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

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Resting in Alaya

From the Osho Zen Tarot, Harmony (Ten of Cups); from the A'HA Oracle, "Separation:"
It is interesting that Padma chose to use an individual to illustrate the Ten of Cups rather than a group of people. In deep meditation, this woman rests in the nature of alaya. Judy Lief explains it this way: "The alaya, or essence, is the open, unbiased expanse of mind. It is stillness. It can be envisioned as an expanse, or simply as a gap in our ongoing preoccupations, activities, and concerns." The dolphins leaping from this woman's heart chakra symbolize the natural joy and peace that arise from this place. And this essence is what I can carry with me into all my relationships.
The A'HA card seems to show just the opposite experience. People are separated into little hourglass-like test tubes, depicting how they perceive their lives. What I encounter and deal with may look very different than the events in other folk's lives. Yet on the inside, we all are capable of feeling joy or grief, fear or courage, peace or frustration. We are much more alike than those outer appearances would suggest. There's a lot of truth in the saying, "Don't compare your insides to other people's outsides."

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Well-organized Toolbox

From the Osho Zen Tarot, the Sorrow (Nine of Swords); from the A'HA Oracle, "Prelude:"
Unlike the Three of Swords, where pain comes as a result of an action, I see the Nine of Swords as self-inflicted pain. Here there is worry about the things that might happen, the fallout that might come. There is an unknown factor, and I'm painting it with a multitude of colors based on assumptions and expectations. The deck's booklet speaks of a need for alertness rather than getting tangled up in all the "what ifs" in my head.
Being a maker of mala beads, the Prelude card made me think of my little container that I group beads according to color and size in. The Latin translation of 'prelude' is "to play beforehand." Both the image and translation make me think of being prepared for something that may or may not happen, something that is beyond my control. If all I do is wring my hands, I won't make any useful arrangements or be ready. Change, good and bad, is going to come. But what I can do is make sure my tools are handy and in good working order.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Grace Filled Connection

From the Osho Zen Tarot, Aloneness (Hermit); from the A'HA Oracle, "Grace:"
Padma uses the term "aloneness" to describe solitude rather than loneliness. It reminded me of one of the Buddhist lojong slogans I've been studying: "Of the two witnesses, hold the principal one." The slogan means that while I might listen to another's wisdom, I am the lone one who knows the real truth about me. Only I know if I am being genuine or have ulterior motives; if what I'm thinking matches what I say. And so this Hermit pulls away all the covers to see what hides underneath. It may not be pretty, but at least with the facts, a practical plan for change can be created.
Grace is represented by a lovely lotus flower. Buried in the mud, it grew upward until it opened to the sunlight above the water. The lotus is connected to all the elements now - earth, water, air and sun. It made me think of a quote by Paul Tillech: "Grace is the reunion of life with life, the reconciliation of the self with itself." What a paradox - when I am alone with my Higher Self, I find I'm not separate but a part of all that is.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Student of the Earth

From the Osho Zen Tarot, Adventure (Page of Pentacles); from the A'HA Oracle, "Tiki:"
The Page of Pentacles is as curious as a cat, always eager to investigate new things. He'll take apart a clock to see what makes the hands turn. He'll spend hours on hands and knees observing a roly poly. But unlike the Page of Swords, he doesn't do these things just to be more knowledgeable, he makes use of the information. If the clock ever stops working, he'll know how to fix it. The next time the bullies at school wallop him, he'll roll into a ball to protect himself. He reminds me that my natural inquisitiveness can do more than add new wrinkles in my gray matter.
Tiki, in Maori mythology, is the first man. These types of carved statues often represent ancestral guides or elders. In her booklet, Linnie suggests that we humans have a tendency to look for support in our decisions - someone to backup what we want to do. But she cautions that taking their advice might not always be the wise move to make. As the Page above points out, sometimes our own experience will help us blaze new and better trails.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Patterns and Changes

From the Osho Zen Tarot, Change (Wheel of Fortune); from the A'HA Oracle, "Caduceus:"
In the cosmos, a wheel spins; the lightning bolts that crackle around the center represent change. But the Taoist symbol in the middle suggests these revolutions are what keep things in balance: the seasons, sunrise and sunset, the cycles of the moon, life and death. Padma's commentary in her companion book states that if I am alert, I will see patterns that repeat over and over in my life as this wheel turns. Are these habits beneficial or detrimental? If I am mindful and aware, I can discern which are not constructive and choose to change them.
The caduceus was a staff carried by Mercury/Hermes, the god of transitions and boundaries. He was a messenger of the gods and a guide of the dead. Here in North America, his staff is often confused with the Rod of Asclepius, and thus it is sometimes considered a symbol of healing. These two cards combined seem to imply a change in the way I communicate with people. If I want that modification to be a healing, healthy one, I will need to pay attention to how I listen and speak to others.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

I Might Need a Shave...

This week I'll be using the Osho Zen Tarot, a deck and book set created by Deva Padma and published by St. Martins Press. I'll also be using the A'HA Oracle, created and self-published by Linnie Lambrechtsen. Linnie gave this deck to me as a part of her "pay it forward" philosophy, and it will always remind me of what loving-kindness in action looks like. Today's draws are the Three of Water (Cups) and the "Heart Urchin:"
These ladies are like a champagne bottle that's been uncorked. Their ebullience and joy can no longer be contained as they dance and laugh. The rain has no effect on their celebration; they splash in the puddles, unconcerned about their hair-dos and dresses. "Come join the party!" they shout at me. "You don't have to wait until everything in your life is perfect - revel in what is here in this present moment!"
Heart urchins are covered in flowing spines when they are alive and look much like hairy potatoes. The spines fall away when they die, leaving behind a fragile skeleton with a petal design. I am reminded by this unusual creature that there are appropriate people with whom I can shed the shield that covers and protects my heart. And when I do, I will be free to share a jubilant life without suffocating boundaries.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Rest Rather than React

From the Tarot of the Hidden Realm, the Moon; from the Heart of Faerie Oracle, the "Blessing:"
Down on all fours with antlers sprouting from her head, this fairy has morphed into her untamed animal side. She's in survival mode, so she's relying purely on instincts to guide her. This place in her head feels one step shy of insanity. Nothing is clear, yet the emotional surge she's feeling makes everything seem dangerously important. The compass-like symbol she's drawn in the earth to get her bearings only makes her swirling thoughts more confusing. She needs a safe haven to wait out the dark night, a quiet corner where she can rest instead of react.
The Blessing card is an encouragement to start the day with gratitude. Though there might be many things going on that are overwhelming and look dire, there are small shafts of light shining in the cracks. Focusing on what is right rather than all that is wrong will be more conducive to producing solutions.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Offering Up a Slice of Pie

From the Tarot of Hidden Realm, the Ace of Cups; from the Heart of Faerie Oracle, the "Queen of the Day:"
The otter is for me the perfect choice for the Ace of Cups - a fur-wrapped embodiment of joy. Though these animals must find food and safety, mate and raise children, they still make it all appear as merry playfulness. "Life is too wonderful and delicious not to appreciate," they tell me. "Love is about finding the beauty and delight in everything and everyone around you." The interesting thing about the Ace of Cups is that the more it is shared, the bigger it becomes. The slices of pie don't become smaller for each person, the pie just gets larger.
The Frouds describe this fairy as the queen of blessings, breathing her grace on all who cross her path. Yesterday a friend and I were discussing the Golden Botticelli's Eight of Cups card. Instead of the traditional version of walking away from the cups, there is a priest blessing the cups. Rather than cursing those who've wreaked havoc or caused harm, he asks that grace be given to them. Lately, I've had a few of those kind of people in my life, and I'm reminded by this queen to bless them. I prefer to use a loving-kindness meditation as I picture them in my mind:
May you be filled with loving-kindness;
May you be well;
May you be peaceful and at ease;
May you be happy.
When I feel resistance to offering this cup, I'll try to remember blessing them will only make my cup grow rather than shrink.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Jabbing Myself

From the Tarot of the Hidden Realm, the Three of Swords; from the Heart of Faerie Oracle, the "Heartless Love:"
The Swords card shows a woman somewhere other than the present. She is so unaware of what is going on around her, she has no idea the thorns on the rose stems are making her hand bleed. Many times I have replayed the actions and words of someone who hurt me over and over in my head. I've told and retold my story of anguish to anyone who would listen. And my heart never healed, it only relived the pain. While I don't believe I'm responsible for another person's behavior, I am responsible for my reactions to it. Yes, there does need to be a time for grief, but at some point I need to step out of the past and back into the present.
The Frouds point out that while fairies may be fascinated by humans, they don't have the same kind of emotional connection as can develop between humans. I've been in friendships and had lovers who were looking for fun and excitement, but who could care less about commitment and loyalty. These people either were incapable of long-term relationships or just didn't want to deal with any bumps and potholes that came with such bonds. Both these cards point out (in not so subtle ways) that having false expectations about other people can lead to heartache. And if I want the pain to stop, I'm going to have to be the one to change. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Full Attention

From the Tarot of the Hidden Realm, the Ten of Pentacles; from the Heart of Faerie Oracle, the "Juggler:"
This older fellow looks quite happy and content sitting among the standing stones. These stones are a symbol of the stability and security he has built for his family over the years. The companion book suggests these are also grave markers of his ancestors, implying that we inherit much more than tangible items from our kin. I will always be indebted to my Great-grandfather Sutherland, who felt it was important to work hard with your mind (learning) as well as your hands. One of the few treasures he felt necessary to bring with him to the U.S. was his small book collection (what I would give to know what happened to it!). I am encouraged to be grateful for what I've received but also mindful of the legacy I will leave behind.
The Juggler looks like he has little seeds popping off his head. The Frouds explain them as being "unfinished thoughts." He attempts to multitask, and though he may look successful, he leaves much undone. If I'm going to be a good steward of what I have, then I must set priorities. I need to narrow my focus and give my full attention to the issue or task at hand. Otherwise I can expend a lot of energy without accomplishing much. It would be a shame to lose what has been so carefully cultivated.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Don't Fish for Worries

From the Tarot of Hidden Realm, Temperance; from the Heart of Faery Oracle, the "Lady of the Forest:"
Usually when I draw my cards in the morning, I pause and think, "What is the most important thing for me to attend to today?" But after a drama-filled week and an emotional drenching last night, I just had one thought, "Help." It wasn't too surprising that I got Temperance; her two cups are full of symbolism for me. One represents all the good things I wish for those that I love and care about. The other represents all those painful, overwhelming situations I would prefer they would never have to deal with. But this fairy shows me quite plainly that life is a mix of the good and the bad - no one gets one cup without the other. Yet even as the water rushes by, advice is implied by her firmly planted feet on the stones. Stay grounded in what is real, deal with what is happening now, and don't fish for worries in the future.
The Lady of the Forest represents the Feminine; she doesn't run from emotions, she embraces them. She suggests that I stop using up all my energy to try to make things disappear that I don't want to deal with. Instead, in that quiet, still place of acceptance, I may find an intuitive answer in dealing with what is.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A New Twist

From the Tarot of the Hidden Realm, the Three of Pentacles; from the Heart of Faerie Oracle, the "Gift:"
What makes a master craftsman? I think having skills and knowledge that come from years of practice and study is part of the process (and why I'm glad this fellow isn't a young whippersnapper.) He must also have the tools and raw materials with which to work. But maybe even more necessary than these two qualifications are a passion and love for his craft that constantly fuel his inspiration for new creations. Here enters the masked fairy with a gift in her hands. She is his muse who holds an egg filled with a new idea. Most of the artists and craftsmen I know cannot resist their muse. It's like having a burr in your britches - it keeps poking and prodding until you do something about it. I have a feeling there is going to be a new twist in this fellow's torcs soon.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


I'll be using the Tarot of the Hidden Realm this week, with artwork by Julia Jeffrey and text by Barbara Moore; its publisher is Llewellyn. The oracle deck I'll be pairing with it is the Heart of Faerie, a set created by Brian and Wendy Froud and published by Abrams. This morning's card draws are the Blasted Beech (Tower) and the "Magician:"
While enjoying a complacent moment in their tree, lightning strikes and these fairies take a tumble. There is no such thing as "happily ever after," if I'm expecting outer circumstances to keep me there. Everything is impermanent, everything changes. And if my philosophy is carved in stone, its liable to shatter when the wheel of change turns. I will suffer over and over if I keep expecting situations to be stable and secure - they will never be so. I might like to think I possess "Truth," but what I actually have is my personal, individual truths. My belief system (or at least part of it) may be due for a tune-up.
This saucy fairy is sly and an expert at deception. She probably thinks she is helping by using an illusion to cover the cold, hard facts with a soft, fuzzy blanket. But sticking my head in the sand will not make anything better, it will only prevent me from accepting and adjusting to reality.

Friday, July 18, 2014

In Case of Rain...

From the Victorian Fairy Tarot, the Six of Spring (Wands); from the Haindl Rune Oracle, "Eiwaz/Algiz:"
On the Six of Spring, the fairies are preparing to celebrate Beltane. A May Queen has been chosen and some of the older fairies adorn her clothes with flowers and ribbons. Weatherstone points out in the book that the older ladies have been chosen in the past and know what it feels like to have the honor. Yet they don't feel jealous; instead they relive the excitement by helping the young woman step into her role. No matter what the recognition, rarely does any achievement or tribute happen alone. There are always people who keep the wheels greased and turning in the background.
Algiz is sometimes translated as "elk," although the Old English poem refers to it as a sharp-edged sedge. The painting above made me think of a basketball player with his arms up guarding the net. The elk's antlers, the sedge and the upraised arms all have to do with protection. This is not an offensive move, but one that puts up strong boundaries to preserve what is held dear. I get the feeling that I may need an umbrella today, in case someone tries to rain on my parade.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Quest for Inner Wisdom

From the Victorian Fairy Tarot, the Hermit; from the Haindl Rune Oracle, "Rit/Raido:"
I spent the majority of yesterday visiting and speaking with various people until late in the evening. So I wasn't too surprised to see the Hermit show up this morning - I need to recharge my batteries by being alone today. This particular Hermit is found studying inside a tree house library. I would feel just as comfortable there as Br'er Rabbit in the brier patch. There is a lot to be said for solitude when it comes to getting inner and outer work done, and I have plenty to do of both.
Raido is almost always translated as "riding" or "traveling," and as such it is an interesting rune to draw with the Hermit. But the journey it implies may be a spiritual one rather than physical. Perhaps my quest will be for wisdom of the spirit.
ETA: Raido actually did mean "traveling," as I spent over three hours ferrying my cats back and forth to the vet for their yearly check-ups and shots. I had forgotten until I saw the card posted on the refrigerator as a reminder. I did, however, spend the rest of the day in Hermit mode!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Each Day a New Beginning

From the Victorian Fairy Tarot, the Three of Autumn (Pentacles); from the Haindl Rune Oracle, "Bar/Berkano:"
It's apple cider time in the land of fairy, and everyone seems to have an assigned role: gathering, slicing, carrying, squeezing or bottling. They are all cooperating to get the job done, but what is amazing is the look of happiness and contentment on their faces. I've had jobs where people did as little as possible and were only there to collect a paycheck. Then I've had other jobs where there was a sense of camaraderie, and even when chaos and confusion reigned, everyone pulled together and used humor to keep plugging along. I'm sure you can guess which type of employment I preferred.
Berkano is often translated as "birch" or "white, glistening." The second set of meanings makes me think of a new blanket of snow before man or beast has crossed it. Everything looks fresh and unspoiled, like a new coat of paint. Added with the tarot card, it reminds me that my attitude can make or break my day. If I wake up thinking "same old, same old," that's likely what my experience will be like. But if I see each day as a new beginning, even if I'm familiar with most of the actors and sets, I am more likely to be enthusiastic, eager to see what the day holds.  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tangible Gifts

From the Victorian Fairy Tarot, the Queen of Autumn (Pentacles); from the Haindl Rune Oracle, "Jera:"

I was in the older, downtown part of our city a few weeks ago and spotted some folks setting up a trailer and tent in the Methodist church parking lot. Curious, I asked what was going on. These people were part of the Backyard Missions, a community outreach program. The trailer had a shower, so the homeless could have a chance to clean up (which had to feel good in our 96F degree heat). They also provided a sack lunch and haircuts to anyone who wanted a trim. Such a group embodies what the Queen of Autumn is all about - practical, resourceful and down-to-earth. While the homeless probably don't mind people who say "I'll pray for you," I imagine what they really appreciate is a full belly and a chance to wash off the sweat and grime.
Jera refers to the cycles of time, particularly the harvesting of crops. After months of hard work, tangible results are reaped. It's easy to understand why someone would make the effort of laboring in the fields when their survival is at stake. But the Queen of Autumn reminds me nurturing acts of kindness produce other fruits as well. It doesn't matter if the recipients refuse to acknowledge the gift; the real reward is the service itself.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Taming the Tongue

From the Victorian Fairy Tarot, the Five of Winter (Swords); from the Haindl Rune Oracle, "Feo/Fehu:"
Three "fairy hooligans" use thorny branches to harass and taunt two hedgehogs. Such cruelty angers me, but if I'm honest with myself I'll admit that I have poked and prodded people when I wanted them to change their opinions. My words can be used to bully another person into surrendering, but often at a great price.
Fehu is often translated as "cattle, livestock, or gold." Being the normal human I am, I draw a circle around my stuff and declare, "This is mine so don't touch it." Which would be fine (if you don't mind being selfish), but what happens when there is a partnership and that stuff is shared? Am I willing to risk my relationship (5 of Swords) by demanding that our resources don't go past the circle I've drawn? Anyone who's had to deal with an addict or alcoholic in the family will understand that there are no easy, clear-cut answers, especially when young children are involved. Taming my tongue (without being silent) may be the wise path to take.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Work with What Is

From the Victorian Fairy Tarot, the Conjuror (Magician); from the Haindl Rune Oracle, "Dag/Dagaz:"
The Conjuror/Magician is the active half of his partnership with the High Priestess, who is receptive. He combines his will with the available resources to create, but he does it within the natural flow of things. For instance, instead of fighting gravity to bring a stream to a valley, he would use gravity to his advantage and just channel the flow of water in a new direction. He doesn't need to fight what is, he just works with it to manifest something that will be more beneficial.
The Dagaz rune literally means "day," and it is often interpreted as an awakening. With the Conjuror above, I see it as an "aha" moment - the pieces of a puzzle finally come together. It is interesting to note that the Futhark doesn't contain a rune for darkness or night, probably because this time of day was considered to be a quality of light (none or little). This aspect of the runes hints this is not an either/or situation, but one that will come full circle bringing light that will provide clarity.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Keep Riding but Change Course

This week I'll be using the Victorian Fairy Tarot, a deck and book set created by Lunaea Weatherstone and Gary A. Lippincott and published by Llewellyn. I will also being using the Haindl Rune Oracle, a deck and book set by Hermann Haindl and Nigel Pennick and published by U.S. Games. However, I prefer the text The Serpent and the Eagle by Chris Travers instead of the Pennick book, so I'll be relying on it as I interpret the runes. Today's draw is the Knight of Winter (Swords) and "Kan (aka Kenaz):"
With his cloak billowing behind him and a crystal sword in his hand, the Winter Knight rides his mink at top speed. He's a man on a mission; he has a solution or an idea that he believes requires immediate action. The blackthorn in the background is a hint that this knight isn't much of a diplomat. He might have intelligence and be able to express his opinions well, but like the savage thorns on the shrub, he has no tact. His sharp words and insensitive delivery often fall on deaf ears.
Kenaz (also written as <) represents something hot and flaming. The Old English rune poem describes it as a torch burning clear and bright. There is an emphasis on seeing the truth, a breakthrough that can allow someone headed in the wrong direction to change course. I am encouraged by these cards to be kind and respectful in delivering my messages or opinions. If I want the information to be heard, I'll have to shine a light in the shadows, looking for any stubbornness or intellectual pride hidden underneath.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Positive Potential

From the Hoi Polloi Tarot, the Ace of Swords; from the I Ching Pack, "Lake over Wood:"
Lately whenever I draw an Ace, I suddenly hear the Black Eyed Peas singing I Got a Feeling in my head. I suppose it has to do with the positive potential available in these cards, and all I have to do is use it. So what opportunities are available in the Ace of Swords?
~ Clear communication with no manipulative BS.
~ The simplicity of truth with all blame and excuses cut away.
~ Objective justice with no favorites and the ability to see all sides of the situation.
~ Ideas and solutions that can be used in concrete ways.
The Lake over Wood card presents the image of a lake overflowing its dam, and one of the book's keywords for it is "mounting pressure." The water element makes me think this refers to an impending emotional flood that is going to swallow up whatever is in its way. Hopefully I'll have the common sense (Ace of Swords) to climb to a high ledge and wait for the waters to recede. When that much water is coming, the best thing to do is get out of its path.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Above the Fray

From the Hoi Polloi Tarot, the Eight of Pentacles; from the I Ching Pack, "Dragon over Thunder:"
The Eight of Pentacles is fairly straightforward; now is the time to get away from distractions and focus on skills. Multitasking is not recommended, because my full attention needs to be front and center. The hexagram Dragon over Thunder suggests a dragon flying even higher than a storm. On a human level, that implies I would be wise to avoid any type of chaos or disagreement going on. I have always thought of myself as a peacemaker and would frequently try to mediate arguments and conflicts. Yet in nearly every situation, the people slinging mud wouldn't hesitate to toss a few mud pies my way. It's hard to be neutral and not get dragged into the struggle and confusion with mud on your face. Rarely have I ever walked away blameless. But that's what this card tells me to do - don't try to sort it out, just get as far away from it as possible. Then I can keep my concentration directed on what I'm trying to improve and avoid getting in the business of others.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Sweet Center Filling

From the Hoi Polloi Tarot, the Nine of Pentacles; from the I Ching Pack, "Mountain over Fire:"
These two cards remind me of my daughter when she was a toddler, and the way she used to eat Oreos. She would lick the creamy filling out and carefully place the two cookie halves back together. Unless you looked closely, they appeared to be whole. The woman in the Nine of Pentacles has put forth the self-discipline and effort to create a life of comfortable independence. The second card, Mountain over Fire, shows a woman trying to look her best through makeup, clothes and hairstyles. The hexagram's keyword is "beauty," but it is not the outward variety. The book describes a "hidden" fire in the valley; a beauty of the inner self - grace, mercy, compassion and kindness - should be developed. These cards suggest that while making sure my physical needs are taken care of, I also must nurture my spiritual growth too. Otherwise I'm going to be a well-preserved cookie without the sweet center.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

You Have the Right

From the Hoi Polloi Tarot, the Two of Cups; from the I Ching Pack, "Mountain over Water:"
The Two of Cups card shows that two lovers, friends, co-workers or family members are a strength to be reckoned with when their hearts are united. Both of these people have the same size giant goblets, indicating a true partnership. But wait... the man seems to be reaching out toward the woman's cup. Is he trying to help support her load, or is he trying to take something that isn't his? Again I'll look to the I Ching card for answers. Mountain over Water is an image of water flowing down the mountain due to gravity - the natural way rather than the forceful way. The keyword for this hexagram is "inexperience," and the book's commentary suggests a need to listen, put aside preconceived ideas and keep and open mind. While I may have certain rights in this relationship, the other person may have more experience in the unfolding situation. His or her input could be immensely helpful in finding a solution or in reaching a goal. I have the right to be stubborn or receptive, but I imagine only one of those liberties will be beneficial in making progress.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Wait for Better Weather

From the Hoi Polloi Tarot, the Four of Pentacles; from the I Ching Pack, "Thunder over Lake:"
For me, those four coins represent my time, energy, health and finances. But this is a card that can represent either of two ends of a spectrum. I may need to be less stingy and more open with what I have, or I need to be more discerning and conservative about how I use what I have. The I Ching card I drew helped me figure out which intention I need to focus on. Thunder over Lake creates a mental picture of me heading out with a rod and tackle box to go fishing. Just as I'm about to cast my line, I hear the sound of deep, rolling thunder. Now I have enough common sense to know that the last place I want to be in a thunderstorm is standing next to a body of water with a long piece of metal in my hand. So I pack up quickly, deciding to wait for better weather. Likewise, it would be better to hold off on any big plans for today that might involve my time, energy, health or finances.