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

Friday, November 30, 2012

Sorting Stuff

From the Ferret Tarot, the Seven of Pentacles:
I'm not sure why, but ferrets love dirty socks.  This group has been sorting through the laundry, picking out all the socks and leaving everything else behind.  This card reminds me that there are parts of my life that I need to examine, sort through, and decide what is worth holding on to and what isn't.  It's a chance to figure out what is worth my attention and time and what is a waste of both.

From the Nature's Wisdom Oracle comes the "Bobcat:"
We have lots of these cats in our area, especially out from the city among the forests and farms.  Yet as long as I lived here, I've only seen one wild one - a bobcat that had been hit and killed on the highway.  These animals live and move alone, quietly like shadows.  The solitude it represents teaches me that some things I must do alone, focusing on my own inner compass rather than relying on the opinions of others.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

No Indulgences For Sale

From the Ferret Tarot, Justice:
When I'm in my self-righteous mode, you can be sure the scales of justice are out-of-balance.  We humans have a way of compartmentalizing beliefs and ideas.  A person may hate homosexuals, but since he donates money to help feed the starving children of Africa, he thinks he is a just and moral person.  But I can't weight the scales of Justice; doing a good deed doesn't make up for a bad one.  If I've hurt someone, I can't make things right by helping someone else.  Righting a wrong means changing my views and behavior in that situation.  Justice doesn't hand out indulgences; the scales will only be balanced when I change myself.

From the Nature's Wisdom Oracle comes "Coyote:"
In areas where the wolf has been exterminated, the coyote remains.  In the wake of human expansion, the coyote has enlarged its territory and can be found in nearly all the states in the U.S.  These animals have learned to survive and flourish in urban and suburban areas because of their distinctive ability to adapt to change in their environment.  Nature doesn't stomp its feet and throw a tantrum when things become unbalanced, it finds a way to adapt in order to survive.  My lesson is in learning to modify myself rather than expecting everyone and everything to change but me.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gardening with Pain

From the Ferret Tarot, the Queen of Swords:
I quite like this Queen of Swords - most RWS type decks depict her as an emotionless shrew with an ice-cold heart.  But here is one who is familiar with pain and grief, yet instead of letting it close her heart she lets it open it further.  She knows it is truth rather than illusion or denial that will bring healing, though it may also bring pain.  She won't sugarcoat anything, but because she's gone through it herself, she'll be a good mentor in how to successfully go through it and come out whole on the other side.

From the Nature's Wisdom Oracle comes "Scarab Beetle:"
The dung beetle rolls huge balls of poo and deposits them in its burrow.  Its larvae will use it for food when they hatch, which is why Lighthipe gives the scarab the keyword of "creation."  The wisdom of this insect teaches me how to take what might seem useless and create something of value.  In combining this card with the queen above, I am reminded to use my pain or challenges in positive ways.  Dung is a great fertilizer with which to garden...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

No Head Slaps Allowed

From the Ferret Tarot, the Five of Wands:
Even the more serious cards in this deck make me grin.  Being a blogger has made me curious about other blogs, so I frequently check out those written by friends and acquaintances.  I find it interesting to peruse the comments too, because various people can read the same thing and get very different messages and meanings.  It's no wonder we humans bump heads with all our different perceptions and priorities.  But respectfully listening to other ideas and opinions can give me a fuller view of the whole, instead of just my little slice of reality.  Open minds often lead to more comprehensive and significant results.

From the Nature's Wisdom Oracle comes "Iguana:"
Though iguanas don't make much noise other than an occasional snort, they do communicate with body language: dewlap extension, head bobbing, tongue flicking, tail whipping and body posture.  The wisdom of this animal reminds me that some people don't communicate well just by speaking or hearing.  Some want you to draw them a picture, some like to learn by doing, and some would rather read it in written form.  If someone isn't hearing what I have to say, I might need to find another way to tell them (without a head slap).

Monday, November 26, 2012

On My Honor...

From the Ferret Tarot, the Knight of Wands:
On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.
~ Boy Scout Oath
The Knight of Pentacles is the Boy Scout of the tarot world.  He is dependable, loyal, and steadfast, and he'll make sure his efforts are grounded in reality.  He teaches me on mornings like today, where another brick is added to the load, the best thing I can do is persevere.  I'll keep my eye on what is at the top of the priority list instead of becoming overwhelmed by all of it.  Then I'll just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

From the Nature's Wisdom Oracle comes the card "Pumpkin:"
This collection of gourds reminds me of the cornucopia my mother had on her holiday table.  Anyone who's ever carved a pumpkin or cooked squash knows the abundance of seeds inside these gourds.  They remind me that there are multiple solutions to problems and hopeful prospects available, but sometimes I have to be patient and dig for them.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Laughing or Languishing?

From the Ferret Tarot, the Six of Cups:
This image made me smile along with the ferrets; I too have looked at old pictures and hooted over the hairstyles and clothes worn "back then."  A small part of me wonders if I'll ever be able to enjoy a good belly laugh like that again, or if all that fun is truly in the past.  There is so much serious stuff going on right now that I feel almost insensitive and uncaring if I even dare to smile.  Yet if I'm honest, I'll realize that there was plenty of pain that accompanied those good times in the past.  And probably what helped me through the pain was finding something to laugh with others about.

From the Nature's Wisdom Oracle comes the "Crane:"
In cultures of the East, the crane is associated with longevity, good fortune, wisdom and happiness.  I only recently discovered that the red on their faces is not feathers but bare skin.  It reminds me that though I would like to hide under the covers from all that is unpleasant, the vulnerable part of me is what opens me to experience hope and joy as well.  Most cranes have developed elaborate "dances" they use in social or courting situations.  Like them, I must learn to dance through the ups and downs, realizing the balance of both in my life.  I recently read a blog post by Ginny Hunt on 78 Notes to Self; it included a poem by Rumi that seemed to shake up my thinking about the good and bad that come my way.  The last line of the poem is:
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from above.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Relax and Look for Beauty

This week I'll be using the Ferret Tarot created by Elaine Moertl.  Today's draw is the Four of Pentacles:
The expression on this ferret's face reminds me of a toddler with a new toy.  The toddler might let you have a peek at his plaything, but no way is he going to let you hold it - he's afraid you might not give it back.  My energy is in short supply these days due to stress overload, and I'm beginning to feel like the toddler and the ferret.  I want to hole up someplace quiet and undisturbed, isolating myself from whatever else might come my way.  But deep down I know when I react this way, I don't avoid the stress but do miss out on the support that can help me through it.  Guess that's why moms always teach us to share...

The other deck I'll be using this week is Nature's Wisdom Oracle created by Mindy Lighthipe.  This morning's card is the "Crocus:"
The crocus is one of the first flowers to push up through the dead leaves, ice or snow.  Even though winter is still around, it gives hope that change is coming.  I feel like I'm covered in a pile of cold, wet leaves myself these days, and have to remind myself to look for what is good and beautiful in life instead of focusing on what is not.  As I look out my window while I am typing, the sun is rising and coming through the leaves of a giant sycamore tree in the backyard.  The filtered light shines on the fiery red leaves of a laceleaf Japanese maple, under which a Buddha statue sits.  So beautiful it makes me sigh...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fairytale Assumptions

From the Fairytale Tarot, the Six of Coins:
The tale of the Golden Goose reaffirms the adage that "generosity has its own rewards."  A village learns the hard way that selfishness and appropriation without consent has consequences.  The boy who was thought to be simple and foolish, on the other hand,  is the one repaid for his kindness and openhandedness.  This card made me focus on a mindset I often find myself stuck in when I need assistance.  I mistakenly assume other people should somehow know what I need without my asking them.  The charitable assumption would be that they are doing the best they can handling their own worries, and if I need their help I am going to have to ask for it directly.  Nine times out of ten I'll get the support needed when I request it without having to worry about a lingering resentment later.

From the Tao Oracle comes "Peace:"
This is a scene that makes me sigh and wish I was there.  Lately I've been on an emotional see-saw, sliding from one end to the other, wishing I could just stay in the balanced center forever.  In her book, Ma Deva Padma writes: "the child in us wants to believe that everything is finally as it's supposed to be and should stay that way forever, as in a fairy tale.  But nothing stays the same forever; life is an ongoing journey..."  I need to let go of things I can't control, stop obsessing over the details, and embrace the big picture.  Nothing lasts forever, regardless of any "good" or "bad" label I put on it.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Food for Thought

From the Fairytale Tarot, the Seven of Coins:
The Seven of Coins deals with sizing up a situation and deciding on the next course of action.  In the tale of the brave tailor, this fellow decides that brains are better than brawn, and gets what he wants in the end.  Society often teaches us that physical force is the way to achieve what we want, but looking at the ongoing battles in the Middle East and elsewhere show the fallacy of this thinking.  Better to be like the water that gently wears away the stones as it flows downstream.

From the Tao Oracle comes "Conflict:"
Ah, the holidays.... Take groups of family members, a mix of liberal and conservative beliefs, and toss them together for a day.  Inevitably, conflict will rear its head.  But Padma says there is another way, one that doesn't require fleeing or fighting.  We relax the clenched fist and allow the heart and mind to be open.  Food for thought that won't add any Thanksgiving calories today.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hesitant Words

From the Fairytale Tarot, the Ten of Swords:
The tale of the Tin Soldier is one of love never spoken.  The one-legged metal toy adores the paper doll ballerina from afar, never telling her how he feels.  But one day he is thrown into the wood stove's flames; the ballerina (with the help of a gust of wind) floats down to die with him.  All that's left in the ashes the next day is a metal heart.  Humans can at times say too much (like the Knight of Swords yesterday) or can leave what needs to be said unspoken.  I may think someone knows I appreciate and love them, but people need to hear it.  I shouldn't require something drastic to happen to transform my hesitancy into willingness.  So to all my friends and family, both those close by and those far away, I love and am thankful for your presence in my life.

From the Tao Oracle comes the card "Darkening of the Light:"
Low light tends to make things look softer and less harsh.  It encourages rest rather than frantic activity.  Today is the eve of the holiday season, when there is pressure to push, rush, and worry about things left undone.  But this card teaches that relaxing in the moment will in the end accomplish more - regardless of what all the media ads tell me.  And I'm much more likely to enjoy the company of friends and family if I'm in a calm state of mind.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Being Mindful, Keeping Things Simple

From the Fairytale Tarot, the Knight of Swords:
This card is based on the story of Bluebeard, a wealthy man who sported a blue-colored beard.  He finally manages to woo a woman who is able to look past his oddity and marries him.  Unfortunately when he goes away on a trip, she discovers the bodies of his former wives in the basement.  He arrives home angry about her unlocking his secret.  Before he can lop off her head too, her brothers come to her rescue.  This tale emphasizes the impulsive nature of this knight.  He's intelligent and quite a wordsmith, but he often uses his talents to slice and dice those who disagree with him or offend him in some way.  Like his collection of dead bodies, I can end up with plenty of "dead" relationships using freedom of speech without mindfulness.

From the Tao Oracle comes the card "Decrease:"
 Tall evergreen pines stand behind a deciduous tree that is fast losing its leaves.  This time of year, its almost impossible not to notice the color change of many of the trees in the area.  The bald cypress trees have now turned a bright rust color, and unlike most cypresses, they will soon drop their feathery needles.  The shorter hours of daylight, colder weather, and lack of rain all combine to bring about this change.  The trees cut off the sap and fluids to the leaves, creating the autumn colors before the tree sheds its leaves.  It is a protective feature that allows the trees to survive the winter until they leaf out again in the spring.  This card teaches me to simplify my life, not in any ascetic sort of way, but to help me stay in balance during a stressful period.  I'll get a chance to show my colors again when the season changes...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Love Can Be Messy

From the Fairytale Tarot, the Lovers:
Tatterhood is one of my favorite fairytales, mostly because it teaches that love sometimes isn't pretty on the outside.  When two princesses are born, one is immediately seen as sweet and beautiful while the other is labeled a wild child.  Tatterhood dresses in rags, has a bird's nest in her hair, and rides a goat, much to the king and queen's distress.  But it is she who shows intelligence, courage, and loyalty when things get tough.  And in the end, she is seen for the beauty she is, not just outwardly but inwardly as well.  This story encourages me to love from a deep place, beyond the surface of saying the right words.  Love can be messy, chaotic and frustrating sometimes, but a commitment to love will keep me focused on what is beyond outer appearances.

From the Tao Oracle comes the card "Grace:"
For me grace means being connected to an inner flow, though some may call it being in touch with one's divine spark, higher self, or some other name.  In that place where a clear stream runs through me and all of life, I find what I truly long for.  Athletes often refer to it as being "in the zone," and researchers have found 12 characteristics of this place of grace: physical relaxation, mental calm, low anxiety, heightened energy, optimism, enjoyment, effortlessness, automatic functioning, alertness, mental focus, self-confidence and control.  Of course the paradox is I must surrender all my attachments rather than using them for flotation devices...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Finding a New Place

Today I'm going to post a little differently - I'll be doing my oracle card first, then my tarot card.  From the Tao Oracle comes "Oppression:"
I can't think of a more perfect card for where I am emotionally, mentally and physically.  All the crow-like birds that surround this person feel like all the people, pets and situations I've been trying to take care of.  The attempted suicide of a friend this week was the blow that finally sent me reeling.  I've had a smile pasted on my face up until now, but I just can't fake what I'm feeling anymore.  In her companion booklet, Padma writes that any situation "can be approached from a life-affirmative or a life-negative standpoint.  And it is the life-affirmative approach that embraces the whole rather than drawing the lines that divide good from evil, darkness from light. ...every darkness has its dawn, and every dawn contains the seed of darkness."  My head understands this, but right now my heart hurts too damn much to be able to embrace it.

From the Fairytale Tarot, the Four of Wands:
  The "Musicians of Bremen" is a story about four elderly animals who were considered "throw-aways" by their owners.  They resolve to join together and go to the town of Bremen as singers.  Along the way, they come upon a house filled with robbers.  They decide to test their singing skills with these men, so all four animals begin making "music" which sounds awful and scares the robbers off.  The animals figure since the house is now empty, they might as well make use of it.  However one robber comes back in the night, but he is bitten, scratched and kicked by all the animals.  Convinced the house is full of evil spirits, he leaves never to return. The four friends enjoy the home and the company of each other for the rest of their days.  The Four of Wands is generally about building a foundation and a celebration of this new beginning.  But the story reminds me that sometimes I must move to a new place (whether physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually) before I can begin.  As Einstein once said, the mindset that created the problem is not the mindset that is going to solve it.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pockets of Opportunity

This week I'll be using the Fairytale Tarot, created by Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov.  Today's card is the Ace of Coins and uses the tale "The Superior Pet:"
In this story, a wealthy family loses their lands and money, holding on to only one possession - a silver spoon.  Their daughter, with no dowry, becomes a seamstress who lives in a "poor house" for unmarried women.  One day she rescues a white mouse that had been caught and injured.  She nurses it back to health, but when it is discovered by the other women, they tell her she must get rid of it.  Instead she strikes out on her own, away from the village.  Hungry and tired, she considers selling the one possession her parents left her - the spoon.  But before she can act, the mouse grabs the spoon and scurries into the bricks of a tumbled down building.  She begins tearing the bricks away, only to uncover a treasure chest with her silver spoon sitting on top.  When the story of her good fortune spread throughout China, white mice became symbols of luck.  This card reminds me that I make my own luck, through working hard, persevering, and continuing to do what is right.  These tools will help build doors that open to opportunity.

The other deck I'll be using this week is the Tao Oracle, created by Ma Deva Padma.  This morning's draw is titled "Approach:"
A  room made of stones opens up to the outdoors, letting in fresh air, beauty and warmth.  Life often feels hard and cold like this room; what a blessing it is when positive change happens.  Lately these pockets of calm and peace are few and far between, and sometimes I just want to do nothing but rest when I find myself in one.  But Padma encourages me to take advantage of them - rest, but don't become a couch potato.  I need to be enjoying these moments because they are where the real change happens.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thorny People and Problems

From the Deirdre of Sorrows Tarot, Strength:
I firmly believe all people are capable of anything (acts of violence) if put in the right situation and given the right circumstances.  But some folks choose courage, compassion and patience time and time again.  They draw from a well of inner strength that goes much deeper than demands of the ego.  When I feel like I'm tired of doing the "right thing," I look at all the examples in my life who drink from this well daily.  There's the woman who looks after her elderly mother's needs while putting up with her biting remarks and grumpy disposition.  There's the friend who overcame her fear to leave an abusive relationship and is still in court a year later dealing with the wrath of the one she left.  Every where I look, there seems to be someone who though pushed to their brink, stands firm, refusing to give in to fear, pain or anger.  Today I'll do my best to stand with them.

From the Victorian Flower Oracle comes "Wild Rose:"
When I visited my mom yesterday, we walked out to her backyard to look at all the trees and plants.  Along her back fence is a Cherokee rose whose blooms are beautiful in the the spring.  But the thorns on that vine look like they could carve a Thanksgiving turkey!  The companion book offers the descriptive phrase "a thorny question" for this card.  Like the Cherokee rose that offers both beauty and pain, sometimes making a decision or finding a solution isn't easy.  Often what is the easiest way is not always the way of compassion or courage.  That's when I need to rely on that inner well above...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Choices and Motives

From the Deirdre of the Sorrows, the Lovers:
A man reaches out to a woman, wanting her to take his hand, but she crosses her arms over her heart and looks away.  An angel holding a heart protectively looks with concern at the woman.  The Lovers is about choice and commitment.  The red rose the woman holds represents the passion she is not ready to relinquish.  This card reminds me that before I commit to something, I need to make sure my heart is in it.  I don't need to say "yes" to keep from hurting someone's feelings or any other superficial reason.

The card from the Victorian Flower Oracle today is "Lily:"
The keywords for this flower are "Pure Motives."  It is so easy to gloss over what I do to make my choices look bright and shiny on the outside when they're really tarnished on the inside.  Rationalization helps me convince myself that the choices I make are for the best, when in reality I'm hiding a bad motive with what appears to be a good one.  But on some level I know I'm just deluding myself, and what's the point of that?  Things will come to light eventually, whether I want them to or not.  Better to be honest with myself and others from the start.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Full of Sound and Fury

From the Deirdre of the Sorrows Tarot, the Page of Swords:
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.
~ William Shakespeare, Macbeth

This Page of Swords, dressed in a knight costume, made me think of how we humans love to spout our opinions to the world.  We like to feel smart, important and worth listening to - no wonder Facebook is so popular.  Unfortunately all that intellectual spewing (whether about politics, religion, or people who are different) just serves to divide us rather than heal and unite us.  I was discussing with my husband about his back-and-forth comments he posts on a friend's page and had an epiphany.  We look at people who think differently from us and see them as completely opposite from ourselves.  But what we don't realize is that we are all standing on a circle; it appears we are on conflicting sides because they are across from us, yet we are on one circle.  We may be further apart on the arc than others who stand closer to us, but still we are all on the same circle.  I need to remember to focus on this connection the next time I want to pop off with some opinionated blather.

From the Victorian Flower Oracle comes "Nasturtium:"
These two nasturtiums mourn the loss of their companion, who was probably dug up to put in a salad or used in a herbal remedy.  The creators give this card the keywords "Sad Memories" to represent those regrets we have in life of things said that can't be taken back and words unspoken.  I know that feeling well.  My stepdad (who I consider my dad) died quite unexpectedly right before the holidays several years ago.  I grieved not only losing him but all the times I neglected to tell him how much I appreciated him.  I can't control the summons of death, but I can control my tongue, and use it to encourage and heal rather than to hurt. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Return to Order and Equilibrium

From the Deirdre of the Sorrows, the Emperor:
“Enlightened leadership is service, not selfishness. The leader grows more and lasts longer by placing the well-being of all above the well-being of self alone.” ~ John Heider, The Tao of Leadership

I was supposed to be taking a road trip today; I had my music for the car ready, and had visions of me singing along as I rode with the windows down on this fall day.  But like the saying about best-laid plans going awry, Things Happened.  There was a family crisis and I was asked to stay home and help restore calm and balance.  Of course the selfish part of me wanted to get in the car and head out of town, leaving someone else to deal with the situation.  That part kept whining about being tired and stressed - not very leader-like behavior.  The Emperor has a tough job; while he may be a part-time warrior who protects the kingdom, he must also be a peace-keeper who restores order when there is chaos within his realm.  It is not easy to put individual wants aside for the well-being of the whole, but it's the choice I will make today.

From the Victorian Flower Oracle comes the "Flower Ball:"
The keywords for this card are "Happy Times;" balls are generally known for music, merriment and dancing with friends and family.  I compare my fantasy of music blasting as I sing alone in my car (above) with this one, where joy is shared with many others.  I know I'll get a chance for that road trip again soon, but for now I'll party with my family, celebrating a return to equilibrium.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Making New Memories

From Deirdre of the Sorrows, the Three of Swords:
The truth might set you free, but first it usually hurts like hell.  In this image are two women hurting, one who's been in denial and the other who's been completely unaware of an ongoing situation.  The woman in the foreground has had an affair with a married man, thinking he would leave his wife for her.  The woman against the wall with her child has just discovered her husband's unfaithfulness.  And the man?  He's headed down the road, leaving chaos in his wake, with only concern for himself.  It would be pointless to try to tell either of these women that they are better off without him; they must first grieve their loss, then hopefully they can move on and make better choices in the future.

From the Victorian Flower Oracle comes "Orange Flower:"
The creators give this flower the keyword "memories," very appropriate as the sense of smell is intricately tied to memory.  In pairing this meaning with the card above, it reminds me how telling the "story" of my pain over and over, whether to others or in my head, can bind me to that heartache.  Instead of moving forward with my life, I become chained to the past.  I don't think I need to completely forget the pain - remembering consequences can help me make better choices - but I need to focus on making new memories too.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

From Adviser to Student

From the Deirdre of the Sorrows Tarot, the Page of Coins:
A young university student is so engrossed in his book, he is oblivious to his shoe being untied and other activity around him.  I can relate to this young man; the other day I was studying a hawk high up in a pine, and nearly knocked myself out by walking into a road sign.  There are times when I can share what I've learned in a teaching role, and times I need to be the student.  Looks like I've got some serious studying ahead of me.

From the Victorian Romantic Flower Oracle comes the card "Cactus:"
The key phrase associated with this card is "prickly situation," and pairing it with the student above, I can guess what its message is for me.  I've had a somewhat mentoring type of relationship with a woman who calls me frequently for advice.  She's been in quite a tangled mess for over a year now, and I've offered suggestions as to what I would do in her case.  The other day I was quite frank with her and flatly told her what she was about to do was insane.  She responded that I didn't understand what she was going through and I didn't have any "real" knowledge about what she should do, so she wouldn't be calling anymore.  My role has moved from mentor to student in this situation.  What can I learn from it?  Mostly that people don't really want honest advice, they prefer to receive affirmation for what they want to do.  Secondly, that I need to detach with love from this woman, who clearly is going to get to her destination her way, not mine.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tightly Wrapped or Undone?

This week I'll be using the Deirdre of the Sorrows Tarot, created by Deirdre O'Donoghue with illustrations by Wayne McGuire.  Today's draw is the Four of Coins:
Dressed in a business attire, a woman strides away from her perfect, fenced-in house with a paper in hand.  What's on the paper?  I'm sure its her checklist for the day.  She is a micromanager archetype; see if Simon North's description rings any bells:  "This control freak is reluctant to delegate, may second-guess everything you do, and can shake your confidence in your own abilities. Simple tasks that you could accomplish quickly if left to your own devices take twice as long. Your efforts may be reduced to dust as the micromanager completely re-does your work."  She thinks she is helping to keep her life and those lives around her in line, stable, and simplified.  She is under the illusion that if she manages well, things will not disintegrate or change like the silo/tower in the background.  But the pictures on the coins tell the true story:  time can't be stopped, life is about movement and change, what's written down as truth today may be disproved tomorrow, and successful existence involves being flexible enough to adapt to the ups and downs of life.  Her shoes have been rubbing blisters on my feet... I'm ready to get back in my own hiking boots.

The oracle deck I'll be using this week is the Victorian Flower Oracle, created by Karen Mahoney and Alex Ukolov.  This morning's card is "Marvel of Peru:"
The creators of the deck give this card the keywords "Party Time," and I have to say it made me think of a drunk with a lampshade on her head.  I contrast this flower-woman with the one in the Four of Coins card above - one is all about control and the other has given up her reins altogether.  I don't think I need to get drunk to let my hair down, but I do think a bit of fun and silliness should definitely be on my "to-do" list today.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Duties Without the Heaviness of Life

From the Buckland Romani, the Nine of Koshes (Wands):
With a rug beneath him, a man sits on a ground patiently carving branches and wrapping them with leather.  He's completed a few that lean against his wagon, but he has several newly cut pieces yet to do.  There are no distractions around - even his teacup is behind him.  He completely focuses on the task at hand.  For some reason, the way he sits on the rug reminds me of Aladdin's magic carpet.  He might long to be whisked away to something more exciting, but he knows the magic won't come until he completes what he needs to do.  This card reminds me that though my duties may seem monotonous, I must take the path of responsibility if I want to enjoy free time to explore without guilt or regrets for things left undone.

From the Lakota Sweat Lodge comes "Grandfather's Breath - Tunkasila Oniwan:"

Grandfather's Breath is the steam that rises from the water sprinkled over the hot rocks in the sweat lodge.  It represents both the prayers offered to Spirit and the cleansing of mind, body and soul that results.  This is the transformative part of the ceremony, where things are released, allowing something new to take its place.  Here is where I can let go of resentment, guilt, fear, and sadness and allow them to be channeled into productive activity.  It allows me to drop the heavy stones I've been carrying so I can experience life instead of just react to it.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Be Done With It

From the Buckland Romani Tarot, the King of Chivs (Swords):
The sword firmly planted through the rug and into the floor says a lot about this king.  His queen is the BS detector, but he is the decision-maker.  He's willing to listen to and consider all sides of a situation impartially, but ultimately he's going to render a judgment that he considers fair.  No emotion, no drama, he just calls it as he sees it.  Being wishy-washy or second-guessing himself is not how he operates.  As the sword in the floor implies, he logically reaches a conclusion, gives his verdict, then declares, "Now be done with it!"

From the Lakota Sweatlodge Cards comes "Old Woman Sorceress - Kanka:"
This card encourages seeking the teachings that will guide me through all of life's experiences, using the gift of discernment to unlock the truth.  But here's my problem.... I'm often influenced by visions and beliefs of other people.  I'm beginning to realize that what is their truth may not be my truth.  That doesn't mean my judgment invalidates their experiences or convictions; my responsibility is to find my own path.  Their path may look colorful, important, wise, interesting (insert whatever adjective you prefer), but I must learn to discriminate what is genuine for me and travel my own road.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

All My Relations

From the Buckland Romani Tarot comes the Five of Chivs (Swords):
Two men lay down their knives, walking away from a fight they have lost, while the winner smirks as he watches them retreat.  Many readers see the Sword suit as representing ideas and thoughts, but for me, it can also represent the words used to express them.  I wonder how long it will take before the victor realizes that what's been done and said can't be undone; he may have won the battle, but he has lost something much more important in the process - integrity and respect.  I was not happy to see the Five of Swords this morning after running from crisis to crisis yesterday with a metaphorical first aid kit and fire extinguisher; today my nerves are frayed.  In this condition, its easy to let my emotions do the talking before my brain catches up.  There is a thin gossamer thread that my equanimity is hanging from, and one quick slice can sever it.  Perhaps I should take that red bandana around that fellow's neck and stuff it in my mouth just in case...

The card drawn from the Lakota Sweat Lodge is "Buffalo Nation: Man - Tatanka Oyate:"
The Lakota were called the Buffalo Nation because of their relationship with the animal.  They depended on the buffalo for their survival, not wasting any part of it.  They were grateful for the herds, and realized they must not kill them indiscriminately.  If the people were to thrive, then the buffalo must thrive as well.  Last night I got a call from a woman who asked me who I voted for in the Presidential election.  I responded that I chose the man I thought would take care of all America, not just a part of it; who realized that our country would become strong and healthy again if everyone benefited, not just a few.  It is easy to let this philosophy slip my mind in my day-to-day interactions.  But truly, Mitakuye Oyasin - we are all related.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Power that Pulls the Load

From the Buckland Romani Tarot, the Nine of Koros (Cups):
This young fellow places dairy cans on his wagon, and it appears he has a full load.  What I don't see, however, is a horse, truck or tractor to pull the wagon.  Will he be the power that pulls the load?  I am reminded by this card that relying on other people, places or things to bring me happiness will end in disappointment every time.  Either I'll get what I want briefly only to find it doesn't last, or things won't go as I expect them to and I'll be frustrated.  The power of happiness lies within me, not "out there" waiting for me to purchase it or make its acquaintance.

From the Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards comes the "Fire Pit - Pita Hochokan:"
The fire pit is used to heat the stones that are used in the sweat lodge ceremony.  Water is poured over them inside the lodge, releasing their heat and steam.  The Fire Pit teaches about motivation - what inspires and prompts me to take action.  I have been studying the Bhagavad Gita for the past several weeks, and one of the messages repeated over and over is not to base what I do or don't do on the fruit I think will result.  Instead, I should take selfless action (what will benefit others rather than only me) without attachments or expectations.  Simple to grasp, but hard to put into practice...