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, April 25, 2018

Beatings and Lullabies

From the Shadowscapes Tarot, the Six of Pentacles; from the Arthur Rackham Oracle, 'Ending:'
          A man plays an instrument in gratitude and joy for the life he has; that gratitude, in turn, is showered upon the little plants of the forest. Generosity appears not only in the form of money but also in time and energy. Philanthropists who help the human race are usually well-known, but there are many others who work to save the land and oceans as well as animals and plant life. What we pay attention to, we come to appreciate. What we appreciate, we come to love and care for. The Rackham illustration comes from Peer Gynt, a play about a self-centered Norwegian farm boy. He leaves his widowed mother and takes off to have many adventures only to arrive back home and find his mother dying. At her death, he closes her eyes and says, "Ay, ay, now the journey's done ... For all my days I thank you, for your beatings and your lullabies." At her passing, he recognizes both the good and bad times of their life together. No one is without their faults, though we might use what they have as an excuse not to offer aid. Yet which sentiment would we rather have on our gravestone: 'She lived as a spendthrift and died with lots of money' or 'She lived in kindness and loved wastefully?'

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


From the Shadowscapes Tarot, the Knight of Cups; from the Arthur Rackham Oracle, 'Afflatus:'
          This card brings to mind the Arthurian legends and the search for the Holy Grail. Arthur already had the sword Excalibur - a masculine archetype that represented earthly power, justice, and truth. What was missing was the feminine archetype - the grail that symbolized both internal and external healing. Wielding one without the other destroys the well-being of society. Power must be balanced with compassion, which is why this knight seeks to bring back the grail to his king. Afflatus is a Latin word that means 'a breathing upon' and refers to divine communication. In Rackham's illustration, Puck sends a sincere warning to a fairy he meets in the enchanted forest. Both these cards imply it is the spiritual path - the Way - that is important, not all of the external trappings of dogma and other props that folks get caught up in that only feed the ego.

Through selfless action, he attains fulfillment.

~ Tao Te Ching

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Beginning and End of Naivety

From the Shadowscapes Tarot, the Fool; from the Arthur Rackham Oracle, 'Beginning:'
          This lass is at a point where there is nothing to grasp on to with certainty - no memories or knowledge that will give her guidance. She operates not on logic or emotion, but pure animal instinct as she readies to step into the unknown. The doves attempt to lighten her fall, but the fox appears calm and expectant, knowing this risk is one this young woman needs to take. She may land on her feet or end up with a few bumps and bruises, but she will never be naive about such a situation again. The oracle card's full title is 'Beginning at the End,' which suggests looking back with hindsight. It illustrates the story of Rumplestiltskin, a tale which describes the dangers of overconfidence and the willingness to risk the lives of innocents (the miller risked the daughter, and the daughter risked her newborn child). The Fool's trust will need to be tempered with some logic and lessons learned before she takes another dive into the unknown.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Wake Up Laughing

This week I'll be using the Shadowscapes book and deck set published by Llewellyn. The artwork is done by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and the book is written by Barbara Moore. I'll also be drawing from the Arthur Rackham Oracle, created and self-published by Doug Thornsjo (Duck Soup). Today's cards are Judgment and 'Devilment:'
          This angel's horn wakes the flowers and butterflies, heralding the end of winter and beginning of spring. Outside (for those in the Northern Hemisphere) there are signs that the season of renewal is here. Yet her call is also for the human folk to wake from complacency or apathy and see with clear eyes and an open heart. What needs to be transformed in your life or in the place you live? Being set in our ways, it can be hard to get off our comfy couches and chairs and do something different. Yet Puck (A Midsummer's Night Dream) shows up to prod us. Puck, who was a jester to the fairy king, loved to tangle things up. When chaos ensued, he had a good laugh, yet he would set things right eventually. His purpose was not to be mean but to grab folk's attention. Our family has its own little Puck in the form of a kitten that showed up at the library where my daughter works. Life has not been boring since she arrived!
Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.
~ Victor Hugo

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Color Outside of the Lines

From Hadar's Le Veritable Tarot de Marseille, the Queen of Staves (Wands); from the Greek Alphabet Runes, 'Chi:'
          Another Queen is back today; this one encourages people to create something beautiful or useful. She rallies people to do something with the minds and bodies they've been given. All humans have the ability to create, but our diversity means that we have different skills. Some may be artists, wordsmiths, relationship builders or problem solvers. This Queen appreciates all skill sets - but only if they're put to use and not gathering dust. Chi is a letter that has been used to represent Euler's Principle in geometry. Basically, for any polyhedron that doesn't intersect itself, the number of faces plus the number of corner points minus the number of edges always equals 2. While stability and reliability are great qualities, in the case of creativity it can lead to the 'same old same old.' Take a look at the Queen of Staves expression and body language as she glances over at Chi. This queen would definitely recommend taking a risk by stepping outside the norm in order to produce something original.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Equal Emotional Footing

From Hadar's Le Veritable Tarot de Marseille, the Queen of Cups; from the Greek Alphabet Runes, 'Lamda:'
          The Queen holds a cup with a cover. She knows that an outward show of feelings may not actually be what is going on in the unconscious. A person who is in a rage might simply be using an emotion that feels more powerful to hide a fear that lurks underneath. Burston has assigned the keyword 'encouraging' to the queens, and the Queen of the Cups does this in a very patient and tolerant way. Being in touch with her own feelings, she knows its not always possible to dig out the root of emotions in one day. Lamda symbols (uppercase) are painted on NATO vehicles for alliance identification. In the early 1970s, in the wake of the Stonewall Rebellion, New York City's Gay Activists Alliance selected the lowercase version of this letter to represent gays and lesbians. Adding Lamda with the Queen of Cups, these draws imply a partnership of equals. In the words of Pema Chodron:
 Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Bonding Agent

From Hadar's Le Veritable Tarot de Marseille, the Two of Cups; from the Greek Alphabet Runes, 'Kappa:'
          The two Piscean fish - known for swimming in opposite directions - come face to face in this card. Bursten assigns 'interacting' to the Cups suit and 'dialogue' to the Twos. Those fish are obviously having a positive meeting and a productive conversation judging by the blooms sprouting between them. Yet the covered cup below suggests there is more to come if things keep progressing in this direction. Kappa is a letter used in psychology and psychiatry as a symbol for measuring reliability. In Japanese folklore, the kappa were creatures who were incapable of breaking an oath. These draws imply that this relationship (Two of Cups) hinges on honesty and trustworthiness. Even when two people look at situations from opposite viewpoints, dependability, loyalty, and truthfulness can be the glue that holds the connection together.