How can I honor Tom’s memory today? King of Stones (Wildwood)

It was on this day in 1986 that my brother Tom was killed.  He was 15 years old at the time and it was a devastating loss for my family.  We all still miss him every day.  So I wanted to take a moment and consider how I can continue to honor his memory.

This is a story about Tom published in New York Magazine in October 1982

NY Magazine - Children in NYC - The Have Nots - Tom as Stephen

And this was written by the same author after Tom was killed

NY Magazine - A Death in Hell's Kitchen pg 1 NY Magazine - A Death in Hell's Kitchen pg 2

The King of Stones in this deck is a wolf.  My brother Tom would have loved that.  He was an animal lover and always seemed to have a menagerie of pets.  I have always had a fondness for wolves too.  They are such beautiful, wild, untamed creatures.  They operate in a pack and care for each other.  Despite the fact that they have been hunted almost to extinction by humans they manage to hang on.  If it’s now popular to be a woman who runs with the wolves, my brother was a boy who ran with the wolves.

Tom was unique, quirky and in many ways quite fearless.  The older he got the more independent he became.  He was never one to go with the crowd.  I remember a time when Tom told his closet friend that he wouldn’t hang out with him anymore if he kept doing drugs.  Tom didn’t care if his friend got mad, Tom also had a wicked sense of humor.  He once set up a dummy figure on our sofa so that it looked like an uncle who had recently died.  He then waiting until one of us entered the living room and fell into his trap.  Of course it was me and I can still hear his chuckle at my shriek.

Although Tom was only 16 when he was killed and the pain was incredible, I would never trade those 16 years for anything.  Tom wasn’t perfect.  He had a fierce temper and, like most teenage boys, rather challenged hygiene but he was good-hearted, caring, and funny.  He loved hockey and was a die-hard NY Rangers fan.  he loved people but I think he loved animals more.  He was a wonderful and wacky storyteller who could make up laugh without even trying.

I think to honor his memory, the King of Stones is telling me to maintain a connection to the wild – both in the world and in myself.  I need to go out into the woods and howl at the moon – whether literally or figuratively.  I need to honor my pack and keep those connections alive.  And I need to always keep Tom in my heart.  He was part of our pack and we still mourn his loss.

 

Thoughts about my marriage – Ace of Wands (Baroque Bohemian Cats)

Today I found myself thinking about my marriage (possibly because my hubby reminds me a bit of Thor – well except for the hair color).  Hubby and I have been together for 31 years.  As most couples do, we’ve had our ups and downs.  There have been times when I’m sure one of us might have gladly killed the other.  Yet somehow we manage to stay together.  We gone through tragedies and triumphs together.  We been financially stable and broke together.  Now we’re dealing with the situation with his mother and brother together.  None of it has been easy and I often think that we’re both just too stubborn to admit we might have made a mistake staying together.  To quote The Twilight Zone episode “The Hunt”, “we have endured.”

Sometimes I have no idea how we’ve managed this. I can’t say that I have any tips to offer to anyone.  No words of wisdom that might give insight to others.  We just keep plugging along together.  When we have issues we fight.  I have to admit that I’m a lancer.  If I know there is an issue simmering beneath the surface I keep trying to lance it so that all the ickiness comes out and we address it.  Hubby is more of a brooder who would prefer to simmer and let it eventually evaporate.  However I know him and if he doesn’t get it out of his system it will come up again, and worse, sometime in the future.  This way at least we get it all out while there is a possibility of actually healing.  I’m the explosive type.  I can blow up about minor things (often because I’m really upset about something else that I didn’t address) which can often result in hubby staring at me with a befuddled expression on his face because he has no idea what brought this on.  Sometimes he defuses things by making me laugh.  Other times it triggers him and then we’re off on a battle.  At the end of the day we try to work things out.

One thing we both know (and I’m convinced this is what has enabled us to stay together) is that we love each other.  Sometimes we show it in minor ways (remembering a favorite TV show is one or picking up a treat the other likes) and other times it’s big things (hubby totally understands my need to replace my laptop if it dies).  I sometimes think one of the reasons so many marriages fall apart is because people aren’t willing to do the work.  I’ve seen many relationships implode because they never address the underlying issues that cause their fights.  They break up and reunite but nothing actually changes and it eventually falls apart.  I also think for some couples children become the glue and once the children are gone so is the relationship.  Children were never a issue with hubby and me so we had to be sure we wanted to be with each other – there were no distractions.

Baroque Bohemian Cats Ace of Wands
The Ace of Wands reminds me that one factor in our continuing relationship is that we’re both passionate about keeping it alive.  We’re willing to fight, to charge ahead and to try to keep the spark alive.  In our cores, we both know we’re meant to be together.  We try to keep things exciting (which can be very difficult with things the way they are now).  I think the one thing I never want to do is take my hubby or this relationship for granted.  If we don’t tend to it, it will die and neither of us want that to happen.

What do I need to think about right now? Page of Cups (Prague)

Joanna Powell Colbert recently wrote about becoming native to your place.  She pointed out that for many of us, we are still connected to our ancestral lands and need to be born again into this continent.  Joanna describes some of the work she has done to honor her Celtic ancestors and connect with this land.  That made me think about how and if I’m connected to this land.

I am the fifth generation of my family (on my mother’s side) to live in my neighborhood.  I’m the fourth generation born in NYC.  My great- great-grandfather fought in the Civil War as part of the Fighting 69th.  I have always felt an incredible connection to my neighborhood.  I stay there because of this connection.  It is my ancestral land.  My family’s origins may be in Ireland but I have no real connection to that land.  If we have distant relatives there, we’ve never been in touch.  I may love Irish mythology and music but I’m American.  To be more specific I am a New Yorker of Irish descent born and bred on the Westside of Manhattan.  Something about the concrete and grit of my NYC is embedded in my soul.  That’s what distresses me so much about how things have changed and how disconnected I now feel.

In many ways I took my neighborhood for granted.  I loved it and always felt things would stay the same (or at least roughly the same).  I loved wandering along the Hudson River and hang out on the worn, decrepit docks.  I spent hours in the local park roaming around in the back where I often stumbled across the detritus of drug use and other illegal activities but I was oblivious to this ugliness because the beauty of the park enthralled me.  It was a small oasis of green grass, flowers and trees amidst the tenements, industrial buildings and decaying waterfront.  My brother’s blood was shed on the Westside Highway.  My family was displace by a fire on 52nd Street and 10th Avenue that left us homeless and possession-less.  I grew up moving to different apartments all within a 3 block radius (in fact my current apartment is still within this area).  So how can I walk away?  How can I break those ties and just move on?  I can’t.

I’ve tried moving and although I do love my house in Orange County, it’s not home.  When I’ve visited other areas in New York State I can appreciate their beauty, enjoy the feel of the area, but I’ve never felt at home.  I’ve never felt the connection I’ve always felt to my own neighborhood.  I can still remember how I felt when riding down the helix towards the Lincoln Tunnel and seeing my neighborhood across the river.  That’s when I knew I was home.  I feel as though there are invisible bonds, cords, chains that connect me to this place.  It is woven into my spirit and leaving would be painful.  Unfortunately staying is becoming equally painful.

Much of what I remember from my childhood has been bulldozed out of existence and replace by trendy restaurants, expensive high rises and hipster bars.  The streets that were once filled with friends and acquaintances are now fill with throngs of young singles looking to party; to see and be seen.  It’s become a way station; a stop for twenty-somethings looking to hang out and have fun.  There are few families here and no real sense of community anymore.  It feels like a tourist destination and that breaks my heart.

Stores and residents that have been part of the fabric of the neighborhood for decades have been priced out and forced to move or go out of a business.  We were once a community that was self-sufficient.  Residents could make a decent living without needing to leave its boundaries.  We could shop for groceries, clothes and household goods all within a few blocks.  That’s all gone.  You can certainly find a good meal or place to drink but many of the small butchers, green grocers and variety stores are gone.  What is left tends to be pricey.  Most of the industries that were the lifeblood of the neighborhood have moved away too.

So what can you do when you are so connected to a place but it has changed so much that it doesn’t feel like home anymore?  I don’t know.  It’s part of the reason I tend to go on rants about transplants and the gentrification of NYC.  Both those things have made me obsolete in my home.  I’ve been outnumbered to the point that transplants feel they have the right to tell me what a “real New Yorker” is.

Tarot of Prague Page of Cups
It’s interesting – today I asked the Tarot “what do I need to think about right now?” and I drew the Page of Cups.  I have a feeling this card directly relates to this issue.  I need to take look at my emotional connection to my neighborhood and decide whether I want to hold onto those ties or if I need to find a way to allow myself to be emotionally open to connecting to a new place.  Or maybe they are mutually exclusive.  I may never feel the same emotional bond to a new place that I do to my birthplace but I can still establish roots and open my heart to loving a new place.  It’s almost like having a pet that dies.  I will always love the deceased pet but that doesn’t mean I can’t open my heart to a new one too.  It’s a lot to think about and I don’t have to make any final decisions but maybe I can start to be more open to the place where I live now and make some room in my heart for it.

What is love truly about? Judgement (Tarot of Prague)

Tarot of Prague Judgement

Sometimes I am amazed at the answers Tarot gives me to certain questions.  I decided to ask this one after watching a classic In Search Of episode about great lovers.  It focused on the fictional tale of Don Juan and the (possibly somewhat fictionalized) life of Giacomo Casanova.  In both cases these men are viewed as legendary lovers but when you listen to the tales of Don Juan’s conquests he seems more victimizer than lover.  He lies, cheats and steals to have his way with women.  No trick is too devious or to low.  When he is finished the women are often embittered and furious.  Casanova, on the other hand, seems to be a scoundrel and con artist in many ways but his lovers are left with fond memories and seem to bear him so ill-will.

Considering the very different styles and personalities of these two legendary lovers, I decided to ask Tarot what is love?  At it’s core, what does love truly mean?  Drawing Judgement in response to this question was surprising.  The card shows a winged angel with a determined expression in the foreground.  Behind him are several coffins that have been opened and their inhabits are beginning to emerge.  Three additional angels hover in the background offering their assistance.  Not exactly the visual I was expecting in response to a question about love.

Upon further reflection it started to make more sense.  Love, true love not the initial passion and attraction that we often claim is love, is about seeing our partners for who they really are and loving them anyway.  Real love is about constantly working to revive the relationship; to bring it back from the dead, and not lose sight of the fact that untended it will wither and die.  Real love may experience dormant periods but that doesn’t mean it’s dead, merely hibernating.  Real love is about accepting that sometimes we go through dark patches in our lives and when we emerge into the light we might need the support and love of a partner.

Romantic love is often portrayed as unconditional and never-changing.  In my experience real love is very conditional and constantly changing.  It morphs and expands and grows.  Sometimes we may think it has died but then something will reignite it and it comes roaring back in a wave of memory and joy.  I have found that sometimes those we love and who love us can be very judgemental, weighing and evaluating our behaviors and failure but loving us anyway.  Rather than wrapping relationships in rose-tinted gauze, real love accepts our flaws and screw ups.  Perhaps Shakespeare said it best – love is not love which alters when it alteration finds.  Real love is not perfect and flawless.  It is riddled with cracks and flaws but it endures; it is strong enough to face any judgments made of it.  In fact that may be part of the message here too – real love makes us strong enough to face Judgement together, powerful and enduring and not wilting under pressure.

There is a wonderful Twilight Zone episode called The Hunt about an elderly country man who loves hunting with his dog.  Before leaving he has a conversation with his wife, whom he clearly loves.  Their every interaction speaks of that love but they never say the words.  Instead they have this conversation:
Old Woman:  “Old man I never said this to you but we have endured powerful well over the years together.”
Old Man:  “Hmm? Nearly 50 years we’ve been married, eh? Come October 16.”
Old Woman:  “Long time to travel together.”
Old Man:  “Well, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
To me, that is real love.

Thoughtful Thor’s Day: Gloomy thoughts on a gloomy day

Actually today is more of a Thoughtful Thor’s Day.  It’s rather gloomy, gray and chilly outside which means I’m limited to inside stuff today.  I can’t say that really excites me much but then again I don’t do a whole lot when it’s sunny out either.  I realize that part of the problem is my own focus and initiative.  It’s difficult to become excited about anything when I feel like such a prisoner.  The situation is getting worse and I don’t know what to do about it.  Maw Maw (the mom-in-law) becomes so agitated sometimes that it’s impossible to sleep.  Very often we’re almost asleep and she wakes up.  Then one of us has to get up with her because she starts touching things like the stove or trying to open the front door.  This results in both the hubby and I being sleep deprived and exceedingly cranky.  Putting her in an institution is a last resort to both of us but I’m afraid we might be reaching that point soon.

This entire situation makes me wonder at caring for the aging in this country.  So many of the resources available are limited and/or difficult to access.  In many cases we’ve been told that because she is not on Medicaid she’s not eligible for free services and she doesn’t have enough income to afford the paid ones.  I’ve seen this time and time again with friends whose parents are in similar situations.  Nursing homes or senior facilities are costly (ranging from $1500 per month to $6000 per month in this area) and also tend to be few and far between.  this means if we want to visit her it would take an hour drive to get to most of these places.  We’re also very hesitant to place her anywhere because her mental condition means she has no ability to communicate if someone is hurting her.

I’ve never been under the illusion that life is fair.  However many recent experiences have made me question our societal obsession with staving off death as long as possible regardless of the consequences.  I’ve seen many people caring for elderly parents who take them to the doctor or hospital for a variety of reasons.  The hospital is able to stabilize the parent but not actually heal or cure them.  As a result the parent is often either back in the hospital again in a few months or given another batch of medicine to “help” whatever condition the doctor believes he or she has now.  Maw Maw would probably be taking 10 pills a day if her doctor had his way.  He means well but he doesn’t truly know what is wrong with her and seems to believe that if he keeps giving her medications she’ll eventually find one that works.  It seems to be an all to common approach to healthcare in the US.

I’ve had several friends and neighbors battling various forms of cancer over the past few years.  It amazes me how painful and ultimately unsuccessful this process appears to be.  So often they believe they caught the initial cancer only to have it spread to a new area a few years later.  It’s almost as though the treatment actually accelerates the grown of the tumors.  I know the professionals state this is not what happens but from a layman’s perspective this is how it appears.  I think some of the miscommunication stems from the fact that for a doctor prolonging the patient’s life for another 5 years is a victory.  To the patient it just seems to be a long and painful battle that they ultimately lose.  I know some people do live for over 10 years after treatment for cancer.  In fact Maw Maw was diagnosed with uterine cancer back in 1981 and beat it, remaining cancer-free for over 30 years.  I would also never try to influence someone else’s choice for treatment.  That is a personal decision and something that needs to be left to the patient and her/his doctor.  However it makes me wonder what I would do if the situation ever arises (although I hope it never, ever does).

Wow a gloomy day really seems to bring up gloomy thoughts.  Of course my current situation doesn’t help matters any either.  It’s hard to be cheerful when your life has become a relentless deathwatch with no end in sight.  It also points out to me how much I rely on external distractions to keep me from focusing on negative things in my life.  In the past, my salary allowed me to buy books, Tarot decks and dolls (among other things) to keep me from realizing how unhappy I was with my job and other aspects of my life.  I’ve been rather slow to develop other coping skills.  I’d prefer to avoid the matter entirely and just zone out in front of the television or read a book.  I can tell that’s not going to work much long either.

To gain so clarity about this situation I asked the Tarot “How can I deal with this situation in a more healthy manner?”  I used the Dark Carnival Tarot and drew The Moon.

Dark Carnival Moon

The companion book offers a very contemporary and urban interpretation of this card, referring to blood moons, treacherous paths and ready to put a garden claw in the face of a foe.  This resonates with me right now.  Things do feel bleak and desolate (although I don’t feel threatened enough to need a garden claw),  It is an unsettling landscape that lies ahead of me.  It’s unfamiliar terrain and if I can’t trust myself then who can I trust?  I think The Moon is telling me that I need to stop fooling myself and see things for what they really are.  I also need to acknowledge that while things are bleak and desolate right now, they will eventually improve.  I just have to make it through this dark and scary night.  It’s not an especially pleasant image but it does offer some hope.

What can I do right now, in this moment that will bring me pleasure and also positively impact my future – The Close + 10 of Swords (Old Path)

Old Path The Close Old Path 10 of Swords

I got this question from the lovely Sasha Graham (the fabulous Tarot Diva) whose new book 365 Tarot Spreads is due out in May.   I find it interesting that these two cards seem to be different resonances of the same energy.  The Close (or Death) is a card of transformation, endings and beginnings and letting go.  The 10 of Swords offer a similar message – it’s time to lay down the arms and give up the battle.  Once we’ve released the urge to cling to the fight we may find that there are new opportunities opening to us.

On a purely practical level there are things I can’t and won’t release right now (and I’m no assuming I need to do so).  Caring for while in-laws (while sometimes thankless, relentless and frustrating) is non-negotiable.  I get the sense these cards are speaking to me of releasing an outworn and useless mindset, letting go of that damn inner critic that won’t shut up and starting a new way of thinking about myself and this situation.

Sometimes I can be a bit glib about things like this but I truly believe we have the power to create our own fate.  In my core I know that if I only focus on negative aspects of my life that’s the energy I will keep attracting.  If I focus on what I want to bring into my life I can do that as long as I truly believe.  Wishful thinking is real if I believe it’s real.

Sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day miseries that drain and exhaust me.  I won’t blow smoke up anyone’s butt (least of all my own) about how crushing and relentless this caregiving stuff can be.  However I refuse to let it crush my spirit.  I want to embrace the learning opportunity this provides even if I would prefer to forego the lesson.

What should I begin in my life today? 5 of Rods R + 4 of Cauldrons R (Old Path)

Old Path 5 of Rods Old Path 4 of Cauldrons

The 5 of Wands once again.  I drew this at least twice while working with my previous deck (Book of Shadows As Below).  In fact I’m pretty sure I drew the 4 of Cauldrons at least once with that deck too.  Obviously these two cards have a message for me that I either haven’t acknowledged or haven’t acted upon.

On level the 5 of Wands speaks to me of wasting energy in a pointless battle.  It’s about scuffles that aren’t important and don’t really matter.  It just siphons off energy that can be used more productively and more beneficially.  The 4 of Cauldrons shows me two people drowning their unhappiness in a surplus of liquid forgetfulness.  Their unhappiness and dissatisfaction with their lives is almost palpable although it’s also clear they intend to take no action that might change this.

Both these cards are reversed in this reading which suggests I’m not addressing these issues myself.  I believe they connect to the current situation I’m living as caregiver to my in-laws.  On some level I am so angry about this that I cannot accurately describe how I feel.  My life has been put on hold and I feel as though they are vampires siphoning off my energy and essence.  I am nothing, no one.  I am merely the one who cleans them, feeds them and makes sure they’re safe.  This does not even have the benefits rearing a child might because there is no growth, no improvement.  It’s simply a slow, numbing march towards death.

Well-meaning friends and family compliment me on how selfless I am to do this.  I don’t feel selfless, I feel resentful and pissed off.  I am doing this because I feel it is the moral, ethical, “right” thing to do.  It might not be the case for everyone but it is for me.  That doesn’t mean I don’t hate it sometimes.  I feel trapped and suffocated.  I think this is reflected by the 5 of Wands reversed.  I am struggling against a situation I cannot change (granted it is my decision but that doesn’t make it easy or fun).  It also reinforces the fact that I need to find a creative outlet for this energy before it becomes toxic.

The 4 of Cauldrons reversed shows the inevitable progression if I don’t make some changes.  I’ll become increasingly unhappy and dissatisfied; drowning my sorrows in junk food or other unhealthy behaviors.  I think I’m also tired of pretending I okay with this situation.  I’m no martyr or saint.  I’m just a poor shlub doing what I think is right, even if I hate it.

Why am I confused? 9 of Wands R + Queen of Chalices R (BoS So Below)

BoS So Below 9 of Wands BoS So Below Queen of Chalices

Lack of focus and insight – that’s why I’m confused.  My energy stores are depleted and my concentration is almost non-existent.  With the situation surrounding me, focusing or concentrating on any task are absolute luxuries.  I feel as though I’m developing attention deficit disorder because my attention span has become nonexistent.  If I can focus on a book long enough to read a chapter it’s a minor miracle.

I’m beginning to realize that some of this confusion and lack of focus is circumstantial and not due to any innate character traits.  My life is not conducive to focus or concentration right now.  Things may change in the future but as things stand right now I’m fighting against the prevailing current.  It’s frustrating but I need to be more flexible about this.  It would seem that now is just not the time to focus on personal projects no matter how much I’d love to start.

I think the Queen of Chalices is telling me that I need to comfort myself right now.  I need to give myself the same support and acceptance I would give a friend going through similar experiences.  I think we all tend to be much harsher and more judgmental with ourselves in situations like this.  Those inner critics that lie in wait to shred our self-confidence thrive on moments like this.  Instead of feeding that energy I need to embrace myself and say all those kind, comforting things I’d tell a dear friend.

I don’t think I’m confused as much as I am exhausted and depleted.  I’m confusing being warn out with being confused.  I can’t focus on building a new career because I am up to my neck in my current career.  Perhaps it’s not a paying job but caring for my in-laws is no less demanding, draining and time consuming.  It’s time to stop fighting the current and go with the flow, even if that flow is taking me in a direction different from the one I would have chosen.

What path should I explore next? 2 of Pentacles R + 7 of Wands R (BoS So Below)

BoS So Below 2 of Pentacles BoS So Below 7 of Wands

Out of balance and out of confidence – yes, I’d say that describes me right now.  I’m still feeling like a bit of a mess.  Don’t get me wrong, I had fun exploring the nature of extraterrestrials but in the long haul that won’t help me figure out what I want to do next with my life.

In the companion book, Barbara Moore offers the interpretation “stressed; too much to do; unable to give anything its proper attention”.  In some ways this is a relief.  Maybe the reason I’m feeling off balance and disconnected with the flow is because I just can’t do it right now.  I’m trying to force something that just isn’t meant to happen right now.  Sometimes I feel as though I’ being a slug.  I’m not actually working on anything and I’m finding it difficult to focus.  On the other hand I have a lot on my plate.

I sometimes think I don’t realize how exhausting it is to care for the in-laws.  They both require continuous (continual) attention and long-term supervision.  We can leave them alone for a few ours but no overnight or for any longer length of time.  Even the simplest of tasks like preparing dinner can become challenging if something goes wrong with one of them.  Sleeping has become challenging because my mother-in-law has developed a new habit of taking 3-4 hour “naps” and then waking up full of energy and wanting to talk.  Right now we feel as sleep deprived as the parents of most newborns.

For the 7 of Wands reversed, Barbara offers this insight – “feeling defensive or overly protective”.  Looking at the woman on this card I can honestly say I was that woman.  When I worked in the non-profit sector I regularly facilitated training sessions, organized staff development workshops, developed programs and wrote grant applications.  I knew I was good and I think that was conveyed in how I conducted myself (hell, there were times I was downright arrogant).  Those days are long gone.  Right now I feel like a complete failure at everything; someone that no person in their right mind would hire.  In fact there are days when the idea of being in any group setting fills me with terror.  Okay I’m overstating things a bit but I’m not really far from the mark here.  Apparently I am quite an externally focused person when it comes to validation and feedback I need to hear it from someone else.

So I think what I need to explore next in my life is how I can regain a sense of balance and confidence.  Instead of pushing myself to accomplish some elusive goal I need to focus on what I can do and how to keep my sanity.  Goals and a mission statement are all well and good but maybe I’m trying to run when I’m barely able to walk.  Perhaps scaling things down, taking baby steps will be more beneficial for me right now.  Beating myself up about what I can’t and haven’t done is pointless and just makes things worse.  I think I need to ease up on myself and focus on feeling better and just finding what joy I can in the day to day things.

What experience or feeling do I yearn for today? Queen of Swords R + 4 of Pentacles R (Hidden Realm)

Hidden Realms Queen of Swords

Protection and solitude seem to be my keywords today.  The Queen of Swords reversed suggests that its time for me to sheath the sword a bit.  Intellect and objectivity are useful tools to a point but they aren’t helpful right now.  I think the weather. the situation and the sense of isolation are all wearing down on me.  I just don’t have the ability to take a walk and get away for a bit.  The snow has become a huge blanket coating the world and wrapping me in white oppression.  I feel as isolated as the Queen of Swords is often portrayed.

Looking at Mama Badger on the 4 of Pentacles I get the sense of being sheltered, protected and secure.  In many ways I’ve been playing Mama Badger and now I think I want someone to embody that energy for me.  Her young are hidden beneath the earth’s protective layer.  She guards them and tends to their needs because they are too defensive to care for themselves yet.  If I have to be isolated and alone I’d love to be babied too (for a little while at least).

This reading also reminded me that I’ve never really been mothered in that way.  It’s not my mother’s fault – she was hoping to find simple, unconditional love from her children.  Instead she had me with my angles, attitude and vague air of judgment.  I think my mother always felt that I found her wanting in some way; that she disappointed me.  As a child this was likely true.  The younger I was, the more certain I was of my correctness and more judgmental I was.

I’m sure I was something of a trail for my mother.  I have often said that I have always known she loves me but sometimes she doesn’t like me very much and she doesn’t truly understand me.  So there were often times I wanted to be nurtured but didn’t know how to ask and she didn’t know how to offer.  The Mama Badger on the 4 of Pentacles brings this back to mind.  I may yearn for nurturing, but like  a badger I can be dangerous and off-putting if approached.  So even if I wanted to feel protected and nurtured, I often resented the restrictions that came along with that.