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

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Stand Still, Then Get Moving

From the Prisma Visions Tarot, the Nine of Swords; from the Secret Language of Color Cards, Ruby:
          This young fellow looks rooted to the ground as an avian beast opens its huge, toothed beak right over his head. My first thought was "Run!" But perhaps he is doing exactly what he needs to do. It is much easier to deny one's fears or distract oneself from taking a closer look at them. But instead, he is facing his anxious thoughts squarely without looking away. Will he find his worries are mostly an illusion? Perhaps he will see what is real and needs to be dealt with rather than ignored. Either way, he has courageously chosen the healthier alternative. Ruby, a color of courage and vitality, has been assigned the phrase 'Rejuvenate your body.' Worry has a way of draining one's energy which only adds to feelings of hopelessness. But moving the body can get the blood flowing, helping to clear the mind and boost confidence. I've been dealing with some orthopedic and nerve issues, which has made it impossible for me to keep up with my normal exercise routine (which has always been a stress buster). But there are gentler options I can choose, like long walks; any movement is better than sitting with a lap full of worry.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What is Hope Built On?

From the Prisma Visions Tarot, the Tower; from the Secret Language of Color Cards, Apricot:
          A house sits on a cliff that the water and weather have eroded over time, making the land unstable for support. The occupants may deny what is happening, but eventually their home and all that's in it will slide into the sea. This card reminded me of a gospel hymn whose verse starts out, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness." What is my hope built on? Is it religion, money, knowledge or power? The problem is not that I place my faith in something, it's that I think this lucky rabbit's foot is going to protect me from pain and loss. Unfortunately there's absolutely nothing that has the power to do that. Perhaps a better question is, "Where do I draw my strength and peace of mind from when life gets tough?" Apricot is given the phrase 'rejoice and laugh.' Not exactly what I want to hear when I feel my life has been ripped down the middle. But Segal also suggests to remember "all the golden moments you have experienced in your life." Some of the most healing services I've attended for someone who died are the ones not focused on religious platitudes but the love, laughter and joy that was a key part of that person's life. We all have a treasure chest full of those kind of moments; I just need to remember to use them as a prescriptive resource.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Dance of Delight

From the Prisma Visions Tarot, the Empress; from the Secret Language of Color Cards, Pearl:
          Seeing this image made me think of dust spinners, those little whirlwinds of breeze that pick up leaves and spin them round and round. It also brought a memory of a perfect spring day: the breeze made the pine boughs swish, and the sun warmed my skin. I spun in a slow circle with my arms outstretched trying to embrace it all. The pleasure of being alive and able to enjoy what the senses perceive is the essence of the Empress. Her ability to nurture is found in nature. The phrase given in the booklet for Pearl is 'connect to the Divine.' Instead of viewing this as deity, I prefer to use the definition of 'what is excellent and delightful.' The lustrous white color is soothing; its shine is soft, a symbol of being relaxed but alert. I find this pleasure and delight most deeply in the present moment, a space that is as near as my next breath but always elusive. Yet the Empress is persistent and encourages me to dance with my senses wide open, delighting in the wonders of creation.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Mind and Body

This week I'll be using the Prisma Visions Tarot, created and self-published by James R. Eads; the companion booklet was written by Katherine Tombs. The oracle I'll be using alongside it is the Secret Language of Color Cards, created by Inna Segal and published by Beyond Worlds. Today's draws are the Six of Swords and Jade:
          I suffer when I argue with reality. I may pout, rant and point the finger of blame, but it won't change what is. What I can change is my attitude, how I think about these things (and people). Instead of feeling put upon, I can look outward and realize that everyone deals with such issues in some form. Like the butterflies, I'll then cross that chasm and move on to a sunnier, warmer place. The challenges will still be there, but because I've opened my mind, there is extra space for more ideas and possibilities to exist. The lush color of Jade suggests a need to take action. Thinking can only get me so far. I might think up a great exercise plan for the winter months, but it will be useless unless I actually do something with it. I can often trick myself into believing I'm making progress when actually I'm just rehashing plans. Time to get the mind and body moving.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Make Haste Slowly

From the Tarot of the Masters, the Nine of Coins; from the Key to the Kingdom, the Ten of Spades:
          "Morning Glories" by Winslow Homer has been chosen to illustrate the Nine of Coins; the illustration has a very relaxed, contented feeling about it. Ricklef writes that this woman "has created a life that suits her needs." The simplicity found in this moment Homer has captured reflects what suits my needs a well. A big home, expensive clothes and jewelry, the latest whatever - have never been the things that bring me happiness. As one quote phrased it, "I'd rather have daisies on my table than diamonds around my neck," describes me perfectly. My requirements are having my basic needs met with a few comforts: time for walking outdoors, reading, being with people I love, and creating. The verse for the Ten of Spades comes from a poem by James Russell Lowell called "Festina Lente" (Make Haste Slowly). It tells the story of a committee that decided to dock the tails of the tadpoles in a pond to make them turn into frogs faster.
'Lord knows,' protest the polliwogs,
'We're anxious to be grown-up frogs;
But don't push in to do the work
Of Nature till she prove a shirk;
Though the old bullfrog warned against it, they proceeded with their plan and thus killed all the baby frogs by taking away their ability to swim. The poem reminds me of the times I've injured myself - almost always the result of rushing to finish something so I could do something else. "Make haste slowly" encourages me to be mindful no matter what I'm doing. Every moment I can sit at that window and enjoy life if my attention is in the present.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Crossing at the Crossroads

From the Tarot of the Masters, the Five of Coins; from the Key to the Kingdom, the King of Hearts:
          I can relate to these tired, broken people - not so much financially, but feeling downhearted and hopeless. Holidays have a way of putting me in this mindset with an added dollop of exhaustion. It is instigated by being around my relatives with whom I have very little in common except a bloodline. Yet Ricklef makes an important point about this card: "poverty of the body does not reflect or create poverty of the soul." Rather than roll in self-pity, I'd do better to get out my spiritual toolbox. The King of Hearts card is based on a poem about King's Cross, an inner city area of London, England. It was named originally for King George IV, a man remembered for his extravagant lifestyle and selfishness. Formerly a red-light district, the area was revitalized by the construction of King's Cross Railway. The rhyme starts off with the king having a temper tantrum and ends with these lines:
King's Cross!
What shall we do?
Leave him alone
For a minute or two.
Indeed, time has a way of changing things. My job is to remain compassionate and kind toward myself and others. After all, I don't have the power to change anyone but myself and my own attitude.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Bat's Eye View

From the Tarot of the Masters, the King of Swords; from the Key to the Kingdom, the Ace of Clubs:
          Saul/Paul of Tarsus (pictured here) was a Pharisee - a member of a Jewish sect that believed in strict observance of the traditional and written law. This educated man was well-known for his attempt to stamp out converts to the new Jewish sect of Christians. Legend has it that on the way to Damascus to persecute and imprison more of these new upstarts, he had a vision of Jesus than changed his entire moral and ethical view. He then became a Christian zealot, intent on spreading the Christian message. The original painting shows Paul reading with his conversion in the left background and his beheading in the right background. Painters often showed men of great knowledge and wisdom as balding with a high forehead. I imagine he is rolling over in his grave now because many of the books in the bible attributed to him were not written by him (and contain things he would probably disagree with). His story reminds me that all of us often act on the knowledge we have at the moment, whether it is factual or not. The Ace of Clubs is paired with this children's verse:
Bat, bat, come under my hat,
And I'll give you a slice of bacon;
And when I bake,
I'll give you a cake,
If I'm not mistaken. 
In Germany, the word for bat is speckmaus, literally "bacon mouse." It's likely the name came from the way sides of bacon were suspended from the ceiling - similar to how bats roost. Bats definitely have a different view hanging upside down, yet they also rely on echolocation to "see" rather than just their eyes. Both these cards remind me to take a wide perspective today and not rely only on what I know personally.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Explain It

From the Tarot of the Masters, the King of Wands; from the Key to the Kingdom, the Two of Clubs:
          My only quibble with this deck is that I would have enjoyed knowing the paintings used to draw each card. I don't know who this particular king is, but he looks very intent about something. One of Ricklef's affirmations for the King of Wands is: "I have a clear vision of what I want, and I am making it happen." This leader's goals are not hazy or ephemeral but very specific, and he doesn't shy away from doing all he can to reach them successfully. He might be open to helpful suggestions, but I imagine any negative Neds would get the boot. He doesn't want to get stuck in the problems; he wants to find and apply solutions. The verse for the Two of Clubs reads:
 Little Robin Redbreast sat upon a tree, 
Up went pussycat and down went he, 
Down came pussycat, away Robin ran, 
Says little Robin Redbreast, "Catch me if you can.
The verse is actually a fingerplay - a rhyme that pairs hand movements with the words. It makes me think how often I use my hands to speak, gesturing to underscore the words I say and to explain what I mean. If that King wants to do more than chase his dream, he might need to use something other than words to help people better understand what he wants. Some folks (like me) tend to be more visual than auditory. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Light on Your Toes

From the Tarot of the Masters, the Two of Coins; from the Key to the Kingdom, the Four of Clubs:
          With the holidays fast approaching, it's no wonder that the Two of Coins appeared in the draws today. Ricklef mentions (in his book Tarot Affirmations) that this dancer is based on The Star by Degas, an artist who loved to depict movement. Looking at this young woman's blissful face, I see none of the long hours of practice and bandaged feet but rather pure joy. She reminds me to stay in the moment of each task - to attend to the sensations there - instead of focusing on how much I'd rather be doing something else. The Key card is associated with a children's verse that was used to trick the unsuspecting. The trickster would say "I am a gold lock," and the mark was to reply, "I am the gold key." The verse would proceed through a silver, brass and lead lock followed by replies until the last verse: "I am a monk lock." "I am a monkey." There would be playful laughter, and then the child (now in the know) would go use the verse on someone else. The Eight of Clubs suggests a sense of humor is also helpful in keeping the mood light when dancing between obligations.
Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.
~ Edgar Degas

Monday, November 21, 2016

But the View is Lovely....

From the Tarot of the Masters, the Tower; from the Key to the Kingdom, the Joker:
          When I see this version of the Tower, I always think of a failed wedding cake. I believe it is Ricklef's take on the Tower of Babel. What in the world would make people arrogant enough to think they could actually build a tower to heaven? Power, money, prestige and knowledge would probably all be in the running for such egoic audacity. The Joker's verse is about the Spider who tries to entice the Fly into its parlor. The Fly has a good dose of common sense and replies:
To ask me is in vain;
For who goes up your winding stair
Can ne'er come down again. 
The 'winding stair' could be describing the tower's sides, a good analogy for how the ego can take us to the top. But then life pushes us off because our hearts and minds are closed to other opinions and ideas, and we fail to see reality as it is. May I hold on to common sense today while my mouth stays closed and my mind open.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Rhythm of Change

This week I'll be using the Tarot of the Masters, created and self-published by James Ricklef. I'll also be using the Key to the Kingdom, a transformation deck created by Tony Meeuwissen and published by Running Press. Today's draws are the Wheel of Fortune and the Eight of Clubs:
          I believe these dancing ladies are the Pleiades, seven sisters (daughters of Atlas) who were originally companions of Artemis. When Orion starting pursuing them, Zeus turned them into a constellation to protect them. First they're running through forests and along streams, then they're shining down on the earth. The essence of life is impermanence, which can be seen in the seasons and other forms of nature. But there is a deeper form of impermanence: if sensations, emotions and thoughts are observed without attachment, they can be seen to come and go as well. The verse from the Eight of Clubs reads:
The Moon is the world's glass, in which 'twere strange;
If we saw her's, and saw not our own change.
~ Barten Holyday
The poet suggests the changing phases of the moon are a reflection of our own life. Humans are odd because they don't realize that this is a natural cycle and rhythm of things. Both cards remind me to embrace what is, yet be willing to let it go when change comes. Gil Fronsdal wrote, "Change is a central feature of life. It can be exhilarating, frightening, exhausting, or relieving. It can spark sadness or happiness, resistance or grasping." May I rest peacefully today with whatever arrives on my doorstep.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Life Practices

From the Songs for the Journey Home, the Eighth Earth Song (Eight of Pentacles); from the Raven Cards, Speak Plainly:
          A huge house with a sign reading 'Alchemists and Artists' is filled with people trying out their talents: a designer, a tai chi (or dance) instructor, a masseuse (or reiki practitioner), a gardener, a painter, a seamstress, a baker and an architect (or engineer). It makes me wonder what an illustration of the jobs or activities that I've practiced over the course of my life would look like. Most of the things that I did in the past - preschool teacher, peanut lab assistant, medicinal herb grower, manager and bookkeeper - are things I'm no longer involved in. As I've gotten older, my interests and the talents I pursue have changed. The Raven tells me to speak plainly, directly and truthfully. I occasionally run into people I haven't seen in a long while, and they ask me "Are you still...?" When I tell them no, they don't quite know how to relate to me it seems. They knew me as 'that person' and now I'm not. But if they hang around we can find new ways to relate by sharing what our lives look like now, and how they got that way. Those kind of life stories are almost always interesting and often inspiring.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Take a Closer Look

From the Songs for the Journey Home, Earth Resolving (King of Pentacles); from the Raven Cards, Vantage Point:

          This King doesn't have a napkin tucked into his collar, but the end of the tablecloth. He definitely looks ready to enjoy the feast in front of him. The authors explain that "Resolving cards ask us whether we are truly content." This fellow may appear to have the good life, but one major thing appears to be missing - other people. Does he have anyone special to share his wealth with? And now that he's successful and has people to manage his business, does he have a purpose that fulfills him? The Raven Card suggests we should take a look at the big picture. It's easy to judge what we see on the outside and compare it to what we feel on the inside. In that comparison, life may not seem fair. But if we were to watch their whole life closely and without prejudice, we might find that people with lots of stuff still feel lonely, afraid and sad just like all the rest of us.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

New Deck - Elements of Recovery

          So here's my labor of love that I've been working on - Elements of Recovery. Next month, I will have been in recovery for 29 years. One thing that breaks my heart is to see people come into a 12 Step group, read the word "God" throughout all the literature (and hear it in the meetings), and leave; they assume this is another religious group that they don't fit in because they don't share these beliefs. I want people to find hope and health without feeling like they must find religion. As a friend who is a retired Episcopal priest often says, we all have to dig our own well to find the underground water. So this deck and booklet is my effort to take out the religious jargon and present the basic elements of recovery as I see them. My goal is to sell these at cost - a sort of 'pay it forward' kind of thing. The first batch of 12 will likely go to local folks, but I'm also trying to figure out the cheapest way to get these to my international friends. My cost for the set is $16 ($12 for the deck, $4 for the booklet). I am thinking of setting up a page at Printer Studio for people to order the deck directly and then I could send an attachment of what's in the booklet. I'd love to get some feedback on this. The booklet has 43 pages and is 8.5 x 7 inches (see below for what is written for card one). The cards are 2.25 x 3.5 inches, come in a plastic case, and are printed on Printer Studio's regular card stock. There are 30 cards, plus one title card and four blank cards. The honeycomb pattern is what is on the backs.

1. PowerlessnessCat paw holding down a rat’s tail

          No one likes to feel powerless, yet everyone is powerless over something. The natural laws that govern this physical world are an example. Can you stop yourself from aging? Suppose you get tossed out of an airplane – can you suspend gravity? Of course there are ways we try to get around those laws, such as cosmetics or parachutes. But our ideas and innovations are never 100% reliable; at some point they fail. And although they do, we still keep trying use those same ‘faulty parachutes’ (also known as harmful habits). Why? Because for a period of time our unhealthy habit brought us pleasure, distraction or relaxation, and we don’t want to give that up. However the reality is that what used to be a help has now become a hindrance, creating considerable problems and insignificant benefits.  We’re left feeling stressed and anxious instead of content and peaceful.  Yet being powerless doesn’t mean we are hopeless and without options. It’s just that all the options we’ve been able to come up with are no longer useful.

To become honest is in effect to become fully and robustly incarnated into powerlessness. ~ David Whyte


From the Songs for the Journey Home Tarot, the Sixth Earth Song (Six of Pentacles); from the Raven Cards, Grasp It:
The puzzle pieces of the Songs card reminded me to two quotes by men I consider very wise:
 If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow: and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper inter-are. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe. ~ John Muir 
At first glance, the Raven seems to miss the point - that all of life is connected - by giving the advice that I snatch or grab something because it belongs to me. But consider if someone is trying to share something with me, and I am too proud or ashamed to take what I need. If I am a part of this web, then I should feel worthy to accept what is freely given. However what I grab might be a hand reaching out for help. As a part of creation, I should also do my part in helping sustain the earth and its inhabitants.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Intellectual Bully

From the Songs for the Journey Home Tarot, Wind Awakening (Knight of Swords); from the Raven Cards, Think Big:
          The trees bend in the wake of this young man. When it comes to ideas, he is an intellectual sponge. He soaks them in and examines them in his mind. When he finds one worthy of his laser-like attention, he becomes a zealot. Whether it involves philosophy, medicine, politics or some other field, he becomes a new convert who can be arrogant and pushy. It's not that the idea he's taken hold of isn't worthy of merit, but he generalizes it to cover all situations. But there is no 'one size fits all' when it comes to people or life. The Raven Card reminds me that thinking too less of yourself is just the flip side of thinking too much of yourself. Alan Morinis explains in his book Everyday Holiness that humility is "taking up the appropriate amount of space while leaving room for others." In the Knight's case, he doesn't yet have the experience to realize his blanket won't cover everyone. The Raven suggests that someone may need to speak up and point out (giving details) his errors of judgment. If he really is searching for truth, he should be receptive of the facts.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Jumping with Eyes Wide Open

From the Songs for the Journey Home, the Hanged One; from the Raven Cards, The Pain:
          This bungee jumper chooses to take a fall off of a bridge. I imagine the first sensation of falling helplessly is similar to the lack of control we feel when confronted by various situations in life. That feeling of powerlessness can be terrifying. But once the jumper reaches the end of her tether, she hangs upside-down, giving her a unique perspective. Instead of the usual "How is this going to affect me?" train of thoughts, there is stillness and observation of the moment. The Raven offers the encouraging words that we will not be overcome by the pain we feel. Why? Because we look it in the eye and see it for what it is. Without the attachments of 'I, me, my and mine,' we don't have our happiness and contentment invested in the outcome. It's not that we've closed our hearts, but opened our minds to reality without reservation.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Contained Enthusiasm

From Songs from the Journey Home Tarot, the Eighth Flame Song (8 of Wands); from the Raven Cards, Come to Rest:
          The Songs card shows a group of people doing a Maypole dance around a tree in bloom. The authors suggest this symbolizes the awakening of dormant energies, yet they caution that this energy should be used for one project rather than many. At first glance, the Raven Card appears out of sync; it seems to imply rest rather than action. When I'm full of ideas and enthusiasm, it's easy to be enamored with everything (the excitement of seeing it all from a bird's view). The raven suggests I ground myself - come down to earth - and 'let go.' First I must stop gliding from one thought to another and focus on detailed, concrete action. Then I need to let go of expectations, otherwise I'll lose my flexibility if plans need to be reconfigured. 'All or nothing' thinking is a sure way to sabotage any plan.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Swimming and Dancing

This week I'll be using Songs for the Journey Home, a deck and book set created and self-published by Catherine Cook and Dwariko von Sommaruga. I'll also be using the Raven Cards, an oracle created by Gabi Bucker and published by AG Muller. Today's draws are Wave Awakening (Knight of Cups) and Dance with the Stones:
          This knight dives into the ocean, embracing the wave of water headed his way. Though he might dive deep, at some point he's going to have to come up for air because he doesn't have gills. I've been taking a course with Sharon Salzberg, who is discussing the Four Immeasurables (loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity). Each attitude has both a 'far enemy' and a 'near enemy,' meaning the opposite quality and a masquerading quality. Compassion's far enemy is cruelty, but it's near enemy is similar to grief and despair (think of burnout). If we immerse ourselves so completely in someone's suffering, we become of no use to them. We can't skillfully respond to their pain when we are marinating in our own anguish. The Raven Card suggests I go outside and commune with nature. It can remind me of the impermanence of things, of the inevitability of change. Its beauty and wonder can lighten my heart.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Compassion Mixed with Courage

From the Shadowscapes Tarot, Strength; from the Cedar Runes, Ehwaz:
          Moore describes this strength as the kind that "does not need to shout of its power to the world." The Chariot relates to self-control that allows us to meet our challenges and make strides forward; Strength is inner self-discipline that helps us relate to our fellow man with compassion and kindness (but also courage). The U.S. has had riots since the election led by people who are frustrated, angry and afraid. These feelings are exactly the reason Trump was elected by the other faction. I do not think what caused the problem is what will create the solution. However I do know there are some Americans who could use some encouragement and support right now - people who feel abandoned and isolated because they are not male, white, heterosexual, able-bodied or Christian. A woman from the UK (after the Brexit vote) decided to start a campaign to reach out to those often labeled as "the problem" by wearing a safety pin and posting about its symbolic message. The message is that "I am a safe ally who will stand up and speak out for you." That kind of solidarity sounds like Strength to me. Ehwaz has a linguistic connection to both horse and marriage. It implies the sort of companionship and partnership found between a warrior and his horse: together they are much stronger and successful than alone. This moment in history is not so much about this group versus that group, but how we can make us whole again.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Fallow Fields

From the Shadowscapes Tarot, the Star; from the Cedar Runes, Ing/Ingwaz:
          All of the elements - earth, air, fire and water - seem mixed up in this card. The mix reflects my emotional hangover after all the highs and lows of the week. (The fire and election being a low, and my cards being sent to the printer a high.) Now that the adrenaline rush has ended, I feel an emptiness. I am tempted to quickly fill the void with some kind of busyness, yet the Star encourages me to pause and take advantage of this quiet space. I need to relax, rest and breathe deeply; when my body and mind recuperate, the elements will sort themselves out. Ingwaz represents a harvest god and suggests a productive union. I get the impression that if I want to be creative again (in all areas of life), I need some time off. It is my nature to be doing or planning, but to let my fields lie fallow would better serve me by clearing my mental and emotional congestion.
The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration—it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done. 
~ Tim Kreider 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Lions and Horses

From the Shadowscapes Tarot, the King of Wands; from the Cedar Runes, Ansuz:
          I am convinced that the King of Wands was once the driver of the Chariot. He's learned to direct his inner lions (will) so that he accomplishes what he sets out to do. (Though I'm not sure he's fully developed the tolerance and compassion of Strength.) He gets people moving with his charisma and makes sure intentions are followed through with action. Travers, in The Serpent and the Eagle, states that the rune name Ansuz is related to a term meaning 'rein.' I was surprised to see he connects this rune with a common Indo-European theme in mystical writings that see the soul/self as a chariot. Plato (in Phaedrus) suggests that the good and bad sides of our natures are like a good and bad horse pulling a chariot; he advises that we encourage the good and learn to control the bad. The Bhagavad Gita writer sees the senses as the horses pulling the chariot and warns they should be restrained. There appears to be a theme of using what is basic in our nature in positive, productive ways. Self-discipline, however, will be needed to reach the finish line.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Downward Spiral

From the Shadowscapes Tarot, the Ten of Swords; from the Cedar Runes, Mannaz:
          A woman is in freefall, while birds swarm around her like vultures waiting for a meal. This Ten of Swords feels like the perfect draw after Trump won the presidential election last night. I am saddened and shocked that there is so much anger, fear and hatred that our country would elect such a man. Apathy also played a part; too many people did not like either candidate and so didn't vote. I did not feel warm and fuzzy toward Clinton, but at least she was sane and had experience. I recognize she's not without problems, but hers were more like drinking a glass of water to which a pinch of salt has been added; Trump's are like drinking a glass of salt with a pinch of water. My hope is that Congress will now have something (someone) to unite against. The rune Mannaz means 'mankind' and refers to the total experience of being human - both the good and the bad. It's a raw look at what it means to be alive, quite like the writer of Ecclesiastes describes. My spiritual philosophy advises me to embrace all of life - the highs and the lows - with equanimity rather than fear or anger. At this point all I can say is, "I'm trying."

Blaming is a way to protect your heart, trying to protect what is soft and open and tender in yourself. Rather than own that pain, we scramble to find some comfortable ground.
Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?
~ Pema Chodron

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Purposeful Patience

From the Shadowscapes Tarot, the Hanged Man; from the Cedar Runes, Jerra:
          The Hanged Man makes a willing sacrifice, choosing to give up fighting what he can't control. This takes a lot of courage, as it is the path of uncertainty (seen by the question mark formed in the tree). Even life has no guarantee, suggested by his ankh necklace that hangs from a branch of the tree. Yet when I stop trying to force things to happen according to how I desire, I find peace. A calm surrender can allow me to see that life unfolds at its own pace and in its own way; often my attempts to interfere are just a temporary setback for the inevitable. Jerra, the rune drawn today, means 'harvest.' As Travers explains, "It is a time when hard work, patience, and wisdom is rewarded with tangible results." Those three qualities will help make the best of any situation (though I think patience especially relates here). When I cease trying to cram the results in a very small box (labeled 'my expectations'), other possibilities can arise - many of which I would have never imagined otherwise.
  It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view.
― George Eliot

Monday, November 7, 2016

Dwell on What's Here Now

From the Shadowscapes Tarot, the Queen of Pentacles; from the Cedar Runes, Perthro:
          This Queen is a generous nurturer in the most practical of ways.The booklet states that she draws strength from the oak tree that is a part of her. Her care of home and hearth as well as what she extends to others is firmly grounded, both in the present moment and in what is tangible. She is concerned with what is happening now, and doesn't make anxious assumptions about the future. Even if she doesn't have much, she is resourceful and uses wisely what she has. The rune drawn today - Perthro - has limited evidence for its origin and meaning. The most plausible theory is 'lot box,' a sort of game of luck. Travers (author of The Serpent and the Eagle) suggests it can represent a surprising change of luck or a significant, unexpected event. Right before bedtime last night, we had a fire caused by some sort of electrical surge that burned through the bottom of a surge protector and caught the carpet on fire. Luckily I was able to put it out before it caused too much damage. However, we had a late night dealing with the fire department and folks from Water, Gas and Light. I'm going to get out my bucket and sponge and start swabbing the soot off walls and furniture soon. I'll take the Queen's advice and not dwell on what could have been; I'll just be grateful for what is still standing.