolers I taught years ago. When arguments that led to fights broke out, I'd put the offenders in the 'time-out' corner. While it was a form of punishment, the real reasoning behind it was to remove the child from the stimulus that helped create the problem. The blank wall was a chance to wipe the blackboard of their mind and settle down emotionally. What happens when I can clear my mind of thoughts that hinder rather than help me? Ascension suggests a "dramatic opening of consciousness." My thimble-full of ideas suddenly becomes the Grand Canyon of potential and possibilities. But first I must relax into that state of suspension...

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Depression and Anger

This week I'll be using the Victorian Romantic Tarot, created by Alex Ukolov and Karen Mahony with Magic Realist Press as publisher. I will also be drawing from Dreaming in Color: the Luman Deck, created and self-published by Mindy Hope Sommers. Today's draws are the Four of Cups and Anger:
          This Four of Cups card pegs me perfectly today with my feeling of an emotional hangover. Yesterday started off well, but then crashed and burned by noon. I'm sure everyone has had those kind of days. In my case, things that were supposed to be simple got complicated, someone used me as their vomit bucket, and then my heart got twisted and hurt from a situation over which I am powerless. I don't know why I think the day should've floated perfectly along just because it was my birthday; life doesn't really care about those kind of things. But look what lurks underneath that tired, depressed feeling - the deep, red of anger. It reminds me of the dark color of blood without oxygen in it (no clarity). Part of my emotional imbalance is that the doctor gave me a injection of steroids and put me on a dose pack of pills for six days for the poison ivy reaction. For someone who rarely takes medicine, it has given me a wallop. I'm beginning to understand why people use the term 'roid' rage; I feel prickly and have a blinding headache all the time. I had a dharma note in my email this morning that was a quote by Ram Dass; it basically said that there is grace to be found in suffering, and suffering can create wisdom. I know whining won't help me find either of these, but realizing reality isn't intentionally picking on me can help. I can also choose to start my celebration over - a new day without any expectations to weigh it down.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Footloose

From the Morgan-Greer Tarot, the Three of Pentacles; from the Gods and Titans/Goddesses and Sirens Oracles, Loki:
This is the real secret of life -- to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play. 
Alan W. Watts

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. 
Dr. Seuss 

          Today I have drawn two sides of a coin: the Master Craftsman and Loki the Trickster. One focuses on work and the other play. Which side most represents you? I've been a serious taskmaster most of my life, reserving play for when I had finished all my duties (which isn't often). But today is my birthday, so I'm taking Seuss's advice to wake up some brain cells that don't get activated often. I don't have a thing planned, which is part of the process. Now let's see if I can remember how to cut loose...

Friday, February 17, 2017

Wake Up, Get Moving

From the Morgan-Greer Tarot, Judgment; from the Gods and Titans/Goddesses and Sirens Oracles comes Achilles:
          The Judgment card shows a family waking up from a crypt as an illustration of being reborn in mind and heart. Often we see but do not pay attention; we hear but we do not actually listen. We all experience moments when we could wake up but choose not to for a variety of reasons. Yet when we do pause and let that understanding seep into us, it can be life changing. Achilles' appearance brings a message to have confidence in what is undertaken. This demigod was dipped in the River Styx to keep him from being killed in battle, though the foot his mother held him by left him vulnerable. Though Achilles was a fierce warrior and seemed unable to be defeated, a seer had predicted he would die heroically in a battle against the Trojans. However fear did not stop him in his effort to win the war. We all have an Achilles heel that makes us vulnerable, yet we also have gifts and talents we need to share. In the words of Norman Vincent Peale: "Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all."