Tarot Truths Tyr’s Day – The Shaper (Celtic Wisdom Tarot)

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

The Book says: The Shaper of Growth gives life to all that is. The Mothers maintain the fertility of the land, the life of its animals and people, and were often venerated as the guardians of the land’s sovereignty. They maintain their loving watch over all life, transmuting the Soul from death into life. The Mothers are the midwives of the Soul, nurturing it with qualities that enable it to respond to the good things of life. They also imbue the Soul with its instinct or mother-wit, the basic common sense by which we are protected and sustained.
Keywords: Abundance, wealth, fulfillment, reverence for the earth, motherhood, fertility, loving guardianship, value, house, health, harmony and wholeness, emotional growth.
Reversed: Infertility, poverty, delay in accomplishment, squandering of resources, laziness, inaction, emotionally immature, self-neglect.
Soul-Wisdom: The Shaper of Growth gives life to all that is. The Mothers are the midwives of the Soul, nurturing it with qualities that enable it to respond to the good things of life. They also imbue the Soul with its instinct of mother-wit, the basic common sense by which we are protected and sustained. What spiritual nurture is your Soul seeking now?

TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card represents the gifts we are offered from the Earth, the blessings we receive from friends and family and the bounty offered all around us. The Shaper is the source of all of these things. She is the one who grants us her blessings and allows us to blossom and flower under her beneficent gaze. She not only offers us her blessings and her abundant gifts, but she reminds us that we need to share them will all things who share the Earth with us. Her gifts are not just for people, but for animals, plants and other inhabitants of the planet. By her nature she also symbolizes the cycles of life. As well as life, she helps the Soul pass into death. Along with abundance and prosperity, there are cycles of scarcity and want. But the Shaper reminds us the these times are a natural part of life’s cycle. They don’t indicate a loss of nurturance or caring. The Shaper’s abundance and fruitfulness bring us her blessings and bounty. But if we hoard these things and don’t share them with those around us, then we denigrate her gifts. They should be shared, enjoyed and appreciated; not hoarded and hidden so that others won’t take them from us. If we hide these gifts from ourselves or from others, then we are not honoring the Shaper and don’t truly understand her gifts. And if we don’t use them, we risk losing them. And once again we are reminded that these gifts may not be of a physical nature. If we have creative gifts that we hide from the world, then we are not honoring our creative spirit – a writer who doesn’t write (even if it is never published) is a sad thing indeed. Take time today to honor the gifts of the Shaper – both the physical and the spiritual ones.

Soulful Saturday: Libraries – spiritual centers to nourish the soul

For some reason today’s entry was difficult to write. The well was dry and I couldn’t come up with anything I thought was worth sharing or that I felt competent to write. Finally, as I was browsing the NYPL website I hit upon something – libraries!

I love libraries. From the time I was a child they were my haven, my sanctuary against the world. I’ve had a library card as long as I can remember. I still recall the day my mother brought me to the local library and signed me up for a card. It was restricted (I could only take out 2 books at a time and only from the children’s section) but it was a start. One of my favorite books to take out was The Little Witch Cookbook. I adored the illustrations and the recipes were very simple for a child to make. I actually reacquired a copy as an adult but it just wasn’t the same and I passed it along to my youngest niece who seemed very thrilled to get it.

I also enjoyed losing myself in Bulfinch’s Mythology. This began a lifelong fascination and attraction for mythology. I started here and eventually found my way to more adult versions of Greek mythology as well as Celtic, Arthurian, Norse and Egyptian mythology. I was so excited the day I was able to take a book from the adult section of the library – it was Mythology by Edith Hamilton and I still remember the cover.

The first time I was allowed to walk to the bigger library near me (the now gown and much mourned Donnell Branch of the NYPL), I felt so proud I almost burst. I still remember how overwhelmed I felt when I walked in because it was much bigger than my local branch. It also had a Young Adult section. Oh the books I read from that library. I could spend hours simply walking through the stacks and losing myself in the books. It was wondrous and amazing to me.

During high school and college I managed to wend my way through the maze of research materials – magazines and non-circulating books, that allowed me to complete term papers, book reports and other school assignments. Computers were not yet the omnipresent devices they have become so I learned how to work the card files. I felt such a sense of accomplishment learning to find books and make inter-library loan requests.

These days I still visit the local library – sometimes to take out books, other times for movies or music. My primary use of the library is for electronic books – it’s so much easier to request and return books that way. However I’ll always feel a sense of soul-satisfaction and deep emotional connection to the physical library. I will always love losing myself in the stacks of books and finding lost treasures I would never have known about without browsing. It saddens me that so many local NYPL branches are nothing more than computer kiosks now. So many of the books are gone, the space freed up for more computers. The people using the library don’t seem to have the same sense of awe and wonder I did. They also don’t enforce the quiet rule much these days. That sacred hush that I remember when I entered the library, that reminded me I was in a special spiritual temple, has been replaced by laughter and chatting. I suppose it’s wonderful that libraries still fill a niche in their communities but I miss the slightly more formal, quieter days.

I hope we never lose our libraries. It’s sad to see so many bookstores going out of business and libraries downsizing. There is something magical about these places; these repositories of fabulous mysteries and hidden treasures. Hail to libraries and librarians! Long may they rule!

Whiny Wednesday (or maybe that should be winey): How can I fight the grey gloomies? Queen of Cups (BB Cats)

Baroque Bohemian Cats Queen of Cups

So I need to listen to my heart, nurture my inner dreams and desires and allow myself to simply feel what I feel.  That should be easy.  Actually all smart-aleckyness aside, I think the Queen of Cups is reminding me that one way to chase away gloominess is to focus on things that bring me joy and make me happy.  It sounds rather easy and in reality it should be but sometimes the easy things are the ones we lose site of the most.

So what brings me joy?  Reading, cooking, fashion (or perhaps style is the more accurate term), dancing.  I’ve been focusing on my wardrobe. I desperately need to update it and it’s also time to release certain pieces I know I’ll never wear again (such as the two suits I bought when I thought I’d be pursuing a very different life path).  I want to simplify things and find a few good pieces that will last me rather than lots of cheap crap that wears out quickly.

I’ve also realized that some of the things I love (my Tarot decks) need some pruning.  I had manage to acquire a number of decks that are lovely to look at but with which I feel no connection.  I can admire their loveliness without being touched by it.  In some cases I never really connected with the deck and I’m finally admitting that and in other cases it’s just that my tastes have changed.  Regardless of why, I get a sense of freedom and lightness when I release these decks to the universe (or someone else who will love them).  I’m just too burdened down by stuff.  It’s time to unburden myself a bit at a time.

Thoughtful Thor’s Day: Tea & Tarot – perfect partners

Lately I have been relying on tea and Tarot to help me deal with the insanity of the situation in which I find myself (wine too but that’s a topic for another day).  I’ve always been a tea drinker but in the last 3 years or so I’ve become more adventurous.  I’ve begun exploring loose tea, teas from different locales, oolongs as well as black teas as well as trying different vendors.  I’m quickly realizing that my tea obsession is right up there with my Tarot obsession.  This made me wonder why roles they fulfill in my life.

SoHo
I think the tea (in addition to being tasty) allows me to take some time for myself.  The process forces me to slow down for at least a few minutes and just focus on me.  Tarot offers me the same opportunity – for at least 10 minutes every day I take a breather and focus on me.  That may not seem like much but for me it’s a brief respite in the midst of what tend to be exhausting, chaotic days.
Butter TruffleTchaikovsky Tea Time
Drinking coffee, for me, was a necessary evil.  I needed the caffeine jolt to get me kickstarted every morning (I’m just not a morning person).  Tea drinking is a labor of love, a tiny touch of civility and relaxation in an otherwise externally focused, frenetic day.  It allows me to feel as though I’m nurturing and caring for myself.  On gray, gloomy days, tea allows me to feel snuggly and warm  On warm, sunny days, tea allows me to slow down a bit and just enjoy the beauty of the day.
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It’s also interesting what insights I’ve learned about myself via tea and Tarot.  The types of Tarot decks towards which I gravitate tell me that I’m not pastel, light kind of person.  I have nothing against decks that focus on positivity and lightness but they don’t resonate with me.  I need darkness to balance the pastel.  I need shadow to offset the light.

My taste in teas is similar.  I tend to avoid green and white teas in flavor of full-bodied blacks and oolongs.  If a tea is described as having green, vegetal flavors I know it’s probably not my taste.  If it has chocolate or honey flavors I’m putting it on the wish list.
Teatime Bliss
Both tea and Tarot can allow us time to focus on ourselves.  They give us space to relax and reconnect with our inner selves.  Both have enough variety to suit every taste and palate.  They also both have connections to fortune telling – reading tea leaves and Tarot cards are both well established divinatory techniques.  So the next time you are doing a Tarot reading for yourself, considering having a hot cuppa as accompaniment.

How can I be more open to receiving the unexpected sweetness in life? Youth of Cups + King of Swords R (Tarot of the Masters)

Tarot of the Masters Youth of Cups Tarot of the Masters King of Swords

I was inspired to ask this question after reading an email from SARK.  It struck me that I have the same tendency to miss out on the unexpected sweetness in life.  I think sometimes it’s so easy to lose oneself in the morass of negativity the surrounds us and drown in the doldrums of modern life.  It’s almost as though we’re afraid to focus on the positive or joyful things.  In fact I’ve even heard folks express the opinion that if we focus on the positive we open ourselves up to the possibility that a capricious and mean-spirited deity will take it away from us.  That seems a rather sad way to live one’s life.

I had to smile when I saw these cards.  They reinforce that the simple answer is to listen to my inner voice and look within myself; listen to my heart and turn off that left-brained overly intellectual side.  That doesn’t mean I need to abandon that side of myself simply that it needs to be given less prominence than it’s gotten in the past.  The way to reconnect with my more child-like, simple joy in life is to stop focusing on and demanding rational and logical approaches to things.

The Youth of Cups is seeking answers in the chalice she cups in her hands.  She trusts that the answers she seeks will be found within.  She does not require external validation or logical explanations for the wisdom she seeks.  The King of Swords holds a book in one hand and a sword in the other.  He is the master of logic, rational thought and skillful communication.  He is the epitome of the left-brained person.  The scientific mind raised to exaltedness.  If it cannot be replicated and verified then the knowledge is not honored.

For years I’ve worshipped at this altar.  I didn’t trust my intuitive side; my instincts were suspect.  If the knowledge arose from my psychic side I ran from it as though it was some sort of evil clown.  I couldn’t and wouldn’t trust it.  Now I’m much more comfortable with my intuitive, psychic nature but I’m taking baby steps.  It’s still very early in this process.

Drawing these two cards reaffirms that I’m moving in the right direction.  The way to embrace, celebrate and enjoy the unexpected sweetness in life.  I am learning that rather than mourning what is gone and clinging to the past, I’m happier when I can remember it with joy and still be open to new moments of unexpected sweetness.  If I focus too much on what is gone I miss out on those opportunities to celebrate the small joys and unexpected sweetness in life.  I need to trust my heart and be an optimist.  It can sometimes be fun and funny to be cynical but it does not allow for much appreciation of the small things in life that make us smile.  Sometimes it so easy to lose sight of what is good, sweet and joyful in life.  These cards offer me a way to keep them in my heart.

What am I refusing to let go of; what am I delaying or denying? Knight of Swords + King of Pentacles

BoS So Below Knight of Swords BoS So Below King of Pentacles

The images on these cards spoke to me.  The Knight of Swords shows a focused, somewhat intent blonde woman writing while sylphs dance about her.  I realize that her message to me is that I need to get back to writing.  When I was younger, writing was one of my passions in life.  A semester of English composition in college shook my faith in my writing skills and I fell away from it.  In recent years I have begun writing a bit by maintaining my blog but I’m beginning to realize that I need to write again.  It doesn’t have to be something I share with anyone else but I need to express myself.  I need to find a creative outlet and writing is that outlet for me.

The King of Pentacles is reminding me that I can have it all – personal satisfaction and prosperity, if I believe in myself and work to manifest it in my life.  I think it’s also showing that expressing my creative side is the key to achieving this prosperity.

These cards seem to be telling me that I need to let go of my resistance and fear.  I need to let go of the self-doubts that bubbled up during that English comp class and haven’t gone away.  I need to embrace writing for the sake of writing not for public approbation.  I need to do this for me.  Where it might lead is irrelevant.  What’s important is what it can do for me now.  Otherwise I’m denying myself a creative outlet and a sense of satisfaction and joy.

How can I create a better relationship with my spirit guides? 10 of Wands R + Ace of Wands (BoS So Below)

BoS So Below 10 of Wands BoS So Below Ace of Wands

The fact that I’m feeling so overwhelmed and burdened by responsibilities is causing me to let things slip through the cracks.  I have an opportunity to reignite my spark but I have to take it.  With all the obligations I’m burdened with right now I feel as though I don’t have the right to take time for myself but these cards are telling me that I need to change that perception.

If I want to create a better relationship with my spirit guides then I need to stop letting my responsibilities be an excuse and just do something.  It doesn’t need to be elaborate.  I think it’s a question of taking 10 minutes or so every day and just being more mindful and open to connecting with the spirit world.  Right now I feel like a rat trapped in a barrel – I’m running in circles, using up all my energy and getting no where.  I’m exhausted, drained and defeated.  The only way I know to counter-act this is to take some time for myself; to be still and listen.

This isn’t exactly mind-blowing news.  I know the answer and realize the Tarot is reinforcing what I already knew but have been avoiding.  Small steps, baby steps – that’s all it takes.  I don’t need to reach the goal line in a week.  I didn’t get to this point in my life overnight so why I think the solution should be a quick fix is beyond me.  To paraphrase Robin Byrd, I need to lie back, relax and get comfortable – at least for a few minutes every day.

How can I better express my creative side? Queen of Swords R + 3 of Pentacles R (BoS So Below)

BoS So Below Queen of Swords BoS So Below 3 of Pentacles

It’s time to retire that bitch!  The Queen of Swords, who has been so much a part of my persona, needs to be retired.  She will always be a part of who I was and who I am but I’d like to give another side a chance for expression and exploration.  The Queen of Swords has served me well and if I ever return to the business world I’m sure we will work together again but for now I need to find a different mode of expression.

The 3 of Pentacles reserved suggests that I need to unleash some of that creative, artistic energy I possess.  It’s not important that whatever I create be of professional caliber or even be really good.  What matters is that I allow myself to play; to simply enjoy the smell of the crayons and the blend of colors.  If I don’t want to draw I can always write something.  If I don’t try I’ll never know if I can do it.  The 3 of Pentacles reminds me I don’t need to be a journeyman at this.  Being a beginner or apprentice is just fine as long as I stay with it.  Once again the message is that the journey is more important than the destination.

So the answer to my question is that the way to better express my creative side is simply to do it.  I don’t need to second-guess myself or be hypercritical.  I can simply enjoy the process of drawing and coloring or writing.  In can put on music and dance and sing to my heart’s content.  No one is watching and if they are so what?

How can I better care for myself? 5 of Wands + 4 of Swords (BoS So Below)

BoS So Below 5 of Wands BoS So Below 4 of Swords

The 5 of Wands shows a woman surrounded by disapproving male figures.  She appears to be at work, a laptop is open on the desk in front of her, and she seems to be disagreeing with the men.  In fact she almost seems to be scolding them.  She does not seem intimidating but perhaps exasperated.  This argument has gone round in circles several times already.  She is telling me that I need to let go of this repeating cycle of disapproval and disagreement.  In my case the people I battle are my own inner critics.  It’s not an external struggle but one within myself.  It’s pointless, self-defeating and relentless.  Instead of taking care of myself I’m undermining myself.

The 4 of Swords is telling me to chill out, relax, blow some bubbles (I love blowing bubbles!).  I love this image.  Rather than the harried overworked career woman of the 5 of Wands, this card shows a woman who goes at her own pace, stops and smells the roses and just enjoys the ride.  It’s been so long since I’ve approached life this way that it seems exotic.

The message this two cards give me is that I need to stop beating myself up, let go of the pointless struggle and just relax.  I need to find ways to have fun even if it’s only for 10 minutes a day.  I need to blow some bubbles and use my crayons.  It’s time for me to “don’t worry that it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear, just sing, sing a  song” as Karen Carpenter once sang.  I’ve taken to reading SARK’s books again to reconnect with that child-like, fun side of myself.

I’m going to start doing morning pages again and playing with my crayons, colored pencils and coloring books.  I miss them and used to lose myself in coloring.  It’s time to get back to that again.

What will help me achieve my bliss? 6 of Cups R + 4 of Wands (Hidden Realm)

Hidden Realm 6 of CupsHidden Realm 4 of Wands

The woman on the 6 of Cups is up to her breasts in dark blue water.  She seems calm and at ease.  She is obviously there by choice and in no danger of drowning.  Flowers float atop the water all around her.  She seems contemplative as though pondering deep issues.

The 4 of Wands shows a quartet of rather rag-tag musicians.  They seem to be engaged in an impromptu jam sessions for flute and violin.  I get a sense of untamed, enthusiasm.  They are channeling their creativity and in the process drawing us into this magical energy.

I was struck by two things as I looked at these cards.  The first is that the reversed 6 of Cups is reminding me not to get overwhelmed by the past; don’t let the negative emotions still lingering drown my dreams.  I need to gain some distance, the ability to view them as learning experiences but not let them still hurt me.  I need to be able to keep my head above the water and not feel like the water will soon be over my head.  What’s past is past and it’s time to move forward.

The 4 of Wands reminds me that I need to improve my networking skills.  The 4 musicians remind me that playing with others is always more fun than playing alone.  It’s a great way to improve my skills, trade ideas and build a support network.  In the past I’ve found it difficult to network.  It often required me to act more outgoing than I felt at the time.  I do love attending events such as Readers Studio but sometimes in smaller venues I have a hard time feeling comfortable.

My friend E-M has been hosting a gathering of like minded women at her house every few months.  The women share ideas, create vision boards and things like that.  They support each other and apparently have a lot of laughs.  I’ve manage to miss them so far.  Perhaps this is telling me that I need to cut it out and find ways to create this kind of energy for myself.

I think the difficulty is in letting my guard down and trusting.  In the past when I’ve created what I thought were support networks with friends (or at least friendly colleagues), I’ve learned that when the chips were down I could not count on them.  That hurt more than anything else about my firing from my last job.  I felt abandoned and as though once my usefulness to these folks ended so did our network.  That left a bad taste in my mouth.  I can use that experience as a lesson and find ways to be cautious without being cut off completely.  Otherwise I’m making things more difficult for myself than they need to be.