To heal myself I must dance with my deepest heart – Witch of Earth + 3 of Water (Dark Goddess Tarot)

Dark Goddess Witch of Earth

While looking at these cards it came upon me that it’s message was very simple and yet profound.  Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility and battle, sacrifices her very physical being and life in her journey to the Underworld.  She wanders through the labyrinth of darkness to get to the center of herself.  I have often found this aspect of her myth attractive and empowering; stripping away worldly possessions and the outer self to get to the core of the inner self.  There is a song (I think it’s sung by Beverly Fredericks) with the lyric “Hail to Inanna, who died to become whole.”  That is how I feel right now.  In order to heal I need to die.  Not a physical death but a spiritual one.  The Debbie that was scarred and damaged by her childhood must die so that the Debbie that could be can burst forth.

On some level I already knew this.  My issue has been that I’m not sure how to accomplish this amazing feat.  The answer came to me with the second card I drew – the 3 of Water.  The figure shown on the card is Mami Wata, a water spirit from Africa who has migrated to the New World with her people.  She is connected with healing and followers often dance themselves into an ecstatic state as part of her worship.  In the LWB, Ellen offers the insight “Dance for yourself, for the tribe, for me.”  That was the key.  My path to healing lies in dancing.  I love dancing – just putting on great music and dancing around the house.  I have no training and no desire to follow any sort of formal dance moves.  I just want to move with the music; dance according to how the spirit moves me.

I have long been a fan of Gabrielle Roth and her work Sweat Your Prayers and Maps to Ecstasy.  I have many of her CDs and do find that the different styles encourage different types of movement.  I also have several belly dance CDs that seem to inspire me to move.  In many ways I like to see my movement to this music as sacred stripping – I’m stripping away the inhibitions, fears and self-doubts that would stop me if I were dancing in public and just let myself go.  I believe deeply in the healing power of dance.  I also know from experience that part of the key to my healing is to reconnect to my physical self and this is the perfect path for me.

It’s funny – I remember speaking with Ellen a few years back about how taking yoga allowed her to reconnect with her body and reduced the back pain from which she had suffered for years.  I’ve never been much of a yoga follower (although I’m sure it’s amazingly beneficial).  The movements and exercises always seem more difficult than I can handle right now.  But spiritual stripper moves – that I can embrace with all my heart and soul.  I may eventually find that my path leads me to yoga and other more structured exercises but for now I know that dance is the way.

I can love my choices and keep my creative spark lit – The Lovers R + Ace of Wands (Spirit World)

Spirit World Lovers Spirit World Ace of Wands

Today I need to focus on the choices I’m making and how it impacts my energy and creativity.  It’s interesting to use this deck for this process because the Wands suit is associated with the lemures – the spirits of the restless, vengeful or malignant dead.  That doesn’t sound fun or enjoyable and at first it left me a bit stumped.  Then I thought about it a bit more and realized that creative energy can seem frightening.  It leaves us feeling charged and fiery but if we don’t have a sense of direction for that energy it can turn on us.  It can leave us feeling burnt out and frustrated.  That sounds the way I would expect a restless spirit to feel and certain could become malignant if it lingers too long.

So looking at these two cards today I see that I need to be more gentle with regards to the choices I make (the goddess hovering in the air above the lovers reminds me of Kwan Yin, a gentle, loving goddess).  I think it’s also reminding me that I need to find a way to live with the choices I’ve made without losing my creative energy and becoming a malignant spirit myself.

The key is accepting that I did make this choices.  I could have made other ones and my path would have taken me to a very different destination.  However I don’t know if I would have been happy with the person I became once I reached that destination.  I could have refused to help care for my in-laws; insisted that they be placed in facilities.  I could have refused to participate in caring for them and let my husband deal with it on his own.  I could have made several different decisions that would have dramatically changed this situation but would I still be me?  (Well of course I would be it would be a very different me.)

I seem to keep receiving this message (in slightly different forms) because I need to be reminded of this fact.  I don’t regret my decisions but I am human.  Sometimes I wish things turned out differently.  I wish I had more patience and different resent some of the sacrifices I’ve made.  I wish I could return to the lifestyle I had before – with the ability to splurge occasionally without worrying about the finances.  However at the end of the day I am happy with the choices I’ve made.

The key for me to stay healthy in body, mind & spirit is to remember that I need to find healthy outlets for my creative energy, my fiery nature and my restless spirit.  That is what can trip me up and lead me to becoming malignant and vengeful (or perhaps resentful and miserable).  Some days I’m better at this than others but I have to remember to keep up the fight.  I can’t allow circumstances to dampen my flame (or rather allow myself to douse my creative energy because of these circumstances).

Even with limited options, it’s important to nurture and care for yourself – Page of Cups + 7 of Cups R (Housewives Tarot)

Housewives Page of Cups Housewives 7 of Cups

 

I started using the Housewives Tarot yesterday (the Full Moon was Sunday and I decided it was time to swap decks).  I thought the Housewives would be appropriate because we’re nearing Thanksgiving and it seems to fit the feel of tradition and home that permeates the air.

Today I drew the Page of Cups which shows a small boy with a big grin watering flowers that bear the faces of older people.  The book talks about tending our emotional relationships and nurturing them.  In this case I think the Page of Cups is reminding me that if I don’t tend to such matters – nourishing and watering the relationships I value in my life, then I’ll find myself much poorer for the experience.

The 7 of Cups reversed shows a well dressed woman pondering seven cocktail glasses that are arrayed before her.  She seems to be considering her decision – which drink will she choose?  This card reminds me that I don’t have a lot of choices right now.  And the ones I do have are not as tempting as which cocktail I’d like to try.  I think it’s showing me that I need to think before making a choice, especially because the options are very limited.

Together I see a bigger message from these two cards.  The Page of Cups is letting me know that even if my choices are limited, I still do have  some options.  Or perhaps what the 7 of Cups reversed is telling me is that I FEEL as though I have no options but that may not be the case.  Perhaps what the message of these combined cards is that I have some choices (no matter how I feel right now) and I need to cultivate, tend and nurture them so that they will expand and provide even more options.  Even little seeds can grow into big trees if the conditions are right.

It’s also just as important for me to tend to my own emotional needs.  As I’m sure it is for many caregivers, I’m finding it gets easier and easier to put my desires and needs aside to care for someone else.  Part of me hates doing that (I have a well-developed selfish streak) but with things as they are right now it’s unavoidable.  So even if I don’t have a lot of options available to nourish and nurture my emotional side (all those lovely cocktail glasses) that doesn’t mean I should ignore it altogether.  I need to do what I can to sustain and tend to my needs too.  A challenge but one I’m sure I’ll eventually figure out.

No earth-shattering kaboom! but lots of small tremors (Queen of Pentacles R + The Tower R – Deviant Moon)

Deviant Moon Queen of Pentacles Deviant Moon Tower

 

On some level I have been paying more attention to my own well-being. I’m trying to focus more on my health, appearance and need to “me” time. It’s almost impossible to focus on anything while I’m caring for the relatives. They demand too much of my time and attention. By the time I get home I’m exhausted and just want to get to bed. So I need to figure out something that works for me. This has been an ongoing battle for me and I’m still trying to figure out a practical strategy.

The Tower reversed can indicate a few things. It can be trying to warn me that some crucial insight that will help me work through some of this stuff is being ignored or missed. It might be telling me that a dramatic, earth-shattering internal change is coming and I might want to get ready for it. Or it maybe be reminding me that despite all the dramatic, earth-shattering changes I’ve already experienced in my life no one else shares these experiences (well except the hubby).

It’s one of the toughest things to accept about this situation – no one else is impacted by it the way we are. No one else really cares (well that’s a bit harsh and an overstatement but I think you get my point). Others care because they care about me or because we always care when another human is suffering but it’s a different level of concern and involvement. The other people who should be as impacted by this (other children, grandchildren, etc.) are not here. They don’t even check on things. That is a bitter pill to swallow. It’s also caused a dramatic shift in how I perceive those family members. It might not cause an “earth-shattering kaboom” (as Marvin the Martian might say) but it’s definitely created a shift if my view of them and of how our society handles aging and disabilities too.

Who knows, maybe somewhere down the road I’ll find these become priorities that cause me to become involved in ways that just aren’t possible right now. Maybe instead of one major Tower moment, this card is showing the many minor Tower moments I’ve experienced and reminding me not to minimize their impact on my life, my perceptions and even my health.

Stealing time for myself isn’t selfish, it’s essential (4 of Wands & King of Swords R – Fairy Lights Tarot)

Fairy Lights 4 of Wands Fairy Lights King of Swords

 

{-QOTD – What guidance can you offer me today?-} 4 of Wands (Fairy Lights Tarot)
{-QOTD – What might enhance or modify this guidance?-} King of Swords R (Fairy Lights Tarot)

The 4 of Wands in this deck is a rather odd interpretation of this card. It shows someone who appears to be wearing a bird mask standing by a bird nest holding a large egg. A large bird is flying away from him. Is he giving the egg to the bird or stealing it from her? I’m not sure. Considering that the bird cannot see him, I’d have to guess that the masked person is stealing the egg. Although I must give him credit for having courage – the bird could easily swoop back and catch him in the act.

Maybe the masked person is trying to build a nest egg; using the giant egg as the foundation for a happier life. Of course it raises the question of what is the true price of a nest or home built upon theft and/or deception? The partner to this card is The Emperor (who showed up for me 2 days ago). Again I get the sense of creating a solid foundation upon which to build a future. I suppose it’s possible that the person with the egg worked out some sort of arrangement with the bird. If so then at least her actions are not unethical or deceptive.

I think this card’s message to me is that it’s okay to steal time for myself. It’s alright to keep some things for me and to focus on my needs. The current situation is one that exhausts the body and spirit. If I don’t find ways to recharge my batteries and enjoy myself then I’ll become bitter and resentful (moreso).

The King of Swords reversed is my intellectual super-critic sniping at me. What a bad girl I am for wanting time to myself! How could I be so selfish and self-centered? The fact that his partner card is the Queen of Pentacles reinforces this – I should give until it hurts, put the needs of others far above my own. This is just not natural for me and I’m having a difficult time dealing with being a full-time caregiver. I need to find a way to shut this critic up and do what I need to do.

Leaving the past behind and focusing on healing

Secret Forest 5 of Cups Illuminati 2 of Swords

 

The 5 of Cups reversed suggests that now is not the time to focus on what was. My mother-in-law is home and it will take at least a few days before she’ll be back to the condition she was in pre-hospitalization. Right now she is having moments of being almost catatonic, bathroom issues and a few other challenges. I’m hoping she’ll bounce back after she’s home, in a familiar environment for a few days but it’s frustrating. Most of these issues are a direct result of how she was treated in the hospital. I hope that the staff felt they were acting in her best interests but the result is that she’s almost in a state of shock.

My hubby is ranting about the neglect and mistreatment he felt she experienced at the hands of the hospital staff. I understand how he feels and even agree with his assessment. However finger-pointing serves no useful purpose right now. Instead of why she’s acting this way we need to focus on getting her better. I realize that she’ll never be 100% again but I’d like her to get back to how she was before going into the hospital.

The 2 of Swords reversed is a reminder that it doesn’t matter how clearly I can see this situation, at this time, that’s not going to help improve things. Looking back at the causes and effects of her hospitalization might prove an excellent exercise in mental masturbation but won’t help her heal. I know that but sometimes I still get caught up in the blame game.

What I can see and what I need to focus on is moving forward and getting the mom-in-law better. She has to be the focus not what they did to her. The bottom line is that she probably doesn’t consciously remember the experience but it’s that doesn’t lessen the impact. It does seem to be a sad commentary on health and aging in this country.

Readers’ Studio 2013

I departed Readers’ Studio a little over 12 hours ago and I am still processing all the wonderful information, experiences and moments I enjoyed.

There are lots of other blogs out there that have detailed the specifics of each day’s events.  So instead of focusing on that, I’ll share some of my highlights from Readers Studio 2013 (the 11th such even hosted by The Tarot School).

  • “A-ha moments” ranging from realizing that one of my biggest stumbling blocks to become a successful professional Tarot reader is that I don’t see myself as a successful, professional Tarot reader
  • Doing a foundation reading with Nancy Antenucci
  • Laughing until my sides hurt at various moments (usually accompanied by my companion in crime Ellen-Mary aka Coneflower Tarot.  I believe we managed to corrupt quite a few intrepid souls at this Readers’ Studio and thus have swelled the ranks of the Bad Girls’ Club.
  • Managing to swap decks and bags in a way that allowed me to acquire two new decks that I wanted and 3 new bags
  • Winning a print of Strength from Rachel Paul’s Dark Carnival Tarot (and of course I then had to have a copy of the deck – weird appealing and darkly quirky)
  • Rachel Pollack, who is a generous, warm and wonderful human being and the creator of amazingly powerful necklaces.
  • Seeing sneak peaks of some upcoming Llewellyn releases including the brilliant Illuminati, the intriguing So Below and the eye-popping Tarot 3-D thanks to the beauteous and generous Barbara Moore.
  • Wonderful giggly midnight girl chats with my favorite Readers’ Studio roommate – Sasha Graham.
  • All of the amazing instructors, our guides to some previously unexplored realms.
  • Those in-between moments when sharing ideas and experiences with other readers lead to profound and life-altering epiphanies.  These moments helped me find what might prove to be a new niche I can explores as a professional reader, techniques I hadn’t tried before and new decks that must now be added to the collection.
  • The magical, powerful and transformative energy raised when that many people of like minds come together to change the world for the better.

There are many more highlights that I’m sure I’m neglecting right now but the bottom line is that I came away from Readers’ Studio feeling energized, enthusiastic and eager to restart my Tarot practice.  That is why I always look forward to Readers’ Studio every year – it allows me to Sharpen my Saw (to borrow an idea from Stephen Covey)

What is coming into being in my life right now? Judgment R (Bohemian Gothic & Vampire)

 

Traditionally Judgment represents a time of returning to the light after experiencing the darkness. It is a card of rebirth, renewal and rejuvenation; of healing and transformation. It can also be seen as a wake-up call telling us that our perspective on life is about to change and wake us up to new ways of looking at things. It may represent experiencing natural growth and maturation; an old phase of your life ending because you are ready and mature enough to move forward. Things are maturing at their natural pace and now you are transitioning into a new phase of your life so it’s time to celebrate.

“Anger at being forced to change your life totally. Clinging to old ways though better things are on offer. Being dragged “kicking and screaming” to starting anew. A forced move or even an emigration that isn’t desired.” – Bohemian Gothic LWB

Yeah, I think this about sums it up – being forced into changes with which I’m not thrilled’ being dragged “kicking and screaming” to starting anew. I’ve never been a big fan of change – I’m a fixed sun sign and that apparently manifests itself in my day to day life. I also dislike the feeling of not being in control of things, even when I know intellectually that it’s inevitable. Stubborn is probably quite an accurate description of my personality in this area.

I am trying to find the positive aspects of these changes but the most challenging part is the lack of free time; of me time. Whenever I get home I’m so brain dead and bone tired that all I want to do is veg out in front of the television or lose myself in a book. Cooking, enjoying my hobbies or cleaning just don’t have enough appeal to encourage me to “un-veg” out. Getting out of the house and meeting friends isn’t an option either for a number of reasons. I’m also finding that online socializing ultimately leaves me feeling dissatisfied – like eating a candy bar or fast food meal when you’re really hungry. Having already left FB, I’m also considering avoiding the instant messenger type programs I’ve been using.

The dearth of bookstores in my area makes this situation even worse. In the past when I’ve needed a mental health break I could also head over to a bookstore and lose myself for a few hours. The nearest bookstore is over 30-40 minutes away and with the price of gas today is just not worth the trip unless I know I will buy something.

In addition to the stress family responsibilities have pushed on me, I’ve decided to take another stab at deleting wheat from my diet. For a variety of health reasons, I have come to realize that wheat products are wreaking havoc with my system. The best way to fix these problems is to eliminate wheat. On an intellectual level, I know this. My taste buds or physical cravings have other ideas in mind. A friend has also recently been forced to give up wheat and sugar and has had wonderful results. She’s been supporting and encouraging me to re-commit to removing these things from my diet. It’s really not easy (it’s amazing how much food has wheat of some type in it). Luckily I found two books that rely on nut flours and other gluten-free, sugar-free items to make tasty treats. I’ve already tried a few recipes and they’re great.

I hate when I know something is in my best interests but still resist making the change. Once again my stubborn streak rears its ugly head and I dig in my heels. Being told what to do is something else that triggers a knee-jerk defiant reaction. It guess it’s time to grow up and just accept that certain things are out of my control and focus on the things I can control that will improve my life. So far stubbornness hasn’t been helping much.

What do I need to consider today? 6 of Pentacles R (Whimsical & Victorian Trade Card Tarot)

 

The first thing that struck me while looking at these cards today was to wonder whether I’m giving enough to myself.  I think I’m fairly generous to others (within my means) and I’ve learned to be able to accept help from others (although that can still prove to be a bit of a sore point).  What I’m not sure I’m very good at is giving to myself.  All of the family obligations and responsibilities I’ve been dealing with have taken up a considerably amount of my time and energy, leaving little for me.  I don’t mean this in a selfish way (although I certainly have my moments), I mean that down time, that “me” time we need to recharge the batteries.  Like a lot of caregivers, I seem to have lost sight of this fact.

I don’t have a martyr complex and I’m not so giving I just can’t help myself.  Sometimes it’s just easier to flow along following the same pattern day to day.  It requires no thought and causes no ripples.  If I have to make alterative arrangements or plans it mucks up the works and then it takes a while to get things flowing smoothly again.  Of course that also means there are days when I feel as though I’m suffocating under these responsibilities.  I wonder what happened to me?  What happened to that person who used to spend so much energy focusing on “dressing for success” and completing tasks in a manner that would find favor with supervisors?  What happened to the me who would spend hours roaming through libraries and bookstores (of course the fact that bookstores are going the way of the dinosaur and 8-track tape does not help this situation)?  I don’t know anymore.  On some level I know that me is never coming back.  I’ve become so liberated by not having a standard 9-5 job that I truly feel no desire to ever return to that state.  However I would like to find time to spend just exploring things I enjoy – museums, bookstores, libraries, etc.

Even if I cannot leave the house, I need to find ways to give myself a break; to take a time out.  Otherwise I’ll end up fried and resentful.  I don’t want to become that way.  So I need to look into meditation, reconnecting to my spiritual practices and just carving out some alone time.  Right now I’m finding solace in sweets and junk food – that’s a bad choice on many levels.

Something about these cards also reminded me of A Christmas Carol, perhaps because of the time of year and because I go on Scrooge overload.  I love watching the various versions of this classic tale ranging from the Seymour Hicks 1935 version to Scrooged with Bill Murray.  They bring to life the concept that it is better to give than to receive and that if we hoard what we have instead of sharing it with others, we deny ourselves one of life’s joys.  I spoke with a friend today who was able to play “Secret Santa” and pay off someone’s outstanding lay-a-way balance at a local K-Mart and she was so full of joy about it that I was caught up in it with her.  It’s a wonderful gift, to know that you have done something that will help others enjoy the holidays.  As so many holiday movies, books and songs remind us – the important thing at this time of year is to remember that it doesn’t matter what you buy or get as gifts, it matters how you share your heart and love.

 

Ace of Wands (Wheel of Change & Greenwood)

 

Looking at the images on both these cards I got a send of focus, energy and new starts.  The phrase on the Greenwood Ace of Wands is “spark of life”.  What a wonderful idea!  And the triangle atop the staff on the Wheel of Change Ace of Wands gives me a sense of creating a solid underpinning upon which to then focus and channel my creative energies and drives.  It also gives me a sense that a stable base needs to be created in order for me to move forward; a tripod upon which to base my creative life.

I see these Ace of Wands as representing a boost of new energy; a charge of adrenalin.  They offer a new energetic spurt that will allow me to get moving and feel re-charged and alive again.  I’ve been feeling like a bit of a zombie for the past few months maybe even longer.  It’s odd and amazing to realize that one’s energy level can be so drained by such mundane things as family obligations and duties.  It’s as if the batteries were dying and no new ones were available.

Saturday’s card was the Knight of Wands R which I took to mean that I needed to explore some ways to internally re-ignite my pilot light.  I think this card is showing that I’m on the right path.  I will be able to find that new energy, new passion, new creative spark.  Who knows where this new path will lead me but at least now I’m looking forward to the journey.  It promises to be exciting and interesting.