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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Refilling My Cup

From the Rosetta Tarot, the Ace of Cups:
When I am emotionally and spiritually "full," I have extra that overflows to others.  Unfortunately I can't reverse the flow and siphon off the reservoirs of others when my reserves run out, because replenishing myself is an inside job.  Yesterday was a lovely, spring day, and I worked out in the yard for over six hours.  I've been feeling depleted and out of sorts, but digging in the soil and being outdoors was rejuvenating for me.  Today my cup feels full.  Rabbi Ginsburgh explains the Hebrew letter Hei (which Meleen associates with the Ace of Cups) means "take." It refers to taking from oneself and giving unconditionally to another, but the gift is not necessarily a tangible one.  It involves "drawing the receiver into the essence of the giver."  I am grateful this Sunday to have something more than superficiality to offer.

From the Ascension to Paradise deck comes the "Manakin:"
These colorful little birds live in the tropics and subtropics and have an unusual talent.  Their modified wing feathers allow them to make a snapping noise much like the sound of snapping twigs.  This bird reminds me to "snap out of it" by opening my eyes and taking a good look around me.  There is beauty in nature to be enjoyed (particularly this time of year), my basic needs are met, and I have people who love me.  Like the jewels that surround the bird in the image above, I have plenty of treasures to be grateful for, and gratitude is one sure-fire way to keep my cup full.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Opening Doors

This week I'll be using the Rosetta Tarot; both the deck and companion book were created by M.M. Meleen and published by Atu House.  Today's draw is the Empress:
Meleen states that the Hebrew letter associated with the Empress is Daleth, meaning door.  While the High Priestess was the vessel that received, the Empress is the opening through which what is received is born.  She may look all sweet and innocent, but the shield next to her is a nod to the force of power that this woman wields.  She is the gateway that opens my mind to the inspiration that comes, opens my mouth to put it into words, and unfolds my body to create my vision in the world.  And like the mother she is, she will show me how to nurture and care for it as it grows.

The oracle deck and book I'll be using this week is the Ascension to Paradise, a set created by Jane Toerien and Joyce Van Dobben and published by Binkey Kok.  This morning's draw is the "Brolga:"
The brolga is an Australian crane, a tall, elegant, silvery-gray bird.  It has a patch of red skin stretching from behind the eyes across the back of the neck.  This physical trait represents a traumatic or damaging event that resulted in a prejudice toward a specific person, group or thing.  The purpose of the brolga's card is to help me move from my instinctive reaction of intolerance to one of tolerance.  I know the weight of prejudice well; while the anger and resentment is obvious, the greater pain comes from the fear that underlies it all.  How do you trust someone who has ripped your life apart?  But perhaps distrust is not the problem (which I don't think I am capable of letting go), but the need to forgive and see this person as damaged emotionally.  Maybe the door I need to open is my heart, not necessarily my day-to-day life.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Tilling the Soil

From Waking the Wild Spirit Tarot, the Ace of Earth (Pentacles):
An earth spirit encourages the seeds underground to sprout and move toward the sun.  The beetle looks as if it might eat the roots before the plant has a chance to grow, yet the bird waits patiently for the beetle, looking for a meal.  There are so many things I want to grow in my life, but there are "beetles" who discourage me - negative people, other obligations, and my own inner critic.  However, I have several "birds" who will encourage me and lend their support in whatever way they can.  Time to gather the flock...

From the Fairy Ring Oracle comes "Ariel:"
Ariel is a sylph, or air elemental.  He is symbolized by the phrases, "A breath of fresh air" and "the winds of change."  The book says the bird with him in the image is a hawk, but when I first saw it, I thought it was a turkey vulture.  These birds can actually smell the chemical released by dead animals, a talent that helps them clean up and recycle what is decaying.  If I am going to start something new, I must do some spring cleaning too - clearing away old ways of thinking and past ideas - if I want to give my "seeds" a healthy start.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Unknown Equation

From the Waking the Wild Spirit Tarot, the Ace of Water (Cups):
A spring pours out onto the earth's surface from an underground natural water source.  Outside our city limits, there is a place called Radium Springs (above), considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia.  The 68F clear, blue water pours out of a cave at the rate of 70,000 gallons a minute.  It used to be the local "swimming hole," but now has been preserved and protected as an ecological and environmental park.  A resort and casino, built in the 1920's but destroyed in a flood, has been replaced by a botanical garden.  The two floods, in 1994 and 1998, covered the whole area with brown, muddy water.  It is a delight to go back now and see the blue of the water again.  My heart is in need of some comfort and healing, so I'm hoping that's the encouragement this card brings today.

From the Fairy's Ring Oracle comes "King Finvarra:"
Finvarra sits in front of a chess board; like all figures of authority, he not only makes plans but tries to figure out what moves other people will make and how situations will play out.  I tend to do the same thing in my life, attempting to anticipate what will come.  Naturally, it rarely works out in reality as it does in my head.  But adding this card to the one above, I see that the "unknown" in the equation is emotions.  Love and relationships can lead a person to act courageously or blindly.  Deep feelings are always a wild card, allowing the outcome to always be a toss-up...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Omissions and Oversights

From the Waking the Wild Spirit Tarot, the Eight of Earth (Pentacles):
The card chosen today reminded me of the piracy problem off the coast of Somalia.  These pirates have been a thorn in the side of international ships from around the world.  America's response has been to attempt to smash them with the biggest hammer available.  And while studies have shown that some of these pirates are in it for financial gain, the majority of others have done it out of desperation.  Foreign vessels have dumped toxic wastes in the waters here, effectively destroying the way Somalian fisherman earn a living.  The pirates themselves prefer to be called badaadinta badah or "saviors of the sea."  In the deck's companion book, Palin suggests this card indicates I've been "ambushed by my own stupid omissions," making me "a hostage to my own foolish oversights."  Truly an admonition to see all sides of a situation and listen to all sides of a story before making an assumption.

From the Fairy Ring Oracle comes the "Elder Queen:"
This fairy spirit inhabits the elder tree; as long as the tree was shown respect, the fairy would protect those who looked after it.  It was a relationship built on trust and admiration, much like the friendships I have in my life.  Though many of my friends hold different political or philosophical ideas than I do, our respect for each other keeps our relationship solid.  These are the people who can show me my blind spots and offer suggestions that will help me, if I will listen to them.  Their only motive is in helping me, and I would do well to remember that when my ego wants to brush off what they are trying to tell me.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Woven Threads

From the Waking the Wild Spirit Tarot, the Dance of Life (Wheel of Fortune):
A ribbon winds among the top branches of a tree and down to its trunk as fairies each hold a part of it.  The red ribbon is the life we are all given, and its winding path among the upper and lower branches represents the gifts and hardships we meet along the way.  But here's the thing - some of us lightly grasp the ribbon and move with it, while others have it knotted around their wrists as it drags them along fussing and fuming.  This card brings to mind the 12 Step principle of acceptance; here's a quote from the AA textbook I would do well to remember today:
"unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy....  For me, serenity began when I learned to distinguish between those things that I could change and those I could not. When I admitted that there were people, places, things, and situations over which I was totally powerless, those things began to lose their power over me. I learned that everyone has the right to make their own mistakes, and learn from them, without my interference, judgment, or assistance!"

From the Fairy Ring Oracle comes the fairy "Habetrot:"
Habetrot is a Lowland Scots fairy known as a patroness of spinning.  Hand spinning involves taking fiber or fleece and twisting it to form thread or yarn.  In other words, a raw resource is processed to form something usable.  In adding this card to the one above, I see the encouragement to use what I have - wherever I find myself - to create what I can rather than grumping about what I don't have.  I know from past experience that even simple things can become magical when viewed through the eyes of gratitude.   

Monday, March 25, 2013

Welcoming or Whining

From Waking the Wild Spirit Tarot, the Knight of Flames (Wands):
Palin has subtitled this card "Gypsy," an indication that this is a person who embraces change but becomes restless with the routine.  The autumn leaves and acorns show a seasonal change that will be welcomed at first, but then will quickly be shoved aside in the pursuit of something "new."  I tend to be the polar opposite of this fellow, enjoying the ritual of daily tasks and disliking the chaos that comes when the unexpected happens.  What a nice balance it would be to find comfort and contentment in habits and routines yet also be excited and enthusiastic about changes and challenges. 

From the Fairy Ring deck comes "Samhain:"
I had to laugh when I saw that I pulled a festival card, particularly one associated with cooler weather.  Yesterday we had sunny skies with 82F temperatures, and everything from weeds to trees seemed to be blooming.  Today the high will be 52F, and this evening the temperature will drop below freezing.  I guess Mother Nature doesn't mark on her calendar when spring officially starts.  So here is another unanticipated change that I can choose to see as invigorating or disconcerting and either welcome or whine about. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sacred Duties

From the Waking the Wild Spirit Tarot, the Six of Air (Six of Wands):
Palin subtitled this card "Dawn Chorus," and it instantly brought to mind the sounds and scenes of a spring morning here in my neck of the woods.  We had storms roll through last night, but at first light I could hear the sound of the southern toads at the pond nearby, whose mating call sounds more a whirring chirp than a croak.  At the bird feeder, a male cardinal was feeding seeds to his mate, and the squirrels were shoring up their drays (nests) with sycamore leaves and pine boughs after the hard rain.  All around there was evidence of the continuance of life, and it made me reflect on the many unknown people who work under the radar and avoid front page headlines to do the same - peacemakers, environmentalists, educators, and wellness advocates.  My small actions seem like a tiny drop in the big scheme of things, but together with the drops of others, we can create a bucketful.

From the Fairy Ring Oracle this morning comes the "Spriggan:"
These slender fairies with big heads can puff themselves up until they are the size of giants, looking quite intimidating.  Their job is to watch over and protect sacred sites and hidden treasures from those who might harm or plunder them.  This card asks me where my treasure lies and what I consider sacred.  Once answered, it is my duty to protect them as best I can; even one small person who takes a stand is better than one hundred who turn away.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Temporary Retreats

The tarot deck I'll be using this week is a nontraditional one known as Waking the Wild Spirit.  The deck and its companion book were created by Poppy Palin; the deck was published by Llewellyn and the book (revised edition) by Slippery Jacks.  Today's draw is Going to Ground (Ten of Pentacles):
Palin explains that this card refers to a cycle of creation that is coming to a close.  The fox has raised its kits and now spends time alone waiting for the spring when it will start a new family.  The snail will burrow down in the earth, seal off the opening in its shell, and rest until winter passes.  In the human world, this cycle might be seen in a person who has spent their life building a career and has chosen to retire.  Or, it might be reflected in a woman who has spent the past years raising her children and now has chosen to go back to school.  Like the annual that dies but leaves its seeds behind, purposeful, creative action will begin again after a period of dormancy.

The oracle deck and book set I'll be using this week is the Fairy Ring; Anna Franklin and Paul Mason (artist) are the creators and Llewellyn is the publisher.  The draw for this morning is the "Woodwose:"
A woodwose is a forest spirit, also known as a wildman, who hides from human contact.  Some of these beings were originally human; Merlin was said to have retreated to the forest, insane with grief, where he became one of these creatures.  In the woodland he learned the deep truths that eventually transformed him into an accomplished seer and magician.  This fairy figure teaches me (like the card above) that sometimes I must leave the known for the unknown, letting go of tradition and pure logic in order to find a deeper understanding.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Broken Feathers

From the Margarete Peterson Tarot, the Five of Feathers (Swords):
A monster executes someone with a sword, while others attempt to flee; below a feather has been broken.  In some native cultures of North America, the eagle feather was a sacred gift given to honor someone.  Here in this image, it symbolizes that trust has been broken.  The sword represents the use of words to tear apart, manipulate, or harm others.  Though the bloody wounds may not be external, they are real nonetheless.  I've heard others state after initiating such an attack, "Oh, they'll get over it."  Have you ever tried to mend a broken feather?  It is an impossible task, as it will always remain damaged.

This morning the Elemental Dice produced "Water with Air" which represents "Cloud:"
A cloud is a visible mass of liquid droplets suspended in the atmosphere, a perfect balance of air and water.  Air is often used to symbolize the intellect and water to indicate emotions.  The cloud would suggest an equal blend of these two, representing composure and equanimity.  If I find myself being attacked verbally, I can remain calm and in control of myself even though my heart is engaged by keeping my head engaged as well.  I can stay "suspended" and out of harm's way instead of becoming sucked into a war of words.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dust in the Wind

From the Margarete Petersen Tarot, the Son (Knight) of Coins:
The court cards of the Coins suit have fine-tuned the art of bringing their creative goals to reality; they will persevere until they see the fruits of their labor.  But the Knight/Son has a tendency to stubbornly keep doing what has worked in the past, even if it is no longer working; for him, tradition has been turned into Truth.  Being surrounded by farms outside my city, the idea of doing things the "traditional way" made me think of crop rotation.  Farmers had to learn the hard way, after planting the same crop over and over in the same field, that the soil must be nurtured as well as used.  They eventually began to grow different crops in the same area, a practice that improved soil structure and fertility as well as prevented the build-up of pathogens and pests.  The Son of Coins sits in a spinal twist (yogic position) with a moving stream of water beside him.  He reminds me that using the "tried and true" way of doing things is fine, but I need to be flexible enough to adapt to changes and challenges that come my way.

From the roll of the Elemental Dice today comes "Air with Earth," representing "Dust:"
A dust storm can happen in dry regions when strong winds pick up loose sand and soil, suspending them in the air.  This combination makes me think of the Dust Bowl that occurred in the States during the 1930s which blinded and choked people living on the farms.  The phenomenon was caused by the combination of a severe drought and poor farming practices that did nothing to prevent wind erosion.  A decade of plowing up the deep-rooted grasses that originally kept the soil in place and trapped moisture caused the top soil to be vulnerable to high winds.  Most of the farmers were forced to leave the area and work at starvation wages as migrant workers.  Taken in combination with the card above, I am encouraged not to be trapped by what I think I know.  There will be situations when my knowledge is worthless, and I need to be humble and open-minded enough to listen to other options. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


From the Margarete Petersen Tarot, Death:
“Sometimes snakes can’t slough.  They can’t burst their old skin.  Then they go sick and die inside the old skin.” ~ D.H. Lawrence
Two snakes are used as a dividing line between two worlds.  These creatures have been used as a symbol of the life force (kundalini) and to represent great change (ecdysis - shedding).  Snakes shed the outer layer of skin, keeping the inner layer intact, in order to allow for new growth.  It would seem ridiculous for a snake to refuse this task, since it is what helps them stay healthy.  But how many times have I looked at an impending or unexpected change and decided, "Nope. I'm not going to accept that."?  Then I use all my energy fighting to keep things the same rather than adjusting and moving on. Change requires the effort of adaptation, but it may also open doors to worlds I may never have seen otherwise.
The roll of the Elemental Dice turned up "Light with Darkness" which represents "Dawn/Dusk:"
 “Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.” ~ Isaac Asimov
Dusk and Dawn are the times of day when there is a transition, from light to dark and dark to light.  Transitions are rarely easy; think of a company run by the same well-liked boss for years, then suddenly the employees must deal with a new one when the old one retires.  For me, it is that uncertainty of what is to come that makes transition so hard and worrisome.  In a recent Spirituality and Health article titled "Worried Sick," they list three ways to curb worry:
1. Be proactive. “Determine whether your worry is productive or unproductive,” suggests North Carolina psychologist Kevin Gyoerkoe, author of 10 Simple Solutions to Worry. “Productive worry is based on threats that are relatively immediate, have a high probability of occurring, and there’s action you can take to prevent or reduce the negative outcome.”
2. Ask yourself the right questions. “If your worry is unproductive, challenge your negative thoughts,” Gyoerkoe suggests. “Ask yourself, How many times have I been right about my worries in the past? What’s the worst-case scenario? How likely is that scenario? What are the costs and benefits of worrying about this? Is there any productive action I can take?”
3. Accept life’s randomness. “Remember: worry is an effort to cope with uncertainty,” Gyoerkoe says. “You can choose to accept uncertainty instead. For example, if you are worrying as you wait for test results to come back from the doctor, you might remind yourself that you don’t know what the outcome will be right now, but that you’ll find out soon and you can deal with whatever the results are then.”

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Permeable Philosophy

From the Margarete Petersen Tarot, the Six of Feathers (Swords):
Six feathers lie in a basket, the bottom of which has been woven so loosely it reminds in of a sieve.  This painting made me think back to how I was as a young adult - headstrong, argumentative, and sure I had all the answers to everything.  But life has a way of providing lessons unasked for, and those beliefs and opinions I held so dearly went through a sifting process, allowing me to let go of assumptions and illusions I had treated as facts.  The philosophy I live by today is fairly permeable, allowing ideas to come and go quite easily compared to my younger days.  Yet while the "beads" slide on and off as beliefs are held and released, there is a thread of truth stringing them together that I maintain.

From the roll of the Elemental Dice this morning comes "Fire with Air" representing "Lightning:"
Lightning is a massive electrostatic discharge caused by unbalanced electric charges in the atmosphere.  For lightning to strike, the circuit must be complete or the energy will just keep moving without going anywhere or doing anything. To connect the circuit, lightning may strike in three places: intracloud, cloud to cloud, or cloud to ground. Adding this information to the card above, all the beliefs and opinions I have need to be grounded in reality, or like the electrical energy, they will keep me spinning in circles going nowhere. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Dancing to the Drumbeat

From the Margarete Petersen, the Son of Flames (Knight of Wands):
“Drum sound rises on the air, its throb, my heart. A voice inside the beat says, "I know you're tired, but come. This is the way.” ~ Rumi
The drum has often been used as a call for action, whether to dance and sing or prepare for war.  This son (knight) is a drummer who calls out to others to join in his vision.  He has enough confidence and charisma to convince most anyone, and he would love Obama's slogan, "Yes, we can!"  Forget trying to tell him that there may be some bumps in the road ahead; he's only interested in driving as fast as he can to get to his goal.  He could use a handler to keep him heading in the right direction and keep his impulsiveness in check, as his enthusiasm sometimes outruns his common sense.

The roll of the Elemental Dice this morning produced "Fire with Earth" representing "Volcano:"
A volcano is an opening in the earth's crust which allows hot magma, volcanic ash, and gases to escape the chamber below the surface.  Generally, volcanoes are put in one of three classes: extinct - not now erupting and not likely to erupt in the future; dormant - not now erupting but likely to do so in the future; and active - currently erupting or likely to do so in the near future.  When I pair these dice with the card above, it makes me ask myself, "What are you doing with your vision?"  Am I actively working toward my goals, or am I laying the groundwork with plans for the future?  Or have I become extinct, giving up on my dreams altogether?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Gentle Nudges

From the Margarete Petersen Tarot, the Two of Flames (Wands):
Between a sun and a moon stand a woman and man holding on to each other.  This painting reminds me of my marriage; in many ways, my husband and I are worlds apart in what we like to do and how we do things.  Yes, there are times when we drive each other nuts, but there are other times we push open a gate and encourage the other to walk through it.  We give each other the support and strength to go beyond our everyday, routine choices and make new, more exciting ones.  We each provide the gentle nudge for the other needed to try something different, at least once.

The roll of the Elemental Dice turned up "Air with Air" which represents "Sky:"
Two of the same elements together are like a coin with two sides - one side tends to be more beneficial and the other more detrimental depending on the circumstances.  A bird's eye view from the sky allows one to see the big picture, giving an objective view without being involved in the drama below.  But in the air there is little traction to provide friction to keep one from slipping - like the person whose head is full of philosophy and theory but rarely tests these ideas in the real world.  He or she has lost their "grip" in the real world.  I am a bit of an airhead - not the ditzy kind, but the kind who tends to think and over-analyze things too much.  Paired with the Two of Flames above, this roll suggests that even though I'll never have all the answers, there are times when I still need to make a move and do something anyway.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Effort and Outcome

This week I'll be using the Margarete Petersen Tarot, named for the artist who created it and published by Konigs Furt.  Today's draw is the Eight of Coins:
Each leaf is a creation of beauty, and now as spring begins to make its appearance, the deciduous trees and shrubs are brightening the drab winter landscape with new growth.  It is the same every season; I've not yet met a tree that refused (unless it was dead) or demanded a chance to produce another type of leaf instead of its own.  It reminded me of my nature journal drawings that I do every night after my walks.  I keep thinking I'm not making any progress with my artistic ability even though I practice each day.  Some days I'm bored and can think up a million other things I'd rather be doing, but I'm trying to discipline myself to do it anyway.  But every now and then I draw a picture that I feel really good about (like the one I did of a brown thrasher eating an orange a few days ago), and it reminds me focus and perseverance will produce results, just perhaps not on the timetable I would like.

The oracle I'll be using this week is the Elemental Dice, an idea my friend Carole in Australia came up with (she's one of those folks whose muse is constantly whispering in her ear; she's multi-talented, making musical instruments to paper-mache dragons).  Though I drew my own symbols and used some of my own personal meanings, she is the one whose imagination led her to use the four elements, light, and darkness (polar forces) to make the dice.  She named each possible combination (21 in all) after a power found in nature.  This morning's roll produced "Fire and Light" which represents "Sun:"
The Sun, the star at the center of our solar system, generates energy by nuclear fusion of hydrogen nuclei into helium.  Thankfully for Earth, this energy provides us with warmth and light.  The Sun asks me to look at the "work" I do and ask, "Does it bring joy, beauty and allow for self-expression? Is it a source of energy and enthusiasm or is it a drain?"  Though all work requires effort by definition, if I'm not reaping some benefits then perhaps I  need to change my course.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Lessons from an Icon

From the Millennium Tarot, the King of Pentacles:
George Washington would roll over in his grave if he could see this artistic rendering of himself wearing a crown; the armor peeking out from beneath the robe is more his style.  Elected unanimously as the first President of the United States, Washington had the ability to rally disconnected or opposing groups of people into a whole, whether it was as the leader of an army or a new country.  He was a major influence in the creation of a strong, well-financed national government and a profitable trade agreement with Great Britain.  In his Farewell Address, Washington made three points relevant to Americans as a group or as individuals today:
1) "avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace" - try diplomacy and compromise first (it's usually cheaper)
2) "to have revenue there must be taxes" - you don't get something for nothing
3) "[avoid] ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear” - don't create a mess and leave it for someone else to clean up

From the Success Cards comes "Creativity:"
"The joy of spirit lies in action." ~ P.B. Shelley
Though the urge to create may come in many shapes and colors, it seems to be an intrinsic part of most everyone.  But in the booklet, Ricci makes a good point: "However, before anything else, it is essential to put one's mental chaos in order, if one wants to concretely realize one's creative impulse."  How many people, from politicians to painters, have big ideas about creating something but don't take the time to sit down and figure out how to accomplish it?  Usually all that gets created is a lot of hot air...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Broad or Narrow Views

From the Millennium Tarot, the Empress:
Folchi uses Maria Theresa (1717-1780) to illustrate the Empress, a woman with several impressive titles: Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, Archduchess of Austria, and Roman Empress.  Her reign was marked by great reforms in the areas of justice (she abolished torture and limited forced labor), finance (she cut taxes for the poor and began taxing the nobility), education (she introduced compulsory school attendance), agriculture (she allowed peasants to own their own land), and medicine (she began inoculation of children for smallpox).  During all these reforms and the ongoing wars around her, she managed to have 16 children, 9 of whom lived to adulthood.  The Empress teaches me that whether I'm concerned with a country or a creative project, all parts of it need nurturing attention to thrive and grow.

From the Success Cards comes "Simple Ripples:"
"The world will not die for lack of wonders, but for lack of wonder." ~ G.K. Chesterton
Looking at the Empress above and the man in this image, its not hard to compare the opulent dress and crown she wears with his nakedness.  It makes me think of how many leaders (or Congressmen) live in such luxury that they haven't a clue about the lives of people they rule or represent.  Their insulated world keeps them from experiencing the reality of many others.  As I was searching for information about Maria Theresa, I read of how she would dress in disguise and visit the common people in order to learn the true state of affairs in her realm and hear the opinions of the people she ruled.  I may hold various views, but true wisdom comes when I attempt to compassionately step into the shoes of another in order to experience life from their perspective.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Life is Liquid

From the Millennium Tarot, the Two of Swords:
 "The color of truth is gray." ~ Andre Gide
The lines in this image, both in the sky and on the ground, speak of division.  There is a choice to be made, and it's not an easy one.  But I wonder sometimes if I don't make the decision harder than it actually is.  My ego-self would prefer all pleasure and no pain, as if this is a real option.  There is nothing in this world that will allow me ease with no effort, so why assume I'm entitled to it?  Sometimes I have to choose what will bring the most joy and benefit, for me and others, instead of waiting for a fairy godmother to grant me my wishes.  Besides, that concrete bench is getting mighty uncomfortable...

This morning the Success Cards produced "Existence is Liquid:"
"Life is a flux that flows between two banks; they appear to be opposing banks, but in reality they sustain the river of life." ~ Giuseppe Ricci
Looking at the expression on this fellow's face, I wonder if he holds the head of his enemy, gloating that his rival is dead.  But the irony is that there really is no separation - he may be alive, but he too is in the process of dying.  And his adversary's body is returning to the soil of the earth to further the life that is still here.  Existence isn't set up as "perfect" or "imperfect."  There will always be movement between these two sides, and my job is to learn to swim in its current as best as I can.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Benefactor or Consumer?

From the Millennium 2000 Tarot, the Ten of Pentacles:
A family gathers under an archway; from their clothes and health, it is easy to surmise they don't lack any physical necessities.  It is interesting to note that instead of the "tree of life" design used to arrange the coins (as in the traditional RWS), this card does something a bit different.  Four pentacles overlay the chair where the elder sits, a clue that the financial security and stability this family enjoys has come from him.  Like a tree rising from its roots, six more pentacles form a "trunk" and a "branch" that seems to shelter the couple.  Yet the child is outside its overhang, suggesting his parents must in time develop their own legacy for him.  This card makes me reflect on what my generation has done and is doing to the environment.  What will we leave to the later generations - a mess to clean up or an example of being a good steward of our resources?

From the Success Cards this morning comes "Mystic Woman:"
"The valley spirit never dies;
It is called the mysterious female.
The gateway of the mysterious female
Is called the root of heaven and earth.
It is like a veil barely seen,
But if you use it, it never fails."
~ Lao Tzu
A valley supports life by providing fertile ground, a low place for the river to run through it, and an open area allowing the sun to fill it.  In these verses, Lao Tzu explains to us the feminine principles of yin: support and sustenance, humility and receptiveness.  In many Western cultures, these traits would be seen as weaknesses, and rarely would anyone accept them willingly.  But it is here, "the root," where things never die and never get used up.  It is from this place where I can be a benefactor rather than just a consumer.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Deserving vs. Discerning

From the Millennium 2000 Tarot, the Devil:
Folchi uses Mozart to illustrate this card, a man who was a musical prodigy, composing music at the age of five.  As he became an adult, Mozart developed a taste for elegant clothes and living an extravagant life.  Because he associated with wealthy, aristocratic Europeans, he felt like he should live like one, and subsequently ended up in dire financial straits.  Wouldn't he have loved a few credit cards?  Like most Americans, he could just buy whatever he wanted whenever he wanted, and worry about paying for it later.  The Devil reminds me that just because I think I "deserve" something doesn't mean I don't need to work for it.

From the Success Cards this morning comes "Be Careful:"
 "Do not waste your time judging others; worry about yourself and be more cautious, more attentive, more aware." ~ Giuseppe Ricci
The rose is beautiful, but it you grab it without thinking, you may wind up with a nasty prick.  This card seems to be a seamless continuation of the message above.  Here is a warning to be discerning before making a judgment call.  I actually have heard people blame the folks at Mastercard and Visa for their financial woes (look at the interest they are charging me!) instead of their own indiscriminate spending habits.  I may judge that I want something, but I first better discern what it's going to cost me in the long run...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

First Response

From the Millennium 2000 Tarot, the Ten of Swords:
For some reason the red sash draped across this man's legs reminded me of a matador de toros, or killer of bulls.  Like the matador, sometimes I think I hold all the weapons, and I will bait people with words to draw them out and prove their ignorance.  But a sharp tongue and intellect don't always work out in my favor, and I can end up gored, bleeding out on the ground.  Bullfighting disgusts me to the point of physical illness; perhaps that is the image I need to think of the next time I consider waging a war of words with someone.

From the Success Cards comes "Anxiety:"
    "My anxious morning mind is like a young dog out for a walk.  Every tree and every bush must be investigated to find out who's peed there and what the news is."
~ David Rynick
Anxiety can make me do one of two things - either I hide my head in the sand and pretend not to see it (particularly if it is a real problem) or I react stupidly and irrationally.  It's like some alien life form has take over my brain, and I lash out at life, frequently making things much worse than they were.  It's hard to just sit with those anxious feelings and realize they are there because reality is not meeting my expectations.  It's okay to have the feelings, I just don't have to let them dictate how I'll respond.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Polymaths and Empty Cups

This week I'll be using the Millennium Tarot 2000, created by Amerigo Folchi and published by ASS Publishing.  Today's draw is the Magician:
Folchi has chosen to use Leonardo da Vinci as his Magician, a man described as a polymath because of his expertise in so many areas.  Leonardo's resume would be impressive: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer.  People have called him a genuis, and though he may have been incredibly intelligent, he had one trait available to everyone - curiosity.  The tools on the table (and the elemental symbols inscribed on the table) represent the gifts most  humans are born with, talents that can be used and developed.  Instead of sitting around whining about what I don't have, I would make much better use of my time to work with all I do.

The oracle deck I'll be using this week is the Success Cards, created by Giuseppe Ricci and Alessandro Beltramo (artwork) and published Lo Scarabeo.  This morning's card is entitled "Understand the Infinite:"
"Use what you have received from Nature, giving up any idea of earning; just be empty." ~ Chuang Tzu
As I look at this painting of a young boy starting a fire, I am in awe of early man (and indigenous people) whose ability to pay attention and whose curiosity led them to discover how to do such things.  Tzu's quote above reminds me how important it is to drop all my opinions and expectations about how things should be done.  When my cup is empty and open, I'm much more likely to be filled with inspirational ideas.

Friday, March 8, 2013


From the Wild Unknown Tarot, the Ten of Swords:
We had a few days of severe storms recently, and the high winds brought down some huge pine limbs that are going to require a chain saw.  Unfortunately as I was surveying the storm damage, I also found a few dead animals (squirrels) as well.  In just a few hours time, various bugs and insects had begun feeding on the bodies.  And though such scenes may bring a "Ewww!" response from most,  these ecological recyclers play an important part in breaking down organic matter.  Whether plant or animal, what is eaten and digested leaves behind important minerals and nutrients that enrich the soil.  This graphic image tells me there are thoughts and beliefs I hold that need to go through the process of decomposition.  What is useful will be left behind, allowing me to plant and grow some new ideas.

The roll of the geomancy sticks this morning created the figure "Via:"
Via is Latin for "way" and indicates a life path or journey.  It is associated with the waxing moon - when the amount of illumination on the moon is increasing.  This part of the cycle reminds me of stumbling around in a dark forest and then suddenly having a light appear to see by.  Taken with the Ten of Swords above, it appears I must first break down my ideas (leaving only what is beneficial), then wait for clarity (illumination).  This progression will allow me to clearly see the path I should take.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Set on Simmer

From the Wild Unknown Tarot, the Daughter (Page) of Wands:
The long, sleek body of this snake reminds me of the southern black racers that are so common here.  Racers are fast movers (hence the name), and they have been known to chase humans in an attempt to scare them away.  Although nonpoisonous, they won't hesitate to bite if handled.  The scales of the snake in the image shimmer with reds, oranges and yellows.  This woman-child is on "simmer" around the clock; her mind is constantly filled with ambitious and adventurous ideas.  The figure eight shape of the body indicates that her creative enthusiasm is a well that doesn't run dry.  The only drawback to this little firebrand is that she has so many inspirations (note the multiple flowers on the wand), she may find it hard to concentrate on and fully develop any of them.

A toss of the geomancy sticks this morning produced "Caput Draconis:"
Caput Draconis is Latin for "head of the dragon" and suggests a new opportunity or beginning.  It is associated with the North Node, the ascending point where the moon's path and sun's path meet.  The North Node, astrologically speaking, deals with traits that need to be developed in order to find balance.  When such challenges come, it is easy to let my inner critic and fear talk me into staying in my rut instead of taking a chance on a new possibility.  And that would surely disappoint my inner Daughter of Wands who has so many creative ideas to try out.