Friday, November 25, 2011

11/26/11-11/27/11—Giving Up The Fight

Weekend Reading: Five of Feathers from the Margarete Petersen deck. This is a card of fighting in vain. Maybe you're the one in the right. Maybe you have every right to ask for what you're asking for. And maybe you can be very stubborn when you want to, too. But you're fighting in vain. The other side's not going to give. Probably because you want them to be someone other than who they are. Whether you're expecting a wrong person to admit their wrongs, a non-believer to believe or an angry person to start purring like a kitty, it's just not going to happen. People are who they are. And if we can't hold a place for them in our lives as they are, then we need to move on. The only person you can change is yourself. So if you want something to change, try changing the way you respond to the person. Try something other than force and argument and righteousness. And keep in mind, if they're not *asking* for help, then you can't help them. Because as right as your position may be, trying to make someone change who they are—and the path their soul is here to walk—is just wrong.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

11/25/11—Catching a Stranger's Eye

Today's Draw: The Lovers from the Oracle Tarot by Lucy Cavendish. How often do you catch eyes with a complete stranger and have "a moment"? Do you ever wonder if there's a reason why that has happened? Do moments like that feel significant to you or are they just odd coincidences?

We got this card just two days ago. If you have a chance, take a look at the mood and feel of this card vs. the one we had for Tuesday. Every deck speaks a different language. It's statistically notable that four out of five days this week we've pulled major arcana cards that point us toward major life lessons and developments—difficult choices, big changes and the ending of key cycles have all been highlighted. I know that's all relevant to my life right now. 

This Lovers card speaks of soul mates. I don't believe in soul mates the way most people do. Most people think there's one perfect person out there meant to be your ultimate partner. Sometimes you think you've met him/her and then you end up sadly mistaken. Other times you're afraid you'll die without ever meeting them. But I don't believe in soul mates like that.

I've written before about how I think we have countless soulmates that we call friends, co-workers, siblings and, yes, even lovers. That soulmates are nothing more than people who have been with you in some role in multiple lifetimes. Someone you were married to in one lifetime might be your son in this lifetime, for example. Or someone you dislike in this lifetime may have been your best friend at one point in your soul's journey. Soulmates, in my belief, are just others in your soul circle with whom you share similar paths and lessons, lifetime after lifetime. But the idea goes even deeper than that for me.

Many years ago I read a book that suggested there is deeper meaning even to strangers whose eyes you catch on the street or who you keep running into in the grocery aisles. I never thought about those people the same way again. In fact, I don't think the same way about any brief, seemingly meaningless encounter anymore. 

Certainly you've caught the eye of a stranger before and had a hard time looking away, not because you found them physically attractive, but because there was "something" there. To me, it feels like some sort of subconscious recognition and acknowledgment. Or maybe some sort of energetic communication.

The book suggested you talk to the person, if you can get a chance. See if they have some sort of message for you. I admit I've tried that many times and haven't gained any wisdom of note. You'd think because of that, I'd stop giving these encounters import, but I don't. And the reason why I don't is because I really do feel something stir in my depths when this happens. Like there's a profundity to these fleeting moments. I can't NOT feel that way. And yet I can't say for certain what meaning they hold. All I can say is it's some kind of recognition and acknowledgment on a deeply subconscious level. 

Think about how often that happens in your life. And then think about how pretty much every other stranger is a blur. 8 billion people on the planet and only a few stand out. And then, probably more often than weekly, you're walking down the street and lock on to one person in the crowd. No matter how shy you are (and I'm not someone terribly comfortable with eye contact) you can't look away. It's not just that you're comfortable in the gaze, you Can't. Look. Away. Something is going on there. Not just energetically, but deeply on a soul level. 

I think these people are your soul mates, too....part of your soul circle that travels through lifetimes together. Maybe they helped you change a tire in one lifetime, maybe you worked with them in another, delivered their child in another...or maybe they were the love of your life in yet another. For some reason, in this lifetime, your paths are parallel and not destined to cross. But something inside of you "knows" them. 

Cool, huh? To think that life and eternity might really work that way? That we're all spirits from the other side coming down time after time to help each other with their lessons. And for some strangers, maybe we just serve as a reminder that we're keeping an eye out for each other. Or a reminder that we're more than just Tierney and Nancy and Steve. That when we're not here on earth, we're hanging out together in a place where we know the perfection and divinity and boundlessness of who we are. And when we're here, we're helping each other remember that.

So those strangers and, of course, the not-so-strangers in your life are all like little winks from the beyond...reminding you this is all just a temporary assignment in a much larger existence. And that your soul support is such that you can't even walk down the street without catching the eye of someone who cares. Something to think about next time a stranger stands out.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

11/24/11—Allowing Life to Unfold

Today's Draw: Seven of Pentacles from the Druidcraft Tarot. Most of us are good at doing stuff, but how are you at not doing anything at all? Do you have the patience to allow things to evolve on their own volition? Is there something you've put a lot of effort into that still hasn't borne fruit?

For our Thanksgiving Day reading, the Seven of Pentacles comes to tell us it's OK to take a break and just sit in the fruits of all our hard work.

Right now there's a lot going on in my head and my life. Work is quite busy and I'm well engaged through the holidays. I'm only midway through my crafty gifting process. And there's a situation in my family that is weighing heavily on my mind. 

Somehow, it hadn't quite sunken in that Thanksgiving weekend meant four days off. So when I met my final deadline for the week at 5pm, it all of a sudden hit me—I have four days off and nothing planned. What am I going to do?

Mind you, it's not that I don't have plenty to do. The lawn I had clear of leaves for about five minutes last Saturday is now, once again, buried. I still need to trim the azaleas. I have my craft projects and gifts to buy for clients. And I do have a few little plans here and there. But the Seven of Pentacles is giving you and me and everyone in our lives permission to also schedule in a solid block of nothing. Guilt free. <---- Important!

Beyond Thanksgiving, though, the Seven of Pentacles tells us that there's a time to work and plant seeds and there's a time to stand back and let your creation grow for itself. And this is that time of standing back. It's time to trust in the natural unfolding of life, rather than to chisel your way through. Some things are better left to unfold in their time, not yours. 

In the card shown, the earth is barren and covered in snow. The tree itself is barren, but one sprig of olives took its time to ripen. And now it can be harvested when fresh olives are otherwise unavailable. So that branch itself had an intelligence that an impatient olive farmer might not have. The branch emerged at its own pace. Not too late. Not too early. Not on your timeline or mine. But nonetheless at the perfectly right time. And that's when our efforts will bear fruit, too.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

11/23/11—Honoring the End of an Era

Today's Draw: Gaia, The World from the Gaian Tarot. Are you completing a cycle in your life right now? How do you acknowledge the endings of major cycles or eras? Or is that not something you do?

For the uninitiated, Gaia is what you might think of as Mother Nature, The Earth Mother or Grandmother Earth. Whether you see her as a goddess, an energy or an idea, she is the mother of all. And she brings only blessings. 

So The World card has a sense of blessing to it. And because it is the last card of the major arcana (the 22-card group of major life lessons in the tarot), it is a card of completion. As life moves in cycles, we move through a series of endings and beginnings. The World says we're at the end of a cycle and should take the moment to have gratitude for the cycle we've just completed before moving on to the next one. 

There are so many different kinds of cycles in life. A relationship can be a cycle. A life period, such as your 30s or 40s could be a cycle. Then there are larger cycles that are more like eras. The maiden/mother/crone cycle, for example, denotes particular eras of a woman's life. In that cycle, I'm near the end of that "childbearing years" part and am quite aware of the era's passing for a variety of reasons. And in another part of my life, I've just reached the end of another era. So The World is very relevant to me at this time.

Sometimes the end of an era can feel bad or foreboding if the era you're entering into seems like it would be a darker one than the one you're leaving. I was 21 when my mother died and that ended the cycle of "having parents" and the innocence or illusion of immortality. And while the end of that cycle was punctuated by loss, it nonetheless started a cycle of maturity, awareness and truth that I couldn't have had otherwise. 

For my mother it was also the end of an era, one where she passed from the physical body into an ethereal one. My sister Janet still experiences my mother's presence, even though she's been gone for 27 years. I tend more to feel my father's presence, and he has been gone 23. Some day they'll move from the ethereal state back to the physical in some form. Cycles are eternal. And each is blessed in its own way. The end of one may be punctuated by sadness, but momentum steers us ever forward toward new gifts and blessings. 

Some of you may know how I love to do ceremonies. But it never really occurs to me to do a ceremony for these kinds of passings. It should, however. Whether the end of a cycle seems like good news or not, it's important to show gratitude for the gift of the cycle just acknowledge its worth in our lives. And whether we're looking forward to the new cycle or not, it's also important to honor it and the blessings yet to come.

As we sit with our families tomorrow for turkey and stuffing, remember what the day is about. It's about giving thanks...for the gifts we've received from those around us. For the cycles that keep us growing in our lives. For our physical bodies and ethereal ones. For the gift of being a child of both heaven and earth. And for all that which has come before and is yet to come. 

Right or wrong, 364 days a year we walk through a world of mixed blessings (though I believe there is a gift in everything, we don't always manage to see it or allow it). This one day we all get to live in nothing but blessings. Acknowledge it. Allow it. And embrace it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

11/22/11—Living the Fairytale

Today's Draw: The Lovers from Twilight Realm a Tarot of Faery. Are you looking for a relationship that's "happily ever after"? Do you think "perfect love" exists? Do you believe there's someone out there that can complete you?

The Lover's card is about choice. Sometimes it's a choice between lovers. Other times it's a choice between love and something else. But it's usually about choice. 

In this particular Lovers card, however, they emphasize the consequences of the choices you make. The card depicts the story of Undine. This beautiful, young water nymph falls in love with a mortal man. In order to be with him, she gives up her nymphiness (nymphitude?) to be with him. 

At that point she starts aging like an actual woman and, a couple of years down the road when she's no longer "fresh", the lout has an affair on her because she's losing her looks. So she's returned to the sea as her LOOZER of a husband watches on unsympathetically from the shore, his pretty, young, NEW lover in his arms. 


Okay, so maybe a little of my own baggage slipped into the telling of that story. But you get the point. Undine gives herself up for a different kind of love and ends up with regret. So the warning here is about not trying to be something you're not for another's love. But it's also about the dangers of leaving something that's perfectly fine for a taste of something new and different. 

On one hand, we can never know for sure what's perfect for us if we don't shop around a little. But on a deeper level, if we reach for something outside of us because we think it will make us happy or fill some empty space within us, then we're looking in the wrong place. Sometimes it's not the relationship we have with another that's lacking. Sometimes it's the relationship we have with ourselves. 

Undine was committed to another nymph when she found her mortal. But the mortal was shiny and different. In going for the shiny thing, she lost everything, including her identity...the very essence of her being. When you're willing to risk that much, it's not the romantic, fated, happily-ever-after kind of love you read about in fairy tales. It's a red flag that something is missing inside of you. And that "something" can be fixed only by you...and not by a knight on a white horse, a kiss from a prince or a wave of fairy godmother's wand. 

You should never have to change yourself to be with someone you love. Love should never make you feel "less than". Nor should it ever hurt. As imperfect and complicated as love is, it should nonetheless be a safe, soft and supported place to fall. If you find yourself in relationship after relationship that disappoints, abandons, hurts or kicks you from behind, it might be time to get real with what you believe love can and cannot do. It cannot "make" you anything. It can't make you happy. It can't make you whole. And it can't make you lovable. Those are all things you need to do for yourself. 

11/21/11—Rebuilding After Disaster

Today's Draw: The Tower from the Crystal Visions. Have you ever experienced a profound loss that shook your life to its core? How did you approach rebuilding? What sprung up in its wake?

The Tower is one of the most dreaded and misunderstood cards in the tarot. And why wouldn't it be? Foreboding clouds. Lightning. Fire. Collapse. Crashing waves. Utter destruction. Even the birds are leaving to find friendlier conditions. 

But the message of the tower is that, when everything falls and turns to dust, there's an opportunity to rebuild on a more solid foundation. And although I'm talking about the disastrous effects of The Tower in this entry, it's important to note that, as a reader, I also consider births and marriages and other joyous events to be Tower moments. Good or bad, a Tower moment destroys the old way of being and leaves the opportunity to create myriad new ways of being in its place.

In October of 1871, a fire started in a small barn in the city of Chicago. But the time the fire was quenched, four square miles of a thriving city were leveled and hundreds were dead. It wasn't that the city was built irresponsibly in the first place, necessarily. It was that it was built in naivety, favoring wood over other building materials. And it was also circumstance, happening after a long drought on a day when there were strong winds—the whole situation was a cocktail for disaster.

Imagine a city in the 1800s, robbed of 73 miles of roads, 17,000 buildings and one-third of its entire material value as a city. How do you ever come back from a disaster where 90,000 of your 300,000 inhabitants are left homeless? But Chicago reformed their fire standards and emergency response tactics. And they rebuilt on a firmer foundation with stronger building materials. Many believe that it would never have become the city it is today if it weren't for the way they responded to their disaster. For most of my lifetime it was our nation's second largest city and is the third largest city today with a population of 2.6 million. 

Most of us will never have to survive a disaster of that magnitude in terms of loss of property and life. But all of us will face disasters of that magnitude in our hearts. We may lose a home. We may lose a fortune. And few leave this earth without losing someone they love. Some may find a way to make sense of it. Others may not. But we all have a chance to rebuild, whether we're rebuilding homes, trust, relationships, families or careers. No matter what befalls us, as long as we have a breath within us, we have that opportunity to take what remains and create something new and beautiful from it. 

No, it won't be ever be the same again. And there may be sorrow in that. And you may always miss what was. But it doesn't mean you can't emerge from it stronger. It doesn't mean you can't find happiness in its wake. And it doesn't mean the best of your life is behind you. Disaster of The Tower magnitude doesn't leave us without choices, nor does it diminish our choices. It actually places us in a field where all possibilities exist. A slate is clean and is yours to write on. What you choose to write is up to you.