Thoughtful Thor’s Day: If I’m going to blow smoke up my ass, I need a skirt

Green Man Tree Oracle Quert/Apple

Ceirt, along with h-Úath, is one of the most challenging ogam feda. Its meaning of a rag or a shrub links it in my mind with the practice of tying rags to clootie trees in Ireland and Scotland as an appeal for healing (McManus uses the “shrub” or “bush” definition, while Meroney suggested that the word was translated as “a rag”. I found the connections between both of these suggested meanings useful enough that I have chosen to use both, though Meroney’s definition is probably not correct.). These trees are often found at sacred wells or on fairy mounds, and are significant for being very much associated with Otherworldly beings and energies that can be fickle and unpredictable.

The complex of meanings surrounding this fid often point to intense frustration and even self-destructive activity. When it comes up in a reading, be careful of sudden changes in fortune or capricious individuals. It’s associated with bad luck and with psychological problems, but because of its linked association with clootie trees, there can also be an element of hope to this fid that h-Úath lacks. In divination, it can point to a situation of poverty or illness that is temporary, or to setbacks in a person’s life or situation.

Linked Concepts: Poverty, illness, fleeing, retreat, madness, insanity, ill luck without total loss, psychological issues and problems, the hope for healing from illness or madness.”  (Ogam:  Weaving Word Wisdom by Erynn Rowan Laurie)

After reading these passages, I realize it’s time to face some facts.  Engaging in self-destructive behaviors as a way of dealing with my current situation is pointless and harmful.  It improves nothing.  So I asked the Tarot :What traps me in cycles of self-destruction?”   I drew Cernunnos R, 10 of Wands R + 8 of Swords R (DruidCraft)

Okay, I’m getting it. It’s my own fault. Well fault is too harsh a word but this feeling of being trapped is because of how I’m approaching this situation. I’m limiting myself and binding myself to certain pathways. As a result I am narrowing options that might be available to me. As a result I become frustrated, feel trapped and become self-destructive. The fact that I feel trapped is because I feel certain obligations to carry this burden (10 of Wands R) and I’m doing it the hard way rather than exploring other options or resources that might be available.

I think Cernunnos is reminding me that I am a traditionalist. I like holding to the old ways. In this family, that means the elderly and infirm are cared for within the house. Of course when that was the tradition there was a much larger familiar circle to rely on for assistance. Now it’s all falling on the hubby and me. It’s too much for just too people. Looking at the shadowing horned figured watching over the naked couple sleeping in the forest, I was struck by the sense that I’m being watched and judged by our ancestors and they strip us bare. They can see beneath the platitudes we tell ourselves and see our true feelings; the good and the bad. They know that we’ve done the best that we can. They also know that we are worn out.

The 8 of Swords reversed is telling me that I’m not facing my own bullshit here. If I believe I’m trapped and restrained it’s because I’m not being realistic and seeing things as they are; all the possibilities and permutations out there.

Yesterday a friend pointed out that maybe I keep drawing reversed cards because I’m not really listening to their message. I think she’s right. I’m blowing smoke up my own ass and it’s starting to irritate. If I truly want to change this situation then I need to stop lying to myself about what I think about it and how I’m viewing it. Yes, I can keep going in this same direction. If nothing else, my maternal line are quite good at carrying burdens long past the time when common sense tells you to let it go (10 of Wands R). I think we have a bit of a martyr complex in our blood. I don’t want to continue that pattern.

The bottom line is that if I want to break this cycle of self-destruction I need to change my attitude and mindset. I’m my own worst enemy because I can find ways to justify, rationalize and intellectualize pretty much anything. What I’m not good at is listening to my heart, trusting my emotions.

I’m still working on improving my relationship with Cups and with myself for that matter. It’s been so long since I’ve known the secrets of my own heart that I almost forgot I had any. I think that was part of the Princess of Cups message to me yesterday. I need to do more spiritual and healing work so that I can reconnect to that aspect of myself. I’m not just a brain with a love for shenanigans and burst of creativity and energy. I am a physical being whose body deserves love and appreciation. I am an emotional being allowed to cry, become angry and feel betrayed and forgotten.  It doesn’t matter how much I try to claim otherwise, even I know I’m just fooling myself. It’s time to face some facts and make some changes. Then again I’ve said that before too but I like to think each time I state it I’m taking a step closer to manifesting it.

What needs to be cultivated in my life so that abundance will grow? Prince of Swords R, The World R + Princess of Cups R (DruidCraft)

Green Man Tree Oracle Gort/Ivy

In her book Ogam:  Weaving Word Wisdom, Erynn Rowan Laurie writes this about Gort:

“When Gort appears in a reading, it may indicate that a period of prosperity is coming, and a little more patience is required to get there. It can suggest that you look to the blessings in your life and be thankful for them. It frequently indicates a happy situation or a place of safety.

Sometimes Gort suggests that you pull back from your activity and find yourself a safe and sheltered place for rest, particularly when it appears with nGétal. This is the place for incubation and restoration, a need for peace and quiet and nurturance.”

So I asked the cards:  What needs to be cultivated in my life so that abundance will grow?  Prince of Swords R, The World R + Princess of Cups R (DruidCraft)

DruidCraft Prince of Swords DruidCraft The World DruidCraft Princess of Cups

The Prince of Swords reversed is showing that now is a time for reflection and thoughtfulness. It’s not about what the rest of the world thinks about what I need, it’s about what I think i need. It’s also about creating an action plan and not just waiting for things to work themselves out. slow down, think things through and make a plan. It’s about exploring my own thoughts and goals not what others expect. He might also be reminding me that I’m avoiding thinking and making decisions about tough issues – the in-laws’ and their future care. I can’t keep hoping things will work out for the best.

The World R is telling me I can’t take the world’s problems on my shoulders. I can’t be the world to others. I need to surround myself with things that will allow me to feel fulfilled, satisfied and help release some of the stress. I need to seclude myself in my own secret garden to recharge my batteries and enrich my life so that I can still help others.

The Princess of Cups R is reminding me that I need to listen to my inner voice, trust my instincts and get more in touch with my own feelings about this situation instead of getting stuck in my head and trying to convince myself everything will work out okay. Hard decisions need to be made and no matter how much I want to avoid facing it, I can’t.. I need to trust my heart and respect my feelings about this situation.

I’m getting a sense that things are coming to a head and I need to prepare myself to make some very difficult decisions. Our choices may not be what I’d like but they are what they are and we need to face that.

What deep healing do I need to do for myself? 4 of Swords R, The Hermit R + 4 of Cups R (DruidCraft)

Today I drew the Ogam Edad/Aspen(?)

18

According to Erynn Rowan Laurie in her book Ogam:  Weaving Word Wisdom, Edad is important where healing is done by dream incubation and interpretation, or when wounds go deeper than the physical body. It can also be useful in work where the healer makes journeys into the Otherworlds as part of the healing process.

Linked Concepts:
Divination, dreams, contracts and relationships with spirits, vision-seeking, intoxication, discernment, enlightenment and the tools used to reach it, communication with the Sidhe and Otherworldly beings, connections with the Otherworld.

What deep healing do I need to do for myself? 4 of Swords R, The Hermit R + 4 of Cups R

53 09 DruidCraft 4 of Cups

I need to really give myself a time to rest and recuperate. I need time alone to explore new territories, interests and ideas. I need to look at what is causing the dissatisfaction and ennui in my life so that I can break free of it.

The deep healing I need to do is a direct result of the relentless responsibilities we’ve been dealing with and its accompanying exhaustion. I have no alone time. Even when I go somewhere, I’m always concerned and worried about what is going on at home. When I’m home there is no break, no downtime. If one in-law isn’t acting up then the other is. It’s rather like having two old, colicky children.

I suppose what I need to do is start thinking about myself. Not being selfish but giving myself some care; tending to my needs. Being selfless may get one into heaven but it will also break your spirit in the process. I have no desire to get any more broken than I already am.

This reading reinforces the reality that I am weary, worn-out and exhausted beyond belief. It has passed physical exhaustion and moved into a spiritual exhaustion. I am reaching a point where I don’t care about anything. It’s time to start taking steps to change things. I’m not sure how things will turn out but something has to give. This situation isn’t healthy for any of us anymore.

Shadow Side Saturday: Soul Darkness

Lately I have been feeling very down, bleak and worn out. My spirit is exhausted and sore. It is as though a darkness is twining its way through my soul, weaving unhappiness and sadness through my spirit. It’s tendrils are wrapping themselves around my spine and won’t let go. I feel like a tower being overcome by ivy and hidden from the eyes of the world. Or like Briar Rose/Sleeping Beauty whose castle is surrounded by a thick, impenetrable hedge of thorns.

My brain is hammered daily by the nonsensical ramblings of a woman I love but sometimes want to kill. I am a prisoner of this house with no chance of parole. Even on the sunniest day, darkness blots my view. There are days when I truly don’t care if I wake up because what is the point? I’ll simply be repeating the same day over again and that wasn’t fun the first time around.

I try to put a positive spin on things; put my best foot forward but there are days when that is impossible. I hate blowing smoke up my own ass and when I am in this frame of mind that’s how it feels. This sucks. There is every likelihood this situation can go on for years – she’s in good physical health, it’s her mental state that is challenged. I want to range at whatever deity let this happen and then I realize it’s not really any deities fault. Sometimes theses things are the result of human intervention (for example someone who might have died at 60 from a heart attack survives, living to 80 but developing dementia or Alzheimer’s). It makes me wonder if longevity is such a great gift. If living longer means dealing with this kind of mental state I’d prefer to die younger but with all my marbles unscrambled.

I know I’m a strong person but even I don’t know if I’m strong enough to handle this much longer. I hate to see her suffer and I hate suffering myself. I feel like my soul is shriveling and dying one small piece at a time and I have to find a way to stop that process. No matter how hard I fight it, sometimes there are just days when I need to let it sit and experience and then move on. Luckily to date that has been what happens. If I become lost in the darkness then I’ll have to figure out another plan. Right now just acknowledging these feelings and expressing them help alleviate some of the darkness.

The truth is carved upon the stones weighing down my heart – Hag of Earth R + 8 of Earth (Dark Goddess Tarot)

Dark Goddess Hag of Earth

The Hag of Earth reversed – this is the second time this week I’ve drawn her staring, pitiless gaze.  Today she speaks to me of secrets hidden and denied over the years.  Familial secrets, community secrets, those deep, dark secrets that impact everyone even they are unaware of its existence.  It makes me think of tales told in my community about neighbors whom “everyone knew” were living in dangerous circumstances (abusive husbands being the most prevalent) and yet no one did anything.  I often believe that the tellers feel guilty about not helping in any way and tell the tale in an effort to make it seem less serious.  At the same time the guilt leaves a scar on the person’s psyche and on the community’s psyche.  The Hag of Earth observes these actions or lack thereof and records them on our souls.  She does not judge or shame, simply watches with her pitiless, blank eyes.

The Cailleach, old woman of the mountains who drops stones from her skirt to build them.  Her blue skin and red hair combined with having only one eye in the center of her forehead give her a strange, frightful appearance.  She seems to move lightly across the mountainous peaks, her stone-filled apron no real burden to her.  She is the crone of winter, cold and darkness.  Although she often uses those stones to make the mountains higher, I think in this instance she is removing some of the boulders for me.  She is clearing the way to help me move forward on my healing journey.

The Hag of Earth tells me that my tale is recorded in the very stones of the earth.  I can choose to ignore it but that will not make it go away.  Denial is not the way to heal from this situation.  The Cailleach on the 8 of Earth reminds me that the stones must be moved in order for me to progress.  She can help take them away but I must decide to move ahead once the way is clear.  She Who Watches sees the scars on my psyche, even if I try to deny or ameliorate their impact.  The Cailleach can help me remove the boulders upon which these scars are inscribed but I need to ask for her help and actually do the work once she had cleared them.

That scares me – I’ve had these scars for so long I’m not sure I can let them go.  They are part of me and yet they aren’t.  They are the me I am now.  If those scars had never formed who knows who I might have become?  Maybe removing those scars, healing those wounds, will allow me to find out the answer to that question.  These darkly divine ladies offer the terrifying vision of hope.  Hope and the possibility of healing can be frightening and overwhelming, especially to somehow who has abandoned all hope.  I think these two tough ladies are showing me that I can heal – it might not be easy but it can happen if I’m willing to do the work.

I need to let go and move on and not lose my head about things – 5 of Pentacles + King of Swords (Ghosts & Spirits)

Ghosts & Spirits 5 of Pentacles Ghosts & Spirits King of Swords

Okay so let me see, if I want to be happy and celebrate my gifts today I need to let go and move on and not lose my head about things?  That sounds about right.

Lisa Hunt illustrated the 5 of Pentacles using the story of the Unquiet Grave in which a man’s inability to stop mourning his lose love prevents her from moving on.  Yesterday I addressed how the lingering ghosts of Christmases Past have often undermined my own ability to move on.  I think this card is reinforcing the message that it’s time to release that negative energy and find a way to manifest new memories and new joys in my life.

The Headless Horseman shown on the King of Swords reminds me to use my brain and stop torturing myself.  It’s also symbolic of the power of illusion.  In Washington Irving’s original tale the Horseman’s legend used to scare off a superstitious Ichabod Crane.  Brom is described as looking “exceedingly knowing’ whenever the tale is told implying he impersonated the Horseman to rid the village of Crane, his rival for Katrina’s hand.  That in no way diminishes the power of the legend.  Indeed it might even strengthen it because it adds the power of belief.

How often have people sabotaged themselves because they believed in something negative about themselves?  We often created self-fulfilling prophecies and then point to them as proof that we didn’t deserve any better.  It’s difficult enough when others see us through the lenses of their perceptions of us.  How much worse is the damage we cause ourselves when we begin to believe these perceptions and manifest them in our lives?

If I want to stop making my life about the past and an ability to let go then I will be creating a scary and haunted future.  If I use my head and change my mindset, then I can become the master of my own future and not allow the legends of others or my own past to hold me back.

My affirmation:  I let go of the sadness of the past and what is lost, putting my mind towards created a limitless future.

I’m feeling trapped in a dark place (6 of Pentacles & Hanged Man R – Bohemian Gothic)

Bohemian Gothic 6 of Pentacles 12

 

I feel as though I’m in a dark, lonely space right now. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt quite so hopeless and isolated. This situation with the in-laws just keeps getting worse and everything else around me seems to be going to shit as well. The Tarot cards I’ve drawn over the last few days have not exactly been beacons of hope either. I’m not sure if they’re simply reflecting my dark mood or if they’re trying to give me a deeper message; forcing me to face this darkness and fight to move passed it.

Yesterday I drew the 3 of Swords crossed by The Sun reversed. The day before that it was the 5 of Pentacles reversed crossed by the 10 of Wands reversed. If I focus really, really hard I can come up with fairly positive interpretations for both these readings but my initial reaction to both was rather bleak.

Today’s card only seem to add to the gloom. The 6 of Pentacles crossed by The Hanged Man reversed suggests that I’m going to need to give more and that’s probably not going to change any time soon. Looking at the 6 of Pentacles from the Bohemian Gothic Tarot I am struck by the image of a woman holding a baby while a rather severe looking bearded man stands there staring at her. In my head I get the sense that he is requiring payment of her first-born child for some service rendered. I feel as though I’m in a situation that requires me to give until it hurts and right now it’s hurting a lot.

The Hanged Man reversed reminds me that I’m still in limbo and might be for the foreseeable future. A change in perspective might help facing this reality but that can sometimes be easier said than done. Perhaps part of the problem is the direction I face. If I can turn in a different direction I might see an entirely new set of possibilities and choices. I need to be careful not to get so hung up (ba-dum-dum) on one perspective that other viewpoints becomes impossible to see. Hmm, that actually makes me feel a bit better now. It gives me a place to start. Maybe that will help change the reality too.

Stop killing yourself, stop killing yourself (The Chariot R + 3 of Swords – All Hallows)

All Hallows Chariot All Hallows 3 of Swords

 

Am I not steering my own chariot because I fear it will cause me to betray someone? Do I not trust that my chariot is going in the right direction; not trusting that the Divine is steering me where I need to go? Does that leave me feeling heart-broken, bereft and betrayed? I have no idea. That seems to be happening quite a lot to me lately. I’m feeling a bit disconnected, as though I can’t interact with the energies in the Tarot deck. I suppose this is not unexpected considering what’s been going on in my life lately. But I digress.

The ghostly hearse on The Chariot reminds me of the movie Darby O’Gill and the Little People. The cóiste-bodhar (Death Coach, which really should be cóiste bás) rides out to capture the souls of the dead. Maybe I’m afraid my soul is slipping away from me; that I’m losing touch with who I really am. Rather than steering the course of my life I’ve been coasting; letting the winds of fate blow where they will. As a result I feel that I’ve betrayed myself and that breaks my heart. Rather sad and bleak.

Okay, I refuse to give in to despair right now. Things are rough but there are moments of brightness and hope. If I don’t want this coach to continue running off the track then I need to grab hold of the reins and take some control. I don’t have to dominate the horses, simply guide them. Of course first I need to learn how to rein in and guide myself.

Hmm, maybe that’s what The Chariot is doing – scolding me for not trying to take more control over myself. I’m one of those folks who knows what she should do (eat right, exercise, etc.) but somehow never manages to actually do them. Of course I always know how other people should live their lives. I’m a genius when it comes to other people and a dunce when it comes to myself. A pattern I need to break and soon. I’m breaking my own heart just thinking about it.

Or maybe what The Chariot reversed is reminding me is that if I don’t get my act together I’ll find myself in the Death Coach. I’m not being too melodramatic or overly negative but if I don’t take better care of myself, my diabetes can become very nasty. My father died at a relatively young age from complications due to his uncontrolled diabetes. My younger brother is already suffering some troubling health issues as a result of his. The last thing I need to carry on that particular family tradition. I don’t want to break the hearts of my loved ones and leave them feeling betrayed and bereft.

Memories getting washed away and nothing I can do to stop it (Page of Swords R & King of Wands – Fairy Lights Tarot)

Fairy Lights Knave of Swords Fairy Lights King of Wands

{-QOTD – What guidance can you offer me today?-} Page of Swords R (Fairy Lights Tarot)
{-QOTD – What might enhance or modify this guidance?-} King of Wands(Fairy Lights Tarot)

As soon as I saw these cards appear today I was struck by the sense they were about my mother-in-law and myself.

I see the Page of Swords reversed as my mother-in-law in her current state. Her mental faculties are slowly deteriorating. No matter how much I wish it were not the case, the strong-willed, sharp tongued woman I knew has become a querulous, frightened old woman. She still has moment of mental acuity but for the most part she will never be able to live independently.

The King of Wands is me. No matter how much will or energy I try to exert over this situation, no matter how much I try to master it, I have no control. There is nothing I can do to stop this process anymore. The only course I have left is to harness my energy and work to make her remaining time comfortable and easier.

This message is further enhanced by the pairs the deck creator assigned to these cards. The Page of Swords is paired with the 8 of Cups. This reinforces the message that the mom-in-law is slowly moving away from us on her own journey. We can’t join her and we can’t stop her. The King of Wands partner is the 6 of Pentacles – it’s my turn to give to her because she’s not able to give to us or anyone else right now. That’s where my energies need to be focused.

This is a rather melancholy message but somehow it’s comforting too. Or at least it has the benefit of reinforcing what I already felt to be true in my heart.

I think my responsibilities are blocking my ability to “make it so” (Magician & High Priestess R)

Fairy Lights Magician Tarocchi delle Luci Fatate:Layout 1

 

I haven’t journaled about my daily Tarot card readings for several weeks now. Dealing with the in-law situation has consumed my time. I’ve pulled cards (and needless to say they’ve been interestingly accurate) but haven’t had the time or energy to write about them. Today I am feeling a bit more breathing room.

I also decided to stop using two different decks. I’m going to focus on one deck at a time and swap them out at each new moon. As time goes on I may discover that I can release more decks to new homes. As much as I like the decks I own, I’m feeling a need to only keep ones I will actually use. Otherwise they become attractive nuisances.

Looking at these two cards I realized that part of my life right now combines a desire to move forward and take control of the situation; to manifest my will along with a need to be protective and guard the ones for whom I care. I am both the Magician, working on creating my own reality and the High Priestess who is helping guide and guard my mother-in-law through this transition in her life. I’m also learning about – about myself, about aging and possibly even about dying. Sometimes it’s just not easy to share with others because it’s too personal and too revealing but it’s no less powerful.

In the US I see a lot of folks talk about dying with dignity and aging. Let me tell you I have come to realize that the only thing that can truly help us face either or both of these situations with any true hope is a social network. I’m convinced that part of the reason my mother-in-law is suffering from mental deterioration is because her family (except for her son and me) don’t visit or call or spend any time with her. Her siblings are either gone or equally out of touch and her childhood friends have long since passed away and she found it difficult to make new ones (for a variety of reasons). If I learn nothing else from this experience it is that maintaining an active and supportive network of friends and family is essential for aging in a healthy and happy way.