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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Cost of Blazing Trails

From the Shadowscapes Tarot, the King of Wands; from the Cedar Runes, "Tiwaz:"
          There's nothing wrong with this king's solar plexus chakra; he is the epitome of personal strength, willpower and confidence. He has a healthy curiosity and loves adventure like his children, and only the queen can match him in passion. Above all, this guy is a leader and a way-shower. He advocates the philosophy of Emerson: “Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” The King of Wands may seek, but he won't give up until he finds his objective. His goal is to make the lives of his people better and more fulfilling, and he'll be an inspirational example they can follow.
Tiw (Tyr) is a guiding star; well does it keep faith with princes;
it is ever on its course over the mists of night and never fails.
~ Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem
          Tiwaz is named for the old Norse god Tyr, known for sacrificing his hand to a giant wolf (Fenrir) in order to bind his power. As a result he is known as the god of justice, war, sacrifice and contracts. The poem speaks of "keeping faith with princes," which means being loyal and supportive of them. But what about the everyday people, those who aren't royalty? The fact that Tyr is also considered a god of war makes me question whether the end justifies the means - especially if it is at the expense of those everyday people. I'm not sure the King of Wands should be leading by that example.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Living on the Same Web

From the Shadowscapes Tarot, the Three of Pentacles; from the Cedar Runes, "Dagaz:"
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.
~ Isaac Newton
          Americans are known for our love of independence, for proudly proclaiming, "I'm my own person." We like to be known as individuals who think for ourselves. But reality shows a different truth if we're willing to see it. Almost all of my knowledge comes from those who came before me. What I've accomplished has been with the help and support of others. Cooperative teamwork with combined talents (minus egos) has proved it can produce amazing results. Multiple minds mean having more than one possible solution to combat a problem or challenge. Dagaz is often translated as "light," but in a metaphorical sense it could also be understood as "awakening." Such an understanding means I realize that everything and everyone coexists; we all live on the same web. As Charles Eisenstein puts it, I am more than a "skin-encapsulated ego."

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Not a Waste of Time

This week I'll be using the Shadowscapes book and deck set published by Llewellyn. The artwork is done by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and the book is written by Barbara Moore. I'll also be drawing from a set of Cedar Runes made by AlaskaLaserMaid; The Serpent and the Eagle by Chris Travers will serve as an accompanying text. Today's draws are the Page of Pentacles and "Nauthiz:"
          My first glance at this Page landed on the owl and missed the dragon that winds around the rock on which she rests. Moore suggests the sleeping dragon represents an opportunity for growth. But before she takes flight, studies and skills are required. Knowledge should be distilled and techniques honed to successfully care for the huge beast. This meaning connected nicely with the rune Nauthiz, which is often translated as necessity or restriction. Travers' translation of the Old English Rune Poem reads:
Need is constricting on the chest
although for the children of men it often becomes
a help and salvation nevertheless
if they heed it in time.
I've yet to do my sketch prompt (Interior) for tomorrow, and I need to read and make notes for my portion of the discussion at book club on Wednesday. Part of me feels the constriction that comes when I make time for these things. Yet as soon as I sit down to study or draw, it is as though I'm sitting in meditation - a salvation indeed!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sail on Down the Line

From the Navigators of the Mystic Sea Tarot, the Eight of Cups; from the Celtic Lenormand, the Burial Mound (Coffin):
          I've been in the same boat with this Navigator, leaving behind friends, family or groups. In some cases, the emotional fulfillment I thought I'd find turned out to be a disappointment. With other folks, dishonesty, abuse or constant manipulation was a factor. The dark, emptiness of the burial mound suggests I take time to meditate on this ending before I release it. What part did I play in supporting this unhappy alliance? Was I expecting this group or person to give me something that was my responsibility to find? Did I miss (or ignore) red flags of warning because I wanted to ease my need to belong? I don't need to sail right back into the same emotional entanglements I left.

Friday, March 27, 2015

No Nouns, Only Verbs

From the Navigators of the Mystic Sea Tarot, Strength; from the Celtic Lenormand, "Cross:"
          Seeing this fearless woman surrounded by beasts, I half expected to hear the opening theme song from She-ra, Princess of Power. But her animals represent what she has tamed inside herself: the lion is the fierce, impatient rage that lashes out, the snake is the passive-aggressive anger that can slither in and constrict relationships, and the wolf is the hidden motives fueled by resentments. The booklet speaks of "resolving issues within your own personality," which makes me notice the people standing in the background with holes in their centers. At the base of all that emptiness (and the beasts that try to fill it) is fear.
          For me, the Cross symbolizes sacrifice and the spiritual principles or faith by which one chooses to live. My ego tells me to take everything other people do or say personally, but the compassion and kindness of Strength reminds me to do otherwise. I don't need to sacrifice my sense of self-worth, but my self-centered ego. Which then leads me to focus on the standards by which I live my life. But what if there were no nouns to describe any religions or philosophies? What if all I had to rely only on were verbs? The only way people would know I believed a certain way or held certain ethical principles would be for me to live that way.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Stuck in the Muck

From the Navigators of the Mystic Sea Tarot, the Five of Pentacles; from the Celtic Lenormand, the "Key:"
          The NMS card made me think of those wind boxes in which a contestant tries to grab money that's blowing around. But here the fellow has handicapped himself - one foot is stuck in the muck and the other resolutely holds a whip. He might want more time, energy and money as well as better health, but he's working against himself. The Key card shows up to impress upon me that there is something within that I need to unlock and take a look at. How are my assumptions and projections keeping me from seeing clearly? If I only think the correct outcome should look a certain way, then I may miss an opportunity right under my nose. Am I blaming someone for my troubles or whipping myself over past mistakes? Either way, I won't be able to find a solution until I let go of those ideas.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

One Day At a Time

From the Navigators of the Mystic Sea Tarot, the Ten of Swords; from the Celtic Lenormand, "Fish:"
A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. ~ Steven Wright
          I love this quote included in Ricklef's Pithy Tarot for the Ten of Swords. The image of the card reminds me of the phrase "fall on one's own sword," meaning to accept responsibility for a bad situation. The situation here isn't external but internal. My thoughts are like the Chariot without a driver - dragged wherever my emotions, obsessions and exhaustion take them. Which is not towards reality, but far away from it. Yesterday went reasonably well, with only a few snags and bumps. However this morning I feel like I've had a beat down, sore from head to toe. I know it is from the tension of managing and micromanaging all the players and props in my mother-in-law's 24 hour care. My mind is projecting months into the future, wondering how we can keep this up. Yet the Fish card shows up to remind me to go with the flow. I can't imagine those salmon compulsively checking the NOAA's updates on tides and currents. They just swim towards their goal, and meet challenges as they come. I would be wise to follow their example and take each day as it comes.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Poetry in Motion

From the Navigators of the Mystic Sea Tarot, the Three of Pentacles; from the Celtic Lenormand, the Rider (Bard):
          These two cards couldn't be more perfect, since today is D-Day (my mother-in-law is being discharged from the hospital). We spent yesterday with the therapist, who showed us what she could do, couldn't do, and could do with assistance (including how to safely get her in and out of a car). The hospital equipment folks arrived and set up things at her house. We've got a plan in place, though we know it needs to be flexible and have a back-up just in case. The last thing I said to my sister-in-law last night was that I would be their "Go-girl" today. While she and my husband will be waiting to sign papers and jump through hoops at the hospital, I'll be on call for taking care of last minute details. We'll be communicating closely to make sure things go as smoothly as possible. My first two tasks this morning will be to find a wheelchair cushion and buy some groceries. Once I deliver them, I'll be waiting for any other requests or instructions. The sun is up and it's time to hop on my horse (or rather in my Honda). The bard's harp makes me hope for poetry in motion, as we move through the day.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Dancing in the Moonlight

From the Navigators of the Mystic Sea Tarot, the Empress; from the Celtic Lenormand, "Holly Tree:"
          The subtitle given the Empress is "Conception." When I looked up this word, I came across this quote by Henry Adams: "Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit." Now for someone like me, who thrives on logic and structure, this quote sounds ridiculous. But then I considered when I have had my most creative ideas or come up with my best solutions. It has always been as I was puttering around, having fun or about to fall asleep - basically, when I wasn't intentionally thinking about something. The figures dancing in the moonlight are a reminder that sometimes the best answer is to quit trying so hard to find one.
          The Celtic Lenormand has two trees: an oak in summer and a holly in winter. While both have to do with health, growth and groundedness, the seasonal extreme gives an extra bit of meaning for me. The winters of life can feel harsh and daunting, as if things won't ever change. Yet the holly with its evergreen leaves and bright berries show that life can still flourish in the hardest of times. The Empress creates no matter what the season; though seeds might be resting underground, they will eventually sprout. I need to be flexible enough to realize Nature's timetable is fluid, not fixed. Until then, I can dance.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Watch those Toes!

This week I'll be using the Navigators of the Mystic Sea Tarot, created by Julia Turk and published by U.S. Games. The other deck I'll be drawing from is the Celtic Lenormand, with artwork by Will Worthington and booklet by Chloe McCracken; it was also published by U.S. Games. Today's cards are the Five of Wands and the "Moon:"
          I was not surprised to see the Five of Wands show up today. On Tuesday, the hospital will release my MIL, and "Team Vera" has been running around like someone with his head on fire. Both my brother-in-law and I are organizers and "let's get it done" kind of people. My husband and sister-in-law do things differently and on their own time table. It is easy to step on toes (this card is subtitled "Contention") without meaning to, especially since we are running out of time to get ready (notice the tiny chariot in the background).
          The Moon is a perfect explanation for our anxiety; we don't really know what to expect no matter how much we plan. All four of us fear that she will take another tumble, though physical therapy has done wonders. With emotions cranked up high, Team Vera is going to need to communicate well. I told them at our meeting yesterday that I don't want to come across as pushy. If any of my ideas don't suit them, that is perfectly fine. After all, there is only one important person to concentrate on right now, and it's not any of us. Yet the Moon is also a gentle reminder that this intensity will eventually change and level out. Whew - thank goodness!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Gardens and Swords

From the Restored Order Tarot, the Ace of Pentacles; from the Oracle of Kabbalah, "Zayin:"
          I'm a bit tired this morning, so I would prefer to sit in the lovely garden of this Ace instead of taking that nun's advice about climbing every mountain. James Ricklef's Pithy Tarot ebook (wonderful for days when my brain is sluggish and I need a diving off point) offers this phrase: "A fortune begins with just one penny." I immediately thought of the businesses that proudly display in a frame the first dollar earned. The first sale is a landmark moment, yet it is just the beginning. Money made must be invested back into the business before the account books start showing a profit. Likewise, the gifts of health, finances, time and energy must be used wisely too (emphasis on use). Looks like I'm going to take a hike after all.
          Applegate has included a bay laurel on her illustration of zayin. The aromatic leaves of this plant are often used in Italian dishes, but the leaves must be taken out before eating. Even after cooking, the leaves are sharp enough to damage internal organs. I believe her botanical choice has to do with zayin's literal translation which is "sword" or "weapon." But this Hebrew letter also symbolizes Shabbat, or sabbath, a period of time set aside for rest and remembrance. Just as I need to get out of the garden to make use of my resources, at some point I must return and put down my sword. Effort is balanced with rest, refueling and reflection. Now those three Rs are a few of "My Favorite Things."

Friday, March 20, 2015

Are We There Yet?

From the Restored Order Tarot, the Four of Cups; from the Oracle of Kabbalah, "Tzadi:"
          Hey buddy, I understand your sense of dissatisfaction with life. I've got several situations going on that are hard to deal with, and nothing seems to be getting better. It does make you want to give up. But that tree your sitting under is shedding its leaves, meaning autumn has arrived. The seasons are changing and your situation will too. I know sometimes waiting on the change to come is like watching the grass grow - an excruciatingly, slow process. But it is there, hovering close by.
          But here's an idea to think about while you wait: tzadi. Its root (denoting kindness and integrity) makes up the word tzaddik, a person who sustains the universe through virtue and good deeds. Jewish tradition says that every generation has 36 such people who humbly perform beneficial deeds in secret. They can lighten hearts with a smile, an encouraging word or act of kindness. The lemon (half yellow, half green) on Applegate's illustration made me think of a neighbor's tree. I thought for a long time it was a lime tree because the fruits stayed green for so long (hidden). A lemon slice can add zest and flavor to a bland glass of water, similar to the tzaddik's actions. So instead of doing an Eeyore impression while you wait for change, maybe you can focus on adding a slice of sunshine to someone else's life.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Maintaining Connections

From the Restored Order Tarot, the Five of Swords; from the Oracle of Kabbalah, "Hei:"
          Have you ever gotten into a discussion with someone with whom you have a very different viewpoint? That's pretty normal, since we all come from diverse backgrounds and have had various experiences the other person might not have shared. But what happens when one person demands the other shift his or her ideas and beliefs to match theirs? There is no compromise and no tolerance of the other. No one gains anything from the exchange except perhaps a resentment and loss of respect.
          Hei literally means "lo" or "behold." In the Oracle of Kabbalah companion book, Seidman writes "The place on which we stand, wherever we stand, is holy ground... The question is whether or not we will pay attention and notice." Applegate's illustration uses frangipani flowers with this Hebrew letter. These flowers are often used in Hawaiian leis, symbols of affection. I can't help but think the fellows in the Five of Swords would have had a much happier outcome if they remembered their sacred connection while having their discussion.
 Without fear, we are able to see more clearly our connections to others. Without fear, we have more room for understanding and compassion. Without fear, we are truly free. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Complete the Course

From the Restored Order Tarot, the Page of Pentacles; from the Oracle of Kabbalah, "Chet:"
          No wonder this fellow is considered a student - just look at the serious way he's inspecting that pentacle. Beside him on the left are the fields his uncle the knight cultivates; on the right and behind him are the lakes, forests and mountains that he may one day be responsible for protecting. There is much knowledge he must learn and hands-on experience he will need before stepping into those big boots. Chet is associated with eight, a number deemed "one beyond" or the beginning of a new cycle (for instance, the eighth day begins a new week). Its shape is like that of an archway, and it is the first letter of chupah, the wedding canopy. The plant on this illustration is holy basil, a sacred plant of South Asia used in religious ceremonies. Telling me I need to study (particularly something I'm interested in) is like throwing Brer Rabbit in the brier patch. That's a rabbit hole I'll willingly go down. For me it can be a sacred activity. But I've learned the hard way that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. I can glimpse one facet of the whole and think I know it all. Chet implies I need to complete a full cycle of education before I stand at the podium and attempt to advise others.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A New, More Benevolent Perspective

From the Restored Order Tarot, Judgment; from the Oracle of Kabbalah, "Kaf:"
          The fiery masculine and the watery feminine have produced something new that is neither "this or that." This is a new consciousness, a way of seeing and acting from a fresh perspective. I've been reading a book by Paul Knitter in which in talks a lot about duality and how it makes our lives and relationships difficult: "We make necessary distinctions, but then take those distinctions too seriously." Those labels we use are meant as only tools, yet they have turned distinctions into dogma. That babe has "beginner's mind" - wide open to experience without bias.
          Kaf is a key letter found in words like crown, king and queen, and so it is associated with majesty and royalty. It is also a part of kavanah, meaning "focused intention." It reminds me of the right use of power - doing what will benefit the whole instead of only myself. The olive is a symbol of life and peace, but also victory. Could it be that victory is found in benevolent action and the care of all creation instead of just a small slice of it?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Flows and Stoppages

From the Restored Order Tarot, the Six of Pentacles; from the Oracle of Kabbalah, "Pei:"
           A well dressed man shares his wealth with two beggars. His scale indicates fairness and a return to balance. Sharing resources is much more than just handing out money, it involves time and energy too. After an agonizing visit at the hospital, listening to my mother-in-law in great pain, I feel unnerved and worn-out. But as I watched my husband's tenderness and patience with her, I was awed by his compassion (which literally means "to suffer with"). I used to think it only meant being kind, like giving someone a gift card or sending them flowers with a nice note. This type of sharing is on a whole other level; it is a resource that no amount of money can buy.
          The Hebrew letter Pei means "mouth" and refers to speech and communication. Together with the Six of Pentacles, I am reminded of the phrase "put your money where your mouth is." Words, no matter how sweet and eloquent, mean very little without action behind them. The page on which I found Kristina's illustrations labeled this fruit as "prunes," though they appear as golden plums here. Now while they are high in nutrients, most folks eat prunes for another reason entirely. That health benefit made me think of something Greer said in his book Mystery Teachings from the Living Earth about the 'Law of Flow':
 Everything that exists is created and sustained by flows of matter, energy, and information that came from the whole system to which it belongs and that return to that whole system.  Participating in these flows, without interfering with them, brings health and wholeness; blocking them, in an attempt to turn flows into accumulations, causes suffering and disruption to the whole system and all its parts.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Laps Around the Sun

This week I'll be using the Tarot in de Herstelde Orde (Tarot in Restored Order), created by Rob Docters van Leeuwen and Onno Docters van Leeuwen; it was published by Servire. The second deck I'll be drawing from is the Oracle of Kabbalah, a deck and book set created by Richard Seidman and published by Thomas Dunne Books. Since the Kabbalah cards are of the letter only and rather plain, I'll be using the botanical illustrations of Kristina Applegate. Today's draws are Wheel of Fortune and "Nun:"
          What stands out to me in the RWS versions of the Wheel card are the books the Fixed Zodiac Signs (or Apostles or Ezekiel's cherubim) hold. Books symbolize knowledge, and knowledge used with discernment leads to wisdom. Are there habitual patterns in my life that are keeping me in a rut? Am I failing to rightly apply the knowledge I gather each time I take a lap around the sun?
          The Hebrew letter Nun means "fish" in Aramaic. The story of Jonah and the great fish in the scriptures comes readily to mind. Though I don't believe in the literal version of the tale, I can say that at times I have felt swallowed up by events (internal or external) in my life. And like Jonah, who made choices that landed him in the fish's belly, my thoughts and actions have kept me contained in that dark place. The strawberries on this letter remind me of the Zen story of the man chased by a tiger who ends up hanging from a cliff by a vine. While one tiger waits above and one below the cliff, mice begin gnawing at the vine. The man notices a strawberry plant beside him, plucks a berry and finds it sweet. Climbing out of the belly will require me to look for what is good and beautiful in my life; changing my thoughts can get me unstuck.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Right Roots

From the Japaridze Tarot, the Seven of Gardens (Pentacles); from the Holitzka I Ching, hexagram 35 "Progress:"
This gardener at rest made me think of an Emerson quote: "Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience." Seedlings have to be given time for a root system to develop; roots anchor the plant and help them survive environmental stress. If fish emulsion (high in nitrogen) is dumped on them to rush leafy growth, the plant won't develop the underground support it needs to thrive. The Tao Te Ching states:
Rushing into action, you fail.
Trying to grasp things, you lose them.
Forcing a project to completion,
you ruin what was almost ripe.
The I Ching card suggests another way to make progress is to put aside selfish desires and act with a cooperative and harmonious spirit. Moving with rather than against the natural flow without trying to manipulate the outcome will give the best results.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Plenty with a Helping of Prudence

From the Japaridze Tarot, the Nine of Gardens (Pentacles); from the Holitzka I Ching, hexagram 55 "Plenty:"
          The booklet describes this woman as successful due to her hard work, persistence and self-discipline. Now she reaps the rewards of her efforts. I was impressed with all the flowers, beasties, and birds that make up her attire. I suppose we do begin to resemble what we sink our energy and time into. If I were to make a collage of myself for this moment in time, I'd have to include books, cards, computers, art supplies,walking shoes, an exercise dvd and photos of friends and family. I'm sure a year from now it would look very different. Yet somehow I think that's why this woman is accomplished; she's learned to adapt to life as it changes.
          The brushstrokes on the I Ching card suggest a coin, and the title 'Plenty' implies a time of abundance. Both inner clarity and movement have produced this result. However, just as the sun rises, it will also set. The perfect day will at some point become the perfect storm. I am reminded of Buddhist philosophy which encourages enjoyment but warns against putting a stamp of ownership on anything. Knowing how to live moderately and prudently will come in handy when the blooms fade and fall off the woman's dress above. Life never stops changing, but it's not personal. Eventually she'll don a dress of petals again if she's planned ahead.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Tightrope for a Throne

From the Japaridze Tarot, the Fool; from the Holitzka I Ching, hexagram 20 "Observation:"
          I've always been the type to prepare for anything weeks in advance. If I were going on a trip, I would take an extra of everything, have a map printed out from Google, make sure an emergency contact list was available and leave a detailed list for those taking care of the pets. Nothing was left to chance. Yet the Fool rides in on his unicycle, balancing on a tightrope with no net underneath. In his case, pretty much everything is left to happenstance. He's like that bright red balloon - bouncy and light without a care in the world.
          Hexagram 20 describes a person looking down from an observation point who is also being observed himself. It is much like a king who keeps watch over his kingdom, but the people in that realm keep an eye on him as well. It's easy to see the parallel of the Fool high on his tightrope and the leader on his throne. Does the king ever have a foolish, carefree day? Does he worry about what people would think if he were to briefly forget what is practical and just have some fun? I think it would help him to be a more compassionate ruler. I had a friend who took me out for coffee yesterday. I didn't realize that I had lost my laugh until I was with her, and she brought it back out of hiding. Sometimes its good to be a balloon...

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

True Form, True Voice

From the Japaridze Tarot, the Stranger (Knight) of Tides (Cups); from the Holitzka I Ching, hexagram 40 "Liberation:"
          The "Stranger" title for the Knight made me think of the phrase "don't be a stranger" often said to someone who's popped in for a visit as they leave. I suppose this fits the knights who are always coming and going on some quest. But this particular knight is made up of a bizarre arrangement of items. The booklet suggests someone able to change in order to emotionally influence or manipulate another person. It made me think of people-pleasers who attempt to become whatever you want them to be. Except what you actually get is a person who is dishonest, and I imagine filled with hidden resentments.
          The I Ching figure looks like me on the first days of spring as I open myself to the warmth and beauty of the season. It does feel liberating after months of cold, gray days. But the hexagram offers a caution: let go of rigid attitudes and worn-out behavioral patterns to allow for growth. I need to speak my mind (respectfully), whether it makes other folks uncomfortable or not. Yet I need to allow others the freedom to do the same without taking it personally.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Bonds and Havens

From the Japaridze Tarot, the Three of Tides (Cups); from the Holitzka I Ching, hexagram 33 - "Retreat:"
          Seeing the horses on the Three of Tides took me back to my camping trip on Cumberland Island. Early in the morning, I would see these feral beauties running through the twisted oaks and palmettos as they made their way to the beach. There they would fly along the surf, looking like children just released from school on summer break. This card is a testament to our longing to belong, of how we humans find common bonds and create groups. In such havens, we can share both our joys and sorrows.
          Even without the text, it's easy to look at the Holitzka painting and see that it is about taking shelter from the storm. I could instantly see how the message of these two cards apply to my husband, sister-in-law and I as we take turns at the hospital with my mother-in-law. If there were no one else to share this duty with, it would quickly become overwhelming. The understaffed nursing team, the dementia patient next door (who chants "nurse, nurse" 24 hours a day), and the sheer monotonous boredom (interlaced with explaining for the 100th time to my MIL that she can't get out of bed with a broken pelvis) would quickly make anyone insane. Yet working as a group, we can allow each other to go home and rest while another takes a shift. And together, we can maintain a sense of humor as we laugh at the frustrations instead of cry over them.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Labor and Delivery

From the Japaridze Tarot, the Five of Tides (Cups); from the Holitzka I Ching, the sixty-fourth hexagram "Before Fulfillment:"
          A very pregnant woman stands in a cemetery mourning her loss. She reminds me of my Aunt Jimmie, whose husband was a fighter pilot in WWII. Shot down over the Philippines, he never got to hold his only child. Great loss makes me feel like the world should stop turning, as if everyone should pause, pay attention and grieve as I do. Yet the soon-to-be born babe is a reminder that the cycle of life never stands still. The world continues to turn, and seasons continue to change. The sixty-fourth hexagram indicates a time of transition from disorder to order. However there is a cycle which needs to complete itself before harmony arrives (the birth). The Holitzka booklet states: "It would be presumptuous to expect a sudden solution to all problems with just one roll of the dice. The ground is still shaking under you: you must carefully create a foundation enabling you to bear the load."

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Prayer for Peace

This week I'll be using the Japaridze Tarot, painted by Nino Japaridze. Its booklet was written by Steve Lucas and the set was published by U.S. Games. The oracle I'll be drawing from is the I Ching, illustrated by Klaus Holitzka with instructions by Marlies Holitzka; it is published by AGM Urania. Today's draws are the Two of Gardens (Pentacles) and the eleventh hexagram "Peace:"
           A man juggles fruit while stepping lightly across a cloud. The fruit makes me think of good health and the toll stress can take when we have many demands made on us. The yellow sky and the cloud he walks on is a nod to the necessity of logic during such times. While flexibility is a must, this is no time to fly by the seat of one's pants. Multiple plans should be considered for a variety of situations. Reason rather than emotion will be a better guide right now.
          The eleventh hexagram shows heaven coming down to earth, creating a union that produces deep harmony. In this place, peace rather than chaos will reign. If I maintain a peaceful heart and mind, I can have a positive effect on the environment I am in. If I am upset or angry, I only add to the disorder and confusion. "Be a breath of life to the body of humankind, a dew to the soil of the human heart, and a fruit upon the tree of humility." (Baha'i prayer for peace)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Fear vs. Love

From the Revised New Art Tarot, Death; from the Viking Lenormand, "Bear:"
          The booklet speaks of the "irresistible impulse of Nature;" the physical realm wears down, breaks and dies. There are endings that keep pace with the beginnings. Yet the authors claim this is only "reabsorption" - what is destroyed is form but not life. Matter moves to spirit (the square merging with the triangle). I've always viewed Death as symbolic, but seeing it this morning gave me a jolt. My mother-in-law (age 94) had a fall last night and is now in the hospital. It is a tenuous thread from which we dangle in this physical world. Yet the she-bear shows up and reminds me of the strength of love, of the sturdy shoulders that can carry weight that would otherwise seem impossible. As Omid Safi expressed, "the path of love is not being impervious to fear. It is simply the stubborn refusal to let fear have the last word."