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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Turning, Turning

This week I'll be using the Rosetta Tarot with its companion book, The Book of Seshet, both created by M.M. Meleen.  This deck is based on the Thoth, but with unique interpretations of the images.  The card chosen today is Fortune:
The Fortune card generally indicates perpetual change and transformation.  The Hebrew letter kaph (kaf) is associated with this card; its literal translation means "palm."  Having my palm extended means I may be in the process of receiving or letting go as the wheel of life turns.  Three figures are seen in this image: a sphinx, a monkey (Hermanubis), and an alligator (Typhon).  These three creatures can represent the three Hindu gunas (operating principles of nature) or the three gods of the Hindu trinity.  The sphinx represents rajas (the guna of action/generation) and Brahma (the god of creation).  The monkey symbolizes sattvas (the guna of harmony and calmness) and Vishnu (the god of preservation).  The alligator corresponds to tamas (the guna of darkness and heaviness) and Shiva (the god of destruction).  Drawing such an auspicious card on New Year's Eve makes me look forward to the coming of 2012.  Looking back, I can see how the cycles of these trinities have affected my life, and the many transformations that have occurred.

     The oracle I'll be using this week is the Ascension to Paradise deck and book set, created by Jane Toerien (author) and Joyce van Dobben (artist) who previously created the set Bird Cards.  The Ascension set features birds from around the world.  Today's card is the "Bittern:"
The bittern is a master of camouflage, and prefers this technique rather than flight when frightened.  This bird asks me to look at what may be hidden in my life - creative potential, feelings, or motives.  Whether positive or negative, these are aspects I need to uncover and deal with appropriately.  The more masks I take off, the more my authentic, joyful self can shine through.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Riding with the Wind

  The card chosen from the Picture Postcard Tarot this morning is the Knight of Wands:
With a whip in his hands, this little boy is ready to ride with the wind.  He's not content to just rock back and forth on his toy horse like most kids - his mount has wheels so he can move from one place to another.  The Knight of Wands has some of the most innovative and exciting ideas.  He's the go-to guy when you feel stuck in a box and need a ground-breaking solution.  But make sure you call the Knight of Pents to ensure the harvest comes in once the ground is plowed, because the Knight of Wands will have already moved on to greener, more exciting pastures.

     From the Steps to Serenity oracle today comes the card "Change:"

"If our circumstances happened to be good, we no longer dreaded a change for the worse, for we had learned that these troubles could be turned into great values.  It did not matter too much what our material condition was, but it did matter what our spiritual condition was." ~ 12 Steps and 12 Traditions
These maple leaves have turned a lovely color, and soon they will fall from the tree.  Nature is a great teacher when it comes to change, the only constant in this world.  The Tao teaches, "If you realize all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to."  Change is an opportunity for growth, a chance for me to learn to adapt and be flexible.  My spiritual path can center me as I go through change, grounding me as endings become beginnings.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Celebrating Small Steps

The draw from the Picture Postcard Tarot this morning is the Four of Wands:
A woman rests against a stack of logs; behind her, it looks as if land has been cleared.  Perhaps she will be building a log cabin home or a barn.  She has the resources, now all she needs is to continue forward with her plan.  I'm betting she has saved and worked for this moment, and now wants to celebrate that her dream is in its first phase of becoming a reality.  This card reminds me of the importance of celebrating all the stages in working towards a goal or becoming the person I am trying to grow into.  Such positive reinforcement can keep me moving in the right direction.

     The card pulled from the Steps to Serenity deck this morning is "Pride:"

"Pride is the basic breeder of most human difficulties, the chief block to true progress."
~ 12 Steps and 12 Traditions
I remember seeing one of these beautiful birds at an animal park, looking at himself in the reflection of a car door.  He would strut, spread his feathers, then run at what he thought was another male; it made me laugh to see him go to such effort over an illusion.  There are two kinds of pride - healthy and false.  Healthy pride allows me to acknowledge my gifts, skills and accomplishments without arrogance.  False pride tries to take credit where credit is not due and always looks for outside confirmation to cover up an inner feeling of inadequacy.  It lacks humility and tries to always be better than someone else.  Today I will be grateful for the skills I have and realize that many of them came because others were kind enough to share them with me.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Choosing Objectivity

Today's card from the Picture Postcard Tarot is the Two of Wands:
The Two of Wands card represents a doorway - a choice to stay with what one knows or the choice to change.  There can be no fence-straddling here, or I will do nothing but waste energy and accomplish nothing.  A decision needs to be made, and hopefully I will take this couple's advice and look at the big picture before choosing.  If I rely only on my emotions, my fear might prevent me from making a new start, or my excitement may make me act without thinking things through.  An objective look will be helpful.

     The card chosen from the Steps to Serenity oracle this morning is "Tolerance:"

"We have begun to regard the troublesome ones not a menaces, but rather as our teachers.  They oblige us to cultivate patience, tolerance, and humility."
~ As Bill Sees It
Anyone who has ever stood beneath a tree full of cawing crows knows they are as hard to ignore as highly opinionated people.  The arrogance and rigid thinking of these people can test my patience and tolerance.  Yet these are my teachers; in order to learn tolerance, I must have someone to tolerate.  May I be a willing student...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Face to Face Contact

The card drawn from the Picture Postcard Tarot this morning is the Eight of Wands:
In many RWS versions of this card, there are eight staffs flying through the air, implying quick movement or something moving to a conclusion.  There is also a third interpretation, shown by this particular card: a message.  I am reminded of all the ways we can connect with each other, not just by phone, but by letter, email or social media (twitter, facebook).  And while I enjoy hearing from another person or contacting someone, the best kind of connection to me will always be the face-to-face kind.  There's a story about a little boy who wakes in the middle of the night because of an intense thunderstorm.  He runs to his mom, and she tries to console him by telling him not to be afraid because God is always with him.  The child tells her he understands but replies, "sometimes I need someone with skin!"  I heartily agree.

     The card pulled from the Steps to Serenity oracle today is "Control:"

"Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show and is forever trying to arrange the lights, the scenery, and the rest of the players in his own way."
~ AA Big Book
When I try to control or manipulate another person's behavior, I am under the illusion that I can extract happiness and satisfaction if I can manage people well.  In reality, I have no power over another human being.  Everyone has the right and the obligation to make their own choices.  I will be meeting with someone today who has almost the exact opposite opinion I do on just about every topic I can think of to talk about.  It will do no good to try and make her see things my way (just as it will do no good for her to change my ideas).  Yet I can accept her as she is without having to agree with her philosophy.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Worry or Faith?

  From the Picture Postcard Tarot this morning comes the Nine of Swords:
This poor fellow wakes in the middle of the night to find his bed full of dead fish.  Is it a dream or is it real?  I had a sleepless night myself last night, even though I was exhausted when I went to bed.  I couldn't stop my mind from racing - making plans and solving problems.  The swords suit involves those worrisome thoughts that hang around like a bad odor.  Had I concentrated on the sound of mountain streams or the way the sun warms my skin, I could have replaced my mental gymnastics and probably gotten some sleep.  Sort of like Febreze air freshener clears the air...

     The card drawn from the Steps to Serenity deck today is "Faith:"
"Believe more deeply.  Hold your face up to the Light, even though for the moment you do not see." ~ As Bill Sees It
There are some days when I feel like I'm hanging on to the edge of life, much like this tree on the side of the mountain.  I struggle with living in this world, wondering if I have a purpose and if there is a deeper more meaningful side of things.  I don't believe in the faith of some religions, that seem to imply if you believe intensely enough that nothing bad will ever happen or everything will turn out to be rosy.  That to me is like wishing on a lucky rabbit's foot.  But I have found that if I trust Spirit, I will be given the strength and inner peace to handle whatever comes my way.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Moving On, With a Little Help from Friends

Today on Christmas Day I have drawn the Eight of Cups from the Picture Postcard Tarot:
A soldier about to leave for war bids farewell to his lady love.  The war has reached a tipping point, and now he feels a duty and obligation to fight.  He does not know what lies ahead - challenges or adventures - but he knows it is time to go.  With all her weeping and caterwauling, the soldier might even be relieved to get away.  I am reminded by this card when my life becomes stagnant and unfulfilling, it is time to move on.  I can't change people or places, but I can change me.

     From the Steps to Serenity deck this morning was drawn the card "Isolation:"

"I had found friends, understanding friends who often knew what I was thinking and feeling better than I knew myself, and didn't allow me to retreat into my prison of loneliness and fear..." ~ AA Big Book
Who hasn't wanted to close themselves off from the world when they felt so overwhelmed by anger, pain, or worry?  But hiding away from others means I am alone with my own skewed perceptions; as the saying goes, "when I'm in my head I'm behind enemy lines."  Friends on my spiritual journey can help share my burdens so that I don't become overwhelmed by the challenges in my life.  I can think of several friends who have "put a little love in my heart" over the past year, and this song is dedicated to you for making my world a better place:

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Challenge of Honesty

This week I'll be using the Picture Postcard Tarot created by Marcia McCord.  Today's card is the Six of Wands:
The Mounted Police lead a parade through the streets.  Here are the heroes, who keep order and make the city safe for all.  The number six often refers to a return to harmony - things have settled down and life is restored to sanity once again.  Add the wands to the mix, and you get a challenge that has been successfully met, with others recognizing your achievement.  Today begins our holiday madness, and I'm so glad to see we'll be returning home this evening feeling like we've made a difference by just showing up.  Sometimes its not about the presents we give but the attitude we ride out with...

     The oracle I'll be working with this week is called Steps to Serenity; it's one I created myself and is based on the principles and philosophy behind the 12 Steps.  This morning's draw is "Honesty:"
"He is very much the actor.  To the outer world he presents his stage character.  This is the one he likes his fellows to see.  He wants to enjoy a certain reputation, but knows in his heart he doesn't deserve it." ~ AA Big Book
Just as this cheetah hides in the grass, I am adept at hiding my true self, living behind my masks.  I don't mean what I say or say what I mean.  I don't allow myself to be vulnerable by showing what is within to those on the outside.  Self-honesty relieves me of this weight, and puts me on the path to wholeness.  Then I truly can live in freedom without fear.  My masks during the holidays want me to be the martyr, to tell everyone "Look at all I have to do with no help!"  Yet if am honest, I know I have a daughter and a husband who are willing to assist if I will only ask.  Like the Mounted Police above, we can act as a team if I will allow it. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Seeing and Hearing Clearly

The last few days here have been gray and rainy, so the card I drew today from the Margarete Petersen was quite welcome - the Sun:
Under the overwhelming brightness of the sun, two figures embrace.  Here is part of what Petersen writes about this card:
Illuminating the dark and light parts of the world
None more attractive than the other
You see what happens far away and deep inside
I wonder what would happen if this light, for just a few moments, lit up our world with such intensity that it allowed everyone to see past their fears, anger, sadness and pain.  What would we see?  Could we describe such beauty?  Would we realize our connection?  I have a feeling there would no longer be a reason to hang on to our fear, anger and pain.

     From the Heart of Faerie deck this morning comes the card "Prick Up Your Ears:"
This card encourages me to listen with clarity.   Many times I hear only part of what has been said, and I make assumptions on the small bit I heard instead of the full story.  Other times, I'm so busy mentally preparing what I'm going to say when the other person stops talking, that I don't really hear what they are trying to help me understand.  And when things are hectic and chaotic, as the holidays seem to be, I'm too busy to listen at all.  It's time to stop multitasking and pay attention.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Squaring the Circle

From the Margarete Petersen Tarot this morning comes the Son of Flames (Knight of Wands):
Within the square and circle of this card is a figure holding a drum, who is trying to push his way out.  The circle within the square makes me think of the phrase ancient geometers used, "squaring the circle" - constructing a square with the same area as a circle using only a straightedge and a compass.  The challenge has been proved to be without a solution, and now the phrase is often used as a metaphor to describe trying to do something impossible.  Here is the Knight of Wands, full of fiery energy and ready to take on the world with his charm, who refuses to listen to those who tell him something is illogical, impractical and unattainable.  Like Thomas Edison, he'll tell you, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

The card drawn from the Froud's Heart of Faerie deck this morning is "The Blessing:"
I do believe that what we send out will be returned to us  - not necessarily in a reward/punishment sort of manner, but in the way that positive people seem to be surrounded by joyful folks.  This fairy encourages me to start each day and each action with gratitude.  The blessing I send out will inevitably return and bless me as well.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dancing Lessons

The card drawn from the Margarete Petersen Tarot this morning is one of the major arcana, the World:
In the middle of a whirling pool of movement is a dancing figure, whose body has a spiral painted on it.  Seen only in two-dimensions, the spiral just seems to repeat itself.  But a three-dimensional view, such as can be seen in a shell or pinecone gives another meaning altogether.  Here the spiral represents an evolution as well as circular revolutions.  Birth, growth and change/death occur on different learning levels, allowing me to incorporate them in my life before moving on to the level of the next cycle.  On one hand it is a sense of completion (the cycle), but on another I know there is still much to discover and understand (the progression of the 3-D spiral).  Anyone care to dance?

     The card pulled from the Heart of Faeries deck today is "Lady of Sorrows:"
Why is this woman known as the Lady of Sorrows?  Because she collects all the hurts and wrongs done to her like a miser.  She has used her righteous indignation to build a thick wall around her, not allowing anyone to touch her heart.  She would rather be right than be happy, which would require forgiveness.  As the Frouds state, such a life allows one "to live, perhaps, but never to thrive."  She reminds me to take a few bricks out of my wall, and allow my heart to be open with compassion rather than judgment.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Listening and Learning from Others

The card chosen today from the Margarete Petersen Tarot is the Three of Wands:
In the middle of this blazing card is a figure giving birth; beside it, is a primitive drawing of a deer-like animal.  Petersen labels this card as the "fire of creativity" and describes it as "gathering something in the world of the unknown and bringing it into the world of the known."  When I look back over my life, I find many instances where a task that first seemed impossible was accomplished by working with others.  Respectful cooperation can create much good in the world - its power should never be underestimated.
"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality."  ~ John Lennon
     From the Froud's Heart of Faerie oracle today comes "The Leaving:"
A youngster stops to ask directions from one of the forest residents before he makes his journey.  This card is about leaving something behind and moving forward, but being prepared and asking for guidance before you leave.  The spiritual path I've been on for the past year has come to an abrupt halt (my decision), and I am tentatively seeking out other routes.  I asked a friend last night on the aeclectic.net tarot forum to do a reading for me with her "story dice" (see here: http://www.storycubes.com/ ) on my new mission to see what I might need to know.  Basically I learned that I need to build a bridge between the intellectual (pretty much what all the old path consisted of) and the physical (I need to be able to use this in practical, grounded ways).  I also need to remember as I take these first steps, my spiritual foundation will have to be built brick by brick rather than attaining it instantly (forget how-to books or weekend seminars). 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Friendships: The Havens of Hope

The card chosen from the Margarete Petersen Tarot this morning is the Three of Cups:
Against a swirling background, several figures dance with their arms raised inside a square.  I just got off the phone with a woman and friend I've known for over 18 years.  We don't get to see each other much, but we both know that if we need the other for any reason, the other would be there for support.  She is the kind of friend who makes an effort to stay in touch, no matter how hectic our lives become, and I have been blessed in many ways by having her in my life.  The figures in this card represent our "tribe" of friends and family with whom we can share our joys and pain.  The square represents the stability they offer through their encouragement and commitment. 
"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." ~ Albert Schweitzer

     From the Heart of Faerie deck today comes the card "The Queen of Passage:"
This fairy represents surrender, transition, and trust.  Life is about change and moving from one phase to another.  Trying to stay in one place will just stagnate my mind and spirit.  With the help of the raven and kestrel, this queen sees the big picture and knows that transitions are neither good nor bad but part of our evolution.  The pomegranate she holds reminds me of the myth of Persephone, who spent part of her time in the underworld and part of her time on earth (representing the change in seasons).  Ebb and flow is just a part of the laws of nature - it is the rhythm of life and need not be feared.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Walking Among Flames

From the Margarete Peterson Tarot today comes the Nine of Flames (Wands):
A figure can be seen crouching in the front corner of this card with fiery colors all around it.  When I pulled this card in the dim light of the early hours, I thought the white and yellow area was a figure of AvalokiteŇõvara (Kwan Yin), the bodhisattva of compassion.  Bodhisattva can be translated as "wisdom-being" or "awareness-being."  Peterson sees this card as showing an evolution in maturity - though it is still hidden, it can be felt.  There is wisdom and maturity in being able to walk the middle path between aggression and passiveness, destruction and creation.  If I light the fire, I must learn to watch it carefully, contain it, and direct it.

     The card drawn from the Froud's Heart of Faerie Oracle today is the Prince of Shadows:
Here is the beautiful and exciting bad boy that everyone seems to be draw to like a moth to a flame.  The handsome outer appearance and charm hide the fact that there is no heart underneath.  He represents all that I am drawn to when I am ungrounded and need reassurance.  But what seems like a quick fix will ultimately plant a poisonous seed within, destroying me from the inside out.  Addictions, risky behaviors, or unhealthy relationships can grow from this seed and lead me down a dangerous road.  Don't judge a book by its cover, but by the healing or venom it produces.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Usefulness of Clarity and Humor

This week I'll be using the Margarete Peterson Tarot, a deck that took Peterson 22 years to complete.  Today's card is the Ace of Feathers (Swords):
A peacock feather seems to hide the moon behind it, suggesting mental clarity without emotional baggage.  The "eye" of the feather represents seeing the truth objectively.  It has been said that in the days of chivalry, "by the Peacock” was a sacred oath, because the peacock was thought to have the power of resurrection and renewal, like the Phoenix.  This idea might have been born from seeing the peacock drop all of his beautiful feathers during molting season and then later replace them.  I do know the power of thought - changing my thought can alter not only my mood and attitude, but my life as well.

     The oracle deck I'll be using this week is Heart of the Faerie, created by Brian and Wendy Froud.  Today's card is "Oh No!:
The Frouds give the key phrases "Just one of those days, Obstructions, and The Unexpected" to this impish fellow.  I'm running on four hours of sleep today, and after the emotional day I had yesterday, this is NOT the card I wanted to choose!  Yesterday I felt overwhelmed by life.  I found out two old friends were battling some serious illnesses, another wanted me to perform an impossible task, and another has had her life turned upside down and wanted me to provide her with an instant solution.  If I had a secret cave somewhere, I think I would have gone and hid in it last night, just to have a break from everyone.  Yet this card and the woman battling brain cancer both gave me the same advice: Don't lose your sense of humor.  And though these are some serious issues, my own inner imp tells me that while I can offer encouragement, I'm fresh out of fairy godmother wands.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Adding Mass, Removing Assumptions

I drew another Ace from the Quantum Tarot today, the Ace of Wands:
In this deck, the Ace of Wands is connected to the photon, a basic unit made of electromagnetic energy, or light.  The energy released in electromagnetic radiation is made up of these particle-like packets that have momentum but no mass.  It is not just sunlight that is made of protons, but also such things as radio waves, TV broadcasts, and x-rays.  Photons travel at the speed of light, are never still, and are created when an electron makes a quantum leap inside an atom.  When I receive inspiration that motivates me to create something original or follow my passion, it is like that leap.  But just as the photon has no mass, to materialize my vision I must take concrete action rather than just dream and fantasize about it.  So what has you charged up and ready to move today?  

     The card chosen this morning from the Universe Cards is "Electromagnetism - perception:"
Electromagnetism, one of the four fundamental forces, is what causes the interaction between electrically charged particles (think of the attraction of static electricity and the repulsion of two magnets with the same charge).  This force is responsible for practically all the phenomena we experience in daily life with the exception of gravity.  Electromagnetic radiation in the form of light is what allows us to see, and why Stopworth associated this force with perception.  She writes, "Look at your deepest assumptions about the world and honestly judge whether these assumptions are viable.  Perhaps they have become like an old, comfortable suit of clothes - familiar, habitual but hopelessly out-of-date.  Your perceptions may need to be challenged..."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Necessary Chaos

   From the Quantum Tarot this morning comes a card many people dread to draw, the Tower:
This card is linked to the idea of quantum foam, a theory developed by John Wheeler.  At the smallest of scales (subatomic) is a place where modern physics breakdown - our theories and laws fail to describe or predict the behavior of the Universe.  Our concepts of space and time cease to be valid.  The pressures and densities are so high at this subatomic scale, space-time is folded and meshed into a foam of mini black holes and wormholes - tiny tunnels or shortcuts through space and time - that form, disappear and reform in this quantum world.  Like this unpredictable, microscopic universe, what can outwardly seem so stable and secure in my world may suddenly come crashing down.  All the things I do to try and protect myself from this unknown force - whether religion, knowledge, a savings account, or a health regimen - seems to offer no defense.  Yet when the terror passes, I realize what I thought was the worst thing to ever happen to me is often what extends the greatest freedom to me...

     The card chosen from the Universe cards today is "Galaxy Formation - organization:"
Most theories about the early universe claim that it was filled with  hydrogen and helium, and that some areas were denser than others.  The denser areas allowed gas and dust to collect, collapse, and then form stars.  It is believed that galaxies formed out of these star clumps through a complex series of collisions and mergers, gradually increasing in size and density.  What seems like chaos at first, very gradually turns into something organized.  It reminds me of doing the Sunday crossword puzzle with my mother-in-law.  We both talk nonstop, and to my husband, it seems like the bedlam during the opening bell of the stock exchange.  Yet there is a method to our madness, and we do eventually get the puzzle finished.  The message of this card involves a natural (rather than forced) structuring that allows for positive growth and evolution.  The final results are more important that how pretty or perfect the process is.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Stagnant Thoughts

The card drawn from the Quantum Tarot this morning is the Two of Swords:
Stopforth and Butler associate this card with dark matter, stuff that can't be seen (it doesn't reflect or emit enough light to be detected).  Like the wind, it can be identified by its effect on other things - its gravitational influence.  Scientists seem to know more about what it is not than what it is.  Like dark matter, sometimes I can't see the whole picture of a situation.  It may be because I don't have all the facts, because my emotions keep me from seeing clearly, or because I am rigidly holding on to fixed beliefs.  Whatever the case, this is not an auspicious time for making decisions.  I need to wait patiently and try to develop an objective view.

     The card pulled from the Universe Cards today is the "Elliptical Galaxy - stagnation:"
Elliptical galaxies are roundish or egg-shaped and are made of old stars coming to the end of their lives.  There is little dust and gas to make new formations, so creation seems to be at a standstill.  I was talking to a woman the other day who described her church in the same way - there were no new members coming in, and all the older members had no desire for fresh, innovative ideas.  If I isolate myself away from others and away from learning new ideas, I begin to stagnate.  When I am in this rut, I avoid listening to my Higher Self, and instead rely on my ego, who is content to maintain the status quo.  There may be times when I need make decisions and go in new directions, but my ego will be in no rush to pack my lunch and send me out the door... 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tipping Points

The card pulled today from the Quantum Tarot is the Six of Pentacles:
Unlike leptons (see Dec. 10), quarks cannot exist independently but only in groups called hadrons.  Stopforth and Butler associate this card with the hadron - a composite particle made of quarks and held together by the strong force.  There are two groups of hadrons, baryons (made of three quarks) and mesons (made of one quark and one antiquark).  Because mesons contain both matter and antimatter, they are unstable and don't last long.  The baryons and mesons show the balance in nature, having the qualities of change and stability, just as we experience both abundance and lack.  Like quarks, humans were made to exist in groups and form an interdependence on each other.  When one person is experiencing a crisis in health or finances, another person who is not can help them to keep things in balance.  Giving and receiving are both on the same continuum, and I must be open to both in order to maintain a sense of equilibrium.

     From the Universe Cards this morning comes the "Supernova - culmination:"
A supernova is a star that explodes, but to get to this point we have to rewind.  Normally stars maintain an equilibrium, with the gravity that tries to compress it being balanced by the nuclear reactions in their cores trying to expand them.  The fusion that occurs by turning the star's hydrogen into helium eventually creates a problem - the helium sinks to the core of the star because it is more dense than hydrogen.  Without enough hydrogen in the core, the star begins to collapse, creating a pressure and temperature that creates carbon.  At first the star expands, and begins creating many internal layers until the core becomes iron.  When iron becomes its center, the star collapses in a tremendous explosion called the supernova.  Nature has a way of rebalancing itself, whether in the stars of the universe or the routine of my day.  The unexpected is often just the pendulum swinging back the other way. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Uncovering and Transitioning

The card drawn today from the Quantum Tarot is the Ace of Swords:
Scientists distinguish between four types of forces acting among particles: strong, weak, electromagnetic, and gravitational.  Particles transmit these forces among each other by exchanging bosons.  To understand this energy transfer, imagine the passing of a basketball between two players on skates.  The pass will cause both the thrower and receiver to be pushed in opposite directions.  In this analogy, the players are the fundamental particles, the ball is the force carrier (boson), and the push backward is the force.  The W and Z bosons that carry the weak force are associated with the Ace of Swords, and cause heavy particles to decay into smaller particles.  It seems a bit strange to connect this Ace with a force that causes decay, until I think of those moments when some truth has been uncovered and I see with fresh eyes.  Once seen and understood, it is impossible to operate blindly under an illusion anymore.  The sharp clarity of this sword cuts away the lies, transforms my ideas and perception, and thus enables a change in my behavior.

     Today the card chosen from the Universe Cards is the "Comet - transition:"
A comet is a mix of ice and dust that forms from leftover planet formation in a solar system.  It only becomes visible when the sun melts the ice, and the comet emits a stream of gas and dust (the familiar head and tail).  The comet represents the disruption of the routine in our lives.  Stopforth writes, "Experiencing transition is an essential part of adapting to the changes in our lives, and we may need to make extra allowances for ourselves during such times.  If we try to carry on regardless, we will only end up prolonging the period of transition and making the whole experience more negative and uncomfortable."   

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pull of the Mystical

    From the Quantum Tarot today comes the Lovers:
Thanks first to Newton, and later to Einstein and other scientists, we know that gravity (the idea associated with this card) is the force that pulls together all matter.  The more massive something is (meaning the more matter in it), the greater the gravitational pull.  I took part in a medicine wheel ceremony last night with five other women.  On the outside, we look very different, and I'm sure our personalities and opinions run quite the gamut.  But we are all on parallel spiritual paths, and this is what pulls us together in a unified whole.  As I age, I find the greatest "mass" that pulls me to others tends to be their interest in the mystical and sacred.  These folks are the ones I want to orbit and learn from.

     The draw from the Universe Cards this morning is the "Brown Dwarf - failure:"
Brown dwarfs are stars that fail to achieve nuclear fusion, the means by which a star can shine.  They do not accumulate enough mass, and therefore they cannot generate enough heat to maintain the fusion process.  I have crossed the path of many people who live a sacred life; we share with each other what we've experienced so that we can support each other as we try to grow and mature spiritually.  But there are also those who seem to only want something from me and others, as if through intellectual osmosis they can attain spiritual heights.  They do not desire to do the work required, so they have no "mass" to build on or share.  They seem to suck the heat out of me, and I've learned the hard way to avoid them if possible.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Living Consciously

The Quantum Tarot is the deck I'll be using this week; it was created by Kay Stopforth and Chris Butler.  Today's card is the Five of Pentacles:
Stopforth and Butler associate this card with the leptons, one of the two types of fundamental matter particles (the other being quarks).  There are six leptons: the electron and its neutrino, the muon and its neutrino, and the tau and its neutrino.  The heavier leptons, the muon and the tau do not exist for long - they quickly decay into other particles.  The Five of Pents recognizes this limitation of the physical world.  I may wish that I could have the energy of the Energizer Bunny, but my body will eventually collapse if I don't rest and refuel it.  And while $100 sounds like a nice gift, by the time the gas tank in my car gets filled a few times, it too will be gone.  I must recognize the boundaries of my earthly reality, and do my best to live simply and consciously, rather than wasting my energy, health and finances on things that are just not that important.

     The oracle deck I'll be using this week is the Universe Cards, another creation of Kay Stopworth.  This morning's card is "Nebula - Star Death:"
This is a nebula, a cloud of dust and gases that forms after a star collapses or explodes.  Its beauty is a reminder of the positive that can be found even in death.  Without endings, there can be no transformation or creation.  As long as I am clinging tightly to something, unwilling to let it go, my hands will never open to receive the gifts that are waiting for me.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Gift of Tenacity

The card pulled from the Jolanda Tarot deck this morning is the Four of Wands:
Clarity, tenacity, passion, and wisdom are represented by the animal figures on top of these wands.  The number four represents stability and security - a solid foundation has been achieved through effort and perseverance.  The dove that flies overhead implies a time of peace that allows for an appreciation of what has been accomplished.  The holly - used since the time of the Romans - is an omen of good fortune.  The red berries can be seen as a sign of passion that motivates us, and the prickly leaves as a sign of protection that keeps safe what has been attained.  This card celebrates goals that have been reached, but also encourages me to reinforce and build on this foundation.

     From the Bird Signs oracle today comes the card "Kingfisher - determination:"
This amazing bird waits on tree branches above a river watching for fish; when it spots one, it will dive underwater after it.  The kingfisher doesn't always catch his meal, so he must return to his perch to try again.  This bird's message is one of tenacity and resolve.  I wish humans had a meter that measured how close they were to achieving their goals.  I am sure many of us give up without realizing we are just a few steps away... 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fear or Freedom?

On this very chilly morning, I drew the Nine of Swords from the Jolanda Tarot:
Nine menacing-looking birds sit atop swords that pierce a heart.  The threatening look of these feathered fiends remind me of the mockingbirds in my neighborhood during their mating and nesting times.  They fly at my dog, cat, and us if we invade their territory - quite an unpleasant experience.  Sometimes my thoughts can be as frightening as those attacking birds.  They bring up ungrounded feelings of fear, and can overwhelm me like an emotional tsunami.  A clue to the solution is in the heart above which has half a yin/yang sign in it.  To be in balance, I need both parts - logic and emotion, assertiveness and receptiveness.  An emotional tidal wave can drown all rationality; it is time to take a hard look at reality through the eyes of objectivity and reason.

     From the Bird Signs deck today comes the "Eagle - freedom:"
I am lucky to live in a city split by a river, where bald eagles have been known to fish.  It is quite amazing to see these giant birds, looking like a speck in the sky, come barreling down to the water and snatch up a fish.  The heights they reach enable them to look down at a body of water and discern whether an object is a fish or just a piece of drifting wood.  Its message for me today is to remove myself from the drama and chaos in my life so that I can see with clarity.  Then I will know what is truly important and what is just driftwood.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Swimming in Emotions

Today's card from the Jolanda Tarot is the Chariot:
With one black horse moving one way and one white horse another, its easy to see how things can become so tangled that there is no progression forward.  The chalice and the crab are two indications of what caused the problem.  Cups deal with relationships and emotions; the crab is the zodiac sign for Cancer, and implies sensitivity and emotional intensity.  In this case, my feelings are like the two horse striving to go in different directions, only causing more frustration.  The ladybug on the horses' harness is a symbol of joy and reminds me to count my many blessings, but it also has a deeper meaning.  The ladybug can eat thousands of aphids and scale insects in its life, helping keep plants and crops healthy.  These harmful insects are like my over-the-top impulses - wanting to rip someone's head off or give them a severe tongue lashing.  Allowing my emotions to rule my actions and words can only bog me down and leave me with a long amends list.  Only by allowing my intellect to rule over my emotions today will I be able to move successfully in the direction I want to go.

     From the Bird Signs deck today comes the "Swallow - guidance:"
I had to laugh when I drew the swallow - a bird most often found around bodies of water (the emotions again!).  Like the ladybugs, they are well-loved for all the insects they consume.  The swallow is a graceful flyer and rarely spends much time on the ground.  Its message for me is to get above (detach) from whatever situation is driving me crazy and get a more objective  perspective on the circumstances affecting me.