His expression is slightly amused yet resigned. Like he has just heard some kids talking about sex. Every single generation thinks it invented premarital sex and the older we get the funnier the perception is.
I'm reminded by this card what is old is always new again in some form or other. We need to remember what we thought we were getting away with at 10, 15, and 20 before we summarily judge the generations following us as at worst a completely lost cause and at best hopeless, lazy, and lackluster.
I chose this card rather than my normal fan and draw at random. It is a realistic yet optimistic Tower card rather than the norm of it all falls down. In the lower left we see the damaged and crumbling tower with the black clouds overhead, in the far distance bathed in light sits another tower, whole, untouched, with the pennant of residence bravely flying.
I'm reminded by the walled path between the two towers of living with breast cancer. The initial diagnosis when the world falls down and all the options seem black. And later hope and percentages beckon from the light. My mad monkey of the mind spends its days pounding up and down the path between them. Of the monkey and the cancer, the monkey is by far the more exhausting of the two. And even a whole Tower is still...a Tower.
"It is not adversity that kills, but the impatience with which we bear adversity." ~ Ancient graffiti inside the Tower of London
The mental and physical wall this tai chi practitioner has built will not stand for long as the growing tree encroaches on the corporeal space and the tumultuous mountains of real life overpower the mind. This buffeting is required to keep us awake, alive, active, aware...but we need to create a refuge to have the strength to go another round, go another day, create the mental sanctuary of the wall.
I'm reminded by this card the beauty of knowing and practicing yoga is mentally you can go there anywhere anytime via Pranayama, breath control. I set myself something new to learn each year, once it was yoga and it was the best thing I've ever done for myself. A few blocks from the cancer clinic a Tai Chi center has opened and I've been thinking that might be my focus for 2012. I need all the mental and physical strength I can capture.
"Do not think of yourself as a small, compressed, suffering thing. Think of yourself as graceful and expanding, no matter how unlikely it may seem at the time." ~ Light on Life by B.K.S. Iyengar 1918-
This side of the gate is the safety of the known. The other side with it's open water and torturous peaks is the unknown; wild, dangerous, exciting...and for many of us too scary to contemplate.
I'm reminded by this card that fear of change is why so few go through the gate, and why those who do have books and movies about their lives. There is something extraordinary about their adventures and inventions that both repels us yet invites us forward from the comfort of the known. I'd be the one who goes through the gate and sits on the steps on the other side with her pant-legs rolled up and her feet swinging back and forth in the water. The pretender. Always wanting to go, always hanging back with conventionality. Perhaps serenity isn't what I'm working towards, but a true cutting lose...to cross the portal and go.
"It is extraordinary how we go through life with eyes half shut, dulled ears, dormant thought. It may be this very dullness that makes life to the incalculable majority so supportable and so welcome." ~ Joseph Conrad 1857-1924
Ah Temperance, thou art so hard to find. Our lifestyles are so packed and we live by to-do lists. What is wrong with this picture?
I'm reminded by this card of serenity. It seems like I've already deep-sixed so much in my life over the last couple of years...but obviously it hasn't been enough, I still feel rushed and pressured. I wish to 'sail serenely forward'...
"Curiosity endows the people who have it with a generosity in argument and a serenity in their own mode of life which springs from their cheerful willingness to let life take the form it will." ~ Alistair Cooke 1908-2004
He is shown here with representatives of all four suits; White Tiger, Red Phoenix, Black Tortoise, and Green Dragon. His robes and hair and sash all show a flowing sense of movement. He has what he needs mentally and physically.
His magic, which many of us find so hard to tap into, is the ability to both begin and finish. We wouldn't find him starting at warp speed and then lurching to a stop and walking away from a long line of projects because he got bored or couldn't find a tool. I admire this magic, it respects financial resources and the mental, emotional, and physical commitment enough to know the pleasure of completion is even better than the starting was.
"Opie, you haven't finished your milk. We can't put it back in the cow you know." ~ Aunt Bee Taylor
Not Ghostbusters, but the Hermit who in this deck is the Feng Shui Master. In various stages of development in all of us, he is the one who guides in our site placements of life. Where our internal entrance, exit, and stairs are, where our physical location and orientation should be.
I'm reminded by this card of people I've known who are like fish out of water, flopping about aimlessly, who've never set or stuck to intention. Of myself and my insomnia. I've occasionally wondered if I'm simply in the wrong earth position and should actually be in South Carolina or Maine where my 4 AM internal clock would be a more convenient 7 AM...and how we'd save ourselves a lot of life grief if we cultivated rather than quashed this internal Hermit.
"The most important thing to understand in that feng shui is really about the energy that's surrounding you in your personal space." ~ Lillian Too 1946-
Up front this week is the Feng Shui Tarot, art by Peter Paul Connolly, 232 page soft cover companion book by Eileen Connolly. Published 2005 by US Games Systems. The suit system is: Red Phoenix=Cups=South, White Tiger=Swords=West, Black Tortoise=Wands=North, Green Dragon=Coins=East. That said you won't be seeing them as I've turned this deck into a majors only and have used the minors in a number of art projects. Each card also includes an I-Ching tri gram in the lower right corner.
Looking back over this week's draws can you identify any tarot cards? The forest fire and campfire are probably wands. And Strength which is more woman and pet. See why I trimmed them? I've been looking at this card for 15 minutes. Which is it or rather was it? And what is it now?
I'm reminded by this card of individuality and creative brainwork. Quilting being my personal passion I've been to dozens of quilt shows over the years and often see two sides of the same coin from my brain point; I'd like to know what were they thinking and others, to wonder why didn't they think. The first being art quilts which didn't speak to me, and the second being quilts with zero zing. Twelve or twenty quilt blocks, all identical, marching back and forth, imagination frozen in mauve and rose or brown and aqua churn dash time warps. No real point to this post except while I appreciate the artist's nine years of work, I'm sorry I'm not smart enough to appreciate it properly as she intended.
"The creative act is the defeat of habit by originality." ~ George Lois 1931-
Many years ago we used to hunt elk with two other couples. This card reminds me of Bill. He was an enormous man in a world not designed for him. He used a tarp for rain gear and when the hunting was good he would carry half while Jim and Rob each hauled a quarter back to camp. He played a steel guitar and sang like an angel, and his .270 Winchester looked like a toy in his hands. When we'd gather wood for camp fire Bill always brought back a Yule log portion.
I'm reminded by this card, the blazing fire, the moon, the watchful bobcat, and the stately fir, of old friends, long gone family and a life time ago in another far but near place.
"Leftovers in their less visible form are called memories. Stored in the refrigerator of the mind and the cupboard of the heart." ~ Thomas Fuller 1608-1661
This image looks like the three mile National Park Service path that runs from the campground at Lake Ozette out to Cape Alava, the western-most point in the USA. About a mile from the coast the very essence of the ocean starts permeating the air, that's where I pick up speed. Ocean scent is my personal cocaine.
I've walked this path a number of times alone, camped at Ozette alone, and today I wonder what was I thinking? Life was simpler when we thought the only pervert in the world was already in jail, that ax murders were something from the Lizzie Borden story. I'm reminded by this pathwalker that was a long time ago, and today I'm on a different path, also one I walk alone. I keep telling myself it won't kill me to do it, with a weak smile for the small joke.
"No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path." ~ Buddha, Gautama Siddharta 563-483 BC
When it is time for salmon to spawn they leave the ocean and come back to the inland rivers and streams where they were born. I was raised on a 40 acre farm intersected by the East Hoquiam River, and the image on this card was a yearly occurrence. Grandpa called them sorebacks because they were no longer the gleaming silver-grey but pinkish red.
I'm reminded by this card of Grandpa Woods. He worked as a migrant laborer most of his life; my dad was born in a shack on an Oklahoma oil field. With thirteen kids to feed I expect each day's dawning filled grandpa's mind with "where will I find enough food for my family today?". One place was sorebacks that no one else would eat. I can only imagine that life yet today much of the world is still hand to mouth. How can that be in a world with time and money to burn?
"When I gave food to the poor, they called me a saint. When I asked why the poor were hungry, they called me a communist." ~ Dom Helder Camara 1909-1999
With an oracle the first thing to pop into the mind is what you focus on. Pop-beads. Remember those? They are so old they are probably new again. I had a red pop-bead necklace that got left at the beach (cockle shells and starfish, get the leap?) when I was about seven. Mother had taken my Grandmother Pearl and I to Westport for a picnic.
Westport has the lovely Grays Harbor lighthouse, one of my favorites, in fact it is the feature in one of only three real paintings I've ever purchased. Perhaps that day, the day I abandoned my beloved beads in childish carelessness, and listened to the foghorn blow, was also the day that set my long abiding love of those sentinels of the sea.
"Inside my empty bottle I was constructing a lighthouse while all the others were making ships." ~ Charles Simic 1938-
I can't stress how important having a team was during the three years I took care of my FIL, from mild dementia right through home hospice to the end. His children, my husband, his wife, plus the Home Health nurses who came each week...everyone contributed which made my load so much lighter. I'd do it again in a New York minute.
This card reminds me of an insight I had this past week.
Rob was home Wednesday and had some errands to run so all the doggies piled into the pickup with him. I got ready to leave for my daily radiation appointment and was suddenly frozen at the door. Panic stricken. I've been going for weeks now, falala, this is no biggie so why the frozen fear? That's when I realized taking my doggies with me every day has turned them into my own traveling support team. And just how important it's become to have my own little family with me before and after treatment. Never underestimate the power of unconditional love...
"A dog will teach you unconditional love. If you can have that in your life, things won't be too bad." ~ Robert Wagner 1930-
Here in the Pacific Northwest, timber is king, the basis of the economy. In the modern world we are diversified, but the settling and success of our roots was based on hardwood forests covering millions of acres.
The commercial forests are mico-managed now, cultivated and replanted as crops, some beginning their third and forth generation growth. I'm reminded by this deck based on nature, of the millions of board feet of timber cut to serve as shelter, of the billions of reams of newsprint, typing paper, toilet paper that is squeezed from the lifeblood of a tree each year. Of forest fires so extensive they could doom the economy of a logging community and turn it into a ghost town. And once again, of devastation, loss, and renewal from the ashes.
"Don't fling your butt in the forest and we won't fling your butt in jail." ~ Forest Service sign
The Gaian Tarot is a nine year labor of love from Joanna Powell Colbert, a Pacific Northwest neighbor. Gaia is Mother Earth and the deck is based on respect and honor of nature in all it's forms. Published by Llewellyn Publications 2011, the set includes the softcover 270 page Journey Through The Gaian Tarot book. I received the deck in trade a few days ago and while a great admirer of Colbert's art and mission I found the reworked images had little to do with tarot, and the renamed suits and titles confusing...so I cut off the titles and borders and made it into a oracle.
Daily Draw: Legend the Arthurian Tarot ~ 10 of Coins
A winter gathering in Castle Camelot. Look at all that light and here it was, the Dark Ages. I wonder what the average temperature was in a castle at 9:00 PM, even full of people with all the fireplaces going? I wonder that need and common sense didn't supersede convention with women wearing boots and shorter skirts. Can you imagine how filthy dress bottoms must have been?
I'm reminded by this card the past is often romanticized in both fiction and oral history. We are no different. Remember the vacation or job from hell? Within a few days we are telling stories and laughing like loons at life's hard experiences. We are a funny folk, humans. Perhaps that is how we have managed to mostly get by for 30,000 years, and maybe that is the real truth of the 10 of Coins.
"The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and then writes another." ~ James Matthew Barrie 1860-1937
Tiny little figures on a great big background, much like us and life. These puddles are all Uther got out of his efforts to change the course of a river into a moat for his castle. Son Lancelot finally regained the family castle and then turned around and gave it to a friend.
I'm reminded by this card it's just as well we can't foresee the future or we'd probably never try to do anything. The real gift of the 2 of Coins is even when things don't turn out as we planned we always learn something and we always gain something, whether we are willing to acknowledge it or not.
"The difference between school and life? In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson." ~ Tom Bodett 1955-
Daily Draw: Legend Arthurian Tarot ~ King of Coins
Uther Pendragon was the father of Arthur. He was a powerful leader whose soldiers would follow him anywhere. As his health failed he appointed a new leader of his forces, but his army had reversed fortunes. So carried on a litter, he once again led his army in defending their lands. In the end the only way the enemy (Saxons) could defeat him was by poisoning his well.
I wonder about 'the rest of the story'. Queen Igraine and Arthur didn't die of poisoning. Did Uther have a personal well? How big of an invitation to poisoning would that be? Huge I expect... A gentle reminder today that it isn't all roses at the top regardless of how much material goods or power are held.
"Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty." ~ Socrates 470 BC-399 BC
The summer festival of Lughnasa, dedicated to Lleu (or the Celtic Lug) is celebrated August 1 and the actual Lughnasa ceremony is said to take place within standing stones. Since standing stones are in short supply in much of the world I expect rocks placed in a circle would serve intent.
I'm reminded by this card not of ancient rites, but of coincidence. I am reading Moonspenders by Jonathan Gash in which Lughnasa came up yesterday. When was the last time I heard or read that word? Years? I think it's great fun when such divergent actions meet in common. Like the Sun card which presages understanding and break through. I think I now know whodunnit.
"There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are given to us to learn from." Elisabeth Kubler-Ross 1926-2004
This is Palomides, grieving at his sanctuary for the lost hope of Queen Isolt's love and the lost friendship of Tristan. "I didn't mean it that way!" is probably what he is whispering over and over but done is done.
I'm reminded by this card that many times enormous changes come about in our lives that were started by the smallest of inadvertant actions. We can shout "I take it back!" all day long but done is done.
"In this world of change, nothing which comes stays, and nothing which goes is lost." ~ Anne Sophie Swechine 1782-1857
Daily Draw: Legend Arthurian Tarot ~ Knight of Coins
Bors, Sir Lancelot's cousin, was everything a good person can aspire to. Excellent skills, honest, loyal, kind, strong supporter of the status quo. Those qualities served him well, he was one of the three remaining knights who survived and achieved the grail quest.
I'm reminded by this knight to wonder why it is genuinely good people often bore our brains out and can inspire active dislike, for no reason other than their very steadfastness. It's a funny old world...
"Somebody's boring me. I think it's me." ~ Dylan Thomas 1914-1953
In Arthurian lore this is known as the Lance of Redemption. Trapped, Balin grabbed it and wounded the Fisher King in the thigh. From that moment the castle and it's lands lay in waste until the time of the completion of the grail quest.
This Ace requires me to admit to two things before I can go forward. Mentally my cancer is exhausting me. Physically in the active sense there is nothing wrong with me. I need both the renewal and redemption of this lance to get me moving again. Would that I can...
"I wanted to live, but whether I would or not was mystery, and in the midst of confronting that fact, even at that moment, I was beginning to sense that to stare into the heart of such a fearful mystery wasn't a bad thing." ~ Lance Armstrong 1971-
One of my favorite decks this week, Legend the Arthurian Tarot, art and 256 page A Keeper Of Words book by
Anna-Marie Ferguson, published by Llewellyn Worldwide. My second edition was published 1998, Suits are titled Swords, Cups, Spears are Wands, Shields are Coins.
Lovers. Relationships. Soul Mates. We get a lot of questions on this subject, the idea of true love seems to dominate our minds, most particularly when it is missing or awry.
I'm reminded by this card long-lasting forever kind of love fundamentally changes who we are. And maybe that is why it seems so hard to achieve, not everyone can or will meld.
"Our relationship grew when we stopped hungering to be noticed and we started to meld into each other. We talked about how the weight was lifting and how our world changed overnight." ~ James Nykolay 1966-
She looks more like the Queen of Swords doesn't she? Alert, decisive, prepared, dressed to the shoes, as we say in FlyLady lingo. The Queen of Wands has stepped into the shell of the Queen of Swords because the need and use of that type of personality was required of her.
I'm reminded by this card sometimes it is required of us too. I have to step outside my blank-the-whole-process-out radiation appointment persona today and speak up about a weird experience I had yesterday. Which means I'll have to be there today, physically and mentally. Which probably isn't a bad thing when I think about. What is life but a series of experiences? Aren't I the one always rabbiting on about being awake to the life we are living?
"All that is within him does condemn itself for being there." ~ Macbeth, William Shakespeare 1564-1616
The closest thing I could find to the original of this image is on the cover of a book of fairy tattoos. There are bizarre ways of being famous in this world, and art from the civil war era making it into a contemporary tattoo book is as good as any.
I'm reminded by this card of the flexibility of the very idea of success. It can be all in the eye of the beholder, thee and me, but certainly it is also in the eye of person in the spotlight. What makes me roll my eyes and an instant later have forgotten it completely might be the pinnacle of success and glory to someone else. C'est la vie and merciful journey to us each and every one.
"The crowning fortune of a man is to be born to some pursuit which finds him employment and happiness." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882
This Fairy Empress channels Isis, and encourages us to dig below the surface of our thoughts, actions, and particularly our beliefs. To ask the why questions of ourselves. This isn't a coddling Empress but rather a taskmaster who refuses to reward sloppy work and sloppy thinking.
I'm reminded by this card, asking ourselves why we do or think a certain way is a hard task. When we get to the bottom we often find the strings that run to old tapes, peer pressure, and habit. And those are the thoughts we most avoid. Yanking a couple of our own strings is rewarding in the end...
"I can laugh at a puppet show, at the same time I know there is nothing in it worth my attention or regard." ~ Mary Worley Montagu 1689-1762
Up to date knowledge says the fey don't have fairy wars, nor do they war on their neighbors. If something is big enough, important enough, two are chosen and they fight until there is a clear winner.
I'm reminded of primer school when I first had the bright idea of 'let the presidents fight each other'. Me and a billion other kids that age. Never caught on at the top though did it? It's far too easy to send faceless young men and women off to do the dirty work, to let them be cannon fodder. It is not possible to have a clear winner in today's world, everyone loses. Except the top people who never fight, never get dirty, never get dead.
"Sincere diplomacy is no more possible than dry water or wooden steel." ~ Joseph Stalin 1879-1953
This Doyle image is titled Teasing A Butterfly. He painted it so that must have been his intent, but it isn't the intent behind an upright 3 of Coins, so perhaps this must be viewed as reversed? Because even good-intentioned efforts to help a friend or family can be the absolutely wrong thing to do and can add years of pain and misery to someone's life, including our own.
Rob and I both have brothers who've had a life-long path with drug/alcohol addiction. We learned far too late in the game via Al-Anon and Nar-Anon that all the propping up and bailing out and sheltering were futile, weakening rather than strengthening, and simply putting off the eventual crash that will finally cause them to try to swim rather than sink. They have to make the decision, they have to make the changes. Standing aside can tear our heart out, but we must respect other's decisions and allow them the full consequences. There, is the only kindness we can offer.
The deck is The Fairy Tarot, published by Lo Scarabeo of Italy in 1997, distributed by Llewellyn in North America. This is a odd variant of the Rider-Waite tarot system. Although they labeled it tarot and it has 78 cards, many of them are far afield from the norm. The book often uses the term Oracle and all 12 of the spreads offered use the word Oracle. That's why I like it, and why many readers don't. The kit edition has a soft cover 157 page book credited to Helene and Doris Saltarni on the cover, but only Helen is credited inside the book.
The art for the majors is by Antonio Lupatelli who has done many decks for Lo Scarabeo, the minors were pulled from the body of artwork left by Richard Doyle 1824-1883. Which explains why the images and meanings do not conform to the norm; there weren't many tarot norms in the group. It makes for an interesting and enjoyable deck, if you like thinking outside the box. Which I do. The suits are renamed Leaves/Swords, Hearts/Cups, Acorns/Wands, Bells/Coins.
Lot of rowdy swordplay going on here. It seems more Knights burning off energy in practice than murderous intent, much flashing and clashing and no blood.
I'm reminded by this card of my daily yoga practice. To the casual observer it would appear very little is going on. Yet each movement is deep and powerful, warming the blood and strengthening lungs, heart, body, and mind. A stylized practice with intent and joy, what could be better?
"Before you've practiced, the theory is useless. After you've practiced, the theory is obvious." ~ David Williams
Knights are generally armored because they forge forward, make us go further than we are comfortable, yet are also referred to as the teenagers of tarot. As a teen I didn't think much of my parent's world, yet often walked lock-step with my small group just as Knights must by their very station. Embracing change but hidebound. No wonder teens are mixed up and confused.
I'm reminded by this card it is the armor which saves us, because we can grow new thoughts and feelings without the world ending. Eventually most of us do, sometimes morphing into clones of our parents, more often a nice mutation of the old and new. "I wasn't raised that way" are the words that often come out when invited to go against our grain...
"Don't laugh at a youth for his affectation; he is only trying on one face after another to find a face of his own." ~ Logan Pearsall Smith 1885-1946 Afterthoughts 1931
Occupants seldom seen on the Wheel; phoenix, tiger, turtle, and dragon. Which led me to a twenty minute mouserace around the web looking at other Wheel cards and the wide variation each artist brings to their own deck.
I'm reminded by this card our own idea of good and bad fortune can also vary by day. Breaking a toe can be decidedly unfortunate if you work on your feet. But that fortune can be eclipsed the next day by a tooth ache, a big check in the mail, or a earthquake. Thinking "I'm on a roll this year" or "this is really a grim year" loses sight of the fact the Wheel is never static. Don't like your current fortune? Wait five minutes...it will change. If you are paying attention.
"There seems to be a kind of order in the universe, in the movement of the stars and the turning of the earth and the changing of the seasons, but human life itself is almost pure chaos." ~ Katherine Anne Porter 1890-1980
Tarot opened previously closed doors to my own heart with it's merciless quest for the truth, nothing but the truth. They flay the soul and make me say thank you afterward. Each hour spent with my cards is a new lesson to be learned. Viva la Journey.