It’s time to let go of past expectations and realize strength isn’t the same as “rugged individual” 4 of Earth R + Strength (Dark Goddess Tarot)

Dark Goddess 4 of Earth Dark Goddess Strength

So today I started working with my new and fabulous Dark Goddess Tarot.  I decided to focus on what I need to release from last year.  Using Ellen’s Substance and Shadow spread from the LWB, I drew the 4 of Earth reversed (The Sphinx) as the Substance of the matter and Strength (Somavila) as the Shadow.

According to the reversed 4 of Earth, the action required is to take a look at how I define my life, how I’m limiting myself.  This card also makes me recall the Greek legend of Oedipus and The Sphinx.  That tale has always fascinated me because it encapsulates the concept of self-fulfilling prophecy and the futility of trying to avoid our fate.  Of course I don’t subscribe to the idea that fate is our entire lives written out at the moment we’re born.  I prefer to view fate or destiny as a series of stops we must make in life but how we get there is left entirely up to our choices.  The Oedipus legend has always made me wonder if these events would have played out the way they did if his father hadn’t tried to prevent the prophecy.

In my case I think the 4 of Earth reversed is a reminder that what is currently going on in my life was not pre-ordained and does not need to limit me or become set in stone.  I think my focus needs to be on breaking free of those expectations and patterns.  I’ve rarely found it useful to follow someone else’s path.  My innate knee jerk reaction makes me resistant to learning from someone else’s mistakes.  In fact this was probably the bane of my mother’s existence when she was trying to teach me life lessons.  So simply because one (or many) people in a similar situation handle it in one way, that doesn’t mean I need to do so.  Looking at the image of the Sphinx on the 4 of Earth I was struck by the idea that instead of sitting and brooding over the current state of things in my life, I need to spread my wings and look at things from a different angle.  It’s time to break out of the expected and try the unexpected.

Strength’s hidden influence is that I often find myself falling into the mindset that I’m too strong to need help.  My own arrogance is one of my biggest stumbling blocks.  I have really imbibed the “rugged individualist” doctrine to the point that I see it as weakness if I need help.  Or at least I used to feel that way.  These last few years have taught me that it’s not weak to need and seek help, it’s smart.  In a situation like this, not seeking help means you burn out and your life becomes a prison.  That tends to make me lash out – at my hubby, my mother-in-law, pretty much any one who stands around too long.  It’s not pleasant to experience or to manifest.

In this reading, the cards have pointed out to me that I don’t need to stick with whatever script might have been written by and for others who experienced this situation or by the expectations of others in my life.  It’s my life and I’m the one who decides how to live it.  At the same time, I’m being foolish trying to do it all alone.  That doesn’t mean I’ll change overnight but at least I might become more open to the prospect.

Looking inside to find the answers will help when I’m free – High Priestess R + Tower R (Housewives)

Housewives High Priestess Housewives Tower

Wow, two biggies in the same day – and reversed yet.  How fun!  Okay, smart aleck-ness aside, I found it interesting to draw these two cards the day after Thanksgiving.  Yesterday my focus was on food and family.  Today I’m getting the sense that my focus needs to be on me.

The High Priestess reversed has shown up for me several times since I’ve begun using this deck.  I find her sweet, caring, concerned face sitting atop a pancake syrup bottle to be quite quirky and adorable.  In her reversed state I think she’s reminding me that I need to look deep within myself to find the answers I seek.  Once I find them I’ll be able to add more sweetness and richness to my life.  She also speaks to me of concern and kindness.  This process isn’t an endurance run or triathlon, it’s a lifelong process.  The only way to win is to do the work.  Getting to the finish line first defeats the purpose if I haven’t fully absorbed the lessons learned along the way.

I have a tendency to be very goal oriented – when I wrote papers for school I sometimes took shortcuts i in order to complete assignments.  I never cheated but there were definitely times when I short-changed myself.  I always received excellent marks on my assignments so my work was fine but I know there was information I missed because I was rushing.  I don’t want to replicate this process when it comes to my life and how I want to live it from this point forward.

Instead of The Tower’s usual meaning, this image gives me a different sense of this card.  It shows a woman trapped in a 4-tiered gelatin mold.  She seems happy enough but is she truly happy?  Perhaps she just hasn’t explored the possibilities of life beyond the gelatin mold.  Or maybe she’s starting to see that there is life beyond the gelatin mold and is happy because she can finally start to free herself and explore that potential?

In my case, I’m well aware of life beyond the gentle but firm trap of the gelatin mold.  In my case it’s the prison of family obligation.  I love the people for whom I care and don’t want to see anything happen to them but I’m well aware of just what a prison that creates for me.  I think the reversed Tower is letting me know that I need to keep my sights on the fact that eventually this situation will change.  It will be painful and an adjustment but not really a surprise.  So I need to start working on what the newly released me will do with my time and energy.  The only way I’ll know that is to spend some time chatting with my inner High Priestess.  Mrs. Butterworth’s – take me away!!

I am whatever I say I am (as long as I do the work) – Knight of Pentacles R + 3 of Pentacles R (Housewives)

Housewives Knight of PentaclesHousewives 3 of Pentacles

The first thing that struck me about both these cards is the figures on them being engaged in physical labor.  What it brought to my mind is that kind of drudge work that no one really appreciates but which must be done to keep up the home or the car or one’s life.  It’s work that we have to do for ourselves not because it will garner praise from others.

This ties in perfectly with inner work that I’ve done recently.  I’ve become a SARK fan over the last few months.  Her breezy, irreverent and fun approach to things appeals to me.  A recent blog post detailed her journeys through magical manifestation.  I LOVED it!!  Her approach is so simple it’s almost amazing – act as if.  She describes how she and a few intrepid fellow adventurers began meeting for lunches during which they each described their lives as they wanted them to be (I’m simplifying a bit – you can see the original post here).  SARK eventually realized that all of them had manifested their wishful thoughts.

So I decided to give this a try with a few friends.  We can’t always manage to meet for lunch so we’re going to use email, instant messages and phone calls to do it.  So far I’ve written one magical manifestation exercise and it was fun.  I realized that sometimes just acting as if you’ve already achieved something can make it easier to manifest.

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry is able to produce a powerful Patronus charm and protect Sirius Black and himself from the Dementors because he had already seen himself do it.  He knew he could do it so he was able to accomplish it.  In Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the Gene Wilder/Peter Ostrum movie), Charlie finds the Golden Ticket because he believes he will.  In his deepest soul he is sure that he is meant to find one and he does.

Sometimes it so easy to fall into the pattern of focusing why I can’t accomplish things that I undermine myself.  This Magical Manifestation approach avoids all that because it focuses me on what I’ve done.  If I focus on actually doing what I already know I can do, then it will happen.  It’s magical work at its most basic.  And these cards are the reminder that most of the work I need to do to manifest these miracles in my life is within myself, behind the scenes as it were.  It doesn’t need to be shown to the world because the important piece of the puzzle is the outcome.  I’m now convinced the outcome of this exercise in magical manifesting will produce miraculous results.  To paraphrase Eminem, “I am whatever I say I am.’

Healing yourself is a lot damn harder than it sounds

Witches' King of Swords Dance of Life Sage of Health

 

Whoa! Powerful stuff, especially considering that I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about my health and my choices in that area. Again, it boils down to a matter of knowledge and intelligent choices versus laziness and sloth. I know what I should do and yet I don’t do it. That makes me wonder why? What is it about me that makes me act as though I don’t deserve to be healthy; deserve to live? The bottom line is that I am well aware that if I don’t make changes to my eating habits, exercise patterns and general well-being then it’s likely I’ll end up with health complications or even an early grave. I’m not trying to be melodramatic – I genuinely believe that if I don’t change my future is likely to include increased medication and some hospitalizations due to complications from diabetes.

I’m growing frustrating and angry with myself. Why can’t I control this? I’m an intelligent, knowledgeable person. Gods know I’ve studied various eating plans ranging from low-fat to the Zone to South Beach to low-carb and now Paleo. To be perfectly honest all have their good points but the lower carb diets seem to work better for me. I’ve seen the results – my blood sugars are better regulated, my health indicators (cholesterol, triglycerides, etc.) improve and my weight drops. I know all these things and still I cling to bad habits and a sweet jones that makes heroin addiction look mild. I feel like such a failure, and an ass.

Of course that in turn triggers enjoyable bouts of self-loathing and hatred. These feelings never seem to last long (although I suppose that’s not a bad thing) but they leave their lingering impact. I can even justify it be rationalizing that eating wheat creates an additive need for more wheat, but I already know this so why eat the wheat in the first place? It’s not like I don’t have resources to help me find substitutes. Instead what I find are excuses. If there is one thing I am an expert at it’s rationalization and intellectualizing. I can come up with dozens of reasonable, realistic and logical explanations for these behaviors but at the end of the day that means little.

So coming back to my cards for today – I think both are reminding me that I am moving closer to a place where I can begin to heal myself and gain more of a sense of mastery over my mental processes. I need to take a more logical, rational approach to this and stop letting old emotional scripts and behaviors trip me up. And when they do trip me up I need to learn to pick myself up, brush myself off and keep going not let it become and complete derailment. I need to find support to keep me on the right track and not well-meaning friends and family who help me enable. Not that I’m trying to blame this on anyone else, it’s my issue and my problem.

I think the Sage of Health is also reminding me that once I am able to heal myself I may find myself better able to help others. This is a challenging battle because unlike other addictive substances, you can’t give up eating cold turkey. I think both these cards are reminding me that I can’t force myself or strong-arm myself into these changes. I have to change my thinking patterns, my concepts and my beliefs about myself. No small task and not an easy one to do. In order to do that I need to also be a bit kinder, less harsh and judgmental towards myself. It’s so easy to be supportive to a friend or family member, why not me too? I have to remember this is a long term process. It won’t be easy and it may not be fun but it can be achieved. I can heal myself. I know I can and the Universe is telling me I can with these Tarot cards.

Reading on a 3 of Swords moment

The other day I received a phone call from a former friend/co-worker (I’ll call her Alice) that left me feeling betrayed and vindicated at the same time.

Alice and I used to work at a non-profit organization.  My immediate supervisor (let’s call him Frank) didn’t like the fact that I had connection at the agency’s main office and mistrusted me.  I was younger and arrogant and didn’t realize I should have taken some steps to reassure him.  As a result I found myself transferred to a meaningless position at the agency’s main office and my future career was in jeopardy.

At the time Alice was friend’s with both Frank and me.  I always had a feeling she knew this was coming but she never gave me a heads up.  Then again it’s possible that even if she had I would have blown it off.  After the transfer my career was a bit rocky for a while but I eventually found a mentor at the agency and flourished under her guidance.  My friendship with Alice was strained but we did stay in touch.  Eventually both she and Frank left the agency to pursue other careers.

A few years later Frank returned to the agency – once again a “golden boy” who was viewed as the future of the agency.  At the time I had little to do with him because I worked in a different division.  Frank eventually became the executive director of the agency and anyone who flourished under the previous regime was targeted for termination.  He brought Alice back as a consultant to assist him in team building and other personnel development exercises.

Alice and I were on friendly terms – perhaps not as close as we once were but still friendly.  Then the bloodletting began.  By the third round of terminations my mentor decided to leave the agency because she knew she was on the chopping block.  I stayed behind and tried to make the best of it.  I recall mentioning to Alice that I felt like a wife of Henry VIII waiting for the executioner’s axe.  Her comment was a non-committal one.

Eventually the axe fell and I was terminated (despite excellent performance reviews).  To say I was devastated would be an understatement.  It was a Tower experience I hope never to repeat.  I did not hear from my “friend” Alice, despite the fact that she is a train conflict resolution counselor and often see herself in the role of emotional supporter and adviser.

I didn’t hear from her again until last week.  She called me out of the blue to apologize for not having called me or reached out to me for over 3  years.  I was cold but not rude.  Then she mentioned that she had never been in a job situation which required her not to speak to someone.  My brain froze when she said this.  I took this to mean Frank told her not to contact me.  That infuriated me and stirred up a lot of feeling I thought had been settled.

After the phone call from Alice I wasn’t sure how to proceed with this relationship and the situation. I have no real desire to even attempt to establish a relationship with Annie however I do feel as though it isn’t quite over yet.

I think the biggest surprise was when she mentioned that it was the first she was in a job situation that required her not to speak to someone. The only thing I can determine from that comment is that Frank told her not to speak to me after I was fired from the agency. On the one hand, that seems like exactly the type of behavior I would expect from Frank. On the other hand I cannot believe Alice gave in to that request. I think that surprises me more than anything else.

The day I received her phone call I drew a card to see what I needed/could take away from this situation and drew the 7 of Cups reversed. I interpreted this to mean that what I needed to accept is that my firing from the agency was out of my control. There was no choice I could have made and no action I could have taken that would have changed it. The decision was out of my hands and influence. It was Frank’s game and I had no input regarding the rules or anything else.

To help me process this issue I decided to do a reading on it.  I used the Osho Zen Tarot and pulled the following cards:

How can I handle this situation?

5
2 3 4
1

1 – The root of the issue – Inner Vision (High Priestess)
2 – Internal influences – 2 of Rainbows (Pentacles) R
3 – The core of the issue – 5 of Rainbows (Pentacles) R
4 – External influences – 6 of Clouds (Swords)
5 – Advice – Courage (Strength) R

3 of Swords Reading

This reading is showing that at the root of this issue was the fact that useful information was being withheld from me. My inner voice might have known that this was unavoidable and unpreventable but my mind found that hard to accept. I don’t like feeling out of control.  A friend also suggested that the High Priestess represents Alice too because she pulled back the veil and gave me information I did not previously possess that changes how I perceive this situation

The termination left me feeling off-balance and unsure what to do next as well as triggering my sense of isolation and being an outsider. No real surprise there. The 6 of Clouds reminds me that I’m carrying a burden that is not mine to carry. If I want to move forward I need to release that burden and lighten up my mind. The problem was, is and always will be Frank’s – why carry his mental bullshit on my back.

The advice card, Courage reversed, shows that I have the inner strength and ability to work my way through this situation regardless of whether I ever speak to Annie again or not. The situation truly is resolved all that might remain is for me to express how it made me feel to Alice but even if I never do that I don’t think it will hold me back anymore. And that’s a huge release and relief

What cycle is coming to an end or beginning in my life right now? Queen of Swords & Wheel of Fortune R (Bohemian Gothic & Vampire)

 

 

Wow, this response shook me a bit.  I have so often identified myself with the Queen of Swords that I’ve assumed she always will be.  However this reading makes me wonder.  As I look at the Queen of Swords from the Bohemian Gothic I am reminded of an exercise we did at a past BATS (Bay Area Tarot Symposium).  Ellen Lorenzi-Prince did a workshop focusing on fears and this Queen of Swords was my guardian who protected me from these inner (or maybe outer) demons.  So needless to say, I was not thrilled by pulling this card in response to my query.

However after talking to some friends and pondering this matter further, I realized I will always be a Queen of Swords.  The Queen of Swords and Queen of Wands are two energies with which I am most comfortable.  In fact I revel in those energies.  However what she may be trying to tell me is that as I move forward her energies will not be as prominent.  That is true when one considers that in the last 4 years I’ve transitioned from being a manager in a non-profit organization to the caretaker of an ailing, elderly mother-in-law.  She is quite useful in dealing with government contracts or employees but not so helpful when dealing with a frightened and scared dependant whose ability to understand what is happening is severely impaired.

The Wheel of Fortune reversed appearing alongside the Queen of Swords suggests that some major internal changes are exerting their influences in my life.  Moving forward it may be that that Queen of Swords energies will become more subtle and less dominant as other energies, ones more beneficial and useful in this situation, begin to exert themselves.  I’m not sure exactly where this will take me but it should be interesting.

QOTD – What do I need to focus on today? Judgment (Transformational & Gaian)

 

Liberation is how Arnell Ando titled this card in the Transformational Tarot. It’s Awakening in the Gaian Tarot. Both seem so appropriate to the transformation I’ve been experiencing lately. I do feel as though I’ve come back into the light after a long time in the dark. I’ve been freed, changed and re-born. I really do feel like dancing in the sunlight (which is ironic considering how cloudy it’s been for the last few days).

I’m not sure where this is going and I don’t know how long it will take but it’s given me a sense of hope and lightness that I’ve been missing in my life. I actually feel lighter – spiritually and emotionally. It’s as if I finally let go of baggage that has been weighing me down for years; baggage I didn’t realize I had. It’s wonderful and scary at the same time. I’m still not sure how to handle it. I’m like someone who has been in dark for so long that it takes a while to adjust to the light. The temporary blindness is frustrating but I know it will soon clear.

Healing is a scary process and I guess it’s not for the faint of heart. Picking at wounds that have been scabbed over for years hurts but ultimately frees up the wounded area to continue healing. Sometimes scars are left behind but in the end it was a necessary part of the healing process. That’s how I feel right now – I may be a bit scarred and scabbed but I’m healing. That gives me hope and makes me feel rejuvenated and cleansed. It’s such an odd feeling that I’m not sure how to handle it just yet. It’s the continuation of a journey that is not close to its end just yet.

Comparative Tarot Essay – Celtic Wisdom Soul (Fool)

 

The Soul (Fool) shows a young traveler sleeping on his side near a standing stone.  A pale blue cosmic light pours from the young traveler through a hole in the center of the stone.  On the other side we see the spirit of the young traveler going forth on a dream visit to see the immensities of the Celtic cosmos contained withing the cauldron which is etched above his head.  A triple spiral hovering above the traveler’s head is a symbol of his physical vitality, his vocational commitment and his intelligence: in Celtic bardic lore, these are the three essential receptors for all inspirational wisdom.

The Book says: The Soul was understood to continue after death, passing into different shapes or life forms upon its tiurigini or “circuit of births”.  The Soul could enter into animal, plant, and elemental shapes, not just human ones.
Keywords: A new phase or fresh start, having vision or faith in oneself, opportunity, enthusiasm, playfulness, trust, a sense of protection.
Reversed: Halting or hesitation, unable to heed instincts, a bad decision, sloth irresponsibility, immaturity, carelessness.
Soul-Wisdom:  Having respect for our Soul’s purpose may look like foolishness to other.  The power and vision of our Soul can only empower us when we acknowledge and manifest them.  What is calling you to seek wisdom now?

My turn: This card speaks of a mystical, new journey – perhaps to find our soul mission in life.  It’s about being willing to take that chance and tread an unfamiliar path.  The traveler is sleeping in the middle of the forest and it that doesn’t show a certain amount of faith, and foolishness, then I don’t know what does.  This card speaks of that part of us which transcends physical boundaries and yet which is still part of them.  The traveler cannot learn his soul journey in his physical form – he must let his spirit go forth in search of the answer.  To me The Soul is reminding us that we may need to be willing to leave behind the trappings of our mundane life and move forth unburdened to explore new areas and new experiences.

Comparative Tarot Essay – The Fool from Mansions of the Moon

 

 

Many moons ago, I belonged to the Comparative Tarot Yahoo group.  As part of the group I would focus on the card of the month and write an essay using one of the decks which I moderated (at one point I was up to 8).  I thought I would share some of these essays with anyone who might be interested so each Sunday I will post another essay.

This month I’m starting with The Fool.  I hope you enjoy the essays.

 

The Fool shows a man dressed in an old fashioned style of clothes (it reminds me of the illustrations I’ve seen for the Pied Piper) with his feet resting on a small red fox.  The man’s right hand is on his cap and his left hand holds a small dagger or instrument.  He seems to be riding the fox (or attempting to do so).  Right above his head we see a fox’s face looking out at us and right next to it is another image of the man’s face, looking towards the fox.  At the top of the card we see a red fox walking towards the right side of the card.  His face is turned back as though he has heard something and is investigating the sound.

The Author says:  Unaware of the danger behind him all eyes are upon the Fool.  Choice of paths.

Bee’s Buzz:  This card seem to focus more on the less savory aspects of the Fool.  The Fool is not so much innocent and naive as genuinely foolish.  The man reminding me of the Pied Piper fits with this theme.  After all wasn’t the Pied Piper somewhat foolish – he truly thought the townsfolk would pay their debt.  And weren’t the people of the town the ultimate fools (in its most negative connotation) thinking they could get away with not paying him.  And the fox looks young, perhaps a pup.  This might connect the card with innocence and youth, starting down a new path.  The young fox might be nervous and hesitant but it will continue down the road.  Even the man seems to be charging ahead, reckless and not sure where he is headed.  If he is riding the fox then he also has no control over his destination.  He is trusting the fox to take him where he needs to go (perhaps fleeing the angry townsfolk).  I can see it all now – he took his revenge in a fit of anger and with no thought to the consequences.  Now he must run away and find a new beginning for himself.  He knows that he needs to start over in order to avoid repercussions.  This Fool is not as naive and innocent as some versions of the card.  The one thing that throws me about this cards is the inclusion of the fox.  I’m guessing that he is a replacement for the more traditional dog or cat.  But to me the fox symbolizes cunning, quick wittedness and trickiness making him more appropriate to the Magician/Trickster than to the Fool, at least in my opinion.

COTD – The Wheel of Fortune R (Wheel of Change & Greenwood)

 

The Wheel of Fortune shows our Universe set against the cosmos.  A twelve spoked wheel bearing multi-colored stones is overlaying the Universe, with the Sun as its hub.  The stones at the compass points each bear a letter – T in the North, A in the East, R in the South and O in the West.  A blast of light shoots forth from each of the wheel’s spokes.  We see Jupiter with its huge red spot, Saturn with its rings, red Mars and glorious Earth enhanced by the swirling cosmic spiral of stars.  The Greenwood Wheel of Fortune shows a shirt being created that bears various figures – a bear, a stag, a human, a horse, a sun and a moon.  They are each part of the bigger picture; components of the whole.  They remind us that we are all

When I first saw the Wheel of Change card my first reaction was that it looked like the Big Bang in action.  The Sun’s radiant glory swirling out to embrace the Universe.  Looking deeper I note the twelve spokes on the wheel symbolizing the years or the zodiac signs.  The planets floating in space each exert their influence in our lives.  This card reminds me that there is a cosmic plan in our lives – our horoscope might be one way to explain and examine this plan.  I don’t see it as something which sets our every move in stone but more as a guideline, a roadmap or our options and possibilities.  I remember a psychology teacher once telling me that humans are often born with the potential for something (we were discussing illnesses and behavior patterns) but he pointed out that our environment and what experiences we are exposed to will determine whether these predispositions manifest themselves.  That is how I see our astrological charts.  They are guide posts, potentials and possibilities but not our only options.  The Greenwood Wheel of Fortune offers a similar sense – there is obviously a pattern that is being followed.  We may not see the overall pattern but it is clear we are part of it.  We are woven together in a way that makes us interdependent upon each other.

This Wheel of Fortune reminds me of the song Circle of Life from The Lion King.  In this image Jupiter’s influence is supreme and Saturn’s is waning.  But we all know that eventually Saturn will have its return.  Just as we know that Mercury will eventually go retrograde.  But at the same time I see the Sun at the center of this marvelous cosmos representing us – after all aren’t we always the center of our own lives.  Our radiance and light shines on all those around us, and we influence them as much as we are influenced by them.  This Wheel of Fortune is a reminder that we are not alone when we goes through these cycles in our lives.  There are others around us who can help guide us and assist us in handling these phases.  And hopefully we will be there for them in turn.  Maybe the Wheel is our plans, our goals and our dreams, with the influences of the Universe flowing underneath.

Reversed, this card suggests that there are things changing inside me.  I can hear David Bowie singing “I’m going through changes” in my mind as I write these words.  It’s a slow process, rather like moving stones, but they are occurring.  Slowly but surely I am re-aligning myself to a new direction, a new path; orienting myself to follow a new star.  I’m not sure where these changes will lead but there is a part of me that is very excited and hopeful to see how things turn out.