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

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Timing is Essential

From the Deirdre of Sorrows Tarot, the Ace of Coins; from the Victorian Flower Oracle, Honeysuckle:
          Planning a garden - looking through catalogs, choosing seeds or plants and imagining the end result - can be much more fun than planting it. But at some point if we want more than a fantasy garden, we're going to have to get our hands dirty. The coin's imprint is unusual, showing  a cupid-like figure with bow and arrows set aside while gearwheels turn over his head. Obviously there is an emphasis on doing rather than feeling (I may not want to be out in the hot sun plowing and planting, but I need to do it anyway). The sundial behind him symbolizes a limited time frame for getting things done. Honeysuckle's message is 'fun and games,' which seems in conflict with the 'get moving' nudge of the Ace. Yet bodies need rest and minds need to unwind when work is hard, or it's likely the work won't every get completed. However honeysuckle (especially the invasive Japanese species) can easily take over an area if left on its on. Better set a timer so work doesn't get completely pushed aside in favor of play, if whatever project I'm working on is to get off the ground.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Do you like tacos?

From the Deirdre of Sorrows Tarot, the Eight of Coins; from the Victorian Flower Oracle, Tuberose and Daffodil:
          All these students seem to be studying different things in this classroom. Though I'm sure they all have to learn a basic core curriculum, they also branch out and follow an in depth course of study in what interests them. Thank goodness for that; I wouldn't want my electrician to give me a flu shot. Tuberose and Daffodil represent love or warm friendship, though they are very different flowers. Tuberose is considered a night-blooming plant that flowers in the summer while Daffodil is a spring flower that can be seen all day. However both flowers are bulbs. Though we all have our differences, it can help us get along if we look for at least one similarity or common interest, even if it is as simple as liking tacos.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Trimming the Overgrowth

From the Deirdre of Sorrows Tarot, the Five of Wands; from the Victorian Flower Oracle, Hawthorn:
          All she wanted was an estimate for an irrigation system for her garden. Now these knuckleheads are getting nothing accomplished because they are too busy arguing (likely trying to impress her) about the best way to do it. From that 'hands on the hips' posture, she will likely be knocking some heads together soon. I can't stand to be in a group argument that simply revolves around beliefs; I much prefer discussions that center on facts and logic. We don't have Hawthorns in my area, but we do have pyracantheas (aka 'firethorn'). Unless you want an impenetrable thorny wall, at some point they must be cut back to be kept in bounds (thus the keyword, 'necessary evil'). These two cards don't bode well for my trip to 'cousin camp' hosted by my mom every summer. She believes in keeping family together whether we like it or not. I do love my cousins, but our ideas about all of the touchy subjects (politics, religion, etc.) are miles apart. I would prefer not to talk about them at all, but one of the group has big opinions that she enjoys sharing. Normally I sit in mute silence (inwardly churning) in order to keep the peace. But the second card suggests I might respectfully speak my truth, not to debate, but in an effort to cut off the never-ending flow. Or at the very least I could simply say, "I don't see it that way," and leave it at that.

Monday, August 28, 2017

A Work in Progress

From the Deirdre of Sorrows Tarot, the Four of Wands; from the Victorian Flower Oracle, Pansy:
          A young couple have just been married, and are now about to enter the house that will become their home. It is a celebratory moment, but the courtship and wedding ceremony were simply the foundation of a building still under construction. Now this couple have to live together and figure out how to share the television and the bills, how to deal with each other's in-laws and annoying habits, and how to meet the challenges and changes that will come. Forget the three-tiered frosted cake; real life is not always so fluffy and sweet. Now if Pansy's advice is followed (Wishful Thinking), that couple is going to crash from their pink cloud of excitement into a brick wall. Reliving the past or fantasizing about the future is not going to help anyone deal with reality in the present. Sure things may not be perfect, but with awareness and curiosity there will be plenty of good to experience and be grateful for right now.

We are all capable of becoming fundamentalists because we get 
addicted to other people’s wrongness.
We can learn to rejoice in even the smallest blessings our life holds. It is easy to miss our own good fortune; often happiness comes in ways we don’t even notice.
Pema Chodron

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Generosity, Backward and Forward

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 King of Coins and Daisy:
Obviously, you would give your life for your children, or give them the last biscuit on the plate.
But to me, the trick in life is to take that sense of generosity between kin, make it apply to the extended family and to your neighbour, your village and beyond. ~ Tom Stoppard

          I find it interesting that the people who don't spend a whole lot of money on themselves (other than occasional indulgences) often have no problem with generosity. Not that they are foolish enough to indiscriminately give away their wealth, but like this king, they tend to be benevolent and kind. He seems to be dropping gold coins from his pocket, while holding on to a larger one. Whoever shares his picnic will be going home with a full belly and heavier pockets. Daisy represents hearth, home and family. Seeing these two cards remind me how often my time and energy is spent on other people, leaving little for my loved ones. Even when I am home, I can be unavailable if I am staring at my phone, the computer or the television. Today I will attempt to practice generosity backward - beginning with my family and working outward.

Saturday, August 26, 2017


From the Fairytale Tarot, the Hermit; from the Tree Affirmation Cards, the Acacia Karoo:
          "Bearskin" is a tale about a soldier who came back from war to nothing and no one. He made a deal with the devil not to cut his hair, clip his nails, or bathe for seven years (and sleep in a bearskin). The devil would keep him supplied with plenty of money during this time, but if the soldier died before the time was up, the devil would take his soul. If he survived, he would be wealthy forever. What's interesting about this 'hermit' is that during his seven years, he constantly gave large sums of money to those who were poor or in dire straits. After the seven years, the soldier got cleaned up, was granted endless wealth from the devil, and married a young woman. The Acacia Karoo is an African tree with long thorns to protect it from grazing animals. Only when it reaches a great height does it shed the thorns. Both these cards suggest protective boundaries - the hermit with his smell and unkempt appearance and the tree whose thorns allow it to reach maturity. But neither kept the self-imposed walls up longer than was needed.
sabbaticalany extended period of leave from one's customary work, 
especially for rest, to acquire new skills or training, etc. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Enchantment Protection

From the Fairytale Tarot, the Moon; from the Tree Affirmation Cards, the Elderflower:
           The story of "The Nixy" tells of a water sprite who made a deal with a man: wealth for the youngest thing in your house. Of course the idea of never being in want again made him say 'yes' before realizing what that would entail - giving up his newborn son. Nixies are patient; she had to wait until the young man grew up before he came near enough to the pond to snag him. It would be the young man's wife following the advice of a witch (by performing several tasks) who ultimately reunited them (though that took some time since they had been enchanted and didn't initially recognize each other). Because of its lovely, fragrant blossoms, the Elderflower (aka Elderberry) has been assigned the keyword 'enchantment.' Both these cards remind me of how easy it is to see only what I want to see, especially if what I desire is within reach. I may avoid investigating or acknowledging what the end result will be in my eagerness to have what I crave. But every thought, word and action will send out little seeds which will eventually turn into a fully grown field that resembles my underlying motive.
Self-imposed rules aren’t constraints, they’re good decisions made in batches—they’re behavioral boundary markers you get to position yourself, through your own experience and wisdom. The real ball and chain is the liability of not having standards independent of your mood and other acute pressures.  ~ David Cain

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Kite Strings

From the Fairytale Tarot, the Six of Wands; from the Tree Affirmation Cards, the Chestnut:
          Make this Emperor taller with an orange comb-over, and his tale and attitude would fit POTUS nicely. The 'victory' here is not for the ruler but for the scam artists who took his gold (and probably most of the residents of his kingdom too).  Like the emperor's subjects who snickered at his 'new clothes,' I admit that I likewise enjoy seeing Trump make a fool of himself. He is the most arrogant, ignorant, dishonest, narcissistic, indulgent, misogynistic, racist, undiplomatic, and power-hungry president ever holding office in my lifetime. Yet while I throw shade on him, the Chestnut card - a tree with nuts hidden in a prickly, sharp covering - suggests I take an honest look at what's inside myself. What I find there is fear: fear that our country will keep becoming more divided and full of hatred, that the ordinary citizens and their needs will be overlooked in favor of the 1% and big business, that we will lose the respect and friendship of other countries, and that the earth will pay a heavy price because of greed. The 'triumph' of seeing Trump say idiotic things is beginning to feel like holding on to a kite string in a tornado.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Dose of Dharma

From the Fairytale Tarot, the King of Swords; from the Tree Affirmation Cards, Monkey Puzzle:
          The tale of "The Maiden Tsar" is a story of love thwarted by magic. For the tsar and the young man who loved her, their relationship involved a constant attempt to unravel the mystery of what kept them apart. Had they been led by emotions rather than their minds, the end of this story would have sounded more like that of Romeo and Juliet than the happy one their efforts created. The complex symmetry of Monkey Puzzle tree is an example of the mathematics underlying the natural world. How do you put together a jigsaw puzzle? Do you start with the edges or look for similar patterns and colors? This is the kind of logic this tree's message brings. To apply this in the real world is to see that neither destiny nor self-determination are the only factors in how things turn out. Is it logical to believe that a certain group is predetermined to be leaders, or that another group lives in need simply because they fail to pull themselves out of it? From a Buddhist perspective, life is shaped through cause and conditions. The cause is a deliberate, conscious action: I plant a seed. The conditions are the right circumstances that allow it to grow: the right amount of sun and rain as well as the correct climate and nutrients in the soil. It's not simple, which is why correcting the imbalances in our world won't be either. But we've got to start somewhere, using wisdom and compassion rather than opinions and passion.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Benefit for Both

From the Fairytale Tarot, the Queen of Wands; from the Tree Affirmation Cards, Whispering Ash:
          In the tale of "Kip the Magic Cat," the queen's cat gives birth to a kitten as the queen gives birth to a princess. The kitten eventually saves the princess, and in so doing, saves herself. A spell Kip and her mother had been under was broken, and both turned back into humans. I found a Rumi quote in my email this morning that seems appropriate for this story: "Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone's soul heal." It is hard for humans not to look at everything through self-centered glasses. How do we even begin to practice selflessness when the world seems overwhelmed with pain and hatred right now? The Whispering Ash is a tree that is stirred by even the slightest breeze; its message is to be just as sensitive to any intuitive thought that redirects us from our repetitive self-interest. The ladders or lamps we extend to another may be as simple as the offer of a cup of coffee and a willingness to listen. We give the gift of kindness and get a break from our self-absorption - both sides benefit.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Look in the Heart

From the Fairytale Tarot, the Seven of Cups; from the Tree Affirmation Cards, the Olive:
          The Seven of Cups illustrates a tale called the "Silver Plate and the Bi-colored Apple." These two items were magical; when the apple spun on the plate, it showed the activities going on in the world. I imagine different people would want these things for various reasons, such as a government leader to spy on his enemies or a love-smitten young man to keep an eye on the girl who holds his heart. What would you choose to do with such an item? I think I would use it to try to stop bad things from happening - like the TV show Early Edition (a guy got the newspaper a day in advance before it was actually published). The only problem is that there would be no way to prevent all of the multitude of accidents and horrors - which one would I choose? The Olive Tree suggests my choice for today be what brings peace, within myself and in the outer world.
It's easy to be cynical. Especially today, when it looks like all our heroes are crooks, our role models frauds. Every now and again, however, when you least expect it, the real thing comes along: someone who can find the heart inside the cynic and give those who hold nothing sacred something to believe in. It's not always easy telling the good from the bad, even if you do get tomorrow's paper today. Why, is why. Sometimes, to find the answers, you have to look in your heart.
~ Early Edition

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Stiff Upper Lip

This week I'll be using the Fairytale Tarot, a deck and book set published by Magic Realist Press and created by Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov. The oracle deck I'll be using this week is the Tree Affirmation Cards created and self-published by Victoria Sofia Lewis. Today's draws are the Ten of Swords and Lilac:
          The tale of "The Constant Tin Soldier" is about a toy soldier who starts off his life in bad straits (having one leg), then gets tossed outside (experiencing harrowing adventures), only to make it back home in time to be thrown in the stove fire (where he burns with his love, the paper ballerina). Throughout all his ordeals he keeps a stiff upper lip, remaining at attention and showing no emotion. Sure it may sound romantic and courageous, but that's the icing that hides the delusion and ignorance. Ideals and philosophies are great, until they turn you into a blockhead that common sense can't penetrate. Then you end up as someone who no longer knows how to have a discussion, because you are convinced you already have the truth. Lilac's keyword is 'faith' (you can smell it without seeing it). I've walked away from my childhood faith and found Buddhism, which doesn't ask that you believe something without testing it for yourself. The other day, watching the chaos in Charlottesville, VA, I lost my faith in America. However, seeing the counter-protesters come out in such great numbers in Boston, I feel like our country has a chance to survive Trump's rhetoric and presidency. In the meantime, I refuse to stand by with my mouth shut and be a tin patriot.
Patriotism is proud of a country’s virtues and eager to correct its deficiencies; it also acknowledges the legitimate patriotism of other countries, with their own specific virtues. The pride of nationalism, however, trumpets its country’s virtues and denies its deficiencies, while it is contemptuous toward the virtues of other countries. It wants to be, and proclaims itself to be, “the greatest,” but greatness is not required of a country; only goodness is.
~ Sydney J. Harris

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Energy Costs

From the Ferret Tarot, the Six of Pentacles; from the Nature's Wisdom Oracle, the Hummingbird:
          If you want to know why the ferret on the left is being so timid about taking the gift, check out the tight hold and grimace of the other. Obviously she knows accepting this present is going to cost her something. The giver seems to have a hard time understanding the concept of unconditional giving. The cash register in his head is probably ringing up what this will cost him, but also what he is hoping to get in return. If she takes it, there will have been an exchange - the gift for an expectation of reimbursement in some form. Hummingbirds requires an immense amount of nectar to maintain their high metabolism (scaled to the size of a human, it translates to about 155,000 calories a day). Energy must be managed carefully for survival. Intention, in a sense, is a powerful source of energy. If mine are aggressive (as the giver above), then that is the kind of energy I send out (which is not very cost effective for me in the end). Wayne Dyer suggested that everyone has within them seeds that produce rather than deplete us, which he called the Seven Faces of Intention: creativity, kindness, love, beauty, expansion, abundance (gratitude), and receptivity. These are the gifts that keep on giving and cost nothing but a bit of time.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Worth It

From the Ferret Tarot, the Six of Swords; from the Nature's Wisdom Oracle, the Sea Turtle:
          I'm convinced that Roombas are smarter than most humans, because these vacuum robots know how to navigate obstacles instead of run into them over and over. When humans look for a solution, whether it's to solve a problem or get out of a blue funk, we will continue to do the same things even though they don't work. When we get tired of that, we bring other people into our 'boat,' expecting them to tell us what to do. But there really is only one fix: steer the mind in a different direction. No one can do this for us (which is why I'm glad to see the ferret piloting his own boat). The problem we run into when trying to train the mind is that our patterns have well-worn paths that our thoughts would prefer to follow. It's not easy to blaze a new trail, which is where the Sea Turtle's keyword of endurance comes in. Most sea turtles migrate well over a thousand miles each year, between their feeding grounds and the beaches where they nest. Their message is that the effort is worth the result.
You need to see where you are going, and you also need a way to get there. The way to get there is what is referred to as skillful means. ~ Judy Lief

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Just Shine

From the Ferret Tarot, the Hermit; from the Nature's Wisdom Oracle, the Luna Moth:
          As one de-motivational poster (showing the Titanic sinking) put it, "It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others." But thankfully there are also those who have discovered a more joyful way to live that involves less suffering. Like the Hermit, they can let their light shine (attraction rather than promotion) or they can get on social media and advertise. Personally, I'd rather watch how someone navigates life and ask for pointers than be bombarded by nonstop promotional emails or phone calls. The Luna Moth has a wingspan of 4.5 inches and spends the whole week of its life in moth form seeking a mate rather than eating. Mating takes place after midnight, and egg-laying begins that evening. Rather than in the glare of the sun, these moths create the next generation under the soft light of the moon. Both these cards imply that a gentle approach - simply being a living example - is better than a hard sell.
Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining - they just shine.
~ Dwight L. Moody

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Exercising Kindness

From the Ferret Tarot, Strength; from the Nature's Wisdom Oracle, the Snake:
          Weight-lifting might seem the wrong kind of power Strength generally implies, unless you think of the focus on breathing as it is done. Any kind of exercise (such as holding a yoga pose) creates intentional stress in the body; as the muscles tighten, it is easy to constrict or hold the breath. It takes a conscious effort to relax the diaphragm and let air flow through the lungs. Daily life is full of a similar type of stress that often contracts the body and breath. But remembering to breathe slowly and deeply can create space to think clearly rather than impulsively react. Snake's message of healing combined with the Strength card suggest compassion and kindness. Pema Chodron explained three steps of developing these traits:
1) The king or queen - the leader can't help the kingdom if his or her own life isn't in order. Practicing kindness towards oneself (rather than self-pity or self-indulgence) is a requirement if one is to be of benefit to others.
2) The ferryman - the ferryman has everyone in the same boat with him or her; the realization dawns that no matter how different we are, we all suffer. Everyone will experience pain and eventually death.
3) The shepherd - the shepherd puts the needs of the sheep ahead of his or her own wants. This isn't done out of expectation or obligation, but because he or she cares about the sheep.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Confrontation with Reality

From the Ferret Tarot, the Tower; from the Nature's Wisdom Oracle, Mushroom:
          The ferrets had their automatic feeder taken away, because the vet said they were becoming a little pudgy. Now they have scheduled feedings in measured amounts. Of course the fuzzy darlings thought they were starving with this new change, so they made a plan to dip into the bag of ferret chow while everyone was asleep. It seemed the perfect solution until one too many caused the bag to topple, sending kibble scattering noisily across the hardwood floor. I am convinced humans will believe just about anything if it appears to 'protect' them from uncertainty or whatever scares them. But the natural laws of life will eventually deconstruct any tower of belief we build. When it falls, we may often try to build another, more improved version, which is where Mushroom's message of caution steps in. Seeing the volva (bulb-like base) of the fungi makes me think these are likely from the Amanita family, which includes some of the most toxic and deadly mushrooms worldwide. Because they often closely resemble edible fungi, many people have been poisoned by them. Is it worth the energy to rebuild another Tower if it too will come crashing down at some point?
Each day presents a new confrontation with reality. I want to run; instead, I breathe. One breath—the freedom to choose my response in that moment. 
—Marilyn Buck  

Monday, August 14, 2017

Sussing Out the Truth

From the Ferret Tarot, the King of Swords; from the Nature's Wisdom Oracle, the Artichoke:
When the body is tired, fiction can strangely start to resemble nonfiction. When the heart aches, it can be easy to mistake fantasy for reality. And when one's passion is burning brightly, the end can readily be used to rationalize the means. No wonder this ferret judge looks so serious; he's got a heavy burden when it comes to sussing out the truth in tangled circumstances. Clarity and objectivity are his goal, as he cuts away the brambles to find the facts. I wonder just how bored or hungry the first person to consider that the artichoke might be edible was. Yet there is value in this vegetable for more than only a food. The pulp of the petal-like bracts contain the chemical cynarine, which inhibits taste receptors and makes water (and other foods and drinks) seem sweet. The artichoke also has one of the highest antioxidant contents of all vegetables. What is the purpose/value of finding the truth? Surely it involves more than just labeling actions right or wrong and punishing those who've caused damage. Perhaps it is so clarity can restructure the conditions that caused the spread of untruths and prevent future harm.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Heat is On

From the Ferret Tarot, the Eight of Wands; from the Nature's Wisdom Oracle, the Hawk:
The heat is on, on the street
Inside your head, on every beat
And the beat's so loud, deep inside
The pressure's high, just to stay alive
'Cause the heat is on.
I've got Glenn Frey's song playing in my head; the heat (a part of a race or competition) is on with the ferrets this morning. What are they racing toward? I have no idea, but it must be something good with all their enthusiasm and energy projected in the same direction. On the other hand, maybe they've spotted Hawk and are running for cover. Hawk has been given the keyword 'power' because of its ability to scope out an area from a height and then act with bullet-like speed to grasp its objective. Hawk reminds me not to get bogged down in details but to keep my view wide and alert. When it's time to act, I'll be ready.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

It's an Illusion

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 Two of Coins and Bat:
The body posture of this little ferret says a lot. His head is up, reminding me of the phrase 'heads-up,' which suggests being being aware of what is happening around you. His paws are outstretched, implying a willingness to catch and deal with what comes around. But the most telling is that both of his feet are firmly planted on the ground. Staying grounded rather than only in my head can keep me healthy and whole when I've got a lot to juggle. Most of my gardening injuries have occurred when I was focused on the next task instead of the one I was currently doing. Bat symbolizes what is beneficial because it consumes insects (a brown bat can eat 1000 mosquitoes in an hour) and because they are pollinators (300 species of fruit depend on them). This keyword reminds me of how absolutely horrible I am at multitasking. I will make fewer mistakes and do a better job when I concentrate on one objective at a time and then move on to the next priority on my list.
Juggling is an illusion. ... In reality, the balls are being independently caught and thrown in rapid succession. ... It is actually task switching. ― Gary Keller

Friday, August 11, 2017

A Square Foot or an Acre

From the Sasuraibito Tarot, the Fool; from the Soul Cards, Talking Heads:
If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything. In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few.
― Shunryu Suzuki 

'Sasuraibito' means 'wanderer' in Japanese, and in this Fool's card we see a wizened one. He isn't focused on his age and aches; he dances and laughs instead as he moves through his day. Is he crazy? Maybe, but I bet he enjoys life a lot more than most. When I wake up in the morning, my mind is like a dog sniffing at every bush and tree in the park. I think of what I need or want to do in the day ahead, and who I will be seeing. These thoughts, unfortunately, always have emotional opinions attached to them. Like the Soul Card image, the 'talking heads' - assumptions, preferences and prejudices - in my mind give their opinion about everything. Suddenly the wide-open park has been reduced to a square foot of grass. There is no spaciousness here nor any possibilities either. Yet I have a choice to believe the stories the talking heads are writing, or go play in acres and acres of green park. I know what that Fool would choose.

Thursday, August 10, 2017


From the Sasuraibito Tarot, the King of Wands; from the Soul Cards, Shame:
"The queen and I are starting a replanting program to replace some of the trees lost in the storm. Do you have a spot where you could plant one?" "Of course!" I answer, unable to resist his sweet smile (and anyone who walks around with a sapling tucked in his robe). As I take the little tree he reminds me just how much attention and care will be required, especially the first year. He is after all, the king of follow-through. But suddenly, my good feeling begins to evaporate as old tapes play in my head. I hear the voices of the past tell me I am worthless, that I can't do anything right. One voice in particular tells me that this tree will never thrive under my care. I begin to physically and mentally curl up, as if to hide. The king notices my body language and says, "We are all vulnerable to making wrong choices. Yet no single mistake, no matter how big, should be a global assessment of one's worth as a person. Life gives each of us a chance to learn as we live each day." He points out the beautiful autumn colors of the maple I planted years ago, and reminds me of the good I have grown. I take a deep breath, emerge from my mental shell and hold my hand out for the sapling.
 [Compassion] calls for acknowledging that it is easy to beat yourself with hindsight over the limited awareness you may have had in your past. ~ Bernard Golden

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


From the Sasuraibito Tarot, the Six of Cups; from the Soul Cards, New Beginning:
Clinical psychologist Rick Hanson wrote, "In effect, the brain is like Velcro for negative experiences, but Teflon for positive ones. That shades 'implicit memory' – your underlying expectations, beliefs, action strategies, and mood – in an increasingly negative direction." He suggests purposefully reliving joyful, gratitude-inducing events in the mind using sense memory to make up for this tendency. This is what I see the young man doing in the Six of Cups. Does doing this mean I will forget the lessons learned from the traumas and pain of the past? No, it's simply a way to balance out the darkness with more light. The vesica pisces shape seen behind the woman in the Soul Card is created when two circles with the same diameter overlap at each center point. The resulting almond-shaped figure has been seen as a symbol of birth and new beginnings - a doorway to a new frame of mind. Such a re-framing of how I think can change my habitual reactions to more skillful responses.
The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change;
  the realist adjusts the sails.  ~ William Arthur Ward

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Cracked Coverings

From the Sasuraibito Tarot, the Tower; from the Soul Cards, Surrender:
Most people in my area have had a tree struck by lightning on their property at one time or another. None of the trees that took a direct strike survived the massive jolt of electrical current. In the same way, the Tower reflects a moment when one of the ego's mental constructs comes crashing down. The 'protective' delusion it created might have lulled us into feeling safe and secure, but it actually served to keep us separated from reality. When the shock and numbness wear off, we may feel grief, anger or fear. We demand our old life back, now. We may blame, manipulate and try to control the situation, but this tends to have the same effect as banging our head on a tree trunk. Imagine a person prostrating themselves in the leafy litter under that struck tree, with forehead and palms pressed to the ground. If one took a picture from beneath the earth, this Soul Card image is what it might look like. While a prostration might show reverence or respect, it is also the physical embodiment of surrendering the ego. It is a way to acknowledge that like it or not, we all live according to the natural laws of life. Yet as the quote Burrington includes for the Tower card suggests, surrender can also bring a certain kind of freedom and growth:
For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely
undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes.
To someone who doesn't understand growth, it would look like complete
destruction. ~ Cynthia Occelli 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Helping, Helping Oneself

From the Sasuraibito Tarot, the King of Cups; from the Soul Cards, Take Shelter:
I get the feeling that if I hadn't just stopped by for coffee, this King of Cups would be about to put his pontoon boat in the water and cast a line. That weathered face looks like he's got plenty of stories to tell, but he's happy to hear to mine. Whatever I say, he will listen intently without getting caught in the net of emotional drama. He lets the words float through him as if on water; the drama will get washed out to sea, but the important information will sink to the bottom. This is what he will scoop up and attend to - the underlying issue. Take Shelter applies to all the helpers who offer aid in a variety of forms. In the card, a big wind is blowing things around. A woman has taken shelter in the hollow formed by the earth and tree roots. The deer tries to tempt her to come out, but she knows she needs this time for herself. Working with others is rewarding, but it also requires boundaries. No matter how big a person's heart, the body and mind still need some down time.