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

Monday, November 30, 2015

Found Families

From the Buckland Romani Tarot, the Ten of Koros (Cups); from the Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards, "Inipi:"
          Three generations relax under a willow tree in this card of happiness and joy originating from a sense of belonging and fulfillment. It made me think of one of my daughter's favorite themes in books and shows - "found families." Sometimes called a "family of choice," these groups are built not just because of a common interest, but because they've come to care for and depend on each other. I'm a part of a few small groups like this, and I'm more likely to pour my heart out to them than my biological family. I don't think it really matters which group one's support and love come from as long as it's reciprocal.
          The purpose of the Inipi ceremony (or sweat lodge) is purification and restoration. It also reminds the participants not just of their connection with each other, but all living things, even the elements of the earth. The Ten card added to this one reminds me to let go of my resentments (purification) for those who are incapable of fully accepting and loving me on an unconditional level. Holding them hostage in my heart will harm me much more than them. That rainbow promises me that when I do, I'll begin to notice the treasure of a found family all around me.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Practical Intellectual

This week I'll be using the Buckland Romani Tarot, created by Lissanne Lake and Raymond Buckland; this book and deck set was published by Galde Press. Along with it, I'll be using the Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards, created by Archie Fire and Chief Lame Deer; this deck and book set was published by Inner Traditions. Today's draws are the Knight of Chivs (Swords) and "Yumeni Whouah:"
           This bare-chested young man represents taking action based on the ideals of truth and justice. He could represent the patriot of any country or clan; his surge of pride and righteousness provide enough heat that he doesn't even feel the cold of winter. Yet while his goals are noteworthy, his impulsiveness can blind him to the long-term effects of his deeds in the real-life world. Like hypothermia, for instance. The Yumeni Whouha card ("The Material") attends to the basics of food, shelter and clothing, as well as companionship. It points out the discrepancy between the intellectual and the physical that can occur when the Knight lives in his head. It's all good and well to make passionate speeches about the poor and homeless, and to lead marches for a more balanced distribution of wealth. But what about actually finding ways to feed the hungry and provide them with training and jobs? Words may inspire, but their embers die out if not stoked with practical applications.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Who Planted the Seed?

From the Deirdre of the Sorrows Tarot, the Two of Coins; from the Victorian Flower Oracle, "Wild Rose:"
The thorns which I have reaped are of the tree I planted; they have torn me, and I bleed. I should have known what fruit would spring from such a seed. ~ Lord Byron
          Unlike most of the RWS versions of this card, the fellow here looks sullen and angry. Dressed in the clothes of the jester, he must feel like the butt of life's joke. His yoke holds one coin with books and another coin with a house; I would guess he's feeling squeezed by trying to pay for both an education and living expenses. Or, he might be overwhelmed by not having enough time and energy for either one. The Wild Rose has been assigned the phrase "a thorny question," and asks this young man to look beneath the cause of his resentment. Was he honest with himself and others when he made the choice to take on so many commitments? Is he being truthful with himself about being able to handle these things without help? He might be angry at what he perceives as the unfairness of life, but he should take a closer look at who actually sowed those seeds. However, there's no need for self-flagellation; see the lesson for what it is and then do something differently.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Tied and Untied

From the Deirdre of the Sorrows Tarot, the World; from the Victorian Flower Oracle, "Primrose and Snowdrop:"
          With Thanksgiving festivities out of the way, I can relax (at least until Christmas rolls around). As such, it seems suitable I should draw the World card. A woman has wrapped herself around the earth like a bow, an apt illustration for the idea of completion. The four fixed astrological signs in the corner made me think of the three Buddhist marks of existence: impermanence, dissatisfaction and "not-self" (our idea of self is based on changeable conditions). Yesterday I touched on the idea of egolessness, but which of the three marks does today's cards represent? Primrose and Snowdrop, popping out from underneath the last of winter's snow, imply change and hopefulness. Pema Chodron encourages us not to be afraid of impermanence:
Impermanence is the goodness of reality. Just as the four seasons are in continual flux, winter changing to spring to summer to autumn; just as day becomes night, light becoming dark becoming light again - in the same way everything is evolving... People have no respect for impermanence. We take no delight in it; in fact, we despair of it... Somehow, in the process of trying to deny that things are always changing, we lose our sense of the sacredness of life. We tend to forget we are a part of the natural scheme of things. Impermanence is a principle of harmony. When we don't struggle against it, we are in harmony with reality. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful in all Situations

From the Deirdre of Sorrows Tarot, the Tower; from the Victorian Flower Oracle, "Cactus:"
Often we think of egolessness as a great loss, but actually it's a gain. The acknowledgment of egolessness, our natural state, is like regaining eyesight after having been blind or regaining hearing after having been deaf... Egolessness is a state of mind that has complete confidence in the sacredness of the world. It is unconditional well-being, unconditional joy that includes all the different qualities of our experience. ~ Pema Chodron
          This card - showing a before and after of the Twin Towers - is not what I'd prefer to draw on a national holiday, especially in light of all the recent worldwide events. I was curious as to what O'Donoghue would say about it: "You have been building your security on shifting sands and now, out of the clear blue sky, a thunderbolt has exposed your vulnerability." She concludes by saying the sun casts a new light on the situation, implying a deeper understanding. Yet look at the way that saucy Cactus stares at the eagle. Her keywords, "prickly situation," suggest a difficult diplomacy that is going to require mindfulness and tact. Suddenly these cards narrow their beam from a national level to a personal one. I will be traveling today to visit with relatives, none of whom share my opinions or ideas about many touchy topics. There is no need to cower during the discussions over Thanksgiving dinner, but neither is there a need for me to build a tower of arrogance and narrow-mindedness around my beliefs. If I can remain open, I might just learn something useful. I can choose to focus on the positive - that I will share a meal with people who love me, regardless of my convictions.  
Thank you to all my friends - old and new - who've read or posted on my blog this year. I am grateful to have you in my life, even if it is only through the internet. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Beware of Thistles

From the Deirdre of the Sorrows Tarot, the Eight of Cups; from the Victorian Flower Oracle, "Thistle:"
          A woman walks away from a home with her hand over her heart. Was her husband abusive or unfaithful? It may be a career that she's leaving, realizing that the money isn't worth the all the stress. With the cups lined up alongside the road, it feels as if she is confronting the choices she's made that led her to this point. There's no need for shame though; she's realized there is no joy or fulfillment in this situation and has made the decision to leave. Yet she is headed straight for Thistle, who is given the keyword "threat." When I'm emotionally vulnerable, it's normal to seek comfort and solace. But I must be very cautious at whose feet I lay my tender and hurting heart. Like the thistle, I might be drawn to the colorful flower and fail to see the thorny leaves. Careful attention is necessary, or I could wind up with more wounds than what I started with.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Break from the Usual?

From the Deirdre of the Sorrows Tarot, the Star; from the Victorian Flower Oracle, "Dahlia:"
          A naked woman sits at a pool in an oasis; perhaps having had her fill, she pours the rest of the water back into its source. She represents those times of vulnerability, when we seek refuge in order to rest and heal. As nice as it would be to stay here indefinitely, the sun is already beginning to rise. The coins at the bottom of the pool suggest a return to regular life and its responsibilities is imminent. In this quiet place, has she found guidance and a new understanding to take with her?
          There are 42 species of dahlia, and their blooms can range from 2 inches to up to a foot in diameter. They can be found in a huge variety of floret shape and color. It's no wonder "choice" is the keyword assigned to them. These two cards imply a decision needs to be carefully considered. The woman has been through hell but has now recuperated. Will she continue to do things the same way as before when she leaves her oasis, or will she choose a different way? Those habitual patterns can be hard to shake, even when we've been given helpful suggestions.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Love What You Do

From the Deirdre of the Sorrows Tarot, the Three of Coins; from the Victorian Flower Oracle, the "Pomegranate Flower:"
          An artist paints a potter's hands at work. O'Donoghue suggests the mill's waterwheel behind him implies a flow of ideas that inspire him. He's good at what he does because of three things: his knowledge about his craft, his experience and practice with it, and his passion for it. I've never met anyone at the top of their game (and more than a flash in the pan) who didn't possess these three qualities. These types of people tend to want to share their expertise with others instead of hoard it all for themselves. Why? The bold, bright pomegranate flower indicates it is because of the joy and happiness it brings. It naturally spills over to others in a generous way. This is not just about the financial rewards; it is an expression of enthusiasm and sincere fervor for what they do.
Love what you do and do what you love. Don't listen to anyone else who tells you not to do it. You do what you want, what you love. Imagination should be the center of your life.
― Ray Bradbury

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pause and Remember

This week I'll be using the Deirdre of the Sorrows Tarot, a self-published set created by Deirdre O'Donoghue and illustrated by Wayne McGuire. Along with it, I'll be drawing from the Victorian Flower Oracle, created by Alex Ukolov, Karen Mahony and Sheila Hamilton; it was published by Magic Realist Press. Today's draws are the Knight of Coins and "Nasturium:"
          Not only does grass grow under this Knight's feet, so do flowers. This gentleman farmer likes to work slowly and methodically; he's liable to take frequent pauses and check his work before moving on to the next task. But look at what's on his riding boots - spurs! Slow and steady might be his usual way of getting things done, but he's prepared to kick up some divots if necessary. As I prepare for the holidays, I feel like him as I check items off my to-do list. The second card, the Nasturium represents sad memories and regrets. The holidays naturally make me think of friends and family members I've lost and still miss. Perhaps the Knight is pausing to honor the memories of loved ones. Although he experiences sorrow, he also feels grateful for having had them in his life.

For Marion 

Spring in the South 
Transforms the wisteria's bare stems. 
Cascades of purple flowers 
Tumble down the towering pine. 
Such graceful charm and beauty 
Disguise an inner strength and tenacity 
That allow it to reach the uppermost branches. 
Marion was skilled 
In the fine art of Southern graces. 
Yet underneath her refined manners 
Lay a will and spirit of steel. 
She was our matriarchal vine 
Gathering her family together 
With a fierce love for us all.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Wide Embrace

From the Fairytale Tarot, the Nine of Cups; from the Tree Affirmation Cards, "Weeping Willow:"
          "Puss in Boots" is a tale of a trusting young man who inherits a cat, and the cat who shows off his talents by providing his master with a castle and a princess. Mahony describes this card as going after the good life - a comfortable life filled with good company. For most folks, I'm sure contentment involves something simpler than royal status and a kingdom. Yet to be able to sigh with satisfaction at the close of the day is a gift for which to be grateful. Do you smile and feel fortunate each evening, or just collapse in the bed with relief that the day is over?
          With branches that reach down to touch and embrace the earth, the weeping willow is symbolized as the Divine Mother by Lewis. It represents "the ability to nurture and to receive all with unconditional love." When I'm having a Nine of Cups kind of day, this is a piece of cake. But change that number to a Four or Five, and it's difficult. I think of gratitude and acceptance as spiritual practices that I must work to develop. They require me to be aware when I closing my mind and heart to what is unpleasant, rather than embracing it with the knowledge that it is just a natural part of life. I don't know if I'll ever get to the point of loving unconditionally what scares me or causes me frustration or pain. But I can at least try to make room for it.
With such a vast heart,
immense as the wide-open sea,
suffering cannot overpower us,
just as a small handful of salt
cannot make a great river salty.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, November 20, 2015

Direction and Focus

From the Fairytale Tarot, the Ace of Wands; from the Tree Affirmation Cards, "Poplar:"
          Jack was a character that proved even if you make a few bad choices along the way, opportunities will still present themselves. If you're like me though, there are a lot of things to attend to that can be distracting (many of which aren't worth all the time I give them). I might easily miss that chance altogether. As Zig Ziglar stated, “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” To back up this idea, the Poplar card appears with the keyword "focus." Instead of stretching out and up, this tree primarily grows in an upward fashion. If I'm going to take advantage of favorable circumstances, I'll need to let go of some of those preoccupations so I can concentrate fully on the task at hand. In the words of Winston Churchill,"You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks."

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Wounded Distractions

From the Fairytale Tarot, the Chariot; from the Tree Affirmation Cards, the "Turkey Oak:"
          For me the story of "The Snow Queen" illustrates how easily our hearts and minds can be wounded, and from those wounds misconceptions and misunderstandings develop. We all have experiences that impact how we think and feel; prejudice and cold indifference can easily be the result. An example is the situation with the terrified refugees of Syria, and the way many politicians look at them as if they carry cooties. The Chariot suggests a need for focusing on truth and acting from reason without allowing distractions to sway me from my path.
          Lewis' drawing of a turkey oak shows a tree with heart rot disease; it's branches have been drastically pruned and a protective boundary placed around it to allow it to heal. This card fits nicely with the Chariot and implies a need for action and boundaries, if I want to hang on to the reins of reason and truth. It would be easy to avoid all people, the media, and situations that challenge my heart and mind, but I think that might just put me and my opinions on a pedestal. Neither discernment nor open-mindedness can be found there. But if I keep the lines of communication open with those who want to have a discussion rather than with those whose purpose is to twist facts into fiction, then perhaps I will  have found an alternative.
later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?
it answered
~ Warsan Shire

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Deal With It

From the Fairytale Tarot, the Seven of Coins; from the Tree Affirmation Cards, the "Monkey Puzzle:"
          The story of "The Brave Little Taylor" tells of an ordinary man who makes use of what he has, both in resources and quick thinking. He manages to escape being killed by a couple of giants as well as a group of assassins sent by the King. Likewise, I am asked to take an objective view of how I am using my resources - not just money, but my time and energy too - and how these expenditures are affecting me. From an accountant's perspective, am I in the red or the black? As we're on the downhill slope towards the holidays, I need to be paying attention to these ledgers. The monkey puzzle tree was so named because of it's great height (130 ft.) and because of the complex symmetry of its leaves. Lewis assigns it the keyword "logic," a term that suggests there is a solution to whatever has me puzzled. The downside to such reasoning is I might not like the answer, because it may require me to change my plans and rework my ideas.
Absence of problems
   does not lead to happiness.
     Dealing with them does. 
― J. Benson

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sunrises and Sunsets

From the Fairytale Tarot, the Sun; from the Tree Affirmation Cards, "Japanese Maple:"
          The Sunchild is an African tale of a woman who begs the Sun for a child with the promise to return her when she is twelve. Once received, the woman and her daughter live happily together until the Sun comes to collect the child as per the agreement. Although the Sun treats the girl kindly, he immediately notices her sadness; eventually he realizes she'll never be content and sends her back to her mother. The story and card represent a moment of clarity when understanding is realized. Once known, it can't be erased or ignored.
          I love Japanese maples; I've got two in my front yard and three small Japanese laceleaf maples in my backyard. It's easy to see why these beautiful trees would be included in Japanese gardens. They were given the species name palmatum because of the hand-like shape of its leaves. Lewis assigns the keyword "flow" to this card: "Everything is subject to change, some of it seasonal, some of it running in much larger cycles. Life is easier if we accept this...When we do this and let go of our expectations, we may be pleasantly surprised where the current takes us." The story of the Sunchild expresses this idea well; good days and bad days are as normal as the rising and setting of the sun. Equanimity comes when I can accept this as a universal truth.
The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. 
― Alan W. Watts

Monday, November 16, 2015

It's a Good Start

From the Fairytale Tarot, the Four of Wands; from the Tree Affirmation Cards, "Olive:"
          The "Musicians of Bremen" is a tale of a donkey, rooster, dog and cat who are considered worthless because they are elderly. Instead of waiting for a dire fate, they decide to band together and seek a better place to live. Along the way they find a cottage that has become the hideout for a gang of robbers. Together they frighten the robbers into running away (making them think the place was haunted), and the animals move into their new home. As this story suggests, progress can be made when folks work together, even if they are a diverse group. Age can have its advantages.
          But what happens after a good start has been made? The Olive card suggests a time for peace. Lewis writes that we need to make space for the present moment, to sit and watch the breeze in the leaves and listen to the birds singing. While in the middle of a project, I find this incredibly hard to do. It is in my nature to go full speed ahead, finishing what I've started and then jumping right in to something else. There is a part of me that feels lazy if I am not doing anything useful. Yet taking a breather and paying attention can help me make better choices in the long run. It does have a purpose other than relaxation:
If we sit with an increasing stillness of the body, and attune our mind to the sky or to the ocean or to the myriad stars at night, or any other indicators of vastness, the mind gradually stills and the heart is filled with quiet joy. ~ Ravi Ravindr

Sunday, November 15, 2015

No Bright Ideas Left

This week I'll be using the Fairytale Tarot created by Alex Ukolov, Karen Mahony and Irina Triskova; this set is published by Magic Realist Press. Along with it I'll be drawing from the Tree Affirmation Cards, created and self-published by Victoria Sofia Lewis. Today's cards are the Devil and "Kashmirian Rowan:"
          The Hans Anderson story of "The Red Shoes" illustrates the consequences of being lured by vanity and forgetting one's duties and obligations. What seemed a harmless pair of shoes, something that could make her feel better about herself, became a young woman's burden and bane. The Devil is a reminder that those tempting, quick fixes can become our addictions and obsessions that cause more problems than they solve.
          The Kashmirian rowan tree, with golden russet foliage and white berries, is one of the last trees to lose its leaves in the autumn. It seems to stand as a symbol for last chances among the other bare trees. Lewis associates it with grace, a word often used to represent mercy that comes with surrender. In the story above, such surrender came with acknowledgment and sacrifice (the loss of her feet). I personally choose to think of grace as the shrinking of my ego; it is a matter of acceptance rather than earning something. Anne Lamott explains it well:
It's the help you receive when you have no bright ideas left, when you are empty and desperate and have discovered that your best thinking and most charming charm have failed you. Grace is the light or electricity or juice or breeze that takes you from that isolated place and puts you with others who are as startled and embarrassed and eventually grateful as you are to be there.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Sustaining Strength

From the Ferret Tarot, Strength; from the Nature's Oracle Deck, "Hawk:"
          I had a late night last night; as I sipped my chamomile tea before bedtime, I turned on the TV. I was horrified to see what was unfolding in Paris, and I could viscerally feel the confusion, panic, fear and heartbreak that was being shown. I still remember all too well what the events of 9/11 felt like. A city, state or country is just an extended family of sorts. It hurts when they are hurt, and it is human nature to want to crush those who are the cause. It wasn't a surprise that I drew the Strength card with its posturing, Schwarzenegger-looking ferrets pumping iron this morning. "Yes," I thought, "use your strength to pummel and destroy those responsible for such death and destruction." But wait, those ferrets are doing any punching, only mindfully lifting weights. Like the slow repetitions of weight training, this strength is going to be calculated and deliberate rather than impulsive. Yet what about the power of Hawk, and its tearing, crushing force? I believe Hawk's main asset is the ability to wait and watch from atop a pole or tree. It takes a wide view, then strikes a specific target. There is no random or wanton acts of violence; it kills only for the purpose of sustaining itself. May Paris and all of France find the same strength and power in the days to come.
image by  Jean Jullien

Friday, November 13, 2015


From the Ferret Tarot, Temperance; from the Nature's Wisdom Oracle, "Sunflower:"
          After a week filled with cards like the Devil, Five of Pentacles, Nine of Swords and Three of Swords, I needed this version of Temperance. The ferrets howling with laughter at the moderation proclamation are exactly how I feel following a stressful week. I think I'm entitled to a lot of something that will make me feel better, not a little. Yet the "nourishment" keyword on Sunflower reminds me the idea is to improve how I feel, not make things worse. Did you know sunflowers can literally pull radiation fallout from the soil? Scientists discovered this at the Chernobyl accident and are currently using them in Japan to clean up the Fukushima site. A sunflower doesn’t really distinguish between those radioactive isotopes and some of the nutrients like potassium and calcium that it takes up normally. They flourish and the soil gets decontaminated (though they have to be harvested before going to seed). There are a lot of "feel better" choices that will ultimately make me feel worse, like drinking or overeating. But binge-watching a comedy series or binge-reading a light-hearted novel might work. And if I get tired of sitting, I can always put on some old music and show off my dance moves.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Tolerance for Pain

From the Ferret Tarot, the Three of Swords; from the Nature's Wisdom Oracle, "Feathers:"
          In my early morning, pre-coffee haze, I thought this was a bird pooping on this poor ferret's head. Of course in a way it is; betrayal and loss feels very personal. In this mindset, it's easy to get obsessed with the "why me" questions and never consider the other person's viewpoint. I can get completely caught up in how badly you hurt me without me giving a thought to what I might have done to set the ball rolling. The Feathers card parallels the winged heart; both are a symbol of air and thoughts. Those thoughts left to run amok can do more harm than good, because they are often far from reality. Instead, I think I'll try to remember the wisdom of Jack Kornfield:
Everybody has their own burden. Everybody has their own measure of sorrow. Relatively speaking, some might carry an enormous burden, but everybody has a fair measure. It’s just part of the human condition. 
We don’t trust that our heart has the capacity to open to the sorrows as well as the beauty of the world... One of the great Buddhist teachings—it’s a type of medicine, you might say—is to remind ourselves, and others, that we all have a great capacity of heart. We have within us buddhanature, the capacity to hold all the sorrows and joys of the world. An aspect of our great openness is our ability to tolerate suffering. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thunking Thoughts

From the Ferret Tarot, the Nine of Swords; from the Nature's Wisdom Oracle, "Crab:"
          Moertl's phrase for this Nine made me laugh, because I could identify with it so well: "Everything goes 'thunk' in the night." Isn't that the truth? When I wake in the middle of the night, I'm generally not thinking sugary, sweet thoughts. I make plans, and worry about those plans. I think of people I care about, and worry about them. Basically, I get anxious about everything. Nice thoughts slide right out of my mind like on Teflon, but the uncomfortable ones seem to stick like Velcro.
          The Crab shows up with the keyword "Protection" assigned. Having recently looked at a Red Lobster menu, I'm not so sure it's accurate. But with the Nine of Swords added beside it, I'm thinking the protection I need may not be external, but from my own mind. Those thoughts of anxious uncertainty may be stickier than others, but they will pass if I don't focus on them (giving them more energy). Lately when I wake in the middle of the night, I use a technique I call the Sesame St. Meditation. I take a deep, relaxed breath, then as I exhale I imagine singing the first vowel until I run out of air (AAAaaaaaaaa). After the next inhale, I move to the next vowel and do the same, until I've gone through all of them (A, E, I, O, U). Usually after those five breaths, I've distracted my mind so it's not full of sorrows and woes. I guess Sesame St. is even educational for adults.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Full Measure

From the Ferret Tarot, the Ace of Pentacles; from the Nature's Wisdom Oracle, the "Blue-footed Booby:"
           Look at how this ferret is thoroughly checking out each side of this coin. Instead of immediately using it in some way, he allows time for curiosity and appreciation. Watch a human and a dog go for a walk and notice the differences. The dog will stop and sniff everything; he'll investigate or greet every other animal he passes by. The human will constantly check his fitness gadget, wondering if he's walking quickly enough, how many steps he's taken and how long it will take to reach his goal. He might as well have blinders on when it comes to his surroundings. I am reminded by this fuzzy fellow that my body, the outdoors, and all the other physical gifts I have shouldn't be taken for granted, seen only as a means to an end.
          The blue-footed booby is a marine bird easily recognized by its bright blue feet. The name "booby" comes from the Spanish word bobo ("stupid" or "clown"); the blue-footed booby moves very clumsily on land. I find it ironic (another side to humor) that though he waddles in a ridiculous way, he is a graceful flier with excellent maneuvering skills. Both these cards send me the message to see both sides of the coin, appreciating and enjoying the whole rather than one part.
What a large volume of adventures may be grasped within the span of his little life by him who interests his heart in everything. ― Laurence Sterne

Monday, November 9, 2015

Rolling a Dung Ball

From the Ferret Tarot, the Devil; from the Nature's Wisdom Oracle, "Scarab Beetle:"
          The Devil shows a duel between this ferret's inner demon and angel sides.  Moertl's phrase for this card is "Damned if you do, but figure out why." The last part of that message seems to be repeated in the beetle's card - there's a reason behind my actions, for what I create in my life. Often though, I'm not aware of it. I've been reading about the "Eight Worldly Concerns" that dominate a person's life: pleasure/pain, praise/blame-criticism, acclaim/disgrace and gain/loss. While it is quite human to want to experience only the good stuff, it's not very realistic. For me, I've found I take on one of three personas when I'm faced with dealing with these concerns. Sometimes I'm the street-fighter, ready to physically defend what's mine or aggressively go after what I think should be mine. I may become the chess player, mentally coming up with strategies for getting what I want and avoiding what I don't want. Or, I can become the drunkard, emotionally numbing myself to whatever is happening (feeling I have no control over anything). Here's the question I need to ask myself: "Is this dung ball I'm working so hard on going to make an actual difference, or is this just a reaction based on fear?"
When we figure out that the eight worldly concerns are terrorists posing as sweethearts, we will let go of many misconceptions and won’t have to battle with attachment so much, because there will be wisdom that says, "This is nice and I enjoy it, but I don’t need it." When we have that attitude there’s so much space in the mind because then whatever we have, whoever we’re with, we are satisfied. Thubten Chodron 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Ladybug Lessons

This week I'll be using the Ferret Tarot, created and self-published by Elaine Moertl. Along with it, I'll be drawing from Nature's Wisdom Oracle, created by Mindy Lighthipe and published by Schiffer Books. The cards for today are the Five of Pentacles and "Ladybug:"
          Oh dear, it looks like a ferret family squabble. Mother ferret tearfully holds an empty food pan while three little tummies growl. Father ferret is doing his best to explain how he managed to gamble away their week's supply of kibble. What's done is done (though she might want to consult a ferret lawyer). Instead of blame and sorrowful tales, both parents better start looking for avenues of assistance. Pride shouldn't be an issue with little mouths to feed.
          Because these colorful aphid-munching machines are so helpful in gardens, ladybugs have always been considered good fortune. As the days get shorter and temperatures begin to drop, the beetles seek shelter under bark and leaves or other protected areas. Hundreds may gather together, seeking the warmth of a collective colony (the non-native Asian species is known for invading homes). During this time they are fairly inactive and live off their body fat until the temperatures warm up again. Ladybugs could teach the ferrets a few lessons about surviving hard times: fortune is fickle for everyone; learn from your mistakes; stick together; and sock away some savings for hard times.