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, 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.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Stop Freaking Out

From the Badgers Forest, the Six of Badgers (Swords); from the Gemstone Oracle, Picasso Jasper:
When we freak out, it's often because we have distorted views we're not very conscious of. Even when we're unaware of these views, they profoundly shape how we think and feel; in fact the less conscious we are of them the more likely they are to be affecting our experience. Bringing those views into the light of conscious awareness can help us to find more emotional balance, because it allows us to change the way we look at life. ~ Bodhipaksa
          I'm currently taking a course by Buddhist teacher Bodhipaksa called "Stop Freaking Out," which seems timely. Today schools, public offices and many businesses are closed because we are expecting more severe storms (hail, lightning, tornadoes). I am trying to prepare rather than freak out. But like the badger, I tend to be better at fiercely defending rather than hiding in my hallway. It feels far too passive for my tastes, but I have no choice. The Picasso Jasper's quote comes from Dale Partridge and reflects my inner conflict:
Remember, confrontation is about reconciliation and awareness, not judgement or anger.
Again, awareness is underscored rather than trying to fight or rewrite reality. This weather frightens me, and the unending pounding we've taken in the last few months has been exhausting. But rather than going into battle mode (or flipping out), I'll try to take Bodhipaksa's words to heart: "We can't just "uninstall" our old assumptions and upload new ones, and both the old and the new perspectives exist in the mind simultaneously. Instead, we slowly train the mind to see the world and ourselves in a different way by consciously putting more energy into the new and more helpful ways of seeing things. In doing so, we're actually rewiring the brain."
*Note to all my blogging buddies: I don't know if I'll be able to access the computer after this post as the storms have already started. I apologize for my lack of comments on your blogs, but hope to catch up later. Please send some good thoughts out for those in the line of these storms. Thank you!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Care for the Creation

From the Badgers Forest Tarot, the Ace of Crows (Pentacles); from the Gemstone Oracle, Rose Quartz:
          I can relate to this crow's good feeling as he takes a splash in the bird bath. We just got our power back on after 24 hours of having no electricity. With the days already heating up to 85F, it feels great to have the ceiling fans on and the AC running. Now that the refrigerator is cold again (and restocked), we have some cold drinks to help us cool off. I've felt the same relief and boost of energy after being sick and finally feeling well again. There is a joy to this card as well as a reminder not to take the body and all that it helps us do for granted. The quote for the Rose Quartz comes from John Muir:
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we 
find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
Muir's passion for the wild outdoors (and everything in it) helped create the first national park system. The stone's message like that of Muir is that we are all interdependent. Every bit of soil, every bug, plant and animal plays a part. Caring for the earth and its inhabitants is not just something we should do, it's something our existence depends upon!

Monday, April 3, 2017

A Cure for Sadness

From the Badgers Forest Tarot, the Kit of Foxes (Page of Cups); from the Gemstone Oracle, Sunstone:
          Is the little kit watching a flight of birds, or is he watching the changing shape of clouds? If you begin to talk about how you feel, this Page will search your face in the same way he attends to the changing sky-scape. He looks for clues to what you don't say, and his intuitive empathy allows him to pick up on what churns beneath the surface. His sweet sensitivity is sincere; he is only interested in making you feel better. The Sunstone's quote comes from Michael Dolan:
Anticipate the day as if it was your birthday, and you are turning six again.
This quote suggests that beginning the day with a positive attitude and an open mind can be immensely helpful. "Come stand on my hill," the kit begs, "and see all that is beautiful and wonderful around you. Look with fresh eyes at what is good." Being a poetry lover, he quotes a few lines from Mirabai:
I know a cure for sadness:
Let you hands touch something that makes your eyes smile.
I bet there are a hundred objects close by
that can do that.
Look at beauty's gift to us -
her power is so great she enlivens the earth, the sky, our soul.


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Lessons of Living

From the Badgers Forest, the Fool; from the Gemstone Oracle, Tiger Eye:
          This little squirrel is so intent on reaching those acorns, he is unaware that the branch is about to bend with his weight and send him downward. It's a good thing squirrels generally land on their feet and can survive many falls. The downside of being so fully trusting and eager for any new experience (without worry or preparation) is that the Fool often learns his lessons of living the hard way. It can be painful to watch these folks jump in the fire with both feet, knowing (from our own experience) what is likely to happen. Which leads into the quote for Tiger Eye by Lama Surya Das:
Taking the decision-making process away from people disempowers them. It also 
makes them much less likely to buy into the decision, however right it may be. 
Even if I lead in with, "I had a similar experience that didn't end well, " most people will think they will be the exception to the rule. Hopefully they will survive and not get on the insane 'rinse and repeat' cycle expecting the next time to be different. We all learn, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. Yet generally it is only our own experience we trust.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Hold Up the Light

This week I'll be using the Badgers Forest Tarot, a deck created and self-published by Nakisha VanderHoeven. Along with it, I'll be using my Gemstone Oracle (with actual stones). The meanings for the stones have loosely been chosen from the book Crystal and Gemstone Divination by Gail Butler (I added quotations with the keywords). Today's draws are the Hermit and Bloodstone:
          Opossums are nocturnal and thus prefer dark places when the sun starts to rise. I was startled to find a young one last year sleeping under a large, overturned pot. The Hermit indicates a time for withdrawal and contemplation in order to make a spiritual assessment. Where did I start from and where am I now on my path? What beliefs did I test and what wisdom have I gained? In what areas do I still need to grow and mature? The goal of this inventory isn't a guilt trip or accolades, but to get a bird's eye view of progress made and any detours taken. What I learn (both from mistakes and successes) can be passed on to other interested travelers. Bloodstone has been paired with a quote from Jim Butcher:
You're in America now. Our idea of diplomacy is showing up with a gun 
in one hand and a sandwich in the other asking which you'd prefer.
That quote reminded me of a woman who recently told me she was going to Israel on a missionary trip to 'help' Muslim children (carrying a fun/care package in one hand and a Bible in the other). Assistance of any kind isn't really compassion when it is forced on another person through intimidation or a bribe. Each person has their own spiritual path to walk; what works and makes sense to me may not be appropriate or useful to someone else. The Hermit needs only to hold up the light of his lantern rather than wallop people over the head with it.