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, July 31, 2012

Spiritual and Physical Connections

From the Wildwood Tarot, the Ten of Cups:
WT10Cups
The waterfall in the image above reminds me of a place in the foothills of the Appalachians that I used to camp under the stars.  This card is subtitled "Happiness," and I must say that's how I feel when I look at it.  The cups on the rocks below will stay continually filled, no matter how many sips someone takes from them, as long as they are placed back in the stream of water.  I have tried for years to find happiness in people, places and things, and while I may find temporary pleasure, it is never lasting.  The only way I've found true joy and contentment has been through a spiritual connection of my own choosing.  I find I am fulfilled as long as I keep replacing my bowl back in this spiritual flow.

     From the Shaman's Oracle comes the "Ancestor of Guidance:"
SOAncG
I am lucky to have a mother who has genealogy as an interest, so I know many of my ancestors.  Not just names and dates, but stories about them and their lives have been passed on as well.  The elk's antlers in this card remind me of a family tree, and suggests that I can find guidance by looking at the lives of those who have come before me.  I can see how alcoholism and a failure to keep commitments were damaging in some, while the love of nature and learning, as well as compassion and generosity, were beneficial in others.  I can't blame my life on genetics, because I'm the one who must ultimately choose...  

Monday, July 30, 2012

What is to Come...

From the Wildwood Tarot, the Wanderer (Fool):
WTFool
An androgynous youth prepares to step across a threshold, from the world of spirit to the world of the physical.  What is interesting about this portrayal of the Fool is the young person carries no satchel.  His/her hands are open to receive this new experience with no baggage from the past or expectations of the future.  The focus is on potentials and possibilities rather than fears.  There is a face in the woods across the divide, revealing that Spirit is inherent in all things; if I can remember this principle then I can maintain my spiritual connection no matter where new paths lead me.

     From the Shaman's Oracle this morning comes the "Hunter of Gifts:"
SOHG
Thank goodness this cave art has nothing to do with early Christmas shopping.  Instead, it deals with uncovering and developing vital and valuable things I'll need to live life to the fullest.  This Hunter looks for not only what will cover basic needs (food, shelter, etc.), but also traits such as curiosity, perseverance, compassion, and creative expression.  This card reminds me to take time to develop all sides of my self - mental, physical, emotional and spiritual - if I want to find a sense of contentment and purpose in my life. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Destroying Damsels in Distress

From the Wildwood Tarot, the Seven of Arrows (Swords):
WT7Sw
I have to be honest - the "damsel in distress" role this woman is performing really bugs me.  Maybe the arrows piercing her are actual, unkind words that people are saying about her.  But is there any truth to them?  If so, take responsibility; if not stand up for yourself with evidence that points to the contrary.  The traditional RWS meaning of this card usually deals with someone being sneaky and dishonest.  I think the manipulation this woman is using to find a rescuer or attention easily falls into the same category.  She needs to take a look at the skull on the rock she stands on.  It represents the death of her integrity and credibility.

     From the Shaman's Oracle comes the "Spirit of Destruction:"
SOSpDes
The cave art in this card is symbolic of a force much like the Tower card in the tarot.  But rather than thoughts and beliefs, it deals primarily with emotions.  This Spirit effectively makes us look at the truth, whether we want to see it or not.  As the authors write, "When negative emotions plague us, they can ruin our contentment, damage our relationships, and undermine our true sense of self."  I'm sure the woman in the tarot card above is beset with insecurities and fear, but using manipulation will only put a bandaid on a gaping wound.  She must confront the shadowy, frightening places within to find her power again.
 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Creative Endeavors

   This week I'll be using the Wildwood Tarot, with artwork by Will Worthington and text by John Matthews and Mark Ryan.  Today's draw is the Eight of Stones (Pentacles):
WT8P
A man chips away at a stone, working patiently with focused attention to carve it into a useful object.  His "maker's mark" is the his hand-print on the cave wall.  He might not be a master craftsman yet, but the time and effort he spends on each creation is a labor of love for him.  Even though each object he has crafted might not be perfect, he takes pride in each one, just as if they were his children.  This card reminds me not to be embarrassed at my creative attempts.  My drawings, writings, and other projects are far from those of an experienced expert, but they are part of what fulfill me and give my life meaning.

     The other deck I'll be using this week is the Shaman's Oracle by Wil Kinghan and John Matthews.  Today's card is the "Ancestor of Knowing:"
SOAncKn
The owl in this cave art represents knowledge, but not just the kind that comes from a book or a teacher.  This knowing goes beyond what is on the surface, and helps me see with a wide perspective, understanding and appreciation.  My creative endeavors help me dive deep in this way, producing not only something physical, but also self-knowledge and a connection to the earth and its inhabitants.  Like the owl who flies with night vision, it helps me see what is not obvious to the eye.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Productivity and Priorities

From the Tarot of the Secret Forest, the Page of Wands:
SFPgW
It seems I've moved from the Page of Feeling yesterday to the Page of Doing today.  This fellow is so enthusiastic and daring, he has flames of fire on his head and all around him.  In a forest, not all fires are bad.  There are some types of seeds that only sprout when their coats have been cracked by a forest fire.  But then there are raging fires that are so devastating, they burn up every living thing in their path.  The Page of Wands hates to be bored and loves all types of escapades, but he must learn to be discerning in his choices of how and where he directs his energy.  Not all "doing" is productive; some of it may be a complete waste of time and some may do more harm than good.

     From the Faeries' Oracle comes the "Fee Lion:"
FO65
Froud describes the look on this fairy's face as the same look his cat gives him when he's late feeding him.  This fairy reminds me to avoid over-committing myself or having so many interests that I fail to fulfill my duties, promises, and obligations.  There is only so much time in a day, and while it sounds ridiculous to schedule both work and play, sometimes prioritizing is the only way I can fit everything in.  It is much more relaxing to sit down with a book knowing that I've not left anything important undone.  Guilt has a way of sucking the fun out of everything.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wielding Swords with Care

  From the Tarot of the Secret Forest comes the Page of Cups:
SFQC
This fellow is a gentle soul who would never intentionally hurt anyone.  Tender-hearted and soft-spoken, he gets pleasure from the kindnesses he does.  He enjoys making people smile and soothing any hurts in whatever way he can.  He doesn't keep tabs on what he's done and who may "owe" him - a sincere "thank you" will do.  His only vice is that because he is so sensitive, he can easily get his feelings hurt; he takes everything personally.  He could grow a thicker skin, but would that also change his sweet nature?

     From the Faeries' Oracle comes "He of the Fiery Sword:"
FO4 
This fairy represents the yang principle - action, will, assertion.  Froud and MacBeth state that on this sword is written, "Draw me not without cause, nor return me without honor."  Here is a call for truth, justice, and protection, but the fine print reads, "must also be used with love and compassion."  This is the answer to my question above about the Page  - balancing tenderness with truth and kindness with a call to act.  It's not impossible, but does take some conscious thought behind it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Take a Breath and Keep Swimming

  From the Tarot of the Secret Forest, the Moon:
SFMoon
Two moth-like beings stare at the full moon as if spellbound.  This card reminds me that there at times when I can come under the influence of certain people, places or things that cause me to act in ways I wouldn't normally behave.  Like a drug, they skew my perceptions and cloud my ability to make discerning choices.  Of course the first task for me is to recognize how my thoughts are being manipulated, then I can work on my emotional sobriety.  When I move out from under their realm of influence, it feels like that first gulp of air after being underwater too long...

     From the Faeries' Oracle comes the "Green Woman:"
FO23
This fairy reminds me that I must grow or die - I cannot stand still.  Complacency, apathy and self-pity are not my friends; they can lead me into a dark tunnel from which I might never emerge.  My life will never be a freshly plowed, fertile field with perfect weather and no stones or weeds to deal with.  The Green Woman teaches me to make the best of what comes my way, with patience and perseverance.  And a quirky sense of humor can't hurt either...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Becoming a Bowl

From the Tarot of the Secret Forest, the Two of Swords:
SF2Sw
This person has been pushed to the edge of a cliff, and now a choice has to be made.  He carries one sword in a scabbard on his back, while another he points upward, as if offering the hilt to some unknown starry being.  It's as if he is saying, "Someone else must make this decision for me, because I'm overwhelmed and don't know what to do!"  The evergreen tree growing beside him offers a clue.  Like the roots that hold it firmly on the mountainside, he needs to be still and reach deep inside to his intuitive/higher Self.  He might not like the answer he finds, but he'll realize it is the right one.

     From the Oracle of the Faeries' comes the "She of the Cruach:"
FO5
Froud and MacBeth associate this fairy with the principle of receptivity.  Her lesson is to teach us to lay aside opinions and judgments, projections and assumptions.  Like an empty bowl, we wait to be filled.  This approach is so contrary to the "American way."  We'd much rather push, pull and force our will on people and situations.  But instead, she encourages to open ourselves willingly and accept what we are offered.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Keeping a Close Eye on Things

  From the Tarot of the Secret Forest, the Knave (Page) of Pentacles:
SFPgP
This fellow sure is studying that stone he's carrying.  I wonder what he sees in it?  A fossil of some animal or plant from an eon ago?  Or maybe some type of crystal buried in matrix that is shining in the sun?  This is one Page who will not miss what is going on around him.  He notices even tiny things that others are too busy to see.  Inevitably they'll wonder, "How did he know that?"  It's simple - he constantly pays attention with all of his senses.

     From the Faeries' Oracle comes the "Maiden:"
FO14
This is one of those cards that you can't help saying "Awww..." when you see it.  She is just  so darn cute and innocent.  She represents all that is new and beginning to grow, whether it is a relationship, a job, or a project.  If she were in my care, I would slather her with sunscreen if we went outdoors, and I would keep my eye on her constantly.  Like all things in their "seedling" stage, protection and care is needed.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sorting and Dancing

From the Tarot of the Secret Forest, the Eight of Pentacles:
SF8Coins
Mattioli sees this card as a sorting out of thoughts and emotions, so that work can progress.  The cross on the buck's chest indicates a balance restored, and the roses denote the breakthrough that can happen as a result.  I know if I have repetitive thoughts running through my head or have my emotions swinging from one pole to another, I'm unlikely to get anything accomplished.  My focus will not be on the task in front of me.  So my first priority will be to look and see if what I am feeling or thinking is based in reality, and if it is, to do what I can to resolve it.  In some cases, acceptance might be my only option.  Then it's time for me to get on with it...

     From the Faeries' Oracle comes the "Faun:"
FO35
I don't think the connection of this image with the one above is pure coincidence.  Froud's keywords for this card is "natural wisdom" and "understanding the nature of Nature."  There is a constant flow in nature - it is never static.  I must learn this lesson in order to adapt to the constant changes in my life.  I don't need to push, pull, or try to control things because that is only resistance.  As Froud says, it's "futile to struggle against the flow of the universe, we might as well dance" with it instead.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Initiation

The tarot deck I'll be using this week is the Tarot of the Secret Forest, created by Lucia Mattioli.  Today's card is the Five of Wands:
SF5W_0001
Here is some serious jousting - fairy style.  The "fives" often deal with conflict, either within myself or with other people.  The Five of Wands card indicates a differing of opinions on the "who, how, when, and where" things should get done.  The irony of this card is that sometimes I get so caught up in making sure my opinion is heard and believed, I lose sight of what I'm trying to accomplish.  These two fellows on their insects are battling high above the forest canopy.  If they would stop fighting for a moment and look down, they might be able to see the whole picture instead of only their small perspective.

     The oracle deck I'll be using this week is the the Faeries' Oracle by Brian Froud with text by Jessica MacBeth.  This morning's draw is the "Singer of Initiation:"
FO9
This fairy greets people at the threshold of a transition.  But like the Greek sphinx who required a traveler to answer its riddle correctly, this being also tests our mettle to see if we are ready for this new change.  Unlike the sphinx, the challenge is not to hurt us, but to make sure we are ready for the sake of our own well-being.  This card notifies me that I have an opportunity to see if I've truly learned the lessons I've been working on, and if I can apply them in my life.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Let's Make a Deal

  From the Tarot of Dreams, the Two of Wands:
TD2W
Door number one or door number two: which will I choose?  The red door promises new adventures and excitement, but will also bring challenges and obstacles to overcome.  The blue door promises calmness and routine, but the stability may begin to feel tedious and dull.  I suppose my choice will depend on whether I've been riding a roller coaster or carousel lately.  Too much stimulation, and I'll probably be ready for a bit of serenity; too much boredom, and I'll be ready to add some spice to my life.

     From the MentorSpirit deck comes "Clarity:"
MSClarity
In making a decision, my attitude and emotions are what can muddy the waters.  If I am fearful, my choice will be based on the "what ifs;" if I am angry, my choice will be based in a need for revenge.  Sometimes neediness masquerades as love, and my selection will lead to enabling.  If I am full of false pride, I may refuse to admit my ideas are wrong, and opt for what backs up my beliefs.  There's a lot that can affect my clarity; my job is to honestly examine myself first, before I come to a decision.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Dive into the Unknown

  From the Tarot of Dreams, the Eight of Swords:
TD8Sw
A naked woman is trapped in a clear sphere held up by 8 swords.  Her nakedness represents the vulnerability she feels, as if there is nothing to protect or shield her.  But the swords are the answer to her problem of feeling overwhelmed with no way out.  Her focus has been completely on the problem, so possible solutions never gets any creative play.  The ball she's in represents the mental box she's trapped in; she wants to do what she's tried in the past, but that will no longer work.  Her answer lies in new thoughts, beliefs and ideas.  Until she even begins to entertain them, she'll keep looking out from her fish bowl.

     The draw from the MentorSpirit deck is "Decisiveness:"
MSDecis
I'm not a risk-taker, and prefer to know the odds before I take an action or make a decision.  Unfortunately, there are occasions when time is of the essence, and a choice must be make quickly.  Regardless of my collection of tarot cards, pendulums or crystal balls, there is no way to know with 100% accuracy how life will unfold.  Sometimes you just have to jump off the burning boat, swim for shore, and hope the natives are friendly. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Practical Responsibility

  From the Tarot of Dreams, the Queen of Pentacles:
TDQPt
This queen wears a pentacle inside a pentagon around her neck.  According to some sources, the pentagram was a symbol of the Pythagorean Order and was given the name "health."  This woman knows her body, mind and spirit are at their best when she is out in nature, involved in a creative project, or paying attention with all five senses.  She's practical, down-to-earth and resourceful, yet she's loves and appreciates things that are beautiful.  She nurtures those around her with physical gifts - a shoulder massage, a bouquet of flowers she grew, or assistance with planting a vegetable garden.  I would call her the "salt of the earth," but she wouldn't like that description, because plants can't grow in salted ground.

     From the MentorSpirit deck comes "Responsibility:"
MSRespon 
In combining this card with the queen above, I think of how often society chooses to replace something they own rather than take care of what they have.  Whatever the latest shoe style, car, cell phone or computer is, they must have it.  We've become a throw-away society, but that stuff we throw away doesn't magically change into stardust.  We've got piles of this garbage everywhere, and eventually we're going to run out of places where we can hide it.  My grandparents, who raised me as a young child, lived by the saying, "use it up, wear it out; make it do, or do without."  At this point, it's not just about living frugally but being environmentally responsible.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fanning or Dousing Sparks

  From the Tarot of Dreams, the Page of Wands:
This youngster is always up for an adventure, no matter what time of day or where it might lead.  The mythological beasts over his/her head indicate a dreamer who envisions exciting challenges and escapades.  However, this Page often has a "flavor of the week," flitting from one interest to the next.  Enthusiasm waxes and wanes, not allowing any in-depth time spent with one curiosity before moving on to the next.  In a child's world, this lack of sticking to any one thing is fairly normal; it gives children a chance to explore the world.  In adults, it becomes a way to flip the channels of one's life, constantly looking for some new form of entertainment.

     From the MentorSpirit cards comes "Caring:"
The combination of the Page of Wands and this card made me flash back to my junior high school days.  I begged to play basketball and to be allowed to go to basketball camp, but was told I was too short to be any good (and therefore would never get a scholarship).  But here's what my parents didn't understand - I just wanted to play because I loved the game, not because of any long range plans.  Now that I'm much older than that kid in junior high, I find it easier to be cynical of other people's dreams or ideas.  Will it make money or just cost money?  I've forgotten that sometimes aspirations need to be nurtured if only because they keep the spark of passionate enthusiasm from being snuffed out.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Conservation and Courage

From the Tarot of Dreams, the Four of Coins:
The first word I thought of when I saw this card was "conservation," or protection from loss or harm.  This man holds his box of coins open, though he has a key around his neck to lock it if necessary.  The image doesn't imply that I shouldn't use my energy, time and finances at all, but that I should use them wisely.  It is not a time for impulsiveness, yet neither is it a time for asceticism.  Balance between that "all or nothing" extreme is what will help me maintain my economic security and physical health.

     From the MentorSpirit deck this morning comes "Courage:"

"...even though one sometimes feels a kind of decay, though things go differently from the expected, it is necessary to take heart again and new courage. For the great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together."
~ Vincent Van Gogh
I am reminded by this card that when outer appearances don't fit my objectives, sometimes I have to just keep putting one foot in front of the other, doing the next right thing.  My motto is "TC" - things change; sometimes that change happens in the situations around me, but more often it happens within myself. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pure Pleasure

From the Tarot of Dreams, the Three of Cups:
The masks and beads in this card remind me of Mardi Gras, the celebration before the six week Lenten period.  Mardi Gras literally means "Fat Tuesday," and was so named because people would eat and drink all they wanted (and more) before they had to fast.  Lately my idea of celebrating is, "Thank god this day is over and I can go to bed."  Lack of sleep for weeks on end tends to have that effect.  But Mardi Gras is about balancing the abstinence and austerity with pure pleasure and fun.  Its time to find something to celebrate, even if I'm the only one who shows up for the party.

     From the MentorSpirit deck this morning comes "Spontaneity:"
I really dislike this word, mostly because I have such a difficult time living this way.  I'm a list-maker, who likes things structured and thought-out.  If there's a change in plans, I need time to get my ducks in a row.  I'm sure at the bottom of my psyche is a need to have a firm grip on things, so I can feel like I'm in control.  It's just an illusion, I know, but a comforting one that is hard to release.  I suppose I should start small - I could drive a new way to visit my mother-in-law or try something new for lunch today.  For me, it will have to start with baby steps...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

"E" is for Effort

    This week I'll be using the Tarot of Dreams by Ciro Marchetti.  Today's draw is the Nine of Wands:
Someone give this guy a nudge and tell him to "Wake up!"  I do understand how he feels; he's put in a lot of effort to get to the goal, but the challenges just keep coming.  I've been on a health regimen for the past few months - walking six days a week and counting calories.  And though I've been very disciplined about it all, I think I'm only losing about 1/4 pound a month.  There are days when I feel like this guy, and think, "What's the use?"  But like the wands behind this fellow, I can look back and see that even though the weight is not coming off as fast as I would like, I do feel better physically and feel better about myself for making the effort.  No, I won't give up, but I do occasionally need to look at the progress I've made to encourage me to stay in the game.

     The oracle deck I'll be using this week is called MentorSpirit by Kathy Tyler and Joy Drake.  It uses color and fractals, combined with one keyword, so I'll be playing it off my tarot card draw for the day.  This morning's draw is "Release:"
What is it I need to release?  I need to let go of my expectations for one thing.  If I am going to get fit and healthy, it's going to require that four letter word: time.  And even though the weight is coming off slower than a snail's pace, at least I'm heading in the right direction.  I also need to release those "shoulds" that keep hounding me - "You should exercise more.  You should eat less."  I know that I'm doing all I can right now, and that if I crank things up any more I'll probably not keep it going.  I'd prefer to enjoy life while I'm doing this, not suffer through it.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Truth or Fiction?

   From the Tarot of the Masters, the Tower:
I know this is supposed to be a tower, but I can't help thinking of those models of volcanoes we made in elementary school.  Remember the ones that you would put baking soda inside and then would pour in vinegar for the "eruption?"  Like these volcanoes, sometimes it only takes one added ingredient to disrupt the rigid ideas I hold.  Last night I was reading a post by a woman who is a spiritual teacher, and whom I have held in high regard.  Many of my ideas parallel hers, and so I was quite upset to read what she wrote (it basically amounted to tearing down others without applying the same scrutiny to herself).  Today I feel a bit in limbo, questioning all my views and beliefs, and wondering if there is any substance to any of them...

     From the Key to the Kingdom comes the "Six of Clubs:"

The cheetah, my dearest, is known not to cheat;
The tiger possesses no tie -
The horse-fly of course, was never a horse -
The lion will not tell a lie.
The last line of this poem says, "There is no truth in these things at all."  This card reminds me that all humans wear masks, no matter how wise and enlightened they think they might be.  Can a leopard change its spots?  Not really, but it doesn't have to go around pretending it doesn't have any.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Focus and Persistence

  From the Tarot of the Masters, the Youth of Coins (Page of Pentacles):
   
This young person is often associated with studies and learning new things.  In the image above, the girl is wrapped in a cloak with a scarf covering her head, implying that in order to focus, sometimes I need to keep out as many external distractions as possible.  Our society is known for the emphasis it puts on multitasking and the ability to keep several projects going at once.  I admit, there are times when life drops several things in my lap at the same time, but if I'm going to commit to delve into something deeply, I need to concentrate on it rather than fifty other things competing for my attention if at all possible.

     From the Key to the Kingdom comes the "Two of Clubs:"

Little Robin Redbreast sat upon a tree, up went pussy cat, and down went he;
Down came pussy and away Robin ran;
Says little Robin Redbreast, 'Catch me if you can.'
I've watched the feral cats in the neighborhood trying to catch their supper, and while they might miss the bird (or mouse) nine times out of ten, those that persist eventually have something to eat.  This card reminds me of two things - first to persevere in whatever goal I'm pursuing, and second to make sure what I'm chasing is a reality and not some shadow of it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Enticements

From the Tarot of the Masters, the High Priest (Hierophant):
An elderly priest offers blessings and hands off a paper of doctrinal authority.  When I was much younger, I had a button that read "Question Authority" (and although the counter-culture would like to take credit for it, Ben Franklin said it first).  Don't get me wrong, I think there is wisdom to be found from elders, traditional teachers, and from sacred writings, but I don't intend to swallow one spoonful without looking at it carefully.  Just because the term "spiritual" or a religious label is used doesn't mean that there's not a human agenda behind it.  In fact, there usually is.

     From the Key to the Kingdom comes the Ace of Clubs:

Bat, bat, come under my hat, and I'll give you a slice of bacon;
And when I bake, I'll give you a cake, If I am not mistaken.
This verse prompts me to be aware of how others can entice me into a relationship or situation that is not going to be in my best interests.  These groups or people know how to use fear: "You don't won't to burn in hell forever do you?" "I can promise you that you'll never have to worry about financial security again."  Their sincerity seems genuine, but like buying a car, it's best to check under the hood first.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Stages and Choices

From the Tarot of the Masters, the Hanged Man:
There are times when my life gets turned upside down; things that I originally deemed necessary to give all my energy and attention suddenly seem unimportant.  At first I fight for control, thinking that somehow I can fix this person or situation, but I find myself powerless.  I usually go through Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  It is this last stage, acceptance, where I can find peace of mind without emotional attachment (as with depression).  If I can find my way to this place, it can have a profound impact on my heart and mind.

     From the Key to the Kingdom deck comes the "Two of Hearts:"

"The Big Baboon is found upon the plains of Cariboo. He goes about with nothing on (A shocking thing to do). But if he dressed respectably and let his whiskers grow, how like this Big Baboon would be to Mister So-and-so!"  ~ Hilaire Belloc
First, a few definitions:
instinct - a complex pattern of behavior embedded in the genes which cannot be overridden by will.
reflex - an involuntary movement in response to a stimulus.
drive - motivation to take action (goal-directed behavior).
Yes, we homo sapiens are humans, and we are also animals.  But I can't blame my bad behavior on my animal nature, because it comes from drives not instincts or reflexes.  If I want to give up my cognitive self-awareness and ability to choose, I might as well go hang out on the plains of Cariboo.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Feeling 4ish

From the Tarot of the Masters, the Four of Cups:
Obviously those three bourbon and cokes haven't shaken this woman out of her funk; perhaps she should try the cup of coffee hanging over her head.  I am reminded by this card that when I feel out of sorts and I want to feel better, I need to try something different than what I've been doing.  In his companion book, Ricklef suggests concentrating on our spiritual core rather than distracting ourselves with things external.  Today, I'll choose to do at least one thing differently than what I normally do...

     From the Key to the Kingdom deck comes the "Four of Clubs:"
"I am a gold lock. I am a gold key. I am a silver lock. I am a silver key. I am a brass lock. I am a brass key. I am a lead lock. I am a lead key. I am a monk lock. I am a monkey."
I am reminded by this card that there is usually a solution for every problem, but the solution needs to fit the problem.  Buying myself a book from Amazon probably isn't going to solve my financial problems, and going to see a movie isn't likely to help me lose weight.  The key must be relative to the lock...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

All That Glitters...

From the Tarot of the Masters, the Nine of Cups:
Here's the king of the manor sitting butt-naked (as we say in the South) in all his glory.  He and his family are doing their best to live up to the saying, "eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die."  Now I'm all for having fun, but I do know that any kind excess is going to come back and bite me in the behind, whether it's an upset stomach or a credit card bill.  I can't help but think of the children's story The Emperor's New Clothes, where the king would rather believe a lie that made him feel "better than" rather than accept reality.  In the end though, he had no choice but to open his eyes.  So today I will enjoy myself, but I'll also keep in mind that if I overindulge, no one's going to pay the price but me.

     From the Key to the Kingdom deck comes the "Joker:"

"Will you walk into my parlor?" said the Spider to the Fly, "tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy; the way into my parlor is up a winding stair, and I have many curious things to show when you are there."  "Oh, no, no," said the little Fly; "to ask me is in vain; for who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again." ~Mary Howitt
I wish I could say that was a wise fly who listened to her gut, but unfortunately the rest of the poem tells a different story.  The spider uses charm and flattery and eventually gets his meal.  This card reminds me to watch people's behavior and trust my intuition instead of just listening to silky-smooth words.  All that glitter and bling is rarely worth what you end up paying for it.  

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Gatekeeper

This week I'll be using the Tarot of the Masters by James Ricklef along with his companion book Tarot AffirmationsToday's draw is the Ace of Swords:
Swords can wound, protect, or clear away the clutter of the mind.  In his book, Ricklef refers to this Ace as the "gatekeeper of the conscious mind."  I like that description, because while I can't control what thoughts come through my mind, I can decide whether I'm going to saddle that horse and ride out on it, or let it stay in the pasture.  The angel seems to hold the sword waiting for my decision - how will I choose to use my thoughts and words today?

     The oracle deck I'll be using this week is The Key to the Kingdom, a set of transformational playing cards by Tony Meeuwissen.  The companion book contains a verse or rhyme for each card.  This morning's draw is the Ace of Hearts:

I'm a little butterfly
Born in a bower,
Christened in a teapot,
Died in half an hour.
It's a hard fact to hear for some people, but life is terminal.  The average life expectancy for an American woman is 80.8 years, but I've signed no contract with the Universe that even guarantees me that.  This card reminds me that I need to have priorities in my life, if I don't want to have regrets later.  Like this lovely heart-shaped butterfly, my top priority for today will be to live with passion and compassion.