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

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Rooted Commitments

From the Victoria Regina, the Queen of Coins; from the Alchemist Oracle, 'Sun's Rays:'
          This banner featuring Queen Victoria was displayed during the 1887 Jubilee, a celebration that honored and marked the fiftieth year of her reign. Her reign would eventually last for 63 and a half years, during which the British Empire experienced expansion and many changes - industrial, cultural, political and scientific. Though she officially held little political power, she privately attempted to influence policy and would become known for her strict standards of personal morality. Though she did not mother her own children very well, she became quite enamored with her grandchildren. I've always seen the Queen of Pentacles as a southern live oak tree, with arms extending outward but with roots firmly planted in the earth. The Sun's Rays card reminds me of beams of light coming through clouds after an intense thunderstorm. Yet the animal skull suggests something has died. I would assume it is the ego's influence, as Aletta writes that spiritual commitment has seen one through stormy times. I imagine the queen's roots tap into some sort of spiritual connection too.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Get Your Bearings

From the Victoria Regina, the Six of Wands; from the Alchemist Oracle, 'Standstill:'
          This card shows the Prince of Wales parading in front of Queen Victoria upon his triumphant return from India (one of the few times he pleased her). When it comes to public recognition, I tend to be like the horse who looks ready to buck and run to the stable. It is nice to be appreciated for one's efforts (feedback can be helpful), but too much pomp and circumstance can leave us feeling like our next accomplishment should be even grander than the last. To circumvent this worry, the focus can be turned to the people whose shoulders we stood on to meet this challenge. I read the Standstill card as two separate words (pre-coffee): stand still. After being acknowledged for our efforts, a lot of energy may be coursing through our veins. It can make us eager for the next mountain to climb, the next pleasure to chase or the next mystery to unravel. Yet adrenaline tends to pump us up while leaving logic in the corner with no dance partner. Finding time to be grounded and breathe might give us a chance to get our bearings before jumping on our horse again.

Monday, June 26, 2017

And Now, Begin Again

From the Victoria Regina Tarot, the Nine of Coins; from the Alchemist Oracle, 'Birth:'
          Maybe it is the arc of pocket-watches or simply the woman feeding the birds, but my first thought about this card was 'retirement.' In this illustration there is a sense of being unhurried and relaxed, rather than being 'on the clock.' There is a calm, confident self-reliance about this woman who obviously had done well for herself financially. But what she doesn't have around her is a few solid friends to enjoy this time with. The Birth card suggests that it is time to grow something new in her life, to expand in other areas that may have taken a back seat due to work or simply the duties of daily life. In the words of Anais Nin: "Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born." Perhaps it's time to courageously seek out and explore some of those new worlds.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Spiritual Inventory

This week I'll be using the Victoria Regina Tarot, a deck and book set created by Sarah Ovenall with text assistance from Georg Patterson. This tarot set was published by Llewellyn. I'll be pairing it with the Alchemist Oracle (aka Connected and Free), a deck and booklet set self-published by Lauren Aletta. Today's draws are the Hermit and 'Healing':
          Holding a lantern and a pen, the Hermit isolates himself for the purpose of a spiritual evaluation. The withdrawal will provide distance from the daily, external distractions, allowing him to do a written inventory of his path so far. What does he believe and why? Has he tested his philosophy or faith against reality, or is he comfortable with only an intellectual version? Has this path made him more or less selfish and self-centered? If he can answer these questions honestly, he'll find some insights that might change the path he's been walking. The Healing card shows a hot cup of tea, a drink meant to be savored slowly. Sounds like the perfect way to mull over those insights, renew his intentions and heal (forgive) himself for any mistakes.
Every Yom Kippur, Jewish tradition requires a strict spiritual inventory. You aren't supposed
to just sit around feeling guilty, but to take action in the real world to set things right.
~ Naomi Wolf

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Heart Light

From the Anna K. Tarot, the Five of Pentacles; from the Meditation Cards, Heart Centered:
          What struck me about this Five of Pentacles card is the tenderness of the two older people under the makeshift shelter. I'm sure they are cold, tired and hungry, but they are not making their difficulties more difficult by taking them out on each other. Why don't they ask the church for help? Perhaps they are of a different faith and did not want to trade it for a hot meal. The Heart Centered card is paired with a quote by Jack Kornfield:
We must look at ourselves over and over again in order to learn to love, to discover
what has kept our hearts closed, and what it means to allow our hearts to open. 
Put people in dire circumstances and they will either act from a 'survival of the fittest' viewpoint or from compassion and kindness. It is an incredibly demanding choice to be selfless instead of selfish during such periods. But these are just times for which our heart was made, and when it can shine the brightest.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Nourished

From the Anna K. Tarot, the Queen of Pentacles; from the Meditation Cards, Anam Cara:
          I lived with my grandparents until I was six, and my grandmother was very much a Queen of Pents woman. She didn't do much hugging or kissing, but she nurtured every living thing around her with her time, energy and resources. Having raised a family through the Depression, she was a practical yet resourceful person. She enjoyed growing flowers and watching birds, and she also loved having all of her family come for holidays (always cooking a huge meal for everyone). In her younger years, she rode horses, played tennis, and went to college to study art. If there was a need or cause that was valid, she gave generously. Now that I think about it, she was an Anam Cara (spiritual adviser and friend) to me as well. She taught and advised through her actions more than her words. I've had many of these spiritual friends over the years - from yoga teachers to retired priests. Their wisdom is carried inside of me and will not be forgotten.
 Understanding nourishes belonging. 
― John O'Donohue


Thursday, June 22, 2017

At the Root of Things

From the Anna K. Tarot, the High Priestess; from the Meditation Cards, Root System:
          When the night is dark, the moon shines brightly in the sky. Likewise, the High Priestess knows that it is within our own darkness that we find insight and illumination. Anna describes the priestess as being able to "sit still and watch changes with compassion and serenity," and I would add with wisdom as well. From observing the mind, she knows that thoughts and emotions are just as transient as everything in the material world. The Root System card has quotes from Bodhidharma and Pema Chodron:
The mind is the root from which all things grow. If you 
can understand the mind, everything else is included.
~~~
May they be free of suffering and the root of suffering;
may they enjoy happiness and the root of happiness.
What is currently growing from your mind? Just how solid do we think our thoughts and beliefs are? The root of suffering for me is trying to cling to what I love and enjoy while trying to avoid everything I find unpleasant. The root of happiness is to accept rather than fight reality, having the wisdom to know what can be changed and what can't, and being courageous to make changes in myself when needed.