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

Monday, December 31, 2018

Seeing Both Sides

From the Russian Lubok Tarot, Justice; from the Oracle of Alice's Leaves, 'Sweetleaf:'
          A set of scales, scrolls of pardon, and an executioner's cloak and ax are part of the ensemble of this Justice. Her veiled eyes are similar to a double-blind study in psychology where neither researchers nor subjects know who is in the control or experimental group in order not to skew results. It's so easy not to see our biases; negative stereotypes can obscure our mental ability to make balanced and fair decisions. Sweetleaf, or Symplocos paniculata, was named for the sweet taste of its leaves (horses will devour the shrub). It is also well known for the bright yellow dye made from the leaves of the shrub. Both the qualities of brightness and sweetness suggest that perhaps looking at a person or situation's good traits rather than just focusing on the bad might produce a more objective decision.
Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Sage Advice

This week I'll be using the Russian Lubok Tarot, created and self-published by Eugene Vinitski and Sergey Savchenko. I'll also be using a digital deck I call the Oracle of Alice's Leaves. At age 87, Alice Thoms Vitale wrote a historical herbal called Leaves in Myth, Magic and Medicine. She hand-collected over 100 leaves and made beautiful ink prints of them to illustrate her book. Today's draws are the Five of Swords and 'Sage:'
          Two men play a card game for money; the one not cheating is losing. Yet there seems to be another conversation going on behind them of which these men are unaware. It appears there is a 'fix' in on this game by the behind-the-scenes duo who will profit from it, but the players are merely pawns. In fact, when the truth is eventually revealed, the card players may get caught up in the blame while the real slimy sneaks make off with the money. While it might hurt our pride, the only way to avoid getting tarnished in such situations is to walk away. The more we try to prove ourselves, the more tangled things will likely get. Sage, Salvia officinalis, has been touted over the centuries for most everything - from an herb for immortality to a cure for various ailments. Though its culinary uses are widespread, sage's medicinal uses have little evidence to back them up. The thujone present in Salvia extracts may even be neurotoxic. These two cards reinforce the idea that we shouldn't believe everything we hear (or read on the internet). We might do well to heed some 'sage' advice from Peter Abelard: "By doubting we are led to question, by questioning we arrive at the truth."

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Uncovering and Dispersing

From the Mythic Tarot, the Page of Pentacles; from the Symbolon, the 'Jester:'
          This Page of Pentacles is based on Triptolemus, a young prince who graciously received Demeter when she was mourning the loss of her daughter. Demeter would later teach him the art of agriculture. He is a good example of paying attention in order to learn because we never know where a teacher might appear. Triptolemos' name is derived from the Greek words triptos and lemma meaning "He who Pounds the Husks," implying that learning doesn't come without effort. The Jester represents a truth-teller in comic form; as Uranus in Aquarius, he likes to turn the world upside-down in order to move it forward. These two cards are a reminder that it may take some courage to share what has been learned when it goes against the status quo. Like Galileo Galilei who discovered the Earth revolved around the Sun (rather than vice versa), we may find ourselves branded as heretics or just plain crazy. Yet nothing will grow and develop when kept from the light.

The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie. One word of truth outweighs the world. ― Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn

Friday, December 28, 2018

A Different Set of Success Skills

From the Mythic Tarot, the Six of Wands; from the Symbolon, the 'Farewell:'
          Jason holds the Golden Fleece over his head, victorious over the dragon who had protected it. One thing about success is that it doesn't come simply because of the effort of one person (even if they are the one performing the task). Like the Argonauts behind him, we all have our supporters who pass along knowledge, nudge us to accept challenges, and offer emotional or financial support as we develop. We are who we are in large part because of the help we've accepted and leaned on over the years. The Farewell card is paired with Venus in Taurus, suggesting that while we'd like to be comfortable and surrounded by pleasures, there are times when we must hit the road to restructure and rebuild our lives. It seems almost ridiculous that humans spend so much time trying to find stability and security when we'd do better to work on being adaptable and flexible in a constantly changing world. Even Jason must get that fleece back to Iolkos.

Innumerable departures have taught you that security cannot be found in material forms. You accept freedom and change of affiliation, the natural rhythm of ebb and flow, 'bonding' and 'letting go.' Everything has its time and place. ~Symbolon booklet

Thursday, December 27, 2018

No So-So Love

From the Mythic Tarot, the Ten of Cups; from the Symbolon, the 'Phoenix:'
          Seeing Psyche in her divine form next to her husband Eros made "Stand By Your Man" start playing in my head. She met challenge after challenge to stay together with Eros. Unlike Tammy Wynette, Psyche's husband wasn't the problem - it was her mother-in-law Aphrodite that caused her grief. The Ten of Cups seems like winning the relationship lottery, but most people never see the work, love, and forgiveness involved behind closed doors. Cutting and running is the easy option when our fairy tale doesn't work out, but it won't help grow a time-tested relationship. The Phoenix is a great symbol of the ups and downs of being in a committed partnership or friendship. There are times when we feel burnt to ashes by the vicissitudes of life, but if our partner or friend is a keeper, he or she can gather and hold that ash tenderly until we can rise again.

There isn’t anything in this world but mad love. Not in this world. No tame love, calm love, mild love, no so-so love. And of course, no reasonable love. Also, there are a hundred paths through the world that are easier than loving. But, who wants easier? We dream of love, we moon about it, thinking of Romeo and Juliet, or Tristan, or the lost queen rushing away over the Irish sea, all doom and splendor. Today, on the beach, an old man was sitting in the sun. I called out to him, and he turned. His face was like an empty pot. I remember his tall, pale wife; she died long ago. I remember his daughter-in-law. When she died, hard, and too young, he wept in the streets. He picked up pieces of wood, and stones, and anything else that was there, and threw them at the sea. Oh, how he loved his wife. Oh, how he loved young Barbara. I stood in front of him, not expecting any answer yet not wanting to pass without some greeting. But his face had gone back to whatever he was dreaming. Something touched me lightly, like a knife-blade. I felt I was bleeding, though just a little, a hint. Inside I flared hot, then cold. I thought of you. Whom I love madly.

—Mary Oliver,  White Pine

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Soft Spot

From the Mythic Tarot, the Hanged Man; from the Symbolon, the 'Ice Princess (Moon in Cancer):'
          Prometheus is tied to a rock after going against  Zeus' divine order not to give fire to humans. The eagle would eat his liver (a symbol) of hope. Yet having created humans, Prometheus knew they would need fire to survive and evolve in the world. But how awful to be punished for breaking a law that was unjust and unkind. Does he feel regret for his actions? Not if he considers humans his children. His was a sacrifice for the greater good. Yet still, there is a chance that suffering for doing good can harden the heart as the Ice Queen shows. The Moon in Cancer can make a sensitive person insecure to the point where they lock down their heart. Rather than making us more compassionate, such a situation can harden us.
We put up protective walls made of opinions, prejudices and strategies, barriers that are built on a deep fear of being hurt. These walls are further fortified by emotions of all kinds: anger, craving, indifference, jealousy and envy, arrogance and pride. But fortunately for us, the soft spot—our innate ability to love and to care about things—is like a crack in these walls we erect. 
~Pema Chodron

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Where Your Feet Are

From the Mythic Tarot, the Ace of Wands; from the Symbolon, 'Dreaming Johnny:'
          Zeus stands draped with the Golden Fleece, the hide from his sacred ram. Jason and his Argonauts would begin a long and treacherous journey to find it with Zeus tossing in challenges at every step. The companion book describes this Ace as "the beginning of the great journey into the world of vision and imagination, where concrete limitations are challenged and overcome, and where life is never the same afterward." It gives meaning to life to have a purpose and vision to follow, but Dreaming Johnny (Gemini in Aquarius) offers a warning. It's dangerous to live in our heads so much that we don't know where our feet are. We can harm ourselves or others unintentionally if we don't stay grounded. For those of us who are planners, it's easy for the mind to run ahead.
The only way to extraordinary is what I do with the ordinary.
Be where your feet are.
 ~Brianna Wiest

Monday, December 24, 2018

Clashing Rocks and Good Fortune

From the Mythic Tarot, the Nine of Wands; from the Symbolon, 'Fortuna:'
          The Nine of Wands shows the final struggle of Jason and the Argonauts as they attempt to sail between the Clashing Rocks to Iolkos. The sailors are exhausted from all the challenges they've faced on their journey, but they don't give up so close to the goal. Is it the beliefs of the mind or the faith of the heart that pushes them onward? Perhaps it is both. Fortuna (Jupiter in Sagittarius - expansive energy and limitless possibilities) shows a cornucopia cloud pouring out blessings on a man below. Good fortune often comes from opportunities recognized and then acted on. Yet even when life seems full of struggles, I can renew myself by acknowledging the good around me. Today I will pay attention to what makes me smile or warms my heart; those are small fortunes that can mature into great ones.
Change yourself and fortune will change.      
~Portuguese saying 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Dented Crown

This week I'll be working with the Mythic Tarot, created by Juliet Sharman-Burke and Liz Greene, illustrated by Tricia Newell, and published by Simon and Schuster. The oracle I'll be using is the Symbolon Deck created by Peter Orban, Ingrid Zinnel and Thea Weller and published by AG Muller. Today's draws are the Six of Swords and 'The Ego:'
          Orestes is shown in a boat heading back to his home, Argos. He was secreted away as an infant when his mother and her lover killed his father who was king. He avenged his father's death but was haunted by the Furies (for committing matricide) until Apollo intervened and acquitted him. I am reminded of the phrase, "Wherever you go, there you are." I may try to blame my unhappiness on the people and circumstances of life, but the real root of my suffering lies in the beliefs and stories I refuse to let go of. There is no way to find peace in my world if I can't find it in myself first. The Ego (Sun in Leo) often gets a bad rap; if I have a healthy perception of myself, I will have confidence enough to act, allowing me to make progress. If however, I become the focal point in my world, that same confidence can lead to an attitude of entitlement that doesn't consider the lives of anyone else. Then like Orestes, I may find that my 'great' ideas and actions have not brought me peace but more madness. A few deep connections with people can act as a ballast; they can snatch that crown off my ego's head before it acts on any grandiose ideas.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Be Bold

From the Greenwood Tarot, the Page of Wands; from the Rune Cards, 'Aurochs/Uruz:'
          Watching a stoat hunt is like watching an animal that has chugged a few too many energy drinks. Even when standing still, peeking over the grass, its body thrums with energy and excitement. The stoat will climb trees or dive down tunnels in search of food, and it can easily take down animals five times its size. When a rabbit chase doesn't make much progress, the stoat will do what looks like break-dancing. Its prey can be so transfixed by this 'dance' that it doesn't realize the stoat has edged closer until it is too late. The Page is much like this animal with his sense of adventure and eagerness. It is useless to tell him that he is too young or inexperienced to do anything. He thrives on what is new and exciting. The Aurochs/Uruz rune poem tells of an extinct ox-like animal that it describes as "a creature of mettle" among the moors. This rune's message is one of courage and assertiveness - a perfect fit for the Page.
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.
The fearful are caught as often as the bold. ~Helen Keller

Friday, December 21, 2018

Milking the Cow

From the Greenwood Tarot, the Ace of Cups; from the Rune Cards, 'Ash/Aesc:'
 Some people want to see God with their eyes as they see a cow, and to love Him as they love a cow - for the milk and cheese and profit it brings them. This is how it is with people who love God for the sake of outward wealth or inward comfort. They do not rightly love God, when they love Him for their own advantage. ― Meister Eckhart
          The white hart in Potter's drawing brings life-giving waters. In the same way, having someone to love and having someone who loves us also gives life. Yet the mythical white hart was said to appear when a sacred code was broken and consequently ushered in spiritual change. As Eckhart expressed so well, sometimes human love can become a brokerage, a service rendered for an expected return. That motive is what adds salt to pure water, making it impossible for it to nourish and sustain anyone. The rune poem of Ash/Aesc describes a wood that is admired for its ability to endure and protect. Love is not self-seeking; like Aesc, it seeks to offer help rather than milk the cow.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

If Wishes Were Fishes

From the Greenwood Tarot, the King of Arrows (Swords); from the Rune Cards, 'Ice (Isa):'
          Potter uses a lynx to represent the King of Swords. These cats live in the northernmost forests of North America, Europe, and Asia. As a result of the climate they live in, they have very thick fur and furry, large paws that spread out like snowshoes. The frozen landscape the lynx lives in is symbolic of what is required of this King if he is to find the truth and implement justice. He must set aside his personal feelings and prejudices to look with objectivity and discernment at the situation before him. The rune poem for Ice/Isa describes its dual nature:
Ice is very cold and immeasurably slippery;
it glistens as clear as glass and most like to gems;
it is a floor wrought by the frost, fair to look upon.
While it might look pretty and shiny from afar, ice can be very dangerous to walk or ride on. Its meaning is clear: what glitters is a misconception and distortion, not gold. For this King, he needs to check and make sure he's not agreeing with something just because he wishes it to be so.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Coming Together

From the Greenwood Tarot, the Eight of Wands; from the Rune Cards, 'Joy (Wunjo):'
          Potter describes the Eight of Wands as a coming together of intentions; those intentions have created the energy to get things moving quickly toward the goal. Intentions are not affirmations or vague promises about what we will eventually do. They keep us centered in the present rather than the future and are based on what matters most to us. Intentions are a commitment to align our actions with our values; they allow us to correct our path when we become distracted from what is important. Joy/Wunjo is a reminder to recognize our good fortune in the here and now, to find contentment in what we have rather than what we want. Phillip Moffitt writes, "Whatever is manifesting itself in your life right now is affected by how you receive it, and how you receive it is largely determined by your intention in this moment." Intentions are the GPS system that keeps us from running into emotional ditches caused by craving, aversion or mindlessness. Discontentment is the warning light that tells us to touch base with them.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018


From the Greenwood Tarot, the Seven of Wands; from the Rune Cards, 'Hail (Hagalaz):'
          Potter gives her Seven of Wands the keyword 'clearance.' Rather than friction from the outside world about our plans and goals, this conflict is within us. There is dead wood that weighs us down, that makes us second guess every action we take. It brings up past mistakes and keeps a running loop of whispers of unworthiness in our head. Turn it into tinder, Potter urges us, so that new growth has a chance to grow deep roots and develop. Hail (Hagalaz) is the mind's response to our attempt to change a pattern of thought or behavior. It batters us relentlessly, and so we look for shelter in old habits. Hail, thy name is Perfectionism, an expectation that will surely kill any progress we attempt to make. Our focus gets detoured from striving for success to avoiding failure at all cost. It is not our advocate but our oppressor.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Useful Weapons

From the Greenwood Tarot, the Pole Star; from the Rune Cards, 'Weapon (Yr):'
          What a joyful, hopeful card. Potter's version shows a radiant blessing pouring out over all the Earth rather than anyone in particular (this is definitely not 'God Bless America'). (I'm suddenly hearing Jackie DeShannon in my head singing, "What the world needs now is love, sweet love; no not just for some, but for everyone.") Potter describes it as a renewal of energy and a revitalized sense of direction. While such rejuvenation can bring hope, change will require movement. The Weapon (Yr) card's rune poem reads:
The ax-hammer is a source of joy and honor to every prince and knight; 
it looks well on a horse and is a reliable 
equipment for a journey. 
It is interesting that the ax-hammer is seen not just as a weapon, but as a tool also. Like knowledge, such things can be used to heal or hurt, to build or tear down. What is a useful weapon against all the cruelty and injustice in the world? Surely my hatred and anger won't change a thing. But I can reach out a hand to help those in need. My 'weapons' might then become random acts of kindness and loving without kickbacks.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Sharpness of Anger

This week I'll be using the Greenwood Tarot, created by Chesca Potter and published by Thorsons. The oracle I'll be using is the Rune Cards, created by Tony Linsell and Brian Partridge and published by Anglo-Saxon Books. Today's draws are the Five of Arrows (Swords) and Thorn (Thurisaz):
          An ibex leaps swiftly away from a hunter whose multiple arrows miss their mark. Potter gives this card the keyword 'frustration,' an emotion that can easily blur one's focus and result in impulsive rather than thought-out action. The Anglo-Saxon rune poem for Thurisaz reads:
Thorn is very sharp for all men.
Struggling with them is painful for any warrior.
They are severe to those who live among them.
Those passionate emotions that seem to surge over us like a wave can be a challenge. Often people say, "How do I deal with this anger?" as if it is something that can be eliminated from our lives. Buddhist teacher Judy Lief offers four steps as a way to relate to our anger instead:
  • At first, we are desperate to do something with this anger, either to feed it or to suppress it. The practice is to stay with the physical experience of anger rather than the mental thoughts about the situation.
  • Once we are able to be with anger with more openness and less judgment, the second step is to look at it more precisely. Examine as directly as you can. What are the roots of this anger? What is feeding it? Go level by level, deeper and deeper. 
  • In the third step, we contemplate what it is about anger that is harmful and what might be of benefit. Normally we are too caught up in our personal struggles to connect with this wisdom, but anger is a messenger that something is wrong, that something needs to be addressed. We can listen to the message but drop the messenger.
  • When we can practice these steps with ease, we may finally begin to be able to make use of anger as a tool or skillful means. 

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Stages of Truth

From the Nature Spirit Tarot, Judgment; from the Australian Wildflower Cards, 'Blue Gum Flower:'
          The multiple blooms of the trumpet flower and the nymph and adult phases of the damselflies reflect the stages humans go through as they develop and expand their understanding of truth. Our early stages generally define truth as it relates to what we want; middle stages see it as what corresponds to our beliefs and opinions. Yet those who come to a deeper awakening may see it as something far beyond either of those two views. Blue Gum (E.globulus) flowers are considered a good source of nectar and pollen for honey bees. With anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and decongestant properties, its leaves are the primary source of global eucalyptus oil production. Darcey assigns this flower the keyword 'healing.' Paired with the Judgment card, it implies a kinder view of those who lack a more inclusive view of truth. Everyone responds to the world around them based on the coping skills they've developed. Yet how we think about things can change, and no one awakens to a more holistic view without starting with small slices of it first.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Turkey Talk

From the Nature Spirit Tarot, the Tower; from the Australian Wildflower Tarot, the 'Turkey Bush:'
          Two turkey vultures perch on a pine snag; these carrion scavengers use their keen sense of smell to detect gases produced by the beginning process of decay. The implication is that what we think has been protecting us is actually dead, and like a gangrened appendage, needs to be cut off. Doing so means a chance to live more fully. The Turkey Bush was so named because wild turkeys find it a good place to hide when hunters are about (thus its keyword 'inspiration'). Rarely does a solution come without a problem; as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. The tearing down that comes with the Tower is meant as a challenge and directive to find a new way of doing or thinking about things. We have the option of shaking our fists at the heavens or putting our hand to the plow. Only one of those will bring forth a beneficial harvest.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

What Will Set Us Free

From the Nature Spirit Tarot, the Hanged Man; from the Australian Wildflower Cards, 'Cooktown Orchid:'
          The Western red-backed salamander is from a family of salamanders without lungs. Dermal respiration is essential to their survival, and so the skin must be kept moist in order for the gases to dissolve and diffuse across cell membranes. During dry periods, this can force this family of salamanders to live underground. Likewise, we can find ourselves in circumstances in which our reality has become upended. Our only hope is to surrender to what is, knowing that if we endure (oak), change will come (morning glory). The Cooktown Orchid is an epiphyte that lives high in the treetops and is generally unnoticed until its bright lilac blooms appear. This card has been assigned the keyword 'attitude.' It is a reminder that even when we can't see what is lovely or positive, it doesn't mean it's not there. Sometimes we just need a new perspective or lens to look through. As Charles Swindoll phrased it, "Really, it's a matter of programming our minds with the kind of information that will set us free."

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Great Love

From the Nature Spirit Tarot, the King of Cups; from the Australian Wildflower Cards, 'Crowea:'
          The King of Cups is illustrated with a common crane, a wading bird known that has become a symbol of long life and good fortune. For this King, those traits exist because "he engages his emotions with great wisdom." Notice the sprig of mistletoe he's clipped from a tree; like this parasitic plant that extracts water and nutrients and from its host, the King of Cups is wary of such people. He knows how to extend compassion without feeding anyone's self-pity. The red on his head is not feathers but bare skin, implying an alert mind to go with an open heart. Ginger has benefits that include reducing nausea, pain, and inflammation. This man is a healer of hearts; he can't carry us through our pain, but he will walk beside us. The Australian crowea flower ('possibilities') blooms in varying shades of pink. The essence made from this flower is said to help worry-warts find some balance and be able to see from a wide rather than narrow perspective. The King of Cups would agree that the problem is not how to get rid of all your problems, but to learn to deal with them in an emotionally balanced way.

The two Virtues of Equanimity and Compassion become more available to the person whose ego shell has been smashed either by great suffering or by great love or by both.     
~Richard Rohr

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Piercing Through

From the Nature Spirit Tarot, the Six of Swords; from the Australian Wildflower Cards, 'Water Ribbons:'
          Six swords pierce a water lily leaf, suggesting logic has finally pierced through emotional turmoil. A Western skink's tail falls from the leaf, a symbol of letting go. We are often confronted with situations that cause our hearts to constrict in pain - watching a loved one's slow suicide with drugs, a couple's marriage that begins to crumble, or a friendship that seems to be dissolving. Though we might use all the knowledge and resources we have, it may not be enough. The truth is, we can't fix other people or make them do anything. It can feel like we're losing a part of ourselves, but if we want to stay sane we have to learn to detach, keeping our hearts open but our hands off. Water Ribbons is an aquatic plant that usually grows in fresh water. Though its tubers stay rooted in the mud, its long leaves (2 to 3 meters) float downstream like ribbons. Darcey gives this card the keyword 'freedom;' it seems to parallel the Six of Swords which suggests we stay rooted in reality as we navigate turbulent waters.
I do know that detachment is important. A surgeon can't be weeping into the open wound.
~Randa Haines

Monday, December 10, 2018


From the Nature Spirit Tarot, the Queen of Cups; from the Australian Wildflower Cards, the 'Grey Spider Flower:'
          Herzel illustrates the Queen of Cups with the Western honey bee and the blooms of an orange tree (the lily and willow are nods to the water suit). The symbols of sweetness - smell and taste - represent this queen well. Have you ever seen the dry pulp left over after a juicer has crushed all the liquid from a fruit or vegetable? That's kind of how I've felt these past weeks; it helps to have someone like the Queen of Cups to listen to my feelings without judgment, who can pour liquid life back into my desiccated spirit. The Grey Spider Flower is a shrub that has fuzzy flowers that appear on the tips of its branches in late winter. Darcey assigned 'faith' as its keyword, which made sense when I found out the propagation of this plant is helped along by nicking the hard seed coat to expose the embryo. Experiencing cuts made by the vicissitudes of life can cause a type of 'terminal uniqueness' in which I feel as if no one has it as bad as I do (and can keep me feeling like that dried-out pulp). The Pali word for faith - saddha - literally means "to place your heart upon." It has nothing to do with defending, competing, or rigidly believing something. Instead (in the words of Sharon Salzberg), it "opens us to what is beyond our usual, limited, self-centered concerns." In other words, I'm not alone and there are infinite possibilities that stretch far beyond what my limited perspective can see at the moment.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

The Truth Can Sting

This week I'll be using the Nature Spirit Tarot, a book and deck set created and self-published by Jean Marie Herzel. I'll also be drawing from the Australian Wildflower Reading Cards, a set created by Cheralyn Darcey and published by Rockpool. Today's cards are the Queen of Swords and 'Grevillea:'
          Herzel uses a paper wasp to illustrate her Queen of Swords, a court card known for delivering some stings when it comes to honesty and shining a light on the hard truth. No wonder this queen gets a bad rap - not too many people want to see beyond the lies they tell themselves or the delusions they spin. Yet the paper wasp is a great pollinator and her primary diet is invasive pests. The plant in the card is common sage, an herb known for its many culinary and medicinal uses. Both the insect and the plant are like the Queen of Swords - there is a great benefit to listening with an open mind to her words, even if they are unpleasant.  Grevillea is associated with creativity (indigenous people of Australia created a sweet drink from its blooms). The challenge of this flower is not becoming stuck or too dependent. The words of the Queen aren't meant to be used to punish, but to inspire to do things differently. Beating ourselves up may feel like progress, but really we're just stinging ourselves over and over again without changing our course.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Dancing Fool

From the Cosmic Tarot, the Fool; from the Lotus de L'Oeil, 'Encounter:'
          This Fool doesn't just walk off the edge of a cliff, he dances off, shimmying and shaking as he goes. I've always been in awe of people who meet change with a rush of excitement rather than fear. What is their secret? The Encounter card might be a clue. The yin-yang symbol represents the duality found in all things. Each part of the figure has a small circle of the other color in it, a reminder that "all or nothing" is not a truth found anywhere. Every person or experience has a little of its opposite nature within, even if it is a tiny amount. The Fool recognizes this and therefore sets no expectations; even if things seem a disaster, there's always an element of goodness to be found if he keeps his eyes open.

All being, it seemed, was built on opposites, on division... though each was equally precious and essential. Hermann Hesse

Now, do you say, that you are going to make Right your master and do away with Wrong, or make Order your master and do away with Disorder? If you do, then you have not understood the principle of heaven and earth or the nature of the ten thousand things. This is like saying that you are going to make Heaven your master and do away with Earth, or make Yin your master and do away with Yang. Obviously, it is impossible. Zhuangzi 

Friday, November 30, 2018

Road Markers

From the Cosmic Tarot, the Two of Swords; from the L'Oeil de Lotus, 'Betrayal:'
To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity. ~Douglas Adams

          When intellect and emotions become so intertwined that finding the truth is like being in a marsh at midnight, it's time to call a truce on decision-making. The Betrayal card is a warning that emotional beliefs can easily bend the truth until I'm convinced I'm speaking honestly and acting with integrity. Yet there are a few road markers to help me know if I'm traveling a path of integrity.
  • I keep my word and commitments.
  • I admit when I've made mistakes but don't enable unacceptable behavior in others.
  • I keep my focus and notice when I intentionally create distractions.
  • I don't pronounce something as true unless there is evidence of it.
  • I am sincere and respectful without people-pleasing; I act responsibly without getting caught in the 'shoulds.'
From an objective self-perspective, I take exit ramps from this road a lot without even thinking. So perhaps taking some time like this woman is doing to be aware of what's rattling around in my heart and mind is the best preventative.