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, June 30, 2012

Fictional Assumptions

This week I'll be using a Polish deck, the Swietlistej Drogi Tarot, created by Alla Alicja Chrzanowska and Alina Konwinska.  Today's draw is the Nine of Swords:
A man sits forlornly in a chair with a book in his lap, swords beneath him, and floating bubbles above him.  Swords often represent thoughts, and this particular card reminds me how they can be beneficial or detrimental.  All of his worries and anxieties are represented by the bubbles drifting overhead; the book symbolizes the ways he's tried to find a solution to his problems.  But as Einstein wisely said, "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them."  What this fellow hasn't realized is that there is very little substance to those bubbles - they are just created by his expectations and assumptions.  If he would only pick up one of those swords (a new way of thinking), he could eliminate them by seeing they are not based in reality.

     The oracle deck I'll be using this week was created by Lily S. May using carved linocut prints.  This morning's card is "Respect:"

How would your life be different if…You stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter? ~ Steve Maraboli
Respect, to me, means being courteous while at the same time recognizing my ideas and ways of living may be quite different from others.  This difference doesn't mean I need to fear them, nor does it mean I need to try to forcefully impose my mindset on them; rather, I might see what I can learn from them. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Testing "Truth"

From the Spiral Tarot, the Page of Pentacles:
In this lovely card, a young girl surrounded by flowers stares intently at a pentacle she holds.  This Page is often associated with study - a pursuit that has the same effect on me as Brer Rabbit being told he's being thrown into the briar patch.  But this girl is primarily interested in examining things that have practical uses.  She might learn how to meditate, but she will immediately test it out to see if it has any benefits in her day-to-day life.  She doesn't just learn, she will do an investigation as well.  On her blog 78 Notes to Self, Ginny associates this court card with a quote from Will Rogers that sums the Page of Pentacles up nicely:
There are three kinds of men. The ones that learn by readin'. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.

     From the Sacred Journey Cards comes "Integrity:"
Integrity often gets lumped in with honesty, and though they are cousins, they are not the same thing.  Honesty deals more with people and situations outside of myself.  For instance, if my doctor asks me if I've been eating healthy, my answer may be honest or dishonest.  But if a friend comes to me and asks me if I would mind helping her with a garage sale (and I am obligated to be somewhere else that day), yet I tell her "no problem," that deals with integrity.  It deals with inner honesty, and has to do with being authentic to myself and my principles.  People-pleasing is its biggest enemy, convincing me to shelve my truth for another person's opinion or idea.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rooted in Reality

From the Spiral Tarot, the Ace of Pentacles:
This ace is illustrated by a womanly world tree, with plants, animals, and rivers all around her.  Her roots go down into the pentacle itself.  There are times, living on a limited income, when I feel a sense of lack.  There's no more going to Amazon and loading up the cart full of items just because I want to treat myself, and even my purchases for others have come nearly to a halt.  But then when I take my sunrise walks, and enjoy all the trees, birds, dragonflies, flowers - all that nature has to offer - I realize what a treasure of wonders I do have.  Even my body, with its good health, ability to move, and my senses is an amazing gift.  This card reminds me to stay rooted in reality, because when I do, I will see clearly all the riches and resources that are at my feet.  

     From the Sacred Journey Cards comes "Grace:"
Thiele, in her companion booklet, encourages us to find one of the many spiritual paths and its practices, and commit to it wholeheartedly.  Her statement made me think of a description offered by a woman in my book club.  She said to imagine that everyone and everything was on the outside of a wheel, with our "Ground of Being" in the center.  As we all move toward that center (though we are on our individual paths), we not only come closer to the center, we become closer to each other.  And what about grace?  According to Paul Tillich (a theologian I hold in high regard), it is simply acceptance:
"You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater than you, and the name of which you do not know."
I suppose if I am fully accepted by this Ground of Being, then I should return the favor (grace) to all the rest of creation.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Meeting Challenges Minus the Anger

  From the Spiral Tarot, the Five of Wands:
Fives are about challenges, and wands deal with getting things done; put them together and you get people bumping heads.  I'm a "get it done in advance" kind of gal, and my husband and daughter believe in the "no need to rush" philosophy.  I prefer order and structure, and they're in the "let it just all fall together" camp.  In different situations, one method is generally better than the other, but not all the time.  The challenge for me is to try not to force my opinion on another because I think I'm right, but to logically give reasons and explanations for my stance.  I also need to listen to my challengers with objectivity to see if their way would indeed be better (which will entail sending my ego to time out).

     From the Sacred Journey Cards comes "Tenderness:"
I was raised by gentle grandparents as a small child, then later was a part of a step-family where rage, yelling, and physical force was a part of daily life.  As an adult, I've had to relearn how to be soft-spoken, patient, and calm.  It's not always easy to remember to practice gentleness, but if I want someone to hear what I have to say, angrily screaming at them is not the way to do it.  I'll take Otis Redding's advice and "try a little tenderness" instead...   

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

It Takes a Combination of Things...

After my little rant yesterday about the idea of "think it and get it," I had to laugh with the card I pulled this morning.  From the Spiral Tarot, the Magician:
I have heard from several sources that this card means "As you think, so shall it be," and is about using the intellect to manifest what you desire.  As I said before, I don't think all of this idea is wrong; it's just one side of the coin.  So what does the Magician mean to me?  It means I need to focus on what I want and keep a positive attitude about it.  Concentrating on a single goal at a time will allow me to channel my energy in one direction, rather than trying to cover too many bases at once.  And thinking positively will keep my mind open, allowing me to see many possibilities to achieve my objective or find a solution (as opposed to "it must be done this way").  Yes, I can make some things happen in my life, but it will take all the tools the Magician and I have available, not just the intellect.

     From the Sacred Journey Cards comes "Synergy:"
1. The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.
Thiele asks, "Are you willing to share your experiences and expand your borders?"  Brainstorming and working with others helps me to stay flexible and realize that my opinion and judgments aren't always the best ones.  Other people have life experiences that I've never known, so they have things I can learn from them.  If we can listen to each other respectfully and look at each idea objectively, our combined efforts will be greater than the sum of each individual's effort.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sincere Effort

  From the Spiral Tarot, the Three of Pentacles:
Though the word "ballerina" is commonly used today to refer to any female ballet dancer, it previously was reserved for only the most accomplished female soloists.  In this image, the stage lights and roses indicate this woman's skill and recognition in her field, nicely illustrating the meaning of this card.  Though she might have some natural talent, there is no doubt she had to work tirelessly to develop her abilities to this level.  As Steventon in her companion book says, "Sincere effort does not go unrewarded."  On a personal level, it looks like this "Jill of all trades and master of none" needs to narrow her focus...

     From the Sacred Journey Cards this morning comes "Believe:"
Do I believe in possibilities?  Do I believe in the power of positive thinking?  Absolutely.  But what I don't believe is that I can manifest whatever I want with my mind.  I don't think the world was put here just so I can magically produce what my ego thinks I need.  The earth is full of animals, plants and minerals, and just because I am human doesn't mean my wants outweigh any others - the universe isn't obligated to give me what I demand.  I am a part of the whole system, not god of it.  The belief that I can create my reality is a half-truth; attitude and hard work can go a long way in making things possible, yet there is a web of balance that natural laws will not bend just for me.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Emerging toward Clarity

From the Spiral Tarot, Judgment:
An angel blows a trumpet, and humans rise up from the water in answer to the call.  Like the tarot card the Tower, Judgment is a wake-up call.  But instead of outside forces being the instigating cause, this card indicates an awakening that comes from within.  It allows me to see how old patterns of behavior and thought keep me stuck in the same place, and how these conditioned patterns affect those around me.  I am given a view that allows me to see from a much wider perspective than ever before.  But now that I see where changes need to be made, do I choose to transform myself and find freedom?  Or do I find too much comfort and security in those ingrained ways, and refuse to leave them?

     From the Sacred Journey Cards comes "Emerge:"
Thiele writes in her companion booklet that when we constantly ask others what they think, we disconnect from the inner resources that we have to guide us.  Seeking approval from people means I am failing to rely on my Higher Self.  And as much as those folks might care for me, it is only the guide within that can direct me on the right path for me.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

What's Growing in Your Garden?

This week I'll be using the Spiral Tarot; both the deck and companion book were created by Kay Steventon.  Today's card is the Seven of Pentacles:
Kneeling in the dirt, this woman examines the soil and seeds she's just planted.  From the abundance of produce growing behind her, I know she is an accomplished farmer.  She's tilled the soil, removed any stones and weeds, planted the seeds, and then watered them.  Now she peers closely to see if there are any grubs or other insects that might be a problem down the line.  Even after the crops come in, this woman will evaluate them to see what she did right and what she needs to do differently the next time.  The Seven of Pentacles emphasizes the need to maintain the continuous effort and nurturing care of a project from beginning to end.  The success of what I want to grow and develop in my life will depend on it.

     The oracle deck I'll be using this week is called the Sacred Journey Cards, created by Cheryl Thiele.  This morning's draw is "Generosity:"
Generosity can be shown in many ways; offering time, energy and attention can be just as important as anything material given.  But I think whatever is given makes the biggest difference when it is given with an open heart.  The other day, my daughter and I were discussing one of our favorite characters on the show "Necessary Roughness."  Nico does a lot for many people; he does some things out of a feeling of obligation, while other gestures come from genuine care and concern.  I think actions born from a full heart are the ones that have the power to transform not only the recipient, but also the giver. 


Friday, June 22, 2012

Relationships are the Key

From the Shadowscapes Tarot, the Ten of Cups:
Under the salty sea, the lord and lady of the waves swim with their family of fish.  The sun shines overhead, sending its warming rays through the water.  The Ten of Cups is a card of emotional fulfillment, and in this particular card, there is more said by what is missing than what is there.  There is no castle under the sea and no "stuff" to put in it.  Why?  Because true, lasting joy and contentment cannot be found by accumulating things.  It comes from participating in and appreciating relationships - with humans, with Nature, and with the Higher Self.  I'll try to remember this lesson the next time a new deck catches my eye...

     From the set of cedar runes this morning comes "Berkano:"

leafy twig and little tree
and fresh young shrub.

Icelandic Rune Poem
The rune Berkano ("birch") suggests growth and renewal, an appropriate draw as the spring ends and summer begins.  The birch tree is considered a pioneer species - a species that is the first to establish itself on land cleared by fire, flood, or man.  I am reminded by this rune that life is constantly changing, and endings allow for new beginnings to take root.  Life doesn't lie fallow for long...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Swimming Goggles and Hiking Boots

From the Shadowscapes Tarot, the Queen of Cups:
Not only is this queen at home in her element, she revels and dances in it.  She doesn't want to be just an observer, she prefers to be in the flow of things.  But this tenderhearted, empathetic woman has more going for her than being in touch with her emotions.  She has a deep psychic well from which she draws; her intuitive sense is so sharp, she feels it in her body in addition to knowing it in her mind.  The Queen of Cups reminds me to be sensitive to all around me, not only from information provided by my five senses, but from my inner guide too.

     From the set of cedar runes today comes "Sowilo:"

The Sun is ever the hope of seamen
When they fare over the fishes' bath,
Until the sea-steed
Brings them to land.

Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem
Sowlilo ("sun") is a rune of guidance and success.  The tricky thing about this guide is that it will take you to the doorstep only; I am the one who must do the work if I want to successfully bring things to fruition.  I have the tools I need and a map to show me the direction, but I've got to put on my hiking boots and get moving to reach the destination I'm seeking.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Separating the Grain from the Chaff

From the Shadowscapes Tarot, the Five of Cups:
Have you ever noticed that when you have a case of the mullie-grubs, everything seems to have a dark cloud hanging over it?  Lately I've felt this way, putting a "poor me" spin on everything.  "I must be writing in invisible cyber ink, because all my posts are ignored."  "My friends never seem to have the time to talk."  "My ideas always get snubbed."  Of course none of these thoughts are actually true, they've just been painted that way by my attitude.  I recently went to a cousin summit held at my mom's house.  My cousins and I are different in every way you could possibly be, yet we laughed until we cried and had a great deal of fun together.  Our day reminded me of all the many things I have to be grateful for, especially the unconditional love of friends and family.

     From the cedar runes this morning comes "Othala/Othila:"

An estate is very dear to every man,
if he can enjoy there in his house
whatever is right and proper in constant prosperity.

Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem
While Othila is often referred to as an estate, it can actually represent one's heritage - both knowledge and material things.  While I can't change my ancestry, I can look at the good and bad that have come down my blood line and decide what is beneficial and what is detrimental.  I can decide to change my attitude, ideas, and behavior if they are causing my life to be out of balance.  And just maybe in this process of separating the grain from the chaff, I'll pass on something worthwhile myself...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cycle of Hurt and Revenge

   From the Shadowscapes Tarot, the Three of Swords:

Those things that hurt, instruct. ~ Benjamin Franklin
The image on this card never fails to make me wince.  The swords piercing the swan symbolize words, events, or ideas that have caused pain.  When I'm the recipient of such sorrow, I feel the victim, but when I am the instigator of it, I feel a sense of justice - like I have righted a wrong.  Looking at it objectively, I can see being in either role only creates an endless cycle of hurt and desire for revenge.  But what if I choose to step out of the equation?  What if I can distance myself from the emotion and see the truth for what it is?  Then there will be no more victim or judge, and the swan will transform itself into a phoenix.

     From the set of cedar runes comes "Uruz:"
The aurochs is proud and has great horns;
it is a very savage beast and fights with its horns;
a great ranger of the moors, it is a creature of mettle.

Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem

The rune Uruz is often considered to mean "aurochs," a now extinct type of wild ox.  It was known for its strength and power, fearlessness, and willingness to meet challenges head-on.  This rune reminds me that I too have great power within:  I can choose to use it to harm or to heal, to be aggressive or to be protective.  And the results of those choices will be very different...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Secure Boredom or Risky Excitement?

From the Shadowscapes Tarot, the Two of Wands:
From a high perch, a woman and her lion companion look to the land below.  Where they are, there are no problems or challenges; life just floats on by.  But the two wands she holds are a doorway - the possibility to leave behind the old for something new.  The spiral tattoo on the flank of the lion, resembling a fern frond about to spring open, emphasizes the potential for movement and change.  To stay with the routine that is rather boring but safe or to take a risk on an adventure is the choice that awaits.

     From the set of cedar runes comes "Dagaz:"

Sun is the light of the world;
I bow to the divine decree.

Norwegian Rune Poem
Dagaz is often translated as "day," and represents the heat and light of the sun.  This rune represents the truth coming to light; all deception and illusion are cleared away allowing life to be seen as it is.  Fighting reality is wasted energy, and putting my head in the sand won't make it go away either.  Only by accepting it can I ever hope to deal with it.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Deceptive Appearances

From the Shadowscapes Tarot, the Seven of Swords:

“Rationalization is a process of not perceiving reality, but of attempting to make reality fit one’s emotions.” ~ Ayn Rand
I can almost see the wheels turning in this man-bird's mind, as he looks over the sword he thinks he has successfully stolen.  I'm sure his reasoning might be something like: "They owe it to me. They have plenty and I have none, so why shouldn't I have one too?"  Like the crows he resembles, he obviously thinks he has the right to take what is bright and shiny if no one's the wiser.  Rand's quote fits this card perfectly.  When I ignore what is logical and true, and gloss over it with emotionalism, I can be sure I have lost my moral compass.

     From the set of cedar runes comes "Isa:"

        Ice is very cold and immeasurably slippery;
it glistens as clear as glass and most like to gems;
it is a floor wrought by the frost, fair to look upon.

Anglo-Saxon Rune poem
Isa, or ice, is beautiful to look at, but quite dangerous to walk or travel on.  As the saying goes, "all that glitters isn't gold;" what appears outwardly to be a good thing may have hidden risks and hazards.  Like the flow of water that comes to a halt when frozen, sometimes the safest action is to remain patient and still.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Don't Take It Personally

This week I'll be using the Shadowscapes Tarot, created by Stephanie Pui-mun Law.  The companion book was a collaborative effort between Stephanie and Barbara Moore.  Today's card is the Eight of Cups:
A mermaid swims away from a tumbling swirl of cups while holding one chalice in her hands.  The Eight of Cups involves realizing a situation is dysfunctional or unfulfilling and choosing to move away from it.  The swirls in this image remind me of relationships that at first seem like an innocent little eddy but quickly became a powerful whirlpool that pulls me under.  Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, offers "Don't take anything personally" as number two in his list of four.  He writes: "Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one you live in."  I don't have to choose to stay in their world, I can move on - after all, I have my own to live in.

     The oracle I'll be using this week is a set of cedar Elder Futhark Runes that were carved by Alaska Laser Maid on Etsy.com.  The book I'll be using along with them is The Serpent and the Eagle by Chris Travers.  My draw this morning is "Raido/Raidho:"
joy of the horsemen
and speedy journey
and toil of the steed.

(English translation of the Norwegian Rune Poem)
It's quite obvious by reading the poem that this rune implies traveling, but it might refer to physical movement or a lifestyle change.  The "speedy journey" encourages me to get moving down the road, rather than stand around and ponder the mysteries of life.  The last line however is a caution to remember that the world does not revolve around me.  There are others who sacrifice their time and effort for me, and I in turn should repay their kindness.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Swords and Feathers

From the Sacred Sites Tarot, the King of Swords:

Ruins of Glastonbury, England
Glastonbury Abbey was a monastery founded in the 7th century that has long been associated with King Arthur.  In 1191, monks claimed to have found the tombs of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere at the ruins of the abbey in the cemetery.  According to written accounts, a massive hollowed oak trunk containing two skeletons was uncovered; under the covering stone was a leaden cross with the inscription Hic jacet sepultus inclitus rex Arthurus in insula Avalonia ("Here lies interred the famous King Arthur on the Isle of Avalon").  Like Arthur, the King of Swords is known for his ability to see situations clearly, without allowing emotions to interfere.  Truth, equality, and the desire to look out for the welfare of everyone are traits of both.  This card reminds me that if I am going to be objective about a person or circumstances, I must not allow my emotions to sway me in one direction or the other.

     This morning's draw from the Mana Cards is "Hulu:"

A he nani ke ao nei ~ Behold this lovely world.
The Hawaiian word for feather, hulu, also means esteemed or prized.  Feathers are a reminder to pay close attention to where we came from, where we are going, and where we are now.  They are gentle nudges to act rather than just dream.  This is the only moment there is, and I need to make good use of it.  Wishing or whining will get me absolutely nowhere. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Peering Underneath

From the Sacred Sites Tarot, the Seven of Swords:
Bermuda Triangle, North Atlantic Ocean
The Bermuda Triangle is an area where a number of aircraft and vessels are said to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances.  The earliest allegation began in 1950 in the Associated Press.  Many articles and books followed, with explanations ranging from UFO abductions to leftover technology from the lost city of Atlantis.  Various agencies, such as the U.S Coast Guard, have debunked the theories and stated that in such a high traffic area known for tropical storms and hurricanes, the disappearances were not disproportionate nor mysterious.  The Seven of Swords is a reminder to check for hidden motivations.  In the case of the Bermuda Triangle, the reason for the stories is likely not to uncover the truth, but that sensationalism sells.

From the Mana Cards comes "Po/Ao:"
Po/Ao ("darkness/light") symbolize the unconscious and the conscious.  The unconscious often sends messages to the conscious via dreams, slips of the tongue, and passive-aggressive behavior.  These messages are red flag warnings of unacknowledged or repressed feelings and thoughts.  If I want these to stop invading my waking reality, I need to find what is at their source and deal with it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Still as a Stone

From the Sacred Sites Tarot, the Two of Swords:

Ryoan-ji ~ Kyoto, Japan
Ryoan-ji (Temple of the Dragon at Peace) is a Zen temple famous for its rock garden.  The garden contains 15  large rocks arranged on the surface of white pebbles in such a manner that only 14 of them can be seen at once, no matter what angle the garden is viewed from. It is said that only through awakening as a result of deep meditation can a person see the last invisible stone.  The Two of Swords card represents conflicting thoughts (often exacerbated by ones emotions) to the point where a decision cannot be reached.  As a friend is fond of saying, "When you don't know what to do, don't do anything."  When my mind becomes calm, allowing me to find my center (past all of ego's incessant blather), I will find my answer.  Until then, I will practice being as still as a stone.

     From the Mana Cards comes "Mamalahoe:"
Mamalahoe ("splintered paddle") symbolizes compassion towards oneself and others.  Self-centeredness, driven by ego, can hinder my ability to be empathetic with other people.  But the flip side of the coin is a reminder not to become entangled with the problems of those folks I care about.  Encouraging each other as we ride the ups and downs of life is a way I can be compassionate, but I must remember that everyone must find their own way; no one can walk the path for another.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Righting Wrongs, Outwardly and Inwardly

From the Sacred Sites Tarot, Justice:

Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Angkor Wat was built in the early 12th century as a state temple; it originally was Hindu (dedicated to Vishnu) and later became Buddhist.  When I think of Cambodia, I do not think of justice but of Pol Pot's rule and the two million people he murdered through execution, starvation, and forced labor.  The Khmer Rouge targeted ethnic and religious groups as well as educated individuals.  Today Pol Pot is dead and his government has been driven from power, yet the temple still stands.  Peace rather than war and terror has become the norm.  This card suggests that eventually the truth will be exposed and people will be held accountable for their actions.  As an individual, my responsibility involves looking at myself (rather than pointing the finger at others) and being honest about situations in which I have not been impartial or have treated people unfairly.

     From the Mana Cards comes "Tapa:"
Tapa ("bark cloth") is a fabric made from the paper bark mulberry tree and used in marriage, healing and burial rites.  It symbolizes partnerships but also implies a need for boundaries.  However, as Becker writes, specifying the limits of a relationship doesn't mean acting "unapproachable or unreceptive."  I tend to have thick, concrete walls as boundaries; it is very hard for me to hate only the action without resenting the person behind it.  My work lies in learning to keep my heart open without compromising my principles.   

Monday, June 11, 2012

Support with Timing

  From the Sacred Sites Tarot, the Knave (Page) of Swords:

Notre Dame de Paris
A gargoyle (or technically a chimera, since it's decorative and not a waterspout) watches over the city from atop the cathedral.  The Page of Swords is a watcher and listener too, and he makes me think of Radar from the television show M*A*S*H (who was known for his ability to hear helicopters flying in with wounded long before anyone else could).  The problem with this youngster is that he has no filter between what he sees and hears, and what comes out of his mouth.  He needs to take a lesson from the structure of Our Lady of Paris, one of the first buildings to use the flying buttress to support its thin walls.  This buttress is formed by a massive block on the ground with an arch that attaches to the building (the "flyer") that together act as outer reinforcements.  Likewise, the Page needs support for what he thinks he has heard or seen; sometimes our perceptions don't match reality. 

     From the Mana Cards comes "Pahu:"
Pahu means "sacred drum" and is an important instrument that accompanies the hula.  Because of its beat and rhythm, it is associated with timing.  There is a Hawaiian proverb that can be translated, "too often we only smell the ripe hala fruit after it has reached the ground."  If I am paying attention to what is going on around me, rather than just the intellectual analysis in my head, it will be clear when it is appropriate to speak and act or when I need to be silent and wait.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

In the Flow or Fighting the Current?

From the Sacred Sites Tarot, the Empress:
Sanctuary of Demetra/Demeter - Eleusi, Greece
The Eleusinian cult rose out of the myth of the goddess Demeter, who lamented the loss of her daughter Persephone, abducted by Hades; no crops grew until Zeus commanded that Persephone should be allowed to return annually in spring. Demeter thereafter established the Eleusinian mysteries, in which she was honored as the granter of fertility and Persephone as an annually returning vegetation goddess.  In 392 AD, the Emperor Theodosius declared Christianity to be the sole faith of the Roman Empire and set about eradicating all others.  The Empress represents the natural cycles of life, and when we can flow rather than fight these cycles, we live a creative and satisfying life.  This past week, a man from our community who had died in Afghanistan (a Marine) was laid to rest.  During the service, the pastor referred to death as "the enemy," and it made me realize how much fear we create when we divorce ourselves from nature and its lessons.  As the Goo Goo Dolls sing, "When you're fighting the current, you forget how to live."

     From the Mana Cards comes "Pohaku:"
Pohaku (stone) symbolizes relationships, not only with other humans, but with all the earth.  One Hawaiian saying goes: He ola ka pohaku a he make ka pohaku, meaning "There is life in the stone and death in the stone."  Just as a stone can be used creatively or destructively, so too can our relationships be used.  If I think I have "dominion" over the earth and its creatures, I'll have no problem bulldozing down a habitat to make room for a parking lot.  I am reminded by this card that I am connected and related to all; what I do to others and the earth, I ultimately do to myself.   

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Building from the Ground Up

This week I'll be using the Sacred Sites Tarot, created by Massimiliano Filadoro and illustrated by Federico Penco.  Today's card is the Nine of Pentacles:
Timbuktu - Mali, Africa
On the edge of the Sahara, where the Niger River flows northward into the southern edge of the desert, lies Timbuktu.  It was a natural meeting place for travelers and traders, "where the camel meets the canoe."  Over time it became a prosperous city of merchants and scholars, and by the 12th century, it had three universities.  By the 14th century, the legend of Timbuktu as a rich cultural center had spread throughout the world - amazing, since it started out only as a spot where a well had been dug.  This card reminds me that from perseverance, discipline and hard work, great things can grow.  With the right attitude, even something simple can be carved into something worthwhile and wonderful.

     The oracle deck I'll be using this week is the Mana Cards: The Power of Hawaiian Wisdom, created by Catherine Becker and illustrated by Doya Nardin.  This morning's card is "Ho'oponopono:"
Ho 'Oponopono ("to set right") is a ritual to restore harmonious relationships that involves a mediator leading the discussion among the participants.  Truthfulness, a sincere attitude to right wrongs, and a willingness to listen intently is necessary.  Whether I am trying to build a business or a relationship, honest and non-judgmental communication between me and another is essential, and will hopefully eliminate assumptions or misunderstandings that can be damaging. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Creating and Receiving

    From the Art of Tarot, the Ace of Pentacles:
The Aces contain such potential, but the possibilities will come to nothing without action from me.  If someone gives me a grill for barbecuing that comes in pieces in a box, I have to put it together if I am going to use it.  In the image above, the invitation to the garden luncheon will be useless unless the guests come.  As Thoreau alludes to, there is a difference between observing life and fully experiencing it (which will require my involvement and participation).  My opportunities will be wasted if I don't take advantage of them; they will be the gifts I fail to open.

     From the Tao Oracle this morning comes "The Receptive:
The painting of a pregnant belly with a lotus at the heart chakra represents the quality of yielding and allowing.  Most people want to praise the active creative quality and denigrate the receptive quality.  But just ask anyone who's brought an important, beneficial idea to a bunch of closed-minded board members, and they'll tell you just how essential it is in any project or undertaking.  Today I will try to not keep my cup so full, that there is no room for anything else to be added to it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Creative Effort

  From the Art of Tarot, the Two of Pentacles:
I've been to a few ballets, and have always been amazed by the dancers' fluid gracefulness, their sense of balance, and their ability to work together with such harmony.  In Roosevelt's words, they use their bodies in "creative effort" - translating original ideas into reality.  This card makes me pause and consider how I am using my resources of money and energy.  Is there a balance between hoarding and impulsive spending, between being constantly active and being a couch potato?  I know neither extreme will bring me happiness or security, so I must find a middle path between them.  I may need to stretch my imagination to find it...

     From the Tao Oracle comes "Treading:"
Here is a beautiful rendition of another balancing act - between the conduct of the ego and the conduct that arises from essence (higher self).  The ego functions from habit, based on conditioned behavior patterns.  Essence allows us to act with awareness and sensitivity, rather than from self-centeredness.  As Padma writes, "When you act from essence, you understand that marching to the beat of your own drum is not contradictory to playing in harmony with the band."  Better dust off that bodhran and listen for the rhythm... 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Retreats and Deliverance

From the Art of Tarot, the Hermit:
The name of this painting is Solitude, watching the horizon at sunset in hope of seeing a vessel.  This card reminds me of the long walks I take in the early morning, away from the distraction of phones, internet, TV and people.  It gives me a chance to touch base with my inner self, a spiritual check-up if you will.  It allows me to peel back the layers and see what is behind any obsessive thoughts, emotional turmoil, or any sense of apathy.  It also allows me to acknowledge and appreciate all the things for which I can be grateful.  But most importantly, I can form a plan of action for getting myself back on track when I've wandered off.  I love time-outs for adults.

     From the Tao Oracle comes "Deliverance:"
We've been under drought conditions for some time now, and in this area where so many farmers depend on rain for their crops it has become quite serious.  But last night we had a band of thunderstorms come through, bringing life-giving rain.  Unfortunately, the front triggered a migraine in me, and I spent most of the night wondering if I should try driving myself to the emergency room.  But at dawn when I awoke for my walk, most of the pain had gone; everywhere I looked what had once been brown now glowed with green.  It was a feeling of deliverance, and my heart is full this morning with thankfulness.