Weekend Reading: Justice from the Deviant Moon. It's New Year's Eve weekend, so my first responsibility is to read this card as a cautionary "moderation in all things" message. Justice is about being fair and even and all. But this dude is adeptly picking up a sizable fish monster with his meaty toes. That's talent! So if you choose not to listen to my first advice, then use your gifts for all they're worth this weekend. Perhaps a memorable "dance of the silk scarves"? Your best karaoke version of My Sharona? Or a dramatic reading from The Princess Bride? We've all got our own special version of freaked out monkey feet. So if you're going to do it, do it all the way down to your mutant opposable big toe. That's what I say. But personally I'll be staying out of trouble this holiday weekend and doing my best to maintain my balance. Just like the guy in the picture. Who is firmly, calmly and solidly standing on one foot, despite what all his other appendages are up to. That's a talent, too.
Friday, December 30, 2011
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Today's Draw: The Sun of Life and Queen of Stones from both the Greenwood and Wildwood Tarots. What might be lying dormant within you, just waiting to burst forth? What are you beginning to become more spiritually aware of? And if you had a mystical superpower, what do you think it might be?
So today we're going to do something a little different and delve into a bit of tarot lore concerning two decks—the Greenwood Tarot and the Wildwood Tarot. Before I begin my scholarly report, however, I would like to point out that I didn't do too well in my Journalism classes at Indiana University. I tended to dramatize, make assumptions and muddy the waters between truth and legend too much for their tastes. So I changed my major to broadcasting where you can get away with that shit.
That said, there once was a deck called the Greenwood. It was a Celtic/Earth-Centered deck printed in 1996 that really captured a pagan, shamanic niche of the tarot marketplace that hadn't previously been explored. Many of the Major Arcana cards were re-named and re-numbered. And, instead of the court cards being humans, they were represented by animals. So, in a way, it had its own "system". Many people felt the deck had a very special mystical/tribal/prehistoric feel and when the deck went out of print, the legend of its "powers" grew. A deck that probably originally sold for $20 skyrocketed in price. If you're interested, there is a new one available on Amazon today for $1600.
Anyway, legend has it that the original artist, Chesca Potter, became a born-again Christian and is no longer interested in having anything to do with tarot. Her art can't be reprinted without her permission, so the original writer, Mark Ryan, teamed up with John Matthews and Will Worthington to recreate and rethink the deck. The new deck, the Wildwood Tarot, follows the same basic structure or system of the Greenwood, reusing many of the changed names for cards and even, in some places, closely mirroring the art. While it is, for the most part, its own deck, I would classify it as being strongly based on the Greenwood. Even the book for the Wildwood borrows text from the Greenwood book. Certainly nobody denies or even tries to hide the close connection between the two.
So here we are with today's draw and I decided to draw two cards to give you more of a feel for the two decks. The cards above are from the Wildwood, the new deck. And the ones right here are from the Greenwood.
I would interpret the two cards the same whether they came from the Greenwood or the Wildwood. The Sun is about giving life and illuminating parts of yourself that you either intentionally or otherwise keep in the dark. In both Sun cards, the sun is burning through the man, activating his heart center and electrifying him with universal power. A nice touch in both Sun cards is the Uffington Horse. Legend has it if you stand in the horse's eye and turn three times, you can receive illumination, power and the life-giving healing energy of the sun.
There's a nice tie-in between the Sun and the bears, because bears often symbolize hibernation, which is dictated by temperature fluctuations and food inavailabilities caused by the absence of the sun. In both bear cards, the bears are waking, but in the Wildwood, the bear is already up and greeting the dawn of a new adventure. Another tie-in is that both the sun and bears are symbolic of power, one of earthly strength and the other of universal power. The suit of stones is specifically focused on monetary power or prosperity.
Taken together, I'd say it's time for all of us to burst out of this sleepwalk we're in and reclaim our divine power. There is so much that lies dormant within us that we never access. One of the theories behind the whole 2012 mystery is that this is what this coming year is all about. It's supposed to draw a line in the sand where we will no longer be able to deny the advanced abilities that rest within us. Some feel this is a long-term awakening that has been going on for years. Others believe a switch will be flipped or we'll suddenly need to rely on our higher powers for survival.
Regardless of whether you believe that or not, there isn't one among us who is living at our full potential. There may be many who go through life "firing all engines" as far as their energy is concerned. But this is less about expending energy than it is about using the fullness of the capabilities that lie within. And what I mean by that may include your ability to spontaneously manifest your desires, utilize your sixth sense, heal energetically, increase your capacity to learn and other "miracles" of the mind and body.
I think only the most conservative people will deny there are savants out there who are especially blessed with one of those talents. I'm a fan of Lisa Williams, the British medium. I've seen her in action and felt the energy she draws out. She is WAY more accurate in her readings than the statistical mean. Then there are intellectual savants who have a significantly greater capacity to learn and understand. There are also physical "geniuses" that can push their bodies beyond the realms of other humans.
While there will always be people at the extremes of any ability, we all have abilities far beyond our consciousness. What happens is that we find early on that our talent for math or basketball or painting is less than extraordinary, so we pursue other areas where we feel we have more talent or interest instead. In doing so, we stop developing those other areas. The capacity to develop those areas still exists. So while we can learn to be a better artist, if we think we have little affinity for it, we don't develop that talent. Our minds are littered with abandoned playgrounds.
Another thing that happens is that we're told the imaginary friends and spontaneous insights we have as a very young child are imaginings and not real. So we suppress many of our inborn instincts because we're told they're fantasy.
These two cards together are saying that there's something within you that's ready to emerge and see the light. You may know what this is...it might be something that's been marinating for a while. Or it might be something you abandoned a while back. Or it may be something you don't realize you even have a capacity for. This past week we've talked about waiting for the right moment to pounce, thinking outside of the sheep herd and connecting to the vastness of you. It all points at stepping into the larger you you were meant to become.
The first step is to open the door to all possibilities. For example, I don't believe in fairies. So I will probably never see a fairy. Fairies may be twinkling all around me, but I've closed off the possibility to them. Opening yourself to all possibilities is opening yourself—genuinely—to things that may seem silly or childish to you.
After that, just observe and don't discount any imaginings you may have. Once you start noticing "coincidences" or "spontaneous manifestations", for example, the more often they appear in your life. Once you hold a space for the "impossible" to fill—and the more you believe there is no such thing as impossible—the more magic is able to flow into your life. There are entire worlds that exist within our own that we don't see and can't access, simply because we shut ourselves off to them through our disbelief. It's time to stop the sleep walk—or sheep walk—of our lives and allow the sun to illuminate entire new worlds of possibility.
For those wanting to try a meditation after yesterday's entry, try this: Close your eyes and imagine a dimly lit landscape within. With each breath, imagine the sun creeping into the landscape more and more, illuminating more and more of the landscape. Take your time with this. Imagine it as being akin to the daily lengthening of sunlight of this time of year (in the Northern hemisphere). Let the light seep further and further in, illuminating shadows and secret hollows within you. What do you see? What reflects the sun's light most? What has been hidden by the walls and hedges you've built within? What can you see in the sun's fullest light that you've never been able to see before?
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Today's Draw: No-Mind from the Osho Transformation Tarot. Do you meditate or wish you could? If you've tried and failed in the past, how long did you try? What are your experiences with meditation?
Osho is a name given to Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh an Indian mystic and guru. Most of what I know about his philosophy comes from the Osho Zen Tarot (which is one of my go-to decks) and this oracle deck. His teachings ascribe to many areas of Eastern thought, but most of it reflects the gentle, profound teachings of Zen Buddhism. Reading up on him tonight, his life was surrounded by controversy and drama, so he may be a case of "pay attention to the message and not the messenger" for some.
I have held many Eastern practices and philosophies on and off over the years. I do chanting on and off. I chanted a mala every night for years, which means repeating the same mantra 108 times every night. But one thing that has been constant is that I meditate in one way or another every day, as I have done for nearly 30 years. And "No-Mind" is one of the cornerstones of meditation.
A lot of people say their mind is too busy to meditate, they have ADD or are too busy. That's just excuses. If all you have is five minutes, that's enough. In fact, the less time you feel you have, the more you probably need to meditate. As for the busy mind, I actually started meditating because of how active my head was. Besides, not all meditation requires you to strip all thought away—one requires you to be hyper-conscious of your environment, not screen it out. There's really something that will work for anyone. So, if you want to bring more discipline, quiet or focus to your mind and body, investigate the many forms meditation, including the moving ones.
All that said, I like to go into that transcendental place of no-mind. That place inside us is that part that is eternal and exists within us throughout every incarnation. It is us at our most pure. It is us as the divine. In that time and moment, we are connected with all existence, with that place that is common to us whether we're animal, plant, mineral or ether. Connecting to that most basic and eternal essence is a gift I give myself nearly every night, and because I've been practicing for so long, I can find that place easily in pretty much any moment.
The illustration on this card depicts that silence and stillness for me. I imagine the vastness and silence of outer space to mirror the vastness and silence of that within. As there is significant space between matter in the universe, meditation creates significant space between the thoughts in our minds. To me, it brings me into that vast place of emptiness ripe for creation. One of my favorite tarot cards ever is from the Osho Zen tarot that also illustrates that wonder for me. If you're reading this on Facebook, you can see it at http://thedailytarotdraw.blogspot.com/
Have you ever been out in nature and listened to the profound silence that sits beneath the peace and quiet? That's the silence I'm talking about. The further you are from society, the easier it is to hear. But there's a riverside spot along a busy Parkway here where that silence is louder to me than the sounds of the cars passing by. And in the past couple of years it's getting louder and louder in my back yard. If you don't know what I'm talking about, give a listen the next time you're out in nature. I don't know how to put it other than it is the loud silence beneath the peace and quiet. I believe this silence exists everywhere in the universe, whether you're on a planet or in the nothingness. Sometimes I'm able to hear it within me even when I'm busy thinking. Like now. This isn't something you create, it's the most basic and everlasting part of you. It's there. You just have to remember how to be there with it.
Meditation brings us into the moment. It strips away everything but what is real and true. If you don't have a way to access this place of no-mind, consider adding it in the coming year. Here's the thing, though. It doesn't come overnight. It takes practice and develops over years. Like a diet or exercise routine, it's a discipline. But it's one that can benefit you on so many levels. It's definitely worth the investment of time and effort and I bet if you commit 5-10 minutes to it daily in 2012, you'll find it changes your life. So what are your experiences with meditation?
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Today's Draw: Eight of Matter from Tarot de Paris. Do you consider yourself a conformist or nonconformist? What things do you feel right in conforming to? And have you ever encountered issues from not conforming?
The Eight of Matter or Pentacles is about apprenticeship. The book for this deck brings up a few interesting, less common points, however. The first is about this being the card of the traditionalist, which I hadn't heard before. And the other interpretation is about producing new works by reinterpreting classic works.
The book also said that conservatives or traditionalists are always suspicious of anything that disrupts the power of conformity. That got me thinking of some people in my life. I'm not a huge conformist. In fact, I tend to question the things that are considered the norm. Some things make sense. Some don't.
One of those things that doesn't make sense to me is signing a contract saying you'll spend the rest of your life with another person (aka marriage). I believe that people come into and out of our lives for a reason and to meet someone and say "I like you today, so I shall sign a contract saying I'll spend the rest of my life with you. And if I change my mind, I will gladly meet up with you in a court of law and give half of everything I own to you."
Just doesn't make sense to me. And I remember that people always told me that when I met the right person, I'd change my mind and want to sign that contract and tie myself forever to someone I may or may not like 10 years from now. They also said I'd change my mind about wanting to have children. I have about three eggs left and they're all in the scratch and dent bin. I doubt that's ever gonna happen either. But there are some people out there that don't see these things as options. Either you do them and are accepted. Or there are concerned whispers, saddened sighs or rumors of homosexuality uttered behind your back.
It's not like I have to be single and childless to buck conformity, though. There's the whole psychic thing. My unstructured entrepreneurial lifestyle. My undefined spirituality. You name it, all the way down to my colorful house. I tend to make die-hard conformists itch. But that's ok, I guess. I'm not terribly impressed by them, either. ;)
I feel very strongly that we shouldn't just accept things because "that's the way they're done". Marriage, for example, works very well for some people. But I feel like people shouldn't get married just because that's what people in their 20s or 30s do when they're in love. I feel like people should always question their beliefs and practices before they set them in stone, whether it's getting married, having children, pursuing their spirituality, managing their career or anything. Sometimes convention works for people. Sometimes being unconventional works. But if you just blindly do, how do you know what works for you?
So, what widely held practice or belief do you question? How do you buck conformity, or do you?
Monday, December 26, 2011
Today's Draw: The Hanged Man from the Maroon Tarot. Do you have a New Year's tradition? What does it involve? And if you make resolutions or wishes, what will be on your list this year?
The Hanged Man is a card that is traditionally about patience, time in suspension or voluntary sacrifice. It's sort of a neutral card in the tarot. It's not one you dread getting, nor is it one you look forward to. It says now is not the time to act. You may experience a delay before you get what you want. Or you may have to give up something of value to get what you want.
But this Hanged Man is kind of interesting. First, he's hanging like a bat. He has bat wings. Usually you might see this card using all manner of rope and restraints to hang the man upside down, but this guy hangs on his own volition, organically.
Nor is he somber or of neutral gaze. He knows very well what he's waiting for. Despite the fact that he's been waiting quite some time, he's infinitely alert. The way he holds his arms betrays his discipline. Rather than being caught in a web, you get the impression he's the creator of the web. These pod-like things seem to be part of his plan...perhaps the remains of earlier prey?
He's like a frog waiting for a fly. A cat awaiting a mouse. A hunter tracking a deer. Soon, whatever he's waiting for will come into striking distance. And it will not stand a chance.
When it comes to creating change in our lives, January 1 is a symbolic, yet arbitrary day to launch a new beginning. And yet it's the day we wait for each year in order to make our move. We could do the same on Arbor Day, our birthday or today and the occasion would be just as fitting. But at least we know on this day, we'll have plenty of company with plenty of energy behind change.
What are you waiting to begin with the new year? A new health regime? Something with your career? Each year I have a tradition around the New Year, usually involving resolutions. Some years I'll do affirmations instead of resolutions. It all depends on what I think is the wisest tack for me at that particular time of my life.
2011 was a pretty big year for me. I got a publishing contract and wrote a book. Won awards for my creative work. Completed a whole calendar year with my blog. "Appeared" on a radio program. Did a good deal of professional tarot reading. Started teaching classes. Had a few passing male interests. Came out of a dense multi-year fog. And just really made some significant leaps in my personal and spiritual ways of being.
So I looked back in my journal to see what I had resolved for the year and what I had written in last year's year-end retrospective, a tradition I had been keeping for 20 years or more. And you know what I found? Nothing. I blew it off last year!
The one year that I accomplished more than I usually do in any five years, I made no resolutions, surrounded it with no ceremony and gave it no import whatsoever. I didn't even give myself one of my soulful tarot readings to guide said tradition. I completely blew it off.
For the past week I've been kind of plotting in my mind how I would greet the new year and honor my yearly tradition, but realizing I had a banner year the year I skipped tradition entirely, I'm thinking twice. Sometimes the best plans are the ones you don't make, I suppose.
So what's your plan for greeting the New Year?