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

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Power of Temptations

  From the Morgan-Greer Tarot, the Five of Swords:
I've always thought this card should be entitled "The Pyrrhic Victory."  The guy with the smug smile and the swords has won the argument, but he has destroyed something more important in the process - his relationships and the respect others have for him.  Whenever there is a difference of opinion or beliefs, it is sometimes hard to remember that perhaps my knowledge is limited.  When engaged with someone who is in the same place, there is a desire to belittle, bait, and obliterate.  But like the "winner" in the image above, I will soon find that I've lost much more than I've gained.

     From the Goddesses and Sirens Oracle comes the card "Sirens/Temptation:"
With women as beautiful as these, I can see why men might overlook the monster lurking in the background or the collection of skulls and skeletons strewn about.  And once they do see them, it's too late.  Just as the Sirens lured sailors to their death with their songs, I can get caught up in my emotions or a self-righteous attitude.  If I act from this place of imbalance (as it is tempting to think I know what is best), I invariably wind up with a mess to clean up.  Best to check for those bones lying about first...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Natural Response to Joy

From the Morgan-Greer Tarot, the Ace of Cups:
Morgan-Greer's version of the Ace of Cups is one of the most beautiful to me.  The dove represents my Higher Self, that within me where ego does not exist.  The glow coming from the cup is the compassion that is able to rise when my cup is full and overflowing.  The five streams of water represent the joy of fulfillment - spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically.  The fifth stream is the joy I have to pour out to others.  It does not come from feeling obligated or being needy (as in "I must do for others to feel worthy."), but from a place of gratitude.  When I give from this place of true compassion, it refills rather than depletes my cup.  It is not a struggle (like the lotus trying to reach the light), but a natural response to life.

     From the Goddesses and Sirens Oracle comes "Gaia/Creation:"
The authors suggest a meaning in their booklet about this Earth goddess that seems quite in harmony with today's tarot card: "Allow yourself to create in joy, not because of pressure."  Whether I'm trying to solve a problem, bake a cake, or draw in my nature journal, I enjoy it much more when I don't put time restraints on myself.  Usually when I do this, it's because there is something else on my "to do" list that I think is a priority.  What a way to suck the fun out of things!  Today I'll try to keep in mind that the world has never come to a halt because I didn't accomplish all I set out to do.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tending to What Matters

From the Morgan-Greer Tarot, the King of Pentacles:
A successful businessman, this king has lots of practical wisdom to share.  He knows there are no short-cuts, and that competent, hard work will eventually pay off.  But there is one thing I like about the Morgan-Greer version of this king - he's not sitting on some throne surrounded by comforts and pleasures.  He's out in the field checking on his crop of grapes.  I have no doubt that he's aware if they need more water, additional fertilizer, or help with a pest problem.  He may have created a flourishing enterprise, but he wants it to stay that way, so he's there first-hand to keep an eye on things.  He reminds me that even though I might be headed on the right path to meet my goals, I need to avoid complacency.  There'll be no resting on my laurels today.

     From the Gods and Titans Oracle comes "Ra/Power:"
Ra was an Egyptian solar deity, and so the authors have associated him with power, much like that of the sun.  Though I don't have a battery, I do need to recharge on a daily basis.  Just like the grapes growing in the king's field above, I need to tend my "soil" as well.  Getting my basic needs meet - good food, enough rest, and exercise - are a start, but I need more.  Sometimes the joy of being outdoors or laughing with friends infuses me with energy; other times I need quiet, introspective moments to turn within.  These activities will help keep me going when I'm feeling drained.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Warm and Fuzzy vs. Frightening

From the Morgan-Greer Tarot, the Five of Wands:
There's nothing quite so challenging as bringing people together with multiple opinions about how to get things done.  For a perfect example, just look at all the money and time Congress wastes trying to come to some mutual agreement.  Yet when I look at the staves in the card above, I see that they are all sprouting oak leaves, symbolizing that all these people have creative ideas to bring to the table.  While I don't need to toss out my thoughts altogether, I would do well to listen with an open mind to others too.  Our combined effort might just bring about something much better than any individual might propose.

     From the Gods and Titans Oracle comes "Anubis/Protection:"
Anubis was the patron god of Egyptian embalmers who watched over and protected the dead.  This jackal-headed god doesn't look very warm and fuzzy.  His appearance reminds me of a story I read about a woman who visited India and saw a woman worshipping an image of Kali, with her necklace of severed heads and bloody sword.  The tourist asked why the woman would chose such a frightening image to represent the divine.  The Hindu woman replied, "If you wanted a protector, would you choose one who looked meek or one who looked powerful?"  Anubis teaches me to keep a stone face and stiff upper lip even if my heart is racing and my knees are knocking.  People might not be quite so eager to try to run over or intimidate me, as we try to reach a decision or make a plan.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Simply Irresistible

From the Morgan-Greer Tarot, the Six of Cups:
What is the past but what we choose to remember? ~ Amy Tan
For some reason this particular card made me think of looking through a box of old photographs, and all the feelings that come up as a result.  Some I see and think, "Those were some good times," and feel grateful.  Others photos remind me of a pain or hurt, and I experience that same feeling all over again.  Then there are those (like the one of me in a bikini) that make me long for what I had and lost.  Memories can trigger all kinds of emotions; today I choose to focus on those that bring me gratitude rather than regret or anguish.

     From the Goddesses and Sirens Oracle this morning comes "Freya / Irresistibility:"
The keyword for this goddess made me laugh out loud.  At my age, I have a hard time thinking of myself as sexy and irresistible.  But the authors make a point to say that the Norse goddess Freya has something else going for her besides her sensuality that makes her attractive to others - her optimistic confidence.  Combined with the tarot card above, my lesson here is that the past doesn't have to predict the present or the future of my life.  I have the power to make new choices and change my behavior.  My decision to act with Freya's poise and assurance could boost my mood as well as my outlook.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Focusing on My Own Adventure

From the Morgan-Greer Tarot, the Page of Pentacles:
This young man is often known as "the student," and while most cards show him gazing intently at the coin in his hand, this fellow is gazing off into the horizon.  I have a love of reading and learning, but what I can't tolerate is information packaged for mass consumption designed to be force-fed to the person studying it.  I want to be like this Page; I want information that will make me dream about possibilities, that will make me so curious and full of wonder I want to learn more, and that will allow me to ask questions and express doubts.  I want to be an explorer on an exciting adventure when I seek knowledge.

     From the Gods and Titans Oracle comes "Ull/Focus:"
Ull is the Norse God of Marksmen known for his intense focus, stamina, and skill to hit his target.  I instantly thought of "the Hawk" from the Avengers when I saw him.  As someone who meditates, I know how easy it is to lose my center and become distracted by a multitude of dramas, most of which I have no control over.  I may be able to offer encouragement and suggestions, but that's where my influence ends.  I must not get so sidetracked and preoccupied that I forget to give my life the attention it deserves.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Opportunities and Commitment

This week I'll be using the Morgan-Greer Tarot, created by Lloyd Morgan and Bill Greer.  Today's draw is the Ace of Pentacles:
Red roses (passion, desire) and white lilies (purity, focus) flank an archway that leads to a mountain in the distance.  The hand with the pentacle is an offering, an opportunity that offers me physical help - finances, energy/time, or health.  The bottom line is I must be willing to do something to take advantage of this option.  There's no taxi or helicopter waiting to take me to the top of the mountain.  I've got to walk the path and make the climb myself.

     The oracle deck I'll be using this week is a combination of two decks: Gods & Titans and Goddesses & Sirens, both created by Stacey Demarco and Jimmy Manton.  This morning's card is "Hera/Commitment:"
Hera was the Greek goddess of women and marriage, and being married to Zeus, the queen of Olympus.  Her husband was know for his infidelity, and Hera for her jealousy, yet she had a job to do as a goddess regardless.  This card encourages me to get off the fence post - either commit to what I say I want to do, or move on to something else.  If something is not worthy of my loyalty, I don't need to complain or get angry about it.  There are plenty more areas where I can focus my attention and effort. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Different Sources of Gratitude

From the Tarot of Timeless Truth, the Ten of Pentacles:
On a mountaintop, a woman opens her arms expansively, welcoming the new morning.  There is no castle with servants, only a hut made of hides, her family, and her dog.  Yet the smiles are indicative of a sense of gratefulness for their simple life.  They have all they need - shelter, warm clothes, a fire, and each other.  And what a view they have each day!  I am reminded that beauty, fulfilled basic needs, and people who love me are what make me a wealthy woman, regardless of all the other "stuff" I own.

     From the Rune Cards comes "Yew/Eihwaz:"
The yew is a tree with rough bark,
hard and fast in the earth, supported by its roots,
a guardian of flame and a joy upon an estate.

~ Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem
Yews have been thought to be a gateway to the Underworld, and as such often represent initiation and transformation.  The booklet lists the following as meanings of this rune: "a reassessment of values and the way you wish to live your life, a change of direction."  There's nothing like living in hell for a period of time, then discovering you've been granted a reprieve, even if temporary.  Whether the pain is physical or emotional, it does have the power to change me, and make me grateful with a new outlook.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Seeing and Accepting

From the Tarot of Timeless Truth, Judgment:
Here the Universe (depicted as a woman) shows a young lady the truth about herself.  Her strengths and her weaknesses, her actions and their consequences, are laid bare.  It is not meant as a moment of shame, but a time to see clearly so she can move forward, using her assets to work on her flaws.  The goal is not perfection, but a willingness to grow.  I also don't need to emulate someone else, to become a carbon copy of them.  I should strive to do as Stephen Gaskin states:  "You have to be true to yourself, but you have to be true to your best self, not to the self that secretly thinks you are better than other people."

     From the Rune Cards comes "Sun/Sowilo:"
Sun ever proves a joy to seamen
when they cross the fish-bath-sea,
till the brine-steed brings them to land.

~Anglo-Saxon Rune poem
In this image, the sun pierces through dark storm clouds, bringing light to the voyagers on the ocean.  I generally get up before the sun rises, and when I venture outside, I'm always surprised when what I think I see turns out to be something else.  For instance this morning, what I thought was a pinecone turned out to be a large toad.  Light shines in the shadows, helping me to see what I need to acknowledge.  Once accepted, it can help me navigate with greater clarity and purpose.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Requirements of Love

  From the Touchstone Tarot, the Two of Cups:
Regardless of how much I think I have in common with someone, there will always be differences.  Here the male and female figures emphasize finding harmony even though there may be divergent opinions and ideas.  Does this partnership bring me joy (as shown by the two dolphins in the background), or does it bring me only sorrow?  Must I compromise my integrity in this relationship, or is there a sense of respect for each other's ethics and boundaries?  I prefer peace and accord, and I can bend and shape my opinions if needed.  But I must make sure I do not make malleable those parts of me that are important.  True love won't require that of me.

     From the Rune Cards comes the "Oak/Ac:"
The oak on earth to the sons of men is food for flesh.
It often fares over the gannet's bath, and there the ocean
tests whether the oak honours the trust we place in it.
What impresses me about this oak is that even though it's dropped a huge limb, it's still producing a crop of acorns.  This rune does not deal with strength as much as it does endurance (think of a charging buffalo as opposed to a mountain).  No relationship is worth hanging onto if it can't persevere through a few stormy seas.  If it's a worthy alliance, weathering such problems will only make it stronger.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Connecting or Dividing

From the Tarot of Timeless Truth, the Lovers:
Vey created a nontraditional image for the Lovers; instead of two people with an angel overhead, or one person making a choice between two others, she incorporates the universe.  Vey's interpretation of this card involves connections and relationships with everyone and everything.  Sad to say, but most humans could probably find more in common with their pet than their neighbor.  Humans just seem wired to look for differences rather than what is mutally shared among us.  I must actively make a choice to see what connects me rather than divides me from my world.

     From the Rune Cards, "Woden/Ansuz:"
Woden (aka Odin) was the Norse supreme god associated with war, poetry, prophecy, and wisdom.  The rune Ansuz  is linked to the mouth, breath and speech, persuasion and inspiration.  It reminds me of the power of words - they can be used to heal, pass on knowledge, and create partnerships.  Or, they can be used to hurt, deceive, and start wars.  Its so easy to speak, but so much harder to think carefully before those words come out of my mouth...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Replace or Repeat

From the Tarot of Timeless Truth, the Four of Pentacles:
I can almost hear the thoughts of these four people: "It's my life and my problems and I'll deal with things my way."  I hate to admit it, but I can relate to the insanity of such reasoning.  Yet it's hard to find an exit out of the iron box that my way of doing things created.  What produced my problems will not create the solution.  I have to open up to others, to be willing to try something new and different.  I went to a seminar last night (that I almost talked myself out of) on yoga nidra - a method that uses both mental and physical processes to reduce stress.  I found that at first I struggled to maintain control, but eventually I was able to relax.  When I did, the worries eased off too.  I'll be attending the three-week session that begins today; it will add another spiritual tool to my toolbox.

     From the Rune Cards comes "Need/Nyd:"
Nyd is oppressive to the heart;
yet often it proves a source of help and salvation
to the children of men, to everyone who heeds it betimes.

~ Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem
Like these wornout shoes, there are things in my life that need to be replaced with something else.  But like shoes that cause blisters and feet that ache, I often don't realize the problem until it causes me some pain.  The pain itself is not punishment, but a red flag trying to get my attention.  And as Linsell and Partridge state in the booklet, it "causes us discomfort but it can also bring contentment if we confront it."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Consider the Cost

  From the Tarot of Timeless Truth, the Seven of Cups:
This card is generally about making choices concerning what will help me find fulfillment.  After a stressful, sleepless night, my first thought would be to choose the cup that holds a sleeping pill that would knock me out for about 24 hours.  But I realize this solution wouldn't solve my problems, it would just keep me from dealing with them.  Vey, in her companion book, says to "consider the cost" when making such a decision.  Will it affect my integrity, health, relationships, or peace of mind?  I know those short-term bandaids will not heal the gaping wounds underneath.  I'm going to have to do some work with the spiritual tools I have, which means I'm in this for the long haul.

     From the Rune Cards comes "Beaver (Ior):"
Ior is a river fish and yet it always feeds on land;
it has a fair abode encompassed by water, where it lives in happiness.
~ Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem
The beaver is known for its industriousness in building a sturdy home with constant vigilance to keep it in good shape.  The lodge is built in rivers with an underwater entrance; the den inside is above the water line and has two sections, one for drying off and one for a living area.  This card reminds me that everyone needs a place where they can relax, feel secure, and find comfort.  Such a shelter can allow me the time to rest and regain my strength so I can better weather the storms outside. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Life on Life's Terms

This week I'll be using the Tarot of Timeless Truth, with both the deck and companion book created by Leila Vey.  Today's draw is the Ace of Pentacles:
A dryad (tree spirit) holds a pentacle as the sun appears on the horizon.  Great trees grow from small seeds, rooted firmly in the earth, then mature to produce seeds of their own.  This card is a prompt to pay attention to the opportunities in my life and take advantage of them.  Just dreaming about how I want things to be will never create them.  My accomplishments will come from practical actions that move me in the right direction.  I don't have to do it all in one day, just one step at a time.

     The oracle deck I'll be using this week are the Rune Cards, created by Tony Linsell and Brian Partridge.  This morning's draw is "Tiw:"
Tiw is a guiding mark.  He keeps trust with all men,
is ever on his path above the night's mists and never fails.

Anglo-Saxon Poem
Tiw is the Norse god of courage and victory, law and justice.  Here in this image he sits on his mountain with arms outstretched, the sword of justice laid across his lap, as he watches the rider pass by.  I envy those who have faith in a god that watches over all they do, intervenes in certain circumstances, and does their bidding when asked respectfully.  I do have faith that the sun will rise and set, that the moon will wax and wane, and that the seasons will change.  The power that moves through these things is what I turn to, not to craft things according to my wishes, but to give me the strength and serenity to live life on life's terms. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Do What You Say, Say What You Mean

From the Touchstone Tarot, the King of Wands:
The face of this king comes from the portrait of a Dutch politician - rather fitting for this particular card.  With the American presidential election coming up, I can't imagine Romney or Obama suddenly deciding they were bored or tired and choosing to drop out of the race.  The King of Wands is the same; he will see the project through to the end without slacking off in effort or focus.  One of his hands is gloved, while the other is not, making me think of the phrase "taking the gloves off."  This fellow encourages me to stop pussyfooting around and finish what I've started.

     From the Oracle of the Grail Code comes "Communication:"
This card comes from a painting done of Mary Magdalene, ardent follower of Jesus, preaching to the folks of Provence.  In her companion book, Marashinsky emphasizes that communication is not "just talking," and states: "when emotions overlay and insinuate themselves into your message, chances are nothing is heard but the emotion."  Definitely a nudge to pay attention to my words, body language, tone, and listening skills in order to get across what I intend today.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What is Worthy?

From the Touchstone Tarot, the King of Pentacles:
With his elaborate attire and oysters on his plate, this man of money might seem intimidating.  Yet Black, in her companion book, describes him as "approachable."  It doesn't matter what your gender, race, or social standing might be, he only asks that you come with a worthy cause.  Con artists, whiners, and those who are just plain lazy need not bother.  This king encourages me to be discerning when it comes to not only my money, but also my time and energy.  Like him, I need to ask if what I'm about to get involved in is worth expending the resources I have, or if they would only be wasted. 

     From the Oracle of the Grail Code comes "Call of the Soul:"
At night in the middle of a lake, a woman stands still, listening to the sound of her breath and the lap of water against her boat.  She waits for guidance from the voice within.  Marashinsky states that this card advises to "make living from your soul a priority" and to "quiet down your emotional, physical, and mental body, and go into the silence."  I don't know why it is that when life becomes chaotic and unmanageable, the first things to go are the spiritual tools that will help me the most.  Though I do my nature walks every morning, I haven't spent any time lately in sitting meditation.  Time to sit, breathe, and listen...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cups of Companionship, Cups of Peace

  From the Touchstone Tarot, the Three of Cups:
Three women are sequestered in a back room enjoying time together.  The Three of Cups often shows a celebration of dancing, drinking, and partying in general, but this image reminds me that intimate, relaxed get-togethers can be just as fun.  In fact, it is the small groups where I find more of a connection and share more openly with others.  The company of a few is infinitely more fulfilling to me than a crowd.

     From the Oracle of the Grail Code comes "Peace:"
This is another painting by Evelyn De Morgan called Lux in Tenebris, or "Light in Darkness."  That title reminds me that if I look hard enough, I will find something good in my life no matter what else is going on.  And gratitude is a game changer, because with it comes serenity.  Then the peace I have can spill out of my full cup to those around me...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Redefining My Role

From the Touchstone Tarot, the Queen of Wands:
With her rosy checks and confident expression, this woman oozes intensity.  She is passionate and determined, but her elemental associations can make her seem like someone with a split personality.  On one hand, her suit gives her a fiery personality (much like her cat); her desire is for you to want what she wants, and she doesn't mind goading you a bit to get it.  On the other end is her watery nature as queen, which is used to encourage and cheer on others who are following their dreams or trying to reach a goal.  Yet she has such a magnetic personality and such charm, sometimes it's hard to tell if you've been caught up in the excitement of her passion or if you're following your own heart.  I often need a breath of fresh air to clear my head when I'm under her influence.

     From the Oracle of the Grail Code comes "Compassion:"
On a rocky shore, a woman watches a ship being torn apart.  Seeing her hand over her heart lets me know she feels for its occupants, yet there is not much she can do.  Most of the women I know seem to be driven to do something about everything.  Somewhere we have been taught that we should play the role of "fixer."  But regardless of how much compassion I have for someone, there are times when I can't (or shouldn't) fix anything.  In her companion book Marashinsky writes about other ways to incorporate this trait:
1) deep listening
2) affirming a person's ability to handle whatever is in their life
3) witnessing without jumping in to rescue

Monday, August 13, 2012

I Know Nothing

From the Touchstone Tarot, the Wheel of Fortune:
The wheel in this card is from a painting by Fra Angelico called The Vision of Ezekiel.  The outer wheel contains prophets from the old testament of the bible with words from the first few verses of Genesis: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."  The inner wheel includes people from the new testament with the first verses in John around it :"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."  The wheel within a wheel helps me to remember that when I uncover one mystery, another waits in its place.  Things will unfold that may help me understand, but there will always be dozens of more doors to open when that understanding arrives.  As the paper at the top of the wheel implies, I'll never graduate from learning.  Not only is change constant in the outer world, it is also present in my inner world as well.

     From the Oracle of the Grail Code comes "Emotions:"
This appears to be a lovely scene until the bars on the window are noticed.  This painting was created by Evelyn De Morgan and entitled The Prisoner.  Fearful emotions have held me in a prison these past few days, sucking the energy from my body and mind.  Yet when I look at them realistically, I find that 99% of my anxiety comes from assumptions, expectations, and projections.  Basically, they are not real.  And even if my worst fears come true, do I absolutely without a doubt know that the result could be a terrible thing?  No, I don't; it might even bring a type of freedom...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Steadiness of Mind

From the Touchstone Tarot, the Six of Wands:
Seeing the expression on this young man's face reminds me of when I was in my early twenties; I was full of confidence, headstrong, and sure that the world was just waiting for me to conquer it.  And indeed, this fellow crowned with a laurel wreath has faced his challenge and triumphed.  The stag on the pennant represents his self-assurance, but the tip of material may hint at another meaning.  It circles around with the tail pointing downward, reminding me of the wheel of life.  Enjoy and celebrate your success young man, but realize that there will be other tests and obstacles to overcome.  The goal is not to finally get everything (and everyone) permanently fixed to my liking, but to ride the ups and downs of life with equanimity.

     From the Oracle of the Grail Code comes "Temperance:"
If you look carefully at this woman's feet, you'll see flames of fire spreading around her.  No wonder she needs that jug of water!  Some art scholars have interpreted this painting of Temperantia by Sir Edward Burne-Jones as a woman trying to put out the flames of passion.  That interpretation reminds me of the misunderstanding some folks have of the Buddhist term "equanimity."  This word doesn't mean to live with "flat" emotions, never feeling happy or sad, appreciative or disappointed.  It means accepting situations in the moment without going into a tailspin, because I understand that everything is transient.  I don't emotionally attach my happiness to my definition of what is good (willing it to never change), nor do I fear that what is bad will last forever.  I maintain my balance no matter what is swirling about me - steadiness rather than an extreme reaction.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Endings and Fresh Starts

The new deck I'll be using this week is the LE Touchstone Tarot by Kat Black.  This morning's draw is "Death:"
The source of this image (minus the skeleton) is from a painting done by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio entitled Death of the Virgin.  Caravaggio's work cause quite a stir with the church, because it depicted the death of Mary as ordinary rather than a portrayal of her rising to heaven surrounded by cherubs.  I am reminded by this card that the normal flow of life to have both a beginning and an end.  It is not a form of punishment, it is just the circle arcing back around to meet its beginning.  Everything is a part of nature and follows this cycle, though on a personal basis, accepting this law is rarely easy.

     The other new deck I'll be using this week is the Oracle of the Grail Code by Amy Sophia Marashinsky.  Today's card is "Service:"
Here is another painting of Mary (Madonna Litta) attributed to Leonardo da Vinci.  It is interesting that this one (birth and life) is in stark contrast to the one above (death).  Marashinsky makes a wise statement in her companion book: "If your service is not bringing a feeling of being blessed, then it is time to let go of negative beliefs surrounding your service and/or choose another more nurturing way for you of giving service."  At first glance, her words may sound a bit self-centered.  But if my service causes me to feel resentful and "put-upon," then it is not really service - it's just me trying to earn some brownie points.  I need to find what brings me joy because that is what I really want to pass on to others.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Nice Stop on the Journey

From the Cosmic Tarot, the World:
This tarot card often represents completion and competency.  The angel, lion, bull, and eagle symbolize the four fixed astrological signs, the four elements, and the four tarot suits.  The many pieces of the jigsaw puzzle have been gathered and assembled into a whole.  There is a sense of fulfillment and understanding that reaches far beyond the ego's grasp.  The roses swirl around the dancing woman as does the water, implying that she has found a way to flow with rather than fight the current (which has led to her development).  The shepherd's crook she offers up to the Universe - she no longer feels a need to control people or things, nor does she need to use them as a crutch.  Of course this is not the final destination; it is just one stop as other frontiers are explored and other gateways open.

     From the L'Oeil de Lotus comes "Loyalty:"
Take care of a dog's basic needs, add in some quality time of play and love, and you'll have a friend for life.  Yet dogs who have been treated cruelly will react in kind.  Loyalty does not mean blind obedience, but dedication and commitment.   Regardless of the goal, I need to be prepared to put in a steadfast and devoted effort.  The ball beside the dog is another reminder that I must be a team player in this effort, rather than a coach or referee.  My goal is to learn, not be a guru.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Full Monty

From the Cosmic Tarot, the Seven of Pentacles:
The title of this card might as well be "When the Best Laid Plans All Go to Hell in a Hand-basket."  This particular version definitely leans toward the Thoth interpretation.  Poor fellow, there's no harvest here, just rocky, bare ground.  I know just the kind of disappointment he feels.  Yesterday, groundwork that I've been laying for over a month finally saw results.  But not the results I wanted to see.  It was painful and broke my heart.  I know sometimes the ground must be cleared and plowed before anything will grow, which requires time, work, and a willingness to deal with the unpleasant.  I'm not giving up, but I need to let go of the "happily ever after" idea I've been holding onto tightly.

     From the L'Oeil de Lotus comes "Wisdom:"
The lotus flower is often used as a symbol of wisdom and enlightenment because of the way it grows.  It begins in the mud (the physical), progresses through the water (the emotional), and finally breaks the surface of the water to rise into the air (the mental).  Only after passing through all three stages does it open to the light (wisdom).  I am reminded that I don't receive wisdom just by reading a book, planting a garden, or talking about my moods.  All of these actions are positive, but I need the "Full Monty" - experiencing, feeling, and thinking - to find what I truly seek.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Movement and Moods

   From the Cosmic Tarot, the Chariot:
This fellow is moving at top speed down a rocky road.  Though the horses that pull his chariot look different, they both seem intent in heading in the same direction.  There are times when I have the energy to do things, but my mind and mood don't want to cooperate.  Then there are the days when I am enthusiastic about ideas for a project, but feel exhausted and can't bring myself to do much of anything.  It is wonderful on those days when I am emotionally, physically and mentally on the same page, and regardless of the "rocks" in the road, I can succeed in getting much done.

     From the L'Oeil de Lotus comes the "Moon:"
The phases of the moon around the earth speak of cycles and changes.  I can't help but think it also is a hint about the head space I've been in lately.  Menopause has made me feel like someone has given me drugs I didn't ask for.  I'm learning to deal with the hot flashes (more appropriately described as hot tsunamis), though they wake me constantly all night long and interfere with my sleep.  My moods have been eratic, going from serene to feeling like I am walking around with no skin on.  There have been days when I've had to put myself in "time out" for the protection of all those around me.  But as the card suggests, it is a phase not a permanent condition - thank goodness.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Stubbornness and Stabilization

From the Cosmic Tarot, the Prince (Knight) of Pentacles:
Of all the knights in tarot, this is the one who will see projects and promises through to the end.  He's loyal, dedicated and practical, but he's got another trait as well - stubbornness.  Look at the way he has his arms crossed (and the bull on the hill over his shoulder); he's not going to give an inch.  Yet he is not being obstinate just to prove a point - this side of his nature comes out when he feels like he is being bullied or manipulated.  He can withstand angry rants, tearful pleading, or intellectual attempts to make him feel stupid.  If he thinks he is doing what is right, he will not back down.  Plus, he has a few surprises that he's kept under wraps (see the way he hides part of the pentacle?).  Come what may, this card suggests I need to keep going until I reach the finish line.

     From the L'Oeil de Lotus comes "Stabilization:"
It doesn't require too much thinking to figure out what this card represents.  The heavy anchor on the bottom of the ocean reminds me to be grounded rather than bobbing helter-skelter in a sea of emotions.  Down on the sandy bottom, there is a sense of peace and detachment.  Let the waves crash above as they will - I don't have to get caught up in them.