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

Saturday, August 31, 2013

There Once Was a Lone Wolf and an Owl...

This week I'll be using the Druidcraft Tarot, created by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, illustrated by Will Worthington and published by St. Martin's Press. Today's draw is the Hermit:
The setting sun and the rising crescent moon in this image made me think of the Celtic term "thin places." Most people assume this term refers to some relaxing mountain top or lakeside view, but I think there's much more to it. The mix of the seen and unseen in thin places results in a discombobulating effect, like being tossed into deep water and briefly not knowing which way is up. Such an experience can shake us out of old mindsets and habits to make space for new perspectives and attitudes. As New York Times reporter Eric Weiner wrote, "Thin places relax us, yes, but they also transform us — or, more accurately, unmask us." The Hermit's wolf companion brought to mind the phrase "lone wolf," an indication that solitude will be necessary for such a shift to occur. Distractions (no matter how pleasant) and duties need to be temporarily set aside if I want to find the wisdom shining from that lantern.

The other two decks I'll be using this week - the Druid Plant Oracle and the Druid Animal Oracle - were also created by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm and illustrated by Will Worthington. They are published by Connections. The oracle card draw this morning is the "Owl:"
It's interesting that both of my daily cards are set in the evening with a moon shining in each one. The owl represents wisdom, and with the night setting of these cards, it tells me there is something internal rather than external I need to pay attention to. It will remain hidden until I seek it out. The owl eats it food "whole" without chewing since it has no teeth. As a result, it creates a pellet made from indigestible matter such as fur and bone that must be regurgitated. Owl's message is to find and rid myself of thoughts and beliefs that are not beneficial for me.

Friday, August 30, 2013

I Choose You!

From the Deck of the Bastard, the Queen of Wands:
The way this queen is smiling and pointing, it looks like she is saying, "I want you on my team!" She's a woman known for following her passion, but sometimes she needs help to get there. Quite aware she can draw more flies with honey than vinegar, she'll turn on the charm with her warm personality to pull together a team. She teaches me the art of delegation, the practice of entrusting another person with a task so I don't have too much on my plate.

From the Marseille Oracle comes "Destiny:"
Time ticks away, bringing events and situations that I may or may not have any control over. The phrase for this card in the booklet states, "Accept events one day at a time." Staying in the present moment will help me find solutions to those problems I can do something about and keep me from being overwhelmed when my hands are tied.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Coming Up for Air

From the Deck of the Bastard, the Eight of Cups:
When I was in my early twenties, I got certified as a lifeguard. The instructor was an ex-Marine, and his course pushed me physically and mentally. He was hard on us for a good reason; people who attempt to rescue someone often wind up drowning instead. No matter if the person is a stranger, friend or family member, their fear is so great, they will climb on top of you while trying to get a breath of air. It is easy in my personal life to find myself in the same position. While trying to help, I can get pushed down and held underwater while trying to support another person. The Eight of Cups reminds me constant emotional exhaustion is a warning that I should get out of the water and back onto dry land. There's a beach calling my name I need to head toward where my cups can be refilled instead of emptied out.

From the Marseille Oracle comes the card "Wisdom:"
The little booklet that comes with this deck offers the phrase "Trust in the experience of others" for the Wisdom card. I recently got an email from a friend who shared her experiences about something I'm dealing with. I am grateful that there are people in my life willing to help me navigate through murky waters. The wisdom of experience is much more appreciated and trusted than a truckload of opinions.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Changing Trains

From the Deck of the Bastard, the Ten of Swords:
Talk about overkill - how many times do you need to stab a dead man? The Ten of Swords makes me think of the phrase "analysis paralysis," a term for over-thinking a situation so much that a decision is never made or an action never taken. Even the weird hand position seems to be some sort of hand signal, as if he was trying to make one more point. Einstein was once quoted in a newspaper saying, "A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels." Continuing to discuss or mentally deliberate a situation that doesn't change is a good sign I need to change trains. Hopefully the new one will head me in the direction of that sunrise.

From the Marseille Oracle comes "Amends:"
Amends generally mean compensating for any harm caused. While an "I'm sorry" might be appreciated, tangible results are what most people are looking for. "Flogging" myself by saying what a worthless person I am will get no results. As the tarot card above signifies, it's time to think differently and make different choices.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sharp Edges

From the Deck of the Bastard, the Ace of Swords:
When I see the Ace of Swords, I automatically make a list: think logically, live justly, and speak truthfully. The crown indicates there is power in choosing reason, justice and truth. But hanging on the crown and tied to the sword are two branches, one a laurel and the other a palm. Laurel generally means victory, so this sounds like a good thing. But the palm branch indicates a sacrifice must be made too, which to my ego doesn't sound like a plus. This Ace reminds me that sometimes my individual wants must be sacrificed for the greater benefit of others. For true success, it is a necessity.

From the Marseille Oracle comes "Deceit:"
When I look at this old razor, I wonder how in the world we survived without Gillette. No way would I do any shaving with that thing. Although it is labeled "deceit," the keywords in the booklet make a little more sense - conflicts and misunderstandings. The advice it gives is "Wait for better times." I've often heard that we should speak our truth, though often this really means we give our opinion about something (not anything factual). Sometimes its better to hold my tongue, rather than using it to cut someone to ribbons. As the Ace above encourages me, I need to remove myself from the center of the Universe today.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Speak with Integrity

From the Deck of the Bastard, the Queen of Swords:
I was with a group of women the other day, and one was upset about her son who had gotten locked up with a possibility of serving some serious time in jail. Several women tried various ways of comforting her and encouraging her, but one lady took a different approach. She told her about her own daughter who had gotten into trouble; she bailed her out and tried to help her in all sorts of ways. She learned quickly that her child was looking for an enabler rather than assistance in turning her life around. The young woman wound up in the middle of a situation that left one person dead and ended back up in prison. Can you guess which words of wisdom the distraught woman paid more attention to? The Queen of Swords has lived through a lot, and she knows that sometimes tough love works much better than sweet words. She reminds me to cut through all the bull and see without the aid of my rose-colored glasses.

From the Marseille Oracle comes "Protection:"
The Queen has her sword, and this card has a shotgun in the shed. I am reminded by both cards that one of the best ways to protect myself is to be a watchful gatekeeper over the words that come out of my mouth. Miguel Ruiz, in his book The Four Agreements says it best: "Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love." My words do have the power to help or harm (both others and myself).

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Check those Expectations at the Door

From the Deck of the Bastard, the Five of Pentacles:
Though some might (rightly) interpret this card as health or financial struggles, I knew almost immediately it showed up because of a comment I made to a friend yesterday. Now that her children are older, she's decided to go back to work not necessarily to make money, but to do something she loves to do. I told her that I'm ready to do the same, except I feel stymied by certain obligations and circumstances that need my attention now. The situation has made me feel trapped, unable to participate in life in ways that I would like. The more I brood over it, the more I feel like these people - on the outside of it all.

From the Marseille Oracle comes "Confirmation:"
"letting go of what we think we must have to be happy is the same as letting go of our unhappiness." ― Guy Finley
The meaning of this card is to confirm the ones around it. As I look at the tattered clothes of the people struggling in the cold above and compare that with the finely dressed man having a drink, the cards seem to be completely opposite. But then it dawned on me: I can focus on what isn't how I'd like it to be and be miserable, or I can look at all the blessings I do have and be grateful. Either way, I'll find confirmation for what I choose to believe.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

These Boots are Made for Walking

This week I'll be using the Deck of the Bastard (so named because it is a compilation of older decks) that was put together and self-published by Elaine Wilkinson. Today's draw is the Fool:
Okay, I admit it. I like structure and organization, I appreciate punctuality, and I hate surprises. So I look at this Fool and can almost hear him say, "Just close your eyes - you're going to love what you see when we get to the secret place I have in mind." And I of course would give him a list of reasons why I shouldn't close my eyes and blindly follow someone, and why he should just tell me for goodness' sake what all the fuss is about. The problem with living like this is that life is full of surprises, some good and some not so good. If I keep thinking that everything should have already been on my planning calender months in advance, I'm in for a huge disappointment. And for the record, some of those unexpected things are fun and bring a lot of joy. So I'm going to close my eyes and give trust a chance, at least for today...

The other deck I'll be using this week is the Marseille Oracle, a deck created by Isa Donelli and published by Lo Scarabeo. This morning's draw was "Undertakings:"
These boots are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do...
~ song by Lee Hazlewood
The little white booklet that comes with the deck has this phrase for the card: "Don't hesitate to proceed." Well between the Fool and this card, it doesn't get much clearer than that. Stop making excuses, finding distractions and trying to make everything perfect. Pull on those boots and get moving.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Some Things Can't Be Washed Away

From the Rohrig Tarot, the Hermit:
At the top of the mountain, a mask has come off - here there's no reason to play any role. The maze-like grid on the face reminds me of those pencil and paper games, where you start at one point and try to find your way to the center or finish point. This is an uncomfortable place for some people; there is nothing to hide behind and the only thing to listen to is your own thoughts. In the solitude there are no distractions from a self-inventory that can bring deeper self-knowledge. The path that has been walked will be evaluated, and the conclusions found can be used to determine the direction to go from here. Clarity is the purpose of the Hermit; it can lead me to the center of the maze.

From the Master Tarot comes "Man of Power:"
Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?
~ from Shakespeare's Macbeth
This depiction of Pontius Pilate shows him washing his hands in an effort to wash away blame. The card represents two faces of the ego: the blindly dogmatic one that refuses to see and the cunning one that sees but claims otherwise. Either way, the ego thinks it can evade responsibility. But as Shakespeare's Macbeth discovered, truth has a way of coming out in strange ways. It's easy to think I don't have any influence over others in my small world. Yet I must still acknowledge and be accountable for the affects my actions or inaction.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Microwaved Emotions

From the Rohrig Tarot, the Devil:
The Devil isn't all bad; in his positive aspect, he can remind me that everyone needs a little fun in their life. The problem comes when the "fun" I choose doesn't help lighten my load but adds to it. The negative side of the Devil can manipulate people through their desires and emotions. For instance, I decide to loosen up at a party by having a few glasses of wine, but I end up having a few bottles instead and acting like an ass. Or I am lonely and go to a bar for companionship, but end up sleeping with some guy I met, who in the light of the day is only a selfish jerk. Instead of feeling better in these cases, I just feel worse. The Devil convinces me that I can microwave my emotions through some behavior and instantly change them into something pleasurable. But usually this type of quick fix ends up burning the roof of my mouth instead of making me feel full and satisfied.

From the Master Tarot comes the "Mustard Seed:"
The Mustard Seed is a reminder that even something tiny can grow into something big. A dream with effort behind it can become a reality. But there are other little, persistent thoughts that can grow in size as well. Thoughts that can cause me to make impulsive choices with results that I'll regret later. This card encourages me to be careful of the thoughts and ideas I allow to take root in my mind.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Balancing and Weighing

From the Rohrig Tarot, Justice:
The one thing I noticed that was different in this card from most Justice cards is the sword/saber is not in her hand. She's not in a hurry to shout, "Off with her head!" In order to be objective, there can be no rush - the verdict must come after careful observation and testing. If something needs to be pruned in order to restore balance, it can be. Otherwise, a quick conclusion might end up being a pronouncement full of errors. Behind the woman's head, it appears water is being pulled downward. It makes me think of a huge ship that sinks quickly and creates powerful currents, sucking things down with it. In the same way, the choices I make and the actions I take will create currents with consequences.

From the Master Tarot comes the card "All Drunk:"
The scales of balance above are paralleled by the weighing scale in this card. I had a good chuckle when I saw this image; although I don't drink, I can definitely relate to behaviors that distract me from a situation I don't know how to deal with. There are times - especially when in limbo - that it is helpful to take my mind off things with a good book or long walk. But when I divert my focus from something that needs my attention, or when I engage in activities that are detrimental (excessive deck buying for instance), nothing beneficial is accomplished. Then I'm like the drunk that wakes up to find his problems are still there, only made worse by his actions.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ashes to Ashes

From the Rohrig Tarot, Death:
A young woman arises from the crown of a skull. Around her dry, fallen leaves swirl, a reminder that just as in nature, there must be death for renewal to occur. The Hebrew letter Nun (seen in the top left corner) means "fish" in Aramaic. The fish symbolized a lack of self-consciousness - an acute self-awareness that results in a preoccupation with oneself. The "Changer," as the authors refer to Death, transforms us; it strips away the old self, leaving us liberated from attachments and self-centeredness. It brings humility and a fresh perspective. Though the process may be painful, the ashes and dust of this ending will become the fertile soil for a new beginning.

The Master Tarot draw for the morning is "The Supper:"
I find it interesting that in the story of the Last Supper, Jesus didn't sit around wringing his hands looking for pity from his disciples. Instead they did what most people do to celebrate a holiday - they had a meal. The disciples had been under the impression their messiah was going to be an earthly king, so they didn't know what to make of Jesus' announcement of his pending death. Perhaps his message was like Krishnamurti's, "We have separated living from dying, and the interval between the two is fear." Fear is the real assassin of life, not death.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Our Burden and Our Greatness

From the Rohrig Tarot, the Two of Swords:
The mountain in the background is like the inverted opposite of the valley in the foreground. But I'm sure somewhere in between there is level land, neither one nor the other. This card encourages me to find the peace of that middle place, where I refuse to choose one side over the other. The hot air balloons in the background represent the thoughts and ideas I release, enabling me to stay in my place of calmness. The valley's river is fed by the melting snows on the mountain; somewhere in that flow that connects them both I will eventually find the answers I seek. But for now, I wait.

From the Master Tarot comes the "Lady of Sin:"
 In each of us such decisions occur, in us, and through us. This is our burden. This is our despair. This is our greatness. ~ Paul Tillich
You can almost hear the whispering going on about this "hussy" by the group at the corner. It is so easy to judge another rather than focus on my own shortcomings. Yet I know deep down that given the right circumstances (including taking away the support of friends and family), I could make the same choices. In his writings, Paul Tillich doesn't refer to "sins" but to "Sin," because he believes its definition is estrangement - from ourselves, others and our Ground of Being. I must take care to remember my connection rather than trying to point out (and judge) the differences of others. If not, then I will be the one separated, not them.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Pocketful of Treasure

From the Rohrig Tarot, the Ten of Disks:
I love this representation of the Ten of Pentacles; it makes me think of all the things people of various ages stuff into their pockets. It may be something useful (key), a thing of beauty (shell), a curiosity (an unusual button), or a note meant to jog our memory. All these bits and bobs may not mean much to someone else, but to the person who selected them, they are like a miniature treasure chest. Today I am invited to consider that riches need not be only silver and gold. I have more treasures available to me than my mind can even begin to imagine.

From the Master Tarot comes the "Devotee:"
The devotee is someone who is wholeheartedly committed to a person, cause or thing. Upon reading the title of this card, I instantly thought of a Bible verse I heard often as a child: "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21). So where is my treasure? What do I consider most important in my life? If I look at where I spend my time and energy, I will find the answers. And some of them are downright embarrassing.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Newton's Laws

This week I'll be using the Rohrig Tarot, created by Carl Rohrig and published by Editorial Sirio. Today's draw is the Wheel of Fortune:
A wheel constructed of both natural and man-made items overlays an image of the cosmos. I am reminded that something much greater than me and my ego is at operation here. In the companion book, written by Francesca Marzano-Fritz along with Rohrig, it states that there is both a centrifugal ("to flee from the center") force and a centripetal ("to seek the center") force at work. We humans tend to identify with the periphery of the Wheel, continually being flung hither and thither by the constant changes in our lives. The mud that sticks on eventually dries and flies off. But the authors advise us to identify and move to the center and allow everything personal to become impersonal. We then become objective watchers instead of being drawn into the drama.

The other deck I'll be using this week is the Master Tarot, created by Mario Montano and Amerigo Folchi and published by AG Muller. Although it is called a tarot, I think it resembles and works better as an oracle, and I'll use it as such. This morning's card is "Miracle:"
"When our eyes are open, the world really looks like the miracle it is; we see the smile of the One in the Many" ~Mario Montano
The illustration in this card shows a blind man that suddenly is given his sight back. I can't imagine the joy that would accompany such a circumstance. I am encouraged by this card to choose to focus on this world with awe and wonder rather than fear and dread. One way allows me to see what is good and keep my heart full of gratitude, the other makes me a victim of fate.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Coloring Outside the Lines

From the Bonefire Tarot, the Nine of Wands:
The spiraling wands and cave opening look as if this fellow is finally about to reach sunlight. Whatever he's been battling, whether demons or the crush of day-to-day living, his fate is about to take a turn for the better. He'll have some scars that remain from this experience, but he'll also have gained much wisdom about how to handle challenges for future reference. This man knows what he needs to succeed is not something external but within himself. He's still got some climbing to do to reach level ground, but my money is on him making it.

From the MentorSpirit Cards comes "Flexibility:"
When I've been in a constant battle with the circumstances of life for a long period, my brain can go on autopilot. Now this might not sound like a bad thing, but one definition of insanity (attributed to Einstein) is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. I need to be able to think creatively. Sometimes coloring outside the lines can help me discover the solution I've been trying to find.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

We're Off to See the Wizard

From the Bonefire Tarot, the Fool:
Maybe it was the red shoes and the little dog, but I couldn't help but think of the Wizard of Oz when I saw this card this morning. Like the Fool, Dorothy finds herself in a strange place where nothing is as it appears at first glance. On her way to enlightenment (the yellow brick road), she discovers knowledge (scarecrow), love (tin man) and courage (lion) - all part of the bundle the Fool has on her bindle stick. But Dorothy's dog, Toto (from Latin meaning "total" or "whole"), reminds her that all these qualities need to be used together as a whole. They'll help her unmask (unveil) the charlatans, meet the challenges she'll face and find true wisdom.

From the MentorSpirit comes "Understanding:"
This card reminds me that while I might know something, it doesn't mean I understand it. I know electricity is what gives me light and allows me to use my appliances, but it doesn't mean I can suddenly become an electrician and rewire my house. Understanding on the other hand will help me discover the nature of electricity, how it works, how it can be dangerous and how it can be useful. Intelligence does not necessarily equal wisdom.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tree Climbing

From the Bonefire Tarot, the Four of Pentacles:
When I was a child and things weren't going well at home, I'd climb a huge southern magnolia tree in our yard. From the top of its branches I would hug the tree trunk, feeling more secure and grounded even though I swayed with the breeze. So I can relate to this fellow in his tree, feeling unbalanced and out of sorts. Unexpected expenses, time crunches or health issues can make me feel that way too. But in his tree are apples, coins and a ring, telling me that there is no evidence for his worries. Perhaps he will see all his resources when the sun rises. Then he can find the keys and unlock the truth for himself. But he shouldn't feel badly for needing to hang on to that tree trunk to get him through the night.

From the MentorSpirit deck comes "Kindness:"
"It's not your job to like me - it's mine." ~ Byron Katie
I remember growing up and hearing that I should be kind to others, but I missed the message that I needed to apply it to myself. I am my own worst critic, and I hold myself up to impossible standards that I would never set for anyone else. Yet when I practice self-care and self-forgiveness, I have a much deeper well to draw from when I reach out to others.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Inner Tubes and Transformations

From the Bonefire Tarot, the Two of Pentacles:
This guy doesn't look at all stressed from juggling his many duties and roles. What's his secret? The two boats behind him are a clue and represent two ways we can deal with life: rowing against the current or with it. I'm a list maker and like to be able to check off what I need to do each day. But if I can't do what's at the top of my list - for instance looking up some information on the internet - how do I react? If the internet is down, I can cuss and complain (wasting my precious time) or move on to something else on my list. If I don't want to drive myself crazy, I must learn to flow with life. Now where's my sunscreen and inner tube?

From the MentorSpirit cards comes "Transformation:"
"What you're supposed to do 
when you don't like a thing is change it. 
If you can't change it, 
change the way you think about it." 
― Maya Angelou
The biggest transformation I can make begins not with how I look or act, but with how I think. Once I change my attitude about a person or situation, everything shifts. Things that seemed overwhelming become tolerable, even solvable. If I find myself becoming angry and frustrated or anxious and defeated, my best strategy will begin with changing my perspective.

Monday, August 12, 2013

This Girl is on Fire

From the Bonefire Tarot, the Ten of Wands:
Where I live, you can't walk more than fifteen feet or so without running into a pine tree. It's not uncommon to see bulges of resin coming out of the bark, and those who've spent time in the woods know these globs are very useful in starting a fire. The resin is saturated in the heartwood and stump of the tree; many farmers have found stumps in their fields over 100 years old. While it might seem like this wood would be great for building, it is extremely flammable and burns very hot. As I look at this woman with her load of pine branches, I see a bonfire just waiting to happen. She needs to take a break from her obligations and projects and enjoy a dip in the healing waters of the river behind her.

From the MentorSpirit deck comes "Communication:"

There is a solution to climbing out of the black hole of being overwhelmed, and it begins with honest communication. I don't know why, but we humans seem to think the people we spend the most time with should be able to read our minds. We expect them to know we need help, and we expect them to know exactly what to do. Unfortunately, all this does is add resentment to the pile of work and worry we already find ourselves under. But the funny thing is, I've never yet had anyone turn me down when I asked for help.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

What is Right vs. What is Easy

From the Bonefire Tarot, the Seven of Swords:
At first glance, this pale, weak-looking fellow doesn't look like he could hurt a fly. But the wolfish beast appearing on his shoulder tells another story. His nature is to be hungry for what is not his, but he's cunning and has learned to hide his true identity. It's easy to judge someone based on their outer appearance, good or bad. I remember once crossing paths with a fellow in a crafts store when I was looking for beads to make a book thong. Built like a Mack truck with a long beard, shaved head, tattoos and leather vest, he resembled a Hell's Angel biker. But when we got into a discussion about a certain type of charm he was trying to find, I realized how wrong my perceptions had been. The eyes on this card warn me to be discerning today, judging people not by how they look or what they say, but by what they do.

From the MentorSpirit deck comes "Integrity:"
Integrity to me means something more than just being honest. It is speaking and acting authentically, from your own foundation of morals and ethics. It can be tempting to follow another's lead, however. Recently we had a scandal here with school teachers who changed answers on standardized tests to make their kids look more knowledgeable than they actually were. The state had put them in a bind - raise the scores or your job may be in jeopardy. But you can't get parents involved that don't want to be, and you can't make kids learn who have no desire to do so. They made a decision to cheat, but eventually got caught. Choosing what is right instead of what is easy can be tough for anyone if they're put in the right circumstances.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Untangling Kite Strings

This week I'll be using the colorful Bonefire Tarot, created and self-published by Gabi Angus West. Today's draw is the Page of Wands:
"Red sky at night, sailors delight..." I have no doubt this young Page could explain that this means the light is shining through an atmosphere full of dust and moisture; at sunset, this would indicate high pressure and stable air coming in from the west. Nothing is more exciting to her than information that gets her mental gears turning, enabling her to learn and make connections. Unfortunately, her lack of maturity can cause her to make associations that someone with more experience would see as faulty logic. This tendency might explain why she's up in a tree trying to untangle some kite strings. In the process, she's slipped off a limb and is now about to get a rather hard lesson on gravity. But no worries here - her young bones aren't brittle like someone much older. Unlike many adults, she's flexible enough to learn from her mistakes so she doesn't have to continually repeat them.

The oracle deck I'll be using this week is MentorSpirit, created by Kathy Tyler and Joy Drake and published by Inner Links Associates.  This morning's draw is "Openness:"
I generally use free association with these word cards, and the image that came to mind with this one was an open hand. A palm with fingers extended can both give and receive. It works the same way with a heart or mind too. When there is an open channel, there is no stagnation, allowing growth and renewal to occur. As the Page above reminds me, it's good to develop flexibility in more than just my body.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Crossing Lines, Following Threads

From the Mythic Tarot, the Devil:
I'm all for having fun and enjoying the pleasures in life, but there can be a fine line between a bit of self-indulgence and obsession. If my desires lead me to cause harm to myself or another, then I've crossed that line. Pan was infatuated with Syrinx, a nymph who had taken a vow of chastity to serve Artemis. But when she refused his advances, Pan wouldn't take "no" for an answer and chased her to the edge of a river. Realizing she was about to be assaulted, she called out for help. Syrinx was turned in a reed by the gods, yet even then Pan was determined to have her one way or another. He cut all the reeds and turned them into a flute for himself. The Devil indicates there are instincts at work that could lead to faulty thinking and choices with dire consequences. Time to stop listening to the music and start relying on logic.

From the Symbolon Deck comes the "Two Faces of Eve:"
This woman is torn between choosing a simple life and one filled with glitz and glamour. It is tempting to choose the one where the pleasures outweigh the hard work, but what she really needs to ask is, "What will nourish my soul?" Neither choice is inherently bad, unless abuse or harm is the result of one or the other. Instead of looking only at the beginning, sometimes we need to follow the thread all the way to the end to see what's dangling at the bottom.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Relationship Heaven and Hell

From the Mythic Tarot, the Ten of Cups:
After Eros discovered everything Psyche had done for his mother in an attempt to win him back, he forgave her for her betrayal. As a wedding present, Zeus allowed Psyche to sip ambrosia, the drink of the gods that made her become immortal. Now the two lovers were united as equals, instead of god and mortal. The ending of the story reminds me how hard it is to find fulfillment and happiness when one partner feels "above" the other in some way. I've seen finances, education, family connections or outward beauty used to keep one partner in line while the other ruled the roost. But only respect and unselfish love - mutually extended - can create the kind of joy and contentment that even the gods would envy.

From the Symbolon Deck comes "Disaster:"
Contrasting these two cards, the one above seems to illustrate relationship heaven while this one is a look at relationship hell. And it's not just spineless, weak single folks who get caught in these chains. Plenty of business partners looking for security and success have hooked up with people they later found out were master manipulators. Once devoted to them and their ideals, they have taken a peek behind the curtain at reality. What they thought was the glitter of gold, they now understand is only the shiny handcuffs securely fastened around their wrists. Hopefully they'll detach themselves from these relationships but won't forget the hard lessons behind them.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Compass of Common Sense

From the Mythic Tarot, the Knight of Wands:
Illustrated here is the myth of Bellerophon, a young man wrongly accused of making advances toward the king's wife.  To rid himself of the competition, the king sent Bellerophon to kill a ferocious chimera.  The young man was not intimidated by the possibility of death, and managed to kill the beast with the help of Pegasus and a block of lead attached to his spear. Of course it would be natural to be proud of such a feat, but Bellerophon's ego convinced him he was now a part of the A-List.  He decided to ride Pegasus to Mt. Olympus and hang out with the gods. Zeus was not amused and sent a fly to sting Pegasus, who threw the impudent young man back to earth. Bellerophon spent the rest of his life as a blind and crippled hermit. His downfall reminds me of a recovering alcoholic or addict, who after staying sober or clean a year, goes on a binge to celebrate. The Knight of Wands encourages me to dive into adventure and meet my challenges head on, but warns that common sense rather than pride should be my compass.  

From the Symbolon Deck comes "The Absolute Fool:"
The title of the card lets me know without a doubt this fellow isn't just a fool, he's the epitome of dunderheads. He dreams of being a hero but has neither the skills nor the knowledge to become a "knight in shining armor." The booklet tells me the way of wisdom is not filled with showy acts of bravery and fighting; instead, it is a path of humility that doesn't seek the approval of others. It is important to do the right thing - the courageous thing - but don't go around asking for pats on the back for doing it.