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, March 31, 2012

Shake, Rattle and Roll

     This week I'll be using the Gaian Tarot deck and book set, created by Joanna Powell Colbert.  Today's card is the Five of Fire (Wands):
A fire breather spews kerosene into the air and ignites the mist with a flame, creating smoke and a towering blaze.  Such a performer must be extremely careful not to ingest or inhale the fuel source or burn himself or anything (or anyone) in the surrounding area.  Creative expression can be useful or beautiful, but it can also pack a punch.  There's nothing wrong with making a statement, especially when bringing attention to a need or an injustice, but sometimes the expression can be just as damaging and destructive as what it is pointing out.  Yes it shocks, but does it ultimately do some good?  Does it bring eventual healing and harmony?  Or does it just make a nice billboard for my opinions and ego?

     The other deck I'll be using this week is the Goddess Oracle, created by Amy Sophia Marashinsky and Hrana Janto.  The draw for today seems to parallel the Five of Fire above - "Pele: Awakening"
Pele was the volcanic goddess of the Hawaiian people.  Pele's lesson is to be creative rather than reactive.  Marashinsky writes, "Now is the time to see things as they really are, to initiate change so things can be as you want them to be.  Now is the time to wake up to your potential and power, to move and shake."  Maybe I should keep a fire extinguisher handy just in case things get a little out of control...

Friday, March 30, 2012

Crooks and Consequences

     From the Golden Dawn Tarot, the Hierophant:
The first thing I noticed about this priest is that he holds a shepherd's crook for a staff.  Now I have never used such an object to herd or rescue a sheep, but I have used the one they have at pools (very long!) in rescues as training for a lifeguard class.  Part of me looks at this guy and sees the rules/dogma he holds in his hand and the bulls on his throne and think, "No thanks."  But the other part of me sees the staff and wonders how many people he may keep out of harm's way because of his influence.  Does he guide with an iron fist or with a compassionate heart?  That to me would make all the difference.

     From The Circle, "Consequence:"
Something is dropped in water, making a small splash, but concentric circles of water ripple out from the point of contact.  What a perfect pictorial symbol of how my words or actions can have an effect in ways I never even considered!  Which is why I need to "pause for the cause" and think before I act or speak.  Impulsiveness rarely has positive consequences... 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Red Flag Warning

     From the Golden Dawn Tarot, the Eight of Wands:
Four hands lightly hold eight wands; they are not tightly bunched together, but held in two groups.  This image made me think of building an outdoor fire.  It's helpful to have several people gather the wood (many hands), who then place the branches in criss-cross fashion (not bunched together), allowing air to flow freely.  Next the match is struck (passion, enthusiasm), and several points around the pile are lit.  Notice the two flames in the center - it is the heart where the fire burns the hottest.  With such a fast burning fire, I better get moving and collect some more wood...

     From The Circle deck comes "Sorrow:"
My emotions can consume me just as much as any fire can.  Sorrow is one that many people are uncomfortable with, which is why you get such "great" advice from people like "buck up and get on with your life."  But sitting on sorrow and trying to ignore it won't help.  For me, all the effort to push it away will change it, like a metamorphic process.  It can quickly turn into rage, burning the people around me, and leaving them scratching their heads wondering, "Now where did that come from?"  My emotions are like a waving pit stop flag, telling me to pull over and check my engine and tires.  Something is going on underneath, and I need to take an objective look at it, honor it, then get back on the racetrack.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Different Kind of Freedom

  From the Golden Dawn Tarot, another major arcana card, Death:
Ever since I've read the Terry Prachett Discworld series that features the character Death in most of the stories, I just can't feel bad about this guy.  When the sand runs out of your hour glass, he goes to collect your soul and send it off to the next realm; no hard feelings, it's just his job.  If only I could feel that way about all the endings that happen in my life, especially those that catch me off guard, knock the breath out of me, and make my legs turn to jelly.  In this depiction, a flaming serpent (the creative life force), rises to meet a falcon (Horus, the Egyptian sky/sun god).  In the left corner, a solar eclipse is occurring - an encouraging sign that though things may seem dark now, the sun (clarity and understanding) will eventually return.  Disintegration first, transformation later...

     From The Circle, "Forgiveness:"
Some of the greatest lessons I've learned about forgiveness came from Jack Kornfield's  book, The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness and Peace.  Here are a few quotes that I refer to often; they remind why I need to make it a daily practice:

    Traditionally the work of the heart begins with forgiveness.  Forgiveness is the necessary ground for any healing.  Without forgiveness our lives are chained, forced to carry the sufferings of the past and repeat them with no release.
    It is painful to hate.  Without forgiveness we continue to perpetuate the illusion that hate can heal our pain and the pain of others.  The past is over:  Forgiveness means giving up all hope of a better past.
    Forgiveness does not happen quickly.  It may include a long process of grief, outrage, sadness, loss, and pain.  True forgiveness does not paper over what has happened in a superficial way.  It is a deep process repeated over and over in our heart which honors the grief and betrayal, and in its own time ripens into the freedom to truly forgive.
    Forgiveness does not forget, nor does it condone the past.  Forgiveness sees wisely.  When we forgive we can also say, "Never again will I allow these things to happen."  Forgiveness does not mean that we have to continue to relate to those who have done us harm.  In the end, it simply means never putting another person out of our heart.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Moving with Caution

  From the Golden Dawn Tarot, the Wheel of Fortune:
In this version of the Wheel, the Sphinx rests above it and Cynocephalus (the dog-faced ape) below it.  Thoth/Hermes was associated with the ibis and the ape - he appeared in ape form when he was associated with equilibrium.  As our lives move in cycles, we can choose to continue the same patterns and make the same mistakes or learn from them and do something new.  The Sphinx and Cynocephalus don't touch the Wheel, implying that they do not interfere but allow our choices to influence our destiny.  These creatures represent the lessons of wisdom and balance we can learn as we travel in these earthly bodies.  We can replay and repeat until we replace our thoughts and behavior, enabling us to experience all the colors of the Wheel instead of just one.

     From The Circle oracle comes "Caution:"
A traffic light changes to yellow, warning drivers to slow down.  This card is an admonition to realize all I know could fit in a thimble in the big scheme of things, and that the more I learn, the more I have to learn.  Intellectual humility will help me survive and succeed much more than being an opinionated know-it-all.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Victory and Destiny

From the Golden Dawn Tarot, the Six of Wands:
The wand suit is about the energy and courage of doing; the number six tells me that there has been a struggle, but now balance has been restored.  Two hands hold six wands, but they do not grasp them in a fist.  Instead they use the pressure of each hand to keep the wands in place.  Such an open palm reflects being able to give and receive equally.  No one is trying to take all the credit for successfully steadying the situation that was out of hand.  And with flames burning at both ends (as in "burning the candle at both ends"), it makes sense to have help.  Who cares who gets to claim a victory?  Most regular people like me don't, they just want to return to peace after chaos.

     From The Circle deck, "Destiny:"
I struggle with the concept of destiny, because I like to believe I have control over all aspects of my life.  Yet I realize I didn't choose my DNA, my parents, or the place of I was born.  And I also know life has and will throw some curveballs at me that are not in my list of "daily dos."  I can make plans and have goals, but I will still have to deal with life on life's terms.  I don't know what destiny is in that crystal ball for me, but I do know I have control over my attitude in facing whatever comes my way.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cycles of Completion and Starting Anew

From the Golden Dawn Tarot, the Five of Pentacles:
A hand holds the trunk of a flowering tree; the flowers on each of the branches seem to be losing their petals.  Here in the South, the dogwood trees have been blooming for several weeks, thanks to an early spring.  But now the petals are beginning to fall, leaving the ground looking like we've had a light snow.  But as the flowers fall, the new leaves will come out.  In the autumn, the leaves will fall, but the red berries will appear.  After the birds have eaten them all in the winter, the cycle starts over again in the spring.  For the dogwood, it does not rely on just its flowers; likewise, I need to remember not to put all my eggs in one basket or isolate myself by burning all my bridges.  Hopefully the trunk of the tree in this card has deep roots that will aid and sustain it as it begins its next cycle.

     From The Circle comes "Completion:"
A lone hiker has reached the top of a mountain, and pauses to look at the view below.  What will he do now?  He can't stay up there forever - eventually he'll have to hike down and find another challenge.  This card reminds me of some of the jocks and cheerleaders in high school who enjoyed being popular and admired by other students.  But what happens when they graduate?  Will they be lost, wondering what to do with their adult lives?  I am reminded by this image that life moves in circles and phases; while I can enjoy completing some part of my life, I must move on to the next cycle. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Heads and Feet

   This week I'll be working with the Golden Dawn Tarot, created by Israel Regardie and Robert Wang.  Today's draw is the Queen of Swords:
With the severed head dripping on the floor, I take it this queen does not suffer fools gladly.  In fact, she is known for her BS detector, and will slice and dice through any words or actions that aren't authentic.  She has no time for head games, she's only interested in the truth and facts.  She wears as a crest on her chest a cherub's head and wings.  These beings became depicted by Renaissance artists as cute babies with wings, but actually they were fierce creatures with swords; they are first seen in Genesis guarding the gates of Eden.  This queen uses the cherub to guard her heart, because she will not allow emotion to overshadow her decisions.  Her throne is above the clouds, indicating she has both a clear head and a clear vision of all that surrounds her.  Though she wears armor, her feet are bare, implying that her ideas and choices are balanced and grounded.  She encourages me to protect myself by using my head rather than my heart to filter information today.

     The oracle deck I'll be using this week is The Circle, created by D.R. Taylor.  All the cards are like pie slices, so they can be used in a circle spread.  This morning's draw is "Journey:"
This card reminds me of walking along a beach, as my feet leave their prints in the soft, wet sand.  I can look back and see where I've been, but only I can make the choice of where I'm going.  I may see other folks' footprints, but they do not fit my feet.  There is a sense of adventure implied in this image - new experiences and new ideas - that I'm eager to meet along the way.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Working with the Three "Hs"

  From the Daughters of the Moon, the Three of Pentacles:
This South American potter represents Aruru (aka Ninhursag), a Sumerian earth and mother goddess.  Having talked to a few potters and would-be potters, I know that it is a craft that looks easy but requires great skill and patience.  For me, it is the difference between having an innovative idea and actually making it a concrete reality.  Often with the "three" cards, there is the suggestion of cooperation with others, but in this image (other than the babe on her back), there are no other people.  I think the collaboration here has to do with the three "Hs" - head, heart, and hands.  While I may have the intellectual knowledge and skill to create, I will never fully master any area unless I am truly passionate about it as well.

     From the Raven Cards:
What would keep me from soaring?  It could be my head; there may be facts or information I am missing, or my negative thinking might be the culprit.  It may be my hands; I may need to practice over and over to develop my skills, or seek help from a mentor.  It could also be my heart; if I am not enthusiastic about what I am doing, then I will not soar.  Joy comes from such passion, and will energize my endeavors.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Craziness of Chaos

  From the Daughters of the Moon Tarot, the Five of Cups:
Gale force winds blow, lightning streaks across the night sky, and waves crash along the shore.  Four chalices are tossed about by the waves, but one sits firmly on a rock.  The Five of Cups deals with emotional challenges, particularly in relationships, and this image is a representation of drama and chaos at its height.  But the sole cup standing implies that one person can detach from the craziness and see it for what it is - pure insanity.  When I recognize that I'm getting drawn into such a skirmish, the healthiest thing I can do is remove myself from it.  I've got better things to do with my time and energy...

     From the Raven Cards:
There are some people who think they have to do something about everything.  They're generally the ones you see bouncing around in the ocean waves as in the card above.  It is their duty to right every wrong opinion, fix every problem, and save everyone's soul.  It doesn't matter whether other people agree or not (boundaries are completely irrelevant), they are sure this is their purpose in life.  But such an objective only succeeds in causing further complications and divisions between people.  Its time to lay down Excalibur and take a permanent break - that could help heal more than most any action taken.     

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Won't Find It at Wal-Mart

From the Daughters of the Moon Tarot, the Ace of Cups:
The nakedness of this woman emphasizes that she wears no masks and has no hidden motives or intentions.  She is not weighed down with emotional baggage - how she feels and relates to others is steeped in honesty with no insecurities attached.  Her cup overflows with unconditional love and acceptance, not just for others, but also herself.  She is the type of person who brings out the best in others, because she sees the good in everyone.  Her happiness comes from a deep well of gratitude, and is contagious to those who are fortunate enough to spend time with her.

     From the Raven Cards:
This card reminds me that finding happiness is my responsibility; it will not come from another person or some material thing.  People, places, and things constantly change, and I will be sorely disappointed if I invest my emotional security in them.  There is an inner place where I will find it; like the geode that looks so ordinary on the outside, there is beauty and wonder to be found within.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Loosening My Grip

    From the Daughters of the Moon Tarot, the Nine of Cups:
Kuan Yin, whose name means "one who hears the cries of the world," is the Buddhist bodhisattva of compassion.  A bodhisattva is an enlightened being who, motivated by empathy, wants to relieve the suffering of others by helping them attain enlightenment as well.  Because of her spiritual development, her cup of mercy and compassion is always full, and overflows to others.  She does not ask for kindness in return or for some sort of security deposit for the love she offers.  She is content and comfortable in her own skin, and needs no accolades from others to stay there.  Having learned to love "what is" rather than fighting reality has allowed her to relax and find joy in all of life.  I hope to sit and learn under her waterfall today...

     From the Raven Cards:
Ouch.  This card speaks to my stubborn streak (that I try to blame on my Scottish lineage).  I am a planner and organizer, and I am at my best when I have a project or purpose.  But unlike a stream that comes to a rock and flows around it, I want to stick to my original strategy.  So I'll expend all kinds of energy trying to smash or dig up that stone, instead of just going with the flow.  Lao Tzu would tell me, "By letting it go it all gets done."  The seed grows on its own timetable, and as long as I supply it with the basics (sunlight, water, dirt), it will do what it was created to do.  Sit back, relax, and let it grow...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Planting Seeds

   From the Daughters of the Moon, the Maiden of Pentacles (a Page/Knight combination):
This maiden is Lava, Slavic goddess of spring, beauty, love and fertility.  With the arrival of the vernal equinox, she was said to return to the earth from the underworld each year, bringing spring with her.  An appropriate card to draw, as tomorrow marks the equinox here in the northern hemisphere.  The birch branch she carries reminds me to sweep out what is useless, and look with fresh, clear eyes.  This image, with its flowers, green grass and animals, encourages me to open my mind to new ideas.  As the equinox is a time when day and night are equal, it is a nudge for me to adjust what is out of balance in my life.  Here in the South, the azaleas and dogwoods are in full bloom, as if nature is having a celebration.  Perfect timing, as today is my 23rd wedding anniversary.

     From the Raven Cards:

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. ~ Thomas Edison
Each day is filled with potential and possibilities, but my attitude and mindset can ignore them all.  "I don't have time.  I don't know how.  I don't want the responsibility."  This card persuades me not to miss chances I might regret later.  You just never know what may sprout from the seed that is planted.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Still Waters and Roots that Reach Them

From the Daughters of the Moon, the Four of Blades:
At first I thought I was looking at the Two of Swords, as this image is so similar to that of the RWS.  But this woman also has two swords crossed beneath her as well as crossed over her chest.  The title Morgan gives is "Deception," which seemed odd until I mulled it over.  The deception here has not come from outside but within.  She's decided there is a situation that needs to be fixed or a person that needs to change.  Unfortunately, she soon discovers her efforts have no influence whatsoever.  So what does she do?  She renews her purpose and tries harder - and of course gets nowhere.  Finally, exhausted and frustrated, she pauses and stops planning and revamping her strategies.  Her mind, body, and heart become calm like the water behind her.  She finds a well of wisdom within that is much deeper than her ego, and eventually answers float to the top.  Her insight leads to acceptance and peace of mind.

     From the Raven Cards:
The first part of my childhood, I lived with my grandparents.  They were quiet, loving people who believed in fully attending to one task at a time if possible.  Both of them loved nature - my grandmother was an avid birdwatcher, and my grandfather loved to take long walks.  I've inherited these traits from both of them; I find that when I go for walks or sit quietly and watch the birds and other animals, I become calm and grounded.  Going back to my roots in this way allows me to reconnect with them, and as an added plus, renew my spirit. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Either / Or and Altogether

This week I'll be using the Daughters of the Moon Tarot, created by Ffiona Morgan.  Very feminist in its approach (both illustrations and companion guide), I find I do best with the images when relying on my intuition rather than strictly following the meanings in the book.  Today's draw is the Two of Flames (Wands):
According to the text, this is Mahuea, the Polynesian goddess of fire, who brought fire to the people and taught them how to use it.  In a tarot context, I see two burning desires that oppose each other: doing things alone vs. with a group, taking the known path vs. blazing a new trail, or following the advice of your heart vs. sticking with the advice of your head.  The wall Mahuea sits on lets me know I'm in a holding pattern until I make a choice.  She's not making a move until I do.

     The oracle deck I'll be using this week is called the Raven Cards, and was created by Gabi Bucker.  Here's my draw for the day:
I love to find and collect feathers I come across on my walks.  Because of mites and other bugs, I generally give them a good washing when I get home.  Invariably, the feather will separate and look quite raggedy until I dry it and reset the barbs in the vanes.  As the card says, a feather only works when the vanes are connected.  It seems my choice above would be tied to working with others rather than going it alone.  Others can help me see a more holistic view than the small slice I have.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Grounding the Heart and the Mind

From the Albano Waite Tarot, the Queen of Cups:
If you want to know who's a Queen of Cups personality, watch what a person does after they ask, "So how are you?"  Most don't even stick around to hear what you have to say; they either tell you what's going on in their lives or flit off to "talk" to someone else.  The true queen of this suit will sit down, look you in the eye, and listen to every word you say.  Her face will reflect your own emotions.  Empathy is a wonderful trait, but must be grounded so another person's reality doesn't become your own.  Though the queen sits at the edge of the water, and her gown looks like a flowing stream, her throne rests securely on terra firma.  Today I will remember the difference between compassion and enmeshment, and focus on kindness without getting drawn into drama.

     From the Rumi Cards:

If you read nothing and wisdom sees your fervor,
Awareness will sit in your hand like a tamed dove.
I can easily become passionate about things, but my fervor often drives me to research through books and the internet.  This is not necessarily a bad quality, but I tend to live in my head too much.  I must remember to live life by experiencing it, not just by reading about it.  True wisdom is a mix of book learning and experiential learning; such awareness allows me to connect my mind, body and spirit.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Remembering My Worth and Place

From the Albano Waite Tarot, the Sun:

"...a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is as though a voice were saying: 'You are accepted. You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater than you, and the name of which you do not know. Do not ask for the name now; perhaps you will find it later. Do not try to do anything now; perhaps later you will do much. Do not seek for anything; do not perform anything; do not intend anything. Simply accept the fact that you are accepted!' If that happens to us, we experience grace. After such an experience we may not be better than before, and we may not believe more than before. But everything is transformed... And nothing is demanded of this experience, no religious or moral or intellectual presupposition, nothing but acceptance."
The above excerpt, written by Paul Tillich, was taken from his book The Shaking of Foundations and describes the feeling the Sun card elicits in me.  There is such a sense of freedom - a naked child riding on a horse with no saddle or bridle outside of an enclosure.  The sun radiates energy and the sunflowers represent happiness and health.  As Tillich implies, that freedom and joy doesn't come from being well-behaved, doing good deeds, and following a set of rules.  It is an inner awakening that allows me to realize I am loved and cherished for who I am, regardless of my many quirks and flaws.

     From the Rumi Cards:

Whoever doesn't show himself humble today
Will tomorrow be humiliated like Pharaoh.
For me, humility means seeing myself on the circular edge of the medicine wheel along with everything and everyone else; all are equidistant from the center.  No yardsticks are needed to measure "greater than" or "less than."  If I can maintain this attitude when I'm having a rough week, it makes it easier for me to reach out to others.  And when I am riding high on life, it helps me remember the people, places, and things that helped get me to that spot.  If I forget my "place," I only need to see an image of the wheel to remember it again.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Masters and Their Cheering Squads

From the Albano Waite Tarot, the Three of Pentacles:
Is it just me, or does the craftsman standing on the bench look ready to knock out the other two with his tool?  Here's a guy who knows his stuff - an expert in his field - yet these folks insist on telling him how to do his job.  Now there's absolutely nothing wrong with expecting something to be done a certain way when you've paid for it.  But, people who have no proficiency and knowledge in the area concerned shouldn't tell a professional how to do the job.  As the saying goes, "too many cooks spoil the soup."  Stop trying to take charge of everything and allow the poor guy to do what he's great at doing.

     From the Rumi Cards:
It is certain that an atom of goodness on the path of faith
is never lost.
Do the kindnesses I do really make a difference?  Does any of it really matter?  I suppose in the big picture of things, the answer would be no.  But then I think of the story of the little boy, walking among hundreds of starfish washed up on a beach, who attempted to toss them back out to sea before the sun dried them.  A man, seeing the overwhelming number, told him he would never make a difference.  The boy held up one starfish, and before throwing it into the water said, "It does to this one."  And who knows, maybe there will be a kindness done or some encouragement given to that one in particular who will paint the next masterpiece, find a cure for cancer, or eliminate world hunger...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Past and Present

From the Albano Waite Tarot, the Six of Cups:
The children and flowers in this card represent healing the past and integrating it with the present.  The number six symbolizes a return to harmony; it may be a memory I need to come to terms with, a person I need to reconcile with, or someone I've lost contact with whose reunion will benefit me.  These children are outdoors, away from the protection of the castle.  I must let down my guard (see the one walking away in the image?), and become vulnerable.  Honesty, gentleness, and goodwill will serve me well in this process.

     From the Rumi Cards:
Don't despair if the friend sends you away;
He may chase you away today;
He'll call for you tomorrow.

It's funny how time can change your perception of things.  What seemed like the end of the world at one point in my life barely even registers in my memory banks now.  It's good for me to take a long range view of things when I feel hurt or angry.  I could be laughing about the same situation a year from now...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

Today's draw from the Albano Waite Tarot is the Two of Swords, one I seem to choose a lot lately:
This particular card seems divided into three sections: the yellow (air), the blue (water) and the gray (stone).  Here is an impasse - the woman's thoughts are wrestling with her emotions, and she has become as immovable as the rock bench she sits upon.  At this point, she sees no resolution between them, so she chooses to do nothing.  In the sky is a waxing crescent moon, indicating this struggle will grow until it can't be ignored - for better or for worse, a decision will have to be made.

     From the Rumi Cards this morning:

Your grief lasted so long...
Look, healing is here.
Your door was locked.
Look, here is the key.
I have an issue with honesty and trust; it someone is dishonest (and in my book untrustworthy), I close the door of our relationship and lock it behind me.  I don't hate the person, I just don't care to associate with them anymore.  As I grow older, I'm reconsidering burning all those bridges.  Perhaps the person made a huge mistake, and what they did was not a pattern of behavior but a big error in judgment.  Maybe some of those doors I locked should be opened again... 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

It's on the Table

My daily tarot card this morning from the Albano Waite is the Magician:
Life consists in what a man is thinking of all day. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
This fellow is dressed simply with four tools on his table: a rod, a chalice, a coin and a sword - motivation/passion, relationships/feelings, financial/physical health, positive thoughts/honesty.  I don't see an Iphone, Ipad, BMW car, or a pair of Nike sneakers anywhere.  The Magician reminds me that I have all the resources I need to have a life that is fulfilling and satisfying.  The roses and lilies that surround him symbolize the garden he has grown with his tools.  I don't need to wait until this or that happens, or until I get something I don't have.  The time to act is now, if I want to grow a beautiful garden.

     The draw from the Rumi Cards today is:
Eat on and on, you lovers, at Eternity's table;
Its feast is forever;
And spread out for you.
I don't think it's a coincidence that there is a table in the first card and a mention of one in the second.  A table is made to hold a variety of things; we each have them (literally and metaphorically) in our lives.  But do I wander past, not knowing or appreciating what they hold for me?  Or am I so busy I think I don't have time to sit there?  I might worry that once I "eat" it may disappear forever, but according to Rumi these gifts are always here.  My only task is to sit down and enjoy them.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

HALT and Halos

The tarot deck I'll be using this week is the Albano-Waite, a re-colored version of the RWS by Frankie Albano.  This morning's draw is the Knight of Pentacles:
Here is a knight who most epitomizes those we read about in legends - chivalrous, looking to help the downtrodden and right all wrongs.  He's carried his cup of water across the desert (a symbol of love and compassion), offering it to all those in need.  But he must keep his cup filled for himself as well; he's come to a river to refresh himself and get a refill.  In 12 Step programs, there is an acronym called "HALT" that is used.  It is a reminder not to get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired - in other words, take care of yourself.  I hope this knight has the letters tattooed across his fingers, because he'll need the visual cue in his line of work.

     The oracle I'll be using this week is the Rumi Cards created by Eryk Hanut and Michele Wetherbee, and feature quotes from this Sufi poet.  The cards are divided into six groups around themes: birth, love, ordeal, transformation, warnings, and rewards.  Here's today's draw:
The more you strive to reach the place of Splendor,
The more the Invisible Angels will help you.
If I want to grow spiritually, I can't sit home and polish my halo.  I must go out into the world and practice patience, tolerance and compassion.  The more I strive to be a person filled with loving-kindness, the more I'll be receptive to those who are willing to encourage and support me.  As Truman said, "the buck stops here."

Friday, March 9, 2012

Clearing Your Head

The Two of Swords from the Bohemian Gothic Tarot is based on the Church of Our Lady Before Tyne (in Prague):
The woman in the Two of Swords has come outside on the balcony to clear her mind.  She has a decision to make, and her head and heart are battling over the choices (thus the blindfold and crossed arms).  Of course she has plenty of advisors who tell her what she should do, as well as those who try to manipulate her to see things from their point of view, but this has only served to confuse her more (and why she needs some fresh air).  In the stillness she will find an inner resource, one that will guide her without an agenda.  The two twin towers of the church aren't really alike - one is more solidly built than the other.  In the same way, looking within will show her which choice has a firmer foundation.

     The Oracle of Shadows and Light offered me "Amara the Menehune" this morning:
In Hawaiian mythology, the Menehune were little people who lived deep in the forests and hidden valleys of the islands.  This card represents the sensual pleasures of the outdoors - the smell of flowers blooming, the warmth of the sun, the sound of the breeze in the treetops.  It is in the natural world where we can unwind, relax, and ground ourselves - better than any pill or drink, with none of the nasty side effects.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Get the Hell Out of Dodge

From the Bohemian Gothic Tarot today comes the Three of Swords:
One dove stands over its mate that has been killed; a woman watches nearby with a look that says, "I did it, but it was an accident."  The image makes me think of Steinbeck's Linnie in Of Mice and Men, a huge man who was like a child because of a mental disability.  He loved to pet soft things, but unintentionally killed them.  Words can cause more damage than often intended.  Ideas can creep in - assumptions made but not proven - and wreak havoc.  For some people (those who are relationship-disabled), this is a recurring pattern.  Hopefully the dove that's still alive will face facts and fly off down the lighted path before he too becomes an "oops."

     The card pulled from the Oracle of Shadows and Light this morning is "Death and the Maiden:"
Lately I've heard the term "psychic vampire" used in describing folks who metaphorically suck the life force out of others.  They use people, draining them emotionally, without ever giving of themselves in return.  If you try to discuss this with them, they will only cling harder and try to convince you that you're the one with the problem.  The only solution in such out-of-balance relationships to leave - and do it quickly!