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

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Minute Changes vs. Collapse

This week I'll be using the Tabula Mundi Tarot (Nox et Lux edition) with its companion book Book M: Liber Mundi; both were self-published by M.M. Meleen. I'll pair with it the Universe Cards, a set created by Kay Stopforth and published by Thorsons. Today's draws are Adjustment (Temperance) and 'Galaxy Collision:'
          "I am the power of equilibration," declares this unusual ice skater. Meleen explains that "Balance is not standing still; it is the constant movement of minute adjustment." It reminds me of the conflict between traditionalists (who want everything to stay the same) and idealists (who pursue noble principles). Because of the constant of change, the traditionalists can't stay stuck, and because the movement of one part can sometimes drastically change the whole, idealists can't find perfection. But the moderates can step in each camp when necessary to keep everything moving without a crash.
          According to Stopforth, galaxies can be so close together that their gravitational pulls can affect both. Over millions of years, the immense forces generated can change their shape; one galaxy may even swallow the other in order to reach a point of equilibrium. Conflict, while uncomfortable, doesn't have to end in disaster if balance and equanimity can be maintained. That which is truly important must not get lost in heat of the conflict.
Whenever you're in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude. 
~William James

Saturday, March 30, 2019


From the Tarot of the Sidhe, Warrior Nine (Nine of Wands); from the Green Man Tree Oracle, Gorse:
I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back
with firm eyes
saying this is where I stand. 
~David Whyte

          The Nine of Wands is generally a test of one's character and requires alertness and tenacity. This fairy is protected by an icy boundary, enveloped in scaly wings and camouflaged by a smoky cloud. It definitely seems to be guarding what it considers precious and important. In the current religious and political climate in which I live, I feel the same way. I want my country to be a land of equality and justice for all, not just a select few who determine the rights of everyone else.
          Gorse is a hardy shrub that brightens the landscape after winter with its sunny, yellow flowers. It is a fire-climax plant, meaning it burns readily but easily regrows after a fire. Gorse seeds are also adapted to germinate after slight scorching. This plant's message is to stay hopeful and remain constant, even through periods of difficulty. Change is coming (though perhaps not on the timetable I would prefer it). I need to keep my values and principles intact through the challenges that will come before it.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Sweet or Salty

From the Tarot of the Sidhe, Maker Six (Six of Pentacles); from the Green Man Tree Oracle, Blackthorn:
 The spirit of generosity
Brings fruitful reciprocity
And mouths need never hunger more
When those with plenty help the poor.
          Western culture has convinced many of us that no matter what we have, it is never enough. You might have a nice car or smartphone, but advertisers insist we won't be happy without the newest car or phone. Our idea of generosity has become twisted as Gelek Rinpoche describes: "If you give away your old, worn-out coat that you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing, that is not generosity. There is no pinch. You are doing nothing to overcome your stinginess; you’re just cleaning out your closet and calling it something else." We've forgotten to practice gratitude for what we have, which is generosity's foundation.
          Blackthorn is well-named due to its blackish bark and dense, stiff, spiny branches. It suggests boundaries and protection, but these can be taken to an extreme when assertiveness turns into aggression. Those of us with material comforts can fall into this trap of aggressive 'protection' when we are asked to be generous, especially if gratitude has been replaced by entitlement or greed. In this case, those thorns that are supposed to protect us end up piercing us instead.
Greed is the salty water consumed by those who thirst for self-centered gratification. This kind of thirst can never be quenched and becomes the source of increasing torment.
—Matthieu Ricard

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Mysterious Brooder

From the Tarot of the Sidhe, the Dancer Prince (Knight of Cups); from the Green Man Tree Oracle, Elder:

The brooding hero of the dance
A poet's spirit of romance
He'll steal the heart that you would keep
And lead you darkly to the deep.

          Carding's Knight of Cups seems mysterious (which may be a big draw to some romantics), yet there is the hint of something else. What is he hiding? Probably that his idea of love is a weekend fling; commitment is not one of his traits. He prefers the fairy tale to real life and the responsibilities it brings.
          The Elder is a small tree with stinky leaves but sweet blossoms. Its purple berries have been used medicinally, as a dye, and for making jams and wine. Elder stems are hollow and have been used for pipes and bellows. Matthews states that "from sacrifice comes restoration." We gain the most when we give unselfishly with no expectation of a return (like the animals that eat elder berries and spread its seeds). This tree would suggest that a real-life relationship would require two people who aren't seeking something from another but looking to give.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Synthesizing Actions

From the Tarot of the Sidhe, the World; from the Green Man Tree Oracle, Holly:
 I am the ceaseless renewing spiral of existence
and the void from which it is born.
~Emily Carding

          One of the keyword's Carding gives for her card is 'synthesis.' Instead of separating and dividing the world into labels of our choosing, we see and understand the full picture. Seeing with that kind of clarity means the ego's prejudices and preferences are taken off the table. As Alice Broadway put it, "Life is about trying to learn the balance, plot our place on the continuum... We're not just made up of good and bad: we're everything else too."
          Holly's wood burns fast and hot; for this reason its message is that we need to temper our passions and channel them into useful actions. Instead of debating whether Democrats or Republicans are better, perhaps we could simply concern ourselves with social justice, peace, and saving the planet. Actions can make more of a difference (even on an individual level) than arguments about who's right and who's wrong.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Replay of Reality

From the Tarot of the Sidhe, Dreamer Nine (Nine of Swords/Air); from the Green Man Tree Oracle, Ash:
          Nearly all of the nightmares I've ever had were rooted in conscious reality. When I've been stressed, anxious or depressed, they've shown up at night. Researchers say that they primarily occur because we are rehearsing the possible threats we might encounter or we are working through upsetting events. Mine tend to appear when I've got my brave face on and try to ignore what I'm feeling. It seems my unconscious isn't happy with that tactic.
          Ash has wood that has high flexibility, shock resistance, and resistance to splitting. Because of these qualities, it is valued for making bows, tool handles, and rackets or sticks used in sports. Its flexibility and shock-resistance reminded me of how I can react when life doesn't correspond to my expectations. As Kristen Neff humorously put it:
Uh, excuse me. There must be some error.
I signed up for the everything-will-go-swimmingly-until-the-day-I-die plan.
Can I speak to the management please?
I would be better off embracing my emotions when challenges and the unexpected come my way. If I can compassionately care for my pain, I won't have to relive it when I sleep.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Die to be Reborn

From the Tarot of the Sidhe, Dreamer Ten (Ten of Swords/Air); from the Green Man Tree Oracle, Yew:
 So all must bleed and melt away,
Before the dawning of the day,
The tree must fall in land forlorn,
The Dream must die to be reborn...

          "But it's not supposed to be this way!" How many times and ways is this idea expressed over and over in life? No matter what is in the subject line, we hold fast to what we think things should look like. There is a line in the lyrics of "One Minute More" that states there's a "place that can only be seen with the naked mind." The 'should be' has to be replaced with a blank canvas that allows for possibilities that we could never have imagined trapped in the other mindset.
          Yew can live up to 600 years of age; it splits under the weight of its growth without succumbing to disease and gives rise to new growth even at an advanced age. Matthews writes: "The perseverance associated with the yew is that of all life, which continues in the face of overwhelming odds and grows stronger because of it." Even when our dreams are shattered, Yew reminds us there are others that will grow and develop if we'll give them new soil in which to grow.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Keys of Contentment

This week I'll be using the Tarot of the Sidhe, created by Emily Carding and published by Schiffer. I'll also be using the Green Man Tree Oracle, created by John Matthews and Will Worthington with Connections as its publisher. Along with this oracle, I'll be adding information from Ogam: Weaving Word Wisdom by Erynn Rowan Laurie. Today's draws are Dancer Six (Six of Cups/Water) and Ivy:
From out of pleasant reverie,
Is born a joyful memory, 
Of innocence and childhood play,
The simpler dance of yesterday...

          Carding's poem for this card suggests fond memories of a contented childhood. While not everyone had such a safe and satisfying time growing up, most of us can remember a few times when we were loved by someone or times when we experienced happiness. When we relive these moments, they can sow gratitude in our hearts - as long as we don't get so wistful that we awfulize the present. The keys of contentment back then are still the same ones that can unlock today's doors: keep it simple, keep an open mind and look for what is good and beautiful in the here and now instead of focusing on what is terrible and ugly. 
          Ivy is a woody, evergreen vine that can be used as a ground cover. But their hairy, adhesive rootlets allow them to climb to heights of fifty feet or more. Planted near a tree, brick wall or trellis, this plant won't waste any time climbing it. Combined with the Six of Cups, these cards suggest we be prudent in what supports us, especially when it comes to the memories we ruminate on.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Herding Cats

From the Tarot of the Cat People, the Chariot; from the Sacred Geometry Oracle, 'Squaring the Circle:'
Herding Cats: an extremely difficult activity because of unpredictable forces at play

          Cats are not herd animals and always have their own agenda. They will never willingly do anything that hints at cooperation if it doesn't fit their preferences. This Chariot driver has his hands full. Likewise, when our emotions and instincts don't line up with our rational thought, the fur will fly when forward movement is forced by one side on the other. But there may be a way to gently coax one side into making some progress.
          'Squaring the Circle' is the attempt to construct, using only a straightedge and compass, a square with an area equal to the area of a given circle. With such simple tools, it can only come close to being done perfectly. Its message is to work toward an accord (which is attainable) but not toward perfection, which is unattainable. As Jennice Vilhauer explains, "Discomfort feels more good than bad, you may feel uncomfortable but you are still really looking forward to where you are going; distress, on the other hand, feels more bad than good - the negative feelings are overwhelming you and you can’t even focus on where you are trying to go."

Thursday, March 21, 2019

In Training

From the Tarot of the Cat People, the Page of Swords; from the Sacred Geometry Oracle, Alternation:
          Notice that the cat's eyes aren't on some threat on the horizon but on the sword the young man is swinging. The booklet calls him a 'novice warrior,' and indeed that is what he is. His biggest problem is that his mouth moves faster than his mind does. He may say something he thinks is witty only to discover others find it cruel or disrespectful. He often tells of conversations overheard instead of considering that what was said should remain private. He desperately needs a Yield sign between his thoughts and actions.
           Greer explains that alternation is a way of using ordinary numbers to deal with numerically inexpressible factors (such as the square root of 2). In geometric design, it is important to be able to approximate these factors in whole numbers. It is a dance of adjustment and restructuring to get to the final form. I imagine it to be like a stud finder that uses a magnet to find nails (and thus studs) hidden behind walls. Greer's words apply to this Page: "patience, persistence and the ability to learn from mistakes are all highlighted here."

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Making and Managing

From the Tarot of the Cat People, the King of Pentacles; from the Sacred Geometry Oracle, the Tetrahedron:
 Making money is hard enough, but managing money is infinitely more difficult. The skills and instincts necessary for one can actually hinder the other. ~J.E. Wilson Advisors

Kuykendall's King of Pentacles has whisker-like protrusions from his crown. In the same way that a cat's whiskers are a well-honed sensory tool, this King has his senses feeling out all parts of his kingdom - what is getting created, what is being sustained, and what is being used. The Tetrahedron is associated with the element of Fire and thus energy. Every fire needs fuel to sustain it, but the wise fire keeper knows that green wood won't burn well and cutting down all the trees will eventually deplete resources if others aren't planted. This King asks us to take a look at how we are managing, using and replacing our physical resources, whether that might be our time, health or finances. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Seeds of a New Problem

From the Tarot of the Cat People, the Devil; from the Sacred Geometry Oracle, the Golden Proportion:
          The cloaked Devil represents the shadowy parts of the mind, the parts that whisper to us when we are exhausted, overwhelmed and under severe stress. But rather than a self-compassionate solution, it offers a short-term, self-indulgent fix. Such indulgence can easily turn into a familiar pattern of behavior that adds to the weight of our suffering rather than reduces it. As Tommy Rosen explained, "The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken."
          The Golden Proportion can be found when we divide a line into two parts so that: the whole length divided by the long part is also equal to the long part divided by the short part. This mathematical ratio (approximately equal to 1.618) is commonly found in nature, and when used in design, it fosters organic and natural looking compositions that are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The spiral of seeds in the head of a sunflower, the curves of a nautilus shell, and the lengths of the bones in our fingers are based on this ratio. The message of this card is "do the right thing at the right time in the right situation" in order to restore harmony. In the long haul, a walk in nature beats a pill or an unnecessary order from Amazon. As Wayne Muller reminds us, "In the soil of the quick fix is the seed of a new problem, because our quiet wisdom is unavailable."

Monday, March 18, 2019

Redrawing the Shape of Things

From the Tarot of the Cat People, Rejuvenation (Judgment); from the Sacred Geometry Oracle, the Point:
A woman breaks free from a cocoon while her cat begins its ninth life. We all have traumas, trials, and challenges that burn away everything extraneous; our life seems to become a crucible to refine what is important and beneficial. Such an experience can radically change our views and attitude, as Rabbi Harold Kushner explains: "We may not ever understand why we suffer or be able to control the forces that cause our suffering, but we can have a lot to say about what the suffering does to us, and what sort of people we become because of it. Pain makes some people bitter and envious. It makes others sensitive and compassionate." Here is where we begin again (the Point); we have the power to draw what our lives will look like. We choose the shape of our lives will take, not outwardly but inwardly. 

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Cuddling and Communicating

This week I'll be using the Tarot of the Cat People, created by Karen Kuykendall and published by U.S. Games. I'll also be drawing from the Sacred Geometry Oracle, a deck and book set created by John Michael Greer and published by Llewellyn. Today's cards are the Lovers and the Dodecagram:
These two lovers are wrapped together in a warm covering; it is a symbol for what holds them together even as they are independent of each other. The Lovers are associated with Gemini (Twins), an Air sign. While passion might bring them together, it is not enough to make them stay that way. They need communication - intellectual foreplay and dynamic dialogue. The meeting of the minds is the comforting blanket that makes their relationship a fulfilling one. The Dodecagram is a twelve-pointed star that can be said to represent the twelve astrology signs. It suggests that things are approaching completion and wholeness. On a personal note, my husband and I have been tag-teaming as we support my daughter who is dealing with a kidney stone. It is hard to sit with the excruciating pain of someone you love while being powerless to fix it. My husband and I will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary on the 19th, and this is one of the many challenges we have faced over the years. I'm grateful for the cuddling and the communicating.

Saturday, March 16, 2019


From the Vision Quest, Justice; from the Bird Cards, the Finch:
Thoth-based decks refer to Justice as Adjustment; it emphasizes the need for assessment and then, based on what was found, action. It involves focusing on our actions and attitudes rather than blaming others. We shape our present and future based on our current actions and thoughts. We might not be able to control other people or situations, but we can choose how we react or respond. There is never one finch at a feeder; they move in groups (or during the nesting season in pairs). Finch reminds us that we are a precious part of the greater whole. What we do or fail to do can have ramifications that ripple out to other precious parts of the whole. Perhaps the adjustment needed is to catch ourselves in self-orbit, realize our effect on that whole, and then change our focus.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Wise Waiting

From the Vision Quest Tarot, the Two of Air (Swords); from the Bird Cards, the Owl:
For this Thoth-based deck, the Two of Swords is the beginning of analysis. But to do this skillfully, we need to get beyond the emotional tides that pull us back and forth and keep us from making a decision. Once we get some perspective, we'll be able to make a choice and act on it, which will bring us some peace. Owl, a symbol of wisdom, stands over an egg, suggesting that we give ourselves some time to let logic and reasoning incubate. The light we seek will come, just as the crescent moon (in the tarot card) will grow into a full moon (the oracle card). Waiting can feel uncomfortable, but it will give us a chance to see a clearer picture of the situation.
When people will not weed their own minds, they are apt to be overrun by nettles.
~Horace Walpole

Thursday, March 14, 2019

No Diplomas

From the Vision Quest Tarot, the Big Medicine Wheel (the World); from the Bird Cards, the Parrot:
In the World card, the Fool becomes the Mystic; the wisdom of experience and competency replace naivety and inexperience, yet the capacity for awe and wonder remain. This competency is not simply about a certain skill, but being able to move through life with equanimity and openness. The snake in the center of this Medicine Wheel alludes to the ever-changing nature of the physical world, yet interconnection remains. The Fool/Mystic recognizes this interplay of causes and conditions, how they shape us, and how they make us interdependent. He or she would agree with the words of Carl Sagan, "If we are to survive, our loyalties must be broadened ... to include the whole human community, the entire planet Earth." Parrot is a noisy bird, and thus its meaning is to pay attention and sharpen our focus. It's easy to be filled with new knowledge and understanding and think we've now gotten our Diploma of Life. Parrot's squawk reminds us that there is always more to learn.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

New Moves

From the Vision Quest Tarot, Integration (Temperance); from the Bird Cards, the Penguin:
But when you open to the whole of your experience, you have more information and can make better decisions. You perceive more fully, seeing the big picture, putting things in perspective. 
—Rick Hanson 
There have been times in my early life when I lived in survival mode. It became necessary to wall off other parts of my life in order to deal with pressing matters. Unfortunately, when I'm under stress and tired, it's easy to slip back into this old habit. I segregate and bury certain emotions so I can keep marching forward. But as Hanson explains, I lose my perspective when this becomes an ongoing behavior. The Integration/Temperance card shows a woman weaving threads that come together to create a tapestry - the big picture that represents the whole of life. The Penguin is a flightless bird that moves in a waddle on land but is agile elegance in the water. Its message is to use my unique skills and abilities (rather than attempt to replicate what others do) to navigate my life. Trying to use the same guidelines of another will only keep me repeating old patterns. Time to try out some new moves. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Letter or Spirit

From the Vision Quest Tarot, Grand Father (Emperor); from the Bird Cards, Wagtail:
What is the difference between a dictator-like Emperor and one who protects and nurtures? The first follows the letter of the law (obeying the literal interpretation) while the other follows the spirit of the law (acts in accordance with the intention of the law and its spiritual principles). It's like the biblical explanation of a sheep being in a ditch on the Sabbath; a good person would work to get the sheep out (even though legally it is a day of rest) because it's the right and kind thing to do. The Wagtail card illuminates how an Emperor can keep from getting caught up in his own importance. Motacilla sp. has a habit of bobbing its tail, much like a happy child bounces on his or her toes. It thus represents being able to see joy and grace in any circumstance, instead of falling into the rigidity of seeing everything as good or bad.
 The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
~ William Shakespeare, from "The Merchant of Venice" 

Monday, March 11, 2019

Soil and Harvest

From the Vision Quest Tarot, the Medicine Woman (High Priestess); from the Bird Cards, the Cuckoo:
In Buddhism, there is what is known as Threefold Training - training in morals/ethics, concentration, and intuitive insight. We must behave in a way that does not harm ourselves or others and learn concentration through meditation. These two prepare us for intuitive insight, which is not rational thinking (relying on our own ideas). The Buddha once said that when the mind is concentrated, it is in a position to see all things as they really are (intuitive insight). In other words, we see past our attachments and aversions to what is true; once past the ego's desires, we see other options and answers. The Cuckoo card represents the beginning of a new cycle, just as the cuckoo's song heralds Spring. It's wonderful to have access to intuitive insight, but it must be used if it is to be useful.

What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action.
~Meister Eckhart

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Collapse and Renewal

This week I'll be using the Vision Quest Tarot, a deck created by Gayle Silvie Winter and Jo Dose (Illustrator); it was published by AGM Müller. I'll also be using Bird Cards, a deck and book set by Jane Toerien (Author) and Joyce van Dobben (Illustrator); it was published by Altamira-Becht. Today's draws are the Seven of Air (Swords) and the Phoenix:
The Seven of Air's keyword is 'futility' and illustrates this with a broken spearhead. What is it that we keep doing over and over, thinking this time the result will be different? We all have familiar behavior patterns that we tend to fall into when we are stressed or exhausted. It just seems easier to do what we know. Yet it is futile to repeat behavior (no matter how comfortable) that won't help us solve anything. The Phoenix is a mythical bird that suggests the collapse of the old so the new can arise. If we can let go of our attachment to how things are usually done, we may discover a new perspective and a solution.
The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings. —Kakuzō Okakura

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Old Dogs, New Tricks

From the Stone Tarot, the Ten of Swords; from the Buddhist Quote Cards, Dhammapada 3:42 :
Even some stoked fires fail.
~ Alison Stone

After defiantly and stubbornly insisting that "There is no better way than my way," we hit rock bottom. No eloquent words or intellectual maneuvers can get us out of the hole we've dug for ourselves. The beauty of this card is that we ask, "What now?" And that openness means we may be willing to listen to ideas other than our own. The Dhammapada quote reads:
Whatever an enemy may do to an enemy,
or haters, one to another,
far worse is the harm from one's own wrongly directed mind.
The verse suggests that our own mind can be our own worst enemy, especially when we don't question our thoughts or investigate to see if they match reality. The good news is that modern research has found that adult brains have the ability to change - they have neuroplasticity. In the words of Dr. Daniel Siegel, "the simple truth is that how we focus our attention, how we intentionally direct the flow of energy and information through our neural circuits, can directly alter the brain's activity and its structure." It appears old dogs can learn new tricks.  

Friday, March 8, 2019

The Foremost Happiness

From the Stone Tarot, the Five of Cups; from the Buddhist Quote Cards, Dhammapada 15:204 :
Though we might be enjoying a lovely day, let five minutes of inconvenience or irritation intrude, and that five minutes is likely where our focus will be aimed for the rest of the day. Just as the full upright cups are in the shadows and the spilled cups are up front and evident, so we humans have a tendency to fixate on what's wrong or unpleasant in life while ignoring what is good and beautiful. This mental track that our mind habitually follows can be changed with mindfulness and patient effort, but it takes a lot of practice. The Dhammapada verse reads:
Health is the foremost possession,
contentment the foremost wealth,
trust the foremost kinship,
and release the foremost happiness.
No one would deny the importance of health, the ability to be content, and trustworthy relationships. But to be truly happy, we must also learn to let go of trying to manipulate reality until it fits our ideas of what it should look like. As the Five of Cups card alludes to, such a delusion will only keep us from seeing what is good and beautiful around us.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

New Guidelines

From the Stone Tarot, the Universe; from the Buddhist Quote Cards, Dhammapada 8:100 :
illusions shatter
like dropped cups.
~ Alison Stone

Stone includes the planets of our solar system in her painting of the Universe. It was a reminder of the stunning discovery that the Earth was not the center of everything, but the Sun. Years later, astronomers would again shake things up when they declared our galaxy was just one of many in the Universe. From a spiritual point of view, this card does the same thing - expanding our minds and hearts in a way that we can no longer perceive things as we did before. The verse from the Dhammapada reads:
Better than a thousand meaningless statements
is one meaningful word, which, 
having been heard, brings peace.
The noise from words seems to never stop, whether from people talking, television or social media. How many of them create fear, stir up anger or cause sadness rather than bringing comfort, healing and encouragement? When the mind and heart open, we can no longer ignore the impact of what we say, post or write. We realize we need to be a part of the solution rather than the problem, which can begin simply with the way we communicate.

As we move through this beautiful and troubled world, may we vow to be a 
beacon of peace, a fearless carrier of respect and lovingkindness for all life, a 
teller of truth, a voice for justice, a protector of those who are vulnerable or 
targeted. May the power of wisdom, integrity and compassion be our guide.
~Jack Kornfield

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

No One Is Coming

From the Stone Tarot, the Eight of Swords; from the Buddhist Quote Cards, Dhammapada 20:276 :
We need not be limited by our stories.
—Mark Epstein 

Last year, I wanted to plant zinnia seeds in three large terra cotta pots. Unfortunately, the army of gray squirrels in my yard will dig up anything I plant in pots. I ended up stretching chicken wire over the tops of the pots with a wire around the rims to hold it in place. The seeds, once planted and watered, grew through the holes of the wire without a problem. The Eight of Swords card is like the wire we think is trapping us. We get caught up in how things are supposed to be or not supposed to be, and we forget to look past our stories. There's a lot of open space there to grow in if we'll see beyond our mental ruminations. The Dhammapada quote reads:
It is up to you to make strong effort;
buddhas merely tell you how.
No matter how many seminars I attend, what teacher I study with, or the number of books I read, nothing changes unless I make the effort to change how I think and act. As Henrik Edberg explained it, "...in the end, if you are an adult then no one is coming. No one is coming to save you. You have to take responsibility for your own life and what happens in it." The first thing I need to change is the stories I tell myself.