Friday, August 26, 2011

8/27/11-8/28/11—Dealing With a Conflicted Mind

Weekend Reading: Dreamer Two/Half Moon Truce from the Tarot of the Sidhe. Don't be surprised if you find your mind split in two this weekend....or find yourself on one side of two conflicting visions. One option is to just take a time out and stall any decision until after the weekend. Another is to try to assess your choices from the big-picture perspective. Or you could see if there's a truce or compromise you can make. If it's really not worth arguing about—or if both options are winners—then don't sweat it. Just be grateful you're in such a fortuitous situation. But if your decision has anything to do with whether or not to take a risk in this weekend's storms or something like that, err on the safe side, fercryinoutloud!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

8/26/11—Feeling Prosperous and Confident

Today's Draw: Ace of Pentacles from the Victorian Romantic. Are you tired of waiting for things to get better? Could you use a new start? A boost of confidence?

Earthquakes. Hurricanes. Tumbling world markets. Oh my! If you're like me, you're waiting for all the bad stuff to be over to breathe easy and feel confident again. 

The Ace of Pentacles brings the fresh beginning and feeling of prosperity you need to do just that. But there's a catch. You have to feel it first. It's never real until you feel it anyway. And feeling it can make it real. Which means you can start right now. 

As long as we continue to feel weary and put upon by world circumstances, the more weary and put upon we'll feel. Really. Try it. Negative emotions are like a snowball...they just get bigger and bigger the more you keep them rolling. And positive emotions are the same. 

The Ace of Pentacles came today to remind me (and you) that we can feel prosperous anytime we want. Without spending a penny. For example, you probably have some sort of something—a wine, treat, bath bubbles, special candle—that you're saving for a special occasion. Make today that special occasion. Savor it as if it were in unlimited supply. Better yet, make like you're Oprah and this is an everyday thing. 

Nothing special on hand? Do something special. Drive out into the country and look at vacation spots for sale as if you can afford two of them. Imagine all the renovations you'd do...granite counter tops, Viking appliances, jetted tubs.

We can feel stable and secure, whether the world reinforces that feeling or not. Because the confidence isn't in the outside world, it's within us. It's knowing you're going to be OK no matter what. If you can find joy in simple pleasures—petting your dog, watching a sunset, reading a book—you'll never be without a source of joy. You'll be infinitely abundant. 

Economies will go up and down. Weather will go up and down. And you can ride the rollercoaster with it or get off the rollercoaster altogether and celebrate a new beginning and new prosperity today, tomorrow and every day of your life. One of the best ways to do that is to find five things you're grateful for every day. That will show you what matters. For me, one or two those things usually have to do with my dogs. The more you practice this, the more you'll realize all you have to be grateful for. And you know what will happen then? That will snowball and you'll find you have even more things to be grateful for. Abundance and security is always ours. Believe it and make it so.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

8/25/11—Defending Your Position

Today's Draw: Seven of Wands from the Tarot Maroon. How confident are you in your opinions and positions? Confident enough to defend them? Or so confident you don't feel a need to defend them at all?

The Seven of Wands is about taking a stand or being in a defensible position. You might get this if, say, you lost face and had to regain your standing. Or if you took an unpopular, yet defensible position, like that Christian candidate that believes in evolution. In most decks, there are six "opposers" threatening the central figure from below, their wands coming up about waist high. 

But in this deck, the opposition's wands don't even reach to toe level. They're in a pit and really don't even pose a threat to the central figure. And you can tell he doesn't feel threatened because his wand isn't held in a defense position. He's just standing confidently and firmly in his position, hearing their cries of protest, but without feeling a need to defend himself. He may stand alone, but he stands firm. 

Boy has this been a hard lesson for me to learn in my life! I don't know that I've yet fully learned it. Many years back I found myself surrounded by what I can only describe as a bunch of unhappy, unethical bullies. It was during a vulnerable time in my life when I wasn't quite the goddess you know me as today. ;) Anyway, you'd think a pack of wolves stumbled upon a fresh, meaty deer carcass for the way they fed on me.

Someone with self confidence and esteem would have just walked away and found nicer playmates. But I held on, desperately trying to convince them I was infinitely likable, and not at all the things they accused me of. Instead of just standing there above the noise, certain within myself, I swung my wand about wildly, even though they were in a pit at toe level and could really do me no harm. And in doing so, I gave some of my strength, integrity and self assuredness over to them. I reached down toward their level so that they *could* get to me.

What they say is true...people can only hurt you if you let them. Back then I was vulnerable to an abusive dynamic and one found me. Now? Not so much. But there are still times I feel a need to defend myself against others. Moreover, there are still times I want to fit in with or be accepted by people who aren't "my kind". And by "my kind" I don't mean better or worse, I just mean people who don't operate in the world the same way I do...or who aren't compatible with me emotionally, socially or whatever which way. 

Some of it may be a leftover desire to fit in with "the popular kids", however that may be defined. The ones who appear to be having fun. Consciously, intellectually, I know that's just appearances. Emotionally I still want to be accepted. That's one of the base needs we all have, after all. Being accepted. And the thing is, ask anybody who is "my kind"...I'm wildly popular...haha. And we have a lot of fun. Gah! But still there's this habit of wanting to be agreed with, accepted....heard. 

Mind you, I'm not a huge debater of my stance anymore. I've come a LONG way. But I still haven't gotten to the point where I can stand fully firm within myself, certain of my position at all times. I may have stopped swinging the wand in the physical sense, but I'll continue the debate in my mind, for example. And I may have stopped stooping to fit in, but I sometimes still feel the tug to want to. Where are you in this process? Can you stand as confidently, wand planted in the ground as the man in this card? Or is your hand still twitching on that stick, ready to do battle if need be?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

8/24/11—Triggering the Monsters Within

Today's Draw: The Devil: Sand Dune Monster from the Santa Fe Tarot. Have you ever survived a traumatic event? If so, do you recognize the monsters trapped within from this episode? What kinds of things can trigger these monsters?

The Devil is traditionally a card of bondage, addiction and self destruction. But the book for this tarot added a couple of things that were really appropriate right now—weird experience and shock.

Yesterday the east coast experienced a medium intensity earthquake. Nothing serious. Nothing even fell off the walls at my home or anything. Still, we're not accustomed to this type of occurrence. Hurricane, tornadoes, flooding, snow—yes. But the fact that we hadn't had an earthquake this size since the 1800s tells you that we're really just not used to the earth moving. 

Living in the DC area adds another element to the equation. Among the many considerations about what this "thing" might be—a truck or low-flying plane (though it was bigger than that)—was the possibility that it might be an explosion...a terrorist attack. I'd be lying if I didn't say every time I hear a "pop", feel a shudder or experience some other sort of anomaly, my mind always goes "there". Not like I live in fear of it or anything. Not like I relived it today. But it will now forever be part of my consideration set. I think most people who live here are clear living here carries a greater risk of a terrorist strike than most cities. Personally it's never far from my mind that the terrorists never completed their job here ten years ago.

And DC is unique in that, before we were able to fully recover from 9/11, we were subjected to a sniper who seemed to randomly be hunting people down in the area. For me, those men were more frightening to me than the terrorist attacks. I mean, any terrorist attack is going to happen 7 miles upwind from me. But these guys were everywhere. I know all of that was 9 and 10 years ago. And yes, you heal from stuff like this. It's not something you consciously think about on a daily basis. It doesn't haunt you. But you're never the never feel as safe as you did before. An innocence or oblivion is lost. And you can never forget.

The book for this deck speaks of the Sand Dune Monster as lying in wait for those wanting to cross the mountains. And, as you can see on the card, there are other critters trapped in the mountain. Our fears and traumatic life experiences are like that. They lie in wait, staying dormant until something triggers them. And parts of ourselves, even subconsciously, are held captive by them. In fact, they are like an earthquake itself...the aftershocks continue, even if on an imperceptible level.

For us Baby Boomers, the world we grew up in is gone. Today's teenagers are growing up in a more precarious world than we did. For better and worse, the imprints of war, terrorism and widespread natural destruction are deeper within them than in us. Better because it's more "normal" for them, and therefore they're more calloused to it. Worse because they'll never know the different world we know. This is the monster that lies in wait in our world. These sort of "shocks" seem to be quickening and there are countless theories from geomagnetic reversal, 2012 theories, climate change, armageddon, etc. 

What does this mean for society and our world in the future? We won't know until we start climbing that hill and encountering what's trapped on its slopes. And I think to one degree or another, whether we've experienced trauma in our lives or not, we all have a sense of being trapped by the Sand Dune Monster somewhere deep within. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

8/23/11—Being the Squirrel

Today's Draw: The Happy Squirrel. Do you pretty much live inside your comfort zone? Or are you someone who really likes to push into areas that are unfamiliar to you? Depending on your answer, what holds you back or spurs you on?

Today I broke with tradition and purposely chose a card, instead of randomly choosing one. I did this because the odds of me ever randomly choosing the Happy Squirrel are rare. See, out of thousands of tarot decks, only about 10 decks have a Happy Squirrel card. Personally, I have five decks with a Happy Squirrel. All of them are decks I only use occasionally in my daily draws. So, well, I wanted to do the Happy Squirrel and wasn't willing to wait for it to come around. 

The story behind the Happy Squirrel is this. Lisa Simpson goes to a tarot reader and asks about her future. She gets the death card and is scared and the tarot reader says "oh, the Death card is good. It just means change." Then she gets the Happy Squirrel and the reader reacts as if it's a bad card. Lisa says, "that's bad?" And the reader replies, "perhaps. The cards are vague and mysterious." So, since then, a few card creators have worked the Happy Squirrel into their decks—both serious decks and novelty decks. I've included a few below. If you're on Facebook, you can see them at 

The first Happy Squirrel card I ever saw was in the Touchstone Tarot, which is traditional with classical oil painted type imagery. Very unexpected for such a serious deck. But that makes it even better.  I've never had the Happy Squirrel come up in a reading. But I would interpret it the way I see squirrels, which is fearless and in-the-moment. I'd also interpret it as playful and carefree, like the deck creators who include it in their decks. 

Until recently, I had a squirrel condo in my tree. Every spring some pregnant squirrel would move in and raise her babies in this hollowed out branch. This year there were four babies and I used to love watching them in the evening as they would poke their heads out of the holes looking for their mommy to see what she was going to bring back for dinner and what stories she'd have from her day. The branch fell down a month or so ago, so I don't know what the squirrels will do for a condo next spring, but I hope they find a place in what's left of that branch. 

Anyway, I watched these little guys grow from babies to full-on squirrels. And in doing so, I saw their different personalities. One was a total daredevil who would make nearly impossible leaps from branch to branch. Another was a bit more shy, never straying too far from the condo. They would play and chase each other. They would tease my dogs. And eventually all moved out and went on to create their own individual squirrel lives. 

So I see squirrels as being daring and adventurous and playful. And in order to be that way, they have to act without ego and fear. I think we rob ourselves out of so much fun because we're afraid of how we'll look or whether or not we'll fit in or what the consequences will be. So we contain ourselves. We don't try to make those heroic leaps from limb to limb that a squirrel does. And because we never push at our edges, we have no idea of just how far our potential goes. And therein lies the "happy" part of the Happy Squirrel—when there's nothing to fear, there's little to take the edge off your happy.

In my day to day life, I don't take many risks. In fact, I live pretty safely. But now and again I'll do something fearless. I like being fearless. And I think I'd like to be more of the kind of person that would bungee or skydive, but I'm not. The kind of risks I'm willing to take are the ones with consequences that might set me back a little, but not kill me. As a result, I think I'm a lot less physically confident than otherwise. How about you?

Main image is from The Simpsons. The second is from the Touchstone Tarot. Third from International Icon Tarot and the last one is from The Picture Postcard Tarot from Marcia McCord. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

8/22/11—Honing Your Focus

Today's Draw: The Two of Bases from the Baseball Tarot—The Pickoff. Are you juggling multiple balls? How well are you really able to focus on each? How much help do you allow yourself to receive? And are you having any fun?

The Baseball Tarot is what it sounds like...a tarot deck where all the cards relate to baseball. The Two of Bases equates to the Two of Pentacles. And this deck uses the pickoff to illustrate their interpretation of the Two of Pentacles. 

A pickoff is when a pitcher, instead of throwing a ball to the batter, throws the ball to a baseman in an attempt to either force the base runner out or keep them closer to base so they can't steal a base. If you're a pitcher and you get a Rickey Henderson or Lou Brock on base, your hands are full. Give them an inch and they'll steal a base. And you're no longer in control. So sometimes you'll see a pitcher "check" a talented base stealer multiple times while they're on addition to analyzing batters, conferring with the catcher, executing pitches and all the other stuff pitchers do. 

So in a theme that just won't go away, today's card is about juggling responsibilities and commitments. Recently we've been talking about clearing your plate and prioritizing things...saying no to the stuff you don't really want to do and/or doesn't really need to be done by you. So far, we've been talking about it in terms of health. But this card brings up a different maintain focus on what's really important. The pitcher has a lot to juggle. It's his job to make sure as few base runners as possible cross home plate. That singular focus has many facets and responsibilities.

The pitcher's not alone in this. He's in partnership with the catcher (who can also pickoff a base runner, btw). And he relies on all the other basemen to one degree or another. But in the end, the buck does stop with him. It's his stats that will suffer. (A pitcher's earned run average or ERA is one of the most definitive player statistics in the game, along with career wins and strikeouts.) It would severely affect his performance if he had to also be the ball boy and bat boy, team manager, pitching coach, batting coach, groundskeeper, etc. But isn't that what a lot of you do in your daily lives? 

Another facet of dropping the droppable in order to tighten your focus is the Willie Stargell quote that went along with this card: "The umpires always say 'play ball'. They don't say 'work ball'." By getting rid of the crap that leeches your energy and soul, life becomes that much more like play. Sure, responsibilities will always be responsibilities. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy them. So consider today's input as you continue your spring cleaning of your "to do's". And ask yourself whether you'd rather do a few things really well and with your full attention...or would you rather do a bazillion things, most of which are completed sufficiently enough, but nonetheless leave you walking around in a haze all the time?

For the fans...while I was googling around on this entry, I found that Steve Carlton, holds the record for pickoffs at 144 over a 23-year career, which shows how hard it is to pick off a batter. Interestingly, or perhaps obviously, he's also the career record holder for balks. So while he is certainly one of baseball's all-time best pitchers, winning four Cy Young awards, he was especially scary to the Lou Brocks of the world, keeping them tightly in check. I used to be a big baseball fan, so I'm certain I've seen Carleton vs Brock before. But I never appreciated it until now. Since they were in different leagues, Carleton never had a chance to go up against the Rickey Henderson, the all-time base stealing champion.