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

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Courageous Decision

This week I'll be using the Thoth Tarot, created by Aleister Crowley with Lady Frieda Harris and published by U.S. Games. As a companion book for this deck, I'll be utilizing The Crowley Tarot, written by Akron (Charles F. Frey) and Hajo Banzhaf. I will also be drawing from the Vertical Oracle, created by Antero Alli with Sylvie Pickering and published by Vertical Pool. Today's cards are the Lovers and Synchronicity:
          The Lovers card is overloaded with symbolism that primarily deals with opposites, from Lilith and Eve at the top to the king's Sacred Lance and the queen's Holy Grail at the bottom. The overall meaning is a courageous decision that brings about union and wholeness. It made me question whether I am suppressing a part of myself that if claimed would bring happiness and wholeness. I've done a lot of shadow work through several personal inventories. Yet I haven't worked on what Jung called the 'golden shadow' - the strengths and creative qualities often attributed to others yet disowned in oneself. Perhaps the Orphic Egg represents the restoration and renewal that awaits such work. The message of the Synchronicity card reads: "You have entered the No Coincidences Dept." The strange mirror images of the carousel horses reflect things coming together in unexpected ways. It may be the chance to merge all the sides of myself rather than compartmentalizing them, giving me a view of the forest rather than just a few trees.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

It's Not a Competition

From the Animal Totem Tarot, the Five of Swords; from the Organic Oracle, Harmonious Variety:
          With spikes like a hedgehog, and a nose like and anteater, this egg-laying mammal wouldn't win any beauty contests. But the echidna probably wouldn't win for most unusual animal either (just Google that and you'll see what I mean). Most of us wouldn't consider ourselves the prettiest, smartest, or most creative of all, but what happens when someone is chosen over us (a spouse who swaps for a younger version, a boss who ignores hard work and promotes the employee with swagger or an artist given a showing because of family connections)? Do we stomp off with our resentment in hand, cursing and vowing revenge? Do we go home, pull the cover over our heads and wallow in self-pity? Echidna asks, "What do you do when things don't go as planned?" The Harmonious Variety card was created with three colors of paint: cobalt blue, red and silver. Look closely and you'll see hints of each, but overall it appears as a swirl of purplish indigo. Competition is not the goal, but rather learning to work and live together with compassion. We all have our own niche that is necessary to create this harmony. Trying to be 'better than' is an impossible task; even those who are the most beautiful, skillful and talented will eventually be replaced.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Rebel with a Cause

From the Animal Totem Tarot, the Devil; from the Organic Oracle, Indecisive Direction:
          Generally I see the Devil as fear-based behavior, but Robertson has a more liberating view of this card. For her, the Devil is the anxiety or anger a nonconformist creates because they don't do things in a manner deemed 'acceptable.' The bobcat may look like an over-sized domestic feline, but its true nature is that of a wild animal. Don't expect it to purr over a bowl of cream and rub against your legs. Nature made us all individuals, so why must we all think and do things exactly alike? Sure, some rules need to be followed for the sake of progress and safety. But the reward for conformity, as author Rita Mae Brown described it, is that everyone likes you except yourself. Bobcat asks, "Are you allowing yourself to freely express who you are and what you want?" The tangled, vine-like appearance of the Organic Oracle card was created by a marble dipped in paint and rolled aimlessly across the paper. There was no prescribed direction, which fits with the nonconformity theme. Yet occasionally a rebel's actions can be so random and provocative that the only purpose is to get a reaction from others (think of online trolls). The true nonconformist can help us see outside the box, but the agitator simply feeds off of the chaos and misery of others.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

As Good As It Gets?

From the Animal Totem Tarot, the King of Pentacles; from the Organic Oracle, Sharpened Focus:
          Anyone who's seen a bison up close for first time generally can't help but be struck by its massive size. Hunted to near extinction, today it still roams and manages to thrive even in harsh environments with extreme temperatures. The bison's message is that until we get out of the past or future and into the here and now, this is as good as it gets. This King asks, "How can you tap into the talent and potential that is currently at your disposal?" The Sharpened Focus card started as a white blob of paint that was heated with a hot air gun and overlaid with ink. The contrasting colors make it possible to see the texture of the dried paint - the miniature hills, divots and crevices. It's like looking at the fur of the bison up close; from afar, it appears soft and smooth, but up close you see just how thick, shaggy and woolly it is. Both cards suggest I look at what is under my nose, paying close attention to detail. Today is where I'll find the opportunities I seek.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Lights in the Darkness

From the Animal Totem Tarot, the Ten of Pentacles; from the Organic Oracle, Starry Darkness:
          Even if I intentionally tried, I don't think I could have picked two cards that suit each other so well. The rabbit is prey rather than predator, and so it must multiply rapidly in order to survive. That might sound like a terrible thing, but it appears this family is taking a moment to appreciate their deep, safe burrow and the moonlit field of clover they have to eat. Forget the saying "Who dies with the most toys wins;" I think it should be, "Contentment comes to those who appreciate what they have while they have it." The prompt for this card asks, "What will you do now that you have what you need?" The Starry Darkness card is an answer to that question. Sea salt was added to black ink, then gold paint added, creating a scene that looks like a star-filled night. I have been amazed by the generosity of people after the destruction left behind by the tornado here. People have sent money and gift cards to my friend who lost her home and belongings (many who don't even personally know her). They are the lights in the darkness for her. I too have a choice: hold tightly to what I have in fear, or be willing to create a legacy of kindness and become a light too.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ephemeral

From the Animal Totem Tarot, the Tower; from the Organic Oracle, Ephemeral Form:
          Mound-building termites live in Australia, Africa and South America and can create some imposing structures. The mound is full of complex system of tunnels and conduits that serve as air shafts; the nest itself is underground. Robertson suggests these towering mounds resemble the ego and its need to be validated (mound) and protected (nest). She asks, "Have you merely constructed a monument to your ego?" But the kicker is that everything in the physical world is vulnerable to change. Which leads to the Ephemeral Form card that Carole created with oil pastels. The green pastel melted on top makes it resemble the northern lights (aurora). These lights appear under certain conditions (when electrically charged particles from the sun enter the earth's atmosphere) and are constantly changing and never permanent. In the same way, anything I use to shore up my ego will be transitory rather than lasting.
Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us. 
~ Jane Austen

Monday, March 20, 2017

Burying the Carcass

From the Animal Totem Tarot, the Five of Cups; from the Organic Oracle, Fresh Beginning:
          The Five of Cups is illustrated with the capybara from South America. It can live up to ten years but generally lives four; hunted by humans, it is also the favorite prey of the jaguar, puma, ocelot, caiman, eagle and anaconda. Though capable of running as fast as a horse, they are also at home in the water, able of staying submerged for five minutes. The capybara in the water is swimming away from a home that is no longer safe. Grief will have to be postponed until it is out of danger. The companion book asks, "What ghosts of the past are you letting influence your presence?" Trauma, pain or heartache from the past can resurface when a trigger of that memory occurs. It can generate so much emotional energy, that it seems impossible not to generalize to the present. Yet the Fresh Beginning card appears from the Organic Oracle. Carole used an actual shed snakeskin to make a template for this card, thus its meaning of a new start that doesn't drag the past with it. I've been adept at putting my pain in sealed compartments at times, so I don't have to deal with it. But it often seeps into my conscious mind when similar situations or people remind me of it. Better to do the work necessary to process and heal the suffering than carry around a carcass with me forever.