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

Monday, September 24, 2018

Family Dinners

From the Songs for the Journey Home Tarot, the Eight of Waves (Cups); from the Raven Cards, 'Respect your fear:'
           Doesn't this remind you of those holiday dinners and get-togethers with family, perhaps not literally but symbolically? We sit around with people we are supposed to feel connected to, but instead, we feel completely alienated and separated from them. While no one may actually leave the table, there is often the slamming sound of closed minds and hearts. Before pointing the finger of blame, the Ravens card suggests we look beneath our fear about feeling that we are not accepted or don't belong. Do we aggressively push our ideas or clam up and stew about another's closed mind? Perhaps it would be more beneficial to start a respectful discussion about why each person feels the way they do. Though people still may try to push their agendas, being an example of an alternative communication method couldn't hurt.
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
~Nelson Mandela

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Serious Sally

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 the Fool and 'Treasure Trove:'
          While I'm not a 'Negative Nelly,' I definitely have days when I'm in 'Serious Sally' mode. Causes and conditions have shaped me since childhood to survive life, not enjoy it. Yet this Fool, swinging on a sapling from one side of the chasm to the other, reminds me that dealing with life on life's terms doesn't exclude extracting every ounce of delight and wonder out of it too. The divide between each side is only a mental construct, not reality. The Raven Card reads: "Your heart is a treasure trove - not some smelly sewer." What is it that I attend to and later reflect on as I move through the day? Do I dig up old resentments and worries, or do I remember and focus on the goodness in my life with gratitude? My focus will easily point to my treasure, and as Luke states, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." The Fool would readily help me refill mine with things that expand my heart rather than contract it.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Be a Doubter

From the John Bauer Tarot, the Moon; from the Arthur Rackham Oracle, 'Confrontation:'
          A queen riding a moose is rather preposterous, which is why the lwb cautions us to look beyond our illusions. Moods, strong opinions and what we crave can distort what actually is in front of us. We may also allow others to influence us, invalidating what we think is the truth. The Confrontation card shows a battle between fairies and bats. Real bats can be lured to investigate a rock if it's thrown into the air. Perhaps their discernment is being twisted or manipulated by something as well. Yet rather than simply labeling what looks hard or challenging as 'bad' and what looks pleasant or fun as 'good,' we can lean in and see what is actually there. Pausing, we may get a chance to consider the long-term consequences rather than the immediate results. Doubting is not a vice; in the words of Peter Abelard, "It is by doubting that we come to investigate, and by investigating that we recognize the truth."

Friday, September 21, 2018

Sowing Passion

From the John Bauer Tarot, the Queen of Wands; from the Arthur Rackham Oracle, 'Stability:'
Purpose is adaptive, in an evolutionary sense. It helps both individuals and the species to survive.
Many seem to believe that purpose arises from your special gifts and sets you apart from other people—but that’s only part of the truth. It also grows from our connection to others, which is why a crisis of purpose is often a symptom of isolation. ~Jeremy A. Smith
          This Queen's purpose is to follow her passion, which includes encouraging others to follow theirs as well. When I was younger, there was a woman whose purpose seemed to be helping others see the good in themselves; she inspired us to look for the good in others and the world too. She did this in small but constant deeds and words rather than through anything flashy that would get her noticed. I like to think that all those she nurtured are like this Queen's field of flowers - blooming and producing little seeds of their own. Stability involves staying mostly in the middle rather than going to extremes. There is an American phrase that's been around for a while: "Go big or go home." It seems to encourage extravagance in order to make a difference. But as the Stability card reminds us, small acts of kindness are more sustainable and can make just as much a difference.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Looking Beyond

From the John Bauer Tarot, the Two of Wands; from the Arthur Rackham Oracle, 'Discovery' (A Midsummer Night's Dream):
          The Bauer lwb suggests the phrase "look beyond what you know" for this Two of Wands. It can feel comfortable and safe to stick with the ideas and knowledge we have; a need for security might keep us from peering over our own wall. Yet the Discovery card insists that there is more out there that will broaden and enliven our narrow world, even though it means enduring some hardships to find it. The Buddha as Gautama Siddhartha lived a luxurious lifestyle as a prince. Had he not ventured beyond the safety of this opulence, he would have never experienced the immense suffering in the world and had his moment of awakening. What is waiting beyond our wall?
No man's knowledge here can go beyond his experience.
~John Locke

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Stand Where You Are

From the John Bauer Tarot, the Knight of Pentacles (Swedish Folk Tales - The Ring); from the Arthur Rackham Oracle, 'Ascension' (A Midsummer Night's Dream):
Stand where you are;
We let all these moments pass us by.
          This Knight pauses and turns from the direction he is headed; the lwb book suggests taking the time to pay close attention. The lyrics from "Life is Beautiful" (above) are also a reminder that we can be in such a hurry to get to our destination, we forget to be where we are. The card Ascension means to rise above, implying a need for clarity and perspective about our problems. But if we are unaware of the ground we've covered and clueless about where the root of the problem lies, we'll continue to think that we just need to mow the top of it. It will continue to grow back, and we'll continue to try and keep it cut down. Yet taking the time to stop as the Knight does and really look closely, we might discover how to dig it up.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Lighting the Way

From the John Bauer Tarot, the Sun (Among Gnomes and Trolls); from the Arthur Rackham Oracle, 'Courage' (A Midsummer Night's Dream):
          A young man travels with a large sack on a sunny day. The Bauer lwb suggests this is a time for optimism as progress is being made. Sure it's rather warm, but what's been bagged has made this journey worth it, and he's surely learned much along his journey. This fellow's discovered nothing is acquired or kept without effort, and he now understands what makes the effort worthwhile. The Courage card shows a wee lass (who looks like a strong breeze might blow her down) watching from a hill. Outwardly, she seems tiny, but her heart is not. Buddhist teacher Lin Jensen once told a student who complained of fear, "If it keeps hanging around, it might have something to tell you." She took his advice, and instead of trying to rid herself of her fears, she decided to befriend them. She found that most were no longer scary and a few were warranted (like walking alone late at night). She told him, "I wanted courage, and I found out that there is no courage without fear. You don’t get one without the other." The clarity of the Sun often shows the truth when we shine the light in those dark corners.