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, May 31, 2013

I've Seen Fire & I've Seen Rain

From the Daughters of the Moon Tarot, the Two of Flames (Wands):
Morgan uses the fire goddess Mahuea (more commonly known as Mahuika among the Maori people) to illustrate this card.  Mahuika's grandson attempted to steal all of her fire - a stupid move since she was willing to share what she had.  The myth of this grandmother and grandson ended on a cataclysmic note with a huge fire followed by a flood.  I usually interpret the Two of Wands as a decision between maintaining the status quo or doing something new.  But with the myth of Mahuika, I see it as a choice between doing things above board or trying to manipulate another to get what I want.  Since I don't care to deal with fires or floods, I think I'll just be honest about what I'm trying to do and how I plan to do it.

From the Raven Cards comes "Hatch Out:"
Hatch out. It takes time and patience. Have confidence that something
wonderful is about to emerge, even though you don't know what the
egg contains. Care for yourself.
Human minds can do strange things when they think their grand schemes might be thwarted.  We don't want to be patient or have faith that things will turn out well.  So we push and shove, trying to force something to happen.  Raven reminds me that avoiding coercion and allowing things to play out naturally is in my best interests, no matter what my mind tries to tell me.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Get Cracking

From the Daughters of the Moon, the Ace of Wands:
There's so much fiery passion and enthusiastic energy in this card, it makes me want to place a dozen exclamation points after every description of it.  Yet the eagerness and inspiration is held frozen in this image, waiting for me to do something with it.  Will I leap into the fire or let it die down until there is nothing but cold ashes left?  It will take a commitment on my part to follow it through to completion, which always make me pause and ask myself if I am truly willing.  Yesterday I was fired up because I got a call from someone claiming to be a technician from Microsoft.  He stated they had discovered viruses and malware on my computer that would disable it, and they wanted to help fix it.  This is the second call they've made to me, and unlike most scammers who get off the phone quickly when you start questioning their authenticity, these guys grew more adamant.  I decided to email my local newspaper so they could alert the community, and almost immediately, I got a call back from one of the staff writers.  He's going to also inform the police, so tomorrow I'm sure I'll be hearing from them as well.  It's my desire to protect the elderly and other vulnerable folks that made me willing to get involved publicly; passion can do strange things to seemingly introverted people.
For more information from Microsoft on these types of calls, see:

From the Raven Cards comes "Sustained:"
You are provided for, you will be sustained.
When any of the Aces come up from one of the suits in tarot it's exciting, but I always wonder if I'll have what it takes to follow through with the effort needed to get to the end result.  This raven reminds me that I have both an inner well to draw from and outer support to get the job done.  I don't need to worry so much that I give up before I even get started.  Time to get cracking...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Aerial View

From the Daughters of the Moon Tarot, Justice:
Ma'at literally means "truth" - she came to be the personification of order, justice and balance in Egypt. The ancient Egyptians believed the universe was a rational place with predictable cycles. Ma'at was responsible for maintaining that harmony and punishing or rectifying any cause of chaos. She indicates that there is imbalance in my world, either internal or external, and I must look to see what part I have played in it. Have I been dishonest, manipulative or unfair? I have a long-time friend that I feel is pulling away from our relationship; I think it is because our spiritual paths are diverging. I have tried to explain to her that our friendship does not have to be based on us sharing the same path. I feel as if I am being punished, though that might not be her intent at all. Perhaps I have hurt her feelings or earned her distrust somehow. It's hard to know how to rectify something when the person involved won't communicate with you.

From the Raven Cards comes "Council:"
Call your friends together, hold council.
Then take flight, sweep through the air and decide.
The ravens remind me that when I don't have an objective view of a situation, it is prudent to find people I trust to give me their take on things. Seeing from several different perspectives will allow me a wider view, and help me make wiser decisions.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

To Boldly Go

From the Daughters of the Moon Tarot, the Priestess:
Morgan uses the Egyptian goddess Isis to depict the High Priestess. When I think of Isis, I recall the myth of her husband Osiris being killed by Set. Pieces of the body of Osiris were scattered far and wide, but Isis managed to gather them and put her husband back together again. The Priestess encourages me to find my missing pieces too. In the stillness of meditation, I can sink below my ego until all the labels of "me" and "mine" dissolve. There I get a clearer picture of reality, as if someone cleaned a dirty window with Windex, and suddenly the bright sunlight comes through. The full moon Isis holds is a promise of wholeness if I'll commit to doing the work.

From the Raven Cards comes "Frontier:"
Taste the frontier. Wander along the boundary fence and feel its special energy.
When you have had enough, just go back.
Meditation reminds me of the Starship Enterprise - it allows me to "boldly go where no man has gone before." It isn't what I would call fun and requires discipline, but I think the deeper reason most people don't care for it is that it shows the transience of all the people and things in this physical world, and that understanding can be both frightening and comforting. But like this card tells me, I can venture into the unknown and come back again. Little steps, one day at a time.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Time for a Tune-up

From the Daughters of the Moon Tarot, the Wise One (Hermit):
In her companion book, Morgan writes, "The Crone is a teacher who passes on prudence and foresight... She has learned the value of creative solitude, of aloneness." Yesterday I was suddenly seized with an irritable restlessness. The kind that makes me want to jump in the car and drive fast in any direction, as long as it gets me far away from where I am. Of course "wherever I go there I am." I can't run from something internal. What I require is time away from noise - music, TVs, telephones and people. I need to deliberately conserve my energy right now and pull it inward in order to do some soul searching. I don't have to stay here forever, just long enough for a tune-up.

From the Raven Cards comes "Exist:"
There is no such thing as a "right to exist."
You just are. So be!
It seems we are constantly deluged by people's opinions, whether it's editorials in newspapers, billboards, or social networks like Facebook. Everyone has an opinion about politics, religion and personal rights that they are constantly trying to shove down the throats of others. The funny thing is that it never changes anyone's mind - those who agree click "like" and those who don't reply with scathing comments. I am encouraged by this card to stop trying to air my beliefs and just live them. My life would be a much better testimonial than any heated discussion I might engage in.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Tool Use and Care

From the Daughters of the Moon Tarot, the Witch (Magician):
The Magician reminds me that it takes all of my tools to bring something into this world. First the seed of an idea comes (air), then it is warmed by our inspiration which causes it to grow (fire). But that inspiration would lose its fervor quickly without something to motivate it  It is aided by desires, those feelings of joy and excitement that water the sprout so that it doesn't die (water). With a safe, nurturing place to contain it, it finally blooms (earth). If I want to bring anything into existence that is floating around in my gray matter, I need to pay attention to all these tools. Leaving one out in the rain and letting it rust could put a halt to my plans before they even get started.

From the Raven Cards comes "Let go:"
Come to rest.  Glide slowly down to earth,
arrive - and let go.
I've been physically and mentally busy of late. I now have a new computer up and running - I'm amazed at how fast it loads. I no longer have to feed cats, scoop litter boxes, brew coffee, and have breakfast in order to give it time to bring up the internet. I've also been reconstructing the yard; after two floods, I'm finally digging up and replanting. Our backyard will have only a postage stamp-sized bit of grass, and the rest will be trees, shrubs and other plants. I am worn out, but it feels good to have accomplished so much. However, this card reminds me that in between all my projects, it's good to rest both body and mind. I've got to take care of the tools I have if I want them to continue to serve me well.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Dose of Patience and Confidence

This week I'll be using the Daughters of the Moon Tarot, created and published by Ffiona Morgan.  Today's card is the Eight of Pentacles:
A grandmother passes along the craft of weaving to her granddaughter - what a lovely illustration for the Eight of Pentacles.  I have been sitting in both spots, as a learner and teacher, and each require an enormous amount of patience and perseverance.  As a student, I've wanted to rush what I was learning, so I could hurry and get to the finished product.  I didn't understand why you would want to waste time measuring something more than once, until I misread a measurement and had to start over.  I've found with any skill, there are "tricks of the trade" I can pick up if I don't hurry as I learn.  Eight is a very solid, stable number, and indicates I must be willing to put in the time and effort to practice and learn if I hope to be successful and pass along what I've learned one day.

The oracle I'll be using this week is the Raven Cards, created by Gabi Bucker and published by AG Muller.  This morning's draw is "Doubt:"
I think one of the biggest stumbling blocks to learning anything new is self-doubt.  I may give up before I stumble and bumble along, eventually reaching a solution.  I have to say the mile-wide streak of Scottish stubbornness I've inherited has served me well in this regard.  I will be disassembling an old computer and hooking up a new one today, one that has a Windows system different from what I've been working with for years.  Here's hoping my confidence and perseverance don't lag as I attempt to get things up and running.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Become Nothing, Attain Everything

From the Albano Waite Tarot, the Six of Wands:
What jumps out at me in this card is the color orange (a marriage of yellow - intellect - with red - passion).  But this successful leader didn't just rely on his intelligence and enthusiasm; he has others to thank for his victory too.  Sixes speak of a return to harmony after a struggle, and in my life I usually have the support of people who are willing to lend me a hand.  I've found that staying connected to folks who are grounded can be an anchor for me when I'm being tossed about by stormy waves.  They remind me of what is real and what is pure speculation.  Eventually the sea will calm and I can sail on, but I know most of my achievements have their roots in these "anchors."

From the Rumi Cards comes the verse "Become Nothing:"
You want everything to be yours?
Become nothing to yourself and all things.
Rumi reminds me that focusing only on the outcome I want rather than the effort needed to get there is usually a disaster in the making.  My attachment leads to suffering: Will I get what I desire?  What if I get it then lose it again?  It's like the anecdote about trapping the monkey - the monkey reaches in a jar to grab a treat but won't let go of it in order to get his hand out, allowing him to be captured.  True detachment comes when I can hold on to the enthusiasm of the effort itself without the need to prove or attain something.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

One Tree Walking

From the Albano Waite Tarot, the Fool:
Here's a guy who lives by Julian of Norwich's words, "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."  It might not turn out to be all peaches and cream, but whatever happens, I'll have the calmness and strength to deal with it.  I had to chuckle when I drew this card, as I'm about to make a major purchase (for me) of a new computer.  I've been overwhelmed with trying to decide what kind, brand, and operating system to choose - thank goodness for my dear friend's husband Dave, who is both patient and knowledgeable.  And even though I've finally chosen what I'll buy, I'm still hesitant because of the cost.  I blame it on growing up with grandparents who went through the Great Depression.  But here is the Fool encouraging me to take a leap of faith, and head on over to Staples Office Supply today.

From the Rumi's Cards comes the verse "Could Only:"
If a tree could only walk,
He would never fear being chopped down.
Surrounded by rural areas where I live, we often see deer and cottontail rabbits, especially in the evenings or early mornings on the outskirts of town.  These animals often freeze in the headlights of a car, making them more susceptible to being hit if the driver is caught off guard.  Rumi's verse reminds me that sometimes it's better to move than stand still, especially if it is fear and not logic trying to make a decision for me.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What's in Front of Me

From the Albano Waite Tarot, the Three of Pentacles:
Here are three people working together to get something done: the craftsman, the man who would like the project done, and the financial backer.  The only way the endeavor will ever make any progress is for all those involved to be in constant communication.  The monk must know in detail what he wants, the backer must know what the costs will be, and the craftsman must have a plan for when and how to create what his client wants.  If one of them fails to keep the others abreast of what is going on, chaos is likely.  I have not heard from the tree removal fellow since he told me he had me on his schedule for Monday (two days ago).  I know life generally has unforeseen bumps in the road, and plans made must be rearranged, but a bit of communication would make me feel better.

From the Rumi Cards comes the verse "Life and Ecstasy:"
Put your trust in him who gives Life and Ecstasy.
Don't mourn what doesn't exist; cling to what does.
I am reminded by this card to keep my thoughts focused on what's in front of me, rather than the past or the future.  All those "what ifs" will do nothing but make me crazy.  Life will not come to a halt if the tree guy doesn't show up this week - he'll come when he has an opening in his schedule.  Besides, I have plenty of other issues that need my attention, like finding and buying a new computer.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Just Walk Away

From the Albano Waite Tarot, the Five of Swords:
Maybe it's just age, but I don't care much about intellectual swordplay anymore.  I don't mean the kind where you actually discuss something with someone (and where both people learn), but the type where opinions are debated.  It seems like a waste of oxygen and time.  Recently I learned about a group of atheists, agnostics and freethinkers in my area; the group was started because it would give these folks a social outlet and help them organize efforts to benefit the community in various ways.  Being a freethinker with an agnostic husband, I thought this was a great idea.  We met up with the group at a cookout, and thought they were all nice folks.  But on all their websites, t-shirts and advertisements, they only use the term "atheist."  I suggested this might draw a line in the sand for some who didn't identify themselves as such, and asked if they might change their name to include the others who didn't fit in that box.  Their reply was that they had already spent money on ads and logos, so that wasn't an option.  I didn't argue; like the folks with their backs turned, I laid down my sword and refused to fight.

From the Rumi Cards comes the verse "Invisible Angels:"
The more you strive to reach the place of Splendor,
The more the invisible Angels will help you.
I was on the phone yesterday to a friend who called with her usual litany of complaints about how lonely she was and how awful her life was.  It is the same conversation I've had with her for years, and I told her the same thing I always do: "If you want something to change, you're going to have to be the one to do it."  This card reminds me that if I'm unhappy, I'm the one who is going to have to do something different.  The world is not going to mold itself to meet my demands.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Simply Irresistible

From the Albano Waite Tarot, the Empress:
Around this earth mother springs golden wheat, green forests, and blue streams.  What is unusual about her is the gown she wears - a dull gray color.  Her focus is on what she creates, not herself; it is the fruits of her efforts that are important.  There is a line in the Bhagavad Gita that says "make everything an offering."  My creations, sacrifices, or good deeds are not about making myself look good or gaining any favors.  They should be done out of love; this is the wisdom (symbolized by the gray) of the Empress. 

From the Rumi Cards comes a verse about the "Carnal Soul:"
The carnal soul is not the physical body, but the ego that constantly tries to impress, dazzle and please.  If these tactics don't work, it will become a muckraker and hornet's nest shaker.  The motive behind every action is to look better than others, even if it means tearing other people down to do so.  Living this way soon becomes an irresistible habit - an addiction.  I have an acquaintance who is fond of saying, "I'm not much, but I'm all I think about."  These cards invite me to carefully monitor my intentions and choose to act from a place of wisdom and love (the eternal self/soul).

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fire and Rain

From the Albano Waite Tarot, the Knight of Wands:
With his flowing red cloak and feathery red plume, this knight looks like a ball of fire.  An appropriate observation since this guy might as well be dubbed "the passionate one."  Passion has produced some of the greatest art and music, carried weary people through times of trials to success, forged some of the strongest relationships, and inspired those who have led much-needed reforms.  It is a great thing when used mindfully, but its fires may also be unintentionally destructive.  Friends, family, pets and other obligations may be neglected due to my intense focus and drive.  As I concentrate exclusively on my goal, I develop tunnel vision, oblivious to whatever else going on around me.  This knight encourages my passion, but also warns me not to ignore other important facets of my life.

From the Rumi Cards comes the verse "Divine Calendar:"
You are the divine calendar where all destinies are written;
the ocean of mercy where all faults are washed clean.
I've been clearing brush and vines like a mad woman for the past few days in preparation for the guys coming to remove the fallen and sick trees in the yard.  It's been dry, hot and dusty, and I'm quite congested as a result.  But late yesterday, we had a light rain shower that settled the dust and washed all the plants clean.  I wish there were a special day designated each week where everyone would say "All is forgiven," clearing away all the pain and hurt incurred.  Not in a naive way that didn't require change and amends, but in a way that let our hearts heal and open again.  In order for me to be merciful to others, the first person on my list would have to be myself.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Watching from Thrones and Sycamores

This week I'll be using the Albano Waite Tarot, a recolored version of the RWS created by Frankie Albano and published by U.S. Games.  Today's card is the Emperor:
The first two things I immediately notice about this emperor is the armor he wears under his kingly cloak and the abundance of rams' heads on his chiseled throne.  The armor and cloak tell me this is a man who has multiple roles - at times he is a ruler, adviser, and diplomat, while other circumstances may require him to be a protector or conquering victor.  An impulsive knight would not have the maturity to stop and think before acting.  But the Emperor's ram symbolizes his bold confidence; he'll wait to see the big picture instead of reacting with fear or anger.  He is as grounded in reality as the rock from which his chair was made, and he encourages me to watch and listen carefully before making assumptions.  I may spot a "tell" that lets me know someone is trying to bluff me into taking an action I don't need to make. 

The oracle deck I'll be using this week is the Rumi Cards, created by Eryk Hanut and Michelle Wetherbee and published by Tuttle Publishing.  This morning's draw is "Hidden Way:"
If you know how to be patient,
He'll offer you the seat of honor;
He'll show you a hidden way that no one will know.
I have a window where I sit at the computer that overlooks a large bird feeder.  I put a mix of shelled sunflower seeds, peanuts and pumpkin seeds in it, and all year long there is a steady stream of a variety of birds.  For several months now, I've had a white-breasted nuthatch that has been coming to eat.  Unlike the jays, house finches, and other birds who constantly flutter around trying to force open a space, he waits patiently in the sycamore tree watching.  When a noise or something else scares off the mob, he swoops down and chooses the particular seed he wants (almost always a peanut).  Rumi reminds me that usually other options will open up if I can wait patiently - alternatives that may be much more appealing than choosing between a rock and a hard place.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Ripping off Bandaids

From the Shining Tribe Tarot, the Nine of Birds (Nine of Swords):
An owl sits atop a burial chamber; in front of it is a stylized cutting tool.  I am reminded by this card of how lonely it is to go through a period of intense fear or grief.  No matter how many compassionate people try to console me, I am the one who must deal with what is in my head and heart.  After my mom and dad retired, they booked a trip to Australia and New Zealand.  When he died unexpectedly, my mom's dream of traveling the world with the love of her life disappeared in an instant.  Her doctor tried to prescribe pills to help her cope and sleep, but she told him, "I can grieve now then go on and live my life, or I can numb myself so I don't have to feel; if I choose the second option, I'll end up with a miserable life."  The triangle on the burial statue and the yoni on the blade tell me that the only way out is to go through it. I can separate what is real from what is speculation, and then find the courage to deal with it as best I can.

From the animal tiles oracle was chosen the "Hawk:"
We have two types of hawks that frequent my neighborhood - the red-tailed and the red-shouldered.  Both of these hawks have an intense hunting style; they swoop down from their perch or the air at incredible speeds and quickly rip the heads off their prey.  While not necessarily pretty, it is merciful.  I recently watched another not-so-familiar hawk (a Cooper's) swoop down on my bird feeder to grab a grackle.  He had a different kill style - he squeezed with his talons until the bird died.  The hawk advises me that I can pull the bandaid off quickly or slowly and more painfully.  There will be pain, but I can make the choice of how I want to experience it.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Inquisitive Solutions

From the Shining Tribe Tarot, the Knower of Stones (Knight of Pentacles):
This fellow didn't stick his finger in a light socket, but he is full of active energy.  He's the inventor and the problem solver - he tries out multiple tests and has dozens of trials until he finds something that works.  He's the organic farmer who works to find a biological pest control to replace a chemical one, or the chef who experiments in order to perfect a pastry recipe.  This Knower/Knight doesn't spend all his time dreaming up original ideas, he goes out and checks his theories to see if they will hold water; if he's not triumphant, he'll keep trying other alternatives until he finds what works.  In this drawing he's having a "Eureka!" moment, finally putting the last piece in the puzzle with a successful result.

From the animal tiles today comes the "Elephant:"
Eknath Easwaren, founder of the Blue Mountain Meditation Center, once relayed a story told to him by his grandmother.  In India, elephants are often a big part of parades, but they face many temptations as they walk past marketplace stalls that sell bananas or other such foods.  To keep their inquisitive trunks from wandering over to snatch a sample, their caretakers would sometimes give them a baton to hold.  Like the elephant, my mind can wander in a million different directions instead of focusing on what I'm supposed to be doing.  This animal reminds me to stay present with the task at hand, avoiding distractions that will keep me from a successful completion.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Quick Fixes and Frustrations

From the Shining Tribe Tarot, the Eight of Wands:
She flies through the air with the greatest of ease, over burning bushes, a house and trees.  There are days when I must be like this woman, moving quickly from one activity to another, taking care of details and duties.  The trick is not to go into panic mode when I have to move at high speeds.  Being late to the book club because I have to meet with the tree removal guy won't cause the end of the world.  Getting the roast out of the crockpot one half an hour later than I'm supposed to won't ruin supper.  Even though it may feel important, some things are neither essential or imperative.  Today I'll just worry about what's at the top of the priority list.

From the animal tiles oracle comes "Cougar:"
With proportionally the largest hind legs in the cat family, this animal was built to hunt and catch prey.  Vertically, they can leap up to 18 feet; horizontally, they can jump 45 feet in one bound.  Though not made to run for long distances, cougars are great sprinters, reaching speeds of 45 mph.  They characteristically kill their prey with a bite to the neck, severing the spinal cord.  With its quick and powerful reflexes, this cat cautions me about instinctively reacting to stressful situations.  When I'm under pressure, it's easy to take out my frustrations on those who are close by.  But this will only add to my growing list of things I need to fix or take care of - something I don't need right now. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Riding on the Center Line

From the Shining Tribe Tarot, the Chariot:
The purple and yellow wheels of this chariot are vibrating with energy, suggesting movement.  The victory medal the charioteer holds overhead proclaims that her progression has been a successful one.  In this depiction, the horses are missing, and I realize this vehicle is on water not on land.  What we have here is more of a motorboat - staying atop the water and riding out the rough waves without sinking are the goal.  Will and intellect can bridle the emotions and instincts, allowing me to stay afloat and not be swamped by anger, fear, or emotional drama.  The Chariot reminds me to pause before reacting and think things through; it is what will keep me moving forward rather than becoming sidetracked.

From the animal tiles oracle today comes the "Deer:"
Had this been a doe, I might have considered this deer to represent gentleness; instead it reminds me of an incident over a decade ago.  A college buddy was driving back from his sister's wedding rehearsal when another car struck a huge buck, sending it crashing through the windshield of my friend's car, killing him instantly.  Back then, the whitetail deer population had exploded, and deer had become driving hazards even in the city.  Now with Georgia's liberal hunting limit of 12 per year, along with the increasing population of coyotes, the whitetail numbers have been drastically reduced.  Conservationists are rethinking the hunting limit so the population can even out.  The deer reminds me that while I want to be detached and think with my head rather than my emotions, I don't want to become a robot without feelings.  If the pendulum swings too far either way, I must attempt to bring it back towards the center.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Buzzing Along

From the Shining Tribe Tarot, the Fool:
The Fool has an aerial view, like that from a Google Earth map, that allows her to see the big picture.  She sees how everything touches everything else and understands the interconnection of all.  No wonder she has such a childlike trust.  It seems like the longer we humans live in this world, the more likely we are to forget that we are all part of a web rather than just individual threads.  As John Muir wrote, "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."  There are times in my life when I feel very lonely and isolated, yet I must not lose sight of this wholeness.  My emotions are not reality - they are transient and will pass.  My inner connection is what can keep me anchored in times of doubt.

The animal chosen from the wooden tiles this morning is "Bumblebee (Bombus sp.):"
Unlike honey bees, in the autumn all bumblebees in a colony die off except the fertilized queen.  She alone is responsible for finding an underground site, building a nest, and raising a new brood of workers.  She must go out and find the nectar to feed her young until they have developed into workers.  There is no "woe is me" buzzing about in her little insect brain.  She knows there are resources she can use; her job is to find them so the colony will thrive.  The bumblebee reminds me to keep looking for what I need and not give up.  Though I may be at low point thinking that nothing will ever change or get better, a new cycle is just around the corner.  I just need to keep buzzing along, doing my part to prepare for it.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Offerings Required

From the Shining Tribe Tarot, the Three of Wands:
How appropriate to draw the Three of Wands on Mother's Day.  Pythagoras considered the number three to be unique in that it equaled the sum of the two numbers preceding it.  Three was the "fruit" of One and Two, and though it may represent a child produced by parents, it could just as easily symbolize a pet adopted by roommates or a business begun by partners.  The decision to expand, no matter what the manner, will require an investment that goes far beyond  the initial excitement of something new.  Pollack uses three manitokans to illustrate this card, wooden spirit figures created by the Ojibwa people of Canada.  They were placed along rivers and hunting or traveling trails to indicate places of prayer and offerings.  For me, their wide arms represent opening to the challenges a new venture will require, as well as the sacrifices (offerings) that will be required of me.

From the wooden oracle tile chosen this morning is "Beaver:"
Anyone who has ever had to use a handsaw to cut down a tree will appreciate the effort a beaver expends in building a dam.  Dozens upon dozens of trunks and limbs are cut and interwoven to produce a lodge; damage done by weather, humans or predators result in constant damage control and remodeling.  There is never any complaining, just continuous hard work to do what must be done.  The beaver reminds me that I too need to avoid procrastination and take care of my obligations.  There will be time to enjoy the fruits of my labor, but first I must nurture and care for them.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Forget the Magic Wand

The tarot I'll be working with this week is the Shining Tribe, a deck and book set created by Rachel Pollack and published by Llewellyn.  Today's draw is the Magician:
Outside a village, a shaman stands with one hand pointing to a red flower and the other raised holding a wand.  He has connected with his purusa, his pure, inner light of awareness; from this place, he can tap into isvara, the unlimited, universal intelligence.  From these, he receives knowledge and inspirational energy that can be used to create in the physical world (the flower).  But there's no magic trick here that produces something from nothing.  Beside the shaman are a flute, bowl and a stone that represent the resources he'll need to create the vision he holds.  No simple "abra-cadabra" is going to do it - he's going to have to combine the knowledge he's received with the tools he has and do it himself.

The oracle I'll be using this week was created by my multi-talented friend Carole, who painstakingly pyroetched animals on wooden tiles.  Today's animal is the "Box Turtle:"
The eastern box turtle, Terrapene carolina, is primarily a land turtle though it prefers moist habitats.  Slow to mature, it is extremely long-lived - the average life span is 50 years, but a significant number live to be over 100 years old.  The box turtle's dome-shaped shell is unique in that its bottom is hinged, allowing it to close itself off from predators.  Like the Magician-Shaman who is alone outside the village, this turtle reminds me that sometimes I must close myself off too.  Although I don't have predators, there are people who will "eat" my time and provide plenty of unwanted distractions.  My solitude will help me maintain my focus, enabling me to make progress on my projects or goals.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Test of True Love

From the Tarot of Durer, the Lovers:
Nothing is difficult for those who love.
Pan plays his music and a woman reaches out to him, looking (in my opinion) like a twitchy meth-head in need of another fix.  Her submissive posture makes my skin crawl - call it addiction, manipulation, or control, but don't call this love.  Even the doves have their backs turned to them.  Authentic love is a bond that creates two strong individuals, not two unhealthy ones.  It doesn't require a person to leave his or her brain at the door, because the relationship is based on an equal partnership.  I will always have choices in my relationships, unless I choose to surrender them to someone else. 
From the Philosopher's Stone comes "Solution:"
Up against a brick wall, a question mark becomes an exclamation point when seen from a different perspective.  The value of relationships, besides companionship and compassion, is they allow a variety of ideas to be shared between people.  For instance, when I do the Sunday crossword puzzle with my mother-in-law, it helps to have another viewpoint when considering the clues.  If the clue deals with "diamond," I might think of the gemstone, but she might also consider a baseball field.  However, solutions are more likely to be found if both partners feel comfortable in sharing their thoughts and opinions. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Common Sense Setting

From the Tarot of Durer, the Five of Pentacles:
On a cold, snowy evening, a tired-looking man and woman knock at a door.  The man doesn't look like he's dressed warmly enough, and the cloak he wears looks ragged.  Over the door is a bas-relief of an eagle, a symbol of strength and power, something this couple seems in short supply of at the moment.  Today I have plans to do some landscaping work in the yard, and I am reminded by this card to be humble enough to ask for help when I need it.  A few years ago, my stubborn "I can do it myself" attitude resulted in a torn rotator cuff - an injury I don't care to endure again.  My strength and stamina might not be what it was, but hopefully my common sense has been reinforced to make up for it.

From the Philosopher's Stone deck comes the card "Sharing:"
The two stone people sharing the weight of a boulder again emphasize the need for support.  Why would I refuse such help?  I can think of three reasons right off the bat: pride, the desire to have things done "my way," and the fear that I might bother someone by asking.  None of these excuses are worth much.  When I try to to go there, I need a default circuit in my brain that automatically takes me back to a common sense setting.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Repeat or Replace

From the Tarot of Durer, the Nine of Swords:
The three swords over this fellow's head reminds me of the Three of Swords card.  Does he keep a constant reminder of a past pain around, physically or in his head?  He's polishing six other swords like he's preparing for battle.  Now I understand learning from the past so mistakes don't get repeated, but this seems to be more of a paranoid obsession.  Like the pouncing fox carved at the top of the column above his head, he seems sure that impending disaster will fall on his head at any time.  I don't want to ruin the joy in my life by waiting for the other shoe to drop; I need to stay out of the past and future and focus on the present.

From the Philosopher's Stone deck comes the card "Skill:"
Now here's a neat trick - instead of carrying something on his head, this stone person has learned to levitate a rock over it.  In combining this oracle card with the tarot card above, I see the need of letting thoughts and worries become lighter so I don't carry their load around.  I know I can't control what thoughts pop into my head, but I can replace them with something else when they arrive.  It's like a hotel manager turning the way potential guests because there are no rooms available.  But therein lies the solution; I must replace the worrisome thoughts with something else, leaving no room in my head.  A mantra, a gratitude list or even a grocery list will do, as long as I consciously place my focus on something else.  I'll repeat until I replace.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Listen to the Clash

From the Tarot of Durer, the Two of Wands:
 Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble,
But if I stay it will be double.
~ The Clash
I can almost hear this conversation now (in of course growling lion-speak): "Larry, what are you doing?  It's past time for our nap - let's go."  "But I've never seen anything like this before!  I want to play with it a bit and see what it does."  And then in a very timid, hedgehog voice from atop the pole, "Yes Larry, listen to your pal.  Your complexion isn't looking good, and I think you need some rest."  These three figures  represent all the inner parts of me - the one wanting to stick to the routine and maintain the status quo; the part looking for excitement and willing to take a risk; and the one that thinks I'm probably doomed no matter what I do.  I think I'll listen to the Clash - I might have trouble if I make a change, but it won't be nearly as bad as if I stay in my rut.

From the Philosopher's Stone deck comes "Existence:"
This painting makes me think of man emerging from the primordial soup.  I think there is something intrinsic in humans that makes us want to evolve.  Sure, some of us have our fears and doubts, and we may try to sit on the sidelines.  But I think eventually we'll experience that feeling of restlessness and discontent and be tempted to at least stick our toes in the water.