I use tarot and oracle cards as tools for reflection and contemplation. Rather than divining the future, they are a way for me to look more deeply at the "now."
"The goal isn't to arrive, but to meander, to saunter, to make your life a holy wandering." ~ Rami Shapiro

Monday, December 11, 2017

Guide or Aggressor

From the Sun and Moon Tarot, the Five of Wands; from the Wisdom Keepers, 'Leadership:'
          In the first illustration, two people engage in the African martial art known as donga. The object is to see which of them is the strongest, or 'the Bull.' Because this is a Thoth-based deck, this card is given the keyword 'strife.' It reminds me of how often self-will knocks heads with others when different sides think they each know the right way of doing things. Conflict is not necessarily bad when it exposes all the angles of an issue. But occasionally the mediation or brainstorm session can become a battle of arrogance, and the importance of the overall situation is completely forgotten. I want to call out to the battling youngsters, "Put down your weapons - the field is on fire!" Today's Wisdom Keeper asks the question, "Do you lead in the spirit of humility and service?" Our idea of leadership has become twisted and corrupt these days. Being a true leader has nothing to do with who has the most 'likes' or followers, or who has the power to bully or manipulate others. These two wise women explain its meaning very well:
 A leader isn't someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own. ~ Beth Revis
 To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Separating Myself

This week I'll be using the Sun and Moon Tarot, created by Vanessa Decort and published by U.S. Games. I'll also be drawing from the Wisdom Keepers Oracle, created by Rosy Aronson and published by Seal Pup Press. Today's draws are the Prince (Knight) of Pentacles and 'Discrimination:'
          The Prince/Knight of Pentacles likes to do things in a slow, orderly fashion. Grounded as the bull that pulls his wagon, he is an industrious worker with an eye for details. He thinks long and hard before acting, but once he chooses, he plods (some say stubbornly) toward his objective. Whatever the project, he won't take risks and will be persistent in seeing it through to completion. Yet there can be a downside to being such an observer of details, especially when it is applied to people. There are two definitions for discrimination: recognition of differences and prejudicial treatment because of differences. While the first definition helps us survive and get through life, the second causes hatred, injustice and a feeling of separation. This Wisdom Keeper asks the question, "How does your inner elitist express itself?" The most basic discrimination is based on gender, sexual preference, race, religion or socioeconomics. But there is a more subtle form that is often overlooked. I may think of myself as more spiritually evolved or knowledgeable than another person. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I may feel special because I have done crazy, insane things. Or, I may think I'm unique because (as the song goes) "nobody knows the trouble I've seen, nobody knows my sorrow." Such views only serve to alienate me from those to whom I belong, diverse though they are.
Our habitual way of categorizing people as friends, enemies, and strangers depending on how they make us feel is both incorrect and a great obstacle to developing impartial love for all living beings. Rather than holding so tightly to our discriminations of the external world, it would be much more beneficial if we learned to discriminate between valuable and worthless states of mind .                ― Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Embracing the Moment

From the Hoi Polloi Tarot, the Ten of Cups; from the I Ching Pack, 'Thunder over Earth:'
          Trivium recently drew this card for her daily draw, and I commented on how it seemed like the couple were embracing the moment. My everyday duties can keep my nose to the ground to the extent that I don't notice the small things that are good, beautiful and awe-inspiring. These are the moments that help keep my heart open instead of armored, and I would do well to pay attention. Like the rainbow above the family, such events are transitory; I need to sip from the cups while I can. Hexagram 16 shows a family outing with two children having a friendly wrestling match. Thunder over Water indicates enthusiasm that brings unification. I can imagine the father watching these two rowdy boys might prefer a quiet day of cloud watching on his day off. But being a wet blanket would dampen everyone's fun. The irony is that when I'm willing to tag along with other happy people, I can't help but be influenced by their mood. And if I can get out of the stories in my head, I might just have a bit of fun too.

Breathing in, I calm my body. 
Breathing out, I smile. 
Dwelling in the present moment 
I know this is a wonderful moment.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, December 8, 2017

Expansion vs. Contraction

From the Hoi Polloi Tarot, the Ace of Wands; from the I Ching Pack, 'Wind over Lake:'
          Wow, would you look at all the leaves on that wand - inspiration to create and solutions for problems galore. I might feel that way after two pots of coffee; it's been a long night of cleaning up after two elderly cats. My wand of potential feels like it is microscopic in size this morning. I simply can't see any possibilities because I've been solely focused on the problem at hand. I need a wand upgrade. The sixty-first hexagram has been given the key phrase 'serenity within,' and it suggests a gentle wind blowing across the water. The translation by Richard Wilhelm notes that it: "consists of firm lines above and below, while it is open in the center. This indicates a heart free of prejudices and therefore open to truth." The truth isn't always rainbows and unicorns unfortunately. Sometimes it's cat poop and barf. And as Larry Rosenberg reminds me, "You eliminate an enormous amount of suffering by concentrating on the suffering that is actually present instead of creating more with your thinking." Time to expand my mind and my focus.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Next Right Thing

From the Hoi Polloi Tarot, the Six of Pentacles; from the I Ching Pack, 'Lake over Thunder:'
          I went to walk at the indoor mall yesterday because of inclement weather. I noticed several school buses had brought kids from the special needs classes to enjoy the music and decorations as well as visit Santa. A few of the children were congregated on the front entrance helping the bell ringer collect donations. One young boy had a smile as wide as the ocean and danced gleefully as the bell was rung. He was the epitome of joy; if I'd had one hundred dollars, I would have stuffed them all in that kettle for the way he opened my heart at that moment. It was a wonderful reminder of how to give and receive. The 15th hexagram is called 'honorable following.' It reminded me of a phrase from 12 Step groups and this quote from Anne Lamott: "I took a long, deep breath and wondered, as usual, where to start. You start where you are, is the secret of life. You do the next right thing you can see. Then the next." I think most of us know what the next right thing is, but we often act as if we have no clue. Why? Because it may require effort, humility, or a big step out of our comfort zone. Yet as that young man taught me, if my heart is wide open, the rest of me will follow.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A View from a Point

From the Hoi Polloi Tarot, the Seven of Swords; from the I Ching Pack, 'Lake over Earth:'
          I can relate to this guy sneaking away with his armload of thoughts. I did this during the past holiday when the subject came up about the NFL players who knelt during the national anthem (I immediately left the table and became the dishwasher). I'd already gotten into it with this same person over ObamaCare, so I'm well aware of her rigid belief system. If we could have had a discussion rather than an argument, I would have loved to sit down and exchange viewpoints. Last week I had such a open-hearted talk with someone about whether addiction is a disease or not. My perspective is that I don't care whether it's called a disease, disorder or cognitive dysfunction, as long as people don't make it into a moral issue. It felt good to be able to talk without either of us feeling attacked. And both of us came away with a clearer view of why we each think as we do. Which brings me to the 45th hexagram, a symbol of gathering and mingling as the water in a lake does. Is it possible to do this when one party refuses to listen respectfully to another and tries to convert them to their ideas? Richard Rohr says that every viewpoint is just a view from one point. It seems like if we would all take the time to walk around that large lake and see from other perspectives, we might learn more than we think we already know.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Butting Heads

From the Hoi Polloi Tarot, the Emperor; from the I Ching Pack, 'Lake over Wood:'
          Looking at the Emperor's throne, I'm reminded of the slogan for Dodge trucks: "Built Ram Tough." I'm sure he's done a lot of fighting and butted a lot of heads to take that seat, but he'd rather not make it an ongoing thing. Which is why he is big on rules and responsibilities - when there's order and direction, there's less conflict. Except when those boundaries and laws are inequitable and biased. In the words of Honore de Balzac, "Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught." Hexagram 28 shows a lake overflowing its banks, and with the mounting pressure, there is the threat of a dam breaking. I am reminded of the 2017 Women's March on Washington, the Black Lives Matter movement and the spread of #MeToo through social media. Society operates smoothly only when the rights of all are equally important. When that doesn't happen, the pressure will build and the dam will break.

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
~ John F. Kennedy