I use tarot and oracle cards as tools for reflection and contemplation. Rather than divining the future, they are a way for me to look more deeply at the "now."
"The goal isn't to arrive, but to meander, to saunter, to make your life a holy wandering." ~ Rami Shapiro

Friday, September 30, 2016

My Best Thinking

From the Tarot of Pagan Cats, the Ten of Swords; from Brownie Wisdom, Time:
          As the cobwebs on the altar show, we can get stuck in a certain viewpoint. In 12 Step rooms around the world, there is a phrase heard often: "My best thinking got me here." My ego is great at coming up with all kinds of strategies to solve my problems, yet it often keeps me in a rut and makes things worse. To borrow from the mind of Einstein, a new kind of thinking is essential. I need to empty my cup of solutions and allow it to be filled by a new source. Judging by the stardust swirling in the night sky, it appears this cat agrees. The Brownie suggests time is a factor. I might want to lay on my bed of nails and feel sorry for myself, but what will that accomplish? It won't make me feel better or change anything - self-pity just keeps me stuck in a circular mindset. Time to listen to another's wisdom besides my own.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Investing Resources

From the Tarot of Pagan Cats, the Ten of Pentacles; from Brownie Wisdom, Monument:
          A cat clan relaxes in the courtyard of what appears to be a wealthy patron's castle. The arch above them has symbols of the elements as well as phases of the moon and sun. It seems they have used their resources wisely (and timed their use correctly) to secure a stable and abundant life. The triskele, a pre-Celtic symbol meaning 'three-legged,' is displayed on a rug in the foreground. It implies energy and movement (check out this version on Sicily's flag), and it can be thought of as an emblem of life. It also suggests change; life is full of endings and beginnings. Will the mewing kitten be able to maintain the security its parents and grandparents have created? Only time will tell. The Brownie tells the kitten (in the words of JFK and Luke) "For of those to whom much is given, much is required." Will these resources be used benevolently to help himself and others, or will he be selfishly concerned with only himself? It's easy to think I don't have much until I open my eyes and see the people who have very little. We all have resources to share, even if it's only our time and attention.
For anyone who might be interested, Shambhala Mountain Center is having a FREE online summit beginning Oct. 19 - all you need to do is sign up via email (use this link). "The Science of Meditation Summit is about the transformative effect of meditation on the areas of our lived experience that shape our happiness, well-being and ability to be of service to others."

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Claws and the Musing of Martyrs

From the Tarot of Pagan Cats, Strength; from Brownie Wisdom, The Gift:
          Cats are not known for being long-suffering. Irritate them even briefly, and there will be hissing and claws to deal with. You'd better have the band-aids handy. If I am in trying circumstances, it doesn't help for me to use my irritation as a mantra. Imagining the cause of my frustration duct taped to a chair from head to toe isn't helpful either. That kind of thinking only increases my self-righteous indignation. Inner strength comes from a place outside the reach of my ego; I don't take challenges as a personal insult. This cat seems to be in a meditative zone while she keeps the puppy under her paw. Maybe she's mentally escaped to her "happy place" (probably a window seat in the sun). Sounds like a much better focus. The card from the Brownies suggests that the heart has to be in the right place before anything can be considered a gift. When I restrain my anger, is it really spiritual progress when I go brag about it? "You would not believe what I had to put up with at the bank today - that woman was so thick in the head!" Or "Did she get her driver's license off the internet?! She's lucky I didn't give her the finger!" Though the object of my anger might be clueless about how I felt, I'm not sure boasting from a martyr's mindset would really count.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Good Guidance

From the Tarot of Pagan Cats, the King of Swords; from Brownie Wisdom, Good Works:
          That is one icy landscape on the King of Sword's mountain. He is known as a fair and just judge, therefore his emotions can't affect his ability to be objective. But is his heart frozen too? There was a tough love movement years ago that basically taught people to lay down harsh consequences for bad behavior. Yet there was no real love there, because that particular sword required a detachment from all emotion. It was basically Skinner's Behaviorism 101. Al-Anon came out with the phrase "detach with love," which started out the same but evolved into something different. It realized the person laying down the law is often just trying to control others and ends up reacting out of fear or anger to force a change. Simply look at the prison system here in the States for how well this works. Instead, the "detach with love" idea allows a person to deal with the natural consequences of their behavior (while protecting the innocents within his or her circle). While we don't take the challenge of learning to be responsible away from them, they are offered options to help themselves. Here's where the Brownie Wisdom card comes into play. You would think people should innately know how to change their lives for the better, but people who've lived only to survive don't have a clue. They must be shown by example.
All happiness comes from altruism and all suffering from selfishness. 
~ Karma Trinlay Rinpoche 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Woodpile of Ideas

From the Tarot of Pagan Cats, the Knave (Page) of Wands; from Brownie Wisdom, Be Off:
          I can just imagine this young cat thinking, "Finally! A decent scratching post in this boring place!" It took him under an hour to run through the pyramids, and now he's already restless for something new to explore. His high energy and willingness to take risks does not lend itself to meandering slowly through a place. He likes to learn at one speed, and never from the same book. Of course his mind does the same with ideas. He'll have a wild thought about doing or creating something, then he heads off in another direction. He's like a brainstorming committee that tosses everything out on the table, regardless of how reckless or impossible it sounds. The knave isn't mature enough to follow through on any of it, but if you need a fresh direction to move in, he's your guy for possibilities.  The Brownie explains how to deal with scoffers: don't listen or simply walk away. People who are afraid of anything different will automatically attempt to squash any spark before it turns into a flame. Although everything in the knave's woodpile of ideas isn't feasible, there just might be a few suggestions too good to ignore.
The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
~ Rob Siltanen

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Snap Out of It

This week I'll be using Lo Scarabeo's Tarot of Pagan Cats (mini) with booklet by Barbara Moore and art by Lola Airaghi. Paired with it will be Brownie Wisdom, the smaller deck included with The Brownies Oracle created and self-published by Doug Thornsjo. Today's draws are Judgment and Keep the Heart Light:
          On a plant covered balcony, a cat has suddenly taken an excited posture. There's no frog or moth that's got him interested, but a constellation made of all his kitty ancestors. The booklet suggests he hears a call to action, from a dead situation into a new one. Have you ever found yourself in a spiritual rut, where you felt numb to everyone and everything around you? You move through your days doing what it is you're supposed to do, but the meaning behind it all seems to have evaporated. It feels like you'll be in this place of purgatory forever, but this card suggests that inspiration and encouragement is just around the corner. Snap out of the mental fog and be alert with your ears and eyes wide open. The Brownie shows up to add a message of optimism to keep the heart light because things are changing. He reminds me of the words of Harriet Beecher Stowe: "When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you until it seems that you cannot hold on for a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time when the tide will turn."

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Finding Balance in the Dark Night

From the Rohrig Tarot, the Two of Disks; from the Master Tarot, Twice Born:
          The Rohrig Two of Disks has a much more natural feel to it than its RWS cousin. A swoosh of moist air rises from the water and winds between the two spheres.The moist air suggests an emotional tie between what is happening in the outer world and the inner. Just as the weather is constantly changing, so too is life. We can either adapt or suffer (and we will indeed suffer if we refuse to accept such changes). The Thoth calls this card Harmonious Balance, suggesting that there is a way to walk with equanimity between gains and losses, weakness and strength. The Twice Born card refers to the raising of Lazarus from the dead. The deck's booklet makes the comparison between this event and experiencing the dark night of the soul. I think I'll let Eckhart Tolle explain this one:
It is a term used to describe what one could call a collapse of a perceived meaning in life…an eruption into your life of a deep sense of meaninglessness.  The inner state in some cases is very close to what is conventionally called depression.  Nothing makes sense anymore, there’s no purpose to anything.  Sometimes it’s triggered by some external event, some disaster perhaps, on an external level.  The death of someone close to you could trigger it, especially premature death, for example if your child dies.  Or you had built up your life, and given it meaning – and the meaning that you had given your life, your activities, your achievements, where you are going, what is considered important, and the meaning that you had given your life for some reason collapses.
It can happen if something happens that you can’t explain away anymore, some disaster which seems to invalidate the meaning that your life had before.  Really what has collapsed then is the whole conceptual framework for your life, the meaning that your mind had given it.  So that results in a dark place.  But people have gone into that, and then there is the possibility that you emerge out of that into a transformed state of consciousness.  Life has meaning again, but it’s no longer a conceptual meaning that you can necessarily explain.  Quite often it’s from there that people awaken out of their conceptual sense of reality, which has collapsed.
They awaken into something deeper, which is no longer based on concepts in your mind.  A deeper sense of purpose or connectedness with a greater life that is not dependent on explanations or anything conceptual any longer.  It’s a kind of re-birth.  The dark night of the soul is a kind of death that you die.  What dies is the egoic sense of self.  Of course, death is always painful, but nothing real has actually died there – only an illusory identity.  Now it is probably the case that some people who’ve gone through this transformation realized that they had to go through that, in order to bring about a spiritual awakening.  Often it is part of the awakening process, the death of the old self and the birth of the true self.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Temporarily Stable

From the Rohrig Tarot, the Four of Disks; from the Masters Tarot, the Straw and Beam:
One half of the world fears stagnation and the other half change.
― Marty Rubin
          The Thoth meaning of this Four is Power, the kind that comes from material stability and establishment. And while this seems comfy, its also a subtle warning not to get to attached to how things are. One thing Nature can teach us is that it continues to live, thrive and survive through change, whether seasonal or evolutional. I found the Straw and Beam card a strange pairing at first, as it suggests getting the beam out of one's on eye before pointing out the straw in another person's eye. In other words, don't judge anyone else unless you have no faults to work on. I can see a parallel with this and my husband's health. Now that I'm feeling better, I've been pushing him to see another back doctor. (His spine has been described as a nine car pile-up.) He finally did agree to see another fellow who has started a few new therapies in hopes of relieving some of his pain. But both these cards imply that just because my body is feeling good doesn't mean I should ignore it. I need to pay attention to its needs too. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Taste of Bread

From the Rohrig Tarot, the Ace of Wands; from the Master Tarot, the Lilies:
          There's a folk saying in the rural South that if a snapping turtle bites you, it won't let go until it thunders. I imagine the purpose of that myth was to keep kids away from them, as snapping turtles have fast reflexes and cranky dispositions. But that folk wisdom reminds me of the Ace of Wands, and the way we can get seized by a creative idea that won't seem to let go of us. It's as if we are passionately driven to do something with it. But most people - no matter what field they're in - get stymied after they begin by their thoughts: "Will people like this? Will they want to buy it? What if all this time spent will be for nothing?" Personally I think that spark is an innate part of everyone; humans just like to create. But the Lilies story of the bible offers an incentive to keep going as long as one's motives are honorable:
Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? ...Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? ...See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. ...Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-34)
Of course I'm not naive enough to think one doesn't have to keep a roof over one's head and food in the cupboard, but sometimes we get overly concerned before the horse even gets out of the barn. The booklet puts it succinctly: "We are missing the taste of today's bread while earning tomorrow's."

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Between Fear and Recklessness

From the Rohrig Tarot, the Eight of Disks; from the Master Tarot, the Vine and Branches:
          In the Rohrig card, a tree stump burns, but the group below envisions what will rise again from their renewed efforts. The card before this one is subtitled 'Failure,' so it is no surprise that this one would be called 'Prudence.' Things were not done with care and consideration in the beginning; the crash that resulted has taught them the importance of proper management and setting priorities. Prudence sails between the middle of fear and recklessness. As Bill Wilson put it, "Prudence is rational concern without worry." There's no need to go off the deep end if there's no evidence of anything to worry about, yet accountability and responsibility are still vitally important. The Vine and Branches is a story about paying attention to what is bearing fruit and what isn't. It's easy to get so caught up in trying to make something work, that we forget to take care of what is working. Wouldn't it be better to prune off the dead branches and take care of what is living?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Lawyers and Samaritans

From the Rohrig Tarot, the Knight (King) of Disks; from the Master Tarot, the Neighbor:
          From the spiral of coins and cogs coming from his head and the bills around his face, it's easy to see what this King is about. The companion book describes him as having an uncompromising pursuit of his own interests, both hard-working and tenacious. His Thoth title is Lord of the Wide and Fertile Land, and like the earth, he is a provider of life. Though he provides the harvest, he is also known as the healer - of body and land (note his headband). I'm sure he knows about crop-rotation, cover crops and compost to keep the soil healthy. He sounds like a decent ruler, but does he care anything about people who are outside his realm? Likewise in our global world today, is it necessary to care about people in another country? What if these people don't look like me or have the same beliefs I do? The Neighbor shows up from the Good Samaritan story in Luke to provide an answer. A lawyer, who was trying to weasel out of helping everyone, asked Jesus to define exactly who his neighbor was. Most readers would say the story defines anyone who needs our help as a neighbor, but Jesus ends the story with a twist. He says the Samaritan who helped the wounded man proved to be the good neighbor. In other words, quit trying to figure out if you're morally obligated to give aid and just offer it if you can.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Hand Washing

From the Rohrig Tarot, the Two of Wands; from the Master Tarot, the Man of Power:
          The subtitle for the Two of Wands is 'Dominion,' meaning supreme power or authority. Such sovereignty allows for freedom of choice in the way our lives unfold. In this card, two paths intersect between two crystal columns; one represents sticking with the traditional, tried-and-true way and the other is taking a new, unorthodox route.The companion book describes this point as "creative energy waiting to be channeled." The Man of Power (Pontius Pilate) implies a pause before choosing. Pilate, the Roman governor of occupied Palestine, was known for dealing harshly with those who caused trouble in his domain. When Jesus, a zealous social reformer, came to the attention of Jewish leaders and challenged Roman rule, he was brought before Pilate. Pilate tries to give him a pass, but the crowds insist Jesus be crucified. Pilate washes his hands of the matter and permits him to be put to death. The booklet states that Pilate was a man "who sees yet claims not to see." In other words, "Don't blame it on me. It's not my fault." But the choices and decisions we make are our own, so our motives need to be thoroughly checked beforehand. In real life, there is no washing of hands to pass the buck.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

It's Not What You Think

This week I'll be using the Rohrig Tarot, created by Carl W. Rohrig and published by Sirio. I also have a companion book written by the artist and Francesca Marzano-Fritz and published by Bluestar Communications. The other deck I'll be drawing from is called a tarot, but I'll be using it as an oracle: the Master Tarot. It was created by Amerigo Folchi and Mario Montano and published by AG Muller. Today's cards are the Hanged Man and the Priest:
           The authors explain that the Magus has given up his search for Truth to live the life of a mystic. The search itself had become an obstacle, and he now realizes what he seeks is within. The active, masculine side of his nature is replaced with the passive feminine in order to be receptive to what arises. Absolute surrender and acceptance is required, therefore all struggles (both mental and physical) have ceased. His first vision is the Priest, holding a tablet of stone with ten commandments. His followers try to shield themselves from the words, knowing they can never live such perfect lives. The Priest (unlike the average monotheistic leader) tells them his job is not to shame or manipulate with threats, but to encourage them to live a life of love. The key, he explains, is to realize morality (external values) will never replace one's internal values (spirituality). They may provide guidelines, but they will never have the same influence as what is within. The hard part is getting in touch with what one truly believes, not just in the mind but in the heart. To live by these values will allow for discernment rather than judgment, seeing clearly and objectively what is true rather than being influenced by preferences or prejudices.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Progress and Simple Comforts

From the Via Tarot, the Chariot; from the Nature's Pharmacy Deck, Cinnamon:
          This charioteer has three tigers by the tail, which Bonner explains forms the Hebrew letter Shin. Shin can mean both 'teeth' and 'sharp,' which fits well with the tigers' claws/teeth and the eagle's talons/beak. To make headway and ultimately achieve one's goal , it is often necessary to dig in to gain traction. The form of Shin (according to inner.org) represents the flame of a coal: the simmering outer flame, the hot inner flame, and the brightly burning flame that appears when the coal is blown upon. There are times when the steadiness of the simmering coal is needed, and times when a more fiery flame is called for. The Pharmacy Deck adds Cinnamon to the Chariot, a fragrant spice from the inner bark of trees. If there was only one type of spice that I could keep in my kitchen cabinet, this would be it. Whether something is baking with cinnamon or the smell rises from a hot cider, it always seems comforting to me. And when you spend all day trying to manage your tigers, those simple comforts can make a difference in your progress.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Moon Shine

From the Via Tarot, the Moon; from the Nature's Pharmacy Deck, Myrrh:
          Someone woke me up very early this morning pointing a flashlight in my face, or at least that's what I thought when I first opened my eyes. Actually if was just an extremely bright, nearly full moon shining through my eastern bedroom window. Tonight it will be full, and in some parts of the world, there will be an eclipse. This woman standing at the ocean's edge reminds me of how strong a force intuition can be when I open myself to it. I used to think of intuition as a sort of 'woo-woo,' extra sensory thing until I started reading some ideas and research via Mary Greer. In her opinion, it is an unconscious mental process that takes in information from the environment, quickly recognizes patterns from experience (a large part of which are unconscious memories), then communicates this information through symbols, sensations and emotions. Greer writes, "Essentially it is the act or process of coming to direct knowledge without reasoning or inferring. With intuition we sense truth without explanations. Using unconscious forms of analogy and induction we instantly perceive connections and patterns." Myrrh arrives from the Pharmacy deck with a message of purification. The resin from this tree has been used as an incense throughout history. So what needs purifying? In a podcast on Biddy Tarot, Greer warns that some of what we think of as intuition "are biases, are prejudice, are assumptions, and opinions, are beliefs about things – faulty information as well as accurate information... If we’re training our intuition we have to train ourselves to know when we’re doing all of those different things."

Thursday, September 15, 2016

First, Cool the Flame

From the Via Tarot, the Ten of Wands; from the Nature's Pharmacy Deck, White Willow:
          The Thoth keyword for the Ten of Wands is Oppression, that feeling like one's living spark is being suppressed to the point of being snuffed out. What happens then looks like the image on this card - angry (sometimes to the point of violence) protesters who can no longer tolerate living in such circumstances. It could happen on an individual basis, such as a wife who leaves an emotionally abusive husband, or a city-wide march of a group demanding civil rights. But the White Willow is drawn to emphasize what should not be forgotten in these situations. The bark of  Salix alba contains salicin, a chemical known for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. In the 1800s, salicin was used to develop aspirin. The willow reminds me that people often can't hear the message I want them to receive because of my rage. All they see is my out-of-control flame, and so they react with fear. If I can tamp down the fires, I might get my message of unmet needs or feelings of injustice across to ears that actually hear them.
Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one's own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others. ~ John F. Kennedy

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Play with a Full Set

From the Via Tarot, the King of Wands; from the Nature's Pharmacy Deck, Comfrey:
          This King is literally and metaphorically fired up, with lightning above his head and flames at his feet. The chessboard at ground level reveals he has a plan he's about to put into motion, and this project is what's got him pumped up and excited. But what concerns me is the battle armor he wears, which is great if you're in an actual fight with swords and lances. When someone is so full of enthusiasm (able to see the 'promised land' in his mind's eye), he can have the tendency to become dogmatic and testy when questioned about his approach. He may be snappy or condescending to those folks whose help he is going to need. It's impossible to play chess with just a king; the other pieces are just as important. The Pharmacy Deck produces Comfrey in response, an herb also known as "bone-knit." It's properties were so highly thought of, Nicholas Culpeper (an herbalist of the 1600s) declared it would cause pieces of meat in the cooking pot to bind themselves back together. Obviously, this herb symbolizes mending what is broken, which the fiery King would do well to heed. As Yehuda Berg reminds, "Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble."

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Redirect, Your Honor

From the Via Tarot, the Nine of Swords; from the Nature's Pharmacy Deck, Horseradish:
          This guy has nine swords protruding from his mind, each held by a skeletal hand. At the top is an inset of two figures, one who appears to be casting the other into a vortex of doom. People can truly be pissers sometimes, but no one does cruelty like we can do to ourselves. Give the mind a little resentment or fear to chew on, and it can do wondrous (and horrible) things with them. Do it long enough, and you end up as a victim with a terrible case of analysis paralysis. What does the Pharmacy deck produce for an antidote? Horseradish. This herb's common name comes from its coarse leaves and thick root (sturdy like a horse) and for its pungent taste (radish). I know of it mostly as a sauce - the condiment with the kick of a horse. We used often at oyster roasts when I was in college (it covered the taste for me, until I got drunk enough not to care). Both these cards brought back a memory of my mom right after the love of her life died. She told me she could get up every morning as long as she had a purpose, something to look forward to. I think this guy would be wise to redirect his mind to a positive focus that he could get excited about and anticipate too.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Use Your Noggin

From the Via Tarot, the Seven of Cups; from Nature's Pharmacy deck, Witch hazel:
          The woman at the top of the Seven of Cups is being held hostage by a dragon like creature. Subtitled the 'Lord of Debauch,' it could easily be known as the illusion of success and pleasure. You know how it is... We're stressed or worn out, so we succumb to a way that looks easier than another. We don't look more deeply because we don't want to know. If we did, we'd see without a doubt that we're about to engage in a behavior that goes against our principles. It's five minutes of elation followed by months or years or remorse. Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) shows up just in time, a plant known for it's astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. It shrinks things down (the ego) and cools things off (impulsive action). What I love about the plant besides its herbal value is its bright yellow, frilly flowers. Their color is symbolic of the intellect, a suggestion that I should use my head instead of being led by my desires.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

All the World's a Stage

This week I'll be using the Via Tarot, created by Susan Jameson and John Bonner; the book and deck were published by Urania/AGM. I'll also be using the Nature's Pharmacy Deck created by the New York Botanical Garden and published by Chronicle Books. Today's draws are the Prince (Knight) of Cups and Marsh Mallow:
          This young man strikes such a theatrical pose that it made me smile when I drew him. In his chariot pulled by an eagle (he is the airy part of water), he heads toward the depths of a pond full of lotus flowers. Bonner writes that this figure represents the "ability to accept and deal with emotional needs." I am reminded of how often we feel one way, yet present a different face to others. I have one friend that laughs when she's anxious, and another who cries when she's angry. Me? I put a wall up and appear to unaffected at all when my emotions are churning. The problem comes when we're with other people who generally judge how we're feeling by our outsides. I'm sure putting up a false front isn't helpful in dealing with my emotional needs. If I'm hiding behind a mask, no one will know I need any support and encouragement. Althaea officinalis, or marsh mallow is a perennial that has been used to treat sore throats and dry coughs (the Greek root of Althaea means 'to heal'). This plant is most known, however, for the sugary treat originally made from its roots - marshmallows (now made with gelatin). The sweetness and softness of the confection that comes from this plant suggest that it's okay to be kind and compassionate towards myself. There's no need to put on a brave face if that's not how I feel, though I don't need to go overboard and be dramatic either.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Mountains to Molehills

From the Bonefire Tarot, the Five of Wands; from the Day of the Dead Lenormand, the Mice:
          The Five of Wands shows a group of burning pine cones; they tend to light easily and burn brightly. They make lots of cracking and popping noises (from the sap) but burn out very quickly. On top of the cones are a pair of 'conkers' - two horse chestnuts on the end of a string. In this game, kids take turns trying to crack their opponent's nut. Both these symbols remind me that no matter how intense a conflict or hassle may feel at the time, it's not that big of a deal in the larger scheme of things. However the appearance of the Mice show how these kind of little things can gnaw into my joy and contentment. Though these situations are really just inconveniences that might give me a headache, my emotions can make them into something much larger. My body will respond with a cortisol cocktail, and I start acting like the hassles are all major hurdles. A friend once remarked (when I was having such a day): "So you took a bad ten minutes and stretched it into a whole day?" Her wry sense of humor shrinks my mountains back to molehills every time.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Walk Away

From the Bonefire Tarot, the Five of Swords; from the Day of the Dead Lenormand, the Letter:
          Two guys duke it out, while a girl who thinks they're both idiots walks away. I wonder how many friendships Facebook has destroyed. Someone posts something about religion, politics or a social issue, then another person posts about the opposite view. The next thing you know, there are messages under those posts that go from snarky to downright hateful. Does this actually change someone else's viewpoint? I doubt it. Gabi calls this a "hollow victory," and I have to agree. The Lenormand Letter implies some form of written communication. Who could it be from? I'm guessing it's either a 'Dear John' letter about not wanting to be in a relationship with a person who has a trigger temper, or an employer who saw a video posted online of the fight and doesn't want that kind of person working for him. That's the thing about the words we say and the things we do; these days, it will be made public for all to see thanks to social media. I think I prefer to do as the girl and walk away. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Ruling with Humility

From the Bonefire Tarot, the Emperor; from the Day of the Dead Lenormand, the Lily:
          The Emperor holds in one hand an ankh (a symbol of life) and in the other an orb (a symbol of dominion). Some of the world leaders we have today (and one presidential candidate I can think of) seem to feel they must have complete power and control over everything and everyone to have the 'good life.' Yet I am intrigued by Gabi's Emperor, who seems a humble sort of man as he holds his symbols in front of him. He isn't a narcissistic and arrogant ruler, but a person who cares about the people he watches over. Perhaps the hourglass beside him is a clue; he may realize he is just one grain of sand in all the grains that pour through time. He wants to make a mark in the world, but not a slash and burn type. The Lily from the Lenormand deck reflects his wisdom and love of peace. He has rules and boundaries in place, but they are not rigid. There will be times when he needs to ease them, and times he needs to strengthen them. His goal is to protect, sustain and serve, not for his own edification but for the benefit of his people. The legacy he hopes to leave will be a time of peace and stability with an overriding emphasis on humanitarianism.
Only he who has no use for the empire is fit to be entrusted with it. Zhuangzi

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Chess Player

From the Bonefire Tarot, the Nine of Swords; from the Day of the Dead Lenormand, the Woman:
          A young woman sits in a bed of chess pieces with a checkerboard cover. She's a strategist, always trying to stay one move ahead of the next problem or challenge. But she's in overdrive and can't see clearly (using her fingers for glasses). Her intuition has shut down (the closed eye in the forehead), probably because she's trying to control everything. All the 'pieces' in play won't stay in the position she wants them, nor do what she wants them to do. She's a basket full of anxiety tied up with an insomnia bow. The Woman shows up from the Lenormand deck twirling her skirt and representing the feminine principle of receptivity. "Relax and loosen your grasp," she tells her. "The only part you can play in this game of life is your own. And you'll miss even that if you keep trying to direct everyone else."

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

From Fireworks to Anchors

From the Bonefire Tarot, the Two of Cups; from the Day of the Dead Lenormand, the Anchor:
          The Bonefire couple embrace beneath a peach tree, a symbol of longevity and of all that is 'juicy' (not boring) and sweet. What is it that attracts me to another person, that makes me want to make a connection to them? It seems my checklist has changed over the years. When I was young, I wanted a good looking guy for a romantic partner and a friend who shared all the same beliefs I did. Now I prefer the look of character in my partner, a face etched by the wisdom that comes from life experience (which tends to make the bond much juicier than simply sex). Today I appreciate friends who don't mind questioning my ideas and challenge me to be a better person. These are the traits that can make a relationship last long after looks and opinions have changed. The Lenormand Anchor suggests stability and security, which I think are related to a mature relationship. The ups and downs of life don't destroy those kind of ties; instead, they help keep each other grounded.