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, November 22, 2017

It's Just a Phase

From the Wayfarer Tarot, the Moon; from A Curious Oracle, the 'Sun:'
          Vivid, bizarre dreams. Interrupted sleep. Overly-sensitive feelings. The phases of the moon represent the changeable moods we experience, sometimes because of outer stresses and other times because of buried information rising from the unconscious. Often it is the stress that triggers the released memories. The Grinch in me wants to write a snarky post because of the dark mood that engulfs me every holiday season. Yet I can emerge from these feelings if I remember and practice the words of Toni Packer:
  We are not the different states and feelings, moods and tempers succeeding one another. All of it comes and goes lightly, cloud-like, without leaving a trace, when thought doesn’t identify with any of it.
The Sun card is assigned the keyword 'recognition.' With clarity I can realize that I am not my emotions. When I stop identifying with them and narrating stories around them, they will pass. When I cease wishing things were or weren't a certain way, I can drop the cinder blocks tied to my waist and float, no matter what the tide.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Feeding the Mind

From the Wayfarer Tarot, the Queen of Air (Swords); from A Curious Oracle, 'Alchemy:'
          The Queen of Air feeds a group of crows, each representing different ideas and bits of information. What do I feed my mind with on daily basis? Once I turn on the computer, I've got news from friends and family as well as news from the world at my fingertips. I attend several groups where people share opinions and beliefs, and I am always reading books and magazines to educate and develop myself. In a world over-run with a variety of media, it's easy to experience information overload; I must be aware of how much absorb, taking in only what is beneficial and leaving the rest behind. Alchemy is a medieval philosophy and early form of chemistry based on purifying, maturing and perfecting substances. Not only was it focused on base metals, but human consciousness as well. DeFount describes this card as an intentional rather than accidental transformation. What do I do with the knowledge I mix together in my head? Is it used to make me feel better about myself or smarter than other people (fertilizing my ego)? Knowledge that smugly sits stagnates; knowledge mindfully applied transforms. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Spending or Spent

From the Wayfarer Tarot, the Four of Earth (Pentacles); from A Curious Oracle, 'Nazar:'
          Though most RWS versions of the Four of Pentacles show a miserly sort of fellow, the apple tree in this card suggests a healthy, common sense approach to my physical world. With one apple in her basket and the other three still hanging on the tree, the implication is not to spend all my time, energy or money in one area. As Black Friday looms in the near future with Christmas not far behind, I can see how this wisdom would apply. Though I'm not one to run up a credit card bill, I can overspend when it comes to energy and health. I can hear my chiropractor now, "Stop sitting on the floor when you wrap presents!" Nazar is an eye-shaped amulet believed to ward off injury or misfortune. The irony for me (because I don't believe in such things) is found in the name, which means 'attention' or 'surveillance.' When I'm in a hurry, focused on the future rather than what I'm doing at the moment, is when I'm most likely to make a mistake or hurt myself. Perhaps the real meaning of that eye is just to remind people to keep theirs wide open in the here and now.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Changing Flow

This week I'll be using the self-published Wayfarer Tarot, created by Stacy Salpietro-Babb with Margaret Shipman. I'll also be drawing from A Curious Oracle, self-published and created by Holly DeFount. Today's draws are Six of Air (Swords) and 'The Torch:'
          These birds appear to be migrating to a nearby island. Their flight reminds me of the huge flocks of blackbirds that come to the southern U.S. in autumn. Over farmlands and neighborhoods, hundreds of birds can be seen in the sky undulating like a black ribbon fluttering in the breeze. Because they are unlike geese who fly in a V formation and honk loudly to each other on the wing, researchers have been puzzled as to how blackbirds are able to stay so closely together. Thanks to high-speed imaging and algorithms, scientists discovered that each bird keeps track only of its six neighbors and coordinates its movements with them. That fact made me question how many thoughts I am consciously aware that I'm thinking. Could I tell you the last six thoughts I had? It's doubtful. But if I could (meaning paying more attention), I might be more willing to migrate from them to more wholesome and beneficial thoughts if necessary. The Torch has been given the keyword 'intentions,' which is like a map of how to move in the direction of one's aspirations during any given moment. Meditation teacher Phillip Moffitt explains it much better than I can:
Setting intention, at least according to Buddhist teachings, is quite different than goal making. It is not oriented toward a future outcome. Instead, it is a path or practice that is focused on how you are "being" in the present moment. Your attention is on the everpresent "now" in the constantly changing flow of life. You set your intentions based on understanding what matters most to you and make a commitment to align your worldly actions with your inner values.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Giant Swords, Angry Geese

From the Jolanda Tarot, the Seven of Swords; from the Bird Signs deck, 'Goose:'
          Nope, there's not an elephant in the room, but a giant sword separating this couple. In my imagination, they got a tax refund; she had plans for a vegetable garden, but he spent the money on a widescreen TV. The Seven of Swords is often described as 'lone wolf' behavior, a sure way to wreck any relationship. The sword represents truth but also communication. Judging by all the snakes at their feet, they need to stop pouting and start talking. At any rate, that cat doesn't look like he's willing to put up with much more of their childish behavior. The Goose represents protection (as anyone who's ever been chased by one of these hissing, wing-flapping birds can attest). Looking at that couple I want to ask each of them, "Whose interests are you trying to protect, your own or those of both of you?" The first is simply self-absorption, and the second is true partnership.
Love and concern for all are not things some of us are born with and others are not. Rather, they are results of what we do with our minds: We can choose to transform our minds so that they embody love, or we can allow them to develop habits and false concepts of separation. ~ Sharon Salzberg

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Real Riddle

From the Jolanda Tarot, the Seven of Cups; from the Bird Signs deck, 'Nuthatch:'
          In Greece, the Sphinx (literally meaning 'to squeeze') was part woman and part lion with the wings of a bird. It was said to have guarded the entrance to the Greek city of Thebes; travelers who wanted to pass through its gates had to answer a riddle correctly. In the Seven of Cups, the riddle isn't so much in what cup to choose, but how to bring about the emotional change represented by the chosen cup. If I want to feel good about my body, I might buy exercise clothes, equipment and healthy cookbooks. That's the fun part, right? But I haven't answered the riddle until I actually realize I must do something with those things to find that fulfillment. I've heard the nuthatch called 'the upside-down bird' because it often descends head-first and hangs upside-down beneath branches as it looks for food. It reminds me to be flexible in how I think and what I am willing to do. Unhealthy habits or patterns don't get interrupted without a willingness to change.
Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character.
Sow a character and you reap a destiny. ~ James Allen

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Lone Lion or Flock

From the Jolanda Tarot, the Six of Wands; from the Bird Signs deck, 'Waxwing:'
          An arch has been created by these six wands, watched over by a hatted lion and an eagle. The lion illustrates the strength and power that was needed to accomplish this goal, while the arch suggests that this victory is a stepping stone to other challenges. I was curious about the letter 'N' at the top; it could simply mean the direction north or it could be the chemical symbol for nitrogen (used in both fertilizers and bombs). I'd bet on the chemical. The eagle implies freedom and far-sight. Though this 'win' brings more opportunities, discernment will be needed to choose those that are worth fighting for. Waxwings show up here in the South during their winter migration. They are one of the few species of birds that can survive for months on berries. They gather by the hundreds where fruit is found and pause long enough to strip the shrub or tree clean. I am reminded by the waxwing that if you don't mind sharing, any endeavor done with a group can mean more support and fun.
Working together in concert more smoothly not only helps us move more quickly; it changes the nature of what we can undertake. When we have the confidence that we can orchestrate the group effort required to realize them, we dare bigger dreams. ~ Justin Rosenstein


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Cultivator

From the Jolanda Tarot, the King of Pentacles; from the Bird Signs deck, 'Song:'

Man shapes himself through decisions that shape his environment.
~ Rene Dubos
          To assess what kind of ruler this fellow is, we would need only to look at how the choices he's made affect those around him. The orange tree in his hand reminded me of the Thomas Fuller quote, "He that plants trees, loves others besides himself." He probably treats those in his kingdom like what he grows - nurturing and protecting while also training and pruning. The naga that forms a protective hood over his head shows he is worthy of respect (and the jaguar loincloth that he won't tolerate anything that endangers his people). He asks me bluntly, what are you using your resources to cultivate? How will your actions shape yourself and your environment? The Song card is associated with the 5th or throat chakra. In balance, it is similar to one of the Buddhist precepts: I vow not to engage in false speech but to speak and listen from the heart. I can speak my truth, but I need to do it gently and with compassion. Sincerely expressing my gratitude can be a way to nourish others. My 'song' - what I say and how I say it - will create either loamy or rocky soil.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Hold on to Your Brain

From the Jolanda Tarot, the Hierophant; from the Bird Signs deck, the Pelican:
          The woman attached to the bull with a sword down her center is a bit disturbing in this version of the Hierophant. My first thought was that both she and the bull were to become a sacrifice. But what is being sacrificed is not her body but her mind. In order to join any group, no matter whether it is of the religious, political or intellectual variety, we are generally required to adopt a new way of thinking. In a few cases this may be beneficial, but often it includes staying between narrow lines without using straying outside of them. The parrot makes me think of 'parroting' the group's dogma. I believe people are drawn to such groups because it makes them feel safe; there's a rule and specified action for nearly everything. But what if one's experience doesn't line up with what is being sold as truth? And is it a good thing to have to leave your brain at the door to be spoon fed doctrine? Being open-minded doesn't mean we have to give up our common sense too. The Brown Pelican is a spontaneous, in-the-moment kind of bird. They feed by plunge-diving from high up, using the force of impact to stun small fish before scooping them up in their pouch-like bills. They observe then act, and would suggest I do the same. As the Kalama Sutta encourages:
When you know for yourselves that, ‘These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted and carried out, lead to welfare and to happiness’ — then you should enter and remain in them.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Not So Common

From the Jolanda Tarot, the Eight of Swords; from the Bird Signs deck, 'Dove:'
          Forget the Angry Birds, these folks have incoming angry bees. But why are they standing outside instead of running indoors? When life feels overwhelming with no apparent solutions, the first thing to disappear is often our common sense. It helps when I can remember the basics when I'm in this place: Have I gotten some rest, eaten a healthy meal and exercised my body lately? Have I talked to someone (other than the squirrel that runs circles in my mind)? A second opinion means one that doesn't originate from me. The Rock Dove (aka rock pigeon) may appear drab and useless, but it was the bird that carried messages for the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War I and II. No matter where it is released, it will find its way home. It reminds me that I need to have a guidance system too - a philosophy or spirituality that can provide direction when I feel lost. It doesn't have to be a specific one, just one that works for me. These birds reuse the same nest over and over without cleaning them out; their nest often contains unhatched eggs and mummies of dead nestlings. When I feel out of options, one of the best things I can do is start fresh by getting rid of all my assumptions and ideas that things must be a certain way. It turns out that Voltaire knew what he was talking about when he wrote, "Common sense is not so common."


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Spiritual Alterations

This week I'll be working with the Jolanda Tarot, created by Jolanda Den Tredjes with Hans Arnold and published by AGM Müller. I'll also be using the oracle set Bird Signs, created by G.G. Carbone with Mary Ruzicka and published by New World Library. The cards drawn today are Judgment and 'Crane:'
          In the Jolanda version of Judgment, a woman doesn't just awaken to the call of trumpets, she gives birth to a whole other being. She's gone from living life like a billboard - with her opinions and demands plastered everywhere - to seeing life clearly. No longer living in her head of ideas about how things should be, she's come back to a direct experience of being. She's undergone a profound alteration in how she previously reacted to life. The Whooping Crane, so named for its bugling call, is the tallest bird in North America. These monogamous birds perform an elaborate and energetic courtship dance, made even more impressive with their seven foot wingspan. Because of the crane's dance, it has been given the keyword 'celebration.' If I have some form of spiritual experience, I don't need to run about and try to impress the world with my new-found wisdom or vision. If that's how I respond, then I haven't really awakened at all. An inner celebration of gratitude might be a better, more humble choice.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Waiting for the Fog to Lift

From the Spirit Within Tarot, the Moon; from the Answer Deck, 'Ending:'
          Bright writes that the Moon conceals as much as it reveals, creating confusion. Add to that the wolf, who represents the reptilian part of the brain bent toward survival at all costs, and the domesticated dog, who symbolizes our socially trained side that doesn't want to look bad in front of other people. This card suggests having enough information to make us want to hit the alarm button, but not enough facts to prove our assumptions. I was talking to someone yesterday who had gotten a 'tweet' from a friend that disturbed her; she didn't know whether to take what was sent as a barb or a joke (and without facial expressions and tone of voice, there was no hint either way). Of course the wolf and the dog sides in her took it to be a passive-aggressive taunt, so she became upset. It took some back and forth communication to smooth things out. If I can keep an open, curious mind, what has been misunderstood can eventually be cleared up. The Ending card shows the sun as it begins to rise above a dark landscape. There's no need to give in to fear or react to that uncomfortable feeling of uncertainty. If I can be patient, clarity will come.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Mix It Up

From the Spirit Within Tarot, Temperance; from the Answer Deck, 'Journey:'
          A disc jockey stands in front of an audio mixer that allows him to combine music in various ways: seamless segues, 'scratching,' and harmonic mixing. In some cases there is an equal mix and in some cases there isn't, but the result is always different than the original two options. While Temperance often suggests a moderation in our behavior, I was reminded by a quote from Mark Twain that it also can point at our thinking. Twain wrote, " It is discouraging to try to penetrate a mind like yours. You ought to get it out and dance on it. That would take some of the rigidity out of it." Indeed, dance out those sticky cobwebs that make everything look black or white and set in stone. The Journey card reminds me that my life should not be simply compartmentalized in beginnings and endings, successes and failures. The 'doing' is more important that the outcome (to borrow a phrase from Arthur Ashe). As I travel along this road, do I pay attention to someone other than myself? Do I smile, offer kindness and look for beauty? Can I enjoy my trip around the sun and let humor soften the hard places? Mix it up, this young fellow tells me.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Hands-On

From the Spirit Within Tarot, the Page of Pentacles; from the Answer Deck, 'Reconciliation:'
          I'm a lot like this Page in that I'm a 'hands-on' kind of gal. If I were trying to learn a new game, I might read the instructions, ask questions of someone who's played before and watch a game in action. But until I actually give it a go myself, I won't quite grasp the whole of things very well. There's just something about the 'doing' that makes the pieces click together in my brain. As much as I like hanging out in the intellectual playground, it's the practical, in-the-moment, real world where I feel most balanced and centered. It won't be a surprise then to tell you I'd rather meet someone in a coffee shop for a conversation than trade texts, emails and voicemails. This preference is even more important to me if there is an amends to be made or a misunderstanding to iron out (as the Reconciliation card implies). Besides, I can't actually hug someone over a phone.
To celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation means to be wrapped in a warm embrace.
~ Pope Francis

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Justice vs. Judgment

From the Spirit Within Tarot, Justice; from the Answer Deck, 'Barrier:'
          I appreciate that Bright's Justice holds the sword of truth higher than the scales. It seems lately that people just want to keep the peace, and so concessions are offered to make both sides be quiet and settle down (at least temporarily). Things may appear to be in balance, but it's really just a band-aid on a gaping wound. For there to be true justice, facts must be uncovered and examined. The truth can be hard to deal with, particularly when rights have been trampled or responsibilities have been ignored. Patiently sorting it out can seem like more trouble than it's worth. The Barrier card suggests being boxed in, which fits well with a quote from Emmeline Pankhurst: "Justice and judgment lie often a world apart." While justice relies on clarity and objectivity (mental spaciousness), judgment can be influenced by preferences or prejudices which we may not be aware we hold. It's no wonder a jury is made up of several people instead of only one. It often takes many viewpoints to see all sides of a situation.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Perhaps....

From the Spirit Within Tarot, the Five of Cups; from the Answer Deck, Vulnerable:
Emotions are symptoms of a person’s engagement with life. ~  Michael Schreiner 

          I grew up with a stepfather who allowed anger, but would not tolerate sadness and tears (they were seen as a sign of weakness). Other friends grew up in homes where anger was completely unacceptable (bad) and sadness was considered a side of compassion. Most people are taught that 'happy' is the state we should be in all the time. Yet as Schreiner says in the quote above, all emotions are a normal part of life, and each eventually ebbs over time. Yet the Vulnerable card shows what happens when we lose all perspective and self-identify with the emotion. We disengage from life and imagine we have no control over anything. Schreiner suggests that such a reaction is "an unconscious form of rebellion" because what we want doesn't sync up with reality. We suffer because we push back at life as it is, yet the bridge of acceptance continues to wait in the distance whispering, "Perhaps there is a better way."

Monday, November 6, 2017

To Bring Back

From the Spirit Within Tarot, the Ace of Cups; from the Answer Deck, 'Anxiety:'
It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living. – F. Scott Fitzgerald
          There is something special about meeting someone and feeling an instant connection that tells you, "Yes, this could be the beginning of a great friendship." At first it may seem to be based on shared ideas, hobbies or experiences, but usually there is something deeper that tugs at the heart. For me, it is a feeling of being at ease, knowing I only have to be myself (and allow the other person to do the same). Of course the initial meeting is really the easiest part. The Anxiety card represents what the care and keeping of a relationship in the long term can bring up. No matter how much people enjoy each other's company, differences will arise. How they are handled can sink or keep the relationship afloat. The Latin root of the word 'relate' means 'to bring back.' What is it that I bring back? I bring back openness and honesty, forgiveness and kindness, encouragement and compassion.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

A Splash of Cold Water

This week I'll be using the Spirit Within Tarot, created by Steven Bright and published by Schiffer. I'll also be drawing from the Answer Deck, created by Nicky Zann and published by Running Press. Today's draws are Death and Frustration:
          Bright uses the Angel of Death rather than the Grim Reaper to illustrate Death. He writes: "Endings are natural." Indeed they are. When I am in emotional or physical torment, this angel can't come soon enough. But if I'm enjoying myself and partaking in the pleasures of life, I won't welcome her arrival. Endings tend to clearly show my attachments - how I see things or people as unchanging with the ability to give me everlasting happiness. It's the feeling that I'm attached to, and what ultimately makes me unhappy. As the Answer Deck shows, anger and frustration (in proportion to my attachment) are the result. Trying to shut off my emotions so that I don't feel anything won't work. However Thubten Chodron has a visualization technique that helps not only my mind understand the suffering caused by attachment, but my heart as well. She suggests to imagine getting what I crave (along with the feelings of pleasure), then ask "Now what?" Like seeing a sticky, dirty bowl that was once filled with ice cream, it can have the affect of throwing cold water on the attachment.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Action Within the Wheel

From the Daniloff Tarot, the Wheel; from the Kuan Yin Sticks, Verse 55:
          This young lass stands on a water dragon, a symbol of power and good luck. The masks attached to the Wheel suggest human reactions to life in the sun or under a dark cloud.  The elements and the astrological signs emphasize that nothing gets a pass from a ride on this Wheel; it spins for all. As the book of Ecclesiastes puts it: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” My job is to figure out which part of each revolution is simply the natural process of living, and what part has been influenced by my actions. The first I must accept, but the second I have the power to change. Verse 55 from the Kuan Yin poem reads:
A long row of bamboo stalks
joined together
reaches to a bubbling stream.
Generation after generation can draw on the water.
My efforts and actions extend beyond my lifetime. Every year paperwhite flowers, planted by someone decades before we moved here, bloom in my yard. If I wanted to grow organic produce, the ground would have to lie fallow for a minimum of three years to allow all chemicals (pesticides and fertilizers) to be removed from the soil. What I do affects others, not just today, but in generations to come.


Friday, November 3, 2017

But Here, Now...

From the Daniloff Tarot, the Nine of Cups; from the Kuan Yin Sticks, Verse 72:
          I love the look on this man's face of contented happiness. Perhaps it is the cornucopia over his head, but this feels more like gratitude than self-centered smugness. I just commented on Ellen's blog that I when things are good, I have to constantly say to myself, "But here, now..." I think some of us who have experienced chaotic childhoods or trauma as adults have a hard time enjoying 'what is' without waiting for the other shoe to drop. When I focus on such worries, I've missed out on two good things: the joy of the moment and the gratitude that follows. The Kuan Yin verse speaks directly to this:
Whoever hunts bees
for their honey,
Will feel their sting
from time to time.
Gain and loss, joy and sorrow go hand in hand. Yes, the good times won't always be great, but the reverse is also true. Tough times won't last forever either. My practice is to learn how to embrace it all without attachment or aversion.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Changing the Channel

From the Daniloff Tarot, the Seven of Wands; from the Kuan Yin Sticks, Verse 38:
          Uh oh, this fellow appears to have lost his fierce-looking lion mask, and now he is being attacked by those below him. They see him simply as the man he is, not a fierce beast. Meanwhile, Kuan Yin beckons from the other side with this message:
The moon debuts in the evening sky, 
Yet passing clouds obscure it from view. 
Take heart, for when the clouds retreat, 
A glimmer of hope will trickle through. 
Both my daughter and I recently received notices from our health insurance provider (Blue Cross/Blue Shield) informing us that they are no longer offering policies for individuals in our county or the surrounding counties. In fact no insurance provider does. So because we must have insurance by law or pay a penalty, we have to use the ACA's marketplace to find policies for both of us. I've used the ACA before because of the insanely high premiums in our area, but my daughter has not. Her identity has to be 'verified,' which has caused all kinds of problems (even though we've sent three official types of identification). Like the man without his mask, my composure is beginning to crack with the stress. I'm hoping for a glimmer of hope in the form of a 'verified' email soon. I did receive something from Dr. Rick Hanson, however, about changing the channel of your mind when things go sideways and our daily practices don't help. It was manna from heaven.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Feminine Way

From the Daniloff Tarot, the Empress; from the Kuan Yin Sticks, Verse 7:
Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit. — Henry Adams
          The creative chaos and emotional transparency of the Empress is a counterpart to the rigid structure and logic of the Emperor. She understands nothing original will be built in the kingdom without the passion and disorder that often begins the process. She's not worried, because she knows something good will come out of it. Verse 7 from the Kuan Yin poem reads:
The river is raging and full of mud.
If you venture beyond, you will become uprooted.
Hold back instead of pushing ahead.
Stay where you are rather than seek unrealistic goals.
It is an inflexible and stubborn personality that wants to charge ahead rather than pause and be receptive. It reminds me of the Buddhist analogy about a river's strong current. Sometimes it is better to stand still rather than get pushed back in our attempt to move forward. When the force of the current lessens, we can continue to our progress. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Keep Your Head Attached

From the Daniloff Tarot, the Knight of Swords; from the Kuan Yin Sticks, Verse 39:
          This Knight of Swords has a shield that says much about his nature. The falcon's beak and talons are like the words and knowledge he uses to slice his opponents in an argument. The naked couple implies that he reveres openness and honesty in his relationships. The upraised sword suggests his sharp mind and quest for justice. Yet those wings on either side of his helmet seem incredibly large and over-sized. The wind could lift him right off his feet, which would leave him ungrounded. And that is perhaps one of the flaws of this knight - he's intelligent but not very practical. The 38th quatrain from the Kuan Yin poem reads:
News reaches you from afar, 
Yet the information is dubious and unclear.
No one can polish a rock into a mirror;
Be wise and don't waste your time.
This verse suggests that I can waste much time trying to figure out information that is worthless to begin with. It's like reading Trump's Twitter feed; it might make me anxious or angry, but that isn't going to help me get on with my day. Sometimes it's enough to know what I need to do and then do it, without over-thinking everything.

Monday, October 30, 2017

From Two Roots

From the Daniloff Tarot, Justice; from the Kuan Yin Sticks,Verse 71:
Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

          To be just is to be without bias, guided by fairness and reason. But for most humans, it can be hard not to be swayed. Our brain immediately looks inside its mental file cabinet for some situation in the past to compare to the present circumstances. It desires to put everything in a neat little box - either black or white. Perhaps that is why this Lady Justice wears no blindfold; she wants to be grounded in the present. Somewhere between the absolutes of mercy and severity lies a compromise that will balance the scales (as King suggests in the quote above). Verse 71 of Kuan Yin's poem also seems to point to dualities:
When a woman is married to two husbands,
Most likely the match won't succeed.
How can a bow hold two arrows?
A dragon with a unicorn will always fight.
No one can live a life balanced on a high wire. This verse warns that it is better to choose than make no choice at all. Yet just as a bird needs two wings to fly, my decision needs to be rooted in both wisdom and compassion.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

True Treasure

This week I'll be using the Daniloff Tarot, created and self-published by Alexander Daniloff. I'll also be using a set of Kuan Yin Sticks, alternating the use of Stephen Karcher's book (The Kuan Yin Oracle) and Marina Lighthouse's book (Kuan Yin Temple Oracle). Today's draws are the Ten of Coins and Verse 23:
          With all the floating coins around him, this fellow has obviously done quite well for himself. The crown imprint on the coin over his head shows he is at the peak of his success, health and energy. Yet there are clues like the waning moon and his dark and light robe that are a reminders of the natural progression of things. The yellow berries at the bottom remind me of a cultivar of the rowan tree.  In weather lore, a year with plentiful rowan fruit would have a good harvest but be followed by a severe winter. The vesica piscis shape he sits in implies a gateway that he will eventually cross through. Nothing stands still, and we have no choice but to move with it. Verse 23 of the Kuan Yin Oracle reads:

Climbing the beanstalk all the way to heaven
Only to be turned away at heaven’s gate;
Then news arrives of a break in the deadlock,
Giving all parties cause to celebrate.

This verse speaks of working toward a goal only to find it blocked upon arrival at the doorstep. Yet it is not a power drive or self-pity that frees us from the deadlock, but compassionate help from others. Whether the gateway we are passing through leads to good times or bad, developing relationships that remain unaffected by either is where the true treasure lies.