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

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Creative Inspiration

This week I'll be using the Monstarot Tarot, a deck created and self-published by Joanna Nelson. I will also be using the Oracle of Toy Classics, a 25 card deck I created (and will be glad to send anyone a copy if you want to print your own set). Today's draws are the Page of Wands and Tinkertoys:
          Nelson describes this little monster as a free spirit not burdened by the expectations of others. His leafy antennae are always swirling like radar dishes, looking for creative inspiration. He is willing to boldly search out any place, and will talk to both the mighty and the humble. He knows there is no telling where or from whom the inspiration might come.  This Page is the embodiment of Julia Cameron's Artist Dates, a playful day for open-minded exploration. The keyword for Tinkertoys is 'Innovation,' and its adage is: "Originality calls for coloring outside of the lines." No matter what we create, from an architectural design to a blog post, there are always people who like to offer constructive criticism or positive praise. Some of the advice may be worthwhile to listen to, while other suggestions may simply stymie and constrict us. I can listen and learn, but ultimately I need to follow the beat of my own heart.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Fill It Drop by Drop

From the Stone Tarot, the Ace of Wands; from the Buddhist Quote Cards, Dhammapada 9:122 :
          Since the poem for the Ace of Wands is short, I thought I would include it in its entirety:
Don't tell me pollution
makes these numinous
magentas, that a clean sky
never burns so bright.
I'm not listening,
I'm lost in
sun. My lit heart
hovers near the mountain.
Alison Stone, "Ordinary Magic"
Can't you just feel Stone's passion as she warns the reader that her flame won't easily be extinguished? The wand is in full bloom too, even though most people would assume a cut branch wouldn't do so. Such fiery inspiration gets us out of our easy chairs and into motion. It is an exciting time that naysayers rarely can dampen. The painting on the Buddhist Quote card shows a person deep in meditation with branches above her head and roots below her. The Dhammapada verse reads:
With dripping drops of water even a water jug is filled. 
The downside to all that enthusiasm is that it can make us impatient. Yet just putting one foot in front of the other, taking one action at a time, can lead us to the finish line. Staying grounded by applying my ideas in concrete ways will eventually fill my container to the brim.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Soaking Up the Sun

From the Stone Tarot, the Six of Wands; from the Buddhist Quote Cards, Dhammapada 1:5-6 :
          A group of wands point toward the light, as if they were solar batteries recharging in the sun. The Six of Wands suggests a victory after a challenge has been met. A verse from Stone's poem reads, "a steady striving through the water, suddenly spacious and yielding as sky." We are considered lucky if we have friends who are our comrades in such struggles; luckier still if we have a spiritual resource (religious or otherwise) from which to draw our strength. With the sun so prominently displayed on the tarot card, it is interesting that the oracle card has the Gayatri Mantra written on the front. The chant was originally addressed to the Sun, "giver of light and life," asking that the devotee be inspired in the right thoughts and deeds. The Dhammapada verses read:
Hatred never ends through hatred. By non-hate alone does it end. This is an ancient truth. 
Many do not realize that we here must die. For those who realize this, quarrels end.  
For those not familiar with Buddhist teachings, Buddha's words may be interpreted as a call to wear flowers in one's hair and avoid conflict and confrontation at all cost. But he is trying to convince us that anger is the real enemy, not something or someone external to us. Hatred affects our minds like having the flu affects our bodies; it complicates and exacerbates any problem rather than solves it. A centered, calm mind will be more beneficial in finding a peaceful place to stand in the sun.  

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Palindrome Thoughts

From the Stone Tarot, the Two of Swords; from the Buddhist Quote Cards, Dhammapada 18:239 :
          When I look at these swords through half-closed eyes, I can imagine two stubborn people standing with their arms folded. Those two 'people' are often in my mind - one firmly entrenched in one set of beliefs and the other with different ideas. For instance, I might tell myself to let go of a resentment, but another part insists on stirring the emotional waters to remind me why I should hate. Each side has a list of why I should or shouldn't adhere to certain thoughts, and I'm left feeling stuck. As a line in Stone's book of poetry explains, "Palindromes show us the truth: a thing turned backward stays itself." The Dhammapada verse reads:
As a smith does with silver, the wise person gradually, bit 
by bit, moment by moment, removes impurities from herself. 
One of the precepts I repeat each day is, "I vow not to harm, but to nurture all life." In my younger years I was a human bulldozer, oblivious to how my actions and words affected those around me. Now that I am trying to change the way I think and act, it is clear how easy it is to tear things down, but how long it takes to rebuild again. The Buddha's words remind me that this path requires mindfulness, but also patience and tenacity. It is no longer about what I'm going to get out of it, but what will bring less suffering and more joy to everyone.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Scrub Out the Pot

From the Stone Tarot, the Ten of Swords; from the Buddhist Quote Cards, Dhammapada 24:348 :
          Ten swords protrude from a mound against a dark background. I've been in this place before, trying to deal with a situation or problem that wouldn't budge. I've pulled out every bit of knowledge and applied every strategy to no avail. No matter how deeply I buried my swords, they failed to produce any positive effect. It left me feeling powerless and inept, yet it also softened my stance on handling things the way I believed they should be done. However, though I might be more open to hear suggestions from other people, I must be careful to pour them into a clean pot; a dirty one, crusted over with my opinions and beliefs, is really still a closed mind. The Dhammapada quote reads:
 Let go of the past, let go of the future, let go of the present.  
I would expect the Buddha to advise "stay in the present," but his teaching here is more about what we cling to. Whatever is pleasant and beneficial to us, we want to hold on to forever. When it changes, we suffer. Buddha advises enjoying what we have while embracing the knowledge that everything is transient. Even the ideas and beliefs that have served me well in the past may become ineffective. I can keep poking that mound or choose to be open to other concepts.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Fluffy Flux

From the Stone Tarot, the Wheel of Fortune; from the Buddhist Quote Cards, Dhammapada 20:276 :
          "The more things change, the more they stay the same," is a translation of the words of French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr. I suppose it was the fixed astrological signs on this card that made me think of it. But why, when we all live under the law of impermanence, would he say some things don't change? Though outer circumstances are constantly in flux, we often react to them in habitual ways which produce similar results. Yet Stone, in her poem for the Wheel, gives us a hint for getting out of the loop when she says "the Grail hides in your kitchen sink." The Dhammapada quote reads:
It is up to you to make strong effort; buddhas merely tell you how.  
It would be interesting to see a tally of all the spiritual books I have bought in my lifetime, as well as the classes and seminars I've taken. In a second column would be what I learned from each, and in a third, what I put into practice from that knowledge. I'm sure that third column would look a little empty. It is comparable to pouring water into a pot with a hole in the bottom. Now the ego loves learning this way; it doesn't have to change, but it can put lots of books and seminars on its spiritual resume (making it look very impressive). But as the Buddha states, the goal is to change my inner self, not chase after spiritual materialism (which changes nothing except my monthly credit card statement).

Monday, April 24, 2017

Personal Triumph

From the Stone Tarot, the Eight of Wands; from the Buddhist Quote Cards, the Dhammapada 19:258:
          The Eight of Wands symbolizes projects coming to a quick conclusion. Finally the end goal is in sight and about to be realized. Stone's poem speaks of superheroes, both from the imagination and real life. Yet no human is without flaw, regardless of their amazing talents (she points out Lance Armstrong). Likewise, completion rarely means perfection or an accomplishment that will never be surpassed. Perhaps just getting to the end - having the tenacity to see things through - is enough. The quote from the Dhammapada reads:
One is not wise only because one speaks a lot. One who is 
peaceful, without hate, and fearless is said to be wise.
Buddha's words teach that wisdom comes when we aren't self-preoccupied (and trying to gain attention). Without our ego in the way, we won't be agitated by fears of 'not good enough' or resentments that someone else exceeds our knowledge or skill. We can be happy for our abilities and personal triumphs without needing to compare them to prove our worth. The benefits of wisdom and peace will always beat the front page news.
[Note: Some translations of the Dhammapada provide only verse numbers without chapters, and some provide chapter numbers. I'm using chapter : full text verse; the translation is by Gil Fronsdal.]

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Corrupted or Clear Mind

This week I'll be using the Stone Tarot, a self-published deck by Alison Stone. I may also dip into her book of tarot poems (Ordinary Magic), although it wasn't written as a companion book. The oracle I'll be using is the Buddhist Quote Cards, painted and published by Diana Altenburg. Even though she has spiritual quotes (from John Lennon to Lao Tzu) on the back of the cards, I have decide to pair each card with a verse from the Dhammapada (a Buddhist text). Today's draws are the Two of Wands and Dhammapada 1:1:
           Two golden rods seem to be blocked behind a chair-like object. I was surprised to see the drab colors in this card; most of this deck is done in intense, jewel tones. But there is a method behind Stone's use of color in this Two of Wands. It can feel like looking through murky water when trying to make a decision about what to do and how to do it. Stone's poem for this card describes the choice of Hans Rey, a Jewish illustrator and author, who fled Paris before the Nazis arrived. He and his wife had to decide the best way to leave without detection; they finally managed to gather enough parts to make two bikes. One of the few things they took with them was a manuscript for the children's book Curious George. The verse for the Buddhist Quote Card reads:
 All experience is preceded by the mind, led by mind, made by mind. Speak or act with a corrupted mind, and suffering follows as the wagon wheel follows the hoof of the ox. 
The 'Law of Attraction' folks have twisted the words of the Buddha to mean 'positively think it - get it.' But this is not even close to the truth he points out. As Bodhipaksa explains, "The Buddha’s view on positive thinking was that if it violates reality, it’s worthless." Instead, Buddha taught that if we habitually respond to life with aversive or grasping thoughts and emotions (Ex: "This isn't fair - I can't live life this way!" or "I must have things this way to be happy!"), then suffering will follow us like a shadow. When presented with a choice, I must question my thoughts and emotions and see if they are based in facts or simply assumptions with no hard evidence to back them up. Then my actions will be responses rather than reactions.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Bundle Up

From the Tarot of the Cat People, the Ten of Pentacles; from the Sacred Geometry Oracle, the Octagram:
          This card made me think of two things. The first was how unusual it is these days for a family business to be passed on to the next generation, and for that next generation to be able to have success with it. Second was to wonder when domesticated animals became pets (and a part of the family) rather than a simply useful tool. The Octagram is described by Greer as a "symbol of interactions between two firmly established forces or factors." These two sides don't need a guardian or keeper because they can click along just fine on their own. But combined, they become a stronger and more resilient force. They support each other rather than become a drain on the other. These cards remind me of the teaching tale of the bundle of sticks; one can be easily broken, but together they are sturdy and durable.

Friday, April 21, 2017

It's Not a Twin Thing

From the Tarot of the Cat People, the Two of Cups; from the Sacred Geometry Oracle, the Right Triangle:
          This couple is dressed so alike, they almost appear as a mirrored reflection. Their coming together is a movement toward cooperation and partnership. But the 'twin' outfits are a bit concerning; does it mean one of them must give up their ideas and ways of doing things in order to be like the other? Or is there enough respect between the two of them to blend the best of what each brings to the table? The Right Triangle is made up of one 90 degree angle with two other smaller sized angles that together equal 90 degrees (for example, 90 + 60 + 30). This is a relationship that is not about equality, but about playing a part in the whole (180 degrees of the triangle). Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses depending on what the subject or situation may be. Some days our partner might need to wear the bigger shoes, but other days we may need to fill them. The bottom line is not who is better or smarter, but who is more suited for the task at hand.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Cup of Comfort

From the Tarot of the Cat People, the Four of Cups; from the Sacred Geometry Oracle, Discontinuous Proportion:
          In Buddhism, the near enemy of compassion is a kind of grief that is often seen in cases of burnout. Look at the helping professions and volunteers of all kinds; you will find this kind of depression and weariness from people who have been in the game for too long without a breath of fresh air. They drown in the suffering of other people while forgetting to hold on to the lifeboat of self-compassion. The anguish of the Four of Cups is reflected in Discontinuous Proportion (no measure of equivalence between variables). In this case, the woman offers numerous cups of kindness and compassion to other people, but refuses any sips for herself. Do we think this kind of behavior makes us a good person or some kind of savior? Self-compassion requires that I examine my own suffering. I must be willing to pull back the curtain and expose the irrational thoughts behind my discomfort.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Don't Hide

From the Tarot of the Cat People, the Ace of Swords; from the Sacred Geometry Oracle, the Hexagram:
          The Ace of Swords often represents mental clarity that helps us see the truth. But this fellow has added a shield to his sword, as if he is protecting himself. Perhaps he thinks he is preserving the truth, but my guess is that he is using the shield to keep from fully seeing reality. Reminds me of this description by Bodhipaksa:
 Worry can make us behave in ways that perpetuate it. I was surprised, talking at a class one night about how I sometimes leave mail from the tax office unopened for several days, to find out that I wasn't alone. In fact almost everyone there said that the fear of knowing what was in a tax notification stopped them from opening the mail, sometimes for weeks! So what happens here is that our anxiety takes an unknown that could be resolved in a moment ("Hmm. Mail from the tax people? I wonder what's in it? Let's see!") into a prolonged bout of dread ("Oh, god it's still there! I wonder what's in it? OK, I'll try and ignore it a bit longer!"). The mind multiplies and amplifies our sufferings.
The Hexagram is constructed from two equilateral triangle pointing in different directions, suggesting a balance of opposites - yin with yang, light with darkness, pleasant with unpleasant. To live life fully, I can't continue to run in the direction of one and leave the other behind. All of it is valid and deserves my time and attention.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Drops Filling a Giant Pot

From the Tarot of the Cat People, the Five of Swords; from the Sacred Geometry Oracle, Continuous Proportion:
          It's one thing to win an argument, but it takes it to another level when the other side is cowed into submission by intimidation. It's not enough that he wears a horned helmet to advertise his bullheaded personality, this man also wears the skins of cats to remind the others who is in charge (and who holds the only opinion that counts). He might get the 'honor' of always being right, but I bet he sleeps with one eye open. Continuous Proportion means that you can't change one thing without affecting everything else. Do something on one side, and the other side will be transformed too. Remove a dam and the water previously held behind it will seek its own level. Though I don't concern myself with rebirth, reincarnation or any form of resurrection, I do put stock in karma (intentional acts, words or thoughts). Both today's cards suggest taking Patrul Rinpoche's words to heart:
Do not take lightly small misdeeds
Believing they can do no harm
Even a tiny spark of fire
Can set alight a mountain of hay.

Do not take lightly small good deeds
Believing they can hardly help
For drops of water one by one
In time can fill a giant pot.    

Monday, April 17, 2017

Bubbling Cups

From the Tarot of the Cat People, the King of Cups; from the Sacred Geometry Oracle, the Circle:
          Though this King of Cups isn't near water, he holds a bubbling cup and wears a hat that mimics a fountain. Now this king isn't a scientist; he might not know carbon dioxide is formed in champagne by the mixture of yeasts and sugars or that a mixture of vinegar and baking soda will produce the same gas. But he has objectively watched relationships form and dissolve as well as mediated more than his share of dramas. The King of Cups is very familiar with the continuity and repetition of the circle. No matter what side or point someone starts on, they always arrive at the same place eventually. If a person is unhappy in their relationships (romantic or otherwise), it is likely they are walking on that circle and repeating the same behavior over and over again. I imagine he would advise not to spend time trying to figure out the deep psychological source of the problem, but simply see the pattern and do something different.
  


Sunday, April 16, 2017

I Dare You

This week I'll be using the Tarot of the Cat People, created by Karen Kuykendall and published by U.S. Games. I'll also be drawing from the Sacred Geometry Oracle, a deck and book set created by John Michael Greer and published by Llewellyn. Today's cards are the Nine of Wands and the Dodecahedron:
          These cats and warrior don't seem like they are assertively standing up for themselves; they almost seem to be inviting a fight. When does standing up for our rights become more about demanding things be the way we want them to be?
Whenever your assertive declarations are imbued with a certain self-righteousness, you can’t help but convey the message that your perspective really is more important than theirs—that it’s superior, and so ought to be given priority. In such instances, you’re simply unwilling to consider that the other person’s position is—in the world of their experience—just as sincere, authentic, or heartfelt as yours, and held with every bit as much conviction. ~ Leon F. Seltzer
The Dodecahedron is made of of 12 pentagon faces and is one of the Platonic solids. Now when I think of a pentagon, I think of The Pentagon -  a five-sided concrete and steel symbol of America's military strength. Add to that the twelve sides that could represent the twelve months of the year. That kind of show of power feels a bit over the top. Yet Greer gives this figure the keyword 'transcendence,' the ability to go beyond ordinary limits. Perhaps there is a better way to show strength than pure aggression... (Can someone please make Mr. Trump aware of this?)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Cuckoo Clock Chimes

From the Vision Quest Tarot, Grandmother (Empress); from the Bird Cards, the Cuckoo:
          In the creation myths of some East Coast tribes, the Great Spirit created their homeland by placing earth on the back of a giant turtle (and why some contemporary Native Americans refer to North America by the name "Turtle Island"). This Empress card is a nod both to Mother Earth and the feminine side of wisdom. Such wisdom expresses itself through compassion and creativity in ways that serve others. When I hear the word 'cuckoo,' I think of the clock named for the bird call that marks each hour. The cuckoo has been associated with the start of warmer seasons, as seen in this 13th century medieval English round:
Summer has arrived,
Sing loudly, cuckoo!
The seed is growing
And the meadow is blooming,
And the wood is coming into leaf now,
Sing, cuckoo!
Both the Empress and the Cuckoo suggest than now is the time for my compassion and creativity to bloom; there's no need to wait for everything to be perfect.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Someone to Divide It With

From the Vision Quest Tarot, the Lovers; from the Bird Cards, the Ibis:
          The Lovers card represents the power of creative love/friendship and a harmonious alliance of opposites. This union often occurs because of common values or goals. The frogs in this illustration are symbols of fertility and transformation (both of which can occur where there is awareness and respect). According to Native folklore, Ibis was the first bird to emerge following a hurricane and thus represented optimism. These wading birds are highly sociable and form large colonies that offer protection (birds work as a group to defend the colony from predators). Both of these cards seem to emphasize companionship rather than solitude and cooperation instead of solitary effort.
To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with. ~ Mark Twain

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Soil of Practicality

From the Vision Quest Tarot, the Star; from the Bird Cards, the Pheasant:
          The great egrets with this woman are wading birds known for their ability to stand still for long periods, waiting for aquatic prey to pass by within striking range. The main keyword given for this particular Star card is 'grace,' a word I prefer to think of in secular terms as an abundance of gratitude for what is freely given. When feeling lost or exhausted, its hard to remember who I am and the gifts I have. Yet here a pause has been provided to refresh body and spirit as well as my memory. The Pheasant is a game bird easily recognized by the colorful pattern of its feathers. It forages on the ground for seed, grain and insects, only flying when disturbed at close range by predators. Both these birds hunt in different environments, yet both tend to keep their feet on the ground (or in the mud). After a rest or recovery, it can be tempting to jump back into the chaos of life. The message of both birds seem to encourage staying grounded, basing any plans I might have in the soil of practicality.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Give It Back!

From the Vision Quest Tarot, the Five of Cups; from the Bird Cards, Gannet:
          The cracked and broken bowls show loss well; what was whole and full is no longer either. It doesn't take long to learn about loss in the physical world. It may be a favorite toy or tool that breaks; it may be a friend who moves or a pet that dies. It is the natural cycle of things and the First Noble Truth: pain and dissatisfaction (dukkha) is an inevitable and unavoidable part of life. But what is optional is how I deal with it, whether I add suffering to the pain I already experience by refusing to accept what has happened. The Gannet is a large seabird known for its voracious appetite (it will also eat just about anything). Because of its insatiable hunger, 'gannet' is also used to describe a greedy person. Yet the bird doesn't trespass into other birds territories - it sticks to its own fishing territory. This quality added to the Five of Cups makes me think of clinging: whatever brings me pleasure is what I tend to think creates my happiness. When it is lost, I attempt to hold on to it anyway, creating more suffering for myself. I feel like my security blanket has been ripped away. However, it's not my enjoyment of people or things that cause the problem, but my clinging to them as if they are permanently mine.
When the heart grasps what is painful, it is like being bitten by a snake. And when, 
through desire, it grasps what is pleasant, it is just grasping the tail of the snake. It only
 takes a little while longer for the head of the snake to come around and bite you.
~ Ajahn Chah, A Still Forest Pool



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sleight of Hand

From the Vision Quest Tarot, the Medicine Man (Magician); from the Bird Cards, the Plover:
          Like the medicine man whose purpose is to heal, the booklet states that I need to do some internal rehabilitation: remove self-imposed limits and stop allowing my mind to complicate things unnecessarily. When the doors of the mind are open, the outer part of life will flourish too. In other words, if I can't envision a possibility or see any potential, then I'll never be able to manifest much of anything. The Plover is a shore bird that nests on the ground. It may pretend to sit on a nonexistent nest or to have a broken wing in an attempt to look vulnerable and lead the predator away from its eggs. The Plover represents distraction and deception (the shadow side of the Magician) and reminds me to keep my focus rather than be wowed by any sleight of hand.

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Power of 'Should'

From the Vision Quest Tarot, the Two of Fire (Wands); from the Bird Cards, Canary:
The Two of Wands is given the keyword 'Will' (the Thoth assigns it 'Dominion'). Here is the power and desire to do something, but two questions naturally arise: What should I do? What do I want to do? Those 'shoulds' generally advise me to stick to what has been working and avoid branching out into the unknown. But the desire to expand beyond the horizon has a strong pull that will give my creative side room to flourish. The Canary, a songbird known for its bright yellow color, represents cheerful optimism. Would I want to put that kind of enthusiasm in a cage or (even worse) in a coal mine? Such is the power of the 'shoulds.'

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Steady Hammering

This week I'll be using the Vision Quest Tarot, a deck created by Gayle Silvie Winter and Jo Dose (Illustrator); it was published by AGM Müller. I'll also be using Bird Cards, a deck and book set by Jane Toerien (Author) and Joyce van Dobben (Illustrator); it was published by Altamira-Becht. Today's draws are the Three of Earth (Pentacles) and the Woodpecker:
          The keyword 'Growth' has been given to this card; three seeds from mature trees have sprouted and are growing well. Though there is achievement, much needs to be done to keep the momentum going. Those sprouts are going to need a lot of attention - sun, water and protection from pests and animals. When good results are seen quickly, it is easy to want to relax and let the ball roll on its own accord. Yet vigilance and continued effort are what will help these little trees reach maturity. The Woodpecker's message is that energy is going to be needed to make an impact, just as it pecks patiently and persistently at a tree trunk to make a hole for its nest. Its focus, willpower and dedication reinforce the message of the Three of Earth. As Stephen King puts it: "Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work."

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Recognition and Refuge

From the Badgers Forest Tarot, the Three of Pentacles; from the Gemstone Oracle, Yellow Jasper:
          Against the backdrop of a morning sky, the silhouette of a crow is seen. In silhouettes, a dark shape placed against a lighter background stands out, much like the recognition of those who have developed skills and knowledge in their fields. I wonder if the branches on the tree represent the others who have taught and trained this crow to be successful. While the accolades and sense of purpose is a plus, the Yellow Jasper suggests another positive outcome that can be attained:
Home is where the heart can laugh without shyness. Home is were
the heart's tears can dry at their own pace. ~ Vernon Baker
I've shared living space with a variety of people through the years. But having a simple refuge of my own, one that I can make comfortable and beautiful in ways that suit me, has been a great blessing. May all beings everywhere, especially those seeking refuge, find such a place of rest.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Replanting

From the Badgers Forest Tarot, the Four of Wands; from the Gemstone Oracle, Citrine:
          Our city has spend 52 million on tree debris pickup since January, with (literally) tons more to clean up (property owners are responsible for cutting up the downed trees and getting them to the roadside). We've had to create make-shift landfills to handle the overwhelming task; some trees are being reduced to wood chips for use by a local factory.  So many native trees have been lost, it is disheartening to think of the beauty we will miss and the habitat the animals will no longer have. VanderHoeven's painting of a rabbit under the cover of four trees suggests a place of stability in our endeavors. It is a time to commemorate our progress, but also a time to pause and make sure we are advancing in the direction we intend. Citrine's quote from Rachel Joyce reinforces this idea:
Beginnings could happen more than once or in different ways. You could think you were 
starting something afresh, when actually what you were doing was carrying on as before.
A fresh start implies not doing something the same way as before. In the case of our town, the commissioners are more concerned with the tree debris removal, which makes sense at this point. Yet hopefully when the city gets to that Four of Wands place, we'll consider replanting some of what was lost.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Here Comes the Sun

From the Badgers Forest Tarot, the Star; from the Gemstone Oracle, Turritella Agate:
          I can just imagine how startling it would be to see a white stag at night. Instead of blending in to its woody surroundings, it would conspicuously stand out. What a great card to see after several nail-biter days - a light in the darkness. The hope it represents reminds me of Pema Chodron's words that nothing stays fixed or stable; it is natural for things to come together and then fall part (and then come together again and fall apart again). There will be more storms to come, but now I can relax and enjoy a clear view of the sunrise. Even the Turritella Agate seems to agree with this wisdom, with words from Heraclitus:
What was scattered gathers. What was gathered blows away.
The gemstone is a mass of  silicified snail fossils. The snails no longer live, but part of them is preserved in stone. Life is a progression of cycles, of endings and beginnings. Both the stag and Chodron would probably encourage me to attend to each moment without trying to grasp or cling to it. It's all worthy of being noticed.