Samhain 2021 – A New Year

This is something I’ve been putting off for a while now. Partly because I’m a fairly private person and don’t like exposing parts of myself to the general public but somehow this felt important to address here. On April 8th I lost my husband of 35 years. He died of a massive heart attack and went the way he would have wanted to go quickly and probably painlessly. And while I’m happy that he didn’t suffer, I’m also angry that he left me. I realize that to some degree this was out of his hands but I’m convinced that his smoking along with stress contributed to this. Maybe if he had stopped smoking a few years back it wouldn’t have gone this way. I’m trying to adapt to this new status in my life. For the first time in 38 years I am not part of John and Debbie; I’m just Debbie, and I’m not sure how to be just Debbie anymore. So I’m learning.

I’ve been very lucky to have supportive friends and families helping me with this and I’ve been doing a lot of Tarot work. In fact I think the only reason I might avoid grief counseling is because of the Tarot. It’s reminded me that one gift from my husband that I need to carry forward is a belief in myself. He was always my biggest supporter and convinced that I could do anything if I focused on it. So now I need to focus on being a solo individual. It is both an exhilarating and terrifying concept.

In honor of Samhain I decided to do the Fruits of Wisdom spread from Christine Jette’s Tarot for All Seasons. I used the Trick or Treat Tarot and pulled the following cards:

Fruits of Wisdom Spread using Trick or Treat Tarot

Death reverse carries a fairly simple to understand message for me right now – I’m still processing my John’s death and it’s ramifications. I’ve accepted and continue processing his loss but what is more challenging to get a handle on is who I am in the wake of his death. I think that’s where the Ace of Wands comes into play. It’s reminding me that no matter how much I sometimes feel the desire to join John, the reality is that I’m not the tight to just lie down and die. It’s not who I am and it’s not what John would want me to do. The Fool reversed is pointing out that I need to release and let go of the pattern of stasis I’ve been in lately. I lost my faith in myself and it’s paralyzing me so it’s time to let it go; time to make those leaps of faith and believe things will work out; to explore the uncharted territory that is Debbie Alone. I need to protect and nurture all the skills I’ve acquired up to this point, embrace the lessons John taught and the knowledge I gained simply by watching and listening to him. The Knight of Pentacles has always been the court card I most associate with John. Showing up reversed here reinforces that while he might be gone from the physical realm he’s still alive in my heart and soul. The Page of Cups reminds me that at the end of the day I need to look within myself and reconnect with things that gave ME joy and make ME happy. For 38 years I’ve taken into consideration what kinds of things John liked to do and where my interests and his overlapped. He did as well; that’s what being in a relationship should be. Now that John is gone I have an opportunity to explore my interests and my joys. I don’t know where this will take me but I’m cautiously optimistic that it will be an interesting journey.

Unfocused, apathetic and filled with ennui. What the hell is wrong with me? (#Tarot #TarotReading #MuseTarot)

For the past few months I have been at loose ends. I can’t focus; haven’t been able to even start a new book; don’t even feel like changing out of my pajamas. As a result, I feel like a sloth. So I decided to gain some insight by using Tarot to explore what’s going on with me.

Using the Muse Tarot, I asked:

  • Why am I so unfocused?  Queen of Materials Rx
  • What can change this?  10 of Inspiration
  • What underlying factors impact this?  3 of Voices Rx


  • Looking at the cards helped me realize that isolation and quarantine are negatively impacting me (something I’m sure us not unique right now.  I can’t manifest what I want in my life.  I’ve been forced into a caretaker role which is not innate to my nature and feels as though it’s sucking all my creative energies.  I can’t focus on my needs and care for myself because I have to focus on others, and I rail against this restriction.

    I can change this by taking baby steps; nurturing and tending to one interest, one creative endeavor even when I feel too worn out.  Using the large amphora carried by the woman, I can carefully refill the smaller jars and slowly refuel.  Instead of focusing on what I can’t do right now, explore what I can.

    The reversed 3 of Voices touches on childhood feelings of feeling abandoned and excluded; as though I’ve been ditched in advance.  Growing up I was always an oddball, a misfit and didn’t fit in well with most of my peer group.  I had friends but even they didn’t get me.  Quite often I felt like everyone else spoke in a code I didn’t understand and regularly mocked me (yes, I had issues).  Being isolated and disconnected from friends and family right now triggers a lot of those feelings and made me realize it’s something I might need to work on a bit more.

    I know I’m not alone in these feelings.  In fact, in an odd way it’s reassuring to see other crafters expressing similar feelings or chatting with friends and hearing they’re going through their own moments of isolation and frustration.  It helps me understand that I’m not in this alone, even if it feels that way right now.  The best way for me to handle it is focusing on what I can do and using my creative energies in ways that revive and rejuvenate me.

    Election Effluvia (#HauntedHouseTarot) #Tarot

    So, I actually did this reading on Thursday night, October 1st, and decided to postpone uploading it after Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19. In retrospect, I regret that decision for a variety of reasons. In many ways Trump’s behavior is exactly what we can expect from him based on past behaviors. And, according to what I was taught in psychology classes, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Now on with the show.

    After watching the Trump/Biden debate with the sort of stunned horror one usually reserves for realizing you just witnessed a live human sacrifice and are now splattered with blood, I decided to pull three cards to get an idea of what 4 more years of Trump would look like and what 4 years of a Biden presidency might look. These are the cards I drew.

    The top row (Tower Rx, High Priestess and The Moon) reflects 4 more years of Trump. The bottom row (The Magician Rx, 4 of Pentacles and The Hermit) are for a Biden presidency.

    Believe it or not, I’m focusing on this part of the reading for two reasons:

    1. Existing biases will influence how one interprets these cards. For example, I have never liked Donald Trump. I’ve considered him a pompous, bullying, self-important egomaniac for years. Living in NYC and working at a non-profit for which Trump was a (very uninvolved) board member, I’ve been familiar with his shenanigans for years. Luckily, he wasn’t President of the United States so he was easily ignored or avoided. Watching the debate last Tuesday cemented my opinion so I’m inclined to apply the most negative interpretation to this reading.
    2. The messages aren’t surprising or unexpected. I don’t think there are any big reveals here.

    Quick & dirty interpretation – 4 more years of Trump would mean more business as usual – ignoring standard protocols and courtesies, more secretiveness and hidden agendas. Of course some folks appreciate Trump’s no-holds-barred approach and consider him a refreshing iconoclast who is willing to ruffle feathers in order to stuck it to the elites. You mileage may vary. A Biden presidency would offer 4 years of transparency, no trickery and an “anti-Trump” approach. It would require hard work, conservation and consolidation to rebuild the economy and relations between the US and other nations as well as among ourselves. It would also mean being a voice in the wilderness, perhaps even a return to serving as something of a guiding light to others. Clearly, I’m biased.

    For me, the more interesting part of this reading can be found in the two additional cards I pulled reflecting who these two men really are in their cores. For Trump I drew the Knight of Swords and for Biden The World

    I was blown away by these cards. They felt so “right” to me. The image on the Knight of Swords shows a smirking demon aiming energy at the model house in front of her. I think this reflects Trump’s attitude in general. It seems like it’s all a game to him; a mental exercise. I don’t think he truly dislikes all the people he bullies and insults, nor do I think he likes those with whom he aligns himself. They are a means to an end; players in Trump’s game to move as he will. Consider his response when questioned about his taxes – he simply took advantage of the tax code Biden helped create. He implied that he would be a fool not to do so. There was no consideration of rightness or fairness, simply what he was eligible to do. Of course, he’s no different from any many in this regard.

    The World suggests Biden is a more inclusive person; wanting to invite everyone to the party. Is he perfect? Of course not but he doesn’t seem to feel the same need to project an image of solo ruler. He acknowledges the input of others in his policies and achievements as well as accepting and embracing the need for collaboration and compromise.

    I don’t know what’s going to happen or what the outcome of this election will be, but I think I can comfortably say we won’t be surprised by how either of these men will lead if he wins but only time will tell.

    Rabid Righteousness or Why I Don’t Want to Be Like Ben or Harry #Tarot #HauntedHouseTarot #NightoftheLivingDead

    So, rather strange title but it’s drawn from a rather strange epiphany. The other night I watched the 1990 remake of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it. It’s similar to the original in many ways – same cast of characters, same basic scenario, but it has some clear differences too. The point of this post isn’t to critique or compare the movies, it’s to share an odd revelation I had while watching it.

    Ben and Harry, referred to in the title, are two of the characters hiding in a farmhouse. Ben is black and Harry is white; neither are locals. We know little about their backstories but judging books by covers, I’m guessing Harry is a middle class suburbanite while Ben might come from a more urban area (but I could be completely wrong). Regardless of their origins, both men share a trait – the need to be right and in charge. As I watched their battles for dominance; their inability to compromise and work together to defend themselves from zombies, it hit me that this is what American politics has become.

    Both sides, whether it’s Republican/Democrat or Conservative/Liberal, have gotten to a point where there is no longer any true discussion of issues or compromise. It’s merely the dominant party forcing their will on the other. Everything seems to fall along party lines. Even at the street level, how many of us have stopped talking to or following friends because we disagree with their political views and we can’t discuss it calmly or rationally or simply agree to disagree? In the meantime the zombies are coming and we’ll get annihilated.

    Well, I’ve decided I want to try NOT being part of the problem. I want to listen to others’ opinions even if I disagree with them (as long as they’re not trying to proselytize 🤪). How can I understand where they’re coming from if I don’t listen to what they believe and why. To get some guidance on this I pulled out my handy dandy Haunted House Tarot and asked “How can I be more open to the opinions of others and to compromise?”

    I drew the 4 of Pentacles Rx, The World and the 2 of Pentacles

    The 4 of Pentacles reversed seems to show with voodoo doll holding a pentacle. I think it’s reminding me that I don’t have all the answers and I can’t bend others to my will. I can’t force people to believe the way I believe. So, I need to accept other people’s opinions, viewpoints and perspectives. I don’t have to agree with them, or even listen to them in some cases, but I do need to acknowledge their right to have to have differing opinions from mine. In fact, it’s not my place to grant them that right – the Constitution does that. Maybe if I stop trying to be deaf, dumb and blindly stubborn about it, I can actually engage in a conversation rather than an argument.

    The World holds the key; controls the house. In politics this refers to a very specific form of power. What it reminds me is that even if you hold the keys you still need the support and aid of others to maintain it. The woman stands in the doorway, holding the key – clearly in charge, but visible behind her is a group of people who helped her achieve control of the house. None of us exists in a vacuum; no one is an island. We can’t maintain a house without some help. Maybe it’s time we remembered that.

    The 2 of Pentacles might be my favorite card in this reading. It reminds me there are two sides to a coin and at least two sides to every story. If we only focus on our differences and perceived wrongs, we will never find common ground. Without common ground how can our house maintain integrity? As Abraham Lincoln once stated “a house divided against itself cannot stand”. If we keep going at this rate it feels like we’ll shake apart from the pressure. We’ll become so busy battling for dominance and proving we were right that we lose sight of the zombies, the real problems and threats. I’d like to stop contributing to that trend.

    So, hopefully I can learn from Ben’s and Harry’s mistakes and stop fighting so furiously to be “right” that I lose sight of what is actually important and in the best interests of all involved.

    Finding Clarity in a Hopeless Place (#Tarot #HauntedHouseTarot)

    So, I have been in a funk lately. My head is screwed on wrong; I’m stressed, frustrated and discontented. The world seems headed to Hell in a handbasket and focusing on coloring or reading Tarot feels self-indulgent and shallow to me. At the same time, these are the things helping me maintain my sanity and destress and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    So I decided to pulls some cards for clarification. I used the Haunted House Tarot by Sasha Graham and asked: What can help me deal with the current situation and my mental state?

    1. What’s at the roof of my mental state? Knight of Cups Rx
    2. What will help improve it? Knight of Pentacles Rx
    3. What will help me fight off future incidents? Strength Rx

    The discontent and dissatisfaction stems from feeling disconnected from divine inspiration; being blocked from achieving my personal grail quest.

    The way for me to improve it is to actually manifest things and not get stuck wishing and dreaming. This is the time to move to the next level; move beyond learning into applying what’s been learned.

    Preventing future incidences is as simple and as complex as accepting that I have the strength to overcome obstacles; that I didn’t need the feather because I had the ability to fly all the time. I also have to be strong enough to face myself in the mirror and be honest about how I sabotage myself. Sometimes I equate fortitude and inner strength with being stoic and long suffering, a habit I need to break.

    So the key focus for me is to explore what brings me joy; quest after my personal grail and accept that things are screwed up right now and there is only so much I can do about it. I also need to prioritize caring for myself. Otherwise I’ll crack up and be if use to no one, especially myself.

    How can America heal it’s spirit? 4 of Wands Rx, The Hermit Rx & 7 of Pentacles (#MoonGarden #Tarot #TarotReading)

    I’m reading Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth by Robert Johnson and he discusses what can happen when we loose our connection to spirit. He wrote “If we don’t go to the spirit, the spirit comes to us as neurosis.” This made me wonder if that explains some of the craziness going on in America – we’ve become disconnected from our spirit.

    In this scenario, I don’t believe spirit equates to religion ( because, quite frankly, I believe most organized religions are just as disconnected from spirit). Instead, I believe it refers to that part of our nature that connects in a caring, symbiotic way with the world around us. It’s that instinct we feel to provide aid and succor when we see people struggling or in need. It’s that inner voice that encourages us to do good; to make the world a better place. That generous, caring side more concerned with ensuring others are treated fairly than with profits and economic theory.

    I have to wonder if capitalism and the push towards a global economy has undermined these traits and reinforced our greedy, gluttonous nature. We seem more focused on want and fear of scarcity without understanding that much of this is artificially created, like planned obsolescence. We focus more on squandering our money on ridiculous frivolities like dog weddings rather than putting our resources to use helping those less fortunate. We convince ourselves that impoverished people are in that situation because they didn’t try hard enough rather than understanding that the deck was stacked against them from the start.

    We accept the theory that “job creators” will trickle down prosperity on the masses as long as the government doesn’t try to restrict them but ignore the reality that once they’ve been given an inch these corporations take the mile. We accept the claims that many things are manufactured in China because it’s more cost effective but ignore China’s history of human & civil right violations and the oppressive nature of it’s policies. We ignore that US corporations that set up shop overseas often create sweatshops so we can buy more affordable gadgets. How do these behaviors reflect a country that claims to represent democracy, freedom and equality?

    So, I decided to ask my guides his we can heal this disconnect from America’s spirit. I drew

    My take (and naturally your mileage may vary) is that we’ve divorced ourselves from our spirit. The reversed 4 of Wands shows our success was based on a belief in ourselves married with the desire to work hard towards that goal. There have always been flaws inherent in the system but I like to think we did strive to be and do better. In the last 40+ years we’ve grown cynical and jaded, taking a more selfish approach. We’ve gone from believing in supporting our communities and helping out neighbors to suspicious isolationists who believe everyone is out for themselves and we should get ours first. It’s all about the money, finding the cheapest price and getting “mine”. I think we lost sight of the true path and let ourselves get seduced by all the shiny things. We view everything as disposable and frugality is a joke.

    The Hermit reversed suggests two things to me. The first is that because we’ve lost our way we’re no longer a light for others; no longer a shining beacon of democracy leading through example. It also reminds us that we cannot and do not exist in isolation. Despite America’s belief in “rugged individualism”, the truth is that it’s almost impossible for industrialized nations to do this on an international level. And, despite my earlier rants about globalization, I don’t think it’s healthy. Perhaps instead of preying on third world nations we should work towards truly improving their social and economic status.

    The 7 of Pentacles offers a possible solution. Perhaps we can use the current situation in the US to take some time and ponder what we’re sowing right now and consider if it’s what we want to continue sowing. Do we wish to truly be a leader in freedom and democracy or become part of the crowd? Are we sowing good will or ill? Are we truly improving the lives of workers in third world nations of are we helping to line the pockets of the ruling class, corporate CEOs, and politicians?

    I realize this oversimplifies many of the issues and factors involved in this situation. I don’t think it’s a magic bullet. What I hope is that anyone reading this will consider how they can make changes in their own lives to reconnect with their spirit. Maybe if enough of us put that energy out in the world it will become a movement that produces permanent change.

    Everybody look what’s going down – Strength Rx, Temperance & King of Pentacles (#Tarot #MoonGarden)

    For What’s It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield

    Today I got this song stuck in my head, especially the line “Stop children, what’s that sound? Everybody look what’s going down.” Considering that much of the news lately makes me scratch my head and wonder if the water has been drugged, maybe this isn’t a surprise. I avoid much of what passes for news because parsing through the chaff to find the wheat is exhausting. When entertainment news about some crap having to do with Disney is given the same weight as a shooting or protest because Disney is the parent company of ABC, it makes my head hurt. When politics is so divisive, partisan and bogged down in rhetoric and spin, it’s difficult to determine fact from opinion. It’s demoralizing.

    So, I decided to ask the Universe for insight. I used my sonic screwdriver aka my Tarot deck for insight and guidance. This is the message my Tarot of a Moon Garden offered:

    This situation is weakening us, undermining our ability to pull together, despite our differences, and achieving our goals. Instead of us taming the beast, it seems to be running amok. If we’re not careful the beast will devour us leaving things in shreds.

    Temperance reminds us that the middle path is the only way through. Moderation and merging opposing sides into a cohesive unit is the best way to rebuild and strengthen our world. There is a unicorn visible on this card and the Strength card. I think it’s a sign of hope & healing. Miracles can happen; healing can occur but we have to do our part too. Instead of focusing on our differences we need to reconnect to our commonalities. Quite a challenge in this climate.

    The King of Pentacles offers two messages to me. One is a reminder that we’re a democracy and don’t need a wannabe king, benevolent or otherwise. The second, and more important, message is that we need to work towards ensuring that people have enough; that they feel secure and settled in their lives. People who feel treated fairly don’t riot. Unfortunately the income inequality has grown worse over the years and more business as usual won’t fix that. I don’t know how to fix that but it seems that with each year it grows worse.

    So, considering this reading I think the most important thing I can do is support issues and movements that reflect my values and beliefs. I may not be able fix the income issue but I can try to donate food to food pantries or find ways to directly help local charities. I can speak out about what I believe (preferably without inciting anything). I hate feeling marginalized and helpless and I’m the only one who can fix that.

    #MessageoftheDay – 4 of Staffs, 8 of Pentacles & 3 of Swords (#MoonGarden # Tarot)

    Today I focused on what will aid me in staying on course with my new journaling goals. I drew:


    To me, this reading is a reminder to keep my creative energies focused and balanced; not to overdo things and run out of steam (a tendency of mine).  I also need to reflect along the way so I can fine tune what I’m doing.  To fully real the benefits I also need to be willing to poke at myself; apply my analytical, rational side to evaluating emotional responses to situations.  To make lasting changes in my life I’ll need to sometimes be harsh, almost cruel, in my honesty because repeating the same patterns defeats the purpose.

    I’m still enthusiastic about this process but this reading reminds me it’s not all fun and games, at least not if I want lasting, impactful change.

    #MessageoftheDay – 10 of Pentacles, Ace of Wands Rx + King of Swords (#FairyLights #Tarot)

    The 10 of Pentacles reminds me being happy & safe at home (well safe at home anyway) is a blessing. I am among those lucky enough to be able to afford to do that. Are there challenges, of course, they are but I am truly thankful that it’s even a possibility.

    The Ace of Wands reversed reminds me of all the blocked, untapped energy floating around out there. I can’t speak for anyone else, but this entire situation is making me feel fried. I can’t focus and it’s an effort to light my fire enough to begin any kind of project. It’s complicated by the fact that on beautiful days I can’t even leave the house. So I try to satisfy myself but simply observing the world around me. I pay attention to the chipmunks & squirrels, the blue jays and cardinals. I’m beginning to see things I never noticed before because I didn’t take the time.

    The King of Swords points out that dealing with this situation from a place of logic and intellect is going to prove more useful and beneficial than freaking out or allowing the frustration to lead to actions that might worsen things. It also encourages me to listen to those with the knowledge and experience to handle these types of scenarios. Despite my paranoid conspiracy theorist tendencies, now is not the time to succumb to speculation.

    #MessageoftheDay – Page of Pentacles Rx, The Emperor + 7 of Wands Rx (#SecretForest Tarot)

    We are learning new things and discovering revelations about ourselves. We can’t engage the world in our usual way, so we are left looking inward. This is our opportunity to dig deep within our psyches and excavate who we truly are; to uncover who we want to be.

    Although it seems like things are falling apart, they’re not. Unrest is being exhibited but overall people are doing their best to maintain the societal status quo; to follow the recommendations provided by authority figures. Things are still stable and orderly, not anarchical.

    Of course we’re all probably suffering from a touch of cabin fever; feeling the need to get outside and go somewhere, anywhere. We’re tired of defending our territory. However, it does feel as though an end is in sight. Things seem to be slowing down but if we cease being vigilant we may endanger this improvement.

    It sucks, we all probably share this sentiment right now. We’re stressed and frustrated but the only way through this is to stay the course. Part of me agrees with protestors and wants to see everything open up again but I have someone else to worry about. For myself, I’d might chance it but I won’t risk exposing him to this virus. I also don’t think it’s fair to expose others to any contagion I might carry. Just because I’m asymptomatic doesn’t mean I’m clear. I may not agree that I’m my brother’s keeper but when it comes to communicable diseases I don’t know if there’s any other way to handle things. We need to balance our needs with those of society; make decisions for the greater good without losing sight of the rights of individuals. Quite a trick.