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, June 16, 2021

A Bit of Both

From the Gill Tarot, the Eight of Swords; from The Circle, Harvest:

If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas. ―George Bernard Shaw

          The Thoth version of the Eight of Swords is a battle of ideas between rational, science-based thinking and imaginative, fantasy-based thinking. If we were to limit ourselves to one or the other, we might languish with a lack of fresh possibilities or live in a dream world where nothing ever is rendered into reality. The truth is that useful ideas need both visionaries and analysts, even when both concepts seem to conflict with each other. As F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind, at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." Harvest suggests we plant a few of these 'seed' ideas, nurture them, and see what kind of fruit they bear. 

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.
―Brian O'Driscoll

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

A Fall and a Reunion

From the Gill Tarot, the Tower; from The Circle deck, Intention:


          My first thought upon seeing this card was "a fall from grace." I don't mean this in the same way as organized religion, but in the mindset of forgetting that my personal knowledge and will power won't allow me to control others or protect me from the natural laws of this physical world. I easily forget how much I depend on all the other beings on this wonderful planet that is my home. As Dharmavidya David Brazier explains, "Grace provides the framework within which a meaningful life is lived. Love is the substance of it day to day." Grace reunites me with life and gives me a purpose that is not self-centered. The Intention card suggests that I use a blueprint to guide and remind me of my chosen framework. When I get up in a grumpy mood or with an emotional hangover, it's easy to forget what is important. Yet as with blueprints, I'm rarely going to follow my intentions to the letter. But they can at least point me in the right direction and remind me of my purpose.

as the moon sets
and the sun rises
may i begin my day
awake.

may i move through
each moment
mindfully
lightly
and with clarity.

a heart
bursting with love,
a mind
propped open,

may i shine
to lessen
the darkness
of
another being's
suffering.

―Mary Jane Dodd
 (my personal morning intention)


Monday, June 14, 2021

Righteous Cause

From the Gill Tarot, the Seven of Wands; from The Circle, Destiny:

The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error. ~William Jennings Bryan

          Seeing this fiery figure made me think of the phrase 'a righteous cause.' Yet if an undertaking is motivated by rage and fundamentalism, it has no noble foundation. Such people will fly this banner, but their true purpose is to protect their own power. They can easily be spotted by their tactics - fueling hatred, blaming others, condoning inequality, and demonizing other points of view. A true righteous cause may be passionate, but it is rooted in kindness and selflessness. Destiny brings up the question of whether it is a matter of chance or choice. While we are all shaped by conditions outside of our control, I personally believe in the power and responsibility of the decisions we make. An irritant in an oyster can be turned into a shimmering pearl or chalky-looking lump. As William J. Bryan stated, "It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved."

Sunday, June 13, 2021

There's Always More

This week I'll be using the Gill Tarot, created by Elizabeth Gill and published by U.S. Games. The oracle deck I'll be using with it is The Circle, created by D.R. Taylor and published by Versation Publishing. Today's draws are the Eight of Discs and Mystery:

The world, even the smallest parts of it, is filled with things you don't know.
― Sherman Alexie

        A metalworker, so in the flow of his work that he resembles the element he creates with, designs a huge figure of the number eight. The companion book describes this card as the application of concepts. The two circles that make up the number nicely symbolize the way mental skill rests on physical skill. Yet the Mystery card suggests delighting in - rather than being frustrated by - the unknown in the creative process. A teacher once gave me some great advice: "Be willing not to be an expert." Curiosity keeps the doors of the mind open to learning, producing more skills and knowledge rather than complacency and stagnation. That mindset can be much more exciting than being an expert.

The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery. ― Anais Nin

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Appreciative Joy

From the Da Vinci Enigma Tarot, the Five of Water (Cups); from the Insectorum Divinorum, Lantern-fly:

Dimmi: Does the pain of regret or loss prevent appreciative joy?*

          When I searched online for this image, I discovered the companion book had misidentified it. Leonardo's mechanism is the first idea for a CVT (continuously variable transmission), which allows an engine's speed to remain steady as it continuously and seamlessly alters its gearing. Do we keep running smoothly when life suddenly causes us to take a sharp, unexpected turn? Or do we feel that we have it worse than most people, who seem to glide along? Appreciative joy is not just about a gladness of heart for the happiness we see around us, it also recognizes the skillful behavior and attitude that cultivates that happiness. This practice takes practice to cultivate. The Lantern-fly, a type of planthopper with a strangely shaped snout, was mistakenly thought to emit light by early experts. Such a misunderstanding is also behind the Five of Cups. Unvoiced expectations, misinterpreted intentions, wishful thinking, and the failure to acknowledge the natural course of things may all need to be examined carefully. 
*My own dimmi, not the book's.

Friday, June 11, 2021

House of Delusions

From the Da Vinci Enigma Tarot, the Ten of Earth (Pentacles); from the Insectorum Divinorum, Swarm:

Dimmi: What have you inherited?

          Leonardo's sketch shows the plans for a basilica; for stability, the depths of the foundation must be in proportion to the weight that will rest on it. We all have a foundation from our family of origin - patterns of saving and spending as well as healthy or unhealthy habits that affect the body. Added to this base is the effect of our social community, as seen in the Swarm. While we might like to think of ourselves as rational and street-smart, we all have an innate desire for an easy answer. Cognitive short-cuts (heuristics) can be helpful time-savers, but relying on what is familiar because we assume it is good and safe is not always wise. Whether we are dealing with familial foundations or patterns within our social groups, critical thinking rather than collective thinking is necessary. Our fact finding is not made invalid if others disagree with us - people in distressing situations tend to cling even tighter to the familiar, even when the familiar is a delusion.

The house of delusions is cheap to build but drafty to live in.
― A. E. Housman


Thursday, June 10, 2021

Reasoned Judgment

From the Da Vinci Enigma Tarot, the Emperor; from the Insectorum Divinorum, Hemiptera:

Dimmi: What are the boundaries of safety and order in this situation?

          The fantastical elements of this armor were added by Leonardo, whose sitter for this sketch was just an ordinary man. Without this knowledge, how easy it would be to judge him as some pompous ruler with more concern for attire than his kingdom. Hemiptera is an order of insects known as 'true bugs;' they are distinguished by their piercing mouth parts used for sucking sap from plants (but in some cases animals) with nymphs that resemble the adult form. Both these cards point to the danger of making a snap judgment without being aware of factual evidence. Assumptions may seem to protect us; rather than investigate and confirm, we fill in what is unknown based on our preferences and biases. But such misinformation just creates more chaos and insecurity, not safety and order. 

It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.
~Jonathan Swift