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

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Keep Your Head Attached

From the Daniloff Tarot, the Knight of Swords; from the Kuan Yin Sticks, Verse 39:
          This Knight of Swords has a shield that says much about his nature. The falcon's beak and talons are like the words and knowledge he uses to slice his opponents in an argument. The naked couple implies that he reveres openness and honesty in his relationships. The upraised sword suggests his sharp mind and quest for justice. Yet those wings on either side of his helmet seem incredibly large and over-sized. The wind could lift him right off his feet, which would leave him ungrounded. And that is perhaps one of the flaws of this knight - he's intelligent but not very practical. The 38th quatrain from the Kuan Yin poem reads:
News reaches you from afar, 
Yet the information is dubious and unclear.
No one can polish a rock into a mirror;
Be wise and don't waste your time.
This verse suggests that I can waste much time trying to figure out information that is worthless to begin with. It's like reading Trump's Twitter feed; it might make me anxious or angry, but that isn't going to help me get on with my day. Sometimes it's enough to know what I need to do and then do it, without over-thinking everything.

Monday, October 30, 2017

From Two Roots

From the Daniloff Tarot, Justice; from the Kuan Yin Sticks,Verse 71:
Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

          To be just is to be without bias, guided by fairness and reason. But for most humans, it can be hard not to be swayed. Our brain immediately looks inside its mental file cabinet for some situation in the past to compare to the present circumstances. It desires to put everything in a neat little box - either black or white. Perhaps that is why this Lady Justice wears no blindfold; she wants to be grounded in the present. Somewhere between the absolutes of mercy and severity lies a compromise that will balance the scales (as King suggests in the quote above). Verse 71 of Kuan Yin's poem also seems to point to dualities:
When a woman is married to two husbands,
Most likely the match won't succeed.
How can a bow hold two arrows?
A dragon with a unicorn will always fight.
No one can live a life balanced on a high wire. This verse warns that it is better to choose than make no choice at all. Yet just as a bird needs two wings to fly, my decision needs to be rooted in both wisdom and compassion.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

True Treasure

This week I'll be using the Daniloff Tarot, created and self-published by Alexander Daniloff. I'll also be using a set of Kuan Yin Sticks, alternating the use of Stephen Karcher's book (The Kuan Yin Oracle) and Marina Lighthouse's book (Kuan Yin Temple Oracle). Today's draws are the Ten of Coins and Verse 23:
          With all the floating coins around him, this fellow has obviously done quite well for himself. The crown imprint on the coin over his head shows he is at the peak of his success, health and energy. Yet there are clues like the waning moon and his dark and light robe that are a reminders of the natural progression of things. The yellow berries at the bottom remind me of a cultivar of the rowan tree.  In weather lore, a year with plentiful rowan fruit would have a good harvest but be followed by a severe winter. The vesica piscis shape he sits in implies a gateway that he will eventually cross through. Nothing stands still, and we have no choice but to move with it. Verse 23 of the Kuan Yin Oracle reads:

Climbing the beanstalk all the way to heaven
Only to be turned away at heaven’s gate;
Then news arrives of a break in the deadlock,
Giving all parties cause to celebrate.

This verse speaks of working toward a goal only to find it blocked upon arrival at the doorstep. Yet it is not a power drive or self-pity that frees us from the deadlock, but compassionate help from others. Whether the gateway we are passing through leads to good times or bad, developing relationships that remain unaffected by either is where the true treasure lies. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Three Steps

From the Golden Tarot, the Magician; from the Yantra Deck, Mirror:
          "What you think about you bring about. Your whole life is a manifestation of the thoughts that go on in your head." Rhonda Byrne, of The Secret fame, made a mint on these words. In some ways I agree with her; as the Dhammapada states, "Mind is the forerunner of all actions. All deeds are led by mind, created by mind." But what Byrne and others often fail to emphasize is that manifestation requires follow-through: inspiration, preparation and then application. I can be inspired to get in shape and prepare by joining a gym. But if I don't ever go to the gym (regardless of my positive thinking and affirmations), things will never change. The real magic comes from embracing all three steps. The Mirror yantra reminds me how I can trip myself up when I'm trying to create change. Caught in a cycle of judging other people, I forget to look at my own thoughts and actions. Yet these people (and my reactions to them) can clearly reflect where I'm stuck. If I will honestly acknowledge how I'm sabotaging my own progress, then I can begin moving forward.

Friday, October 27, 2017

A Web of Hearts

From the Golden Tarot, the Ten of Cups; from the Yantra Deck, 'Compassion:'
We find rest in those we love, and we provide a resting place for those who love us.
 — Bernard of Clairvaux
          Families, 'found families,' and intimate groups provide us with opportunities to learn how to love, forgive and provide a cushion for each other. Harmony and contentment doesn't arrive in an Amazon box; we must painstakingly create them. These groups are the crucible, and through them we forge a sense of belonging and shape a sacred place for our emotions. When we feel we have a connection of kindness and safety, we are more likely to reach out to others (sensing that our heart is 'tethered'). Compassion suggests moving toward those who suffer with a desire to help. I just finished reading A Man Called Ove, a novel about a crusty curmudgeon who had recently lost his one love, his wife. The loss shuttered his heart, and he became a nasty piece of work. But a neighbor (very pregnant with two kids and a husband) persisted in reaching out to him, ignoring his cold demeanor. She continued to involve him with other neighbors (refusing to take 'no' for an answer) and helped him to find a purpose for living again. By the end of the book, his new 'family' had thawed his heart. Even in real life, our loving relationships can encourage us to love even more.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Where Are My Feet?

From the Golden Tarot, the Eight of Cups; from the Yantra Deck, 'Focus:'
          What happens when - back in the Seven of Cups - we make the wrong choice? Perhaps it was a new, lucrative job, an exciting relationship or a radical spiritual path we were sure would bring us bliss. In the past, I would do battle in an attempt to get my expectations met. My goal was to change reality in order to find the fulfillment I sought. I was sure that if things were done my way, then all would be well (stubbornness can keep a cycle going long past its expiration date). Age and maturity eventually gave me a new perspective; in the words of Bill Wilson, "we have ceased fighting, anything or anyone." I've learned two things from such situations: the root of the problem often lies within me, and if I want change, I need to do something different. The Focus yantra implies concentrated awareness. When things don't work out, it's tempting to keep looking over my shoulder at the past. Yet if I do, I won't be aware of where my feet are or the direction they're headed.
Make the Now the primary focus of your life. ~ Eckhart Tolle

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Who is Being Fed?

From the Golden Tarot, the Six of Coins; from the Yantra Deck, 'Intention:'
Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded.
It's a relationship between equals. ~ Pema Chodron 
          This giver seems to be posing as if for a photo op as he hands out coins to the men who sit below him. He'll probably tweet or post on Facebook about his generosity later. Does he realize that a simple twist of fate could have put him in the beggar's shoes? Being generous has nothing to do with desiring acknowledgement or with wanting to shore up self-worth. It is motivated by a tenderness of the heart and guided by humility. What is given is what is needed; a person grieving doesn't care about money, but a hug might bring comfort. Intention is a deliberate articulation of a conscious goal. If I were to take a trip to a city I've never been before, I'd look at a map and plan how to get there. Likewise, intentions can keep us headed toward our objective rather than getting sidetracked by hidden agendas (which we might not even be aware of). If it is my intention to be generous, then I need to be aware of and eliminate any action on my part that is just feeding my ego.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Exercise for the Heart

From the Golden Tarot, the King of Coins; from the Yantra Deck, 'Patience;'
          This King is not content to sit on a throne behind castle walls and let someone else keep tabs on the kingdom. He prefers to crunch numbers out in the field with the sows, keeping his eyes open for any changes. But this hardworking, successful man is said to be generous as well. I've been reading a book by David Nichtern about the Buddhist Wheel of Life that includes the Six Realms, or mind states when it comes to how we deal with pleasure and suffering. The God Realm represents a moment or period when life feels easy, secure and enjoyable for us. One of the characteristics of being in this mindset is that we don't like to hear about someone else's problems, because we don't want to lose our bliss. We mistakenly believe we can hang on to this moment forever (which we'll eventually discover otherwise in the natural course of things). We may try to ignore or offer a quick fix to the person in order not to have to come down from our pink cloud. Yet the one trait that will help us develop compassion and not lose our connection to others is generosity (whether in the form of money, energy or time). Patience suggests being able to endure without complaint, releasing the need to control or manipulate our experience. It definitely implies being generous with our time.
There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up. 
John Holmes  

Monday, October 23, 2017


From the Golden Tarot, the Sun; from the Yantra Deck, 'Freedom:'
          The Sun that was at a low point in the Death card has now risen to its peak. What once was dark and unclear is now filled with light and comprehension. Self-awareness - a clear perception of one's strengths and weaknesses, beliefs and motives - is not an easy journey. But along the way, the understanding gained and clarity it brings transforms the Fool into the Wise Child. In the words of Carl Jung, “Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” Upon awakening there is a sense of Freedom, just as the child on the horse represents. There is a turning of the mind, a realization: I am liberated when I recognize the person who controls me is myself. I am free to make my own choices (always about attitudes, and usually about my actions) unless I abdicate that responsibility to someone else.
The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently. Pema Chödrön

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Shared Humanity

This week I'll be using the Golden Tarot, created by Kat Black and published by U.S. Games. Along with it, I'll be drawing from the Yantra Deck, created by Karl Schaffner and Maya Deva Adjani. It was published by Vayu Publishing. Today's cards are the Four of Wands and 'Devotion:'
          A few women prepare a basin for washing, possibly for all the barefoot dancers in the background. If there is music, dance, food and drink, there is sure to be some type of celebration happening. But my eye is drawn to the three archways - the one with a garland of fruit, the one made of stone and earth, and the entrance to the castle. From foreground to background, each one has been built with increasing care and skill. Arches are structures capable of spanning a space while supporting a significant weight. Symbolically, they are passageways (perhaps created by their ability to support). The yantra of Devotion implies a deeply felt commitment. The booklet suggests that when such love is present, hindrances become 'doorways to greater understanding' rather than obstacles of hardship. I see such devotion all the time in the way a parent cares for a disabled child, the patience of an adult child with his or her aging parent, and the love bestowed on an animal adopted from a shelter. What better reason could there be to celebrate than such tender, open-hearted commitments? 
Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy. It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity. ~ Henri Nouwen

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Emotional Demonstration

From the Tarot de St. Croix, the Queen of Cups; from the Archetype Cards, the 'Teacher:'
          St. Croix explains that this Queen accepts the flow of emotions, whatever they may be, and embraces them as Rumi describes in his poem "The Guest House." She quotes her friend who was the model for this card: "the more we say yes to our feelings and stay with them, the easier it is to digest them and be authentically in the moment with what is." I have much to learn in this area; while I freely receive many emotions, the grief of deep loss is one I build a wall around. I can't remember the last time I cried without holding back. That feeling of vulnerability scares the hell out of me, yet I know that I must open the door to it if I want to process this emotion in a healthy way. The Teacher archetype doesn't just explain knowledge, she demonstrates it too. She's the type that will take you out of the classroom to learn, the one who won't just lecture but will create models to help with understanding. The Queen of Cups is such a teacher, as she is a role model for showing how to welcome emotions, be curious about all their nuances, and then release them. Obviously, I've got a lot to learn.
...still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
~ Rumi

Friday, October 20, 2017

Running the Show

From the Tarot de St. Croix, the Hanged Man; from the Archetype Cards, the 'Virgin:'
          St. Croix suggests the Hanged Man represents seeing things from a different perspective, thus allowing the willingness to surrender to the reality of what is. This card always reminds me of an analogy from AA's text:
Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery, and the rest of the players in his own way. If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished the show would be great. Everybody, including himself, would be pleased. Life would be wonderful.
The Hanged Man's message is that no matter how good of a director I am, I will never be able to control the show. Yet the good news is that when I put down my bullhorn and walk away from the director's chair, life gets easier and less stressful. My mind can calm down and my heart can open up. The Virgin archetype symbolizes a purity of heart - having no hidden motives or agendas. It implies acting with integrity and speaking with candor without nominating myself as "She Who Must Be Obeyed."

Thursday, October 19, 2017


From the Tarot de St. Croix, the Ace of Pentacles; from the Archetype Cards, the 'Addict:'

          A sunflower that grows to maturity can produce up to 2000 seeds; that's a huge heaping of potential in one flower head. But those seeds must be harvested when the head dries, then planted and nurtured the next season to grow more. It requires management and consistent action so those seeds won't simply  decay on the head or be eaten by birds and other animals. My health, finances, energy and time must be managed the same way, or I will one day find these physical gifts have been wasted. One interesting fact about the sunflower is that before the buds open, they follow the sun. But once they bloom, the flower's tracking behavior stops and the flowers face east. The change is likely a defensive response; facing south or west could result in sun-scalding during very hot days. This the opposite of the Addict, whose motto is always 'More.' Everyone has addictive behaviors, though they might not have chemical dependencies. Do you find it necessary to check your phone every time it buzzes with a text or email? Can you place one item in your Amazon shopping cart and buy it without filling it up with other things (telling yourself it makes sense to get free shipping)? If I don't want to fritter the potential of my life away, I must recognize and change such behavior patterns.
Addiction is the only disease that will try to convince you that you don't have it. 
~ 12 Step Groups

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Light of Clarity

From the Tarot de St. Croix, the Two of Wands; from the Archetype Cards, the 'Judge:'
          This priestess points one wand at the Earth and one down at the earth, representing the macrocosm and microcosm. It makes me think of things I want to accomplish out in the world (macro) as opposed to the work I need to do within myself (micro). Which is more important for me to focus on right now? Will the imbalance of one affect the other? The Judge shows up to help me make an objective decision. But actual judges who may be prejudiced in some way (such as being related to someone involved) must recuse themselves from the case. My strong opinions or emotional leanings may prevent me from making a choice with clarity. If so, perhaps considering the unbiased thoughts of someone else might be beneficial.
The thing is to supply light and not heat. ~ Woodrow Wilson  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Feel of Freedom

From the Tarot de St. Croix, the Tower; from the Archetype Cards, the 'Visionary:'
          In this particular Tower, St. Croix has placed the the Hindu deity Shiva inside. Shiva is known as the destroyer, a duty that is meant to liberate rather than punish. When life gets overwhelming or full of fear, it's easy to look for ways to protect ourselves. A behavior or attitude that proves comforting at the time can turn into a habitual pattern; it gives the illusion of safety but actually imprisons us. It's Shiva's job to break down our ignorance and denial by reminding us what freedom feels like. The Visionary is a person who can imagine themselves or a situation in a different place in the future. Most people have hopes for what is to come, but these could be fit inside a thimble because of self-imposed parameters. We want things to turn out a certain way and no other, which if we get attached to that idea will put us right back behind the Tower's walls. Life can't be forced into a small frame, because it will always be larger than our little thimble.
We are called to see each arising of our day not as a threat, but as an opportunity—a chance to open our arms, lay down our weapons, and surrender to this exact moment of our life.
Reginald Ray

Monday, October 16, 2017

Learning to Thrive

From the Tarot de St. Croix, the Nine of Pentacles; from the Archetype Cards, 'Angel:'
          St. Croix writes in her booklet, "Prosperity comes from doing the work you love." I know some folks who are wealthy, but they aren't necessarily happy in a healthy sort of way. To prosper means to thrive and flourish; it is on another level than simply having a fat wallet. Perhaps what I do for a living is separate from what I love, yet my paycheck gives me the financial freedom to nourish that side of myself. As long as I have a chance to grow my own 'sunflowers,' I can still bloom. The Angel card doesn't have anything to do with winged celestial beings, but people willing to be of service to others without expectations. Victor Hugo wrote, "It is by suffering that human beings become angels." I've experienced such kindness from those who've suffered. My friend Sharyn (who took care of two parents with dementia) sent a very helpful DVD to me as we became caretakers of my mother-in-law. Some of us harden our hearts when life deals a heavy blow, while others grow metaphorical wings and become mentors. These 'angels' can teach us how to prosper no matter what the weather brings.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Tea Cups and Companions

This week I'll be using the Tarot de St. Croix, created and self-published by Lisa de St. Croix. Along with it, I'll be drawing from the Archetype Cards, created by Caroline Myss and published by Hay House. Today's cards are the Seven of Cups and 'Companion':
          What cup of tea leaves would you choose? When trying to decide what aspiration or dream to follow, it's easy to be influenced by the outer portion of other people's lives. Yet what is not seen is the inner portion that contains their pain, loss and suffering. No life is perfect, but to find joy means we each must follow our own heart and head and not try to replicate someone else. But it's funny... sometimes we're not sure what it is we long for and desire. Life has distracted us with so many other things, that our clarity has become clouded. However a companion, a confidant with whom we've shared our intimate thoughts, may be of help. They may know the right questions to ask to prod us, pushing us to  think deeply, beyond superficial fantasies. Of course the shadow side of such a friendship is when we let them make our choices for us. Yet I am the only one responsible for choosing my own cup,  putting forth the effort to work toward it, and living with the consequences of that decision.
Don't live in the shadows of people's judgement. Make your own choices
in the light of your own wisdom. ~ Amitabh Bachchan

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Spiritual Parkour

From the Urban Tarot, the Fool; from the Principles to Live By, Courage:
          This young man makes me think of the urban acrobats who make cityscapes their obstacle course, running, jumping and climbing great heights with cat-like grace. The creator of the Urban Tarot identifies with the Fool and writes, "I strive to live a life unburdened by fear, open to the possibilities before me." Indeed, the Fool lacks both hope (concrete expectations) and fear, living only in the present moment. What matters is what he does right now. The Courage tile seems a good fit for him, as it implies acting with purpose even in the face of uncertainty. Maya Angelou wrote: "One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential." The Fool represents that tiny seed of potential in everyone. We can nurture it and watch life expand or ignore it and experience how quickly the world can shrink.
 It teaches us to touch the world and interact with it, instead of being sheltered by it. 
~ Andy Tran on parkour philosophy

Friday, October 13, 2017

Speak Up

From the Urban Tarot, the Four of Cups; from the Principles to Live By, Simplicity:
          Nothing says comfortable like hanging out in your tightie whities with your loved one. This Four is called 'Luxury' in Thoth decks, because things have gotten very stable from an emotional point of view. But there is a fine line between being stable and flat, like a soda that has lost its fizz. You could have a room full of sodas like that, and not want a sip from any of them. Have things moved from comfortable to complacent, creating an underlying feeling of discontent? Creating chaos might shake things up, but it doesn't lend itself to emotional satisfaction either. The tile Simplicity suggests living a life that is straightforward and uncomplicated. Do we crave stability to the point that we don't dare do or say anything that might disturb it? Hans Hofmann said, "The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak." The emotional foundation that looks secure on the outside might actually have a huge inner fracture that is gradually getting larger. Saying nothing and pretending it's not there won't make it go away.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Greatest Wisdom

From the Urban Tarot, the Queen of Swords; from the Principles to Live By, Kindness:
          The Queen of Swords represents Water of Air; she has a keen intellect but also sharp perception and insight. Seeing her represented here as an artist made me think of the character Clara Morrow in Louise Penny's Armand Gamache books. In the latest book, Clara paints portraits of the people in her close-knit community. The portraits look like nothing special at first glance, until the observer notices the small details. Reflected in each person's eyes is what they love most in the world. Like the Queen of Swords, she looked beyond the faces presented to the public and saw the core inside each person. The Kindness tile implies a caring attitude that leads to benevolent action. It is not enough to know; we must also do. If my neighbor is hungry, compassion (though a good thing to have) won't feed her. In the words of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, "What wisdom is greater than kindness?"

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Concentrated Effort, Even Temperament

From the Urban Tarot, the Three of Disks; from the Principles to Live By, Equanimity:
          The 'Works' card is one of concentrated effort; as Scott says, inspiration has been followed by perspiration. Some jobs or tasks can seem monumental, and we may feel like we are trying to move a weight that is too heavy for us to lift. Yet one of the skills this card implies is learning how to gather a team to help us accomplish our goal. Nearly every successful person has a dedicated posse; in the backs of their books, for example, authors often acknowledge the assistance of family, editors and publishers. However most projects will have a bump in the road or a challenge that may require a detour from the original plan. The principle of Equanimity encourages us to be level-headed and even-tempered no matter what is going on. I recently ran across an Al-Anon acronym that expressed one of this group's fundamental ideas: Q-TIP (Quit Taking It Personally). When things don't go the way I want or when the dramas of other people interfere, it can feel like the Universe is unjustly picking on me. But there is freedom to be found in realizing this is just how life unfolds for everyone.
You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can't control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone. ~ Marcus Aurelius 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Emotional Excesses

From the Urban Tarot, the Seven of Cups; from the Principles to Live By, Generosity:
          Following the Thoth Tarot, Scott labels this card 'Debauch,' meaning excess. This is not a sermon on the sinfulness of having fun, but on behavior that seeks self-indulgence without concern for anyone else. And while it may mean leaving your buddies to take care of an obnoxious, drunken idiot, it could also mean pouring out an excess of emotion on the heads of innocent bystanders. Such spewing reminds me of a quote from the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions:
But there is another kind of hangover which we all experience whether we are drinking or not. That is the emotional hangover, the direct result of yesterday’s and sometimes today’s excesses of negative emotion—anger, fear, jealousy, and the like. If we would live serenely today and tomorrow, we certainly need to eliminate these hangovers.
What is the solution? The Generosity tile suggests being willing to share my resources, including my time, energy and attention. Doing so will help pull me out of my self-orbit. In the words of Simone Weil, "Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity." Not only will it keep me from wallowing in the mud of my own making, it may avert the need for an aspirin and an ice-pack later.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Polishing the Lens

From the Urban Tarot, the Queen of Cups; from the Principles to Live By, Discernment:
          A grandmotherly therapist listens patiently and jots down notes as her client speaks. Scott describes her as a comforting person who accepts others without judgment. This Queen is the still surface of a pond which reflects back to the person what is in his or her heart and head. She is empathetic - able to relate to and understand another person's emotions. Yet there's a huge difference in "relating to" and "drowning in." While she's willing to get her feet wet, she knows she needs to have boundaries in place. The Discernment tile suggest being able to see clearly and objectively. If I am emotionally entangled in another person's drama, it colors how I see everything. It's like wearing a pair of glasses with red lens; no matter what I look at, I will perceive it in red tones. To be be able to support and encourage another person, I must first check the clarity of the lens I'm looking through.
Seeing reality for what it is is what we call discernment... Reality is always 
deucedly complicated; any human situation has far more to it than first meets
anybody's eye. No one has twenty-twenty discernment. This is why we need
other people to tell us what they see in the same chunk of reality that we are
looking at. ~ Lewis B. Smedes   

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Art of Persistence

This week I'll be using the Urban Tarot, a deck and book set created and self-published by Robin Scott. I'll be pairing it with an oracle I created (with the help of Alaska Laser Maid) called "Principles to Live By." Today's draws are Art (Temperance in RWS language) and Persistence:
          An archetypal angel meets an urban angel, one mixing water and the other mixing paint. The Thoth Tarot calls this card Art because it was a representation of creative alchemy - mixing two different elements to form a third. This new element was a symbol of harmony derived from two sides that originally opposed each other (in the Thoth deck, fire and water). It often implies taking the middle way between extremes and finding a compromise that combines a little of both sides. Of course real life never flows and blends together quite as easily as paint, which is probably why the tile Persistence has popped up. This principle means not being easily distracted or discouraged from the objective (easy to do when you are the mediator between two opposing sides). In the words of Jim Watkins, "A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence." His mention of a river reminds me of the Taoist concept wu wei, meaning natural action, or action that does not involve struggle or excessive effort. I don't need to over-react or over-plan; I just need to be present. Time and persistence can wear down most anything.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

It Flows By Itself

From the Gill Tarot, the Ten of Cups; from The Circle, Destiny:
          Studies show that one-third of the people who suffer abuse as a child will become abusers themselves, and their likelihood of mental illness and addiction is much greater. Yet I when look at those ten cups, each giving and receiving water, I wonder what statistics would say about kindness. What if everyone made it a point to do something thoughtful and caring for someone every day, especially to someone who looked like they could use a bit of gentle goodwill? The Circle's Destiny card is not so much about knowing what fate has in store, but in simply letting life evolve. A woman made the comment to me the other night that "You don't need to push the river, it flows by itself." Kindness can be just as fluid. I don't have to plan for it, I just need to be willing to go where it takes me.
To reteach a thing its loveliness is the nature of metta [loving-kindness].
~ Sharon Salzberg