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

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Whose Rules?

From the Da Vinci Enigma Tarot, the Emperor; from the Insectorum Divinorum, the Swarm:
Where is the authority in your life?
What are the boundaries of safety and order?
          This sketch of a man in a helmet leaves the impression of someone who is stern and refuses to give foolishness an audience. The questions above raise an interesting question about where I stake my flag when it comes to allegiance and boundaries. My guidance and structure comes mostly from two philosophies - Buddhism and the principles behind 12 Step programs. From the first, I see the need to develop wisdom and compassion while trying to alleviate the suffering of others. From the second, I understand the importance of honesty, open-mindedness and willingness (to do the work) in my life. Yet the Swarm card implies a herd mentality - collective beliefs that may appear as wisdom but is just the opposite. Though I may follow a set of philosophies, I still need to retain my ability to think independently and with clarity. Otherwise, I'm just a lemming following the crowd off a cliff. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Generosity of the Heart

From the Da Vinci Enigma Tarot, the Lord of Fire (King of Wands); from the Insectorum Divinorum, the Hive:
How are your magnanimity and courage needed?
            This sketch is a study of St. Bartholomew for the The Last Supper. Those who describe the painting say Bartholomew wears an expression of surprise and concern as he hears Jesus predict his betrayal. The dimmi asks about magnanimity - a refusal to be petty and mean while embracing a noble generosity. Would this include forgiveness for the terrible deed that was about to occur? I think so, though it would also require courage. In my experience, anger feels much more powerful, while forgiveness can leave one feeling tender and vulnerable. The Hive represents actions of greater good that benefit the whole rather than a few. Generosity of the heart would apply; nothing tears a group apart like rehashed anger. Yet it is possible to hold people accountable for their actions while not putting them out of one's heart. 
He is not prone to marvel or to remember evils, since it is proper to a magnanimous person not to nurse memories, especially not of evils, but to overlook them. ~ Aristotle

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Just a Human

From the Da Vinci Enigma Tarot, the Eight of Earth (Pentacles); from the Insectorum Divinorum, the Caterpillar:
 Where are your skills needed?
          In these sketches, Leonardo made of a study of the body as it moved in various actions of work. It was one of the many ways he honed his craft to become a great artist. The dimmi above seems to ask a two-fold question: where do I need to become more skillful and how will these talents then be applied? The majority of my 'work' (not including home and family) is in mentoring other folks in recovery. Like many people in helping professions, I find it is easy to forget to take care of myself. But it's hard to be of benefit when I'm not pausing to nourish, restore and check-in with my own body and mind. The Caterpillar represents potential not yet realized. Rupp-Spangle writes in the lwb that a period of growth and development is necessary. It may include a lot of work with little reward for the time being, so patience is needed. I may have skills that are needed out in the world, but that doesn't negate my own growth and care.
Gently accept your humanness. – Deborah Day

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Contemplative Work

From the Da Vinci Enigma Tarot, the Hermit; from the Insectorum Divinorum, the Butterfly:
What light shines in the darkness and solitude?
What shadows does it reveal in this matter?
          Contemplative Old Man is likely a self-portrait done by Leonardo. Over his career, he found it necessary to alternate periods of activity with times of retreat. I rarely see anything clearly if I am distracted by constant texts, phone calls and the daily hustle and bustle. Solitude, quiet and contemplation are requirements for self-inventory. I can assess my strengths and my weaknesses, which can show me what spiritual principles I need to work harder on. Without such contemplation, I will become contentedly complacent, thinking I have no need to change any of my attitudes or behaviors. The Butterfly shows a pair of wings minus the insect, as if some child found them and taped them inside a journal. Butterflies in their adult stage can live from a week to nearly a year depending on the species. Because of its short life span and delicate wings, its keyword its fragility. Humans assume they will have a long life; even if we do, the years seem to fly by. I don't want to leave a legacy of unkindness or thoughtlessness, and I don't know how many seconds or years I have left. Best to work on changing myself while I can.
We have to grow or else deteriorate... Change we must; we cannot stand still. ~ Bill Wilson

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

New Departures

From the Da Vinci Enigma Tarot, the Fool; from the Insectorum Divinorum, the Sphingidae:
 What is calling you to follow this new departure?
How does instinct empower you?
          This beggar is in fetters, a symbol of how his lack of knowledge, skill and experience hinders him. But what he does have going for him is a willingness to try something new, learning as he goes along. Willingness is the determination to shoulder whatever responsibility such changes demand. Together with an open mind and an eagerness to explore and discover, that's all he needs for his journey. The Sphingidae is a family of moths that include the sphinx and hawk moths. They are well known for their flying abilities, especially their ability to move rapidly from side to side while hovering. They can easily be mistaken for a large bee or hummingbird because of their movement. Because of their deceptive appearance, this card represents being alert to things that seem a little off. If something seems a little hinky, the Fool will need to put naivety in his pocket and trust his instincts. 
 It's easier for some who have a natural ability to follow that little voice inside, but for others it takes practice. Judith-Victoria Douglas

Monday, September 25, 2017

Clinging to Skeletons

From the Da Vinci Enigma Tarot, the Five of Earth (Pentacles); from the Insectorum Divinorum, the Housefly:
How is need shaping your destiny?
           Envy Rides a Skeleton is described in Leonardo's journal as a malignant thing that people "in their panic to avoid it, only succeed in increasing its limitless power." Fear of lack can drive people to think they need more than they do and hold tightly to what they have. We saw this with the arrival of Irma - people bought more water, bread etc. than they would require, leaving the shelves bare for others. It can be seen in the Trump administration's attitude toward refugees and immigrants (with the excuse that they'll take jobs that citizens need). But if we practice gratitude, available resources are acknowledged and prevent fear of not having enough from taking root. Sharing with others will no longer seem like a hardship. The darkness of the Housefly card illustrates the point that what seems insignificant and unimportant could actually be what is essential and integral to the situation as a whole. Just as these flies carry pathogens and contribute to the transfer of food-borne illnesses, so fear contaminates compassion towards others. But clinging tightly to what we have just puts us on the back of Leonardo's skeleton.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Rightful Place

This week I'll be using the Da Vinci Enigma Tarot, created by Caitlin Matthews and published by Connections. Along with it, I'll be drawing from a self-published oracle created by Esmeralda Rupp-Spangle called the Insectorum Divinorum. Today's cards are the Nine of Earth (Pentacles) and Queen Bee:
Occupy a rightful space, neither too much nor too little. Focus neither on your own virtues nor the faults of others. ~ Alan Morinis
          The dimmi (or questions) for the Nine of Earth are: Where is your rightful place? What is the necessary attitude to take here? I think Mussar (the Jewish practice of ethics) would base the answer to both questions on its definition of humility. Humility is defined as “limiting oneself to an appropriate space while leaving room for others.” This space includes not just the physical, but also what is emotional, verbal, or even metaphorical. The right amount of space can be situational; a judge might hold a larger space in a courtroom, but at a parent-teacher meeting his or her space would be much smaller. While arrogance can make us take us too much space, fear can cause us to take up too little (which is not true humility). Sometimes there may be a space that needs to be occupied by us, and we must stretch ourselves to fill it. The Queen Bee card implies the burden of responsibility (stretching to fill our role). With more skill and experience, more obligations accumulate. To state this biblically, to whom much is given, much will be required. Yet Rupp-Spangle cautions that such a weight can become unbearable, and thus we must not forget to step back and recuperate. It's good to give up our seat occasionally, even if it is only temporary.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Whispers of Wisdom

From the Granny Jones Australian Tarot, the High Priestess; from the Button Oracle, the German Shepherd:
          It appears Granny has all her spiritual tools in play - from her cards, runes and crystal ball to her occult books and familiars. Intuitive knowledge is a funny thing; the harder you try to grasp it on an intellectual level, the further away it seems to move. I think there are many tools besides those of divination that help the mind to relax and intuitive information to trickle through. But being such a visual person, nothing beats the cards for me. The German Shepherd Button has been given the keywords investigation and detection, because this breed is so widely used in search and rescue as well as drug and explosives detection. In pairing this meaning with the High Priestess, I'm reminded that science has shown that intuition often errs. Though we do 'know more than we know,' we are still vulnerable to false memories, misjudgments of reality and the inability to predict our own behavior. So as the Buddha said, "Make a proper investigation first." Take the intuitive knowledge as one facet of available information, but check out what's in the real world too.
 Scientists who expose intuition's flaws note that it works well in some areas, but needs restraints and checks in others...we can therefore think smarter, even while listening to the creative whispers of our unseen mind. ~ David G. Meyers

Friday, September 22, 2017

Dangerous Travel

From the Granny Jones Australian Tarot, the Page of Wands; from the Button Oracle, Arjuna:
          This happy reporter reminded me of a friend who worked for the Associated Press. He often followed stories and events overseas and to dangerous places, but his spirit of adventure, determination and daring never gave him pause. But what is it's not danger but a moral dilemma that stops him short? The Arjuna Button is based on an archer who was reluctant to take part in battle, because he knew he would be expected to potentially kill many of his own relatives. A dialogue with Lord Krishna ensued about issues related to the war — courage, a warrior’s duty, the nature of human life, and yogic ideals — that form the pages of the Bhagavad Gita. I had my own dilemma recently at a get-together where someone brought a game called Cards Against Humanity (similar to the game Apples to Apples, but very politically and socially incorrect). There was not a single group which this game did not make fun of (even sick kids!!). I finally got up and told everyone that I couldn't play this game because it went against every value I held. Of course many replied that it wasn't supposed to be serious, but all in jest. But to me that felt like telling an ethnic joke when your ethnic friend isn't around to hear it. There are some dangerous places for the heart to which I refuse to travel.
It is an archetypical moral dilemma - Do you act like yourself and risk becoming an outcast?
~ Jodi Picoult

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Finding Shelter

From the Granny Jones Australian Tarot, the Five of Wands; from the Button Oracle, Oasis:
          Since there's no bus, boat or airplane service, this poor fellow is having to walk. The journey is all uphill, and it's raining. He's had to leave behind his fun (music and art) just to make it up that steep incline. I've had days and weeks like this card. I don't dare ask what's on the other side of the hill because I'm afraid I will discover it's a mine field. When life is filled with struggles and challenges, it's easy to give up hope and develop an Eeyore state of mind. Wading in the muck, I forget that things will eventually change (even when there's no obvious sign of it). The Oasis Button represents a sanctuary in the midst of a desert, and so its keywords are refuge and safe haven. The quote with it is from Christopher Forrest McDowell: "Sanctuary, on a personal level, is where we perform the job of taking care of our soul." When I am focused on getting over the hill in front of me, on getting past the difficult situation, I can completely forget to take care of myself. Yet even when there is no outward refuge, I can create one in my mind. When life gets crazy, where do you find shelter?
photo by Alina Kurbiel

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Low Key for Me

From the Granny Jones Australian Tarot, the Three of Cups; from the Button Oracle, Horse:
          I'm not fond of big parties, as I prefer more intimate, laid-back gatherings. So the contented company Granny keeps while cheerfully knitting in this card seems just about perfect to me. I'm obviously not the only one who feels this way. Abraham Heschel wrote: "People of our time are losing the power of celebration. Instead of celebrating we seek to be amused or entertained. Celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation." Sounds a little different than getting drunk and being rowdy. But the Horse button reminds me to hold my horses when it comes to my opinion. This button's keywords - independence and nonconformity - were based on the spirit of the mustang. In the words of Nelson Mandela, "To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." That reminds me that some people may express their reverence and appreciation in much different ways than I do, and as long as no one gets hurt, that is perfectly fine.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Granny's Got Her Groove On

From the Granny Jones Australian Tarot, the Two of Buttons (Pentacles); from the Button Oracle, Mask:
          Dang, Granny has got a groove going! Not only is she tossing and catching buttons, but she's got a hula-hoop in play too. I recently spotted a box of these at a local store, so I stopped and gave one a try. It takes a lot of hip swiveling with flexibility to keep those hoops going - much more than I remembered! But it's that same kind of flexibility (especially on a mental level) that I'm going to need when my perfectly constructed daily schedule begins to fall apart with the arrival of the unexpected. Yet the Mask Button implies that I don't need to plaster a smile on my face when things go wonky. In the words of Jim Morrison: "You trade in your reality for a role. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask." What happens when I pretend to be okay when I'm not? No one will offer assistance, because they think I'm handling everything just fine. It would be much better to be honest, admit that I'm struggling and take any help I'm offered.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Completion with a Caveat

From the Granny Jones Australian Tarot, the World; from the Button Oracle, Dragon:
          Granny's card reminds me of the many television shows here in America that focus on remodeling someone's home. Usually they hide the family from the rebuilding activity, then when it is finished, they bring them back. The builders have something blocking the family's view at first (like a large truck); when it is moved, the family gasps in gleeful surprise. When I have shouldered the responsibility and done the work to bring about my own achievement, I often feel fiercely protective of the result. The Dragon Button represents that reaction but with a caveat. In the words of Carl Jung, "protection and security are only valuable when not excessively cramping to our existence." Just as that new house will get dinged, scuffed and dusty, I can't keep my life and what I accomplish under a bell jar. But I can enjoy what is here now, without clinging to the hope that it will never change.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Stalemates and Possibilities

This week I'll be using the Granny Jones Australian Tarot, created by Granny Jones and published by Kangaroo Press. Along with it, I'll be drawing from the Button Oracle, a set I made myself from a collection of buttons. Today's draws are the Two of Swords and Lizard:
          Uh oh... Instead of having a nice afternoon over tea, it looks like these two friends ended up butting heads over some issue. Each obviously held a firm opinion which led to the discussion going nowhere, because neither was willing to consider another perspective. It's a hard day when a friendship is tossed because of a point of view. The Lizard Button represents communication, because these reptiles rely heavily on body language and color to define territory, resolve disputes, and entice mates. The quote that goes with this button is by George Bernard Shaw:
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. 
Trying to convince another person to accept your viewpoint is debate, not discussion. Discussion seems to be a form of communication that is no longer in style (especially judging by what gets put on Facebook). Both the card and button reminded me of something I read by Krista Tippett in her book Becoming Wise:
I can disagree with your opinion, it turns out, but I can’t disagree with your experience. And once I have a sense of your experience, you and I are in relationship, acknowledging the complexity in each other’s position, listening less guardedly. The difference in our opinions will probably remain intact, but it no longer defines what is possible between us.
When we share our stories (instead of just opinions), we begin to see how life has shaped each of us. And once we see each other as simply human (not good/bad, right/wrong), it is possible to relate openly with each other.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Three Es

From the Dark Goddess Tarot, the Wheel of Fortune; from the Tattwa Cards, Water: Seed of Earth:
          Fortuna, the European goddess of fate and fortune, is a lot like La Santa Muerte; neither goddess cares about labels like good/evil, rich/poor, or famous/unknown. They deal the same cards of change and death to everyone. How are humans supposed to find contentment in such a world? Surely not externally, where all the impermanence is happening. So that leaves the mind, where three things can trip me up: emotional labels, expectations and entitlement. When I start sorting situations by label (awful, fantastic), it becomes easy to self-identify with the emotion attached to them. I can find myself chin-deep in a bog of feelings from which it seems I'll never climb out. Along with labeling, I can set myself up for disappointment when I assume that a certain action will lead to a specific result. Life doesn't work like math, and unfulfilled expectations can leave me disappointed and looking for someone to blame. The third 'E' could learn from today's Tattwa card, which is often given the keyword 'alliances.' Entitlement comes from self-cherishing, when I think my circumstances are more important above all else. I notice this when there is a major event that affects me - it always feels like the world should stop turning and pay attention. But what actually helps me is to realize that everyone without exception goes through similar experiences. I agree with Andrew Weil; instead of chasing pleasure and happiness, I should be working for contentment: "an inner sense of fulfillment that's relatively independent of external circumstances."

Friday, September 15, 2017

Taking What is Not Given

From the Dark Goddess Tarot, the Seven of Air (Swords); from the Tattwa Cards, Air: Seed of Earth:
          Laverna is the Roman goddess of thieves, con men, and rascals - basically anyone who succeeds through deceit. She delights in upsetting balances and creating confusion. I could see how such a goddess would be a good partner in battle, but not so much when trying to live peaceably. She would think that was way too boring. There are times when the status quo needs to be disrupted, such as when life has become unfair and oppressive for certain groups. But there are also folks who like to be rebels, yet they have no worthy cause. The bottom line is, 'Who benefits?' Is the result helpful to the whole or self-serving only? Air with a Seed of Earth suggests seeing the humane side of things and being able to perceive how one's ideas would play out realistically. It is easy to assume this pair of cards deals with taking things that are valuable to others. However, the second precept of Buddhism reminds me it involves more than just stuff: 'I vow not to take what is not given, but to practice generosity.' Do I selfishly take time away from others by always dumping my problems on them? Do I take over conversations because I think I have better knowledge to share? When I sit among others, so I use chairs for my personal belongings instead of allowing someone else to sit there? Time, energy and space can also be used with generosity or without.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Join the Dance

From the Dark Goddess Tarot, Death; from the Tattwa Cards, Air: Seed of Ether:
 Impermanence is a principle of harmony. When we don’t struggle
against it, we are in harmony with reality. – Pema Chodron
          La Santa Muerte (Our Lady of the Holy Death) is the patron saint of death in Mexican folk religion. Although the Church condemns the devotion of her followers as a “celebration of devastation and of hell,” her devotees say they are drawn to her by her non-judgmental nature (everyone has the same destiny).  Many who feel excluded by the Catholic Church welcome this Lady who accepts everyone just as they are. By embracing death (seeing it as natural as the change in seasons), Santa Muerte believers say they are free to live their lives without fear or anxiety. Air: Seed of Ether represents transformation that occurs because of a fresh perspective. It's like being shut up inside a tiny office with no windows all day, then suddenly finding yourself at the beach with a sea breeze blowing. We see things differently because we are able to understand them in a new way. La Santa Muerte isn't a demon, but an honest representation of life. She might not always symbolize what pleases us, but she's as real as it gets.
The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.
Alan W. Watts

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Shifting Patterns

From the Dark Goddess Tarot, the Ten of Water; from the Tattwa Cards, Air: Seed of Air:
          Ixchel appears at times of great change - when a cycle begins and when it is completed. The water pot she pours from represents the rainy season of tropical climates when air quality improves, fresh water is available, and vegetation grows substantially. However it is also the period of floods, erosion and malaria. What is poured out is some both, just as it is in relationships. Though we may enjoy the bonds of love and friendship, these connections also engender times of anger, hurt and grief. There's no way to have one without dealing with the other. Air is one of the most invigorating of the elements. Yet we can become loopy with too much oxygen and faint with not enough. Air with a seed of Air represents the potential for great change. It must be monitored closely so as not to be caught off guard (like tracking a storm on the Weather Channel). The combination of these cards suggest pausing to pay attention to shifting emotional patterns in relationships. Someone might need a shoulder to lean on or a hand to guide them.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Growth Stimulation

This week I'll be using the Dark Goddess Tarot, a deck created by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince and published by Arnell's Art. Along with it, I'll be using a digital set of Tattwas Cards. Today's draws are Witch (Queen) of Earth and Ether: Seed of Fire :
           Inanna is the Sumerian goddess of war as well as the arts and love. It sounds a bit contradictory, but the common denominator is stimulation. A seed kept in a glass vial will never sprout; it needs to be provoked and invigorated by the soil, sun and rain. I once had a boyfriend who was probably the nicest man I ever dated - he never argued with me or questioned anything I believed or wanted to do. But having him as a partner was similar to being protected like that seed; I would never grow beyond my own assumptions and opinions. Many people are content to carry their preferences and prejudices around in a little thimble. But what happens when this Fire is placed in the expansiveness of Ether? It can grow, but it must have fuel to burn just as the seed needs its own stimulation. Circular reasoning -  providing evidence for the validity of an assertion, which assumes the validity of the assertion - will only burn itself out. We all need to have our ideas challenged, so we can grow and develop beyond them.

Irma Update: Kudos to the city I live in for being prepared! Our city leaders had a fleet of utility trucks ready to roll as soon as the storm passed. Since the tornado (in January of this year), they've had trucks following every utility line in every neighborhood and radically cutting back any branches that overhung the lines. By the time Irma arrived, shelters were in place, emergency numbers and websites were given out, and all non-emergency businesses were closed. Today, almost everyone has had their power restored, except where huge trees fell on homes or transformer poles. We've got lots of debris (some I will need to use a chainsaw on), but everything else is okay at my little abode. Thanks for all the good thoughts sent this way!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Step to It!

From the Buckland Romani, the King of Koshes (Staves); from the Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards, Mahpia (Cloud):
          The koshes/staves in this deck are all whips which seem to have a 'step to it' message. The King of Koshes is seen sitting on the back of a vardo carving a branch. I'm sure he has plenty of people who could carve them and turn them into a whip, yet he likes to keep his skills sharp that he learned as a young man. Many managers today know only how to supervise and have forgotten or don't know how to do what their employees do every day. Often they rely on others to keep up with new information and skills that develop. I think this king would call them arrogant idiots. Mahpi, or Cloud Spirit, implies that there are obsessions, addictions and habits that are casting a dark shadow and clouding the purpose or obligations of one's life. My latest obsession is reading novels, which I tell myself is a good stress buster (and it is). But often I neglect the things I need to be doing while telling myself I'm just taking care of me. I think if the King of Koshes heard such a rationalization, he would crack his whip and yell, "Step to it!"

Friday, September 8, 2017

Mistaken for Misconduct

From the Buckland Romani Tarot, the Five of Koshes (Staves); from the Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards, Ksa (Goddess of Water):
          Morris dancers perform in a field, while Romani vardos move on to another area. Their sticks suggest the bedlam form, which is loud and energetic. I read where many modern groups have had unexpected dances in public areas (like the flash mobs), only to have the police break it up because they were disturbing others. What seems fun and exciting to one group may feel like an invasion to another. Ksa, the spirit of water, symbolizes uncovering and transforming emotions. When I have a feeling of intense dislike, a sense that I want to push back at another's way of doing things, I need to take a deeper look. Perhaps it is simply that we do things differently; one way is not better or more proper than the other. If there's no harm done, what's the harm?
...equipped with righteous indignation and warmed by moral certitude. She threw great logs of 'I'm right, you're an unfeeling bastard' onto the fire and felt secure and comforted. 
Louise Penny, Still Life

Thursday, September 7, 2017

No Filter

From the Buckland Romani Tarot, the Moon; from the Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards, Wi (Sun):
           If you spend any time caring for someone in the beginning stages of dementia, you notice one thing right away: no thoughts or feelings are filtered from their behavior. The frontal lobe of the brain, responsible for helping us making good judgments, is what usually prevents people from doing and saying socially unacceptable things. As dementia progresses, this lobe loses its filtering ability. In a similar way, my more primitive urges and instincts (represented by the Moon) can appear from the unconscious when my rational side has its guard down - usually brought on by hormones, stress or exhaustion. It may give me a peek at the feelings and motives (created by past experiences and memories) that lay hidden beneath my 'socially approved' side. Yet care needs to be taken that I don't allow the 'wild one' to cause irreparable harm on some unsuspecting person. The Sun represents clarity and awareness, but also the personal power that comes as a result. I may begin to understand why I have certain patterns of behavior, but the power comes in making different choices once I've found the causal root.
Connections slowly emerge. Like distant landmarks you are approaching, cause and effect begin to align themselves, draw closer together. Experiences too indefinite of outline in themselves to be recognized for themselves connect and are identified as a larger shape. ~ Eudora Welty

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Preparation and Acceptance

From the Buckland Romani, the Nine of Koshes (Staves); from the Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards, Cha Wakan (Tree of Life):
          This fellow has quite a few branches from which he is making koshes (whips). It's not like he doesn't have some already, but he knows he could probably sell a few and have some for back-ups in case the one he uses breaks. The Nine of Staves is about being alert and prepared. Here is wisdom that has come from experience; while there's no need to panic, it does help to have a plan that is ready to be put into action. My eye is on Irma today, as it appears to be making its way to our side of the street. Tropical Storm Alberto was a wake-up call in 1994 for us; our river rose 24 feet over flood stage and covered an area the size of Massachusetts and Rhode Island combined. Coffins were unearthed, homes submerged, 450,000 acres of farmland were destroyed, and the lives of animals and people were lost. I won't worry, but I will get some things done just in case. The Tree of Life represents acceptance: circumstances beyond my control will happen (that I need to accept). But it also helps to recognize that I am connected to every living being (no matter how different we look on the outside). When I acknowledge that connection, it is much easier to reach out or in turn grab the hand that is extended when the there are hardships.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Don't Look Away

From the Buckland Romani Tarot, the Five of Bolers (Wheels/Coins); from the Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards, Yum (Whirlwind):
          Even the pronunciation of the word 'destitute sounds hard and abrasive. The unemployed, the disabled (mental or physical) and the addicted seem to be found everywhere these days, holding signs that ask for food or money. Most I can easily ignore - except when they have kids with them. Sure, maybe it is just a con to rake in more money, but it's hard to overlook those little faces. It reminds me there are lots of reasons to be desperate that don't always have to do with money. Whirlwind represents that rush of tenderness and love we can suddenly feel for others, like when watching the news and seeing the losses caused by floods or tornadoes. It can be overwhelming to observe, whether that devastation appears on a street corner holding a sign or standing in front of what used to be their home. I am reminded by these cards that ignoring the problem does not make the problem go away. I can't solve these issues, but I can do small acts of kindness such as give a donation to the Red Cross, buy someone a meal or support legislation that will provide better mental health services for veterans, addicts and those with mental illnesses. Above all, simply acknowledging their existence goes a long way.