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

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Alert and Agile

From the Fey Tarot, the Nine of Wands; from the I Misteri della Sibilla, the Three of Clubs (Journey):
          There have been a few times in my life during which I was filled with so much rage, I was tempted to kill someone. All these situations involved protecting a beloved person (or pet) who had suffered abuse at the hands of someone. But like the older fey hiding in the tree with the younger one, I thankfully realized that often it is better to get out of harm's way and stay alert rather than to attack. When my fight is fueled by fiery anger, all of my energy goes to obliterating the enemy instead of finding a solution to the problem. The Three of Clubs represents mental agility, and the journey it symbolizes is an attempt to look beyond the normal boundary of temporary, quick fixes to a more lasting remedy. I not only have to consider my side of the equation, but the side of my antagonist as well. These types of resolutions are indeed a journey, so I might as well settle in for the ride.
The Sibilla card made me think of the recent passing of a Southern Rock legend:
Gregg Allman (December 8, 1947 – May 27, 2017), the original "Midnight Rider." 
May he find peace on the journey ahead.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Everybody Knows Your Name

From the Fey Tarot, the Queen of Chalices; from the I Misteri della Sibilla, the Ace of Hearts (Conversation):
          Rather than a small cup, this queen sends out water from a giant chalice (reminding me of the practice of tonglen). People know her as a woman of compassionate understanding with the ability to deeply listen - skills sorely lacking in a self-absorbed society. It's no wonder she rarely has a spare moment of solitude. Her biggest challenge, however, is knowing how to gently mother herself, to take time to touch her own emotions tenderly and allow herself to apply the balm of kindness to them. As Brian Andreas poetically describes it, "There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by myself." The Ace of Hearts is a card of affection, and in this watercolor is a group sharing an engaging dinner conversation. As much as self-compassion and care is beneficial, we need people. The theme song from the series Cheers explains it perfectly:
Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got. 
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. 
Wouldn't you like to get away? 
Sometimes you want to go 
Where everybody knows your name, 
and they're always glad you came. 
You wanna be where you can see, 
our troubles are all the same 
You wanna be where everybody knows 
Your name. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Chalice and the Blade

From the Fey Tarot, the Knight of Chalices; from the I Misteri della Sibilla, the Three of Hearts (Lookout):
          This knight is so often seen as a romantic and dreamer, I sometimes forget his actual job is to be a warrior. Now it appears his lobster mount has come out of the emotional waters and on dry land. A cup hovers over one hand of the fey and a sword over the other. The two items made me think of a book written by Riane Eisler years ago called The Chalice and the Blade. Eisler's focus in the book was a social analysis of what she calls dominator societies vs. partnership societies. I can think of one emotion that would make the Knight of Cups pack away his chalice and book of sonnets - fear. Add a dash of misinformation, and voila: the warrior returns. The Three of Hearts suggests caution in the matters of trust and the heart. The woman on the platform holds a pair of binoculars, which implies looking beyond whatever she is feeling at the present moment. History can't be repaired once it has happened; it's better to logically consider long-range consequences instead of following a feeling.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Branching Out

This week I'll be using the Fey Tarot, a book and deck set created by Riccardo Minetti and Mara Aghem. This set was published by Lo Scarabeo. The oracle deck I'll be using is the I Misteri della Sibilla, created by Ettore Maiotti and published by Dal Negro. Today's draws are the Two of Wands and the Two of Diamonds (Letter):
          This little fellow looks miserable because he doesn't know what to do. He's got the opportunity to move out of his snug nest and expand his horizons. But the thought of leaving his comfort zone is not a comfortable one. He doesn't appear to be a fountain of enthusiasm, so perhaps he is feeling restless and wants something different to do. However, it's unlikely he'll hang in there when things get tough if his heart's not in it. The Two of Diamonds is known as the investment card - a chance to get involved in a beneficial business or relationship. But how do you improve or make your life more meaningful if you are afraid to leave the nest?

No one ever knows what is going to happen next. But these transition times—between something being set and things being uncertain—are times of enormous potential. Anything is possible.
You are offered the potential of opening up into the as-yet unknown, the much bigger world where there are smells you’ve never smelled, there are sights you’ve never seen, and there are sounds you’ve never heard. What you could experience is so much vaster than what you currently experience. Let’s go in that direction. ~ Pema Chodron

Saturday, May 27, 2017


From the Tabula Mundi Tarot, the Eight of Swords; from the Universe Cards, Nebula (Star Death):
          The lion and eagle/griffin represent a battle between the will and the intellect; there is no progress because thoughts continually tie up any possible action. These two are like the ends of a Chinese handcuff toy. The more each pulls in the opposite direction, the tighter and more tangled the rope becomes. Sometimes our thoughts and beliefs are much worse enemies than any person or situation outside of us. The Universe card shows a planetary nebula, or the dust cloud left behind after a star explodes or its core collapses. Stopworth assigns it the keyword 'transformation,' explaining that destruction is an integral part of the cycle of life. Without it, there would be no creation (or in this case, forward progress). The double vajra in the tarot card symbolizes skilled means and compassion, but its partner (the bell, a symbol of wisdom and emptiness) is missing. We might understand half of something really well, but that isn't beneficial if we don't realize it's not the whole enchilada.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Temporary Happiness

From the Tabula Mundi Tarot, the Nine of Cups; from the Universe Cards, the Star:
          The koi in this illustration are auspicious creatures, representing good fortune, harmony and happiness (and the meaning of the Nine of Cups). Meleen has also included three animals from her Wheel of Fortune card that symbolize the gunas from yogic philosophy (a combination of qualities found in everything and everyone). The lemur with its sun-disk and horns headdress signifies rajas: energy, longing and attachment. The serpent hand that holds a wishbone indicates tamas: darkness, inertia, inactivity and a material nature. The owl with its crown denotes sattva: harmony, balance, joy and intelligence. All of these qualities may be found within pleasure in varying degrees, but the crowned owl symbolizes a middle path that won't leave us feeling depressed or angry when the fun is replaced by something less pleasant. The Star card has been assigned the keyword 'stability.' Even though its creation and destruction is rather cataclysmic, a star has a long period of stability. It fits well with sattva and the principle of equanimity.
Real equanimity isn’t indifference. It’s the capacity to be present 
with your whole being and not add fuel to the fire. ~ Jack Kornfield

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Inflated Loss

From the Tabula Mundi Tarot, the Three of Swords; from the Universe Cards, the Red Giant:
          When an Egyptian died, the major organs were placed in canopic jars before mummification - except for the heart. The heart was thought to be the seat of the soul and was left in the body (it would be needed in the afterlife). So it is curious that Meleen explains the cracked vessel over the fire is a heart jar. Yet great loss and the grief or anger that follows can make us think we have lost our spirit; we may feel what gave us life (literally and symbolically) is gone. A Red Giant is a dying star whose fusion ceases and causes it to swell, which is why this card was given the keyword 'inflation.' Grief is a tricky waterway to navigate. On one hand, we need to talk about the loss and how we feel rather than suppress our emotions. But we humans can get tangled in our net of feelings and mentally exaggerate how awful, significant, or unforgivable the incident was. We may lose sight of the natural cycle of impermanence and believe life is treating us unfairly. We fan the flames of outrage which does nothing but cook our hearts. Yes, we need to honor our wounds, but we also need to look around us for what is good that is still there to enjoy.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Slicing and Dicing

From the Tabula Mundi Tarot, the Queen of Swords; from the Universe Cards, Comet:
          Don't let the winged child-like face mislead you about this queen's purpose; it represents a cherub, a guardian of superhuman strength and devoid of emotions. The severed head illustrates how this queen feels about entertaining fools, con men or sugared tongues. Her sharp perception and penetrating insight is what helps people see the truth, and she'll readily slice up some egos (and slice off their masks) to do it. Her goal is to push people toward enlightenment, which is often an uncomfortable process. In the words of Adyashanti, "The path of awakening is not about positive emotions. On the contrary, enlightenment may not be easy or positive at all. It is not easy to have our illusions crushed. It is not easy to let go of long-held perceptions. We may experience great resistance to seeing through even those illusions that cause us a great amount of pain." The Comet card has been assigned the keyword 'transition,' a term that suggests adapting to change when things happen 'out of the blue.' Sometimes we have to first peek at reality, then gradually open our eyes all the way to the whole truth.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Student of Earth

From the Tabula Mundi Tarot, the Princess (Page) of Disks; from the Universe Cards, Distant Galaxies:
          Elementally the Princess is Earth of Earth, which is about as grounded and practical as things get. She is the personification of the phrase "where the rubber meets the road." Tell her you have a theory, and she'll want to test it. Explain your beliefs, and she'll want hard evidence to back them up. She cares nothing for being in the limelight, discussing philosophies, or sharing innermost feelings. She is a student of reality, a subject that both excites her and gives her life meaning. The keyword Stopforth gives for the Distant Galaxies card seems completely opposite to this Princess - intuition. The time it takes for the light from another galaxy to reach us on Earth is anywhere from of a few hundred thousand to millions of years. Astronomers have observed galaxies so far away that we are seeing them as they were when the light left them more than 10 billion years ago. In a sense, the universe is a cosmic time machine that allows us knowledge that we wouldn't normally have (thus the cards's connection with intuition). I bet if you explained to the Princess that intuition is structured knowledge (already learned and filed in the brain) that can be instantly accessed (because of practice with such retrieval), she wouldn't dismiss it as fluffy nonsense. She's probably already setting up some experiments to study it.

Monday, May 22, 2017


From the Tabula Mundi Tarot, the Prince (Knight) of Wands; from the Universe Cards, Nova:
           The winged lion above this Prince symbolizes his Air of Fire elemental nature. Not only is he smart with a keen sense of ethics, he is also full of passion and energy. He meets every aspect of his life with enthusiasm and relishes challenges as puzzles to be solved. His biggest obstacles however are found within himself: restlessness, boredom and impatience. The Nova card refers to an eruption on an unstable star that has a companion star nearby (the companion's gravity pulls away matter from the nova star). When a nova occurs, the star flares and appears brighter for a few days. Stopworth gives this card the keyword 'growth,' explaining that life often requires us to evolve beyond our comfort zone in order to meet the challenges presented to us. When we are pressed beyond our normal daily stresses, it is easy to become impatient and frustrated with ourselves and others. Yet this is exactly the yeast that can help us grow spiritually beyond our present state.
No matter how far out on the sea of suffering we've sailed, 
all that is required is to turn toward awakening.
It's never too late, but it takes that turning, and no one can do that for us.
~ Bonnie Myotai Treace

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Controlled Intensity

This week I'll be using the Tabula Mundi Tarot (Nox et Lux edition) with its companion book Book M: Liber Mundi; both were self-published by M.M. Meleen. I'll pair with it the Universe Cards, a set created by Kay Stopforth and published by Thorsons. Today's draws are the Seven of Wands and Neutron Star:
          In the history of Chinese culture, the dragon represented the emperor and the tiger stood for those who did not want to be held hostage by his rule. The pair symbolize a struggle to re-balance power rather than let only one hold the reins. No matter what we try to do, if it is out of bounds from what is considered normal or average, there will be push-back. The keyword for this card is 'valor' and Meleen offers the advice to "take courage amidst opposition." The Neutron Star is created when a giant star (much bigger than our Sun) explodes. The core collapses to form a small but extremely dense center made up of neutrons. One handful of its matter would weigh as much as a fleet of ships. It's no wonder Stopworth has assigned this star the keyword 'intensity.' Intensity is useful, but must be carefully balanced. As an example, consider the difference between a specified, military missile strike and carpet bombing. When trying to hold my ground and do things the way I intend, I need to make sure I don't set fire to everything - the project, my relationships and the trust of my backers.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Hand on the Plow (and the Reins)

From the Artist's Inner Vision Tarot, the Nine of Coins; from the Art of Collage Cards, a work by Eugenia Loli:
Keep your hand on the plow, hold on.
~ Mahalia Jackson
          There is a verse in Luke where Jesus exhorts his followers not to look back once their hand is on the plow. I think the woman in the Nine of Coins card would agree; it is discipline and dedication that has gotten her to a place of independence and self-sufficiency, not second guessing and wishy-washy thinking. Those kind of thoughts can distract us, suck the energy right out of our efforts and waste our time. 'Stinkin' Thinking' is the title I've given Eugenia Loli's collage. In 12 Step groups, this describes people who have reverted back to destructive thinking patterns ("I could just take a few pills to help me relax, then I'll flush the rest.") Action follows thought; if we dwell on an idea long enough, we will likely act on it. But detrimental thoughts can be replaced with healthier ones if we are aware of them. The mind can't be flipped on and off like a light switch, but we can pick up the reins and guide it in a new direction.

Friday, May 19, 2017


From the Artist's Inner Vision Tarot, the Ten of Swords; from the Art of Collage Cards, a work by Marcos Martinez:
To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.
― Pema Chödrön 
          Everyone carries around their own thimble-full of ideas and opinions about how the world works and their place in it. But what happens when the rug is pulled out from beneath our feet, and that framework of beliefs comes crashing down? It can be frightening to lose what we felt gave us a sense of control and security, to be in limbo with no mental anchor. But like the starry sky behind the swords in this card, it can also be liberating to go from thimble-size to space-size. Consider all the possibilities and potential now available that comes with such freedom of thought. Martinez's collage is given the title "Making lemonade," from the well-known phrase "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade." What does it mean to have a positive attitude? For me it means to look for what is good and beautiful in my life and taking time for appreciation even even amid pain or worry. I can look for ways to change what is wrong, yet if I find none, I can realize that all things will eventually change on their own. With an open perspective created by the Ten of Swords, I can look at situations from a much wider viewpoint without all my opinions and preferences getting in the way.
The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen:
room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy. ― Pema Chödrön

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Uncovering the Hidden

From the Artist's Inner Vision Tarot, the Hermit; from the Art of Collage Cards, a work by Catrin Arno:
          The Hermit uses solitude to troll deep waters. The companion book states, "Under the environment of self-exploration and contemplation, answers rise to the surface of consciousness, and our knowledge of them makes it easier for us to change negative patterns and live our lives in a life-affirming manner." I recently challenged the ladies I sponsor to take an inventory of what's in their spiritual toolbox.* In mine, there were several discarded or dusty practices; most of what I do consistently are those that bring me pleasure. But a complete toolbox includes practices that challenge me and help me to grow. Its purpose is not to keep me in a state of bliss, but to aid me in becoming more compassionate and less self-centered. Arno's work is one I call "What is hidden." The woman's modest but opulent gown seems to cover up a lot of her, until you peek at what is underneath. There is a world of passion and creativity behind all those layers! I am reminded that doing the hard work of spiritual training doesn't just result in sweat and tears, but a flowering of something beautiful too.
*Our challenge for the month includes dusting off a practice we haven't used in a while (or learned about and never used) and begin working with it. Also, we are to investigate new practices and choose one to test drive for a month. For anyone interested, some suggestions can be found here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Just Sign Here

From the Artist's Inner Vision Tarot, the Queen of Wands; from the Art of Collage Cards, a work by Deger Bakir:
          This woman reminds me of a Southerner because of her dramatic expression. I can just hear her say, "Oh my lawd! Well bless her heart!" She likes to be in groups and is always welcome; people like her attention, energy and charisma. What they might not be aware of is that she uses these opportunities to sign people up for the next bake sale, get them involved in social justice movements, and collect donations for the new homeless shelter being built. She can get your mouth to say 'yes' before your brain has too much time to think about reasons to say 'no.' But even if you later regret signing up for her latest cause, she'll help you rally with her own support and encouragement. I've given Bakir's collage the title "Go your own way" (cue Fleetwood Mac). The interesting thing about the Queen of Swords is that she knows her strengths as well as her weaknesses. She may not be able to bake a cake, but she can organize the bake sale. She might not know the first thing about how to run a shelter, but she knows who to hit up for donations to keep it running. She uses her personality traits and talents in ways that benefit both herself and others. Don't let her Southern drawl and mannerisms fool you - she is sharp as a switchblade when it comes to getting things done.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

He's Not Godzilla, But...

From the Artist's Inner Vision Tarot, the Queen of Coins; from the Art of Collage Cards, a work by Ayham Jabr:
          Why does this Queen look like the Hindu goddess Durga with all her extra arms? The arms represent her many attributes: hard-working, practical, generous, nurturing and resourceful. The circle around her symbolizes her connection to the rhythms of nature. She's not going to expect a seed planted today to be producing fruit or flowers by next week. Jabr is an artist from Syria, and I've given his work the title "The New Normal." We don't have to deal with an ongoing, stateside war or Godzilla, but we do have Donald Trump in the White House. His actions that previously shocked us barely even register on the Richter scale now. There are days when I feel like a survivalist and days when I am numb from wondering what my country will look like in four years. Yet even in this insanity, the Queen would suggest that I not lose my common sense, altruism or efficient creativity. She might also remind me that four years to a mountain or giant sequoia is just a drop of water in the ocean.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Reality Check

From the Artist's Inner Vision Tarot, Judgment; from the Art of Collage Cards, a work by Eugenia Loli:
          These folks all look like they're in the throes of a terrifying situation, using their hands to shield or beg for mercy. One angel extends a rod, but I'm not sure if it is offering relief or just poking people with it.  It is a day of reckoning, a time when mindlessness of one's actions have now been exposed. Yet rather than some deity or external judge tying me to the whipping post, I am the one who has been forcefully awakened by the consequences of my previous actions (or inaction). I might try to blame everything on someone or something else, but I am ultimately responsible for planting and watering those seeds that turned into briers. I've given the collage by Loli the title "Erosion." This woman seems to be in deep thought while the waterfall erodes her cube of stability. Hopefully what is being eroded are the rigid ideas that created the chaos in the Judgment card. Her cube isn't on the ground but floating above it, suggesting that what she thought was concrete isn't even grounded in reality.
In the naivete of their youth, they believed Fate to be a kind mistress. None of them were prepared for the beast that was about to pick them up by the throats and shake them until their teeth rattled. 
Melodie Ramone

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mixing Colors

This week I'll be using the Artist's Inner Vision set, created by twenty-six artists and published by NoMonet. I'll also be using the Art of Collage Cards, a deck I compiled for personal use from the work of various artists. Today's cards are Temperance and a work by Mariano Peccinetti:
          The woman in this picture seems to be studying intensely. Yet too much of anything can become a not-so-good thing. Does she ever get off that couch and go outside for some fresh air? The paint and brush provide a good analogy for Temperance. To get the right shade, colors often need to be mixed; before moving from one color to the next, the brush must be rinsed. Who would want a painting of only one color? Yet I can easily become consumed by a project or a Big Thing (a death, a serious illness, etc.). I drown in the details of a problem and can't see my life with any perspective. I've given Peccinetti's work the title "Bird's Eye View." If I could hop on that magic carpet, I think I would (after putting on my seat-belt) see my life as a small thread in a large tapestry. My challenges would be no worse than those people and the planet below me. Understanding this concept requires some mental distance between me and whatever is going on. In the words of  Rabih Alameddine, "What happens is of little significance compared with the stories we tell ourselves about what happens."

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Intuitive Delusion

From the Tarot of the Sidhe, the Dancer Queen (Queen of Cups/Water); from the Green Man Tree Oracle, Fern:
          This queen offers the gift of an open heart, nurturing others through empathy and compassion. Her nakedness emphasizes her need for emotional honesty; she will not pretend to feel something she doesn't. Her open nature also allows her to tap into her intuition, a quick perception of a situation followed by a visceral response. As with her emotions, she feels what she needs to do in her body before it is translated in mental-speak. Fern is associated with many myths and legends, most involving a person who discovers a seed or flower of a fern (especially on Midsummer night). The folklore suggests this lucky person will find happiness and riches to last throughout their lifetime. Unfortunately, what makes a plant a fern is that it has no seeds or flowers because it reproduces through spores. Fern asks, "Do you seek truth or prefer delusion?" The problem with intuition is that desire or fear can often produce a physical response that mimics a true intuitive response. It might be a good idea to let the mud settle from the water before diving in.

Friday, May 12, 2017

One Heart, One Mind

From the Tarot of the Sidhe, Warrior Four (Four of Wands/Fire); from the Green Man Tree Oracle, Spindle:
          One person's palm held outward can be an assertive sign to stop or may be a submissive sign of surrender. But when two people place their palms together,  it is a symbol of joyful celebration (as in the 'high five') or may represent a receptive connection. In this Four it seems to be both, and Carding calls it a foundational blessing. The dwelling under the mound is a place of belonging and comfort as well as a place for family and friends to gather. Spindle is a deciduous shrub with hard wood that can be cut to sharp point. Thus in the past it was used to make wooden spindles, tools used for twisting fibers into yarn. It asks, "What needs to be united to make it more durable?" These cards remind me of the words of two women:
We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.
― J.K. Rowling
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
― Margaret Mead

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Of Two Minds

From the Tarot of the Sidhe, Dreamer Two (Two of Swords/Air); from the Green Man Tree Oracle, Hazel:
          This black and white Sidhe moon made me think of the phrase, 'I'm of two minds.' Psychologist Daniel Goleman wrote, "In a very real sense we have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels." It's easy to discern the logic of the head from the tenderness of the heart, but when these two become entangled, decisions seem impossibly complicated. Hazel has long been associated with wisdom; it asks the question: "Do you see things as they are, or only as you want them to be?" Wisdom is not bound by what we personally know, but instead looks for information and tests what is found. It is courageous and flexible, willing to let go of prejudices, assumptions and preferences. In Buddhist psychology, the word for mind and heart is the same - citta. An awakened heart/mind (bodhicitta) means our mind and heart are open as the sky, not under the influence of what we want or don't want. It is a combination of wisdom and compassion.
When we are motivated by compassion and wisdom, the results of our actions benefit everyone, not just our individual selves or some immediate convenience. 
― Dalai Lama XIV

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Beginnings and Conclusions

From the Tarot of the Sidhe, Maker Seven (Seven of Pentacles/Earth); from the Green Man Tree Oracle, Birch:
          A Sidhe lass works to get a sacred circle of stones set up just right. Like an artist, she places one, steps back and checks alignment, then resets it if necessary. She's not focused on the hurried completion of her task, but with doing it mindfully. The right result rather than the finish line is what is important to her. As Carding writes, "The heavy toil will near an end when patience, heart and skill attend." Birch trees are considered a 'pioneer species' - hardy species which are the first to colonize previously disrupted or damaged ecosystems. It is no wonder then that this tree and its ogham are associated with fresh starts. The question asked by Birch is, "Do you think a good conclusion can be reached without a good beginning?" Thoughtful preparation followed by sustained effort will provide the best strategy for a successful ending.
Flying by the seat of your pants precedes crashing by the seat of your pants.
~ Bill Walsh

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Remove the Chains

From the Tarot of the Sidhe, the Magician; from the Green Man Tree Oracle, Heather:
          This Magician contains all the elements needed to create what he needs: fire (energy), water (desire), earth (matter) and air (intellect). Carding writes, "I have the power to change myself, for all that I need is within me. Through changing myself, I change the world." He represents the key to action - growth occurs through our inner root of intention. When I reconstruct myself, I transform how I think and feel about my experiences. This allows me to take action that isn't stuck in old behavior patterns. Heather's genus name, Calluna, comes from the Greek kalluno meaning "to cleanse." It probably refers to this plant's past use for brooms. Its letter (Ur) is associated with death and endings. The question it poses is, "What unnecessary burden or belief do you carry?" Change can be blocked when I carry shame or resentment, while letting go of these chains frees up the confidence and focus I will need. One link at a time...

Monday, May 8, 2017

Walking Stick or Club?

From the Tarot of the Sidhe, Dreamer Five (Five of Swords/Air); from the Green Man Tree Oracle, Blackthorn:
         When there is an argument instead of a discussion, there will always be casualties. Our ideas and beliefs are closely bound with our ego; when they are attacked or threatened, we also feel personally assaulted. We get angry, lash out and attempt to do more damage than we take. Is there a way to avoid such hurt? I am reminded of a story about Buddha who was teaching in a village. A man there came up to him and told Buddha he had no right to teach because he was ignorant and a fake. The Buddha said, "Tell me, if you buy a gift for someone, and that person does not take it, to whom does the gift belong?" The man replied it would be his since he bought the gift. The Buddha responded, "That is true. And it is exactly the same with your anger." The Blackthorn is a small tree named for its spur-like shoots and dark bark. Shillelaghs, a combined walking stick and club, were often made from its wood. It's message is the question, "What protects you and what pricks you?" I can bet that anything someone says that pricks my ego is what I am using to protect and feel good about myself. But it is also what keeps my heart and mind closed and defensive rather than open and receptive.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

What Survives is Gold

This week I'll be using the Tarot of the Sidhe, created by Emily Carding and published by Schiffer. I'll also be using the Green Man Tree Oracle, created by John Matthews and Will Worthington with Connections as its publisher. Along with this oracle, I'll be adding information from Ogam: Weaving Word Wisdom by Erynn Rowan Laurie. Today's draws are the Dancer Four (Four of Cups/Water) and the Beech:
          When I saw this card, Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days" started playing in my head. Basically the song tells the story of people reminiscing about how good life used to be, instead of enjoying the one they have now. Again I was reminded of the words of Søren Kierkegaard: "It is perfectly true, as the philosophers say, that life must be understood backwards. But they forget the other proposition, that it must be lived forwards." Beech is sometimes included for Phagos - an additional part of the Ogham not originally used. It's message is represented by the question, "What lies beyond the threshold?" The beech is connected to written knowledge and learning, as its bark has often been carved with messages and thin slices of its wood were used for the first books. Both of these cards seem to suggest opening the mind wider than the narrow crack allowed by memories and rigid beliefs. How different my attitude might be if I were to adopt Robert Browning's ideas: "Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be" and "leave the fire ashes, what survives is gold."