The world is full of sacred trees, and even contains sacred forests. Here the queen of thought and intellect is backed by the Walnut Tree of Benevento Italy which first appears in historical texts in the 1420's. This image rather brings to mind the far more recent 1950's Gardenerian use.
I'm reminded by this Queen and her setting that the word sacred can be charged with controversy and acrimony right along with awe and grace. It can mean a specific place of worship, often changing to whom or to what over the known millininas as spiritual tastes and trends evolve, or it can be an artifact or person or a date. I like all trees regardless of their ilk or affiliation....a tree is a tree is a tree at its roots.
"The place with its dread sanctity was wont to awe the frightened rustics;
even then they trembled at its wood and at its rock." Virgil 70 BC-19 BC The Aeneid
Shambhala, a mythical site which has come to be known as a spiritual kingdom and end of earth. Vahalla and Heaven, Cockaigne and Elysian Fields, Shangri-la and Islands of the Blessed, all falling in the category of 'when I've finished everything else, this is where I want to go'.
I'm reminded by this card of a long conversation I had with a frail and elderly client yesterday. She assured me she wasn't hoarding a cache of pills with which to commit suicide. I know she is hoarding because I've found them and confiscated them twice. I also understand despair and depression, having been there myself in the early 90's and worked out my own plan involving the loft and rope and living area beams twenty feet from the floor. When you are in that place the Shambhalas of the world are the only things that seem real and present a pinpoint of light in that deep darkness.
"We do not have to be ashamed of what we are. As sentient beings we have wonderful backgrounds. These backgrounds may not be particularly enlightened or peaceful or intelligent. Nevertheless, we have soil good enough to cultivate; we can plant anything in it." ~ Chogyam Trungpa 1939-1987
Today we stand before the Alchemical Portal of Massimiliano Palombara 1614-1680; at his wish it was moved after his death to the garden side of his Roman home. In 1880 two flanking statues of Bes were added.
Aside from the whole subject of alchemy what remains is a man who has gone to a great deal of trouble to find, get, know, more. Sometimes we learn and see things we wish we'd not, but the search for knowledge and two opposing thumbs is all that keeps us from being classed with the pig which is our closest biological equal.
"Today the Alchemist is an allegory of the erudite; the garden was the place of meditation and the door a symbol of passage from ignorance to wisdom." ~ la Rocaille
In a world where every kind of statement seems to have already been made, sitting atop a plinth still stands out. I've not been able to find any cause that was swayed by the exercise, which people have done from hours to Simeon the Stylite's 37 years worth of personal austerity. Backed here by the ancient city of white stone, Elba Syria, 3000 BC-50 BC RIP.
I'm reminded by this card great civilizations and cities, even those made to last eternity, can be lost, covered with dust, and forgotten. So what hope does plinth sitting offer? Knaves are full of bright ideas, but not much real brainpower for implementation. Better planning, a common cause, and working for realistic reasons will move the knave up to knight and king.
"Planking, that is the act of lying down in public, sometimes in dangerous places for maximum Internet accolades, is nothing new. It is pole-sitting minus the pole, plus the web." ~ Greg Volk
This represents the site of the Pantheon in Rome. Being a know nothing I had to look it up. Originally completed in 47 BC it was dedicated to all the old gods, particularly the seven related to the known planets. There is another in Paris completed in 1790 dedicated to the patron saint of Paris, St. Genevieve, and later encompassing the crypts of honored nationals. The USA version is called the Capitol Rotunda, where heads of state lie before burial. Its construction lurched along from 1793 until the final friezes were finished in 1953.
This is a long way from the miserly clutching or burying or locking away of four coins commonly associated with this card. The four figures shown appear to be confused also. But the light from the oculus is shining directly upon them, perhaps saying the treasures of the future are based on the treasures of the past; our aboriginal roots and ancestors, our personal processes of faith which lead finally to serenity. Balanced by the whole idea of enormous monuments to the invisible and unknown and dead. Funny old world.
"It is, as it were, a visible image of the universe." ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley 1792-1822
The Fountain of Youth. We have a solider lying down on the job, and a local climbing trees. Which activity will help retain youthfulness?
With this card I remember Always taking stairs two at a time. When did I stop doing that, at 50? I remember camping or staying with friends and sleeping on the floor or ground. When did that become a deciding factor in Not going somewhere, 30? I remember when I thought my hands were pretty enough to work as a hand model. When did they begin turning into my mother's hands, 40? I wouldn't go back for anything though. As my body has aged my mind has flexed and grown and I would keep that before I'd wash away the wrinkles and gray hairs and pain. And between yoga and walking I'm stronger and fitter than I was at 40 or 50 anyway...that magic is in me. This is a 9 of Cups I can understand and live with.
"There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age." ~ Sophia Loren 1934-
Featuring the River Ganges and an example of the sacred and the profane existing as one. Every inch is considered sacred; Hindu worshipers seek the purifying action of letting its cupped waters run through their fingers, and all wish to have their ashes or bodies consigned to the waters when they die. The magic of the tea-light ceremonies of the evenings are balanced by the view of decomposing bodies by day.
I'm reminded by this card to consider myself as a microcosm of the Ganges; what thoughts and actions pollute me, what enlightens and lifts.
"I will lay my bones by the Ganges that India might know there is one who cares." ~ Alexander Duff 1806-1878
This week's deck is the newest publication from LoScarabeo, Sacred Sites Tarot, subtitled Magical Places of the World, 2012, by Massimiliano Filadoro and Federico Penco.
I had a painful epiphany this week, when I realized I've deliberately distanced myself from three family members I should be the closest to. Didn't happen overnight, but the course of three years, and I'm certainly not fighting with anyone, I chose to remove myself from any possibility of unnecessary and ongoing drama. But three?
This child reminds me, one might be normal...but three people? I'm reminded by this card, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck..it's probably a duck. I'm thinking I'm the whole problem and need to regrow my people skills.
"If only there were a longer time between epiphany and epitaph." David Glaser - 1952-
More reality, following on yesterday's ultimate. There are stuff shops that sell resin cow and buffalo skulls for charming SW decor. I have friends here in the NW with walls full of deer, elk, moose heads, or their racks. There is a sporting good store near here, and one where I grew up whose wall and display areas are awash in dead stuffed animals.
This card makes me think we are all whistling in the dark.
"The shedding of easy solutions and comforting illusions may be painful but it leaves behind it a sense of freedom and relief." ~ Martin Esslin 1918-2002
Ah. Times were tough and man didn't concern themselves whether ground rhinoceros horn could cure boils. It was eat or be eaten, pretty straightforward. You couldn't wait until you were hungry and then graze the cupboards, it was eat, get up, and start looking for the next meal because by the time you'd downed it chances are good you were pretty hungry again.
I'm reminded by this card of Death. And what short memories we have. All the wake up calls in the world don't seem to really penetrate, individually or in the collective conscience.
November 1, 2011 Vietnam Javan Rhinoceros: Declared Extinct
November 10, 2011 Western Black Rhinoceros: Declared Extinct
Poached to extinction. Nada. No more. The ultimate death.
I'm reading a book from a science series published in 1925, the same year my father was born. About how the crust of earth was formed over the eons and each page I read makes me think of my dad. He was both avid reader and rock hound and everywhere we went you'd see him picking up rocks, often licking them to see the color and grain (it's a rock hound thing...) and would show and teach me earth history, for instance while standing on the scrape marks in the Canadian Precambrian Shield that were made by rock being moved across it during the ice age.
I'm reminded by this card to wonder, what would any of us have become if we were single and educated rather than married with children and the bindings of a day job to feed clothe and shelter a family. I think my dad would have become a great geologist, my father-in-law a great inventor or architect. And I wouldn't have become at all.
Me and dad, 1962ish, Athabasca Falls, Jasper Park, Alberta Canada
"Apart from its healthful mental training as a branch of ordinary education, geology as an open air pursuit affords an admirable training in habits of observation, furnishes a delightful relief from the cares and routine of everyday life, takes us into the open fields and the free fresh face of nature, leads us into all manner of sequestered nooks, whither hardly any other occupation or interest would be likely to send us, sets before us problems of the highest interest regarding the history of the ground beneath our feet, and thus gives a new charm to scenery which may be already replete with attractions." ~ Sir Archibald Geikie 1835-1924 'Outlines of Field Geology' 1900
In most societies 'stuff' equals social level. Not rich...oh no, we all know people with tons of expensive crapola who couldn't find two dimes to rub together. And I know people who look like they don't know where their next meal is coming from who could buy thee and me three times over.
I'm reminded by this card and current world events it isn't just we little people that can make monumental mistakes dealing blows to our long term financial health. We are watching nations teeter on the brink; I have to wonder where their money went, not from which platter the next portion will be served. If you had one week to think about it, past the 'family photos' mindset, what would you deem important enough to push down the road in a wheelbarrow for three hundred miles, and the unknown future?
A place to start, Classic George Carlin on 'Stuff'.
Interesting conversations can be had about words and objects having to do with spirituality which in itself is a word hard to universally define. How our different tribes, cultures, regions, upbringing, lessons, nations, personal outlooks, and environments form our viewpoint on say, altar items or totems, what we might hold as sacred and what we deem power or prayerful tools.
I'm reminded by this card the difference between Googling such objects and shopping carting them, and being watchful for those found objects that speak to our heart and give our arm a jolt when we touch it. This card speaks of pretense, a good word to ponder today, and which side of the disc I cling to, gold or earth.
"Pretense is the overrating of any kind of knowledge we pretend to." Jonathan Swift 1667-1745
Back when dirt was new and the world was still in black and white, I was born. About a year later we moved to a 40 acre farm, politely known as the stump ranch. We also had grown-up days in town.
I'm reminded by this card in my mid-40's and 50's I avoided my mother. She was no longer the mother I knew and remembered and it was actually painful to be around her. Now that she is in the clutches of dementia, my real mother is back; in her eyes, in her smiles, in her conversations. I find that exceedingly odd and slightly spooky, but I'll be forever grateful for this small respite with her. But it begs the question. Did she change or did I change?
"Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but...life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves." ~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez 1927-
This week I'm using the 2000 Lo Scarabeo Tarot of the Origins by Sergio Toppi. It is an exceptionally earthy tarot, a raw and untamed Fool's journey through culture's beginnings. The suits are renamed to suit the theme: Wands = green Nature; Swords = red Blood; Cups = blue Soul; Coins = yellow Jewels
I attended an introduction to Tai Chi this week and the one form we physically got up to do was the Five Elements which acknowledged wood water air earth, and metal, or our core, or as it is signified in this deck, spirit.
Even with that recent reminder I stared at this card for a few minutes and then had to get the book to remember what that fifth element was. I'm well reminded by this card without that fifth element of our own essence the power of the other four elements are meaningless in our life.
"Then spirit blooms, and learns how not to die
Nesting beyond the grave in other' hearts." ~ Sir Julian Huxley 18887-1975
I haven't taken a day off from my card of the day in years. Today is the day :) Besides I'm still enjoying looking at yesterday's beautiful Ibis card.
I thought I'd share a couple of my little sweethearts, Sugar and Peanut. They are ten weeks old in this photo and Peanut is no bigger than a robin. That's good because I've been told he is a rooster and I don't want my girls tore up. He is an Old English Game Bantam, Silver Duckwing variety.
Sugar is a banty also (small version of bigger birds) and was identified for me as a Mille Fleur d'Uccle pullet. How elegant is that? Sugar is only about 1/2 the size of the other four standard pullets (young hens not laying yet).
The element of Air...clear thinking, the ability to conceive of a project, work out the how-to, and carry it through to the end goal. It includes our ability to articulate those thoughts clearly to others, and communication in general.
I'm reminded by this graceful and powerful Ibis I have a particularly delicate situation with sizable dollar value between a client and a merchant to sort out today. The client is already mad, even though she bought what she did in full command of her faculties, which will probably put the merchant on the defensive. Perhaps I should wear my feather earrings today, pull some extra power and intellect into my words.
"We can go wrong in our minds, but what our blood feels and believes and says, is always true. The intellect is the bit and bridle." ~ D.H. Lawrence 1885-1930
Have you noticed this oracle contains the tarot majors within its cards? This week I've had the ancient Egyptian equivalent of Hanged Man, Fool, Wheel, and now World. There are also 4 elements, plus 7 composite cards.
I'm reminded by this card, having been hanged fooled and crushed, I'm lifted back to whole, being now wiser and by my trials and tribulations closer to the divine within. In theory anyway... a valuable part of ones own life journey is to observe our traveling companions, to see if life's slings, arrows, and bounty make them weaker or stronger, wiser or reckless in their inner and outer outlooks. And to remember, we are being observed in turn.
"Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, end them." ~ Hamlet, William Shakespeare 1564-1616
This is one of my favorite oracles, but I look at the keywords Spiral Dancer, and here I am yet again, rolling my eyes. So I've been wracking my brain on what it could mean, how I can apply that to my day...and how that associates with the dung beetle/scarab even in its godly guise.
I'm reminded by this card there isn't much I don't question. The idea of accepting something because someone else says it is so seems the real sacrilege, not the actual denial or acceptance. So while Khepera rises the sun and rolls it across the sky these eons out of mind, it and I reflect, and dance our awkward spiral once more.
"If I can't dance, I want no part in your revolution." ~ Emma Goodman 1869-1940
There are nine doves native to Egypt, one of them the laughing dove. I rolled my eyes and thought 'they've misnamed our mourning dove'. No. It does indeed make the sound of laughter rather than the cooing and hooty hoot of ours though yes, they are very similar in looks.
I'm reminded by this card how quick I am to think what I know is right and what someone else knows is wrong. As a microcosm of world peace I'd really like to do better, to at least be open minded before dismissive.
"Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, everyday, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity." ~ Christopher Morley 1890-1957
Anubis, the jackal headed god of mummification and afterlife...has chosen nothing rather than something. In ancient times he was Egypt's top dog god, but by the middle kingdom he'd been supplanted by Osiris, reduced to standing by while the heart was weighted against the feather.
I'm reminded by this card, on any level, child or adult, there is a real transition involved when someone else takes the place we felt we held without question. A new step-parent comes to mind, a new first in class bumping everyone else down, a new boss that sweeps clean, retiring yet wanting to jump in at what replacement is doing...so we hang suspended in anger and disbelief for a bit. Then we clean up our act and go on, smarter, or we pout and complain, stationary and stagnant. I'm guessing we know both types, and perhaps have been both types.
"Many have learnt that the magnitude of lives is not their external displacements but as to their subjective experiences." ~ Thomas Hardy 1840-1928
The Anubis Oracle serves this week, 35 cards illustrated by Kris Waldherr, 166 page soft cover book by Niki Scully and Linda Star Wolf. Bear & Company, 2008.
There he is, master of all he surveys. In the world of chicken time has stood still. There aren't any women's rights, or house husbands. The men impregnate and protect without rest and fill the stewpot. The women eat and have babies. Or they live convent style and just eat and give eggs.
I'm reminded by this card I'm thankful to live in a country where women do have rights and if we are willing to pay the price can also be Emperor.
"Ability is of little account without opportunity." ~ Napoleon Bonaparte 1769-1821
I love this card, if you've never held a chicken you've no idea how soft their feathers are, or how flat they can make themselves when covering a lot of little chicks, or the patience a hen has in nurturing a clutch of eggs to birth.
I'm reminded by this card just because a day starts out crappy it doesn't mean the Wheel is rolling over you for the day or the week. Yesterday turned out to be a rich and varied day filled with interest and enjoyment. And here I was all ready to be doomed.
"Self pity in its early stages is as snug as a feather mattress. Only when it hardens does it become uncomfortable." ~ Maya Angelou 1928-
It does appear it is going to be 'one of those days' even though it is not even 6 AM yet. When that one strand unraveling can eventually collapse the day.
I'm reminded by this card, it's early yet, just because everything has gone wrong so far, doesn't have mean it will continue to do so. Mostly it depends on my attitude and reactions.
"It is not unprofessional to give free legal advice, but advertising that the first visit will be free is a bit like a fox telling the chickens he will not bite them until they cross the threshold of the hen house." ~ Warren E. Burger 1907-1995
The High Priestess is enigmatic and often misunderstood. She keeps her own counsel, and often when asked directly still won't offer advice.
I'm reminded by this card we are a contrary bunch. We don't want anyone to tell us what to do, but we expect some kind of magic to occur when we do, that by asking or taking someone else's opinion it absolves us from consequences. Hardly.
"Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things I am tempted to think there are no little things." ~ Bruce Barton 1886-1967
Some would gasp and turn their head, knowing where this chicken was headed. On the other hand some have been paid to do studies on chickens, including how long they could actually live without their heads. Five days in one case.
I'm reminded by this card sometimes we put ourselves in the hanged position, sometimes we end up there through the machinations of others. Either way, it takes a concerted effort to free ourselves.
"My hands are barely holding up my head.
Oh I'm so tired of looking at me feet and all the secrets I keep.
My heart is barely hanging by a thread." ~ Jann Arden, Hangin' By A Thread
Handsome brute isn't he? This is one of eight comb types, known as the V Comb. Humans being of a superstitious nature I'm guessing this comb type hen or rooster is often shunned in favor of one less exclamatory.
I'm reminded by this card how often we judge by appearance, after all at first glance that's all we've got to go on. And that judgement is based on all our previous life experiences. Show judging is based on specific standards, but in truth is far more harsh as any imperfections are duly noted, points are deducted, and those falling short are simply eliminated.
Tongue in cheek: Why did the chicken cross the road?
I envision a world where all chickens will be free to cross roads without having their motives called into questions." ~ Martin Luther King
Not surprised this card came up today, I've been reflecting on Temperance since I got up. On how an interest can become a purchasing habit, and then an obsession.
I'm reminded by this hen, if you are thirsty, enough is enough, a lake isn't necessary or required.
"Look at you, you madman! Screaming you are thirsty and dying in a desert, when all around you there is nothing but water." ~ Kabir 1440-1518
My Henny's Tarot was designed and printed as a gift for me, it uplifts my spirits when I'm down and I hold it as priceless. The maker knows I love my little hens and take much enjoyment and comfort in their presence. Thank you again. And to the hens that hold my heart, the three remaining Old Girls, inherited from my father-in-law, and the seven new chicks this spring: Pepper, Smudge, Emma, Peanut, Brown Sugar, Angel, and Sarah.
Another from the Key suit, this could be me, first thing in the morning, last thing at night.
I'm reminded by this card many of us need a health wake up call to appreciate what we have, and yes cancer has helped me refine and challenge my life, but my gratitude journal many years ago was my true wake up call. I welcome the coming moon and month, knowing my life is full of blessings, hour in and hour out.
"Spirituality is living life by the hour with all its flaws and gems, not big events." ~ Father Mike, The Black Tower
From the Key suit, comes healing. Are we able to ask for, and accept help? In what area do we need healing?
Our families need healing; any time money and power are involved I'm sure there is always friction and fractures. Nothing I can do or say will 'fix' anything, particularly when others don't see the need for repair so still, I turn away, and seek solace in nature, where great healing power lies.
"The peace we seek to win is not victory over any other people but the peace that comes with healing in its wings." ~ Richard Nixon 1913-1994
The cards open previously closed doors to my own heart with their 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.