Rabid Righteousness or Why I Don’t Want to Be Like Ben or Harry #Tarot #HauntedHouseTarot #NightoftheLivingDead

So, rather strange title but it’s drawn from a rather strange epiphany. The other night I watched the 1990 remake of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it. It’s similar to the original in many ways – same cast of characters, same basic scenario, but it has some clear differences too. The point of this post isn’t to critique or compare the movies, it’s to share an odd revelation I had while watching it.

Ben and Harry, referred to in the title, are two of the characters hiding in a farmhouse. Ben is black and Harry is white; neither are locals. We know little about their backstories but judging books by covers, I’m guessing Harry is a middle class suburbanite while Ben might come from a more urban area (but I could be completely wrong). Regardless of their origins, both men share a trait – the need to be right and in charge. As I watched their battles for dominance; their inability to compromise and work together to defend themselves from zombies, it hit me that this is what American politics has become.

Both sides, whether it’s Republican/Democrat or Conservative/Liberal, have gotten to a point where there is no longer any true discussion of issues or compromise. It’s merely the dominant party forcing their will on the other. Everything seems to fall along party lines. Even at the street level, how many of us have stopped talking to or following friends because we disagree with their political views and we can’t discuss it calmly or rationally or simply agree to disagree? In the meantime the zombies are coming and we’ll get annihilated.

Well, I’ve decided I want to try NOT being part of the problem. I want to listen to others’ opinions even if I disagree with them (as long as they’re not trying to proselytize ūü§™). How can I understand where they’re coming from if I don’t listen to what they believe and why. To get some guidance on this I pulled out my handy dandy Haunted House Tarot and asked “How can I be more open to the opinions of others and to compromise?”

I drew the 4 of Pentacles Rx, The World and the 2 of Pentacles

The 4 of Pentacles reversed seems to show with voodoo doll holding a pentacle. I think it’s reminding me that I don’t have all the answers and I can’t bend others to my will. I can’t force people to believe the way I believe. So, I need to accept other people’s opinions, viewpoints and perspectives. I don’t have to agree with them, or even listen to them in some cases, but I do need to acknowledge their right to have to have differing opinions from mine. In fact, it’s not my place to grant them that right – the Constitution does that. Maybe if I stop trying to be deaf, dumb and blindly stubborn about it, I can actually engage in a conversation rather than an argument.

The World holds the key; controls the house. In politics this refers to a very specific form of power. What it reminds me is that even if you hold the keys you still need the support and aid of others to maintain it. The woman stands in the doorway, holding the key – clearly in charge, but visible behind her is a group of people who helped her achieve control of the house. None of us exists in a vacuum; no one is an island. We can’t maintain a house without some help. Maybe it’s time we remembered that.

The 2 of Pentacles might be my favorite card in this reading. It reminds me there are two sides to a coin and at least two sides to every story. If we only focus on our differences and perceived wrongs, we will never find common ground. Without common ground how can our house maintain integrity? As Abraham Lincoln once stated “a house divided against itself cannot stand”. If we keep going at this rate it feels like we’ll shake apart from the pressure. We’ll become so busy battling for dominance and proving we were right that we lose sight of the zombies, the real problems and threats. I’d like to stop contributing to that trend.

So, hopefully I can learn from Ben’s and Harry’s mistakes and stop fighting so furiously to be “right” that I lose sight of what is actually important and in the best interests of all involved.

How can America heal it’s spirit? 4 of Wands Rx, The Hermit Rx & 7 of Pentacles (#MoonGarden #Tarot #TarotReading)

I’m reading Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth by Robert Johnson and he discusses what can happen when we loose our connection to spirit. He wrote “If we don’t go to the spirit, the spirit comes to us as neurosis.” This made me wonder if that explains some of the craziness going on in America – we’ve become disconnected from our spirit.

In this scenario, I don’t believe spirit equates to religion ( because, quite frankly, I believe most organized religions are just as disconnected from spirit). Instead, I believe it refers to that part of our nature that connects in a caring, symbiotic way with the world around us. It’s that instinct we feel to provide aid and succor when we see people struggling or in need. It’s that inner voice that encourages us to do good; to make the world a better place. That generous, caring side more concerned with ensuring others are treated fairly than with profits and economic theory.

I have to wonder if capitalism and the push towards a global economy has undermined these traits and reinforced our greedy, gluttonous nature. We seem more focused on want and fear of scarcity without understanding that much of this is artificially created, like planned obsolescence. We focus more on squandering our money on ridiculous frivolities like dog weddings rather than putting our resources to use helping those less fortunate. We convince ourselves that impoverished people are in that situation because they didn’t try hard enough rather than understanding that the deck was stacked against them from the start.

We accept the theory that “job creators” will trickle down prosperity on the masses as long as the government doesn’t try to restrict them but ignore the reality that once they’ve been given an inch these corporations take the mile. We accept the claims that many things are manufactured in China because it’s more cost effective but ignore China’s history of human & civil right violations and the oppressive nature of it’s policies. We ignore that US corporations that set up shop overseas often create sweatshops so we can buy more affordable gadgets. How do these behaviors reflect a country that claims to represent democracy, freedom and equality?

So, I decided to ask my guides his we can heal this disconnect from America’s spirit. I drew

My take (and naturally your mileage may vary) is that we’ve divorced ourselves from our spirit. The reversed 4 of Wands shows our success was based on a belief in ourselves married with the desire to work hard towards that goal. There have always been flaws inherent in the system but I like to think we did strive to be and do better. In the last 40+ years we’ve grown cynical and jaded, taking a more selfish approach. We’ve gone from believing in supporting our communities and helping out neighbors to suspicious isolationists who believe everyone is out for themselves and we should get ours first. It’s all about the money, finding the cheapest price and getting “mine”. I think we lost sight of the true path and let ourselves get seduced by all the shiny things. We view everything as disposable and frugality is a joke.

The Hermit reversed suggests two things to me. The first is that because we’ve lost our way we’re no longer a light for others; no longer a shining beacon of democracy leading through example. It also reminds us that we cannot and do not exist in isolation. Despite America’s belief in “rugged individualism”, the truth is that it’s almost impossible for industrialized nations to do this on an international level. And, despite my earlier rants about globalization, I don’t think it’s healthy. Perhaps instead of preying on third world nations we should work towards truly improving their social and economic status.

The 7 of Pentacles offers a possible solution. Perhaps we can use the current situation in the US to take some time and ponder what we’re sowing right now and consider if it’s what we want to continue sowing. Do we wish to truly be a leader in freedom and democracy or become part of the crowd? Are we sowing good will or ill? Are we truly improving the lives of workers in third world nations of are we helping to line the pockets of the ruling class, corporate CEOs, and politicians?

I realize this oversimplifies many of the issues and factors involved in this situation. I don’t think it’s a magic bullet. What I hope is that anyone reading this will consider how they can make changes in their own lives to reconnect with their spirit. Maybe if enough of us put that energy out in the world it will become a movement that produces permanent change.

#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.