I use tarot and oracle cards as tools for reflection and contemplation. Rather than divining the future, they are a way for me to look more deeply at the "now."
"The goal isn't to arrive, but to meander, to saunter, to make your life a holy wandering." ~ Rami Shapiro

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


From the Rosetta Tarot, the Ace of Swords; from the Ascension to Paradise, the "Honeyeater:"
Meleen likens the lightning bolts to neural activity - the production of thought. The wings on the hilt and the octahedron behind the sword both represent the element of air. Yet Meleen also includes symbols of duality in this card. She describes the branches as the olive of peace and the palm of suffering. The third eye of Shiva on the crown represents both wisdom and destruction. There is great potential for this Ace, a force that can be used for good or evil. Beliefs and words are seeds that contain great power.
The Honeyeater has a special brush-tipped tongue which is used to help it collect nectar from flowers. The contribution to the bird's diet is repaid by helping with the pollination of the plant. The message of the Honeyeater is to be aware of what I nourish myself with, so that what is produced is beneficial instead of harmful. Instead of allowing my thoughts to run free in my brain, I need to be aware of what I'm allowing to roam around there. I can use the mnemonic "THINK" to check them out:

T ~ Is it true? Is it accurate, factual information, or is it just hearsay or my opinion?
H ~ Is it helpful? Will this benefit everyone involved or just me?
I ~ Is it inspiring? Will this encourage or discourage others?
N ~ Is it necessary? Will harm come to someone if I don’t speak or act? Will an opportunity for good be missed?
K ~ Is it kind? Are the words I say chosen carefully and compassionately? Are my actions considerate and respectful?

Some of my thoughts and words need to be fenced in rather than let out to graze in the pasture.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Power and Purpose

From the Rosetta Tarot, the Magus (Magician); from the Ascension to Paradise deck, the "Pitta:"
 In order for us to use our power well, we must become a hollow bone. We must prepare ourselves to become a channel... We must be free of resentments, guilt, shame, anger, self pity and fear. If these things are in us, we cannot be hollow bones. These things block us from our power. ~ Joyce Sequichie Hifler, A Cherokee Feast of Days
Meleen's Magus takes on the form of Mercury, the messenger god. She speaks of him as being a channel, receiving and taking messages. In practical terms, this means I become receptive and listen to my inner Self, and then carry out the inspiration I receive in concrete ways. If (as Hifler states) my channel is clear of ego's demands, the information will be beneficial and produce solutions. Anything that is self-serving only and harms rather than heals is probably an illusion of the ego. Of course preparing to receive these ideas is only half the work; the big effort will be in manifesting them.
The Pitta card illustrates a lovely jewel-colored bird known for dwelling among the forest floor instead of the tree tops. For this reason, the authors assign its message as following one's "soul path." Do I believe that before we are born, we each have a particular purpose or mission to perform on this earth? I find such a declaration hard to swallow. But because we each have unique talents and personalities, do I believe we all have a way we can benefit the world around us? Yes, even if on a limited scale. But first I'm going to have to take the Magus' suggestion to be open to those spiritual nudges. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Step Through the Portal

From the Rosetta Tarot, the Fool; from the Ascension to Paradise deck, the "Tern:"
For the past several days I've woken up and groaned, "Oh god, it's morning." Polly Positive I was not. Yet today I've drawn the Fool, and I see him stepping through that portal from the known to the unknown without preconceptions, assumptions or expectations. He's not freaked out that there is a tiger behind him and a gator in front of him. He's completely open to the gifts of the moment instead. His swirls of fire and water remind me of Temperance, suggesting harmony with what is instead of worrying about what was or what might be. As the sun begins to come up here in my part of the world, I realize I can choose to walk through the Fool's portal too.
The tern is a part of the gull family but smaller and more graceful. They're built to fly long distances when they migrate during winter and summer. According to the authors, it represents finding and making a smooth passage towards a destination. Yet it may not be a physical trek; it can be an inner journey toward a desired state of mind. An attitude adjustment is what I need. So today I will attempt to attend to each moment and be grateful for the good around me.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Valor Doesn't Need Bling

This week I'll be using the Rosetta Tarot along with its companion book The Book of Seshet. This set was created by M.M. Meleen and published by Atu House. The oracle deck I'll be using is Ascension to Paradise, a book and deck set created by Jane Toerien and Joyce van Dobben and published by Binkey Kok. Today's draws are the Seven of Wands and "Hornbill:"
I'm waiting for the doctor's office to open this morning so I can tell them the antibiotic that made me feel better (that I'm supposed to take for 8 more days) has now made me sicker than I was to begin with. As I look at Meleen's version of the Seven of Wands, I see six artistically designed and detailed rods, and one crude wood one in front. That's kind of how I feel today; I tend to feel "less than" when I deal with people who I think have more power, knowledge, money or authority than I do. Yet the Thoth title of this card is "Valor." In other words, I need to buck up and build a backbone. After all, it is my body we're talking about.
The Hornbill is a large bird given its name because of the shape of its beak. When a female lays her eggs, she stays inside while the male plasters the structure around her. He leaves only an opening big enough for her hooked bill to protrude through. Once it hardens, it offers excellent protection from predators for the developing birds inside. The Hornbill's message is one of defense; the assertiveness of the Seven of Wands has nothing to do with "winning," but with guarding. My rights are important, no matter what my inner whiner tells me.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Look Up (Avoid Navel Gazing)

From the Wild Unknown Tarot, the Five of Pentacles; from the Pictish Oracle, the "Salmon:"
 Hold your face up to the light,even though for the moment you do not see. ~ Bill Wilson
We all know what it looks like on the outside when our physical or financial health is ailing; Krans illustrates what our spirit looks like on the inside when we go through these things. Maybe at first we believe things will improve. But as the days go by with no change, our worries increase and our spirit begins to droop like this rose. Just as the stem has lost its thorns, our feisty nature disappears. We give in to despair and begin to give up.
The Salmon in Celtic lore is a symbol of wisdom, yet its life cycle also represents tenacity. Its wisdom would tell the rose to look up from its self-centered hole of pity and ask for help. Hold its head up to the light and dig its roots down into the earth until it arrives. Persevere because change is coming. It might not come in the guise expected, but it will come - it is the natural cycle of things.  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Unexpected Gusts

From the Wild Unknown Tarot, the Two of Pentacles; from the Pictish Oracle, the "Z-rod:"
After being up all night alternating between chills and fever, I was curious to see what card I would draw this morning. It was not much of a surprise that it was the Two of Pentacles, but it was nice to see the butterfly. It's movements are graceful and light, and it reminds me not to see my sickness as some sort of penance or drudgery, but to accept it as a part of life. Feeling miserable is not much fun, but I do have some antibiotics that should help me get well soon.
The Z-rod rune of the Pictish Oracle has been suggested to represent lightning, leading me to consider it as a symbol of sudden insight. At daybreak, I was standing outside our hospital's Convenient Care facility (for non-emergencies). As I was waiting to see the doctor, the name struck me as funny - though it's nice to have a place I can go if I'm sick, it is not very convenient to be unwell. When I have unexpected not-so-nice surprises pop up, they feel very bothersome and unfair. I push against them, wanting them to go away immediately - I have important plans for today after all. But that is part of the graceful balance of the Two of Pentacles; I must adjust and adapt as best I can, and ride out those unexpected gusts and gales.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Out of the Blue

From the Wild Unknown Tarot, the Eight of Wands; from the Pictish Oracle, "Ogham:"
In the Eight of Wands, eight branches are placed together in a radiating pattern. At first glance, I thought the rainbow-colored line was a thin trail of smoke. Looking at it closer, particularly the jagged edges, makes me think of lightning. This card often indicates something suddenly coming to a head or nearing completion, but it can also suggest a message from someone out of the blue.
Several Pictish stones have been incised with the simple lettering known as ogham, one with the letters around a circle such as in the rune above. Transliterations have been unclear, but it is thought these inscriptions are a signature, message or a simple historical record. Together with the tarot card, it appears an unexpected message is on its way. This may reflect the phone call I got from my former stepbrother late last night (I haven't heard from him in about two years). Before the messy divorce his father and my mother went through, we had been good friends. It was nice to reconnect again.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Direction not Doctrine

From the Wild Unknown Tarot, the Chariot; from the Pictish Oracle, the "Stag:"
The rays of the sun shine in all directions, suggesting energy and vitality in this card. In the Chariot, this could be a good thing if these are channeled in the right direction. It's like taking a kid to Toys R Us and telling them to pick out a toy - without any guidelines or suggestions. The kid has so many choices, he or she usually winds up sobbing hysterically because there is too much to choose from. The horse wears a pentacle around its neck and a crescent moon on its brow; both are touchstones of a sort. The pentacle is a nod to the High Priestess to stay in touch with the inner self and its guidance rather than be led hither and thither by the senses and emotions. The pentacle is also a guide to stay grounded and connected to what is practical and real. It is with such focus that goals will be met and progress made.
The Stag is a symbol of the wildness of the forest. Having drawn this rune with the Chariot suggests that I shouldn't get too caught up in the guidelines. It would be easy for such restrictions to become a cage, snuffing out my energy and enthusiasm. Diets are good examples - how likely are you to stick to a food plan for an extended period of time that tells you to never ever eat certain foods (allergies or moral issues aside)? For me, that horse would come up lame before we got a few miles down the road.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Torch or Tinder?

From the Wild Unknown, the Seven of Wands; from the Pictish Oracle, the "Arch:"
One branch stands upright and blazing in the night, while six other "dead" branches wave below it. Why does there always seem to be a group that tries to put out the creative fire of another person? I can think of a couple of reasons. She might be younger than the rest and labeled an "upstart." Her ideas might threaten the status quo and (they fear) topple tradition. Or, the others might envy her for the recognition she gets, wanting to be acknowledged and rewarded themselves. However, they might simply be "trolls," who delight in ruining the joy and image of others because it makes them feel better about themselves. 
Though the Arch symbol resembles a horseshoe, it is very unlikely that it is; there is absolutely no archaeological evidence that the Picts ever shod their horses. However it does resemble an artifact of jewelry that they are well-known for: torcs, or neck rings. The torc represented the wearer's power and authority. In combining this symbol with the Seven of Wands, there is a warning to use one's power with good intent and for the benefit of all. While it might be nice to wipe off those smug smiles, feed them a large helping of crow, and place my boot on the back of their necks, it would bring me down to their level of understanding and compassion. Then I'd eventually be waving a dead branch too.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


From the Wild Unknown, the Mother (Queen) of Wands; from the Pictish Oracle, the "Double Crescent:"
The Wild Unknown is mostly a black and white deck, but take a look at all the reds and yellows in the background of this court card. These colors and the snake with its coiled body is a big hint that this mother/queen is full of energy and passion. The way she protects her eggs tells me she considers her projects sacred and will fight to keep them alive and growing. This card screams intensity to me, as if the queen has all her senses on hyper-alert.
The Double Crescent symbol found on incised stones suggests waning and waxing moons. It indicates there is a time to be engaged and bursting with enthusiasm, and there is a time to seek rest and renewal. Life can't constantly be lived at this mother/queen's level - in all caps with three exclamation points after each sentence. That kind of lifestyle takes a toll not only on her, but those in her inner circle as well. Besides, what were weekends created for?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Student Syllabus

This week I'll be using the Wild Unknown Tarot, created and self-published by Kim Krans. I'll also being using the Pictish Oracle, created by myself and brought to life in 3-D form by Alaska Laser Maid on Etsy. Today's draws are the Daughter (Page) of Pentacles and the "Goose:"
When I saw how the goose's head was turned back to watch the fawn, I thought of how protective I am of my daughter (even though legally she is an adult). When she was dropped off at college the other day, she was met by men in combat gear holding semi-automatic rifles. She learned later they were doing drills in case a gunman ever came on campus. I'm sure that little incident has something to do with my draw today. But I still think this combination has an underlying message for me too. The Daughter/Page is at a stage where she is learning and practicing her skills; though I am long-past young adulthood, I am still a student of many things. Besides being a symbol of protection, the Goose also represents being alert and watchful. It reminds me that books aren't the only things I learn from - people are also a vast resource. I can observe from them how to do things competently and intelligently, yet their blunders have much to teach me as well. Information can come in all sorts of packages.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Don't Go Back to Sleep

From the Margarete Petersen Tarot, the Tower; from the Elemental Dice, "Light + Water:"

The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you. Don't go back to sleep! ~ Rumi

The Tower painting looks like shattering glass and reminds me of an incident at home a few summers ago. We were about to sit down to eat one evening when two kids (intentionally) threw rocks through our window, sending shards of glass flying everywhere. It was quite a shock, the same type of jolt the Tower brings. But the Tower is not meant as punishment; rather it is a way to wake me up and allow me to see with a new perspective. 
The two dice form "Rainbow," a lovely combination to balance out the harshness of the Tower. It is the hope of healing and beauty, but there is a catch. After some traumatic life lesson in which I have an epiphany, I often feel the need to curl up and sleep. I seek comfort, not the bright light of awakening. Yet I must hold on to what I've learned, sit and process this emotion and knowledge, instead of allowing it to sift through my fingers. There is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but I'm going to have to follow the light to find it.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tears of Joy, Tears of Sadness

From the Margarete Petersen Tarot, the Wheel of Fortune; from the Elemental Dice, "Earth + Water:"
Petersen's Wheel is like looking down into a hurricane as the winds spin around the center. Life is about ongoing change, good and bad; yesterday was a good reminder. My mother-in-law has been agitated lately as her dementia progresses. She was convinced the "bug-man" who sprays for roaches stole some clip-on earrings when he came the other day. If we tried to look for them, she got angry, saying that we didn't believe her. So while she was with my husband at the beauty parlor, my daughter, sister-in-law and I had a covert operation at her home to look for the earrings. Of course they were found (stuffed in a box), but that made us question how much longer she will be able to live alone without 24 hour care.
The dice again produced the combination for "Rain," but today it feels more like tears. Do you know why we cry whether we're sad or happy? Our hypothalamus can't tell the difference; it only knows when it is receiving a strong emotional signal telling it to put our autonomic nervous system in gear. This system is divided into two branches: sympathetic ("fight-or-flight") and parasympathetic ("rest-and-digest"). The parasympathetic, which helps us calm down, is connected to our tear production. Reflex tears (such as when we are cutting up an onion) are mostly made of water. But stress tears (happy or sad) also produce a stress protein, allowing us to literally shed some of our stress. Well now that I've explained all this scientifically, I think I'll go have a good cry.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Long and Winding Road

From the Margarete Petersen Tarot, the Moon; from the Elemental Dice, "Wind + Earth:"
Petersen describes the Moon as: "groping its way from the ocean of unconsciousness to the mountains of knowing." While Freud believed the unconscious held only boogeymen ― memories of traumatic experiences, irrational desires and instincts, etc. ― modern-day psychologists consider it a file cabinet of both good and bad. It preserves and runs the physical body, stores and organizes memories, and makes associations between experiences. The domestic dog and the wild wolf show the problem with conscious and unconscious communication - the first uses logic and reason and the latter uses emotion and symbolism. I do agree with C.G. Jung somewhat: "Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." There are choices I make that are not based in reason. Some of these decisions can have a negative effect on my life, if I'm unaware of what triggers them. To solve the puzzle, I need to understand why I choose an emotional reaction over common sense. I'll have to use the language of the unconscious to do so, which means working with dreams, tracing emotional triggers from present to past experiences, creative expression through journaling and art, and working with stories (tarot is useful here). No wonder the path that crustacean has to crawl is so long and winding.
The Elemental Dice combination forms "dust storm." My mom just got back from Africa where she encountered such a storm. It doesn't just blind your eyesight, it gets up your nose, in your ears and in your mouth. All of your senses are basically useless; in the same way, trying to objectively identify and rationalize what comes up from the unconscious will not work. I'm going to have to think outside of the box.   

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Making Space

From the Margarete Petersen Tarot, the Empress; from the Elemental Dice, "Air + Fire:"
Instead of trees, streams, flowers and wheat fields, Petersen chooses to show her Empress creating an empty space. Why? To fill it up of course. Beside her are two halves of a fruit, like a shell that has been cracked open. What was inside has been released, and now a new space is being constructed. The image strikes me as being very Kabbalistic, as when Ein Soph withdrew to form an emptiness in which to create the Universe. I've been in creative mode until yesterday, working on a birthday present for a friend and planning which techniques to introduce to the meditation group. But now that I've completed my tasks, I feel restless. Yet the Empress suggests I need to allow some emptiness, and the Elemental Dice explain why. The dice combination is "lightning," suggesting a sudden inspiration. I must allow my mind to lie fallow for a bit if I want to have a harvest later. Author Julia Cameron suggests making time for an "Artist Date," a solo expedition to explore anything that is of interest: "The Artist Date need not be overtly 'artistic'– think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration." Sounds like a good idea to "seed" my brain.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Drops of Blood, Drops of Rain

From the Margarete Petersen Tarot, the Three of Feathers (Swords); from the Elemental Dice, Earth + Water:"
The three feathers, one broken and all bloodied, are similar to what I often find in my yard. The doves who like to sun in the pine straw on the ground are an enticement for the neighborhood hawks. Petersen describes this card as "repetitive memories of past hurts." Why do we humans replay painful scenarios over and over in our heads, making us re-experience the hurt all over again? Do we somehow think we can change the past? Or perhaps we have taken on the role of victim or martyr?
The Earth plus Water elements combine to form "Rain." Rain makes me think of water soothing a fevered brow, a parched throat, or a drought-stricken land. It is both comforting and healing. Looking closely, I see some raindrops in the Three of Feathers card. My thoughts are the sparks that fuel the fire of my emotions. To quench the fire, I need to redirect my thoughts through meditation, a gratitude list or a creative project. How do you keep the past from continuing as a present injury?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Gravitational Force

From the Margarete Petersen Tarot, the Father (King) of Cups; from the Elemental Dice, "Light + Fire:"
This king is a great leader because no matter what is going on, he can stay in "the zone." To the left of him is a sorrowful-looking face; to the right of him is a dashing horse. Yet he sits calmly above the water with his palms up in a receptive pose. He's good at giving helpful guidance, because he can pare away the emotional drama to get to the core of reality. And even if others don't take his advice, he doesn't take it personally. I would love to find the outlet he's plugged into.
The Light + Fire combination is a symbol of Sun, an odd pairing with the watery king. But besides its light and warmth, the Sun has a gravitational force that keeps all the other planets in orbit around it. With its huge mass, the Sun's gravity is about 28 times more powerful than that of Earth. To put that in perspective, multiply your weight by 28 - that's the kind of pull it  has. The King of Cups often finds himself surrounded by people in crisis or emotional distress. His emotional strength and composure is the gravity that attracts folks to him.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Honest Assessment

This week I'll be using the Margarete Petersen Tarot, created by M. Petersen and published by Königs Furt. The oracle I'll be using is the Elemental Dice, an idea developed by my good friend Carole B. in Australia. The dice have symbols of the four elements plus light and darkness on their sides. Today's card is the Seven of Coins, and the roll of the dice produced "Air + Air:"
The Seven of Coins shows a plant beginning to grow; beneath the roots, there appear to be bones. Artwork reminiscent of cave paintings are on each side. One shows a family, and the other shows a figure herding an animal. The paintings imply that I should ask if the work I'm doing is benefiting other people (and beings) and myself, or hurting them. And what kind of foundation is it that I have built on? Is it something I am proud of or something I want to keep buried and hidden? While outwardly what physically manifests itself might look good, I need to look deeper to discover the long-range effects and consequences.
The Air/Air combination of the Elemental Dice form "Sky." Sky suggests logic, detachment and clarity. To be able to judge what I am growing in the Seven of Coins, I need to be ruthlessly honest with myself. I'm going to have to look at the big picture instead of the tiny slice I'd like to focus on. Assessment is worthless if it isn't done with integrity.

Friday, September 12, 2014

One Person at a Time

From Waking the Wild Spirit, the Knight of Water (Cups); from the MentorSpirit Cards, "Partnership:"
A young man pauses on a ride up a mountain when he spots a young deer. Normally I see this Knight as a romantic in love with love, but this fellow has a large dose of idealism too. He has a gentle nature but strongly believes the whole world should operate on the three "H" principles: healing, happiness and harmony. I'm sure he'd feel right at home with the Dalai Lama who maintains, "My religion is love." His role is to spread this message of goodwill to all.
The Partnership card has a lot of green in it, which made me think of someone who is down-to-earth. The Knight of Cups definitely needs someone like this to help him stay in the realm of reality. He wants to heal the whole world, but his realistic partner will show him how to do it one person at a time.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Gardening with Joy

From Waking the Wild Spirit, the Three of Earth (Pentacles); from the MentorSpirit Cards, "Joy:"
The three healthy plants growing in the background show the skills of this gardener. Yet I can bet that the shovel, watering can and pitchfork was bought from the local hardware store. No matter what I create, many of the tools I use to do so come from the talents of someone else. It is amazing what can be produced when there is cooperation. The Pictish Oracle in the top right corner of my blog would still be an idea without physical representation if it weren't for AlaskaLaserMaid at Etsy. Though I had done the research and drawings, I needed someone with the skills to burn the drawings on wooden runes.
While Joy seems to be similar to yesterday's card, Delight, I think it is a state more intrinsic and lasting. We have community volunteers here who have taken courses and are called Master Gardeners. They use their skills and knowledge to educate and provide assistance to folks interested in gardening. Why do they do it? For the sheer joy of sharing what they love with others. John J. Powell said, It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being.” I think when we share our gifts with others, both parties benefit.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Which is Which?

From Waking the Wild Spirit, the Two of Air (Swords); from the MentorSpirit Cards, "Truth:"
A mind devoid of insight into its own nature is a chaotic mind, a mind of unease. No matter how savvy and independent and self-controlled we may presume ourselves to be, without mindfulness, chaos is what we discover when we begin to look under the hood. 
~ Kathleen Dowling Singh
Knowing that this card represents the Two of Swords, I wonder if one of those baby birds the mother is feeding is the product of a brood parasite (a bird that lays its eggs in another species' nest). Can the mother tell which is which? Both peep loudly and open their mouths widely to trigger her feeding behavior. These two babies are like my competing thoughts, when I don't know which choice to make.
The MentorSpirit card reminds me that in most cases, given enough time, what is true will be seen clearly. Eventually the baby birds will sprout their wings and it will be clear which one is the real offspring. And if I wait and watch patiently, I'll soon find what is authentic too.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Add Just a Pinch of Cinnamon...

From Waking the Wild Spirit, the Seven of Water (Cups); from MentorSpirit, "Delight:"
Instead of seven different cups floating in a cloud, Poppy just shows one cauldron with a woman offering a taste test. Personally, I've never been the type to dream about something and then jump in with both feet. To me, it's like dating a person for a while before you decide if the relationship would be fulfilling as a marriage. I've always been a person to give things a try or experiment before committing myself wholeheartedly. Personal involvement, even limited, is always a better predictor of how things will turn out than any fantasy I may have.
The MentorSpirit card is the perfect litmus test for my Seven of Cups experience. Do I sense any delight, or only boredom and drudgery with my choice? If delight is how I feel, I would bet confidence and contentment are not far behind. That is the cup I want.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Accept then Do

From Waking the Wild Spirit, the Ace of Fire (Wands); from the MentorSpirit Cards, "Grace:"
A primitive family works together to start a fire, gathering tinder and fallen limbs while the father strikes stones to make a spark. All the elements to create a flame are there, only the effort is needed. The Ace of Fire/Wands is the potential to manifest something. What I need I have, it just awaits my push to make it real. While that work isn't always easy, the passion for what I'm doing keeps me going. I recently finished a book called The Humans by Matt Haig in which an alien comes from a utopian planet and pretends to be a human. He gradually comes to realize that even with all the foibles and tribulations of earth people, they have something he doesn't - passion. He realizes that this joy is something he wants, and he willingly gives up his special gifts and his planet to become human. The book made me realize that although exertion is required, there is also exhilaration and happiness that comes from working to accomplish something. And in turn, this effort produces gratitude.
Most religious folks would probably say grace is an undeserved gift, much like a fairy godmother who uses her wand to make what is wished for appear out of thin air. But looking at the hard work of the family above, I'm not so sure about that. I like Paul Tillech's explanation:
But grace is more than gifts. In grace something is overcome; grace occurs in spite of something; grace occurs in spite of separation and estrangement. Grace is the reunion of life with life, the reconciliation of the self with itself. Grace is the acceptance of that which is rejected. Grace transforms fate into a meaningful destiny; it changes guilt into confidence and courage.
Acceptance I think is the key; I must work with what I have and keep my heart and mind open instead of fuming about how easy other people have it. My meaningful destiny will be created by me, not someone doing the work for me.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Time to Laugh, A Time to Cry

From Waking the Wild Spirit, the Five of Water (Cups); from MentorSpirit, "Balance:"
Poppy does something a little different with her Five of Water/Cups. Instead of showing a person who is sad, self-absorbed, and unable to experience gratitude, she redefines this card as a needed emotional release. Last Friday I led the meditation group in a technique by John Makransky called the "Benefactor Moment." For several people, it turned out to be very emotional; one fellow (known for his flippancy) sobbed while talking about the feelings and memories that came up for him. My first reaction was to shut down, to not be affected by his tears. I grew up in a home where crying was not tolerated; a put down or a beating enforced the decree. Yet after my initial response, I dug deeper and realized I was operating from those old childhood rules. Tears can be healing and cleansing; I don't need to be afraid of them anymore.
The Balance card reinforces the message of the Five of Water. How can I laugh and feel true joy when my heart is weighed down with sorrow or hurt? It takes a lot of effort to keep those feelings locked away; that energy could be used in much more beneficial ways - if I'll take a chance on letting it loose.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Step into the Batter's Box

This week I'll be using Poppy Palin's Waking the Wild Spirit tarot deck, published by Llewellyn. I'll also be using the 2nd edition of her companion book, Stories of the Wild Spirit, published by Slippery Jacks Press. The oracle I'll be using is MentorSpirit, created by Kathy Tyler and Joy Drake, published by InnerLinks Associates. The cards drawn this morning are the Ace of Earth (Pentacles) and "Leadership:"
 Lured by the warm rays of the sun, seeds begin to sprout and grow. Years ago I had a tiny greenhouse which I used to grow medicinal herbs from seed. It was quite a learning experience. Though it was rather easy to germinate most of the seeds, keeping them healthy and thriving was another matter. Not only did they need the right amount of sun, water and nutrients, I had to protect them from pests and animals like squirrels too. The Ace of Earth has potential, but I've got to use my tools and talents to nurture it if it is to flourish.
The Leadership card's color implies the passion and energy needed to lead not just by words, but by doing. If I want something to succeed, it is going to take more than affirmations and good ideas. I'm going to have to get over my fear and step into the batter's box. There's a good possibility that I might swing and miss the ball a few times. But if I keep my eye on the ball and time it right, I just might hit it out of the park.