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, May 31, 2012

Cracking the Books

From the Restored Order Tarot, the Wheel of Fortune:
Are we to grow used to the idea that every man relives ancient torments, which are all the more profound because they grow comic with repetition? ~ Stanislaw Lem
The world spins and the seasons change...  The books the bull, angel, eagle and lion hold are the wisdom I hope I'm gaining as I move through these cycles.  Yet something happened last night that made me question how much I've actually evolved - I felt such an intense rush of anger that it took me by surprise.  I thought I had moved past this resentment, but obviously I just stuffed it somewhere for safe keeping.  Even when I try to stand still, to stay in my comfort zone, my environment and the people around me push me to change.  I might as well get out my spiritual toolbox and work on this one, because its not going to disappear on its own.

     From the Oracle of the Kabbalah comes the letter "Zayin:"
Ginsburgh suggests Zayin has the form of a crown or scepter, while Seidman (in the companion book) writes that it resembles a sword.  Either way, it is a symbol of power and assertiveness.  Strange then that this letter of strength and authority has a numerical value of seven, associated with Shabbat, the day set aside for rest.  Seidman asks, "In order to honor what is truly important, is there anything I need to cut out?"  Busyness came keep me from my real purpose - working on myself.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Unbending or Flexible?

From the Restored Order Tarot, the High Priest (Hierophant):
Two disciples come before a high priest for his blessing.  The staff he holds is a sign that he considers himself to be a shepherd of his flock, one who leads, guides and protects.  The two dark pillars on either side of the priest are a contrast to the two the high priestess sits between - one black and one white.  Instead of balance, this is a tradition that involves rules and structure that its followers must abide by.  While I am not one to follow any organized group or religion, I have learned over time that they do contain some bits of wisdom I shouldn't toss out because I judge them to be close-minded and rigid; if I do, then I am just as unbending as I conclude them to be.

     From the Oracle of the Kabbalah comes the letter "Aleph/Alef:"
The form of Alef, a yud above and a yud below with a vav separating and uniting them simultaneously, illustrates the image in which man was created - both a physical and spiritual being.  This letter is associated with the number 1, and refers to the Jewish recitation of "the Lord is one."  For many years I thought this was intended only to reiterate that "there is only one God, and we've got the right one."  But in a Kabbalah class at the local temple here, I learned the Jewish mystics consider this to mean the divine is in all - there is nothing separate, all is one.  This letter reminds me to look for connection rather than separation, and concentrate on the similarities I have with others rather than my differences.  Harmony can be found if I choose to see it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Key is Compassion

From the Restored Order Tarot, the Two of Cups:
Many readers see this card as a romantic encounter, but because of what is going on in my life right now, my focus is on the caduceus between these two people.  Today I choose to see it as a battle within myself that needs to be reconciled.  My inbox had this tongue-in-cheek (but timely) message from tut.com this morning:
One of the most stringent conditions all angels must meet, other than double-advanced harp playing and skydiving abilities (not necessarily at the same time), is that they must not allow themselves to feel hurt or rejected by the choices made by others, no matter how much they've done for them nor how great their love.
And therein lies the difficulty - to learn to allow people to make their own choices and their own mistakes without feeling guilt or resentment.  And not only that, but to love them in spite of it all.

     From the Oracle of the Kabbalah today comes the letter "Pei:"
Pei means "mouth," and its form is said to be a mouth with teeth.  In explaining this letter, Rabbi Ginsburgh said, "Expression of wisdom proceeds from the inner eye of the heart to the mouth."  In other words, if I want my speech to be creative rather than destructive, it needs to come from a compassionate place.  Robert Aitken, a Zen teacher and one of the founders of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, wrote: "Noble, upright speech arises from clear understanding that none of us will be here very long and it behooves us to be kind to one another while we can."  Aitken was an activist who advocated social justice for gays, women and native Hawaiians his entire life.  He was a living example of speaking out, but doing it "from the inner eye of the heart to the mouth."


Monday, May 28, 2012

Be Good for Goodness' Sake

From the Restored Order Tarot, the Knight of Cups:
This knight is a romantic idealist; his primary goal in life is to be of service to others.  If a humanitarian cause arises, he's on top of it.  He needs to be needed.  But his horse is not white (which would indicate pure intentions) but spotted, which makes me question his motives.  Is his service to help others or to get pats on the back?  I'm not sure any human is capable of complete selflessness; as the Dalai Lama said, “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them.”

     From the Oracle of Kabbalah comes the letter "Nun:"
In Aramic, Nun means "fish," which parallels the fish on the tunic of the knight above.  Rabbi Ginsburgh stated that Nun swims in the waters of the hidden world, where creatures lack self-consciousness (there are no walls or sense of separation).  The form of this letter is said to represent the humble servant.  This letter teaches me to do good for good's sake rather than out of obligation or the desire for recognition.  Nun reminds me we are all connected in this web of life, and ultimately any kindness I do for another will benefit me as well.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Sip of Spiritual Sustenance

  From the Restored Order Tarot, the Four of Cups:
A young man sits with his back to a tree; the falling leaves represent a time of transition for him.  The three cups in front are all the fun and frolic he's had recently, but now he's tired and in need of some peace and quiet.  For the past week I've been in clean-out mode; if something didn't have a purpose (useful, sentimental, or beautiful) it got boxed up and given away.  Goodwill and the used bookstore will probably have to add on a wing soon.  Yesterday I went out of town to visit my mom (at 76 she's a ball of energy and lots of fun).  But today I feel like this guy looks - exhausted and in need of a time out.  The cup extended to him from the cloud is one of spiritual sustenance that will help him regain the strength to get back out in the crowd again.  I'm ready for a sip of that myself...

     From the Oracle of Kabbalah today comes the letter "Chet:"
Rabbi Ginsburgh teaches that Chet is the letter of life, of which there are two types: "essential life" and "life to enliven."  Its form is that of an arch or gateway, and is associated with the number eight.  Because seven is the number of completion (seven days in a week), eight and the form of Chet represent crossing a threshold and entering a new cycle.  Perhaps this card means a transition from doing what is necessary (essential) to doing what will bring joy (enliven).

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Finding Answers in Hard Places

  This week I'll be using a Dutch deck, the Tarot in de Herstelde Orde (Restored Order Tarot) created by Rob Docters van Leeuwen and Onno Docters van Leeuwen.  Today's card is the Two of Swords:
This lady is caught between a rock and a hard place (the boulders behind her).  The overwhelmed feelings she's experiencing is represented by the water.  She's come outside to be alone and to find peace, away from all the judgments and pressures others are putting on her.  For the moment she's postponed making a decision - she wants time to dig deep within and figure out the best way to go.  But she can't stay in limbo forever; as the waning moon indicates, a choice will have to made soon.  This card reminds me not to let others bully or guilt me into making a decision that will compromise my integrity.

     The other deck I'll be using this week is the Oracle of Kabbalah by Richard Seidman.  Today's card is "Hei:"
According to Rabbi Ginsburgh, the three parts of this letter represent the three dimensions of physical reality: height, width and depth.  Hei is not heady intellectualism or emotional drama, but what is grounded in this world.  It literally means "lo" or "behold," indicating something sacred.  Hei can be used as "the," a definitive article referring to a specific object rather than some abstraction.  This Hebrew letter encourages me to pay attention to what is in front of me instead of getting caught up in assumptions, projections or expectations.  What I need to know is just waiting for me to open my eyes and see it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Powerful Partnerships and Self-Rule

From the Druidcraft Tarot, the Lovers:
In writing about this card, the Carr-Gomms state, "love requires surrender, and surrender requires choice." Surrender can be defined as relinquishing control to another, and if both companions do this (as in neither one wanting power over the other) a true, healthy partnership can be formed.  Choice is also an integral part, as I don't believe in being joined at the hip with anyone.  My husband and I have many separate interests as well as some in common.  Lately we have been busy with our own agendas, but today we've made it a point to spend some time together alone.  What an auspicious card for our day!

     From the Druid Animal Oracle comes the "Bear:"
Two keywords the authors associate with Bear are sovereignty and intuition.  Sovereignty involves having independent authority, or self-rule.  Many people say they want their independence, but they don't want the responsibility that comes with it.  It's much easier to let others do the work and make the hard decisions (and take the blame for them when things don't turn out as planned).  For those who do believe in making their own choices, their best guidance comes from within (miles past the ego) - their intuition. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Wisdom of Practicality

From the Druidcraft Tarot, the King of Pentacles:
This king loves his comforts, but he doesn't mind working hard to acquire them.  He's also a great financial advisor and quite generous.  But if he lends you money to buy a riding mower, you'd best get busy starting that lawn business you've been talking about.  He is a practical sort of guy and open to new creative ideas (represented by robin redbreast in the window), but he expects to eventually see some results from them (the boar roasting on the fire).  He values what he owns, and instead of choosing to fall into the "buy, buy, buy!" mindset, he prefers to take good care of what he has.  He fully enjoys the physical, sensual side of life, but he doesn't have to have it all to be content and satisfied.  He's learned to use his resources wisely rather than impulsively.

     From the Druid Animal Oracle comes the "Earth Dragon:"
The Earth Dragon represents the power of potential in the realm of the physical.  It's easy to check our bank accounts, look at the stack of bills on the table, then conclude there are no resources to be found.  But this card emphasizes the treasures within - our untapped talents and abilities.  I will never know what I am capable of until I try, and who knows, I might just surprise myself.    

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Where's Your Head?

From the Druidcraft Tarot, the Eight of Pentacles:
At first glance, this guy's job seems pretty easy - like sticking Playdoh in the "Fun Factory" and squeezing out a specific shape.  But this fellow had to carve the mold, mix the metals in the right combination, melt them at just the right temperature, carefully pour it in, allow it to set, then sand and polish each one.  The companion book states that "steady progress and attention to detail is indicated," and instead of focusing on the end result, we should "concentrate on each step at a time."  To skillfully master anything, I need to concentrate on the task at hand rather than allowing my attention to be diverted by too many irons in the fire.  I'm convinced that the result of society pushing us to multi-task in so many areas is why we produce (and live) at a lesser quality level.

     From the Druid Plant Oracle, "Mint:"
Though mint is often used today to settle a stomach upset, in Rome Pliny recommended that students wear a wreath of mint since it was thought to "exhilarate their minds."  The minty fresh fragrance of this herb is an attention-getter, and so the Carr-Gomms use the keywords of clarity and concentration to indicate its lessons.  This plant reminds me not to become distracted, but instead to keep my focus on my work or what is currently happening in my life.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Peculiar Mental Twists

From the Druidcraft Tarot, the Four of Pentacles:
This card could range from one extreme to the other - an admonition to be careful with your time, energy and finances or to avoid being a miser.  When it comes to myself, I tend to fall in the latter category.  Being on a fixed income has made me feel insecure with an intense need to save rather than spend.  For months now I've not bought any new "toys," clothes, etc. because of a nagging anxiety about money.  But last night, I splurged and bought a cheap scanner on Amazon, which resulted in a feeling of guilt this morning.  On some level I think I'm protecting myself, but the effects of this kind of mindset will keep me from enjoying anything, even if I'm deserving of it.  Time for a financial overhaul that begins with my brain...

     The card from the Druid Animal Oracle today is the "Water Dragon:"
The Water Dragon signifies emotions and those things within the unconscious.  Whatever has been lurking deep within, whether feelings or memories, has decided to make an appearance, ready or not.  This surge may be overwhelming if I fear it, but if I can step back and look at what comes up objectively, I might learn something beneficial.  Guess I better wax that surfboard, because it looks like I have a date with a dragon.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pause and Enjoy the Process

From the Druidcraft Tarot, the Three of Wands:
A man pauses to look at the road he'll soon be traveling; beside him three rods with new growth are planted firmly in the ground.  This morning in my email inbox I had this note from tut.com:
The very best moment in any long journey that makes your dreams come true comes not on the day you realize they have, but on the day you realize how little they matter compared to loving the adventure they've inspired.
As I look at this card I realize how often I move from one item to the next on my checklist, without pausing to enjoy the process.  It is here I will be inspired and feel fulfilled, not when I reach my goal.

     From the Druid Animal Oracle comes the "Blackbird:"
In my area, we have red-winged blackbirds; during breeding season, they nest and roost near ponds and marshes like the one near my house.  I can always tell if I have this bird at my feeder, as he never fails to announce himself with his loud, buzzing call.  The Carr-Gomms describe the blackbird as a gateway guardian who reminds us to frequent the spiritual world as we do this earthly one: "There are times in life when it is important to concentrate on the outer world and your responsibilities in that world, but there are also times when you must attend to the haunting song of your soul which calls you to a study of spiritual truths..."

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Conception and Community

From the Druidcraft Tarot, the Lady (Empress):
The Empress is the personification of Nature and all that it represents - fertility, sustenance, creation, beauty, abundance and sensuality.  The three dots on her throne represent awen, the inspirational force of generation.  Her face has an expression of intense focus, and I can't help thinking that she is timing her contractions, knowing that she will give birth soon.  She reminds me that what I conceive will require effort and focus to bring into this world.  And once here, it needs to be nurtured rather than neglected, if it is to grow and thrive.

     From the Druid Animal Oracle comes the "Bee:"
This past Friday I was out at a friend's farm where she maintains a bee hive.  She checked it while I was there; it was an amazing feeling to be surrounded by the buzzing of 9000 bees.  Once I entered their world, I got so caught up in their activity that I completely forgot about the possibility of being stung.  Every one of them seemed to have some important task to do.  I envy the bees' sense of purpose, as I seem to be floundering about, wondering what it is I am suppose to be doing and the direction I should be going.  But I do think their lesson for me is that I need to be involved with others, not going it alone.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Battles and Banes

This week I'll be using the Druidcraft Tarot created by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm and illustrated by Will Worthington.  Today's card is the Nine of Wands:
A fire from a battle burns on the horizon, and while it looks like this warrior didn't come out unscathed, he's still standing.  The wands in the ground are a tribute to the other battles he's fought and won.  His unyielding look of determination and his watchfulness let me know nothing will get past him.  He will persevere, because he's willing to give it all he's got.  There are times when I feel like this fellow, having to stand up for what I believe in, but in other situations, it is a fight within me.  These are where changes in my life are going on now, though my ego would prefer to stick within its comfort zone and maintain the status quo.  Too bad I'm going to have to disappoint it...

     The oracle deck I'll be using this week is a combination of two decks, the Druid Animal and the Druid Plant.  They are also created by the Carr-Gomms and illustrated by Worthington.  Today's card is "The Banes:"
Against the backdrop of a full moon are (from left to right) henbane, wolfsbane/monkshood, and hemlock.  The meaning of bane is something that causes great distress - in this case these herbs are all extremely toxic.  It's easy to look at plants or people who are troublemakers as something I'd like to rid myself of, but they may have a purpose.  The Carr-Gomms emphasize that the difficulties they cause may be the trigger or tipping point for me to turn in a new and unexpected direction.  Sometimes a catalyst can come in strange packages.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Loosen Up

  From the Rohrig Tarot, Temperance:
I walk every morning, just as the sun comes up.  My body aches at first, and is stubborn about not wanting to keep the pace I set.  But as my body gradually warms up, muscles and joints loosen and move freely.  My mind can be just as rigid - believing situations should be a certain way and people must behave in a particular fashion.  Such thinking makes me feel like my body does before it loosens up - heavy, sluggish and painful.  The woman in the Temperance card has dropped all the "shoulds" and "musts" and has become light as a feather.  She blends both sides so that there is no longer any duality (right or wrong, good or bad) but only a continuum.  As a result, she is like the liquid that flows effortlessly from one bowl to the other.  Time to loosen up my thoughts and ideas today...

     From the Master Tarot comes the "Devotee:"
This woman clasps her hands in prayer, and I wonder if she is fervently wishing for something to be different or just being grateful for what she has.  Prayer is a concept I struggle with, as I do not believe in an intercessory creator.  But a woman in the book club I attend created an interesting twist in my views about it.  She said her priest (Episcopal) believes prayer is not to get God to take action, but to remind the people praying that there are folks who need us to do something for them - a card, a casserole, a care package, or maybe just some compassion.  This card prompts me not to automatically discard ideas because I can logically slash them to bits, as there might just be something hidden there that will be useful to me on my spiritual journey.   

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Learning from Many Methods

From the Rohrig Tarot, the Hierophant:
Usually most Hierophant cards make me inwardly cringe, but here there is no pope ornately dressed with people kneeling at his feet.  The stars and light above his head make me see him as more of a shaman or mystic than a priest or pope.  He's willing to teach all who want to learn, but he refuses to proselytize.  This guide looks like a deep thinker, but at the same time I see a smile lurking in those eyes.    With that bit of mischievousness, part of his teaching style may be that of the wise fool.  There will be no pew-sitting with him as a mentor; it's all about opening to the experience itself while keeping an open mind.

     From the Masters Tarot comes the card "Sorrow:"
The sorrow here that Montano speaks of is that of suffering, the kind that we want to ignore by distracting ourselves or putting our heads in the sand.  But he encourages us to objectively observe it instead, to suffer consciously (not in a "poor pitiful me" way), allowing it to teach us and transform us.  He writes, "For when the intensity of pain is matched by the intensity of watching, we are thrown to our center, and there no pain can reach because we are no longer identified with it."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Am I Missing Something?

From the Rohrig Tarot, the Prince (Knight) of Wands:
This guy has so many ideas and plans that he wants to take action on, they're literally shooting out of the top of his head.  He is filled with passion, both the lusty kind and the kind that makes you enthusiastic about whatever it is you're undertaking.  The cracked heart underneath him is an obvious clue to the trail of people and projects he leaves in his wake.  Relationships or ventures that he originally was on fire about have been left by the wayside for something new and more exciting.  This card reminds me that there are plenty of adventures in the "now;" I don't have to constantly search for the latest novelty or feed my frenzied mind with excitement so I can avoid being bored.  I don't want to look back with regret on relationships or creative endeavors that I've abandoned to find what I think I'm missing.

     From the Master Tarot comes the "Supper:"
Montano uses the illustration of the Last Supper to encourage us to stop and appreciate our incarnation into this life.  Have I paused long enough to realize how lucky I am to have five senses to enjoy the world around me?  Do I realize how amazing this body is, the way it moves and carries me from place to place?  And do I understand what a magnificent machine the brain is, allowing me to read, process information, and keep my body in working order?  Sometimes I forget to be grateful for the simple things that bring me the greatest joy...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Way It Is

From the Rohrig Tarot, the Tower:
A tower is ripped apart, revealing a checkered black and white floor inside.  The tower represents the walls of protection that my ego puts up.  The ego tries to convince me that if it has certain things - education, cars, homes, money in the bank, religion, people who need me, friends and family, etc. - I'll never have to experience anything bad.  But those walls have a way of setting my mind in concrete, making me put my fingers in my ears and closing my eyes to anything that doesn't fit my cosmology.  Then life happens, and I have no buffer against reality any longer.  All the self-centered strategies I planned and moves I made (checkered floor) fall through.  I must have something other than the physical to hold on to if I am to ride out these rough waves and maintain my sanity.  Such thoughts remind me of a poem by William Stafford called "The Way It Is:"
There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change.  But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

     From the Master Tarot comes the card entitled "Love your enemies:"
enemy: a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent.
In the bottom of this card, red-eyed horses and people with swords are in a battle so confusing, it seems as if everyone is battling each other.  Do I have people I consider enemies?  At the moment, I can't think of anyone I would like to harm or see dead.  But do I have people who irritate me or who ruffle my feathers?  Absolutely.  All I have to do if I want to experience this is to have a cruise on Facebook and read the political and religious posts of others who push their opinions and agendas.  In this case, "love your enemies" doesn't mean I need to invite them home for supper, but I do need to extend tolerance and allow them be who they are while recognizing the common bond we share - that of being human with all its imperfections.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sharp Curves Ahead

From the Rohrig Tarot, the Chariot:

With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high. ~ Ayrton Senna da Silva, Brazilian racing driver
Formula One cars are considered to be the fastest in the world, reaching speeds up to 220 mph.  Drivers have no roll bars or other type of protection built around them; they rely on their skill and quick judgment calls.  Even a tiny miscalculation can result in death.  If the driver is to reach his goal safely, emotions that might affect his performance must be left behind.  Knowing one's weaknesses and being able to mentally control them are vital.  This card emphasizes the importance of self-knowledge, will-power, and discipline when I am trying to overcome my challenges and meet my objectives.

     From the Masters Tarot comes the "Wolves:"
The wolves represent false prophets, or people who promote their own agendas for their personal gain.  These folks are often eloquent, charismatic speakers who can make just about anyone enthusiastic about what they are selling.  But why are we so easily taken in?  For me personally, I am vulnerable when I am look for the softer, quicker way of doing things.  Instead of being willing to do the hard work to achieve what I want, I risk my money, self-respect and even health to get instant results (which of course never materialize).  As I've gotten older, it's become harder for others to take advantage of me - a red flag pops up when I hear honey-dipped words and extravagant promises.  I know that success comes through my efforts, not through taking short-cuts.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Avoid the Tipping Point

From the Rohrig Tarot, the Emperor:
I find it funny that I drew the Emperor on Mother's Day rather than the Empress.  He is her balance, and she is his.  While the Empress is emotional, creative and spontaneous, the Emperor is logical, likes structure, and believes in preparation.  For him, what is wild should remain in the wilderness, but the civilized need rules and organization.  The fleur-dis-lis  symbol - a stylized lily - is perfect for his personality.  To stylize something means to take what is natural and make it conform in a certain way (in other words, fit within certain regulations).  But like the three parts of his symbol, the Emperor is at his best when he combines the three traits of wisdom, strength and compassion.

     From the Master's Tarot comes the "Prophet:"
The bowl this man holds contains both fire and water, and reminds me of a Hindu myth about Shiva and Shakti.  Shiva saw no sense in transitory pleasures, so he performed tapas, or ascetic spiritual practices.  He generated so much heat that his body turned into a pillar of fire - a blazing lingam - that threatened to burn everything.  Suddenly there appeared the mother-goddess in the shape of a yoni that surrounded and cooled Shiva, thus saving the world from destruction.  In his booklet for this deck, Montano describes the prophet as an unconventional teacher whose wisdom can help guide us as well as teach us how to find balance in our lives.  Sounds a lot like the wisdom behind the Hindu lingam and the yoni.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Choose Quickly!

The deck I'll be using this week is the Rohrig Tarot, created by Carl W. Rohrig.  The edition I have is from a Spanish publishing company, Editorial Sirio, and the deck is a standard size rather than the over-sized cards of the original edition.  Today's card is the Seven of Cups:
A purple flower drops its petals; it is dying because of the lack of water, illustrated by the dry, cracked ground.  The background shows a jagged line that reminds me of an EKG printout from a heart in distress.  There is nothing that nourishes or sustains the soul here, and a choice needs to be made quickly if there is to be any hope of things getting better.  What will fulfill me?  Certainly not just some quick fix that briefly covers the symptoms but does nothing about the underlying problem.  Like an all-night, steady rain, it will need to soak in deeply to my core.

     The other deck I'll be using this week is labeled a tarot, but I'll be using it as an oracle.  The Master Tarot was created by Mario Montano and Amerigo Folchi, and my draw for today is "Apocalypse:"
The outer crust of the earth explodes outward, leaving a bright light within.  The caduceus-like symbol implies that healing will happen, but in a drastic, life-changing sort of way.  In the booklet, Montano writes that we humans have been consumed with mastering nature and the world, but neglected to master ourselves: "Our identifications, our habits, our private fixations have grown like a crust all around us, and they threaten to choke us and curb our evolution entirely."  Transformation is coming regardless of what I do; I can choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Shining the Light of Truth

From the Mythic Tarot, the Five of Cups:
Illustrated in this image is the myth of Eros and Psyche.  Psyche was only able to be with Eros at night, because he didn't want to reveal his true identity as a god (he wanted to be loved for love's sake).  Psyche, unfortunately, listened to her sisters who convinced her that he was a monster who would soon kill her, even though everything she had experienced with him told her otherwise.  But she gave in, and one night lit a lamp to see Eros identity, who responded to her betrayal by running away.  Why do we let other people's opinions and assumptions taint what we know to be true?  Why couldn't Psyche just communicate with her husband her fears, instead of following her sisters' advice?  Once betrayed, I am not one who will trust easily again - forgive yes, but trust no.  Psyche too had to earn the faith of her husband again over a period of time (that involved many tasks).  The message for me in this card is that I can often avoid hurting those I love by refusing to act on assumptions I don't know to be true.  Honest communication can clear up misunderstandings before they set the ball rolling, creating events that have a domino effect.

     From the Symbolon Deck comes "Vanity Fair:"
The beautiful people in their beautiful clothes are out parading around the town square with other beautiful people.  They are there for only one purpose - to be seen and noticed.  The person that accompanies them is important in what they can do for their image.  These partnerships and friendships are based on nothing more than ego-inflation.  I am reminded by this card to be honest with myself about why I form relationships with others.  Do they make me feel important and needed?  Am I primarily concerned with what I can get out of it, or instead, is there a feeling of mutual respect between us? 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Knowing One From the Other

From the Mythic Tarot, the Six of Pentacles:
In this illustration, Daedalus, an expert craftsman and architect from Athens, pledges his service to King Minos of Crete and asks for his patronage.  Most kings would be honored with such a show of homage, but Minos seems to be thinking things through before handing over his gold coins.  Daedalus, before fleeing to Crete, had murdered his nephew (and apprentice) because he thought the young man was going to surpass him in skill.  Would he eventually betray the king as well?  The Six of Pentacles involves sharing resources so that balance is restored, but it also cautions one to use balanced judgment in making such decisions.  A wise verdict realizes that actions speak louder than words...

     From the Symbolon Deck comes "Moira:"
The Ancient Greek word moira meant "portion" or "share," and personified the deity who assigned every man and woman their fate.  The Greeks would eventually divide her duties into three parts and assign them to the Three Fates.  Taylor Dayne sang a song called "You Can't Fight Fate," and part of the lyrics are:
You can run, but you can't run away
No matter what you do, no matter what you say
When it's meant to be, it's gonna be that way.
Now I believe there are things beyond my control that I must accept and deal with the best I can, but I also believe I'm responsible for the choices I make.  May I have, as Reinhold Niebuhr so eloquently put it, the "courage to change what must be altered, serenity to accept what cannot be helped, and the insight to know the one from the other."

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Impetuous Heroes and Bloodsucking Leeches

From the Mythic Tarot, the Knight of Wands:
Here is the courageous and dashing Bellerophon, who not only tamed Pegasus but killed the fire-breathing Chimaera as well.  Bellerophon's accomplishments made him arrogant - even though he wouldn't have succeeded without the help of the gods and goddesses.  He was obsessed with challenges, and since none lay before him, he decided to create his own.  Thinking he deserved to join the Immortals, Bellerophon hopped on Pegasus to find Mount Olympus.  Zeus was not pleased with this turn of events, and sent a fly to sting Pegasus on the rump.  Pegasus promptly dumped his ride to the ground and continued on without him.  Bellerophon spent the rest of his days as a lonely, crippled wanderer looking for his horse.  The lesson of this myth is that bravely meeting one's challenges is honorable, but creating chaos and drama in order to have a purpose is not.  Life has enough ordeals and obstacles without me generating more.  

     From the Symbolon Deck comes the "Vampire:"
I don't believe in vampires of the "Twilight" sort, but I do believe they exist in other forms.  I have friends that I can spend time with and when I leave, I feel full of energy and joy.  I also have some acquaintances that I try to avoid spending time with, because I end up feeling drained and out of sorts afterward.  These people use others, but not necessarily consciously.  They are information seekers; they ask questions and want opinions yet may not do anything with what they receive.  The trap is that it is nice to have someone ask for your advice, because it feels like you are being of service to others.  But they want more - they want you to fix what is broken, shore up what is sagging, and make all their dreams come true.  If a cross would keep these folks away, I'd be wearing one every day... 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sharing Successes, Sharing Responsibilities

From the Mythic Tarot, the Six of Wands:
This card pictures Jason holding the Golden Fleece up in victory, as his band of Argonauts cheer behind him.  He was victorious in his challenge over the dragon that protected it, and now he enjoys the recognition of his peers.  But there is another side to this story...  Medea, the king's daughter and sorceress, helped Jason in all his challenges when he arrived in Colchis, including giving the dragon a sleeping potion so Jason could steal the fleece.  Although he had sworn to love and honor Medea for all her help, once they returned to Greece he abandoned her for another princess.  The lesson in today's draw is not to forget all the folks who helped me along the way, whether in small or big ways.  My accomplishments are founded on the encouragement and aid I've received, and the joy of my successes should be shared with those who have freely given to me.

     From the Symbolon Deck, "Captivity:"
The jester represents that side of us that longs to be carefree with no responsibilities or obligations weighing us down.  He is behind bars, feeling trapped with no way out, but this is a feeling only, not reality.  His liberation will come when he recognizes that service to others can be balanced with time for himself.  He'll stay in prison until he lets go of his "all or nothing" thinking and adopts a new attitude.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bite Your Tongue

From the Mythic Tarot, the Page of Swords:
This Page is illustrated with Zephyrus, the Greek god of the West Wind.  One of the often told stories of Zephyrus deals with his jealousy of the relationship between Apollo and Hyacinthus (a young man who was a mortal).  He was so enraged to see them having fun while throwing a discus one day, that he blew it at Hyacinthus, striking him in the head and killing him.  It was a rash action that only caused more pain and is indicative of the immaturity of this court card.  I know that words can strike with the same effect as any sword, and once spoken, the bell cannot be unrung.  I may say "I'm sorry" over and over (and mean it), but it will never erase the pain I have caused.  Today's card encourages me to bite my tongue when my emotions want to unleash its fury, and wait until I am calm and able to speak with respect.

     From the Symbolon Deck, the "Inquisition:"
Poor lady...  She is obviously a free thinker who dared to speak her mind.  And from the looks of those who sit in judgment of her, she doesn't stand a chance.  There are two lessons in this image.  The first is that there are some people with whom I should keep my opinions and ideas to myself, as they will not be receptive to anything that strays outside the walls of their limited knowledge and understanding.  My views should be shared when people ask for them, not when I think they should be educated according to what I think is "right."  The second is that I need to be careful about judging others for their beliefs, especially when I would not want to be put down or made fun of for mine.  The life experiences that shape our perceptions are different for everyone, so the motto "live and let live" might be a wise one to follow.