Week 23 -What will help me deal with the brother-in-law situation for right now?  (#TarotReading #SlavicLegendsTarot #52WeekProject)

After what happened last week with my BiL’s case, I decided this week I need to focus on concrete steps or ideas that might help me deal with this whole situation moving forward. The reality is there is nothing I can do to force things to go the way I want, so I have to change how I’m handling the situation.

What’s the next best logical, rational step? 3 of Wands

What’s the best practical step to take? 5 of Swords Rx

What spiritual step will help me most? Knight of Cups

What heart-centered step will most benefit me right now? Knight of Coins Rx

The first thing I noticed about this reading is that I drew a card from each of the four suits although interestingly none of them fall within the area of influence of the question. Two of the cards are upright and two of the cards are reversed, which is another interesting coincidence. It suggests in some areas I’m moving in the right direction while in other my options are hampered or blocked right now.

So, here is my down & dirty take on this reading. My next best logical & rational step is working with the system instead of fighting against it. The truth is my struggles have been fruitless and resulted in more moments of banging my head against wall than is good for my cranium. Now what I need to do is cooperate and let them see for themselves that the results they hope for probably won’t be achieved. They refuse to accept my take on this situation or acknowledge that I do know something about how the BiL with respond. I’ll kill them with cooperation as it were.

The best practical step I can take dovetails nicely with the previous card. The 5 of Swords Rx is showing that it’s time to put down my arms and stop fighting; it’s pointless and serves no useful purpose right now. I need to strategize and not charge in without a plan. Instead of viewing this current situation as a defeat, I need to see it as a strategic retreat to regroup and plan how to move forward again.

The spiritual step that will help me most is to find my heart’s desire; take a quest into my own feelings to see what I want to do next. This has come up for me quite often – exploring who I want to be and where I want to focus my energies in this new phase of my life. In many ways, my heart is broken and will never be the same but it still functions and it still has interests and desires to pursue. The Knight of Cups is showing that needs to be my next spiritual quest.

The Knight of Coins Rx shows that the heart-centered step will most benefit me right now is self care. I need to take practical steps to tend to my physical being. The amount of stress I’ve been dealing with since my hubby died has made it easy to put aside my own health issues. I need to make those a priority again.

So my priorities need to be focused on self-care and strategizing not creating a lot of sound and fury that isn’t going to help. This will be quite a challenge because it goes against my natural inclinations and temperament. Oh well, I guess I need to look at this as an opportunity for growth.

Week 12 Major Influences Spread (#TarotReading #HauntedHouseTarot #52WeekProject)

10 of Pentacles, 5 of Swords & 6 of Wands Rx from The Haunted House Tarot by Sasha Graham

I felt rather overwhelmed and befuddled this past week.  I’m still trying to get things resolved with regard to a housing situation for my brother-in-law or, rather, I’m waiting for the Department of Social Services to do so.  I realized they are a bureaucracy, and as such move at a glacial pace, however I have reached the end of my rope and can no longer sustain the current situation.  I am in the process of selling my mother-in-law’s house and once that is accomplished my brother-in-law needs to be gone.  I’m trying not to be harsh about the situation but I’ve been doing this for a year and a half with absolutely no relief and have reached the end of my internal resources.  It came to a head earlier this week when my brother-in-law’s caseworker asked me to postpone the sale.  To say you could have knocked me over with a feather would have been an understatement.  This has resulted in a bit of spiraling on my part so I decided I needed to get some clarity. 

I decided to try this Major Influences Spread by Nancy Antenucci that I found in 101 Tarot Spreads by 20 Modern Tarot Masters (Volume 1).  I like three card spreads because they’re simple enough to not be overwhelming and one can always pull additional cards for further clarification.  As you can see in the image above I drew the 10 of Pentacles, 5 of Swords and 6 of Wands reversed from The Haunted House Tarot by Sasha Graham.  I do so love when the Tarot gives me such a clear message.

So, in answer to what are the apparent known influences in this situation I drew the 10 of Pentacles.  The image in this card so perfectly fits my current situation that it’s unnerving.  One of my primary goals or motivations in this entire thing is getting moved back into my house before winter starts.  I had originally hoped to be there by Halloween but that is clearly not happening.  I’m tentatively hopeful that I will be there by Thanksgiving, but I think it might be more realistic to hope that I can celebrate Thanksgiving in the house, even if I’m not fully moved in yet.  So this image of a snow covered house with a happy family card in the foreground exactly expresses my motivations, desires and goals.

This 5 of Swords card is a bit unnerving because the figure in the foreground holding the knife looks like a man dressed in an old-fashioned nurse outfit.  He seems to be holding the knife and staring at the heroine of the piece, but it’s difficult to tell his intent.  I think this is to remind me that, while I am frustrated with DSS’s seeming lack of action up to this point, I’m not really sure what’s going on behind the scenes.  All might not be as it appears to me.  I’m sure there is a lot of behind the scenes negotiating and planning, to which I’m not privy, attempting to resolve this situation.  And, as a dear friend reminded me during this week, this is nothing personal against me.  As far as DSS is concerned, I’m actually rather irrelevant to this process.  I’m the caregiver that provides direct services, but how it impacts me is really not their priority.  I don’t have to like it but I also should be careful not to take it as a personal attack because then my responses create negative situations that don’t need to occur.

The 6 of Wands reversed reminds me that this isn’t a personal battle or a personal attack.  As I mentioned in the previous card, this is more about bureaucracies that are underfunded and understaffed trying to do the best with the resources available to them and make sure it is in the best interest of their clients.  I’m not their client so I’m just not their priority. If my need and interests intersect with theirs that’s great. If not, they’re not as cooperative. It isn’t an attack on me.  If I can take the sense of personal attack out of it, I might be able to handle things in a calmer and more rational manner.  At the same time, I think this card is reminding me not to abandon my needs either.  I don’t have to go gently into that good night, and it’s important that I advocate for myself and my needs. I also need to be cautious about acting like Bam Bam Rubble, smashing anything in my way to emerge victorious. Remembering that these representatives of government agencies are not trying to prevent me from achieving my goals and desires, they’re merely trying to ensure my brother in law’s needs are being met as well. No one actually triumphs in this situation; it’s more a case of the best possible outcome.

Overall this reading help me clarify some of the issues that have been bedeviling me this past week.  Ultimately I will get moved into my home and this house will be sold. My brother-in-law will be placed in a safe facility that can meet his needs.  Both our lives will go forward. I need to be cautious not to let incorrect interpretations and misunderstandings create a hostile and negative relationship with these government agencies because that will not help this process.  At the same time it’s perfectly fair for me to say that my needs matter too and I am not a doormat.  I have every right to say enough is enough, and they need to do whatever is necessary to ensure that my brother-in-law is placed somewhere once this house is sold.  That’s not me being selfish, that’s me looking out for my own health and well-being and survival.

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

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

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

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

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

#TarotDaily – 9 of Swords + The Moon (#AllHallows)

What are you doing to take care of your health & body?

I wondered what cards I’d draw in response to this query. Of course Tarot didn’t let me down!

To take care of my health, I’ve stopped listening to experts, pundits and well-meaning friends and family. Just like everything else, there is no “one size fits all” approach to healthy eating. Instead of reading more books on various eating styles, I’ve decided to listen to myself, to my body. I have type II diabetes but it is fairly well controlled. Unfortunately the standard ADA recommended eating plan elevates my glucose levels. I have found that the Paleo & Keto/low-carb eating plans help control my glucose levels but often leave me hungry. So instead of trying to find a different eating plan I’m cobbling together my own.

I’m also working on ceasing some delusional thinking on my part. Wishful thinking won’t change or heal anything. No matter how much I wish it was true, I need to exercise. I need to be moderate in my snacking. Even healthy snacks become unhealthy if overindulged. I’m still a work in progress but I’m getting there. I have faced this reality and I’m working towards dragging myself forward (kicking & screaming maybe but moving forward). I do appreciate my body and if I don’t start caring for it properly I don’t want to consider the consequences.

What do I need to be listening to right now? 3 of Cups R, 4 of Wands R + Prince of Swords (DruidCraft)

Greenman Oracle Saille/Willow

In divination, Saille can suggest a need to connect, listen to, or honor the ancestors, dead or alive. It may also draw attention to timing and flow, what currents are being joined or resisted.

Magically, Saille can be used for anything that flows. It is good for timing; knowing the proper moment for action. Saille is also good for moon-related work. For healing, this fid can be used in work for cleansing or encouraging blood flow, and for menstruation. As willow bark was the original source for aspirin, this fid is also good for pain relief.

Linked Concepts:  Ancestors and messages from the ancestors, death, the realm of the dead, time, tides, knowledge of time and proper timing, denial, impurity, music, honey and mead. (Erynn Rowan Laurie – Not Your Mama’s Tree Ogam)

What do I need to be listening to right now? 3 of Cups R, 4 of Wands R + Prince of Swords (DruidCraft)

DruidCraft 3 of Cups DruidCraft 4 of Wands DruidCraft Prince of Swords

As I drew each cards a voice in my head gave me a message. For the 3 of Cups it said “not your friends”. For the 4 of Wands it said “not your hubby”. For the Prince of Swords it said “listen to your brain”. Hmm, that almost seems to easy – my preference has always been to listen to my own mind, my own intellect and usually the messages I get send me in the other direction. So for once I can follow through on my own instincts.

Of course it’s never that easy. This message is also telling me that I really already know the answer to this question. I know what I need to be doing – not partying, celebrating and feasting (or generally engaging in unhealthy lifestyle choices). I need to get smart and start doing what I already know is in my best interests. I need to knuckle down and develop the discipline I need to follow this path. I don’t need to charge blindly ahead – in fact that would undermine the entire process. What I need to do is plan and follow through on those plans. I need to come up with a strategy that will help me stick with this new plan. I need to stay motivated and inspired – whatever steps needs to be taken.

I can really suck to know the answers because it means I’m lying to myself; deluding myself. I’m always in search of shortcuts (who isn’t?) but in this case (as with most other) the shortcuts have just lead to a lot of wasted effort and little results. I have better luck wishing for a genie to blink everything in order.

I need to accept that I am an addict. My addiction is sugar and carbs and there is not getting around that. No tricks I can use to make it better or allow me to cheat a little. I need to give it up completely. Otherwise all my efforts to make changes will prove fruitless and futile. Why waste my time and energy? It’s ironic that I know once I can get past a certain point with no sugar, I’ll stop craving and missing it but getting to that point has been a long, long haul. I realize that if I want to spend the remaining years of my life in good health and be a vibrant active woman then I need to get this crap in order and knock it off. I don’t doubt it will be a challenge but hopefully I’m up to it.

Thoughtful Thor’s Day: How can I maintain my sanity right now? 9 of Stones R (Wildwood)

Wildwood 9 of Stones

Looking at this Cernunnos-like figure sitting at the center of this card I was struck by two things:  I need to reconnect to my spiritual traditions and I need to not get held back by being outside the protective circle of the stones.  I need to reconnect with my roots and foundation while at the same time reaching for the stars or thinking outside the box.  In other words the way to maintain my sanity right now is to find my own path and not be held back by expectations or “supposed to”.

This is an important message for me because I have a tendency to try to do things “the right way” and then castigating myself if I fail.  Dealing with this type of situation is entirely new to me.  I’ve never had children and never been in the role of primary caregiver for someone who was entirely dependent upon me.  I must say I don’t like it much.  However I am also determined to do the best I can for both my in-laws.  To some extent that requires me to forge my own path.

I have a quirk in my nature that doesn’t allow me to follow paths created by others.  I may enjoy exploring their route and learning about how they chose the path and what they learned.  However at the end of the day if I haven’t forged my own way through the wilderness I don’t value the lessons.  I need to viscerally experience the process to gain the most benefit.  This even applied in school – if I did not hand write notes in class I found it much harder to remember the lessons.  Simply studying the texts or other’s notes was not as helpful as the simple act of writing.  It’s as though the physical act transferred the information to my brain cells and made them more available to access later.

One way I have decided to both go back to classic traditions and forge my own path is the concept of French Chic.  I think some Americans (especially women) tend to idealize the French and the stylishness and chicness of French women.  I am in no way impugning either of these traits, however I think they need to be taken in context.  French women are who and what they are because they are in France.  An entire culture is woven around them to support their lifestyle.  America is different.  We can certainly incorporate certain elements of French (or actually I suspect European in general) lifestyles but in some cases it’s just not practical.

For me, the key element of French chicness and style is to simplify; take the time to fully appreciate every experience and enjoy every moment in your life.  Instead of complaining about the routine, day-to-day drudge work that often seems to fill our days, see them as the foundation for a wonderful life.  Understand that without those daily chores and tasks, our lives would become a chaotic mess.  This is where I need to focus my energies.

Right now I feel as though my current situation is sucking the life out of me; killing my soul.  If I start to focus on these daily chores as essential to maintain the foundation of my life perhaps I won’t feel such resentment.  At the same time I need to embrace the idea that taking care of myself is just as essential as these daily tasks.  It’s not frivolous or shallow or pointless.  It’s beneficial and helps me maintain my equilibrium – quite a worthy endeavor in itself.

What do I need in my life right now? Ace of Stones (Wildwood)

Wildwood Ace of Stones

This makes so much sense to me.  I need to reconnect with the physical world.  Over the last few years of caring for the in-laws I’ve relegated my own needs to the back burner (of a stove in the seventh basement of hell).  I haven’t been eating right.  I’ve let my clothes become rather shoddy and worn.  I haven’t even bought new makeup in over 5 years.  I realize that I don’t need to “dress for success” while being a stay-at-home caregiver but I should still make the effort to be presentable, for myself if no one else.

The labyrinth that decorates the standing stone on this card also tells me that I need to get to the core of who I am.  I need to walk that pathway and find my way back to the real me.  I’ve lost sight of her and I miss her.  The first step is to work on improving my outer appearance.  It’s time to fix my hair and get some new makeup.  I need to focus on rebuilding my wardrobe so that it works for who I am now.  I have a closet filled with items that were once very useful and appropriate to the person I was then but aren’t very practical for now.  Suits and business pieces are useless when most days I barely leave the house.

On some level I feel that focusing on the external is shallow but I realize that it sends a message that I’m worth taking the time and making the effort.  If the only time I bother with my appearance is when I’m expecting to see other people, then I’m telling my psyche that I’m not important; I don’t count.  The first step to combating that mindset is to take the time to dress and tend to my appearance.  An occasional pajama day is fine but when it becomes the norm it means I’m sinking into a terrible rut.  I’m tired of being wrapped in ennui and self-defeat.  I need to start caring for myself body as well as soul and this is the first step.

How can I become more in-tune with my body? Tower R + 4 of Cups R (BoS So Below)

BoS So Below Tower BoS So Below 4 of Chalices

The Tower reversed speaks to me on two levels.  According to the LWB, when reversed The Tower symbolizes “trying to avoid something by denial or delay leading to increased turmoil”.  Yeah, that sounds about right.  I’m a world class procrastinator even when I know it’s pointless and self-defeating.  The Tower is telling me that this tactic is pointless and making the situation worse than it needs to be.  It is also reminding me that I am blowing things out of proportion and making this a bigger deal than it needs to be.  Instead of trying to fight off the inevitable I need to find ways to make the changes I know are necessary to achieve this goal.

The 4 of Cups reversed suggests”wallowing in ennui or self-pity”.  Once again a direct hit right on the nose.  I have felt enveloped in ennui lately and the pity party has been never-ending.  It’s not that I don’t have some legitimate reason for the pity party but I’m boring myself.  Whining about it won’t change anything and just exhausts me.

At the same time I need to acknowledge that I have a right to be frustrated and angry about things.  Getting stuck in that frustrating and anger and allowing it to push me into unhealthy behavior is pointless.  All it does is make me feel physically and mentally crappy which just adds to the unhappiness.

I know that I have a strong addiction for sweets and carbs.  I also know that I feel infinitely better when I don’t give in to these cravings.  I have found substitutions that might satisfy these cravings and allow me to feel healthier but I’ve been putting off actually making any of them.  I need to stop making this into a project and just do it.  One thing at a time, one change at a time is all it will take to improve this situation.  It’s time to stop wallowing in the ennui.

What is my body telling me? 10 of Swords R + 9 of Wands R (BoS So Below)

BoS So Below 10 of Swords BoS So Below 9 of Wands

So, my relationship with my body has been tolerant at best and downright chilly at its worst.  I have somehow managed to disconnect myself from my body.  My physical self does not seem part of my spiritual self.  There are a variety of reasons for this, none of which I’ll go into here, but I can’t say I blame this disconnect on pop culture, Catholicism or any of the other pet bugaboos.  Yes, I played with Barbies growing up, in fact I still do, and I never felt the urge to look like Barbie.  I just wanted her exciting, jet set lifestyle.

Anyway, I am starting to realize that my neglect of my body is catching up to me (oh who am I kidding it caught up to me a long time ago).  I can’t ignore it anymore and it’s starting to get very pissy about my neglect.  New things are starting to act up.  My body seems to have decided that it will up the ante and find new ways to misbehave to try to get my attention.  So I realized I need to try to reestablish the lines of communication with my body.

This is the second time since I began using this deck that I’ve drawn both these cards.  They obviously have a deeper message for me and I’ll have to explore that at a later date.  Right now I want to hear what they say about my question.  The 10 of Swords reversed says I’m “reliving heartache by refusing to let go” and the 9 of Wands reversed shouts that I’m “giving up too soon” (according to the LWB).  I get it – there are still unresolved issues I need to work on and until I can reach some detente about them I’m subsuming my heartache by indulging in behavior that hurts my body.  I also need to try sticking with the plans I have made.  I’m pretty good at making plans but lately I’ve been lousy on follow through.  I let the least little thing derail my efforts and use my stressful responsibilities as an excuse to just give up.

I don’t want to be a quitter and I don’t want to keep reliving things that cause me to engage in unhealthy behaviors.  I need to start loving my body.  I need to stop beating myself up about past events.  And I need to just take those baby steps to create a healthier and happier life for myself.  I can do it if I stop focusing on how louse things are and how worthless I am.  If I want to manifest something better than that’s where my focus needs to be.

How can I welcome spirit in? 3 of Wands R + 10 of Wands

BoS So Below 3 of Wands BoS So Below 10 of Wands

These cards show an entwined and complementary answer to my question.  In the companion book, Barbara offers the interpretation “wasting time and energy” for the reversed 3 of Wands.  I can see that as one appropriate meaning but I also see it as telling me that I need to slow down and waste some time and energy on myself.  Focusing that energy inwards rather than outwards is one way of welcoming spirit in and honoring it in my life.

The 10 of Wands with its harried female office worker describes my life right now.  My harried, overworked feeling might not be due to an office environment but it exists nonetheless.  I think this card is reminding me that I need the slow down, wasted energy phase to counterbalance this harried, abundance responsibilities phase.

To me the 3 of Wands reversed is more about slowing down and tending to myself; stopping and enjoying a cup of tea while reading a great book.  Ellen of Greylady’s Hearth commented on my blog post the other day reminding me that a gratitude journal can be a powerful tool for staying on track when it comes to self-care and slowing down.  That seems to fit beautifully with this card’s message.

This is also the third time I’ve drawn the 3 of Wands since using this deck.  I think it’s trying to reinforce the message that I need to take better care of myself.  It’s important to take time for myself to relax, de-stress and just do something just for me.  Otherwise I’ll be blue and swamped like the woman in the 10 of Wands.  I can’t walk away from these responsibilities so I need to develop skills and techniques to help me relax and become calm and centered so that I can deal with them without losing my mind.