#MessageoftheDay – 9 of Pentacles, 10 of Pentacles Rx + The Devil (Haunted Mansion Tarot)

“You’re surrounded by abundance, by things, by wealth. However, this is not created the happy, contented family & life that you imagined. Have you made a deal with the devil and sold your soul for this prosperity?”

#MessageoftheDay – The Empress, 3 of Cups Rx + 7 of Pentacles (Haunted Mansion Tarot)

“Prosperity and abundance appear to be all around. There seems to be new growth and expansion in the world. However, be cautious about celebrating just yet. The true cost of this wealth has not yet been determined. Will what you sow prove beneficial in the long term?”

#ChattingwithTarot – 2 of Swords Rx, Temperance Rx + The World (#Dreamkeepers #Tarot)

Today my ancestors have chosen to remind me that balance is the key to my having it all. It’s the missing piece to the puzzle; the truth I hide from myself.

Of course I know this. It’s another of those truths of which I am well aware and yet continue to ignore. I willfully blind myself to it. Deliberate obtuseness is a long-standing trait of mine. My mother refers to it as being thick and, to be honest, it’s one I inherited from my ancestors. So perhaps this is also a “learn from our mistakes” kind of message.

Now that I’ve been reminded of this truth, what shall I do with it? Time will tell.

I am Nobody

I am Nobody. Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

Since first reading it, I have been drawn to Emily Dickinson’s poem “I am Nobody”. It speaks to me because I have often felt like a nobody. So I decided to pull a few Tarot cards to gain some insight. I decided to use the Allison M. Garcia Illustrated Blind Person Tarot that I discovered on Etsy.

Why do I feel like nobody? Queen of Cups Rx
How does being a nobody serve me? 10 of Wands
How does it hinder me? Knight of Wands
What would happen if I became somebody? 3 of Cups Rx

I love when Tarot does this, calls me on my bullshit. I feel like nobody because I don’t love myself or trust my insights and intuition. I’m afraid to connect to my deep, emotional nature because it leaves me feeling vulnerable and at risk.

Being nobody serves me by giving me something to grumble about; a burden to carry. It allows me to feel unfairly treated while allowing me to appear sacrificing and long-suffering.

It hinders me because as long as I cling to this delusion it will prevent me from finding my creative spark, my life calling. I’m meant to be active and charging forward. If I can’t channel it in creative, healthy, productive ways then it will find less beneficial ways to express itself.

If I became somebody then I will truly find people with whom to celebrate this joy, in a quiet, non-public way of course. I might alienate some but the odds are the are folks with whom I wouldn’t be simpatico anyway. Being somebody would allow me the freedom to celebrate my weirdness and quirkiness with fellow oddballs – like the Addams Family!

Curious that I drew two reversed Cups and two upright Wands for this reading. Considering how long it has taken me to appreciate Cups energy, I can’t say I’m thrilled to see them but clearly that attitude is part of the issue. Obviously my heart & spirit, my soul and spark are intertwined and if I can’t find the way to embrace both equally I’ll always feel like nobody.

#ComparativeTarot – The Devil (Bohemian Gothic, RWS, Transformational & Whimsical)

The Devil – quite a scary concept isn’t it. How often over the years have humans blamed their aggressive, inappropriate, unhealthy behaviors on some external construct? “The Devil made me do it” is often claimed in a joking manner but perhaps there is some truth to our belief that the evil, wicked things we do are because of the influence of some otherworldly entity but is this true? Does human belief in such an evil figure give it power and strengthen its hold on our psyches? Did we create “The Devil” so we could fob off the blame on something or someone else; a scapegoat? Are we so unwilling to face the darkness in our own souls that we would prefer to allow “The Devil” to claim it instead? These are probably much deeper questions than I can answer right now. Who knows, over the course of my Tarot After Dark blog posts I’ll probably express my opinion on some of these issues but that’s all it will be – my opinion. I have no expertise or additional insight and knowledge that grants me the power to find the answers for anyone but myself. I’m curious to learn where it will lead me.

So, I’ve been missing my Comparative Tarot essays and decided that I’d commit to writing one each week to share with any and all interested readers. Each week I will randomly select a card and then pull matching ones from three other decks. My goal is to include one RWS clone, one deck with a darker sensibility, one lighter more approachable deck and one collage or less traditional deck. This week I’ve decided to use the Bohemian Gothic, classic RWS, Transformational and Whimsical Tarot decks. Let’s explore what insights these diverse decks can offer into one of everyone’s favorite “bad” card.

The first thing that struck me looking at these cards is that one figure appears to be dominating or controlling the other(s). The black-winged figure in the Bohemian Gothic Devil is administering something in a syringe to the other. The recipient is resting against the “devil” and even hugging her close. The “victim” fully embraces her victimization or is she even a victim? The reality is that we can easily blame drug dealers for a loved one’s addiction but what caused them to take that first step? Very few are forcibly addicted to drugs or alcohol. In my experience, they seek them out in an effort to escape the reality of their lives. So is the drug use a cause or an effect? Self-medicating is quite a common extra-curricular activity in the US.

The RWS and Whimsical Devils both show figures that are physically chained or manipulated. They appear to be at the beck and call of whoever is at the other end of their chains.  However, a closer look reveals that those restraints can be easily removed. How fascinating because it implies that, once again, the “victim” is complicity in their enslavement. They could easily take control and free themselves from the restraints but chose not to do so. It makes me wonder about the allure of giving up control to another; to be void of responsibility for one’s actions. We see the reverse quite often when followers seek out rigid and strict religious movements. There is no need to consider what behaviors are acceptable or unacceptable – the church leaders will clearly define that for you. The bound people on the Devil cards show us the flip side of that scenario.  They can indulge in whatever depravity or “debased” behavior they desire because their master told them to do it. Quite a bit of psychological research has been done in this area and the results reveal that in most cases people are willing to do cruel, inhumane things as long as an authority figure told them to do it. Clearly being truly independent and free thinking is a rarity.

The Transformation Devil is quite a bit different in imagery but similar in message.  It shows a woman in a black dress standing behind a web, framed in red-orange flames.  Outside the frame are black & white figures, some being restrained by horned demons. Is the woman a prisoner of the web or the ruler of it?  Is she trapped or the entrapper? Perhaps she’s both.  Let’s face it, nothing in life is as black and white as we would like.  Perhaps she was trapped by her own addictions and indulgences and now seeks to trap others because misery loves company.  Or is she the only truly free figure in the card?  She may be framed by the web and flames but does not appear to be part of them or imprisoned by them. Could she be like a Crossroads Demon in the TV show Supernatural – not necessarily seeking out victims but coming when called and promising to fulfill one’s desires at the cost of one’s soul?  Sometimes I get the sense we do not value our souls as much as we should and as a result are willing to lightly trade it away for the promise of materials possessions.

Although the images on these four cards are very different their messages are similar. They remind us that in most instances our enslavement is the result of our continued choices. We have the ability to break free and move forward but that requires a strength of will and willingness to take responsibility for one’s life that many do not truly want. We may prefer the blame self-destructive, addictive and violent behaviors on some external devil but the truth is that human’s need so external influence to engage in atrocious behavior. What The Devil in the Tarot reminds us is that we do not have to remain enslaved. We have the ability to free ourselves if we also possess the desire and will to do so. It may not be easy. Let’s face it, regardless of how or why we became enslaved or addicted once we become so it can be almost impossible to free ourselves without some assistance. Even if you can’t cut those strings or pull away from that addictive devil by yourself, you can seek help once you realize that you want to free yourself. The Devil is frightening and seductive but it’s also a wake-up call. If you want to take those chains from around your neck you need to do whatever it takes to be truly free. That message is clear throughout these four very different takes on this intimidating card.

#TarotDaily – 9 of Swords + The Moon (#AllHallows)

What are you doing to take care of your health & body?

I wondered what cards I’d draw in response to this query. Of course Tarot didn’t let me down!

To take care of my health, I’ve stopped listening to experts, pundits and well-meaning friends and family. Just like everything else, there is no “one size fits all” approach to healthy eating. Instead of reading more books on various eating styles, I’ve decided to listen to myself, to my body. I have type II diabetes but it is fairly well controlled. Unfortunately the standard ADA recommended eating plan elevates my glucose levels. I have found that the Paleo & Keto/low-carb eating plans help control my glucose levels but often leave me hungry. So instead of trying to find a different eating plan I’m cobbling together my own.

I’m also working on ceasing some delusional thinking on my part. Wishful thinking won’t change or heal anything. No matter how much I wish it was true, I need to exercise. I need to be moderate in my snacking. Even healthy snacks become unhealthy if overindulged. I’m still a work in progress but I’m getting there. I have faced this reality and I’m working towards dragging myself forward (kicking & screaming maybe but moving forward). I do appreciate my body and if I don’t start caring for it properly I don’t want to consider the consequences.

#TarotDaily – 7 of Spirals Rx + Emperor Rx (#Pholarchos)

What happened? Where did it all go wrong? He had been confident that by now he’d be reaping the benefits of his plans and policies; being recognized for his successful, prosperous rule. Instead, things were in chaos.

Instead of growth and prosperity, there was resentment and upheaval. He was accused of not caring, being an arrogant tyrant; a bully. How could they not recognize his strengths? Why didn’t they appreciate his genius?