#ChattingwithTarot – 10 of Pentacles Rx, Judgement + The Moon (#Dreamkeepers #Tarot)

Today’s cuppa was the amazingly awesome Viennese Earl Grey blend from Harney & Sons.

My ancestors’ message today, “The best way to break free of that ill-fitting outfit you’re wearing is to look at it from a different perspective. Allow yourself to rise up above what you see as the barreness and emptiness of your life and look up, look forward. Let yourself be open to and aware of other possibilities. Trust your dreams and your inner wisdom and they will guide you to where you are meant to be.”

The 10 of Pentacles has appeared several times for me this week. I know it is often interpreted to indicate a happy family life; having it all. However, in my reality it’s about being forced into a situation I never desired; fitting into a role that was never meant to be mine. As a result it feels like I’m wearing someone else’s clothes. I feel like I’m playing it being someone else. I think my ancestors are reminding me that although I have made choices that resulted in limited options in terms of flexibility and personal freedom, that doesn’t mean I’m trapped. If focus on the things that I enjoy and still can do, I will find the freedom I desire. I don’t need to lose sight of my dreams even if there’s no way to manifest them right now.

In fact, this is probably a perfect time to explore those dreams, to reconnect with my inner wisdom, my unconscious, and see if there have been changes. Sometimes it’s easy to get trapped in dreams that have become echoes of the past. This is an opportunity to make sure they’re visions of the future.

#TarotDaily – 2 of

How are the ghosts of your past still influencing your life?

The ghosts of my past, or as I like to call them – my ancestors, left me a legacy of family obligation and responsibility as well as strength and fortitude.

The women in my direct line did not domesticate well. We aren’t the best at cooking or cleaning but we’re great at taking on a lot of responsibility; at getting things done. At the same they helped me learn how to forge my own path in life; how to be strong and endure. I’ve learned to trust my own mind, even if I don’t always follow through. I realize that compromising who I am to satisfy others sucks! It’s not worth it to me and if it results in a limited social circle I’m fine with that.

So, I may need to get better at the whole finding balance thing but I have learned not to try to fit in and be like everyone else; not to do things because others expect me to do them. I may be chained by what I believe are my obligations to family but I’ve accepted that. Is it easy, hell no! However in my heart I know that this is right for me and I feel good about it.

#TarotDaily – Ace of Cups Rx + King of Pentacles (Guardian)

TarotHunter’s Salt Rounds:

  • What emotional baggage from your past lingers? It’s preventing you from a fresh start and manifesting the fulfilling, prosperous life you desire.
  • You keep repeating the same mistakes in your relationships. You spiral in and out but learn little and don’t progress to the next level. If you think your perfect partner is going to sweep you off your feet and take care of you, think again. You need to take a more mature, responsible approach to relationships before you’ll be ready for that type of long term commitment.
  • Your mindset about relationships is upside down. You aren’t viewing things clearly. Instead you’re taking a fairy tale, “happily ever after” approach. Remember, for a relationship to endure and be successful (whether romantic or platonic) takes a lot of hard work and commitment. So get your head out of the clouds and put your grown up panties on!

#TarotDaily – The Star Rx + 10 of Wands (Toscano)

TarotHunter’s Salt Rounds:

  • No matter how heavy the burden you bear, how great the responsibility, keep hope alive in your heart.
  • The heavier your burdens get, the more important healing yourself becomes. Don’t let caring for your own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs fall by the wayside.
  • Believe in yourself even if you believe in nothing else. Even in the darkest times our beliefs are what sustain us. If you believe you can achieve your goals then you will, no matter how burdensome the challenge.

 

 

Incurred obligations & reciprocity

Gebo

Today as part of my personal rune studies I was considering the rune Gebo/Gyfu. This rune represents gifts given and obligations incurred. Among other things, it can symbolize the reciprocal nature of gifts. It seems the Norse believed that a gift calls for a gift. So if one is given a gift or done a favor then you are expected to gift something of similar value or return the favor in some way (similar to the Northwest Native peoples tradition of potlatch). Thinking about the nature of reciprocity and gifts made me wonder about past gifts and how they obligate me as an adult.

I’m not referring exclusively to presents given for special occasions such as birthdays. I’m talking about other, sometimes more intangible, gifts. For example I had a teacher for third and fourth grade, Sister Esther, who made a huge impact on me. She forced to try harder as a student. I was (and still am) a lazy student. I do what I need to in order to pass the course. I regularly wait until the last minute to complete assignments (unless I’m working with partners). Luckily for me this behavior had little impact on my grades. Even when I half-assed it I received good grades. However Sister Esther refused to accept any half-assing from me. She would push me and prod me to dig deeper for answers. It’s as if she knew the I had a lazy streak and would be satisfied with doing just enough work to get by. As a result of Sister Esther’s prodding, I developed skills that allowed me to half-half-ass it. I developed note taking techniques and study techniques that allowed me to remember facts and information so that I didn’t have to study very hard in order to pass tests. I learned how to read reference papers with an eye towards ignoring extraneous and non-essential (to me anyway) data. As a results I am still able to wait until the last minute to complete assignments but they’re still well done.

Hidden Realm 6 of Pentacles

Another teacher who influenced me was a religion teacher I had in high school. His name was Mr. McCommiskey and I truly believe I made his life miserable. I had his religion in my freshman year and it was right after lunch. I was often sleepy and would nod off. To avoid nodding off I took to reading during class. This frustrated the poor man and he would regularly confiscate my books. He finally asked me why I continued to read during his class and I explained that reading kept me awake. If I wasn’t reading then I would fall asleep. As long as I wasn’t disrupting and participated in class discussions, he never bothered me about this again. I mention Mr. McCommiskey because despite our rocky moments, he taught me so much about spirituality and not accepting the “official” version of events. He was a liberation theologist (this was the early 1980s and as I look back I am truly amazed at how blessed I was by my Catholic high school education). He often pointed out facts left out of the official version of events such as that women used to officiate at early Christian masses. He once led us in replicating what an early Christian mass might have included, along with making unleavened honey oat cakes for us to try. He tried to enlighten our remarkably uninterested teenage minds to the hypocrisy and inequality in the world (he had spend a few years in El Salvador). I truly believe this man is one of the reasons my spiritual path has explored so many areas. When I met him again at a recent high school reunion I made a point to seek him out and than him. I think he might have been touched by my appreciation (even though I admitted I was no long Catholic).

Victorian Trade Card 6 of Pentacles

On a deeper and different level I thought about my parents and the gifts they gave me. Despite their dysfunction, my parents did give me the gift of life and as a result dramatically changed their own lives. They taught me to think for myself (which I’m sure they had many occasions to regret) and to fight for what I believed. They taught me that family is important (something I did not appreciate during my teen years) and should be defended. They taught me that no matter how difficult and challenging things become we shouldn’t give up. From my mother’s side of the family I learned that family doesn’t walk away when things get bad. I watched as my grandmother, her eldest brother and visiting siblings cared for their mother (my great-grandmother) who was senile and unable to care for herself. They all worked together to keep her home and cared for until she passed away. My maternal grandmother survived burying two husbands (the first when she was only about 18), her 6 month old son (also when she was 18) and raising her only daughter by herself. She refused to break. She might have bent under the weight of her responsibilities on occasion but she didn’t give up. She was stubborn and strong-willed and I adored her.

So how can I honor and reciprocate such intangible gifts? The best way I can see is paying it forward. I now tend my ailing mother-in-law because of the gift my grandmother and her family gave me about understanding family obligations and responsibilities. Did they struggle? Of course they did, but they didn’t give up. Even though I was able to thank both the teachers I mentioned that doesn’t mean I can’t pay those gifts forward too. I have nieces and nephews. By teaching them to question and seek answers I hope that I am gifting them with a lifelong curiosity that will pay back the teachers who gifted it to me. There are many more instances I could mention but I think the point has been made. In so many ways we are all blessed in our lives; we are given many tangible and intangible gifts. We should be sure not to take them for granted and to reciprocate in kind in whatever way possible, or at least that what I’m going to try.

Mansions of the Moon Tower

Mansions of the Moon Tower

Mansions of the Moon Tarot
ZADOK (dahogue@nctc.net)
Self-Published

Traditional Meaning:  Sudden, disruptive and potential devastating change.  A shattering, eye-opening experience that changes one’s perspective forever.  A dramatic, sudden and unexpected clearing away of obstacles so that the path ahead becomes clearer.  Disaster and upheaval.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: The image is very traditional in nature but the addition of the figure in the sky shooting a bolt of fire at the tower changes it slightly. This gives the impression that the destruction of the tower is not an “act of God” or a natural phenomenon, adding another layer to the card.

This image suggests that there may be times when we experience Tower episodes which are the direct result of someone else’s impact on our lives. This may be in the form of a divorce, or other marital shake-ups, or the boss from hell, or perhaps from some government official or politician. Certainly one of the most dramatic examples was seen on Sept 11th. The destruction of the Twin Towers was the direct result of one man’s decision and his followers’ agreement. Destiny or fate was not the dominant factor in that event (at least not obviously so).

This card is a clear reminder that we can also create Tower moments in someone’s life. Perhaps it occurred as a result of a thoughtless comment that preyed on the recipient. Or perhaps you found yourself in a situation where you were the third wheel in a relationship or having to terminate the employment of someone in a difficult life situation. The fact of the matter is that none of us live in a vacuum so we may very well have had a Tower impact on someone else’s life of felt someone else’s impact in our own.  This has always been one of my issues with the Wiccan Rede “As it harm none, do what thou wilt” (or whatever variant you prefer).  The reality is that it is almost impossible not to cause harm to others through our own actions – no matter how unintentional.  If I win something that means someone else had to lose.  If I am hired then others were not.  We can try to ameliorate the harm we cause but causing some form of harm would seem to be inevitable for most of us.  I must admit there have been times when I feel like Godzilla rampaging through Tokyo because I seem to hurt everyone with whom I interact.

Maybe in order to free ourselves from the Devil’s chains we had to create a Tower moment in our own life. Consider situations where a woman leaves an abusive relationship or a person decides to face the truth about their own sexuality. These may be moments where we deliberately shatter our own lives in order to be more true to ourselves. Addicts trying to clean up their lives create Tower experiences in order to overcome their habit. All this and more is what this card brings to mind. Yes, there is the destruction and devastation, but once all the shaking is done we finally have a chance to start picking up and rebuilding our lives. It might not be easy but it can certainly bring a sense of liberation in the long run.

Learning through the pain

I have spent a lot of time over the last few years caring for my elderly, ailing mother-in-law. I have often written about how frustrated and trapped I feel in this situation but the last few days I’ve been looking at it from a different perspective. I’ve been considering what I’ve learned through this experience and started considering how this must feel for my mother-in-law.

Being forced to care for my in-laws has put me in a position of parenting my in-laws. As a result I am learning lessons many acquire while raising their children. I’ve learned the true meaning of sacrifice, strength and stamina. I am sacrificing freedom of choice, mobility and independence to take care of family. I am willing to make this sacrifice because the alternative of institutionalizing them is intolerable to me. That is my decision and I’m willing to accept its consequences, even though it sometimes makes me want to gnash my teeth and rip out my hair.

Greenwood Strength

I have learned that being tough and being strong are not necessarily the same thing. I may be tough and able to deal with aggressive behaviors and attitudes but this experience has given me a greater appreciation of inner strength. It takes an enormous amount of inner strength and fortitude to get up every day, especially when you’re not feeling well, to take care of others who cannot fully appreciate what you’re doing. There are few or no accolades for your efforts. Others may pay lip service to how strong or brave you are but few truly understand what it takes. It’s helped me gain a deeper appreciation for the Strength card.

Mythic Empress

I’ve been forced to embrace and enhance my Empress side. As I’ve expressed several times before on my blog, I have had a very distant relationship with the Empress. In the past, she and I have mutually agreed to keep our distance from each other. This current situation has pushed me into the Empress’ realm; forced me to sit at her feet and embody her energies. It was a true trial by fire and I’m still working on not getting burned or burned out by the flames.

Bohemian Gothic Judgment

This experience has also mellowed me a bit. I’m still judgmental (I think that’s embedded in my DNA) but I’m less harsh about it, more tolerant of perceived failings and imperfections – even my own. It’s forced me to realize that most of us are stumbling around trying to do the best we can with what circumstances and fate throw our way. Few people choose to be hurtful or mean or “evil”. Very often they believe they’ve made the best decision available under the circumstances. There are days when I feel like an absolute monster for the things I’ve said or thought about my in-laws. I don’t mean to be vicious but this usually occurs when I’m sleep deprived and overwhelmed. I’m striking out in anger and frustration but I’m not angry with them. I’m angry with the situation. Unfortunately they have less control over this than I do.

Dark Goddess Empress

I’m no hero, no saint and no martyr. I’m simply someone who loves her family and is trying to do right by them. I will say that I have learned to appreciate the strength of the human spirit. By all rights my mother-in-law was expected to die a long time ago but she is stubborn, tough and strong. She’s fighting for all she’s worth. She may exhaust and infuriate me sometimes but I can’t help but admire her stamina and strength of will. In fact I wish I could find a way to bottle it. I know I’m not the only one dealing with such a mess and my heart goes out to the others. We each have to make our own decisions about how to handle this type of situation based on our lives, our own obligations. This is one area that I refuse to judge anyone else. If I haven’t been in their shoes I cannot fully understand why they made the decisions they did. I can only hope that they have the support and love they need to make it work.

Caregiver to the dying, Handmaiden of Death

I have spent the last six years caring for my ailing mother-in-law. In that time I have seen her deteriorate from a semi-independent woman who needed assistance such as preparing meals and handling other household tasks to someone who needs help with the most basic facets of life. It saddens me because in her prime my mother-in-law was a fiercely independent woman. Despite the fact that she has a developmentally disabled son, she never asked for help. Now she is unable to walk without assistance. What makes it both sadder and a relief is that she is unaware of how helpless she is. She is like an infant – knowing only that she needs something and relying on someone else to provide it.

Dark Goddess Death

I feel like Death’s handmaiden. I am not in any way contributing to this process (although dealing with this has given me a new appreciation for euthanasia). My task is to calm her, provide what she needs (to the best of my ability) and try to ensure she’s not alone if/when her time comes. Having said all of this, I cannot help and will not justify the resentment I feel about this situation; the rage that flares up inside me at unexpected moments. The desperate wish I have that it would all just be over and I could reclaim my life again.

I am no saint or martyr. This current situation is intolerable to me. I detest it with every fiber of my being. Sometimes I practically vibrate with it. Every effort made to find assistance from external sources (government agencies, visiting nurse services, etc.) has either proven to be a dead end or beyond our financial means. I’m not willing to put this woman, who spent much of her life caring for family members, into a nursing home where she will be strapped down and drugged until her body can take no more. I may hate the lack of control and independence I have in my life right now but I would have that situation even more. I also don’t think I could forgive myself for it.

Well-meaning friends and acquaintances have spouted various platitudes about some divine being who does not give us more than we can handle. Generally my response is either a pained grimace or a colorful rejoinder which includes various profanities (depending upon how well I know the person). I bitch and moan to anyone and everyone who will listen, including the indifferent gods whose existence I honor. I get it – this will end when it is meant to end. However I must reiterate that it sucks beyond measure.

The main take-away I’ve gotten from this experience is a fierce determination not to find myself in a similar situation. I have no one that I can count on to care for me if I end up like my mother-in-law. I’ve also seen the various nursing home facilities available for elderly people in this condition and the reality is that if a family member is not a regular visitor and if one’s health coverage doesn’t provide enough benefits, the patient/family member ends up ignored, neglected, and even abused in some circumstances. That thought gives me nightmares.

Wheel of Change Death

I don’t believe we deal well with death in our modern culture. We fight it with a desperate determination that often results in circumstances like this one. The body keeps going because medical technology can maintain the status quo but it can’t do much to stop the progress of diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. So the body is kept alive and as healthy as possible while the mind continues to disintegrate.

Support services for caregivers who are tending to family members in this condition are minimal and (in my experience) woefully inadequate. It’s wonderful that there are support groups, but if I cannot leave the family members alone how exactly do I attend? Home visits from doctors? Oh sure they still happen, just not in this part of the county. Home care assistance? It’s available but not to my mother-in-law because she’s not on Medicaid. My brother-in-law (who is deaf and retarded) is eligible but services cannot be activated without a doctor’s approval. No doctors make home visits in this area and he will not leave the house without a serious fight. It’s a Catch-22 that leaves you bitter, exhausted and defeated. I hate it!!! In fact, I cannot stress how much I hate it. The only thing I would hate more is to have to institutionalize these two people that I love. I accept that. It’s the trade-off I make in my life. I’ll put things on hold to tend to them and I can still face myself in the mirror and sleep at night. It’s not a perfect situation but it’s the best I can do right now.

So if there is anyone else out there who has found themselves in similar circumstance, please know that you have my respect and admiration. It’s a thankless task that is fairly unappreciated by the wider society. Make sure you keep in touch with friends somehow or else the isolation with warp you. Take care of yourself. Even if all you can do is spend 10 minutes every day one yourself, treat that time as sacred. I’ve done the “giving my all to the relatives” trip and burnt out quick. I have found the work of Jennifer Louden and SARK to be inspirational and helpful in dealing with all of this. I still find it difficult to balance time for me with their needs but I’m stumbling along and finding ways. And if your choices are different than my own and you had to make the agonizing decision to institutionalize your loved one, please know that you have my sympathy and support. No one else can understand what you went through and how difficult it was for you to make that decision. Don’t allow anyone to shame you because of it. We are all just doing the best we can in this life and shouldn’t be held to someone else’s standards or expectations.

Soul sickness by association

What do you do when you learn something about a family member that is so horrific and shocking that it shatters you? How do you pick up the pieces and move forward again? How can you repair the collateral damage it creates in your life? Can you ever again be in the presence of that family member? Do you share this information with other loved ones? I don’t know the answers to this litany of questions but I am about to start exploring my way through this thorny, nasty thicket.

The other day while talking with a childhood friend, she revealed something quite disturbing about a relative. I had often suspected that there was some shady and extremely negative in this relative’s behavior. In fact my hubby and I had even shared our suspicions with each other on several occasions. I genuinely thought I knew this relative and that nothing, no matter how vile, could surprise me. Well I have been proven wrong. My friend shared a past incident about this relative which completely shattered me. It left me feeling ragged, raw and reduced to tears. I still feel physically ill.  It revealed a darkness and depravity of which I had not believed this person capable. What makes me even sadder is that my friend holds herself responsible for what occurred and I can tell it’s destroying her up inside.

Without getting into details, because in this instance they don’t really matter, I feel the need to focus on the soul sickness that results from these types of incidents and how I plan to begin the healing process. What surprises me the most about this situation is that I understand how my friend feels. When she shared the incident with me I felt shame and blame – guilt by association. Have you ever experienced something like that?  You learn something about a relative, something which you could not have prevented even if you knew at the time, but feel as though you carry some of the blame? I feel as though I should have done something to protect this friend. I had an idea of the damage this relative was capable of inflicting on others, I knew my friend was in a vulnerable state at that point. Yet I did nothing to try to stop them from hanging out together. In my mind I realize that even if I had tried to prevent it, the odds are it would not have worked. My heart and my soul are finding this harder to accept.

Dark Goddess Tarot Moon/Arianrhod Dark Goddess Tarot 4 of Earth/Sphinx

So as an effort to start my healing process, and maybe help my friend with hers, I asked the Arianrhod (The Moon) from the Dark Goddess Tarot for guidance. I needed to know how to deal with having my illusions (or delusions) about this family member destroyed. Arianrhod sent me The Sphinx (4 of Earth). Her message to me was that it was time to face the harsh truth of this matter because trying to run from it does no one, especially me, any good. So I asked The Sphinx for some advice on facing this harsh truth. She offered me Temperance reversed and the Queen of Wands.

Hudes Temperance 34

The message these cards had for me struck my spirit immediately. Temperance reversed is telling me not to lose sight of the fact that my inner spirit is pure and carries no taint of blame. However, it also reminds me that a purification and cleansing ritual might help me and my friend feel better. I need to look deep within myself and embrace the reflection that shines back. She has nothing to do with this family member’s actions and behaviors. She couldn’t have stopped any of it but maybe she can help my friend find some healing too. The Queen of Wands reminds me of my warrior spirit. She is fierce in defense of those she loves and merciless to those who harm her loved ones. In this instance the harmer happens to be someone that is a family member and was once loved. That betrayal makes it so much worse but she is strong. She has survived harsh and painful experiences before and she can do it now. The pain will recede and she will emerge from the fire feeling stronger and tempered. That also ties in with Temperance’s energy and reminds me that what doesn’t kill us does make us stronger. I know it’s a cliché but that doesn’t make it any less accurate – at least for me. If I let this beat me than that family member has won. The damage caused all those years ago will finally prove fatal. I refuse, defiantly and assertively, to let that happen.

I’m sharing this in the hopes that anyone else out there who has gone through a similar shattering revelation or experience can find some support and comfort. You’re not alone. Don’t take the shame, blame and stain of the offender into your own soul. We are not our brother’s, sister’s, father’s, mother’s or anyone else’s keeper. Their actions and behaviors do not reflect upon us. Don’t let it make you soul sick.

I’ve learned much to my dismay that these types of people are rather sociopathic and very manipulative. They find our weaknesses and exploit them. There is no shame in being vulnerable, we’ve all been vulnerable at some point in our lives, especially as children. Don’t let it define you or damage you for the rest of your days. Fight it, explore that darkness and let yourself come out healed and whole on the other side. Remember that their darkness is not yours to carry and believe that you are worthy of love, forgiveness and wholeness.