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

Friday, August 31, 2018

Directing the Mind

From the Restored Order Tarot, the Magician; from the Oracle of Kabbalah, 'Shin:'
Shin artwork by Ruth Councell

          With his tools on the table, the Magician uses his will to bring the energy of thought down to earth. It does no good to have available raw resources if there is no vision for their use. How that mental image becomes real depends on how he uses his will - to manipulate, intimidate and control or to nurture, heal and create. Shin's form looks much like three candle flames. It is one of the three 'mother letters' and symbolizes fire (the other two are Aleph/air and Mem/water). Seidman writes that it "burns away superficialities and gets to the core experience." Even when things are dark, it like the coal that still has burning embers inside it, waiting on a breeze or breath to bring it to life again. Anger, divisiveness, and hatred can stir the Magician's will, or on the other hand, kindness, connection, and compassion can ignite it. The mindset that kindles the flame will create a material counterpart.
Whatever harm an enemy may do to an enemy, or a hater to a hater,
an ill-directed mind inflicts on oneself a greater harm.
~ Dhammapada

Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Seeds Within

From the Restored Order Tarot, the Priestess; from the Oracle of Kabbalah, 'Dalet:'
 Dalet artwork by Tina Spiro

          The Priestess personifies sacred wisdom, not necessarily in a religious sense, but sacred because it has the power to transform. The pomegranates on her veil are split open, revealing the seeds inside. According to Jewish tradition, the pomegranate has 613 seeds, which correspond to the 613 mitzvot (precepts and commandments). But the seeds the Priestess offers don't come from outside ourselves; the hidden treasure of knowledge is within each of us. She encourages us to look beyond the ego (which prefers things to be black or white) to a spaciousness that is without manmade, fabricated boundaries. Here we find an awareness that contains both wisdom and compassion. The Hebrew letter Dalet's root means 'door,' and it gives us the opportunity to transition to something better. Seidman suggests that recognizing this opportunity depends on our humility, understanding that "We are not separate, and we are not self-sufficient. Rather, we are connected to and dependent upon everything." Both these cards imply a benevolent perspective capable of seeing beyond self-centered ideas and desires. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

What's in Your Suitcase?

From the Restored Order Tarot, the Star; from the Oracle of Kabbalah, 'Chet:'
Chet artwork by Allison Carter

          Comparing the Temperance card of yesterday with the Star today, there are several likenesses and differences. The figure in the Star kneels rather than stands, suggesting circumstances have forced her to her knees. However, closer to the earth is a good place for getting grounded. While both cards show a figure with one foot in water and another on land, the Star doesn't mix liquids but seems to siphon it up into one vessel and pour out on the ground from another. She is the conduit for this 'living water,' a source of strength, healing, and guidance to be used in the physical realm. Digging our own wells to spiritual waters is an individual task. Yet even when we have discovered our source, we often get busy and forget to quench our thirst until life gives us a wallop. The Hebrew letter Chet is associated with the number eight; like the start of a new week, it represents a new beginning. Its shape is similar to the chupah, a wedding canopy in Jewish marriages that represents a gateway. After getting walloped, it can be scary moving through such an arch into the unknown. While we don't need to shut the door on the past, there's no need to pack it into our suitcases as we move forward either.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

A Middle Path

From the Restored Order Tarot, Temperance; from the Oracle of Kabbalah, 'Zayin:'
 Zayin artwork by Jean-Jacques Levy

          Temperance focuses on mixing two opposites to create a transformation, not to get rid of one or the other, but to find a middle path between extremes. A radiant crown shines above a pathway between two mountains, suggesting the way to mix the elements that will result in strength rather than choosing a drastic or desperate path. This reciprocal modification of thought or behavior is a win-win arrangement. Zayin is the shape of a sword and is connected to the number seven. While the root of this Hebrew weapon means 'sharp weapon,' the same root is connected to the words for food and sustenance. Though its shape may symbolize power and authority, its numerical association is connected to the Sabbath, a day of rest. It is a reminder to pause and examine what is greater than our egos. In a world of duality, it may seem safer to choose one side of the other, to join one group while disavowing the rest. But both these cards suggest that a saner way needs to be seriously considered.

The middle way is a view of life that avoids the extreme of misguided grasping born of believing there is something we can find, or buy, or cling to that will not change. And it avoids the despair and nihilism born from the mistaken belief that nothing matters, that all is meaningless.
~Sharon Salzberg

Monday, August 27, 2018

Ecstatic Dance

From the Restored Order Tarot, the Universe; from the Kabbalah Oracle, 'Yod/Yud:'
          The dancer in the Universe card holds a rod of dead wood in one hand and a live snake in the other. I've collected a lot of spiritual knowledge and done a variety of spiritual practices in the decades I've been alive. Yet it is all dead wood if my ego smugly carries it around rather than uses it to transform my thoughts and actions. Kindness, wisdom, and compassion only become real when they are manifested. This is the portal the dancer must pass through. Yud is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet, yet it forms some of the mightiest words. It signifies the kind of humility Rumi speaks of:
I am so small I can barely be seen.
How can this great love be inside of me?
Look at your eyes. They are small,
but they see enormous things.

This is the humility born of wonder and gratitude. The love that empowers it is like a candle in the darkness, transforming whatever it encounters. It is the spiritual dance.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Having and Giving

This week I'll be using Tarot in de Herstelde Orde (Restored Order Tarot) created by Rob Docters van Leeuwen & Onno Docters van Leeuwen and published by Servire. The other deck I'll be using this week is the Oracle of the Kabbalah created by Richard Seidman and published by St. Martin's Press. Hebrew artwork is from various sources (not from the oracle cards). Today's draws are the King of Pentacles and 'Aleph/Alef:'
Aleph artwork by Michoel Muchnik 

          Lest the flowery crown and flowing gown suggest this King is only concerned with the cushy life, there is a hint of armor beneath his robe (and his face resembles WWE superstar John Cena). He's used both brain and brawn to attain what he has, and he maintains it through his common sense and prudence. Nothing is wasted in his kingdom, as seen by the stump that he uses as a footstool. Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and its shape suggests a division between two experiences of life - the spiritual and the physical. It embraces both form and spaciousness, separation and unity. According to Seidman, Aleph teaches us to accept "both sides of life, the grief and the joy, the bitter and the sweet, in order to experience the integrity, the undivided completeness of our lives." Such a perspective gives us a healthy, whole outlook on life rather than trying to ignore one part and chase the other. Perhaps spending time in the natural world is this King's way of reminding himself that life isn't all about material things. In the words of Kevin Kruse, "Life isn’t about getting and having, it’s about giving and being."

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Redefining Love

From the Japaridze Tarot, Love (Lovers); from the Holitzka I Ching, 'Hexagram 16:'
Just as a prism refracts light differently when you change its angle, each experience of love illuminates love in new ways, drawing from an infinite palette of patterns and hues.
― Sharon Salzberg, Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection 

          Love would not be so confusing if we saw it as an action rather than an emotion, considering it a simple kindness instead of a contract. Salzberg writes, “Our ability to connect with others is innate, wired into our nervous systems, and we need connection as much as we need physical nourishment.” That's part of the problem - we attempt to seize what we need but don't realize genuine love runs downhill rather than up. It begins by humbly accepting ourselves as we are (realistically seeing our humanness in our assets and liabilities), then extending that to others. From that foundation, we can reach out with wholehearted tenderness instead of trying to grasp or cling to what we think will fill us up. The 16th Hexagram is often titled 'Enthusiasm;' the booklet suggests we "move like a stream, always seeking the simplest course and adapting to the most diverse conditions." No manipulation, intimidation or force to be found here (no selfishness either). It's all downhill, but with the right attitude, it will be a joyful ride.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Fast Minds, Slower Bodies

From the Japaridze Tarot, the Two of Gardens (Pentacles); from the Holitzka I Ching, 'Hexagram 46:'
          It's never a good thing for me to wake up too early and spend that extra time thinking about all the things I need to get done in the hours ahead. The problem is that my mind moves faster and in many more directions than my body can at one time, but my mind expects it to keep up anyway. This fellow in the Japaridze card juggles fruit on a cloud (the mind). A few of those apples look like they're about to hit earth and become bruised or go splat. That's a good representation of what will happen to my body if it tries to keep up with my mind today. Japaridze suggests that instead of expending so much energy in multiple directions, I should prioritize and take care of the most important. Hexagram 46 is often titled 'Ascension' because a person receives recognition and a boost from someone with influence. Yet there is a caution to maintain self-discipline and keep one's feet firmly planted on the ground. There's no need to add to the responsibilities I'm already juggling, especially if all that comes of it is more stress.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Clowns and Dust Storms

From the Japaridze Tarot, the Jester (Page) of Winds; from the Holitzka I Ching, 'Hexagram 9:'
          Japaridze's Page of Swords (Jester of Winds) shows a clownish figure with an accordion toy shaped like a bat. I normally don't have a strong reaction to the Pages as I do this one. He seems to be intent on being noticed and getting attention. I can't help but think of the current WH squatter and his followers who constantly use the media to make outrageous comments that twist facts or ignore them entirely. Hexagram 9 shows a man drawing a protective circle around himself as a dust storm approaches. He is going to hunker down and wait until it passes. It would be insane to attempt to use his staff to attack something that he has no control over. This hexagram is called 'The Taming Power of the Small' because it is a recognition that restraint is often a better choice than aggression. In the same way, all the Tweets, Facebook posts and other things that are used to poke and prod don't do anything but create more dust. Instead, I can state the truth without yelling it and walk away, avoiding a fight that would leave everyone broken and bleeding.
When somebody challenges you, fight back. Be brutal, be tough.
~Donald Trump
An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.
~Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Change is Afoot

From the Japaridze Tarot, the Eight of Tides (Cups); from the Holitzka I Ching, 'Hexagram 35:'
          A cloaked figure walks toward the morning light in this card, symbolizing what Japaridze describes as "a search for a deeper meaning, a journey of self-discovery." This is the second time I've drawn this card recently, and it made me ponder what might hold me back from finding a higher purpose. Is there some idea that I cling to or some expectation I long for? Does my role as a mentor keep me from being a student - able to see other viewpoints? Perhaps there is simply a fear of the unknown. Whatever it is, the disillusionment and emotional dissatisfaction will push me to take steps, either haltingly or with purpose. Hexagram 35 is often called 'Progress,' and it states that if progress isn't being made then an attitude check is in order (note the Sun). There needs to be a shift in thinking, from what isn't working to what might work; from what isn't possible, to what could. There is a natural flow inherent in this kind of thinking that doesn't force things but opens to observe. Change is afoot!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Sharp Edges

From the Japaridze Tarot, the Ace of Tides (Cups); from the Holitzka I Ching, 'Hexagram 49:'
          Japaridze describes this Ace as the seed or essence for love and friendship. I was perplexed as to the sharp diamond shape for the water within. After reflecting, I realized caring that is authentic does require a softening of the heart that leaves it vulnerable to the cuts and bruises inherent in life. This doesn't occur just when one person is thoughtless in word or deed, but in navigating the inevitable changes in life that occur such as when friends move or partners age. It is tempting during these times to go in protection mode, yet the unarmored heart is what allows us to enjoy our deep connections with others. Hexagram 49 has been given the keyword 'Revolution' because of change that is occurring and a responsibility that is growing. How do I adapt and respond so that I am accountable for myself and a help to others? If I am wise, it will be without haste or force. As Melody Beattie writes, "You don't blast a heart open. You coax and nurture it open like the sun does to a rose."

Monday, August 20, 2018

Shell Call

From the Japaridze Tarot, the Queen of Tides (Cups); from the Holitzka I Ching, 'Hexagram 19:'
          The Queen of Tides wears a conch shell at her waist rather than a cell phone. Although folk wisdom says a listener can hear the ocean by holding the shell to his or her ear, it's actually the sounds of the environment resonating in the conch's cavity. The Queen must have gotten a distress call because she's in motion pouring out compassion as she goes. Deeply spiritual, she is a patient listener and selfless leader. She isn't foolish though, as she has a scallop shell worn over her heart. Like the bivalve that uses the shell, she can open and close it as needed (detachment with love). The 19th Hexagram is sometimes called 'Approach.' When we are willing to help others, we develop and expand our own abilities. However, this opportunity depends on maintaining our own integrity, which means the walls of denial may need to be gently worn away with fearless honesty. That should definitely be a skill at which the tender Queen of Tides excels.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

But First, A Question

This week I'll be using the Japaridze Tarot, painted by Nino Japaridze. Its booklet was written by Steve Lucas and the set was published by U.S. Games. The oracle I'll be drawing from is the I Ching, illustrated by Klaus Holitzka with instructions by Marlies Holitzka; it is published by AGM Urania. Today's draws are the Seven of Tides (Cups) and Hexagram 13:
          Japaridze states that this card is about overwhelming choices and ethical challenges. The jewels, coin, and golden statue bring to mind a verse from Matthew 6:21 - "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Where our attention and time are spent usually show where we think our 'treasure' lies. But the snakes in this card are a warning to be careful about what we pour our heart into because we might end up bone-dry after all of our efforts. Hexagram 13 is called 'Communion with Humanity' by Holitzka. It suggests that harmony is possible if there is a common goal and everyone can use their individual talents. As Phil Jackson put it, "The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team." Using our personal abilities and skills is not about making a name for oneself but for creating a better whole. Perhaps the question asked in the Seven of Tides should be "what's in it for us" rather than "what's in it for me" if emotional fulfillment is what we're seeking.

Saturday, August 18, 2018


From the Druidcraft Tarot, The Lady (Empress); from the Druid Plant Oracle, the 'Celtic bean:'
          This Empress isn't daydreaming, she's giving her full attention to something, perhaps a scent on the breeze or the stirring of the babe in her womb. She is the Great Mother, embodying the beauty and abundance of the natural world. She knows that what she creates must be nurtured with loving attention for it to mature. The Celtic Bean (aka 'broad bean') has been grown for thousands of years in various parts of the world. It is a protein-rich food and thus was valued particularly among poorer populations as a substitute for meat. This bean is a legume that fixes nitrogen in the soil, so it nourished the land as well. The two cards are a reminder that creating takes lots of time and energy, and we must not forget to replenish and nourish ourselves. As the 12 Step acronym HALT suggests, don't get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired. Our creative spirits and bodies need attention too.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Staying Grounded

From the Druidcraft Tarot, the Queen of Cups; from the Druid Animal Oracle, the 'Hare:'
           The Queen of Cups is known for her compassion and her intuition. The companion book states "she does not depend on outside validation for her purpose in life." While she might develop deep relationships, she doesn't become emotionally fused with folks, losing her own integrity. One foot may be in the water, but the other stays firmly on the land. Harmony might be important to her, but she won't 'go along to get along.' She maintains her individuality alongside her compassion, using intuition and mindfulness to stay connected to what is at her core. The Hare, associated with the Spring Equinox, represents rebirth and new beginnings. It is a reminder that emotions are impermanent; they may come back, but they will always go again. The drama that seems important and all-consuming today won't be a blip in our awareness a week or month from now. Take a lesson from the Queen, and keep one foot grounded.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Working Compass

From the Druidcraft Tarot, the Eight of Cups; from the Druid Plant Oracle, 'Juniper:'
          One meaning for this card is searching for a higher purpose. We did an exercise in our book club a few weeks ago where we mapped (and explained) our spiritual journey so far. I was surprised to find that once I started questioning childhood beliefs, I spent many years as a firm disbeliever who simply avoided anything or anyone that did. Eventually, I did stretch out some tendrils to investigate other frameworks and philosophies, but I now realize most of that effort was primarily about spiritual materialism - what makes my ego feel good - than any spiritual work. I've since put down roots in Buddhism, and part of what I find useful is the 5 Precepts as a way to navigate my day. I have encouraged a few friends to come up with their own spiritual precepts (daily intentions) based on their personal core values. Juniper is associated with clearing away, and the booklet gives the phrase: "Before you can welcome something new, you need to say goodbye to something that needs release." I couldn't stop wandering without direction until I let go of the resentments I had toward my childhood religion. Then I could employ a compass that actually pointed me toward something.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Tribes and Clans

From the Druidcraft Tarot, the Ten of Cups; from the Druid Animal Tarot, the 'Adder:'
          People engaged in healthy, close relationships change each other. We smooth the rough, jagged edges from each other's personalities, wrap those that fear or grieve in quilts of comfort, and patiently cool fiery tempers. We gently push each other to be a better person and tell the truth when the other can't be objective. It takes a lot of work, but in return, we find the promise of emotional fulfillment. The Adders reinforce this idea with the keyword of transformation (from the way they shed their skins). Yet there is caution with this card - change can be in the direction of good or bad. Family and friends can have a healing or corrosive influence, depending on the motives behind the relationship. Look for those whose actions turn on the hub of kindness and love; these are the relationships worth nurturing and sustaining.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Reaching for the Sun

From the Druidcraft Tarot, the Ace of Wands; from the Druid Plant Oracle, 'Heather:'
 Creativity can be seen as a state of natural flow... When you know how to tap fully into this open, creative flow, its beneficial qualities can extend to any area of your life.
~ Geshe Tenzin Wangyal

          This Ace is full of symbology: the birch tree for new beginnings, the stag for the element of fire, and the sun for burning enthusiasm and energy. The hard part is not in receiving the inspiration, but in putting it in action. The companion book speaks of initiative: "taking responsibility for an idea and putting it into practice, with optimism and a firm belief in its successful outcome." Rinpoche Wangyal (from the quote above) offers three suggestions for doing so:
  • Clear your inner obstacles - work on the blocks that are within (a negative self-image).
  • Open to your potential - cultivate an awareness of spaciousness and unlimited possibilities (mediation can help).
  • Nurture a sense of warmth - warmth is the place from which love, compassion, and kindness arise (make it a habit to consciously look for small joys).
Heather is a plant that can grow just about anywhere that has sun. Bees love it and often use it for making honey. This plant is a good reminder to celebrate what is rather than whine or be resentful about what isn't. Taking in that kind of mental sunshine will give us something worthwhile to work with and celebrate.

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Lay of the Land

From the Druidcraft Tarot, the Prince (Knight) of Pentacles; from the Druid Animal Oracle, the 'Cow:'
          The Prince/Knight of Pentacles is dependable, practical and steady. Some might think of him as lacking in ambition, but he actually just knows how to be patient, plan, and work realistically toward his goal. He might not be as adventurous (or impulsive) as his knight cousins, but if you're looking for someone to do you a solid, he's your man because he'll remember the promise and follow through on it. Worthington chose to illustrate the Cow with a breed from Scotland - a Highland cow. Bred to endure the harsh Scottish environment, they have an outer layer of long, oily hair that sheds precipitation and a downy, inner layer that insulates them against the cold. Their horns make excellent tools for digging under snow and ice to find plants to eat. It is well suited for where it was raised, suggesting that being aware of the requirements for a particular environment is important. Even a great plan won't succeed if it doesn't consider the setting and atmosphere in which it is taking place. Know the lay of the land before beginning.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The World of Thought

This week I'll be using three decks, all created by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm and illustrated by Will Worthington. The Druidcraft Tarot and the Druid Plant Oracle were published by Connections; the Druid Animal Oracle was published by St. Martin's Press. I've combined the two oracles and will be using them as one deck. Today's draws are the Eight of Swords and 'Mistletoe:'
Most of us have unknowingly lived our lives wrapped up in the contents of our own thoughts, operating within the details of our beliefs, theories, opinions, fears, and judgments. We have lived in this world of thought without realizing that we are the ones who have accepted and continue to give life to these thoughts in the first place. The moment that we realize that we are living in a world of thought that is our own creation, we are on the road to easier, more satisfying lives.
~ Sanity, Insanity and Common Sense 

          It can at first seem impossible when we are told that we don't have to believe everything we think, that in fact, not everything we think is even true. Causes and conditions have shaped us; our memories of past experiences color what we notice now. Reality can actually be very different from the way we perceive it. Once we grasp this understanding, we can take off the bindings and blindfolds that make us feel trapped. The Mistletoe was a plant used in Druid ceremony during the Winter Solstice and thus has come to represent healing and a return to clarity. Both cards remind me to consider if my discernment has been clouded and open myself to the idea that perhaps the beliefs I hold are not grounded in fact.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Forget the Thunderclaps

From the New Era Elements Tarot, the Seven of Air (Swords); from the Tao Oracle, 'Awakening:'
          Common cuckoos are brood parasites; they lay their eggs in the nests of other birds. Here, a reed warbler feeds a juvenile cuckoo. Because the warbler has not seen through the deception, it will raise another bird's offspring. It is simple to focus the blame on another for falsifying the truth, but in some cases, we may need to take responsibility for being misled. If we are caught up in our own desires for things to be a certain way, others will find it easy to create an illusion to fit. Other times, we may be dully trudging through life without paying attention. The Awakening card (hexagram 19) suggests we alternately slow down from our busyness or wake up from our apathy in order to be alert to what is happening around us. As Martin Dempsey cautions, "Sometimes we wait for thunderclaps, drumrolls, and clarion calls to alert us to what's important when, actually, it's most often the subtle and persistent signals around us that make the most difference."

Friday, August 10, 2018

Work Clothes

From the New Era Elements Tarot, the Father of Earth (King of Pentacles); from the Tao Oracle, 'Conflict:'
          Instead of a crown, this King wears a cap, and his cloak has been exchanged for work clothes. He could be the illustration for a Thomas Edison quote: "Most people don't recognize opportunity when it comes, because it's usually dressed in overalls and looks a lot like work." Young people often have visions of making big money by doing something that seems exciting, like being a rap star or an NFL quarterback. This man would tell them to work on finding their own talents and develop them, no matter what they might be. Just because a person isn't in the limelight doesn't mean he or she isn't successful. The Conflict card (hexagram 6) shows a clash of wills that can range from stubborn competitiveness to aggressive hostility. Padma suggests looking for the root of strife within ourselves before pointing any fingers. Both these cards seem to imply advice that is asked for and given yet is not received with open arms. The Father of Earth would probably laugh and say that there's no reason to get angry about it - time will tell the tale.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Lead Soles

From the New Era Elements Tarot, the Six of Fire (Wands); from the Tao Oracle, 'Biting Through:'
          Another runner shows up today, this one winning a marathon. I can't imagine the daily challenges of training this young woman endured to make her body capable of such a long run. But that's the point of the Six of Fire; it isn't one mountain we have to climb over, but a mountain range. The trick in being persistent is to do it one day at a time, focusing only on the hill that's right in front of us. The Biting Through card (hexagram 21) deals with both obstacles and discernment. It is tempting to blame other people or life in general for any difficult situations we must deal with on our daily climb. But the Tao assures us that the root of suffering grows directly from the bottom of our own feet. To bite through the root, we must realize how our thinking is sabotaging our efforts. As the Buddha explains, "Attachment is the root of suffering." We need to figure out what expectations and assumptions have poured lead in our running shoes.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Mostly a Superstition

From the New Era Elements Tarot, the Four of Earth; from the Tao Oracle, 'Completion:'
          The buttress roots of several bayan figs - Ficus macrophylla - anchor themselves to the ground. These large, wide roots are usually found in nutrient-poor, rainforest soils and so do not penetrate the ground deeply. Buttresses keep the tree from falling over and enable it to cover a wider area to get the nutrients it needs. The Completion card (hexagram 63) shows a runner crossing the finish line. Yet it cautions that commitment will be needed to reach our goal, even though it is in sight. Our energy needs to be applied consistently without slacking off or getting carried away by our enthusiasm. Like the branches that keep pace with the tree's roots, our ideas and dreams move forward at a natural pace with our effort. However, we do ourselves a disservice if we feel we've reached a place of protected security. Those moments of joy should definitely be embraced. But know its impermanence, as Helen Keller alludes to: "Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it."

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Taking the Extended Hand

From the New Era Elements Tarot, the Six of Earth (Pentacles); from the Tao Oracle, 'The Taming Power of the Small:'
          Look closely and you'll see these climbers are connected to each other by a rope system. Shannon Davis of Climbing magazine writes, "A team of more than two has greater stopping power (weight) during a crevasse fall—a major concern on early-season climbs and when the snow is soft." A crevasse (a deep crack in ice or a glacier often hidden by snow) is a great analogy for those times in life when we unexpectedly meet health or financial setbacks. Yet having a rope system - people willing to share their resources with us - can offset the problem and allow us to get back on our feet. A crisis is overcome through a group effort, not because we pulled ourselves up. The Taming Power of the Small (hexagram 9) refers to times when we have little control or influence over our circumstances. The result is often that we struggle uselessly, attempting to "push the river." Like the spider who must endlessly repair her web, Padma encourages us to relax about situations we can't control and be alert for opportunities that will be of benefit. No sane climber in distress would tell his team, "I got this. I don't need your help." When opportunity reaches out, it would be wise to take its hand gratefully.