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, August 23, 2017

A Dose of Dharma

From the Fairytale Tarot, the King of Swords; from the Tree Affirmation Cards, Monkey Puzzle:
          The tale of "The Maiden Tsar" is a story of love thwarted by magic. For the tsar and the young man who loved her, their relationship involved a constant attempt to unravel the mystery of what kept them apart. Had they been led by emotions rather than their minds, the end of this story would have sounded more like that of Romeo and Juliet than the happy one their efforts created. The complex symmetry of Monkey Puzzle tree is an example of the mathematics underlying the natural world. How do you put together a jigsaw puzzle? Do you start with the edges or look for similar patterns and colors? This is the kind of logic this tree's message brings. To apply this in the real world is to see that neither destiny nor self-determination are the only factors in how things turn out. Is it logical to believe that a certain group is predetermined to be leaders, or that another group lives in need simply because they fail to pull themselves out of it? From a Buddhist perspective, life is shaped through cause and conditions. The cause is a deliberate, conscious action: I plant a seed. The conditions are the right circumstances that allow it to grow: the right amount of sun and rain as well as the correct climate and nutrients in the soil. It's not simple, which is why correcting the imbalances in our world won't be either. But we've got to start somewhere, using wisdom and compassion rather than opinions and passion.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Benefit for Both

From the Fairytale Tarot, the Queen of Wands; from the Tree Affirmation Cards, Whispering Ash:
          In the tale of "Kip the Magic Cat," the queen's cat gives birth to a kitten as the queen gives birth to a princess. The kitten eventually saves the princess, and in so doing, saves herself. A spell Kip and her mother had been under was broken, and both turned back into humans. I found a Rumi quote in my email this morning that seems appropriate for this story: "Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone's soul heal." It is hard for humans not to look at everything through self-centered glasses. How do we even begin to practice selflessness when the world seems overwhelmed with pain and hatred right now? The Whispering Ash is a tree that is stirred by even the slightest breeze; its message is to be just as sensitive to any intuitive thought that redirects us from our repetitive self-interest. The ladders or lamps we extend to another may be as simple as the offer of a cup of coffee and a willingness to listen. We give the gift of kindness and get a break from our self-absorption - both sides benefit.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Look in the Heart

From the Fairytale Tarot, the Seven of Cups; from the Tree Affirmation Cards, the Olive:
          The Seven of Cups illustrates a tale called the "Silver Plate and the Bi-colored Apple." These two items were magical; when the apple spun on the plate, it showed the activities going on in the world. I imagine different people would want these things for various reasons, such as a government leader to spy on his enemies or a love-smitten young man to keep an eye on the girl who holds his heart. What would you choose to do with such an item? I think I would use it to try to stop bad things from happening - like the TV show Early Edition (a guy got the newspaper a day in advance before it was actually published). The only problem is that there would be no way to prevent all of the multitude of accidents and horrors - which one would I choose? The Olive Tree suggests my choice for today be what brings peace, within myself and in the outer world.
It's easy to be cynical. Especially today, when it looks like all our heroes are crooks, our role models frauds. Every now and again, however, when you least expect it, the real thing comes along: someone who can find the heart inside the cynic and give those who hold nothing sacred something to believe in. It's not always easy telling the good from the bad, even if you do get tomorrow's paper today. Why, is why. Sometimes, to find the answers, you have to look in your heart.
~ Early Edition

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Stiff Upper Lip

This week I'll be using the Fairytale Tarot, a deck and book set published by Magic Realist Press and created by Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov. The oracle deck I'll be using this week is the Tree Affirmation Cards created and self-published by Victoria Sofia Lewis. Today's draws are the Ten of Swords and Lilac:
          The tale of "The Constant Tin Soldier" is about a toy soldier who starts off his life in bad straits (having one leg), then gets tossed outside (experiencing harrowing adventures), only to make it back home in time to be thrown in the stove fire (where he burns with his love, the paper ballerina). Throughout all his ordeals he keeps a stiff upper lip, remaining at attention and showing no emotion. Sure it may sound romantic and courageous, but that's the icing that hides the delusion and ignorance. Ideals and philosophies are great, until they turn you into a blockhead that common sense can't penetrate. Then you end up as someone who no longer knows how to have a discussion, because you are convinced you already have the truth. Lilac's keyword is 'faith' (you can smell it without seeing it). I've walked away from my childhood faith and found Buddhism, which doesn't ask that you believe something without testing it for yourself. The other day, watching the chaos in Charlottesville, VA, I lost my faith in America. However, seeing the counter-protesters come out in such great numbers in Boston, I feel like our country has a chance to survive Trump's rhetoric and presidency. In the meantime, I refuse to stand by with my mouth shut and be a tin patriot.
Patriotism is proud of a country’s virtues and eager to correct its deficiencies; it also acknowledges the legitimate patriotism of other countries, with their own specific virtues. The pride of nationalism, however, trumpets its country’s virtues and denies its deficiencies, while it is contemptuous toward the virtues of other countries. It wants to be, and proclaims itself to be, “the greatest,” but greatness is not required of a country; only goodness is.
~ Sydney J. Harris

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Energy Costs

From the Ferret Tarot, the Six of Pentacles; from the Nature's Wisdom Oracle, the Hummingbird:
          If you want to know why the ferret on the left is being so timid about taking the gift, check out the tight hold and grimace of the other. Obviously she knows accepting this present is going to cost her something. The giver seems to have a hard time understanding the concept of unconditional giving. The cash register in his head is probably ringing up what this will cost him, but also what he is hoping to get in return. If she takes it, there will have been an exchange - the gift for an expectation of reimbursement in some form. Hummingbirds requires an immense amount of nectar to maintain their high metabolism (scaled to the size of a human, it translates to about 155,000 calories a day). Energy must be managed carefully for survival. Intention, in a sense, is a powerful source of energy. If mine are aggressive (as the giver above), then that is the kind of energy I send out (which is not very cost effective for me in the end). Wayne Dyer suggested that everyone has within them seeds that produce rather than deplete us, which he called the Seven Faces of Intention: creativity, kindness, love, beauty, expansion, abundance (gratitude), and receptivity. These are the gifts that keep on giving and cost nothing but a bit of time.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Worth It

From the Ferret Tarot, the Six of Swords; from the Nature's Wisdom Oracle, the Sea Turtle:
          I'm convinced that Roombas are smarter than most humans, because these vacuum robots know how to navigate obstacles instead of run into them over and over. When humans look for a solution, whether it's to solve a problem or get out of a blue funk, we will continue to do the same things even though they don't work. When we get tired of that, we bring other people into our 'boat,' expecting them to tell us what to do. But there really is only one fix: steer the mind in a different direction. No one can do this for us (which is why I'm glad to see the ferret piloting his own boat). The problem we run into when trying to train the mind is that our patterns have well-worn paths that our thoughts would prefer to follow. It's not easy to blaze a new trail, which is where the Sea Turtle's keyword of endurance comes in. Most sea turtles migrate well over a thousand miles each year, between their feeding grounds and the beaches where they nest. Their message is that the effort is worth the result.
You need to see where you are going, and you also need a way to get there. The way to get there is what is referred to as skillful means. ~ Judy Lief

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Just Shine

From the Ferret Tarot, the Hermit; from the Nature's Wisdom Oracle, the Luna Moth:
          As one de-motivational poster (showing the Titanic sinking) put it, "It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others." But thankfully there are also those who have discovered a more joyful way to live that involves less suffering. Like the Hermit, they can let their light shine (attraction rather than promotion) or they can get on social media and advertise. Personally, I'd rather watch how someone navigates life and ask for pointers than be bombarded by nonstop promotional emails or phone calls. The Luna Moth has a wingspan of 4.5 inches and spends the whole week of its life in moth form seeking a mate rather than eating. Mating takes place after midnight, and egg-laying begins that evening. Rather than in the glare of the sun, these moths create the next generation under the soft light of the moon. Both these cards imply that a gentle approach - simply being a living example - is better than a hard sell.
Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining - they just shine.
~ Dwight L. Moody