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, January 31, 2012

Challenges and Connections

The card chosen today from the Tarot of Durer is the Six of Wands:

“We are continually faced with great opportunities which are brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems.” ~ Margaret Mead
Gaudenzi (the artist of this deck) uses animals to represent each suit: lions for wands, doves for cups, foxes for swords, and eagles for pentacles/coins.  In this image, someone has tried to build a fence to hamper the lion's ability to hunt.  But from the looks of the fresh kill beneath his paws, this obstacle didn't present much of a challenge.  The Six of Wands emphasizes success in overcoming our struggles.  Had the lion looked at the fence as an unsolvable problem, his stomach would be empty right now.  Instead, he saw it for what it was - a crudely made border that attempted to place limits on him.  How will I see the bumps and detours in the road today?  Will I paint myself inside a fictitious cage and wring my hands?  Hopefully they will only inspire me to work on my goal from a new direction.

     The card pulled from the Philosopher's Stone oracle this morning is "Connection:"

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead
Three stone people head in the same direction; pebbles between their heads connect each one to another.  The pebble represents being like-minded and having a common objective.  One may be the leader, but that makes no difference to the other two.  They don't want to be distracted by petty arguments, as they have enough to deal with already.  These people know that working together can create small movements capable of making big changes.  Their connection and dedication are amazing tools for progress.  Now if I could just find a pebble to put between each of the heads of the members of Congress...

Monday, January 30, 2012

Communicating Perspectives

This morning I pulled another cups card from the Tarot of Durer, the Two of Cups:
A couple hold hands while sitting at a table, their body posture reflecting their feelings for each other.  Behind them is a farm house and a field of grain, implying a relationship that is both stable and productive.  My concern is the one cup balanced on the edge, ready to take a spill if the table is even lightly bumped.  This image prompts me to be aware of how fragile friendships and partnerships can be in the realm of humans.  It is a bond that requires continuous effort on the part of both parties.  While commonality is a thread that seems to weave itself through my connections with others, the most important facet for me is honest and respectful communication.  The ability to hear with an open heart and mind as well as speak the truth is what can help that cup stay firmly on the table.

     From the Philosopher's Stone deck today comes the card "Solution:"
I don't know of any adult who hasn't at some point felt up against a brick wall like this one.  And the question mark made of stone seems to taunt, "What am I going to do now?  How will I ever resolve this?"  And generally, if there are other people involved, comes the question, "Why can't they see it my way?"  But if I look at the question mark from the side, rather than from the front, it appears to be an exclamation mark instead.  The uncertainty suddenly turns into an "aha" moment.  In the same way, I need to learn to see from a new perspective (possibly from someone else) in order to get a new angle on the problem.  Otherwise, I may end up staring at that brick wall for a long time... 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Seeing Beyond Expectations

    The card pulled this morning from the Tarot of Durer is the Three of Cups:
My life is routine in so many ways - I go to the same places nearly every week, I drive the same roads to those places, I speak to the same people.  It has become so habitual that I seldom look beyond the surface of what I expect to see.  This man has walked past this tree for years, completely missing the cups in its branches.  But something has made him pause and look closer, and for this he is rewarded, as the dove assists in bringing the cups down to him.  I have recently started using a technique taught by the folks at Kamana.org called the "Sit Spot."  I spend 20 minutes a day in a place outdoors using all my senses to pay attention and be aware of all around me.  I can't begin to describe how fulfilling this experience is, and how peaceful and centered it makes me.  Like the man above, I feel as if I've found a treasure that was hidden in plain sight.  For more information on finding a "Sit Spot," see:  http://kamana.org/lessons/video/finding-a-sit-spot-video/

     From the Philosopher's Stone deck today, I chose the card "Secret:"
A solid stone man talks to another stone man made of hundreds of pebbles.  I often compare my insides to other people's outsides, and come to the conclusion that we are very different and have little in common.  Only when I take the time to listen will I uncover the myriad of life experiences a person has had, and the underlying beliefs and feelings that are a result of those events.  If I judge a book by its cover, I may never discover the interesting stories in its pages.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Get Your Mind in the Game

The tarot deck I'll be using this week was created by Giacinto Gaudenzi and based on the engraving style of Albrecht Durer.  From the Tarot of Durer today comes the Chariot:

Those who are everywhere are nowhere.
Here's a family on their way to a festival or some other destination.  I can just hear the woman in the background telling her husband, "Can't you find a less bumpy road?"  The child (hidden in back) is asking over and over, "Are we there yet?  How much longer?"  And the poor man driving the wagon has his eye on the rat with a coin in his mouth; he is thinking, "I wonder how much this trip is going to cost me?"  All the occupants have their minds on something other than the scenic view on the way to their destination, making the trip seem even longer.  Today I will focus my energy on attaining my objective, rather than complaining about all the potholes along the way.

     The oracle deck I'll be using this week is the Philosopher's Stone, created by Austrian artist Dieter Schwertberger (aka DE ES).  This morning's card is "Task:"
Three stone people, each with a different expression, carry a large slab on their heads.  The shorter one seems to have the worst attitude, grumbling about the job the whole way.  The middle one isn't happy, but doesn't complain; he just wants to get the chore finished as quickly as possible.  The last guy seems to be content with just focusing on the task, not troubling himself with what he needs to do next.  I've got several responsibilities to fulfill today as well as several things I want to do.  The more I concentrate on what I want to do (instead of just doing what I need to do), the worse my attitude will be.  I will try instead to apply myself and my attention to what is in front of me.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Under the Influence of Ego?

To update my daily draw from yesterday, I have to admit that the day ended on a Ten of Cups note; sometimes life is a process, and I just need to be patient with it.  The card drawn from the Illuminated Tarot this morning is the Seven of Pentacles:
Years ago, when I grew medicinal herbs, I spent a lot of time nurturing the seeds to sprout, getting the beds ready for transplanting, and then keeping the seedlings watered and fertilized to grow into mature plants.  It was a wonderful feeling to do like this man and observe the fruits of my labor.  But like all gardeners, I would find some plants that didn't thrive for various reasons - not enough sun or too much, a need for extra water, or a pest problem.  Sevens involve assessment and evaluation, and pentacles have to do with the physical world.  This card encourages me to pause and take inventory of my life, to see what my actions have produced, and what changes I need to make to get different results.

     From the Dreaming in Color deck today I pulled the "Temptation" card:
These colors and keyword make me think of a smoky bar, full of secrets and sensual pleasures.  Temptation always begins with a thought; in my case, I want to change the way I feel by doing something I think will indulge my desires.  Of course the pleasure is fleeting, and then I'm left with the same uncomfortable feeling I had before with an added topping of guilt.  In pairing this oracle image with the tarot card above, I become aware of how skewed my judgment can be at times.  It's always a good idea for me to have another person to share my perceptions with to keep my ego in check. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

It's a Process

  This morning's draw from the Illuminated Tarot is the Ten of Cups:
This card always makes me think of the fairy-tale ending, "And they lived happily ever after."  Yea, well that is not my experience with my neurotic little family this morning.  The only way this image would mirror my day so far is if all those cups are filled with tears, the man is holding onto the woman's waist to keep her from running away, and the one kid is trying to sling the other over a cliff.  Now that would sum up things nicely.  Okay, deep breath...  The tens represent completion, and arriving at this point in the cups suit requires moving through potential (ace), commitment (two), celebration (three), discontent (four), loss (five), nostalgia (six), fantasy (seven), departure (eight), and satisfaction (nine).  I guess sometimes you have to weather a lot of storms to get to the rainbow...

     The Dreaming in Color draw for today is "Nurturing:"
The colors here make me think of softness, warmth and gentleness.  There is no rushing, no demands or extremes.  Psychologist Virginia Satir is credited with stating: "Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible - the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family. "  Respect, tolerance, communication and flexibility will be my watchwords today.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Trusting a Moment of Hope

  The "Star" was my daily draw from the Illuminated Tarot this morning:
A nude woman (no secrets, nothing to hide) pours water on the ground and in a pool of water.  Balance has returned.  The eight-pointed stars light up the night, offering guidance to any wanderer.  An ibis, associated with wisdom, sits in a tree in the background.  Whatever the previous struggles, hope has now come through the assistance of openness, balance, guidance and wisdom.  Looking back at the "wake-up call" of yesterday's card (Judgment), I have a new understanding, and this has brought optimism and direction to my life.  I was up before dawn this morning and paused to look at the stars; I'm almost sure I spotted the Big Dipper.  It reminded me to stay open and receptive, no matter what comes my way.

    From the Dreaming in Color oracle today comes the card "Foreboding:"
Foreboding, the keyword for this image, seems like an odd pairing for the Star above.  But for those of us who have lived chaotic or muddled lives in the past, it is often hard to accept times of joy at face value.  We constantly wait for "the other shoe to drop," never quite appreciating the good in our lives.  While paying attention to my intuition is a useful tool, not staying fully in the present moment is a black hole that will extract all the peace from it.  I don't have to expect my happiness to last forever, but I can take full pleasure in its gift while I've got it.  Pause, breathe, relax.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Windshield Wipers

  The card chosen today from the Illuminated Tarot is one from the major arcana, "Judgment:"
Men, women and children rise from their graves at the sound of an trumpet being blown by an angel.  It's hard for the average person not to see this card from a christianized perspective - that of being judged for one's deeds.  For me personally, I see it as a wake-up call.  One of those moments when life suddenly becomes very clear, like turning on your windshield wipers in the middle of a downpour.  It may be that I become aware of a pattern I have been repeating, and can now make choose to do something different.  Or it may be that I suddenly become aware of how my thoughts and actions affect others, of our interconnection.  That which was hidden (or that I simply chose not to see) is now in the open offering clarity.  These insights can't help but bring about a change in my life.

     The card pulled from the Dreaming in Color deck today is "Depression:"
The lack of color in this image emphasizes the "black and white" thinking that is so common with depression.  There is no balance in the middle, leaving only apathy and a feeling of lethargy.  Added to the tarot card of Judgment above, I can see how it would be easy to arrive at this dark place.  "Look at the mess I've made with my life; I'm so stupid to have repeated the same mistake/made such a decision."  Such thinking will keep me immobile, unable to adjust my life.  Instead, I could experience a sense of freedom with these discoveries, realizing my blinders have been removed.  I have the chance to make new choices, or I can just wallow in self-pity.

Monday, January 23, 2012

For Better or For Worse

  From the Illuminated Tarot this morning comes the Two of Cups:
In this image, the winged lion head is a symbol of divine protection; the caduceus, often mistaken as the medical rod of Asclepius, is a symbolic staff of Hermes/Mercury.  One myth suggests that Hermes came upon two snakes locked in combat.  He used his staff to separate them, and ever since the caduceus has been a sign of peace.  The two cups emphasize the need for both partners to each have their own "full cup" before they share it with another.  No relationship can be healthy (or peaceful) if either partner looks to the other for their own sense of happiness or self-worth.  Today I will be responsible for my own fulfillment rather than demand it from someone else. 

     The card chosen from the Dreaming in Color deck today is "Protection:"
The combination of the above tarot card and this oracle card reflects my evening yesterday.  My husband, who is also my best friend, experienced a case of vertigo last night that literally flattened him.  He spent an hour emptying his stomach in a trashcan.  There was little I could do except stand by with a cold washrag and the trashcan until (what seemed like many long hours) it passed.  There is an instinctive urge to protect those we love from harm and pain, but rarely do we succeed.  Perhaps it is enough to know that someone is willing to sit with us as we go through pain, fear, or grief and not run away from it. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Helping or Hurting?

   This morning the card pulled from the Illuminated Tarot is the Empress:
The Empress is like Mother Earth, who gives to us without reservation.  She sustains us, nurtures us, and offers her abundance without measure.  The Empress is also associated with Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty, and resembles her as she is pure emotion.  The only downside to this lovely lady is that she can give to people who need to be doing things for themselves.  Compassion and care can be a good thing, but these traits need to be balanced with allowing people to learn how to meet their own challenges and obligations.  Like the earth, my resources will run dry if I offer myself with no limits.

     The Dreaming in Color deck offers the "Resentment" card this morning:
When I first drew this card, I thought it an odd combination with the Empress above.  But now I realize it represents my "tipping point."  I can be supportive of others and offer them encouragement, but if they refuse to even try to help themselves, I'm going to start feeling annoyed.  And if I choose to continue in this one-sided relationship, that feeling of annoyance will become resentment.  Before I get to this point, I need to check my own motivations for perpetuating an unhealthy behavior in another person. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Courage to Change

The deck I'll be using this week is the Illuminated Tarot, a recolored version of the RWS created by Carol Herzer.  The card drawn this morning is the Eight of Cups:
A waning crescent moon lights the way as a man begins a journey away from what he's known.  The pattern in which the cups are stacked make it appear as if one is missing.  Indeed, this man is aware his life is unfulfilled in some emotional or spiritual way.  It may be due to a relationship, a job, a community, or just feeling stuck in a rut.  He's looking for the missing piece, for something that will fill his "hole in the soul," and give him a sense of purpose.  His departure makes me hope that he has also evaluated what is inside himself and not just his external circumstances.  I know too well that "wherever you go there you are;" if I want my life to change and become more rewarding, the first changes must be within myself.

     The oracle deck I'll be using this week is Dreaming in Color: The Luman Deck by Mindy Sommers.  These cards, created from a mixture of nature and fractals, use the power of color to convey feelings.  Today's card is "Fear:"
It is interesting how the spot of purple in this card mirrors the cloak of the man in the Eight of Cups above.  Change within or without can make me anxious, and that feeling can either paralyze me or make me run away from a situation I need to deal with.  To be productive, fear requires that I sit with it and look at it realistically.  Byron Katie's four questions can help me do this:
1) Is it true?
2) Can I absolutely know that it is true?
3) How do I react, what happens, when I believe that thought?
4) Who would I be without the thought?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Controlling or Relinquishing?

Today's card from the Ship of Fools Tarot is the Queen of Staves:
A queen holds ropes that tether a bird, a sheep, and a bull.  She is a charismatic woman full of energy who likes to have several projects going (as suggested by the animals).  She prefers to be the leader of all these endeavors, maintaining control of how things are done (signified by the ropes).  The snag in her strategy can be seen on the right - the fool pulling the tails of the sheep and bull.  He represents all that can go wrong with her nicely laid-out plans.  I recognize this queen's love of organization and desire to direct in my life.  My challenge lies in realizing I need to be able to adapt to the unexpected and be open to the ideas of others.  No matter what my ego tells me, sometimes I don't have the best solution or the most useful creative concepts.

     The card drawn from the Wisdom of the Four Winds deck today is "Water - cleansing:"
This image makes me think of the last time I was at the coast.  I sat under the stars and moon, watching and listening to the waves roll in and back outThe rhythm soon calmed my breathing and my thoughts.  I let go of all my plans and "what ifs" and relaxed in the moment.  Water teaches me to be receptive to what is, and release those situations over which I have no control.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Second Thoughts

Today the card chosen from Williams' Ship of Fools Tarot is the Seven of Swords:
This fool is so intent on slipping off with his stash of swords, he's in the process of stubbing his toe and walking into a wall.  Sevens are about evaluating and choosing, and in this case the fellow has chosen to steal (words, ideas, etc.) from another to further his own interests.  His actions will be his undoing; dishonesty and wrongdoing have a way of coming to light.  As Robert L. Stephenson once said, "Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences."  My responsibility lies in watching carefully for rationalization.  Sometimes my best defense is to talk to another about my plans; this can help me shine the light on my excuses and uncover my true motivation.

     The Wisdom of the Four Winds deck today produced the card "Tree Fern - the unfolding:"
These amazing ferns can grow up to 20 meters high with fronds up to 5 meters in length. The koru, an unopened fern frond, has long been a Maori symbol of new life, growth and strength.  The koru will instinctively uncurl and stretch toward the sun.  And like that frond, I must uncover what is buried and look at my shadow by shining the light of truth on it.  Otherwise, I may unconsciously react and make decisions based on what I keep hidden inside.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rising, Falling and Reconciliation

   From the Ship of Fools Tarot this rainy morning comes the Wheel of Fortune:

"He who sits high on the wheel of fortune / Waits only to fall, hurt, / And take an inevitable bath."
Three figures in various donkey/human forms hang on to a wheel being turned by a mysterious hand.  The Wheel card reminds me that life is all about change, some of which I have no control over (indicated by the hand) and some that I do.  An interesting addition to this card is the ditch on the left that looks like a freshly dug grave - a not-so-subtle reminder that eventually my space on the wheel will be vacant.  No matter what is happening, life is a gift, and I should remember to accept my good fortune with humility and my struggles with patience and perseverance.  I need to take a hard look at what I'm holding on to as I make my trips around the sun, and make sure it's worth the effort.

     The card pulled from the Wisdom of the Four Winds deck today is "Greenstone - healing:"
Greenstone/Pounamu is a durable stone also known as nephrite or New Zealand jade.  It is a sacred stone to the Maori people, and why it is illegal to sell raw deposits.  Greenstone has been used to create tools, weapons and adornments, but it is also treasured because of its link with peacemaking.  Heirlooms made of nephrite were exchanged as a peace pact between warring parties.  It symbolized a closed door between those who wanted to shed blood, and has now come to signify the lessons of healing and reconciliation.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Child's Freedom

The card chosen from the Ship of Fools Tarot this morning is the Ace of Staves/Wands:
The fool rides a staff much like my grandsons gallop around on their stick horses.  Instead of a horse head, his is decorated with a fool's cap, looking much like a pair of donkey ears and legs.  The wands suit deals with inspiration, creativity and ambition.  I think sometimes being an adult can suck all the fun out of things, including any innovative ideas.  If I could let go of my serious side for a brief moment, I believe my creative enthusiasm would flow like a river freed from a dam.  Now where did those boys put that hobby horse?

     This morning I drew the "Dragonfly - magic" from the Wisdom of the Four Winds:
The gift of the dragonfly is to awaken the adventurous child within me.  This magical insect reminds me to see the beauty and awe of the small, to pay attention to the simple things that are overlooked.  It can show me the mystery and excitement that surrounds me every day.  As Brailsford writes, "See the world through the eyes of a child again..."

Monday, January 16, 2012

Holy Hammer of Heaven

  The card chosen from the Ship of Fools Tarot this morning is one I have drawn recently (as well as a few blogging friends!), the Tower:

"He who believes that he is blessed in everything, / And who feels that luck will never leave him, / He surely will feel fate's cudgel in the end."
Not only is this fellow's house on fire, but he is about to get a knock in the head with the Holy Hammer of Heaven.  The tower represents the walls I build around my heart and mind.  These bricks can be made of religious dogma, college degrees, money in the bank, family beliefs, or just plain ignorance (if I don't see it, then its not really there).  They are meant to protect me, to keep me from experiencing pain or unhappiness.  Unfortunately, like the fool above, I become trapped in a prison of my own making. In his case, he's so convinced he's right, he won't even get out to save his own skin!  If my ideas, beliefs and dreams are set in concrete, I won't evolve beyond them without something drastic happening that can get my attention.  But the real misfortune is that I'm missing out on a lot of joy while erroneously trying to safeguard myself.  Today I will allow my heart and mind some much needed fresh air and sunshine.

       From the Wisdom of the Four Winds deck today comes one of my favorite birds, "Hawk - Vision:"
Hawk reminds me not to get bogged down in the little details and stresses of my day-to-day life.  Frustration and hopelessness will only narrow my vision.  Seeing the big picture will help me detach from the confusion and emotion that surrounds me, allowing me to see with clarity what is truly important.  It is a challenge to fly in the realms of spirit while staying grounded in this world.  May I have the ability to see with Hawk's eyes today.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

It Turns on Truth

The draw for today from the Ship of Fools Tarot is Justice:

"He will soon be panting, he who / Constantly bickers like a child, / And thinks that he can blind the truth."
I can almost hear this fool whispering, as he ties on the blindfold, "No peeking!"  The blindfold reminds me how important objectivity is in making fair and just decisions.  I have a dear friend who has been trying to get a restraining order against a stalker.  She has filled out all the paper work and talked to the right people weeks ago, but she still must face him in court to make it official.  She is sick of jumping through so many hoops, and just wants this nightmare to be over.  We Americans have caused the gears of justice to slow down to a crawl because we sue over every little thing and manipulate the system to take revenge on others.  There are so many hoops to go through because Justice needs to sift through all the cases to first see if they are valid and then deal with them impartially.  This card encourages me to objectively test the truthfulness of a situation and then make my decisions.

     Chosen from the Wisdom of the Four Winds deck today is the "Pohutukawa - Tree of Life:"
The pohutukawa is a coastal evergreen tree that produces a brilliant display of red flowers during the months of November through January.  Because it can survive on rocky, precarious cliffs, it has been held in high regard by the Maori for its strength and beauty.  There is an 800 year old pohutukawa tree on the windswept cliff of Cape Reinga that is known as the "place of leaping."  It is here the spirits of the dead climb down the roots, descending to the underworld on their return journey.  Brailsford writes, "come to me in a thinking time, a grieving time and a healing time and I will lend you my strength.  I will nurture you amidst the turmoil of change."  This tree of life points to a pivotal change or a rite of passage in my life, and reminds me there is support to guide me through the labyrinth of decisions I will encounter as I move through these chapters in my life.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Discussion and Discernment

   The tarot deck I'll be using this week is Brian Williams' Ship of Fools, based on the German literary classic of the same name.  This morning's draw is the Five of Wands:
"It is wise to avoid the fool / Who always pelts with rocks / Ignoring both ill and wisdom."
     Four wound-up men with staves descend on another who calmly stands with a companion.  This illustration made me think of my experience on a jury.  There is a common goal - to decide the guilt or innocence of a person - but all the jurors have different perceptions and life experiences to base their decision on.  And even after hours of deliberation, there always seems to be one person who refuses to budge from their position.  As a former foreman, I've found that by presenting the facts objectively and trying to sidestep emotional or prejudicial triggers, people can often come to the same conclusion.  It can be a long and tedious process and requires everyone (including me) getting past their egos and opening their mind to other possibilities.

     The lovely oracle I'll be using for the week is the Wisdom of the Four Winds, created by Barry Brailsford and illustrated by Cecilie Okada.  This deck is based on the natural environment of New Zealand.  The card drawn for today is the "Mantis - Discernment:"
The mantis uses camouflage to protect and conceal itself while waiting in ambush for its next meal.  It will patiently wait until the right moment, and then it can lash out with amazing speed.  The mantis demonstrates an alternative to ranting and stomping my feet - rarely the best way to reach my goal.  Watching and listening quietly and unobtrusively can inform me when to act and when to wait.  I can uncover layers of information in this manner that might be hidden from me otherwise.  Discernment means exhibiting keen insight and good judgment, something this insect can teach me.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Ground Floor

From the Sheridan-Douglas Tarot today comes the Four of Batons:
An artist's paintbrush, a writer's quill, a rider's crop, and a musician's flute represent the batons on this card.  The number four implies a stable foundation, and the green background suggests growth in the respective fields.  The effort put forth has created a firm foundation on which more improvements and developments can be built.  It's a time for me to enjoy the progress I've made while realizing there is more work to do - I'm still on the ground floor after all.

     The card chosen from the Pages of Shustah is the "Lion:"
The black suit in this deck are based on the astrological signs; in this image is the one associated with Leo.  The lion reminds me to have courage and confidence, as well as to use the energy I have to take action.  Today will be a day of "doing" rather than "thinking."  The fine print, however, suggests I rein in my ego, as this activity will not be based in self-centeredness or arrogance.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Being Receptive

On this chilly January morning, the card I have drawn from the Sheridan-Douglas Tarot is the Ace of Cups:
A cup or chalice is only useful when it has the ability to contain something.  If there is a crack in it, or if it is full of concrete, it has lost its ability to serve its purpose.  The cups suit deals with affairs of the heart - the relationships I have with other people or my spiritual connection.  But the only way for me to make these emotional and spiritual connections is to make room for them.  I must open my heart wide...

     From the Pages of Shustah deck today comes the "Stars:"
The stars in this image are actually flowers; the blue set of cards represent serenity or a constructive endeavor.  Flowers can show their full beauty when their buds open in bloom.  Likewise, when I am in a receptive frame of mind, I can acknowledge, appreciate and take advantage of the things life offers me.  Can I accept without judging, or without wishing something was a bit different than what it is?  If so, I may make connections I've never dreamed of... 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sailing On, No Matter What May Come

   The card chosen from the Sheridan-Douglas on this rainy Wednesday morning is the Three of Batons:
My first thought when I saw the dolphin was, "Another cups card!"  But no, it is in fact from the batons/wands suit.  After researching this marine mammal, I discovered that since the time of the ancient Greeks, dolphins trailing in the wake of a ship were considered a good omen for a successful voyage.  The Three of Batons can be interpreted as having put my plans into action - the ship has left the harbor, so to speak.  I have the chance to expand my horizons if I will be fearless and persevere.

     From the Pages of Shustah this morning comes the "Bed:"
Being a part of the "red" group, this card indicated adversity or disappointment, which made me smile.  I rarely sleep well (6 hours is a good night for me), but for the past few nights I have slept hard.  The only problem is that I'm dreaming all night which is unusual for me.  Last night I dreamed I was pregnant and under attack (it just dawned on me that the card I drew yesterday was the Pregnant Mouse, hmmm...).  I would guess this card and my dreams mean that the new direction I'm headed in is likely to experience some bumps in the road.  My challenge will be in avoiding the desire to pull the covers over my head and instead keep on moving forward. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Where's Your Head?

The card drawn from the Sheridan-Douglas Tarot this morning is the Tower:
Lightning destroys what appeared to be a sturdy tower, as the occupants fall head-first to the ground.  The small "sparks" raining down are actually yuds, a letter in the Hebrew alphabet that can be translated "hand" or "to thrust."  These "hands" are what have pushed these people out of their complacency and woken them up.  The fact that they are in a head-down position tells me they need to see and understand from a new perspective.  Alfred Douglas, in his companion book The Tarot writes, "Its enclosing walls of dogmatic opinion become unable to adapt to changing circumstances, and if faced with a major challenge of ideas it can only collapse, leaving the bewildered mind within to cope as best it may with the apparent chaos that surrounds it."  My ideas need to be malleable enough to evolve; life is in a constant flux, and I must be able to flow with the changes.  As a side note, we had a fire next door to us last night.  A two-story building caught fire, but thankfully the fire department was able to put it out before it spread or before anyone was hurt.  Indeed, life is full of the unexpected...

     The card chosen from the Pages of Shustah deck this morning is the "Pregnant Mouse:"
In a stark environment of sand and cacti, a pregnant mouse and her mate search for shelter and food.  The companion book calls this the "card of poverty," but not necessarily of the material sort.  It points to emotional distress and mental restriction that has resulted from negative, limited thinking.  I have been feeling isolated and without purpose lately, and I'm sure these feelings are spilling over into all other areas of my life.  The green cards in this deck deal with growth and progress, and so this image encourages me to continue making an effort and to focus on the good.  Patience and progress go hand in hand...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Bridling the Emotions

This morning's card from the Sheridan-Douglas Tarot is the Knave (Page) of Cups:
This youngster looks down at his cup as if it is the most precious thing he owns.  Being a gentle, kind soul, he is sensitive to how others treat him and feels other folk's emotions as if they were his own.  He knows how words can wound, and so he is careful with his own.  Likewise, his actions are tender toward others, never wanting to cause another person pain.  He holds people close to his heart, much like he holds the chalice.  His biggest lesson to learn is that you can't please everyone, and you can't always protect them from pain either.  Two ideas I would do well to remember today.

     From the Pages of Shustah today comes the "Pale Horse:"
Anyone who has ever ridden a horse before knows how easily they can startle if they cross the path of something unexpected.  Here the horse rears in fear and prepares to turn and run.  The Pale Horse is a reminder that when panic threatens to make me react, I need to keep my emotions in check and my feet on the ground.  I might need to take quick action or make a quick decision, but if my emotions are running the show instead of logic, I'll only be reacting rather than making a wise choice. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Expending Effort

Today's draw from the Sheridan-Douglas Tarot is the Queen of Batons:
This queen, with her yellow gown, crown and hair is a thinker who knows how to organize and motivate.  Her green throne and baton indicates she expects something concrete to come out of her plans, not just a lot of hot air.  In fact, her sitting position looks as if she is about to push herself up and get going.  The red background and red ring on her finger speak of her passion - her enthusiasm and energy comes from an inner fire because she does what she loves.  This woman encourages me to follow my own passion and use it creatively in the world.  Reading books and thinking about it will not be enough to satisfy me.

     The oracle card pulled from the Pages of Shustah deck is "Coins:"
Coins are called "change," and this is a hint about this card's meaning.  It generally means an increase, not only financially, but also mentally and spiritually.  This growth doesn't just land in my lap; it comes in return for effort expended.  When I have done the work, then I will reap the rewards.