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, November 30, 2013

Backed-up Emotions

This week I'll be using the first edition of Kat Black's Touchstone Tarot published by Tarot Connections. This morning's card is the Queen of Wands:
Though she sits demurely, her red dress and flushed cheeks suggest this queen radiates passion. Her rod has green leaves sprouting from it, indicating she is a woman who believes in taking action when she is motivated by a cause or idea. Her personality is quite like her cat, who may look calm, but at any second might take a swipe with his claws, rub and purr against you, or meow pitifully. Basically, both will prod you in whatever way will get their objective accomplished. The stare the Queen of Wands levels at me seems to say: "Have you neglected what you're passionate about and let the what used to excite you grow cold? Stir the embers and get that fire burning brightly again!"

The oracle deck I'll be using this week is the Oracle of the Grail Code, created by Amy Sophia Marashinsky and published by Barnes and Noble. Today's draw is "Emotions:"
Notice how the Queen of Wands in the first card looks straight ahead, never daring to look out the window? I can be that way when it comes to my emotions, particularly those intense, "messy" ones. I won't talk about them or express them in any way; instead I just try to distract myself so I don't have to deal with them. But like a backed-up toilet that eventually overflows on the floor, they will affect me nevertheless. In fact, trying to keep a lid on them will drain away all my energy. No wonder what I once was so passionate about burns so dimly now. Guess I better pull on some rubber gloves and deal with the mess I've ignored for too long.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Cleaning the Clutter

From the Morgan-Greer Tarot, the Five of Cups:
When I first drew this card today, I was bemused. It's the day after a holiday, and I don't feel sad but relieved. However it slowly dawned on me [insert slap to the forehead] that this means Christmas is fast approaching. There is a tree and decorations to drag out of the attic and presents to wrap. But thanks to  my daughter, I'll have help with those things. So while I'm not thrilled about another holiday to maneuver through, the regret and sorrow still didn't register - until I looked at the crumbling castle in the background. I think it represents past holidays many years ago when I enjoyed all the hoopla but now have come to dread it. What's changed? Perhaps I need to do another reading on that issue.

From the Gods and Titans Oracle comes the "Jade Emperor:"
Known as the "Heavenly Grandfather" by the common folk, the Jade Emperor is one of the most beloved Taoist gods. He is considered to be benevolent and protective, but he is most known for his help in bringing order to chaos. In the guidebook, the authors describe his message for me: "Streamlining, reordering and de-cluttering will clear the way to a flow of natural effortless action." Well now, that's right up my alley. I love organizing and simplifying (though I live with a "collector" who likes to throw nothing away). But in looking at the two cards together, I can see how making a list of things I need to do and checking them off as I go could give me satisfaction. But I have a feeling I might need to work on my inner environment as well...

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Bill of Responsibilities

From the Morgan-Greer Tarot, the Seven of Swords:
The way this man's hat hides his face made me think of the string of burglaries we've had here lately. The perpetrators were caught on camera, but they either wore hoodies or hats to shield their faces to prevent identification. What is this guy trying to get away with? He may feel he is somehow entitled to these swords, even though he is actually stealing them. The five swords he carries ties back into the Five of Swords card, the one where one fellow is smirking while two others walk away dejectedly. Like the guy in this card, the "winner" doesn't realize he's lost far more than he's won. I was reading a book by Scott Russell Sanders in which he stated that Americans are big proponents of the Bill of Rights, but we need a Bill of Responsibilities to balance those out. My pursuit of life, liberty and happiness doesn't mean I have the right to trample over others in my quest.

From the Goddesses and Sirens Oracle comes the card "Gaia:"
In Greek mythology, Gaia was the Mother Goddess, Creatrix and Earth Mother. She encourages me to be aware of what I am creating with my thoughts, words and deeds. Every day I add new strands to the web I weave, strands that touch and impact the webs of other people and things. Are my actions beneficial or harmful? Self-centered or compassionate? Gaia reminds me that nature has a way of re-balancing itself when there has been too much "take" and not enough "give" (or vice versa). If I don't want to deal with the consequences, I'd better think things through before acting or speaking.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Unlock the Gate

From the Morgan-Greer Tarot, the Ace of Cups:
I got up this morning with only 3 hours of sleep under my belt to discover I had plumbing and internet problems. I also have casseroles to make for Thanksgiving, so needless to say, I was in a "mood." Yet the smell and taste of that first cup of coffee, a hug from my husband, an upbeat version of the chant Om Mani Padme Hum, and the sight of this lovely card gave my mood a makeover. The five streams flowing down from the cup in this card represent the five senses, and ways for me to lift my emotions when I'm feeling out of sorts. It never fails to amaze me how something so simple can have such a big impact.

From the Goddesses and Sirens Oracle comes "Sheela na Gig:"
This is the most modest version of this goddess I've ever seen. This bawdy trickster is usually shown (as we Southerners delicately put it) with her "dumplings" spilling out and "heaven's gate" wide open. Her irreverence pokes fun at my overly serious nature; she suggests I lighten up and take down my barriers. When I have moments like this morning, I often want to isolate and refuse any help from others. But Sheela tells me to get over myself and unlock my gate - there are sincere folks who want to offer support if I'll let them.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

From the Inside Out

From the Morgan-Greer Tarot, the Two of Swords:
A few days ago, I was listening to a friend describing a situation in her life. The tactless inner child in me wanted to say, "Geez woman, aren't you over-thinking this a bit?" Of course, it's always easier to see it in others than in myself. My brain loves to pick apart details, analyze them, then slice and dice those some more. By the time I'm done, all that intellectual nitpicking has stirred up quite a few emotions to add to the mix. I imagine this woman has her feet firmly planted on the ground, as she stands with a blindfold on and swords crossed over her heart. She encourages me to center myself and drop below the emotional and mental turmoil I've created. There I'll find an inner resource that will guide me in making the right decision.

From the Gods and Titans Oracle, comes the card "Ra:"
Ra was an Egyptian sun god, patron of the pharaohs, and king of the other gods. His association with the hawk and sun suggest I look at my decision from a broad, clear view. If the choice I make is motivated by fear, grief or anger, it will likely not be a good one. Likewise, if it is made from a purely logical mindset without including compassion, it may not be the best choice either. The booklet suggests developing my power "from the inside out," which reflects the message of the Two of Swords above.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Time-outs and Tight Fists

From the Morgan-Greer, the Four of Swords:
Those swords hanging over the resting knight represent all the problems I need to solve and plans I need to make. One sword hovers in the air beyond the window, and it symbolizes those "nameless fears" that creep in my thoughts as well. I like the inclusion of the autumn leaves by the helmet. Deciduous trees literally seal off the veins that carry nutrients to their leaves, which causes them to change colors and eventually fall. This action occurs to help the tree survive through the winter by conserving it's energy. In the same way, I must give my mind a break, whether through rest or meditation. Setting aside all those "important" things to think about will allow me to renew and replenish myself. And if I do, the little acorns nestled in the leaves suggest my time-out will produce the ideas and solutions I was searching for.

From the Gods and Titans Oracle comes "Shiva:"
The Hindu god Shiva is both an ascetic and cosmic dancer. As an ascetic, he encourages me to simplify my life, only holding on to what is necessary. As the Cosmic Dancer, he destroys what is worn-out and worthless, in order for something new to be created. Shiva reminds me that unless I relax my grasp and let go, I won't have an empty palm to receive what is new.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Beware of Exit Ramps

From the Morgan-Greer Tarot, the Chariot:
This charioteer has a firm grip on the reins, as well he should. How many times have we had a goal, only to let our senses or emotions distract us from the path? Both my senses and emotions want pleasure only; they don't understand that self-discipline can help me reach my objective. Yet they can be amazingly seductive and powerful. "But that chocolate cake tastes so good, an extra slice won't hurt anything. Besides it's the holidays!" Or "I can't believe she's spouting that rhetoric! I'm going to slam her with some real facts and bring her down a notch!" Generally if my intellect/logic is being trampled below the horses hoofs, I'm headed for trouble. The crescent moons on the shoulders of the charioteer remind me that just as my desires wax strong, they will also begin to wane as time passes. If I can breathe deeply and stay calm, I'll pass right on by that exit ramp.

From the Goddesses and Sirens deck comes "Morgan Le Fae:"
In Arthurian literature, Morgan has been portrayed as both an evil antagonist and a sympathetic protagonist. The creators of this deck give her the keyword "magic," an attempt to influence the world through ritual, symbol and words. While most people would associate it with paganism, I have to say that definition might cover fundamental religions as well. But who or what is the object of this influence? If I'm trying to use my will to change myself or protect what I consider sacred, I don't foresee an ethical problem. But if I use my will to try to bend another to my desires, that is pure manipulation. Morgan is a stern reminder for me to check my motives and intentions before taking action of any kind.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Self-Discipline and Simplicity

This week I'll be using the Morgan-Greer Tarot, created by Bill Greer and Lloyd Morgan and published by U.S. Games. Today's draw is the Ten of Pentacles:
While these two folks are dressed nicely, they aren't the latest lottery winners. The two flags that block the doorway each have five pentacles on them. Both the man and the woman have faced challenges, worked hard, sacrificed and saved to get to this point. I can almost guarantee you won't find a gold-lined jacuzzi inside; neither of them would waste their money on something so frivolous. The crossed flags indicate a safe haven, but also suggest privacy. These two aren't concerned with showing off their wealth or "keeping up with the Joneses." They are perfectly content to enjoy what they have. I can't think of a better card to pull as I begin to prepare for Thanksgiving.

I'll be using a combination of the Gods & Titans Oracle and the Goddesses & Sirens Oracle this week; both sets were created by Stacey Demarco and Jimmy Manton and published by Blue Angel. This morning's card is "Vishnu:"
In the Hindu pantheon, a trinity is composed of Brahma (the creator) and Shiva (the destroyer) with Vishnu (the preserver) in between. When imbalances occur, Vishnu's avatar appears to slide the toggle switch back toward the middle. Ram, Krishna and Buddha are some of his incarnations. I get the distinct feeling that Vishnu is encouraging me not to overindulge as the holiday season begins. I can have fun and enjoy myself while maintaining self-discipline and simplicity at the same time.                                    

Friday, November 22, 2013

Abundant Resources

From the Tarot of Timeless Truth, the Six of Pentacles:
If you have a candle, the light won't glow any dimmer if I light yours off of mine.
~ Steven Tyler
One man from the forest trades deer antlers to a man with shells from the shore. Each man has something that is plentiful and common from his area, but not from the other region. They each have in abundance something the other needs. The sixes are about restoring harmony, through bartering or sharing with another. I may not have money to give, but I do have other gifts - my time, energy and creative ideas. This card reminds me not to discount or overlook what I have or can do, as someone else appreciate it. Of course I also need to remember the flip side of the coin - to ask if I find myself in need (without letting pride get in the way).

From the Rune Cards comes "Aurochs / Ur:"
The aurochs is determined and horned above
Fierce and bold this beast fights with horns
A mighty stepper over moors, it is a courageous creature.
~ Anglo-Saxon poem
The aurochs was once a European wild ox. It represents strength, but not the kind that dominated other people. Instead, Ur is a strength of determination and resourcefulness. To be resourceful means I deal with challenges with what I've got - my skills, my ideas and my assets. It may take some innovation and creative maneuvering (and possibly even some bartering), but I've got what I need to deal with what life demands of me.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Short But Complete Sentences

From the Tarot of Timeless Truth, the Ten of Wands:
As this woman struggles up the hill with her load, I can almost hear her thoughts: "Why do I always get stuck with this job? I feel like I'm carrying the loads of everyone else." I imagine she has such a load because she agrees to it to keep everyone happy or she thinks no one can do the job right but her. Yesterday as I sat down to meditate, I began with my breathing exercises (the "three part breath"). I noticed immediately how hard it was for me - I was so tense I couldn't fully extend my belly/diaphragm. It's funny that even if my mind can overlook my stress, my body refuses to do so. This time of year is full of extra activities, and some are quite fun. But if I overload myself, I have only one person to blame. I need to take author Anne Lamott's advice: "Learn to use 'No' as a complete sentence."

From the Rune Cards comes "Ice / Is:"
Ice is very cold and immeasurably slippery;
it glistens as clear as glass and most like to gems;
it is a floor wrought by the frost, fair to look upon.
~ Anglo-Saxon poem
The part of the rune poem about Is describes it as "fair" but also "slippery." In other words, it warns me that what looks and sounds great might not turn out to be. Instead of being impulsive, I need to look at the big picture and see from a long-range point of view when I decide whether or not to add to my holiday schedule. I may miss out on a few get-togethers or events, but at least my health and sanity will remain in tact.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Walking the Middle Path

From the Tarot of Timeless Truth, Temperance:
The theme of "balance" seems to continue through today. In this card, Temperance has an active/creative side and a peaceful/receptive side. It encourages me to find a compromise between all the activity I need to do with some relaxing time for myself. To do this, I'm going to have to prioritize what absolutely needs to be done today, and what can wait. It will also help if I can delegate some tasks to other people, and thus free up more time. But I also must not distract myself from the work I need to accomplish by mindless diversions like surfing the internet. Perhaps I should pencil in both work and play on my schedule today.

From the Rune Cards comes the card "Grave / Ear:"
Here if you're outside the city limits and get a permit, you can burn leaves, limbs and fallen trees now. This is the time of year to clean up before winter sets in. The pyre burning in the background remind me of the biblical saying "ashes to ashes, dust to dust." It's time to clean up all the litter in my head and burn it away, otherwise it will keep me from making progress. And what I need to toss on that bonfire is my need for perfection - not so much for myself, but for what I do for others. I'm sure they don't expect it, so why in the world would I demand it of myself?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It's Just Like I Thought!

From the Tarot of Timeless Truth, the Two of Pentacles:
Since it's "Tis the Season," I wasn't too surprised to see this card show up today.  In her companion book, Vey suggests asking yourself three questions that relate to this card:
~ Are you coping with the demands on you at this time?
~ Are you resisting changes in your routine?
~ Are you approaching life with a spirit of humor and fun?
Yes, I think I am coping with demands and obligations right now, and I actually would welcome some changes to my routine. But  for the third question, I must honestly answer "No." As I prepare for the holidays (and my mother-in-law's 93rd birthday), I find myself just wishing everything was already over. It seems like a lot of effort, money and time are put into just one event. Rarely does the emotional build-up actually meet the reality of the day itself. Perhaps I should focus more on how I can enjoy the moment now instead of putting all my expectations into the celebration itself.

From the Rune Cards comes "Weapon / Yr:"
Yr is a source of joy and honour to every prince and knight; 
it looks well on a horse and is a reliable equipment for a journey. 
~ Anglo-Saxon poem
Whether I look at this rune as a weapon or equipment, its message is that I have something that I can use to defend myself or that will be useful as I make my way through the holidays. The weapon/tool I need to subdue my ego (get it out of the CEO chair) would mostly likely be my attitude. If I assume a situation is going to be a royal pain, then it most assuredly will be. I will find what I expect. So instead, I think I'll try out a new motto for the holidays: "Calm mind, open heart."

Monday, November 18, 2013

Enjoying and Enduring

From the Tarot of Timeless Truth, the Six of Cups:
We won't be sad, we'll be glad
For all the life we've had
And we'll remember when
~ Alan Jackson
It's funny that the older people get, the more they seem to use the phrase "remember when." In my case, my school years and young adult life were filled with struggle and pain, some self-inflicted but a great deal not. Instead of feeling nostalgic about times past, I tend to lean more toward's Bill Wilson's statement: "We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it." It can be easy to remember with blinders on, seeing only hurt, shame and self-destructive behavior. Yet there were good times too, if I'm honest with myself. This card reminds me to bring balance to my views of the past and the present. To borrow Charles Dickens' words, my timeline will show both "the spring of hope" as well as the "winter of despair." If I were to do a survey, I imagine everyone else would agree their histories show the same emotional ups and downs.

From the Rune Cards this morning comes "Oak / Ac:"
The limb and cavity shown in this image reminded me of the water oaks we have in abundance here. They often drop limbs and  have sections of heart wood rotted out by fungus or disease. Yet they continue to produce massive amounts of acorns for birds, squirrels and other wildlife as well as provide homes for them. The rune "Ac" is often said to represent strength, but it is more accurate to say it symbolizes endurance. It means not yielding or crumpling no matter what fate throws in the path. As I combine the meaning of these two cards, it's easy to see they remind me that I'm still standing and living life. What kind of attitude I have while I both enjoy and endure it will be up to me.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Accumulated Complications

From the Tarot of Timeless Truth, the Ten of Pentacles:
I don't see any cell phones, laptops or fancy cars, but this family still seems to be very happy. They do however have a cozy hut, warm clothes, a toasty fire and a lovely view. When was the last time you felt truly content? For me it was when my life was simple; I didn't have a lot of "stuff," but I had all I needed, including people who cared about me. My life got complicated when I added more to the pile. How much do I really need to sustain myself? I imagine I would not need all I have accumulated now, just enough to feed and maintain my body, soul and mind.

From the Rune Cards deck comes "Woden / Os:"
I was surprised to learn that Woden, the Anglo-Saxon god of magic and healing, was thought to be linked to the idea behind Father Christmas. It is said he rode across the sky at midwinter on an 8 legged horse delivering peace, goodwill and presents. Woden is likened to Odin, both associated to Os/Ansuz, the rune of communication. The gift of speech is a two-edged sword, and can be used to build up or tear down, to heal or to harm. This rune reminds me to use my words wisely and with tact, or else what has been achieved (as in the above card), might come tumbling down.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Attending to Needs

This week I'll be using the deck and book set of the Tarot of Timeless Truth, created and published by Leila Vey. Today's draw is the King of Cups:
This king, sitting cross-legged in front of a fire, reminds me of some Zen master. I can imagine him offering me advice: "Now people are going to come to you who are distraught. They will want you to be just as upset as they are about whatever is going on. Listen compassionately (make little "mmming" noises where appropriate), but don't become a part of the story. They may not want you to actually fix anything, they may only want someone who will listen to them. Don't give them advice unless they ask for it, and even then, don't be offended if they don't take it. Eventually the sun will set, the waters will be still, and they will calm down." I bow to the wise wisdom of the King of Cups.

The oracle deck I'll be using this week is the Rune Cards created by Tony Linsell and Brian Partridge and published by Anglo-Saxon Books. This morning's card is "Need (Nyd):"
Need pains the heart
yet it is often a help and salvation to the sons of men
if they attend to it soon. ~ Anglo-Saxon poem
I had to laugh when I saw this card was illustrated by a pair of worn-out shoes. I have only one pair of "nice" shoes that I wear occasionally with dress pants. They have holes worn into the soles, and one sole has cracked into two pieces. I've had this comfortable pair of shoes for over 15 years, so I checked to see if they could be repaired. Unfortunately, they are beyond help and hope. Yesterday, when I was out holiday shopping with my mom, I found a somewhat similar style that fit, but the price was $100. I gingerly placed them back on the shelf and walked away. My mother fussed that I never spend money on myself, and I should go back and get them, but I just couldn't do it. Nyd reminds me that before I take on the cares of other people, I should make sure my own needs have been attended to first. Maybe there will be a coupon in the paper...

Friday, November 15, 2013

Balancing Barefoot

From the Cosmic Tarot, the Two of Pentacles:
On a beach, a young man balances barefoot inside an infinity symbol. He seeks a way to maintain stability while dealing with his obligations and responsibilities - an ongoing task for all of us. His choice of being shoeless emphasizes the need to be grounded in the "now," and one efficient way to do that is by being aware of the senses and signals of the body. I went to a seminar years ago where the speaker had us stick our arms straight out to our sides, while a partner tried to push down on our wrist (non-dominant side) with two fingers. We resisted, and the partners had to push quite hard to get our arms down. But then she had us make up outrageous tales (lies) about ourselves and express them aloud. When our partners tried the experiment again, they found it quite easy to push our arms down. The body is an excellent barometer for how well we keep our lives in balance - so much so that even when we try to deceive ourselves, it responds in kind.

From the L'Oeil de Lotus comes the card "Detachment:"
In this painting, a rope is about to slip off a mooring bollard, allowing the boat to which it's attached to float free. Detachment allows us to disengage our emotions so we aren't manipulated by them. We don't allow their actions or attitude to affect us; in other words, our happiness isn't attached to whether they are content. How do I personally do this? I attempt to keep my hands out of the other person's affairs. When I start obsessing about how they are feeling (and what I can do to make them "better"), I distract my mind with something else. It definitely is a balancing act to stay compassionate while refusing to get tangled up in that rope. I wish it were as easy as that explanation I just gave.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Readjusting Judgments

From the Cosmic Tarot, the Two of Wands:
When I have a "two" that shows up, I always think of choosing, joining or compromise. But as I look at this foppish fellow, I find myself judging him by his appearance. I think, "You better not take the path less traveled with its rocks and forests; you'd best stay on the paved road with rest stops at every mile." Yet I have often been proved wrong by such appraisals. Folks I've thought weak have surprised me with their tenacity and courage, and those I've thought strong have buckled under fear and stress. This card reminds me there is an inner fire that drives most of us, a force that may not always be outwardly obvious. And looking at the arch over the two rods as well as the roots growing from each, I feel I must reconsider my first assessment.

From the L'Oeil de Lotus comes "Death:"
There are events and situations over which we have control (such as the Two of Wands) and those over which we don't (such as this card). Yet we still have a choice about whether we will be reactive or proactive in each circumstance. A reactive choice means I dwell in the past, and I allow what has happened to keep me from progressing forward. A proactive choice means I learn from what has happened and take steps to prevent it or prepare for it happening again. The butterfly and shaft of light brings hope that all is not lost, but I may have to adjust my attitude to be able to see from this point of view (as Persephone did after eating the pomegranate seeds).

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Watching from Windows

From the Cosmic Tarot, the Three of Wands:
This woman has certainly created what appears to be a miracle - three lotus blooms in a desert. The triangle of rods suggests the beginning of stability with her endeavor. But how in the world did she do it? I am reminded by this card of the magic that can happen when you add three ingredients together: self-confidence, support and effort. But like a three-legged stool, things aren't quite as secure as they could be. More work is going to be required (I'm thinking she may want to find an underground water source for a sprinkler system).

From the L'Oeil de Lotus comes the card "Expectation:"
The little booklet that comes with this deck describes this image as "nervous tension," a perfect way to define expectation. I don't suppose humans can suppress the habit of expectation, but a problem develops when we attach emotions to it. "I'll be so happy when this happens." "I'm going to be so sad when he goes away." Life is so full of chance and change, it's impossible to make an accurate prediction sometimes. Like the lady above, her flowers may die or multiply so fast she can hardly take care of them. Hope is fine, but it may be better to focus on developing equanimity in dealing with whatever is around the next corner.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Unfolding Wisdom

From the Cosmic Tarot, the Queen of Swords:
What I noticed even more than this self-assured queen was the dove in the bottom corner. In our area we have mourning doves, named for the mournful calls they make. (Perhaps the couple in the background stirs a memory of a former lover or husband.) Yet the dove has long represented peace, which makes me conclude this queen has come to terms with the losses in her life. She's well aware that emotions can lead people around in circles, which is why she chooses rational thought to cut those unhealthy ties. It's not that she doesn't fully enjoy life, she just realizes it is a continuous cycle of change. As she has been made aware, pain often precedes the unfolding of wisdom.

The card from the L'Oeil de Lotus this morning is "Betrayal:"
We Southerners become well versed in always being polite, and such an effort can require pretending with some people. But if I get in a habit of masking my feelings with others, I may start trying to hide them from myself (self-betrayal).  It's easy to get out the scrapbook and photo albums when it comes to the good feelings, but it's tough to do so with the painful ones. The Queen of Swords would encourage me to be willing to sit and have an open conversation with these difficult memories. There may be something more to them than just pain that I need to hold onto.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Keep It In the Middle

From the Cosmic Tarot, Justice:
Instead of being blindfolded, this Justice has two bright spotlights that shine from her eyes. Nothing will be hidden from her. The sun/moon and yin/yang combinations reflect the harmonious balance of coexistence. However, it's tempting (and human) to take sides and prefer one to the other; if I have to decide between mercy or severity, my answer would likely depend on whether I am the victim or perpetrator. Group rights or individual rights, ethics versus religious creeds, conserving or spending, our lives are constantly bombarded with a push to choose one over the other. But the tower behind Justice's head reminds me of what is to come if I don't try to keep things equitable and unbiased. Imbalances will be addressed and corrected with or without my consent. Perhaps instead of "this or that," I can find a toggle switch that can slide to a position more towards the middle.

From the L'Oeil de Lotus comes "Gifts:"
At first I had a hard time understanding the connection between the blinding light of Justice and the warm, cozy feeling of this card. But then I read this line in the deck's booklet: "Some gifts come as a reward for being just." Being just can often cost me something - my opinions, favoritism and intolerance. But paying that price can result in getting more than I imagined; those gifts are priceless.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Passing Up Pot Shots

From the Cosmic Tarot, the Five of Wands:
I always groan inwardly when I pull this card. It generally means my opinion about how, when or where to do something is about to collide head-on with another person's ideas. It often starts with me making a suggestion (trying to be helpful) that is usually shot down rather quickly. Of course this offends me (because I have a tendency to think I'm right), and I counter with another comment. Sometimes this exchange clears the air and produces a compromise, but other times only bruised and battered egos are the result. I notice the two fellows here are enclosed in a circle of stones, and the extra rod is inside. My first instinct would be to bonk them on the head to get their attention, but perhaps the circle's boundary warns this is not my battle to fight.

From the L'Oeil de Lotus comes the card "Choice:"
A road forks, forcing the traveler to decide which way to go. The cross memorial at the "V" makes me think something must be put to rest in order for progress to continue. In pondering my habit of wanting to be "helpful," perhaps this trait is what needs to be buried. I can't protect everyone all the time, and I can't guide them in directions they don't want to go. I imagine people will learn much more from their own mistakes than they will from my meddling. Today I will try to allow them to do so (but I might need some duct tape over my mouth, just in case).

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Clinging and Avoiding

This week I'll be using the Cosmic Tarot created by Norbert Losche. Its companion book was written by Jean Huets, and both deck and book were published by U.S. Games. Today's card is the Two of Swords:
Under a full moon, a woman sits beside a channel of water. The water and weeping willow in the background suggest she is flooded with emotions, yet the two swords indicate a decision must be made. The swords are firmly planted in the ground, advocating a need to make sure her thoughts are based in reality instead of assumptions, projections or expectations. Her companion the cat purrs as she strokes him; the sound helps calm her mind and heart. The bright moon with the silhouettes of two birds show the value of tapping into her intuition for the answer. Neither choice will bring a perfect solution, so for now she waits. Patience will play in her favor, but can she resist making an impulsive decision just to get out of this uncomfortable limbo?

The oracle deck I'll be using this week is the L'Oeil de Lotus, create by Colette and Gerard Lougarre and published by Heron S.A. This morning's draw is "Justice:"
While the woman above ponders what choice to make, Justice asks the hard questions:
~ Which of the two is the most fair and equitable choice?
~ Would this choice reflect one's integrity or hide a motive?
~ How would this decision help restore balance and harmony?
~ Does this choice create a way toward restitution or does it cause more injury?
Balance includes both blue skies and thunderstorms; we can't cling to one and avoid the other.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Creating Mindfully

From the Greenwood Tarot, the Greenwoman (Empress):
At first glance, I thought this was the Greenman until I noticed the feminine face. I think it is important to realize these two cards are not literally male and female, but represent two sides of the same coin when it comes to nature and creation. The feminine side produces growth and abundance; the masculine side protects and provides limits. The head of the Uffington horse on the large, golden torc suggests the Greenwoman moves at a gallop. Plow under a field, ignore it for just a while, and upon your return it will be full of weeds, flowers and tree saplings. This force of nature is what supplies us with beauty and sustenance, but as the dragon represents, sometimes that force can be overwhelming and rampant (think of the kudzu vine). The Greenwoman encourages me to create in whatever ways my talents and passion lead me (indicated by the Sheila-na-gig on the cauldron). Yet I might keep in mind that perhaps one bowlful is all I should try to handle right now, otherwise I might accidentally spill something important along the way.

From the Pictish Oracle comes the "Arch:"
Eleven stones have been identified with an arch, each one slightly different from the others. Scholars have suggested this symbol might represent a bridge, rainbow or torc (neck ring). Although it resembles a horseshoe, there has been no evidence uncovered that Pictish horses were shod. Again the card and the tile reflect each other with a torc and a torc-like image. For Iron Age Celts, the golden neck ring identified the wearer as a person of high rank and status. The symbol of the Arch reminds me that to some extent, I enjoy self-sovereignty. The decisions I make and the actions I take are my responsibility. There is no higher authority to blame; the majority of the good and bad things I've experienced lead directly back to me. I need to be mindful of the consequences that might be produced by what I create. Such freedom always comes with the price tag of accountability.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Force of Friction

From the Greenwood Tarot, the Ace of Wands:
Potter calls this card the "Spark of Life" and illustrates it with a bow drill. This tool was an ancient way to start a fire by using friction to convert kinetic energy into heat. Friction is simply a force that holds back the movement of a sliding object. Think of the physical resources you might have at hand - these would be represented by the stable surface (or the base board of the bow drill). Then we have our creative ideas and inspirations, which are the sliding object (or the rotating shaft of the bow drill). Add the two together, and we will have enough heat to motivate us to action. What will you do with the sparks you generate today?

From the Pictish Oracle comes the tile "Crescent and V-rod:"
It is interesting how this symbol and the card above resemble each other. The Crescent and V-rod appear approximately 32 times on Class I stones, indicating its importance to the Pictish people. Experts have suggested a wide range of theories about its meaning, from death to weather magic. However, Jason N. Bellchamber makes a compelling argument that it may have been used as a seasonal sundial or farmer's almanac. As such, I've assigned the keywords "right timing, pace, schedule, and preparation" to this symbol. In applying these ideas to the card above, I instantly think of how quickly you must act once an ember is created by the bow drill. It is carefully placed in a tinder bundle and then coaxed into a flame. As the flame grows, twigs and then branches can be added. The message from this combination today is to move into action, but do so at a slow, patient pace. What I want to create must be nurtured, rather than rushed into being.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Who's Playing the Instrument?

From the Greenwood Tarot, the Nine of Arrows (Swords):
Potter explains that this woman is playing her bow like a musical instrument rather than using it as a weapon. Waves of sound move outward, indicated by other arrows. Potter's artistic rendering has a much more positive feel to it than the RWS version (with a woman anxiously holding her head). Comparing the two versions makes me ask the question, "Are my thoughts a useful tool for me or are they my master?" If I let myself be bombarded by thoughts and never question their validity, then they have power over me. If I look for any evidence of truth and find none, I can send them on their way. After all, it is the musician who plays the instrument, not the other way around.

From the Pictish Oracle comes the tile "Cauldron:"
The Picts incised this symbol from a viewpoint of looking down into a cauldron. These huge iron pots were used as cooking tools, but the carved picture on the Glamis Manse Stone (with two sets of legs sticking out of the cauldron) shows cauldrons had other purposes as well. Some researchers theorize they were used for ritual drownings, while others believe they were symbols of rebirth and regeneration. This time of year, with holidays approaching, I usually find myself in need of being restored to sanity. All the "shoulds" and "what ifs" flood my brain, making me more than a little crazy. The cauldron reminds me to put all these thoughts on "simmer." There may be something important I need to be aware of, but all of the anxiety (water) is keeping me from recognizing it. Once the water boils off (and I calm down), I'll be able to separate fact from fiction.