Week 16 Memorial for a Dead Swan Spread (#TarotReading #CrookedWayTarot #52WeekProject)

On Monday I discovered a dead swan on the side of the road near my property. I don’t know how it got there and it didn’t seem to have been hit by a car but it made me so sad to see it. The water next to my mother-in-law’s property has always hosted ducks, geese, swans and herons. While not especially friendly, they are beautiful and it was always amazing to see them gliding along the water. Realizing that one of them is now gone made me feel as though a magical creature died. So in honor of this poor dead swan I decided to see if it left a message for me.

So I asked the universe the following three questions: 1. What does the dead swan symbolize? 4 of Sticks (Wands) 2. What is its message for me? Page of Pins (Swords) 3. How can I embody a manifest this message? Page of Sticks Rx

4 of Sticks, Page of Pins Rx & Page of Sticks Rx from The Crooked Way Tarot

Looking at these cards, my first thought at seeing the 4 of Sticks is that the death of the swan symbolizes the death of my husband and the huge change it made in my life. It’s letting me know that it’s okay to move on and learn how to interact and be with people; to discover new things that I might enjoy. It’s time make new friends and celebrate some of the new things I will be exploring going forward. The 4 of Sticks speaks to me of celebrating my marriage and honoring what we had, not just mourning my husband’s death.

The little Page of Pins Rx reminds me that, in many ways, I am at a child’s level of experience in dealing with certain things in my life. For example, most of the responsibilities associated with maintaining our cars were handled by my husband. I’m now learning how to deal with insurance issues, registration issues, inspection. Even filling the car with gas was not something I ever had to really handle. Just looking at that sword in the hand of the little Page tells me I need to stop poking myself and being too harsh with myself because I’m still learning how to be alone. I’m still discovering who I am without my hubby. He was such an integral part of my life, I was frightened that I wouldn’t be able to live without him. I have since learned that I can, and somehow that makes me very sad. However, it also means I have an opportunity to explore things that wouldn’t have been possible were he still here. There’s nothing wrong with being excited about the possibilities.

The Page of Sticks Rx reinforces the message of being in a child like, exploratory phase right now. One of the ways I can make it a little easier to adjust to my newly solo state is by re-exploring passions and interests I had when I was younger. It’s time to reconnect with things I might have put aside because I became distracted by interests I shared with my husband. I’m still learning who Debbie is without my husband.

This message reinforces ones I’ve gotten in previous readings. It reminds me not to be impatient with myself because I’m still taking baby steps. I was married for 35 years, it’s going to take me some time to adjust to being single. Trying to rush it or being judgmental with myself about it doesn’t help. So I think the swan was letting me know it’s okay to mourn something magical that passed away but it doesn’t mean that I need to remain frozen in time. It’s okay to change and become someone different, as scary as that might seem.

Week 8 The (Un)Stuck Spread (#TarotReading #DarkWoodTarot #52WeekProject)

I’ve been feeling spectacularly stupid lately. I’m second-guessing myself and questioning every decision I make. Much of this is the result of a bad judgment call I made a few weeks ago, prepaying someone for a job that hadn’t been completed yet. That person is now demanding more money to complete the work that should have been covered by the original payment. This is made me feel I’m on shaky ground, and caused me to feel like the first class fool. So I decided to do what I always do when I feel this way – work with my Tarot deck. I found the spread below in Sheilaa Hite Presents 101 Tarot Spreads by 20 Modern Tarot Masters Vol 1. I don’t necessarily need to explore why I feel foolish but how I can get rid of that sensation.

The Knight of Wands Rx reveals the I need to let go of the idea that I can handle things the way I could when I was younger or when I had John. I just don’t have the same energy level that I had when I was in my 30s or even 40s. The book offers this tidbit “Small issues steal focus from productive energy”. I think this is another way of saying that my energy is so scattered that I can’t focus on anything right now. I need to focus my energies on what’s really important and break free of the distractedness that is sapping my resolve. The truth is I’m not a good multitasker. So, instead of fighting against myself I need to start handling things one issue at a time and then move on to the next one.

The tower is a reminder that I’ve experienced three dramatic life-altering stressful issues all at once. That’s not an easy thing to process, and I need to allow myself to take the time necessary to process it. I haven’t fully processed John’s death. Trying to arrange for Edward to be settled somewhere, and selling this house on top of that is probably much too ambitious right now. Dealing with any one of these issues right now would be a challenge; trying to handle all three at once is insanity.

The Star is telling me that there is always hope. It always seems darkest before the dawn, but eventually there will be healing and a Star to guide me on my way. It’s something that can sustain me when things feel overwhelming.

The 4 of Pentacles Rx is reminding me that I need to work on not holding so tightly to things; not to be pennywise and pound foolish. I also think it’s a reminder not to ignore my own health and physical needs, which has been easy to do with what’s been going on.

It’s ironic, this reading told me exactly what I needed to hear right now to kickstart me and help me feel unstuck. It’s always fun when the Tarot gives me a smack upside the head and reality check.

Week 7 Autumn Equinox Spread (#TarotReading #LePsychoTarot #52WeekProject)

I found this spread on Litha Rose’s website and thought it would be a great way to celebrate the Sabbat!

1. What is my harvest? (Celebrate this!)  Temperance Rx –  Temperance Rx shows that my harvest is forging the things I want to do and the things I must do into a balanced and cohesive whole.  This is still a work in progress for me but I am very happy with the success I’ve had so far.  Temperance is always a challenge for me because it speaks of moderation and being temperate, neither of which are innate to my nature.

2. How can I best spend this autumn season?  8 of Cups Rx –  Seeing this card made me hear the song Let It Go.  To me, it’s about putting the mourning behind me; about focusing on what I want to bring into my life going forward, not what I have to leave behind. That doesn’t mean I won’t always miss my husband, simply that I won’t lose myself in the grief.

3. How can I best close off this year?  The Chariot – I can best close off this year by taking the reins of my own life. It’s been a challenge since my husband passed away, taking over the responsibility for things that I always let him handle. It’s made me passive in certain aspects of my own life. I think the Chariot is showing that it’s time to pick those reins up again and start becoming more focused about where I want to steer my course.

4. How can I find more balance in my life?   4 of Coins – Unlike the usual imagery for this card, this 4 of Coins seems more about conserving one’s physical essence and tending to ones health. Or maybe that’s what I’m seeing because that is what would be extremely appropriate for me right now. I’ve been so focused on taking care of others for the past few years that I have lost sight of my own health. This card points out that I need to be more balanced in this respect and start to put my own physical concerns and health needs on a par with those of others.

5. What can I find if I descend in the dark and look inward?  2 of Cups Rx – I will find true emotional balance. I will find a way to merge and blend the light and dark halves of my spirit and heart. If there is one thing I’ve learned since my husband died, it’s that a relationship with someone else requires compromise, which forces us to downplay or give up pieces of who we are. Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, in a truly beneficial, loving relationship, both parties change certain aspects of their personality in order to maintain a healthy relationship. Perhaps we drop interest in certain things because our partner doesn’t enjoy them. Or we don’t want to force participation in an activity they won’t enjoy. One of the most interesting aspects I’m finding about widowhood is that I don’t have to compromise with anyone anymore. I can do what I want, when I want. That is both amazingly freeing and absolutely terrifying! And I think it pertains to this card because what it’s showing is that right now is that descending into darkness will help me strengthen and further explore my relationship with myself.

Anniversary Gift (#PearlsofWisdomTarot #TarotReading #HealingJourney

Today would have been my 36th wedding anniversary, and my first without John. I miss him in ways I can’t fully describe. I’m still getting used to functioning without him; learning to adapt and adjust. Every so often I still get teary, in fact it’s happening now, but overall I’m learning how to be without him. I’ve always wondered if I could live independently because when I married John I moved from living with my parents to living with him. I was never fully independent or forced to deal with things on my own. Now I am and, although I’m proud I’m doing well, I wish I didn’t have to learn that answer.

I decided to pull two Tarot cards reflecting what anniversary gifts John would like to give me this year. Using the vibrant & joyful Pearls of Wisdom Tarot, I drew the 4 of Cups reversed and 3 of Pentacles

As soon as I saw this I understood my husband’s message. Looking at the 4 of Cups, I immediately heard the lyrics from the song Jesus sings in the Garden of Gethsemane in Jesus Christ Superstar, “take this cup away from me tried for 3 years seems like 30”. The cup in this case is my brother-in-law Edward, who is deaf and developmentally disabled. I have been his primary caregiver since 2009. It was difficult enough when I had John here to help, but for the past year it’s been exhausting and overly stressful. John is telling me that soon the cup will be taken away from me, the responsibility removed from my hand, and that he’s watching over me and helping in any way that he can.

The 3 of Pentacles is John pointing out that once I have my freedom I can start exploring new learning opportunities and new experiences. I can go back to school or take classes to acquire new skills. My future will be under my own control. I can build the future that I want, and I have John’s love and support to do that.

The amazing thing about our relationship is that John fully supported me in whatever I wanted to do. He was my biggest cheerleader, even if he thought what I was doing was not a good idea. He let me make my mistakes and then gave me a bit of an I told you so but didn’t gloat. We often spoke about what might happen if he pre deceased me, not that we expected it to happen when it did. He was always clear with me and anyone else he discussed these issues with that he did not want me to be trapped caring for Edward for the rest of either of our lives. As much as I care for Edward, and want to see him in a safe nurturing environment, I can’t provide that for him. So this is John giving me his stamp of approval for taking steps to find some place Edward can be cared for in a way that will best serve him. It’s truly the best gift John could have given me.

Working through my loss (#TarotReading #PearlsofWisdomTarot)

The one year anniversary of my husband’s death is next week. On one hand, I can’t believe it’s been a year. On the other, hand it feels like he’s been gone far longer than that. My husband and I were together for 38 years when he died and it was very challenging learning how to deal with things on my own. I didn’t realize how many things he took care of for the both of us. I’m sure it would have been the same situation if I had died and he lived because we tended to divide up our responsibilities that way. There’s something both terrifying and reassuring about the fact that I’m able to handle a lot of this without John even if I wish I didn’t have to.

April 1, 1986 is the day John and I went down to City Hall in New York and applied for our marriage license. 36 years ago – seems like such a long time ago and yet I remember it like it was yesterday. In honor of this anniversary I pulled two cards from my Tarot deck while asking John for a message. This was his response

John’s message using Pearls of Wisdom Tarot

Seeing these cards I burst into tears because they are truly both such John energies, especially as they pertained to the way he cared for in about me. The Chariot suits John for many reasons: it’s his birth card; he was a car guy who loved tinkering with his vehicles; and he refused to let anyone else tell him what to do. He steered the course of his life, for better and worse. With this card John is reminding me that I need to be sure to take up the reins and guide my life going forward. I can certainly seeks advice and guidance from others, but I’m the charioteer now.

The 9 of Pentacles is John’s way of reminding me he always wanted to be sure I would be in a good financial place if anything happened to him. He has definitely done this. In fact, he could have retired but he continued to work. He wanted to be sure there would be enough in his pension to take care of me if something happened to him. Ironically that is what happened. He is visually showing me that he wants me to enjoy what I have and the time I have left. He wants me to be happy and healthy and take care of myself. I think the best way to honor John’s memory is to do that

Waking up from a terrifying dream #TarotReading #HauntedHouseTarot

So, since my husband died I find myself trying to speak with him every night before I fall asleep. I ask him to give me some kind of sign that he’s still with me in some way and I’ve never gotten one. It frustrated me because I believe in the afterlife and in the soul traveling to the Otherworld after death; and I felt like I was being cheated. I was rather angry about it. It was bad enough that he died on me but now I had no connection, no sense that he was still there at all. Until the other night.

I dreamed I was in my house, not a house I have ever actually owned but I knew it was my house. I also knew that my husband was there. I’m not sure how I knew this because I couldn’t see or hear him, but I was sure he was there. I was getting ready for something but I don’t know what. Then I heard footsteps walking through the house and knew that it was John coming my way. He finally stood in the doorway where I could see him. I took one look at him and turned away towards the wall screaming in horror. I was so terrified that I woke myself up and began sobbing. The figure I saw standing in the doorway bore almost no resemblance to my husband and in fact reminded me more of a Frankenstein type monster. I was shaken by this dream for days afterwards.

So, I processed this dream the way I process anything that bothers me – I did a tarot reading. Using Sasha Graham’s Haunted House Tarot, I pulled 3 cards:

  1. What is the dream telling me? Knight of Wands Rx
  2. Why did my husband appear that way? The Wheel of Fortune Rx
  3. What terrified me? Justice

After looking at these cards, this is my interpretation of this reading. The first sentence that popped in my head upon seeing the reversed Knight of Wands is from the original Planet of the Apes movie. Dr. Zaius warns Taylor to be careful what he looks for because he might not like what he finds. I think that’s what this card is showing me. I’m trying to reach out beyond the veil for some type of reassurance from my husband but now might not be the time for that. What I discover might be more disturbing than I’m ready to handle. I have no idea how time flows in the afterlife or how a human soul processes transitioning to that level. Perhaps the living aren’t supposed to know these things or at least I’m not supposed to at this time.

The reversed Wheel of Fortune tells me that John appeared the way he did because he’s not finished transitioning yet. He hasn’t fully adapted to his new reality and so he looks like an unfinished science experiment. At the same time I can’t help but feel touched and reassured that despite this he still reached out to reassure me because he always tried to do that.

Justice was a little trickier for me to interpret. It wasn’t until I looked at the actual image on the card that a connection was made. The dream terrified me because if I had been able to fully connect to my deceased husband I think it would have thrown me off balance; so off balance that there would have been psychological and physical health repercussions. The female figure in the forefront of the Justice card looks like an old fashioned nurse. This makes me think that as things are right now my health would be endangered and that’s what terrified me. My soul was protecting itself.

When I first woke up from the stream I was so upset and disturbed. It really shook me. However, upon further reflection it has calmed me and helped me move forward in my grieving process. I realize now it’s not that my husband doesn’t want to connect with me; it’s just not advisable right now. Just knowing that he was willing to make the attempt, even if it wasn’t ultimately in either of our best interests, is reassuring and reminds me how much he loved me. I know now that I will reconnect with him someday; if not in this life then in the next. That makes me feel lighter.

#TarotDaily – 5 of Coral Rx + Ace of Sparks (#Pholarchos)

She celebrates! The melancholy, sadness and loss are behind her now. She is finally able to express her joy, to embrace her bliss. Her mind is filled with new ideas new energy, new inspiration. They run rampant across her imagination.

The potential awaits activation. The endless possibilities excite and tickle her spirit but she was unable to see it until she released her grief.

#TarotDaily – Ace of Coins Rx + 5 of Cups Rx (Toscano)

TarotHunter’s Salt Rounds:

  • Holding on to painful memories and continuing to mourn what is lost prevents you from planting new seeds and manifesting a new reality.
  • If you don’t ground yourself, connect with what is really important in life, emotional instability will consume you.
  • Past opportunities are gone, it’s time to accept their loss and find the way forward. Remaining lost in mourning, continuing to cry over spilt milk, will create a barren, fallow future.

#TarotDaily – The Tower + 5 of Cups Rx (Grand Luxe)

Tarot Hunter’s Salt Rounds:

  • As I look at this image I keep hearing Pink Floyd’s lyric playing in my head – “Tear down the wall”. Let’s face it, on many levels our nation has become calcified. We’ve lost that progressive, rebellious edge that made us so creative and independent. Instead, we mourn what we perceive as lost or give up our civil liberties in pursuit of the illusion of security. I’m stuck in this same loop in my own life. I may not like all the changes going on right now, but change is inevitable. It’s time to move past that on both a personal and national level.
  • Focusing on what has been lost and looking down or backward prevents us from seeing the opportunities that await up ahead. Before new structures can arise, the old, outdated ones must be demolished. Let it go.
  • Once the outdated, the useless, the unhealthy has been cleared away we are given the chance to see what remains and start over with healthy stock. Farmers and ranchers know that sometimes culling is necessary to improve the overall health of the herd or fields. Maybe it’s time for some culling in our own lives. Get rid of the weeds so the healthy plants can flourish.

In Memory of Tom (1/5/71 to 6/16/86)

2016 proved to be quite a year. Quite a few major life-changing events occurred and I’m still processing many of them. Today, in honor of my brother Tom’s birthday, I’m going to highlight just a few; broad-stroking it. I’ll fill in the details as I go along.

So, let’s see – 2016 was my 30th wedding anniversary, the 30th anniversary of my brother Tom’s murder, my 50th birthday and the year my mother-in-law passed away. I’d say that was quite enough dramatic life changes for one year.

I think the one that surprised me the most with its impact was turning 50. I honestly believed it would be just another birthday but sometime after the 2016 Readers Studio and the lessons gained there I began to realize that I had entered an incubatory period and the me that emerged was quite different than the me who entered.

So, in honor of my brother Tom, I’ve decided to start back into blogging by remembering him. I’m also including articles from New York Magazine written about him. One when he was around 10 and the other after he was killed.

I still remember the day my mother went into labor with Tom. It was 1971 and we lived in Woodside, Queens. We had been staying with my maternal grandmother on the West side of Manhattan in anticipation of Tom’s immanent arrival but apparently the doctors told Mom that she still had a few days to go so we returned home. I can still smell the aroma of fresh baked bread that used to permeate the air going over the Queensboro Bridge emanating from the Silver Cup bread factory (now a movie studio). I remember the weird noises the cab’s tires made as they drove over the grating on the bridge. We finally arrived at our apartment and settled into our beds (my younger sister and I were in our pajamas). It seemed only minutes later when Mom came to wake us up – it seemed Tom had decided to join the party after all. So we put our coats back on and trudged downstairs to get a cab back to Manhattan so Mom could go to the hospital and give birth. We should have known Tom would create his own unique path in life.

In many ways, Tom was the best of us. He had a fierce temper which he eventually learned to control and channel into healthier outlets. He was a redhead like our sister and maternal grandfather. He was also quite the clown – he could make us laugh no matter how angry or tense things were. Tom loved animals. His menagerie of pets ranged from cats and dogs to parakeets and snakes. We all watched as he’d bring home new inhabitants – a nasty small turtle that was quite a snapper, goldfish, etc. He was a prankster – once setting up sofa cushions, clothes and a fedora to make it look like someone (possibly the ghost of our recently deceased great-uncle) was sitting there. His chuckle as he heard my shriek that morning was one we still remember fondly. I still miss him every day and wish I had the opportunity to see what kind of man he would become. Tom was quite the character and I like to think that despite his only 16 years on this earth he had a positive impact on a lot of lives.

 

A Death in Hell’s Kitchen