Saturday, July 30, 2011

7/30/11-7/31/11—Savoring the Moment

Weekend Reading: Today's card was chosen by my friend, Katie Pramik, who is in town for our class reunion. The Experiencing card asks us to be in the moment and really experience what life and nature offers. The woman in the picture is not just touching the tree, she is in communion with it. She and the tree are exchanging energy and experiencing the whole of each. So this weekend, when you're in conversation with others, be present. Really listen. When you're doing chores or hobbies, be conscious of the activity. And when you're in nature, feel the presence of life around you. So much of life goes by unnoticed. Your time on this planet is fleeting. Your experiences are meant to be savored. Don't let these moments pass you by.

Friday, July 29, 2011

7/29/11—Reuniting With Your Inner Teenager

Today's Draw: Warrior Six from the Tarot of the Sidhe. Have you ever attended a high school reunion? Who were you back when you were a teenager? And did you have anxiety about reuniting with that part of you?

The Warrior Six speaks of success, reward, adoration and victory. It bears the words "No Foe Too Great" and depicts a king being hailed by all against the backdrop of a powerful sun. The sense is that there's nothing we can overcome. In a reading, I would say that great success is imminent and that whatever had to be braved to get to where you are will have been worth it. This is good news, because...

Today is the first day of a three-day 30th high school class reunion. Well, it's not really MY reunion. But it's the class reunion of a high school I attended for a few months, attended by people I knew for a few years 30 years ago. And I'm going. And I've been anxious about it for months. It has nothing to do with the people who will be there. Of those I know, they're all great people and they like me and all. But it has to do with my own insecurities. 

Thoughts of school days always bring me back to that heavyset girl that was often teased and frequently got in trouble in the classroom. If it weren't hard enough to fit in considering that, I was a latchkey child and, instead of being able to play and hang out after school, I came home to cook for my parents and three brothers. And as if that didn't make it harder to establish friendships, we moved pretty much every two years. Then, in some places we lived, my dad was everybody else's dad's boss. So childhood didn't offer me a whole lot of breaks when it came to feeling like I fit in. 

Right now, all that seems to be rushing back to me in some pre-reunion anxiety. I'm still heavyset. But I'm having a hard time reminding myself that everything else about me has changed. And the people I'll be seeing this weekend have also changed. I've forged online friendships with them over the past year and, with some of them, the friendships go beyond that. But somewhere in the past couple of weeks, the successful freelance writer, respected tarotist, beloved doggie mommy and trusted friend turned back into the insecure girl who felt not noticed, not liked and who, as a brother used to remind her, would never be liked by a boy because she was fat.

The reality of the situation is that I'll go in that room tomorrow and all the anxiety will be gone because I'll be the Tierney that many people enjoy and I won't give much thought as to who likes me and who doesn't. But we do this to ourselves, don't we? Torture ourselves anticipating situations that will never happen. The world just doesn't operate the way our darkest fears lead us to believe. I was talking to a friend yesterday about how time spent in anxiety is just wasted time. And it is. I've made huge strides in "turning the switch off", as my friend said. But one of the benefits of moving as often as I did when I was young was that you never had to run into "those people" again...haha. And tomorrow I'm doing that. Intentionally. 

But now, 30 years later, I realize that it's not "those people" who were the problem. It was the way I felt about myself. Often the greatest foe we'll ever fight is ourselves. And I can't imagine a greater foe to overcome than the insecure teenage girl or guy who persists inside us. If you had asked me at any other time over the past 30 years, I would have sworn all that was healed and behind me. But you can't really have a reunion without reuniting with yourself, can you? Fortunately, as today's card reminds me, no foe is too great. On Monday I'll be that beloved doggie mom again, only with a few new friends and lots of memories of a special weekend.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

7/28/11—Feeling Out Of Sorts

Today's Draw: The Moon from TaRat. Are you feeling out of sorts lately? Do you sometimes find yourself waxing and waning with the moon and tides? Is someone or something keeping you from seeing clearly right now?

After the last couple of days, I wanted a lighter topic. And I got The Moon, one of the deepest cards in the deck. *throwing hands up* What can you do?

Like the moon, our lives wax and wane. At times we feel directed and focused on filling our highest potential. And sometimes we wane, getting lost in confusion. The moon is a card of cycles, intense emotions, watery distortion, psychic clarity and reflection. If all that seems confusing, that's The Moon. 

Further, in this particular moon card, our friend the rat has stolen a part of the moon, keeping us from experiencing the fullness of its illumination. So in a reading I might ask who or what is keeping you from seeing the full picture? Could you possibly be the culprit? 

In some ways, I'm feeling the best I've felt in a long time. But in other ways, these days, I'm feeling out of sorts. Maybe it's out of sorts for me to feel good emotionally...haha. But more than anything, I do feel like a part of me—a part of my fullness—has been ripped away by some illusive and elusive source. 

I stay up too late, then feel a need to nap during the day and I have a hard time stopping napping. I'm not compelled by much else lately. I do my work and do a good job. In fact, I'm producing at a higher rate than normal. But it's as if life is being lived through a cloud. I'm going through the motions, but not much is registering. On the other hand, I feel very even-keeled emotionally. I feel more engaged in friendships and my relationships with my dogs. So perhaps it's just a shift in my focus. Maybe it's a phase of peri-menopause. Maybe it's because it's been so hot and I'm spending less time in nature. Maybe it's a function of my blood sugar as a diabetic. Maybe I'm just burned out and need a vacation. Maybe it's all of it. Maybe it's none of it and I'm just fooling myself. 

That is the moon...illusive and elusive.

Right now the moon is waning. There's about as much moon left as our rat friend is carrying on his back. Perhaps this is a sign that it will soon be over. He's exiting to the left...going into the past and taking his stolen moon part with him. But he can't change the cycles. The moon will soon start fulling. And clarity will return.

7/27/11—Considering an Evolving God

Today's Draw: Temperance from the Fire Tarot. Have you ever considered that one day mankind may believe in a different god? Do you think ancient man ever considered there was any god/s other than the one/s they believed in? Do you see god as a cyclical concept or do you think we've lit on the one and only possible iteration of god there will ever be moving forward?

I drew again from the Fire Tarot because I'm digging the fire myths. (I'm also enjoying going completely off-road as to what the card's real meaning might be in my entries.) Today's myth about how, when the world was dark, the Finnish God of the Gods, Ukko, flicked his sword against his fingernail, creating a spark that he gave to a virgin to carry down to earth. But she lost it along the way and it was eaten by a trout who was, in turn, eaten by a pike. The pike is then caught and the spark is freed, setting off fires throughout the land. Eventually the fire is contained and man has light. 

I've read this myth from a bunch of different sources and it's very complicated and very different depending on the source and none of the myths allude to the traditional meaning of Temperance, which is about balance and flow. And they only abstractly refer to the meaning that came with the deck's book, which is that "fire represents the soul that is being guarded before being renewed." 

What really struck me about this card, though, was how people's vision of God is modeled around their lifestyle and their times. Fishing is big in Finland, so the myth involves fish and a fisherman. Finland has no daylight in the midst of winter, so light and the need for fire is more prominent than it would be here. And the acquisition of fire by man was hard earned, first stolen by an evil force (up in the heavens), then getting lost in the fish for a while, then ravaging the earth before it was finally contained. This is probably indicative of the difficult nature of the times...nothing came easy or smoothly. And this is common among ancient cultures who all seem to have a god who creates lightning or light. It was a key element of survival and hard to come by and maintain at one time. 

Most ancient cultures also feature polytheism or multiple gods, as well as a pagan, earth-centered bent. This may be because of the importance of community at the time and the fact that each person in a village or clan had a defined role, critical to the whole. In Greek and Roman cultures, gods were indeed specialists and dozens of them were needed to cover all aspects of life. Because the people lived in mountainous regions, the gods lived on high mountains and wore robes, the same as the people in their culture. The Gods were all part of a legacy of families, just like the Emperors were.

Throughout time, God or the gods were always to be feared. The God of the Old Testament, for example, ruled with a firm hand and was vengeful, obliterating entire populations of the earth for not obeying his word. Jesus came along in time to soften the corners with compassion and kindness and preach about his father's love. He arrived a few hundred years after another god-like man hit the religious scene—Buddha. Their stories are very similar in some ways, but hundreds of years apart at an era in history when people were not warming up to such a fearful god. 

It's interesting how many iterations of religion there have been over time. And also interesting as to how persistent the Judeo-Christian iteration has been. Perhaps not as long-lasting as a thunder god who existed in some form up until monotheism hit the scene, but persistent nonetheless. Yet nowadays, many Christians speak of Jesus as if he's the God and his father seems to have been downgraded in some way. So that seems to be changing, too.

If history is any indication, if it truly repeats itself, sooner or later the tide will turn in yet another direction and it's interesting to consider where that turn might take us. After all, there is no culture on earth that didn't absolutely and "religiously" believe in their god/s the same way modern cultures believe in theirs. So it's not like society goes shopping for a new God en masse. In fact, a lot of non-believers had be killed and persecuted for the god of the Old and New Testaments to take hold. While we live in a predominantly Christian country, we don't live in as predominantly a Christian world. It's a very small minority who is able to keep their mind open enough to consider that their way might not be THE way, or the ONLY way. 

Personally I think we all believe in the same god and just call it different names and see it in different ways to match our different personalities. But I also know that to say that is heresy for some people. If you're open to thinking about the evolution of God and how he/it follows humanity's changing nature, however, it's interesting to imagine how it might change in the future...or to even consider that it won't always be what it is today. Change happens slowly. The trend now is away from organized religion. Who knows if that will continue, but if it does, then what does that mean for God, Allah, Buddha, Jesus, etc.? And is a more metaphysical god the way of the future or just another mirror of modern tastes? Will we ever know for sure whether there is or is not a god...beyond our individual beliefs?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

7/26/11—Pinpointing Beginnings and Endings

Today's Draw: Eight of Wands from the Tarot of Fire. When does life begin and end? Or does it ever? When does any eternal cycle begin and end?

The Tarot of Fire draws upon myths about fire around the world. The Eight of Wands is based on a Russian myth where the energy of the summer solstice is channeled into these wheels, which in turn head out to help the sun. On a more symbolic scale, it's about the "culminating moment of an eternally repeating cycle", according to the book that came with the deck. 

Of course they're talking about a cycle akin to midnight on 12/31, but as far as eternally repeating cycles are concerned, isn't a "culminating moment" rather a random choice? Sure there's a logical end. Take for example, a person's life. The culminating moment would be death. And the beginning moment would be rebirth...or the beginning of the afterlife...whatever actually happens. But can't a cycle begin or end in the middle and still be a cycle? 

So in a cycle that includes birth, death and afterlife, maybe death isn't the culminating moment. Maybe birth is. Maybe loss of love isn't the culminating moment, maybe it's the healing from the loss. Or the moment you feel comfortable with the next person. The point I'm trying to make is that maybe endings aren't endings. Maybe beginnings aren't beginnings. Everything is just another point in the cycle. And our concept of what the beginning is and what the ending is just random or based on ignorance or part of some closed-minded folly that we've entertained for far too long.

Different cultures have different ideas of when manhood or womanhood begins, for example. For some, it's an age. For others it's a physiological process. For others, it begins when the individual is mature enough to be called a man or woman. There's no science to it. It's random. I didn't feel like a woman until long after I began my period and even long after my 18th birthday, for example. It's not that I felt like a girl prior to that, just that I didn't feel like woman. So where does that cycle begin and end?

There is so much we don't question or muse over. So much we don't decide for ourselves. I don't know when a human's life and experiences end. I don't know when the personality splits from the eternal soul or if it ever does. We accept so much at face value. Who decided Monday was a Monday? I mean, did they just start randomly at Sunday? What if the Sunday they started on was meant to be a Wednesday and we've been getting it wrong all along? For that matter, when does a week begin? The calendar says it begins on Sunday, but my internal clock says it begins on a Monday.

I know it makes things easier for us all to agree on stuff like this, but really, it's random. And we give beginnings and endings so much weight and meaning when they're really just points on an eternally spinning wheel that has no beginning or end. Every ending point is also a beginning point. Or you could consider it a mid-point. Again, like yesterday's post, it all depends on your perspective. So is it productive for us to fear or mourn endings when they're also beginnings and mid-points? I'm really just considering this tonight anew, so what do you think?

Monday, July 25, 2011

7/25/11—Choosing Happiness

Today's Draw: Ten of Cups from the Hezicos Tarot. Is happiness passing you by? Why do you think that is? What do other people know about happiness that you may not?

The Ten of Cups is a card of happiness and contentment. We tend to think of happiness as that thing we chase...that thing that hits us over the head...that thing we earn...that thing that some person or situation brings us. But happiness isn't any of that. 

Happiness is a choice. And it's a choice we make from within, despite what is going on around us. Somewhere along the line we learned that emotions like happiness and sadness are dependent on outside forces acting on our life. When someone dies, we're supposed to be sad. When someone loves us, it makes us happy. But that means putting our emotions into the hands of outside forces. It means we're not in control of how we feel. Everything BUT us is. And that is actually victim thinking. You may not like that word, but that's what it is. 

Truth is, most of the time what stands between us and happiness is the way we choose to view a situation. A breakup, for example, could be viewed as a sad ending or a happy beginning. A car accident could be viewed as a pain in the arse or the day your life was spared by an angel. A deal that goes wrong can be viewed as a betrayal or a valuable lesson. 

Happiness is in your hands. You don't have to chase it down or wait for someone or something to bring it to you. You can start having it by recoloring the way you look at your life. This is, of course, assuming you don't have someone seriously wrong with your brain chemicals or you prefer to wallow in darkness for one reason or another. But for the rest of us, when we wonder why it's so elusive or such an occasional visitor, the answer can be found in our own attitude. 

We can choose to find joy in silly little things. We can choose see the gift, instead of the price...what we have, instead of what is missing. And we can choose to let little disappointments pass. Consider this as you go through your day and see where you can turn things around to happy.