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, June 30, 2019

Enjoy the Ride

This week I'll be using the Prairie Tarot, created and self-published by Robin Ator. Paired with it will be the Medicine Cards, a deck and book set published by St. Martin's Press and created by David Carson and Jamie Sams. Today's cards are the Ten of Cups and Rabbit:
          A family admires the view from their new homestead. Home is the place we can breathe deeply, relax and unwind. It gives us a place to recharge and a feeling of belonging. But Rabbit has shown up, a totem associated with fear (as it is a prey animal). I've been watching the months creep up to hurricane season, and there is a tiny bit of anxiety roaming around my mind about what is to come. I don't want my place of refuge to become a prison surrounded by flood waters or damaged by high winds. But I have no control over the weather, and right now things are okay. My focus must be on what is here and now, not consumed about what may happen in the future. I'll keep the insurance paid and acknowledge that today, life is good.
But rather than being disheartened by the ambiguity, the uncertainty of life, what if we accepted it and relaxed into it? What if we said, “Yes, this is the way it is; this is what it means to be human,” and decided to sit down and enjoy the ride? 
 ~Pema Chodron

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Other Options

From the Tarot of the Master, the Page of Wands; from the Paracelsus Oracle, 'Carcer:'
The Wands are a symbol of action, so it's no surprise that this young Page is out in the fields looking for an adventure with his trusty, canine sidekick. He's not content to sit at home, waiting for excitement to find him; he's on the move in search of it. Carcer is literally translated as 'prison' and represents restriction. Due to finances, health issues or obligations, it can often feel as if we are imprisoned and unable to have any adventures of our own. But usually what that means is that we have our minds set on something we can't do at the moment rather than looking around us at other options that are available.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Practical Kindness

From the Tarot of the Master, the Queen of Coins; from the Paracelsus Oracle, 'Puella:'
          The Queen of Pentacles is not much of a collector of 'dust-arounds.' She is practical and believes that if you have it, it should be used. Resources should have a function, in her opinion. Now beauty and comfort might fall under that category, however, as she is definitely not an ascetic. Puella means 'girl' and can refer to a softening of the heart and kindness. The booklet suggests an intervention of sorts, help offered to improve a situation or person's life. The Queen would probably say we should wait to offer help until it is asked for; no need in wasting resources if the person or group isn't interested.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Anticipating Charity

From the Tarot of the Master, the Knight of Coins; from the Paracelsus Oracle, 'Fortuna Major:'
          The Knight of Coins has been given the keyword 'responsibility' because of his dependable nature and hard work ethic. He could teach America a thing or two, as its citizens have become enamored of their rights but conveniently forgotten they come attached to responsibilities. Fortuna Major means 'greater fortune,' and in this particular card, it is associated with good fortune that arrives through aid or philanthropy. These draws seem like illustrations for the writings of the philosopher Maimonides on charity:
the most meritorious of all, is to anticipate charity by preventing poverty, namely, to assist the reduced brother, either by a considerable gift or loan of money, or by teaching him a trade, or by putting him in the way of business, so that he may earn an honest livelihood and not be forced to the dreadful alternative of holding up his hand for charity. . .

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Handing Down the Buck

From the Tarot of the Master, the Seven of Coins; from the Paracelsus Oracle, Laetitia:
          The framed coins remind me of how family businesses often display the first dollar they make. But the Seven of Coins is primarily about taking stock of our resources at the moment. The skull on the wall makes it seem as if this business has passed through several generations. Laetitia literally means 'joy' and indicates a time of harmony and balance. The booklet suggests this may come about through discussion and compromise. Whatever resource is changing hands, it can't hurt to listen to the previous owner's ideas and information. You might learn some helpful hints that keep you from finding things out the hard way.
It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. 
― Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Willing and Doing

From Tarot of the Master, the Five of Wands; from the Paracelsus Oracle, Rubeus:
          This Five of Wands seems like the ceremonial end to a competition, with one winner and four other runners-up. Rubeus (literally 'red') refers to a passionate fierceness, a necessary ingredient for stepping out from the crowd. But this particular Rubeus warns that there is a difference between idealism and practicality, between fantasy and reality. Getting in the winner's circle requires a continuous effort, adaptability and a concrete expression of one's talents. Go for the gold, but don't expect a smooth and easy ride to get there.
Knowing is not enough; we must apply.  Willing is not enough; we must do.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Monday, June 24, 2019


From the Tarot of the Master, the Three of Coins; from the Paracelsus Oracle, 'Popolus/Populus:'
The artist used the faces of Roman Emperors on the coins in this deck. The sword, spear, and shields leaning against the tree explain how these rulers produced goods for the Empire (note the top of the tree has been cut off but there are still acorns on it). And though the rulers changed quite frequently, the Western Empire lasted about 507 years with the first 200 years known as Pax Romana. The bigger the business or the Empire, the harder it is to keep things peaceful and stable. The Populus card means a gathering of people, and the booklet suggests having faith in them. As any employer will tell you, it's hard to find good help these days. If those around you are loyal and honest, consider that a treasure of immense value.
I'll take fifty percent efficiency to get one hundred percent loyalty.
~Samuel Goldwyn

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Arms Wide

This week I'll be using the Tarot of the Master, created by Giovanni Vacchetta and published by Lo Scarabeo. Along with it, I'll be drawing from the Paracelsus Oracle, published by Lo Scarabeo with instructions written by Gina di Roberto. The cards drawn for today are the Queen of Cups and 'Amissio:'
          The Queen of Cups nourishes the heart, and this particular one seems to be planning for a gathering. She reminds me of my mother who is constantly looking for a reason to get together with a group, whether it involves family or new and old friends. She is like the live oak with its arms that sweep low to the ground, gathering in those who could use a sense of belonging, care, and laughter. Amissio literally means loss and suggests transience and learning to let go. The Queen's tenderness and compassion are perhaps needed the most when someone has been gutted by grief. She may enjoy celebrations, but she also knows how to sit with those in pain, giving support with her presence.
A person’s world is only as big as their heart. -Tanya A. Moore

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Consume or Complement

From the PetraK Tarot, the Lovers; from the Astrodice, Pluto/Aquarius/11th House:

         Rather than a relationship where one partner consumes another, Petra makes the suggestion of finding a person that complements us, one who balances out our liabilities with assets. This consume/complement relationship could also apply to groups, where everyone has to rigidly abide by the rules or where everyone brings their individual talents to the table. It's not hard to guess which relationship is the healthiest. The Astrodice roll combines the razing/regenerating qualities of Pluto with the rebellious independence of Aquarius in the House of humanitarianism. Sometimes we must rebuild from the ashes to realize what is at the root of our problems. Pain breaks through our denial and allows us to change. Climbing out of the prison we put ourselves in, we discover something more beneficial. That is when transformation begins.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Patterns of Relating

From the PetraK Tarot, the Ten of Cups; from the Astrodice, Sun/Scorpio/9th House:

          All of these cups seem to be connected; Petra states that they represent "the manifold possibilities we encounter when love is being exchanged." How we relate to others, whether with kindness, apathy or cruelty, does tend to ripple outward. I am reminded of a quote by Leo Buscaglia:
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
The Astrodice present the vitality of the Sun with the emotional intensity of Scorpio in the House of philosophy or spirituality. When we find something that brings us joy and serenity, it is natural that we share it. Even if we don't preach our philosophy from a pulpit or post it on the web, our lives are a testament of all that we believe. Again, Buscaglia's words prompt me to be mindful:
We are the future generation's teachers. We are, therefore, the perpetrators of the confusion and alienation we abhor and which keeps us impotent in finding new alternatives. It is up to us to diligently discover new solutions and learn new patterns of relating, ways more conducive to growth, peace, hope and loving coexistence. Anything that is learned can be unlearned and relearned. In this process called change lies our real hope.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Time Limit

From the PetraK Tarot, the Queen of Wands; from the Astrodice, 'Saturn/Libra/10th House:'
          Petra describes the Queen as holding a wand that represents passing on her knowledge to others. The figure she stands in reminds me of a coin-fed parking meter, like those that keep people from parking in a space for more than a couple of hours. There are many who teach, but few who teach with passion. Like everything else in the physical world, there is a time limit on these teachers who pass on their wisdom with joy and enthusiasm. The last online class I had with Pema Chodron was a stark reminder of the aging process. With the Astrodice roll, the restrictive but responsible Saturn meets the peace-loving Libra in the House of Career and Reputation. Together with the Queen, they seem to suggest that a personality conflict is not rational grounds for avoiding a teacher. Those with whom we find it hardest to get along often have the most to teach us.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Flexibility paired with Tenacity

From the PetraK Tarot, the Nine of Wands; from the Astrodice, 'Saturn/Gemini/3rd House:'
          This painting makes me think of eight burned incense sticks and a ninth one still glowing. Does anything fulfilling come easily without effort? I doubt it. Even folks that appear to be talented in some area have had to hone and refine their skills. This card is a reminder not to let complacency or boredom slip in; progress has been made, but there's still work to do. The Astrodice roll pairs the responsibility and durability of Saturn with the versatility and changeable nature of Gemini in the House of communication and learning. While Saturn and the Nine of Wands suggest we 'keep on keeping on,' Gemini tells us we might have to be flexible and open-minded if we want to get to the goal.
The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings. 
– Kakuzo Okakura

Monday, June 17, 2019

Arguments from the Heart

From the PetraK Tarot, the Five of Wands; from the Astrodice, 'Jupiter/Aquarius/1st House:'
The Five of Wands isn't so much an aggressive fight as it is an assertive argument about why doing things one way is better than others. The posts in this painting and the winding pathway between them remind me of a job interview or (as I just had to do for a submission) a list of questions that must be answered satisfactorily before moving on to the next step. The Astrodice combine the expansiveness of Jupiter with the humanitarian side of Aquarius and puts both of these in the 1st House of Self (what makes us each unique). Trying to bargain with a self-centered viewpoint rarely makes a good impression, but a sincere expression from the heart along with a desire to help others might make a difference.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Keeping the Torch Lit

This week I'll be using the PetraK Tarot, created by Petra Reiter-Köck and published by Piatnik. The oracle I'll be using this week is the AstroDice, created by Wessex Astrologer Ltd. Today's draw and roll are the Ace of Wands and 'Mars/Aries/7th House:'
          Petra states that this Ace represents "the torch of an inexhaustible potential of energies we all carry in us." It reminded me of a shirt I own that reads: "You can't use up creativity." I believe that we all have a river of inspiration flowing in us, but sometimes the pump needs to be primed to get it out. The intricately carved and decorated staff suggests attention and effort must be given to tap that potential, such as the exercises in Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way. In the Astrodice roll, the fiery energy of Mars meets up with the assertiveness of Aries in the House of relationships and cooperation. It implies that having enthusiastic people to encourage us can help keep our torch lit until we gain some traction.
Art is born in attention.
~ Julia Cameron

Saturday, June 15, 2019

It's on the Inside

From the Herbcrafter's Tarot, the Hierophant; from the Green Wheel Oracle, the 'Blood Moon:'
The Hierophant is paired with the cacao tree, whose pods contain the seeds used to make cocoa, cocoa butter, and chocolate. The booklet encourages us to "seek the truth in spiritual teachings," which is akin to the pods of the tree. Sometimes what is spiritually valuable is not what shows on the outside but what is found on the inside. The Blood Moon represents finding balance (or equanimity) in the middle of chaos or drama. Rather than clinging to what we want or resisting what we don't want, we observe with curiosity.  This ability generally requires a mindfulness practice to develop. Learning to watch our thoughts and emotions without judgment can help remove all that inner baggage, allowing us to clearly see what can and can't be changed.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Pursuit and Just Being

From the Herbcrafter's Tarot, the Emperor; from the Green Wheel Oracle, the 'Seal:'
The structure and boundaries of the Emperor are illustrated with Eastern hemlock (not to be confused with the poisonous herb), a tree used in light framework and for wood pulp. Rules are necessary to keep things running smoothly unless we use them without discernment. Then they can easily become punishments for those on a power trip. Seal suggests we take things less seriously and lighten up. A little play can take the creases out of our brow and put a smile on our face.
Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy. 
–Guillaume Apollinaire

Thursday, June 13, 2019

No Place Like Home

From the Herbcrafter's Tarot, the Ten of Water; from the Green Wheel Oracle, 'The Quiet Moon:'
Had to find my own way, make my own mistakes
But you know that I had to go
Ain't no yellow brick road running through Glasgow
But I found one that's stronger than stone
Ain't no place like home, ain't no place like home

Red clover is associated with the Ten of Water, a herb used as a sedative (such as for hot flashes) and also as a plant able to fix nitrogen in the soil for fertilizing purposes. Like the song Buckley sings, this card represents peace and emotional nourishment that we often find in the refuge of those we love or home. The Quiet Moon picks up this thread, describing a time when we need to retreat and let go of the details in favor of the big picture. It's time to recharge the batteries in a place and around people who will let us relax and replenish ourselves.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Words or Deeds

From the Herbcrafter's Tarot, the Adelita (Warrior/Knight) of Air; from the Green Wheel Oracle, the 'Cold Moon:'
          Oregano is associated with this Knight of Air, and though the creators suggest it as an ally for women's cycles, it can't help but make people think of Italian food. It is said that Italian cuisine relies on a few ingredients that are of excellent quality. That's probably a good suggestion for our thoughts and words too. The Cold Moon symbolizes unconditional love and healing that comes during dark times, just as evergreens survive the harshest winters. The words of Fred Roger's mother come to mind, who told him that during scary times he should "Look for the helpers." Rogers, as an adult, stated: "I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world." Sometimes that comfort comes in words, sometimes in deeds.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Sweet Smells

From the Herbcrafter's Tarot, the Curander (Healer)/King of Earth; from the Green Wheel Oracle, 'Raven:'

          The King of Earth braids sweetgrass, an herb that retains its pleasant aroma even when dried and burned in ceremonies or rituals. While it can be used for smudging, it is often burned as an offering. Robin Wall Kimmerer writes, "sweetgrass flourishes when it is harvested and declines when it is not." The King of Earth would agree with her logic, arguing that hoarding our resources is just as bad as using them indiscriminately. We may need to do it judiciously, but we can still be generous. The Raven is a visionary whose ideas are given wings in order to take form. But because it tends to be solitary, the artist has added a few honeybees. Like the King's advisors, we all need someone to help us see the holes in our theories, the details we've missed or the additional props that can help strengthen our project.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Perspective Flip

From the Herbcrafter's Tarot, Strength; from the Green Wheel Oracle, 'Goat:'
          Garlic has been used for centuries as a pungent herb in seasonings, but it is also beneficial for conditions of the heart (such as hypertension) and as a boost to the immune system. The tie-in with Strength's courage and compassion meanings are clear. The creators have added a honeycomb as a suggestion to balance the power of pungency with some sweetness. The Goat is a trickster, asking us to consider the flip side of things. For instance, is that love and tolerance just a cover for passivity that avoids confrontation? Are courage and tenacity really just nice labels for stubbornness and impulsivity? Inner strength requires a truthful look at what motivates and sustains our power source.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Expect Wonders

This week I'll be using the Herbcrafter's Tarot, created through the combined efforts of Joanna Powell Colbert and Latisha Guthrie. The set is published by U.S. Games. Paired with it will be the Green Wheel Oracle, created and self-published by Danielle Barlow. Today's draws are the Adelita (Warrior)/Knight of Fire and 'Imbolc:'
          The herb associated with the Knight of Wands is cayenne, known for its fiery fruit. It has been used in spicy foods and as medicine for the treatment of aches and pains of the muscles and joints. The booklet gives it the slogan "heat erupts, then heals;" anyone who's used a cream with capsaicin (the active ingredient in these peppers) for pain will instantly understand the phrase. This Knight reminds us that while boldness contains some risks, there will also be some payoffs.
          Imbolc is a Gaelic seasonal festival that marks the beginning of Spring. It is said to mean "in the belly" referring to the stirring of seeds underground and the impending births in the animal world. It suggests excitement but also patience, a time to nourish and nurture what has not quite matured. The Knight may be impetuous, but the Maiden knows a little more time and development is needed before bold action can be taken. Get prepared, she tells us, before the real fun and excitement begin.
Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders. ~Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Training and Skill

From the Victoria Regina Tarot, the Ace of Swords; from the Alchemist's Oracle, 'Instincts:'

          Considered from the context of communication, this Ace of Sword makes sense. We can protect someone's reputation or commit character assassination. We can share information that has been validated, or we can speak aloud whatever passes through our mind and be thought an idiot. Like guns, it takes training and skill to wield a tongue. The Hamsa sign is a Middle Eastern symbol of protection. Here, it asks us to rein in the ego and follow our protective instincts. As Bernard Meltzer said, "Before you speak ask yourself if what you are going to say is true, is kind, is necessary, is helpful. If the answer is no, maybe what you are about to say should be left unsaid."

Friday, June 7, 2019

My Best Thinking

From the Victoria Regina Tarot, the Ten of Swords; from the Alchemist's Oracle, 'Healing:'
          The dead man is a reminder of a phrase often heard in 12 Step meetings - "My best thinking got me here." As much as we'd like to imagine that we could be an intellectual island, solving any problem or challenge on our own, that is just not the case. Some of us have to hit a hard bottom to revise this tightly held delusion. Yet the Healing card suggests we do not need to denigrate or indulge ourselves but become receptive in order to open new pathways. Take a few sips of some fresh, unfamiliar viewpoints. Of course, we could continue to insist on doing the same thing over and over while getting the same result. In that case, we might as well stay on the ground as there won't be far to fall.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

A Flavorful Life

From the Victoria Regina Tarot, the Wheel of Fortune; from the Alchemist's Oracle, 'Embrace:'
          In the Tibetan Wheel held by Yama (a symbol of impermanence), there are six mindstates illustrated. These six are how we interact with the world, particularly our relationship to pain and pleasure:
1) God Realm - only bliss here, but it's hard to enjoy because they worry about losing it.
2) Jealous Gods Realm - the minor gods have it good, but they can't really enjoy it because they keep comparing themselves to the major gods.
3) Human Realm - even though there are a variety of experiences here (many which are good), they tend to lose sight of the big picture as they trudge through day to day living.
4) Animal Realm - focused on 'tried and true' methods, this mindset is a life of dullness that never looks beyond avoiding pain or any threat to security.
5) Hungry Ghost Realm - this mental state is a voracious craving without ever finding satisfaction.
6) Hell Realm - those unable to escape the emotional torment of animosity have entered the Hell Realm (one of the hardest realms from which to emerge). Frustration and anger might be expressed in an explosive manner or cloaked in passive-aggression. If turned inward, it leads to self-loathing and depression.
          What is interesting about the Tibetan Wheel is a lack of satisfaction whether one is at the top or bottom. The Embrace card suggests we make our outlook larger, including what we like and what we don't rather than desperately grasping at one and pushing away the other. Perhaps we could accept Eleanor Roosevelt's viewpoint: “If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor.”

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Spinning Wheels

From the Victoria Regina Tarot, the Six of Wands; from the Alchemist's Oracle, 'Chakra Love:'
          Overnall explains that the original illustration from which this card was made shows the Prince of Wales, Victoria's oldest son, leading a parade after a successful trip to India. Parades allowed the British to have a public expression of private emotions; citizens could symbolically thank each soldier. However, Edward would soon learn how fleeting victory laps might be. Though he had public approval, his reputation as a playboy would ruin his relationship with his mother. The thing about being in the public eye is that all parts of one's life suddenly become open for perusal.
          Chakras are considered spinning wheels of energy in the subtle body that affect us physically, mentally and emotionally if they are out of balance (spinning too fast or sluggishly). They are reminders of how easily we can get caught up in one area of life and ignore others. Just because something is fun doesn't mean it's a good idea to keep doing it, just as something that's not always pleasant is not always a good thing to skip. Edward's mom might have had a few thoughts on that.