Mary Magdalene’s Truth (#WizardsTarot)

Today, while watching a show about the “lost history” of Mary Magdalene I was struck by a thought – who was she?  What was her true relationship to the man called Jesus?   I decided to ask Tarot what the truth was about her. Using the Wizards Tarot, I asked the following questions:

Who was Mary Magdalene? Knight of Cups
What was her relationship to Jesus? 6 of Swords
What was her mission, her purpose? 8 of Cups

Okay, my take. Immediately upon seeing the Knight of Cups, I was struck by the thought of “the Grail knight”. Mary Magdalene was the seeker of the heart’s truth; the one who pursued the heart’s knowledge. Perhaps she was even the protector of Jesus’ heart.

Her relationship with Jesus was one of equals both on a journey to bring new ideas and new ways of believing to others. They’re aware of the danger but are willing to take the risk because they believe it is important. They confront challenges head-on. Their partnership is one of like minds that will raise us to a new level.  It may have eventually become a more intimate relationship but in the beginning, it would seem to be a relationship of people who shared a passion for ideas and a similar mindset.

Eventually, Mary Magdalene will need to leave behind all she loves, all that brought joy to her life, in order to pursue her life’s purpose. She will need to endure the rest of her journey alone to accomplish her mission.

Taking this reading in light of many of the legends and mythos of Mary Magdalene there are a few interesting connections. Mary Magdalene is intricately woven into the mythos of the Holy Grail. In many theories she either took the chalice (the San Greal) to a secret location in the south of France; in others, she is carrying the bloodline of Jesus (the sang real). There are also apocryphal stories of the other disciples questioning why Jesus loved Mary more than them. They seemed envious and threatened by her status in Jesus’ life and ministry.

So who was Mary Magdalene?  The reality is that we may never know the “truth” in an objective, verifiable manner.  However, I think this reading shows that in an emotional and spiritual sense Mary Magdalene was Jesus’ equal partner; the one who carried on his true work and teachings. She kept the heart of Jesus’ message alive and moving forward.

The Menendez Brothers – what motivated them to kill their parents?

 

Like a lot of folks my age, I remember the media frenzy that was the Menendez brothers’ trial. I remember how the media swarmed when it was revealed that police suspected the brothers killed their parents motivated by greed and selfishness. I remember how I snickered along with most reporters, pundits, and comedians when the brothers’ claims of abuse were revealed. I remember watching as the Menendez brothers’ tears and breakdowns on the witness stand were mocked and mimicked *ad nauseum*. It became impossible to separate out the facts of the case from the media circus and mockery that surrounded it. Few people had any sympathy for these two privileged, rich boys who slaughtered their parents because they wanted money and freedom. The brothers were convicted. The media would periodically revisit the case near an anniversary and if there was a slow news day but that was it. Another media circus would pull into town to draw their attention and feed our relentless need for distraction and amusement.

The Menendez murders recently came back into mainstream attention due to the ABC documentary *”Truth and Lies: The Menendez Brothers — American Sons, American Murderers”*. While re-watching the media footage of Lyle Menendez on the stand as he broke down while admitting that not only had he been molested by their father but that he had molested his brother, my opinion about this case changed. Along with most people at the time, I refused to even consider that the brothers had been molested. I viewed it as an attempt to justify their actions and garner sympathy. I was unaware there was corroborating evidence supporting their claims of sexual abuse by their father. Even if I had been aware of it at the time, the odds are the I would have ignored it. With the passage of time and maturity on my part, I was more open to hearing facts of the case I’d previously ignored. In September, NBC will run a program entitled Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders. I have no idea what its focus will be but based on the ads, the trial will feature prominently.

Watching the documentary made me reconsider my beliefs about the Menendez brothers’ motivation for murdering their parents. The reality is that in most of the cases with which I’m familiar, abuse played a starring role for the child’s actions. I’m not taking a stance on whether such actions are justifiable, simply interested in trying to gain some insight into what pushed these brothers over the edge and led to the murders.

Using the Dark Days Tarot, I drew three cards to acquire some insight into this situation and pulled the 3 of Cups (tilted left – which subtle impacts the cards meaning in this deck), 2 of Swords and 4 of Cups. I studied these cards for a while because I am not familiar with this deck and began to realize that despite the celebrating that appears to be going on in the 3 of Cups, its leftward tilt makes me feel that things were not as they seemed. There was no celebration and joy inside this family, it was an act put on for observers. I don’t know any more about Joe and Kitty Menendez than was revealed on the ABC documentary. It certainly made the father out to be a driven, successful, Type A personality who had a history of infidelity. The mother, Kitty, is portrayed as either complicit in her husband’s abuse of the boys or deliberately obtuse. I’ve often thought this might explain why the brothers killed their mother as well as their father. If the father abused the brothers and the mother did nothing to protect them, their rage towards her must have been just as consuming.

While I make no claims to having gained much additional insight into the Menendez brothers decision, this reading does seem to at least reinforce my belief in their claims there was sexual and emotional abuse in this family. While it might not excuse murdering their parents, it does make more sense than simple greed. I realize greed is a major motivation for many murders but killing one’s parents takes things up a notch. Even the most abused child will often cling to the abusive parent. For the Menendez brothers to be driven to take such dramatic action, I have to believe more than greed was involved. Of course, your mileage may vary and others may draw very different interpretations from these cards but this is my interpretation and I’m sticking with it.

​I fight Authority, Authority always wins

So, I have noticed my pattern of butting heads with authority figures.  It’s not that I don’t respect people in positions of authority, it’s simply that I refuse to respect them merely because they’re in a position of authority.  In fact when I run into “authority figures” that assume they’re entitled to respect because of position and/or money, I tend to get confrontational.  It brings out the worst in me.  In fact I’d had incidences where I’ll run into an authority figure (usually an alpha male type) who raises my hackles so much I feel the urge to growl and bare my teeth at him.  I can’t necessarily pinpoint why I react this way.  It tends to occur exclusively with male authority figures.  I get along quite well with most female authority figures – especially those labeled ball busters.  So that clues me in that one of my issues has to do with gender power dynamics too.


I decided to use Tarot to ask the universe “What is my relationship to authority?”  I drew the 2 of Cups from the Pearls of Wisdom Tarot.  Looking at the image I was struck by the way both figures in the card seem to be equals.  They are both grasping a chalice in one hand and touching their partner intimately with the other.  They each gaze into each other’s eyes and are approximately the same size and height.  Each figure has a flower behind them and a tree beside them.  Both figures are framed by a fish, necklace and chalice.  There is a balance present in this card, a sense of equality and true partnership.  The power and authority in this relationship go both ways.  Perhaps their powers are not identical but they are equal.

That suggests my issues with authority flare up when things are not equal.  I have no problem with authority figures who treat others with the respect and courtesy they expect.  I also prefer the give and take with an authority figure who is as open to listening as she/he is to talking.  Perhaps there is truth to the fact that most women’s management styles are more inclusive than many male managers’.  Those are broad stroke generalizations but in my experience they’ve proven true.  


My next question to the Universe was “Why is my relationship to authority this way?”  I drew the Ace of Swords.  My immediate reaction was that my relationship to authority causes me to feel the urge to cut through the bullshit when faced with one of those negative authority figures.  I feel the urge to confront and puncture their egos.  It’s not necessarily the most mature response but it’s true.  Maybe on some level I also hope that confronting them on their behaviors might open their eyes and allow them to explore new ideas and beliefs about power and authority.  I suppose one can always hope (and keep on fighting!).

#Supernatural #TarotReading for Mary Wincester – Healing my relationship with my boys

Now that I’ve completed the Comparative Tarot essays for the Major Arcana, I’ve decided to try some different Tarot focused blog posts before attacking the Minors (if I decided to do that). I’ve been inspired by James Ricklef’s wonderful KnightHawk readings that focused on 3 card readings for fictional characters. I hope I can do this technique justice.

Three card reading for Mary Winchester of Supernatural

Dear Tarot Hunter,

I have recently reconnected with my two grown sons after a 30 + year absence. I have no idea how to communicate with them; how to interact with them. They don’t need me they way they did the last time I saw them. What would be my best way to repair this broken bond?

Mary, thank you so much for entrusting me to do a reading for you on such a sensitive topic. I cannot provide any insight into your sons’ thoughts or feelings but perhaps we can look at the current state of this relationship and see if it can be healed. I will pull three cards and see what the universe has to say.

The current state of this relationship? Page of Cup Rx – Your sons are still those broken-hearted boys devastated by the loss of their mother. You are a mother devastated at what you missed in your sons’ lives. All three of you are relative neophytes when it comes to expressing and dealing with your emotions. I get the sense that none of you are especially comfortable with introspection and examining your motivations.  This reluctance for addressing emotional issues underpins this relationship even if you never acknowledge it.

Issues that fester or harm this relationship? 10 of Wands – There are a lot of burdens still being carried by members of this family. Considering that you mention not having seen your sons in over 30 years, I’ll guess that guilt is part of this burden – you missed their childhoods. How did they cope? Perhaps there are things in their past that haunt and weigh them down too. 30 years is a lot of history – both good and bad.

How can this relationship start to heal? 7 of Pentacles Rx – Upon seeing this card the first thing that popped into my head is you all need to stop revisiting the past, harvesting that guilt, and instead work to build a new future together. Although the past will always impact your lives, if that’s all you focus on then it will taint your future together. I’m not saying to ignore the past, perhaps discussing it will bring some closure, but don’t allow it to linger between you. It could create a toxic environment that will prevent anything new and healthy from growing.

The overall message from this reading seems to be that you can repair this relationship but it will be a slow process and will require understanding and honesty. You will need to look within yourself and be honest about the emotions this situation brings up for you as well as trying to understand what it brings up for your sons. You’re almost strangers to each other but a willingness to stick it out may go a long way towards repair this fractured relationship.

As fans of Supernatural know, Mary Winchester not only disappeared from the boys lives 34 years ago, she died. Her death became the catalyst for the story arc for the first five years of the show. The boy’s father, John, devastated by the death of his beloved wife, becomes a hunter to discover what killed Mary and cursed their youngest son, Sam. John Winchester trains and raises his sons to be hunters, sometimes acting more as a drill sergeant than a father.

Mary Winchester is brought back from the dead at the end of season 11 by Amara, God’s sister, as a gift for Dean Winchester. Over the course of season 12, we watch as Mary, unsure how to deal with her rebirth and her adult sons, distances herself from the boys, but this reading takes place early in the season before any of those conflicts have arisen. It’s interesting to interpret this reading knowing both the backstory and its ultimate resolution.

If you’d like to learn more about the show visit the Supernatural Wiki

You can also watch all 12 seasons of the show on Netflix.  

Sheila O’Malley also offers some amazing recaps on episodes from the first three seasons (well she’s working on Season 3).  I highly recommend reading them!!.

 

The World – Blue Rose Tarot

 

Blue Rose Tarot
Created by Paula Gibby
Published by Soul Guidance

The Book says: The hero went forth seeking the Pearl of Great Price; sought it and found it. And in finding it also found . . . illumination . . . transformation . . . and finally . . . completion. And in finding completion what he really found was . . . himself. And now the cycle has come full circle. For the quest is over and the prize has been won.

Tarot Hunter’s Theories: The World is our prize at the end of our quest. It is the completion of our journey; the goal of our lives. What I love about the image on this card is the sense that we do indeed hold the whole world in our hands; we hold the answers to all of our questions but first we must learn to access this knowledge and unleash our potential. We must solve the puzzle which will open our gift and free the prize – the Pearl of Great Price.

A reversed journey through the Major Arcana part 2

The Hermit – After having our world turned upside down we might find ourselves in need of a retreat; to regroup. Instead of considering what we need to do to conquer the world, we ponder what will allow us to fulfill ourselves. We are still searching the darkness and trying to forge our own path through the darkness but now it’s the darkness within ourselves. We’re working towards finding truths in our soul that will allow us to lead a more fulfilling life moving ahead.

Strength reminds us that enacting these types of changes in our lives requires fortitude and inner strength; the need to stick with it especially when the going gets rough. This card reminds me of people who, after some dramatic shift in their career or life, manage to pick themselves back up and move forward again. It symbolizes those who find the inner fortitude to add a second act to their lives. The divorced woman who finds her passion in life again. The middle-aged man who discovers that he still has a lot to offer. Instead of letting themselves become defeated and miserable, they pull themselves up and find new meaning in their lives. They fight to find fulfillment and satisfaction.

The Chariot is our mode of transportation to get to that new place of fulfillment and satisfaction. Once we’ve made the decision and set the intention to find new meaning in our lives in Strength, we need to find the way to make it happen. We need to pick up the reins, grab the steering wheel and drive ourselves towards our new destination. We need to determine what route will serve us best and what speed we intend to travel. Do we want to take our time and enjoy some rest stops or do we want to get there as fast as we can? Either way, the decision and the choices are all on us. Do we believe this part of our lives has been fated? Is it our destiny to make this journey? Only you can decide that for yourself.

The Lovers reflect all the choices that still remain in our journey through life. I often like to view fate or destiny as a series of points on a map that we must experience – how we get there and how long the journey takes is up to us. I like to think it’s the combination of destined experiences and personal preferences that are reflected by the two different horses in this card. How & where we choose to steer them is on us.

The Hierophant shows us as we step into our role as mentors, lore keepers, historians. We have now reached a point in our lives when we can teach and guide others. We can show them the options available to them; share our stories. We can help open their eyes to the traditions and history that preceded them and allow them to determine who they might wish to incorporate this knowledge and wisdom into their own lives.

The Emperor is our journey to self-sovereignty. We no longer need to build an external empire, instead, we need to feel as though we are finally in charge of our own lives. We are the masters of our fate; the lords of all we survey. We no longer see success as an external measure but rather an internal one of personal satisfaction and fulfillment. It’s not about money and possessions, it’s about feelings of accomplishment and pride.

The Empress is when we finally learn how to nurture and embrace our true selves. We finally allow ourselves to explore our internal creative energy. Instead of feeling the need to focus on external objects or people, we aim it at ourselves. We tend and care for our own secret gardens and learn to feed our inner needs and desires. It doesn’t make us selfish but rather self-centered in the best possible way. Tending to ourselves allows us to replenish our resources and be there for others when the need arises.

The High Priestess guards the veil behind her. It is not something she parts lightly because one what awaits behind it is revealed, it can never be unknown again. When she pulls it aside we realize that what it hides is our true selves. We are finally ready to learn, accept and embrace who we truly are and were meant to be. We realize that we need to do things for ourselves; to nurture our souls not because they meet someone else’s need. In my experience, when the veil parted I was faced with my feral thirteen year old self – the part of me I’d tried (and failed) to civilize over the years. I was able to reconnect with that energy and unleash her into my life today. It was quite an amazing experience.

The Magician allows us to realize that (much like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz), the power to make things happen in our lives was in our hands the entire time. We are not dependent upon others to grant us power; we merely need to accept and grasp it. We often hear people talk about helping to empower others but the truth is we cannot do that. We can only help them understand that the power lies within them and only they can use it. That is what The Magician shows us at this point in our journey. Perhaps it’s near the end of the road but the message is no less valuable.

The Fool is our final stop. This is when we embrace all our foolish qualities and trust in the world again as we prepare to take that leap and move beyond this life into something new and unexpected. We are still leaping into the unknown but now all our knowledge and wisdom has combined to make us realize that we truly know nothing and the journey is always about the experiences and the learning. We have to believe that what awaits beyond is something new and exciting. Perhaps this is why so many of us believe in an afterlife – we want to believe we are leaping into something,  not just nothingness.

The World – Transformational Tarot

 

Transformational Tarot
Created by Arnell Ando
Published by US Games (2006)
ISBN:1572815396

The Book says: The seeker has gained much insight and wisdom and has now completed one stage or cycle in her or his life; a time of harmony, liberation, success; a state of universal consciousness. In the reverse, this card could stand for natural disasters or abuse of the laws of nature. It can also mean the fear of change.

Tarot Hunter’s Theories: The World is full of wonder and amazement. It is the beginning and the end of everything; the source of all and the goal of our quest. The swan brings to mind the story of Leda and the swan – she who births the world egg. The river brings to mind the Tigris and Euphrates rivers – often seen as the cradle of civilization. The woman is the Great Mother, the primordial ancestress, she who brought forth all life from her own body. All serve to remind us that we all come from the Goddess and to her we shall return or as Christians view it “ashes to ashes, dust to dust”

No matter how much we might prefer to deny the fact, we are all connected, all part of the circle of life,  If we can learn to incorporate this concept into our daily lives and accept its ramifications, we might just have learned the purpose of our lives and gained the secret wisdom of the Divine. It might be a simple concept to learn but quite a challenging one to actually live.

The World – Mansions of the Moon Tarot

Mansions of the Moon Tarot
ZADOK (dahogue@nctc.net)
Self-Published

Traditional meaning: The principle of totality, individuation, and wholeness; having everything available to you and being at center stage in your life; the principle of universal love; success, achievement & satisfaction; understanding your reason for being.

Tarot Hunter’s Theories This card brings to mind the idea of a string of worlds all connected, like something in a science fiction novel. And yet they share a common center, a common source. All the elements are present and necessary, no one better than the other. The World is a reminder that we are all part of each other.

I also see the rosary of globes as a string of possibilities – each representing a possibility, a path that may or may not be taken. They represent the unlimited potential that surrounds us all. The World is all that we are and all that we can be. At the core of this potential and these possibilities rests the guiding force behind it all. The One, God, the Great Spirit – whatever you chose to call it, it is the source from which the Universe began. In our own lives, we are the center, the source from which all else proceeds. We are the creators of our own reality. Our decisions, our choices, our successes and our failures create the world in which we live.

But we, like the globes surrounding the woman, are not islands unto ourselves. We are all connected so the decisions made by others impact on our lives too. So whether our impact on our world and on others is positive or negative is ultimately up to us. So in some respects, I guess we are our brothers’ keepers.

A reversed journey through the Major Arcana part 1

Have you ever considered that perhaps our journey through life is better reflected in a reverse journey through the Major Arcana? I know we are often shown the Fool’s journey from innocence and naiveté through understanding and wisdom but what if we can acquire those same qualities and experiences by journeying through the Major Arcana from The World to The Fool?

I’ll admit this is not a fully fleshed out theory but one day while looking at the cards it occurred to me that The World could reflect our soul’s experience prior to birth; it’s existence wherever souls go when not inhabiting a body. It is perfect, fully integrated and surrounded by the divine. Judgment is the birth itself – our emergence through a dark passage into the light. The Sun is our infancy and early childhood – when we are the center of the universe and everything we say or do is amazing and spectacular. Then we get a bit older and learn that we cannot stay the center of the universe. Perhaps more children come along or our parents need to return to work and daily reality. We yearn for the moon – that time when everything stopped for us, but that is no longer possible. The Stars are the hope we cling to as we get a bit older; as we realize that mommy does not exist just to satisfy our every whim. We also learn about school. Depending upon whether we have older siblings or friends who enjoy school we may feel existing about this upcoming adventure. We’re frightened but excited too. Then we begin school and have a Tower moment. Our reality crashes down around our feet. Not only is school not the fun experience we anticipate, but we are one of many children in the room. We do not receive the teacher’s undivided attention. We don’t get to do or play with everything we desire. We decide we hate school and cling even tighter to our parents. Like The Devil, we want to be chained to them so we feel safe and secure. We believe this will allow us to remain the center of their attention but in reality we risk becoming a burden.

When we reach Temperance we are starting to learn there is a balance, a midpoint, a blending of our needs and the needs of others. We learn ways to meet our own needs while accepting their as well. We realize our classmates are almost as important as we are; that our parents have other areas of focus. We struggle to find the way to incorporate our need to be individuals with our need to be part of a group or family. We learn there is a give and take to this dance – if we want others to satisfy our needs then we must help satisfy theirs too.

Death, well Death is almost surprisingly easy (at least to my mind). In this context, Death is the upheaval of graduating from one class to the next. Each year brings a minor death for us – we’ve finally figured out how this stuff all works. We know the teacher and have established connections with peers (hopefully) and now we have to start all over again. Graduation from junior high to high school and high school to college is even more traumatic. We go from “ruling the school”, being the big people on campus to peon. Everything we knew is now gone and we must find our way anew. I don’t know about anyone reading this but I must say the first day of high school, first day at a new school and my first day at college were all traumatic and devastating in different ways.

By the time we’ve managed to finish our academic career (if indeed we ever do), we move on to The Hanged Man. Oh, isn’t this fun?!! We finally get the hang of school, it may be stressful and somewhat overwhelming but there are clear rules and instructions along the way, and now we’re thrown into the “real world”. We have no idea what the rules are or what our role is. We’ve been completely turned on our heads and are now seeing things through a different lens. We have no safety net anymore. If we’re truly adults then we need to figure out how to do this on our own and not rely on family to bail us out. We may indeed find ourselves turned all around but sometimes that’s the only way to see a new path or find a new life lesson. I know once I completed my masters in forensic psychology I knew that I had no desire to work in the criminal justice field. My degree was useless (or so I thought). By looking at things from a different perspective I realized I could put those same skills to use in a population that might have a propensity towards interactions with the criminal justice system but were not incarcerated – “at risk” youth. So I found a job as a recreation therapist in a recreation center in the “inner city” (geez, I hate these buzz words so much!) My point is that I was able to put my degree and skill to use in a totally unexpected way and that gave me a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. Had I not looked at things from a completely different perspective and allowed myself the time and patience to explore options, I might have ended up taking a job in a field to which I was not well suited.

Justice represents when we finally feel that we’ve regained our balance. We’ve found the way to balance our needs for income and a job and a social life, with our desire to achieve, to be “somebody”. We believe we’ve taken the right steps on that road and now feel more confident that things are going to flow our way. We’ve made the sacrifices and now it’s time for us to receive our rewards. As long as we perceive those scales as balanced, we’re content. We feel that we’ve matured and can now view things from a less emotional, more rational and logical perspective. We’ve learned to weigh the pros and cons of our choices to reach an intelligent decision. We convince ourselves that we are doing the “right” thing, the just thing, the sensible, logical thing. Is that true?

Finally, at the halfway point in our journey we face the Wheel of Fortune. That fickle and every changing wheel that mocks our efforts and forces change upon us. Let’s consider it the quarter-life (it’s a thing, I swear) and mid-life crisis. It reflects that point in our journey where we realize that our path needs to dramatically shift. It’s when we start to question everything we’ve achieved in our lives and wonder if it was all worth it. It’s become immortalized in films such as The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit. In fact it’s become something of a cliché because we often dismiss it as an excuse for middle-aged men to buy a new hot rod or hook up with some younger, sexier partner. Perhaps those things are distractions from the real issue – feeling dissatisfied and unfulfilled by where we are in our lives. Perhaps we can no longer ignore that we’re unhappy with the choices we’ve made; the things we’ve sacrificed. This may be when parents and spouses realize their career has consumed them and they’ve lost touch with their loved ones. The difference between this experience and the Tower is that we are more mature and thoughtful (usually) and can steer the course of our journey. We can lay in a new path and right what we feel is wrong without completely destroying all that went before. We also have the ability to understand that even though we may be feeling pretty down right now, that can and will eventually shift. That is the nature of life and of our journey.

I’m going to stop here for now. I’ll continue next week. I hope you found this interesting or insightful or it at least made you pause for a moment and think about it.

The Perfecter – Celtic Wisdom Tarot

Celtic Wisdom Tarot
Text by Caitlin Matthews, art by Olivia Raynor
Destiny Books, 1999
ISBN 0-89281-720-8

The Book says – Completion, perfect or satisfying resolution; the end or finalization of a cycle; successful achievement; triumph; self-respect; synthesis; a sense of communion with all life; clear self-expression and realization.
Reversed: Lack of momentum impedes endings; failure to achieve; inability to accept oneself; to allow changes or perfect closure, or to release potential; inability to see the wood for the trees; fixed of received views obscure self-essence.

Tarot Hunter’s Theories: This card speaks of balance and a sense of completeness. Nothing is missing; all the parts are present. There is a quiet feeling of self-worth and achievement. This can happen when we have worked hard to achieve something – a deep sense of personal satisfaction and inner peace. There is something about this card that suggests being centered; focused on our inner world and our inner needs. We no longer need to search the wide world over for excitement and adventure because at this particular moment in time we have found what we were looking for. The sense of well-being and joy just radiates from the center of this being. And it also suggests that if we

There is something about this card that suggests being centered; focused on our inner world and our inner needs. We no longer need to search the wide world over for excitement and adventure because at this particular moment in time we have found what we were looking for. The sense of well-being and joy just radiates from the center of this being. And it also suggests that if we blend our different parts and elements, allow ourselves to be at one with the world, we too can feel this blessed state. 

What I really love about this card is that it portrays this sense of well-being, peace, and blessedness as intrinsic to the being in the card. We are the source of this, not any external stimuli. All the external world can do is help us realize this fact. All the drugs, alcohol, sex or possessions in the world will not give us this feeling. They might create an illusory substitute which tides us over for a brief time, but ultimately its falseness rings through and we are left as empty and bereft as when we started. If we look within ourselves and realize the gifts we have and the fulfillment we can find; the sense of achievement and personal satisfaction that is ours for the taking, then we too can be radiant, blessed, perfected beings.