Friday, March 23, 2012

3/24/12-3/25/12—Fixing What's Broken

Weekend Reading: Five of Swords from the Alchemical Tarot Renewed. This is a good weekend to make repairs around the house. But it's also good for righting wrongs and fixing other things that are broken, like relationships. You can't fix another person, but you can reach out to someone. If they're not responsive, then you know you've tried. And if they are, you can get input on whether or not the relationship is worth salvaging. If there's nobody like that in your life, look at other areas that could use a little spackle and sanding. Decisions can be re-decided, wrong turns can be re-turned and mistakes can be made good.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

3/23/12—Keeping An Eye on Your Back

Today's Draw: Seven of Arrows from the Sacred India Tarot. Do you think someone or some group is out to get you? If not, is it possible you should? Are you the kind of person who keeps their friends close, but keeps their enemies closer?

I'm going back to our old routine this week because I won't have time to do the week-ahead write up tomorrow. Hopefully I'll get back to that next week, though the week-ahead, nature-themed posts were always meant to be a temporary fixture. 

That said, this card speaks of erratic energies (much like those that have knocked me off discipline this past week with my posts!) The card warns of things going on behind the scenes, of dissent in the ranks and of the need to play your cards close to your chest. The card advises diplomatic and discreet behavior in dealing with others. 

There are times, especially when we feel vulnerable, that we tend to work things up in our heads more than necessary. We see conspiracy. We engage our powers of suspicion. But none of this means we're obligated to join in with the group, even if the conspiracy is working in our favor.

This is a great follow-on card for yesterday's entry, because the guy in this picture is just sitting all these behind-the-scene things out. He's paying attention, but not getting involved. Waiting for the dust to settle. Like yesterday's card, he's separating himself from the conflict to gain perspective. Unlike yesterday's card, however, he's conscious of what's going on around him.

I suppose I've felt this way a few times over, say, the past six months or so. Whether the behavior is passive-aggressive or aggressive-aggressive, it turns me off. Now we're all guilty of passive-aggressive behavior at one time or another, so I can't say I'm innocent. But when it's used against me, the person rarely ever sees the results they want. 

Many years back I was the focus of what I can only call bullying. I won't say I was entirely innocent in the conflict, but long after I had retreated, the "gang" kept coming after me. The more I withdrew, the angrier they got. They wanted to "break" me...get a reaction out of me. They wanted me to dip to their level in order to prove that I was just as underhanded as them. Eventually I just retreated so much that they never saw me again. That's my MO. 

The way I see it, just because someone is engaging you in their game, doesn't mean you have to take part. The more you resist and the more you need to win, the more of yourself...your integrity, your lose in the process. 

One of my least favorite things people say is "keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer." That implies engaging your enemies and playing a game where they think you're cool with them. That sort of thing just keeps feeding energy into the dynamic and keeps you tied to people who don't support you, imo. I used to fight back, but these days I'm happy to hand them the win and retreat, knowing that the real winner is me because I'm getting them out of my life.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

3/22/12—Feeding What's Eating at You

Today's Draw: Four of Sword from the Steampunk Tarot by Barbara Moore and Aly Fell. Are you overly focused on a problem or issue right now? Do you often find yourself playing things over and over again in your mind, even when you have no control over what happens? Do you tend to feed the very thing that's eating at you?

The Four of Swords is usually a card of rest. And that's how it is in this card, too. But there's an added nuance in this card—the contraption holding the swords above the man's head suggests that some inevitability is coming to pass and it's not likely a good one. Circumstances have been set in motion and it's only just a matter of time.

At first glance, it may seem like he's sleeping when he ought to be racking his brain for ways around the issue. But sometimes taking a break from all the stress of a situation is exactly what you need to come up with a brilliant solution. 

You know how it goes when faced with an unpalatable situation. You start imagining worst-case scenarios. Your fears start coming up. And your brain tenses around all of this as you desperately try to figure out a solution. And while chewing it over can often help, the more stress you put behind trying to figure out how everything is going to turn out, the more you close your head to hearing divine inspiration. 

Right now I'm all worried about my boy dog who has to go in for surgery tomorrow. It's a situation in which I'm powerless and imagining all manner of outcomes. But really what is that getting me? What's going to happen is what's going to happen. And any fears I call up are just going to put fearful energy behind the situation. I don't want that. So I may as well just still the mind and go that place where I know everything happens the way it's meant to. Even if there were a problem I could solve in all of this, worrying won't get me anywhere. 

So if you've got a heavy problem to solve or a worry on your mind, take a nap. Meditate. Read a book. Or do any manner of things to take a break from the situation. You may just find that the second you stop thinking about it is when the universe steps in with its wisdom.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

7/13/11—Putting In Your Time

Today's Draw Classic*: Eight of Nature from the Tarot of the Origins. What have you always wanted that you've never managed to get? Why do you think you don't have it? And what would you be willing to do to get it?

The Eight of Nature equates to the Eight of Wands. In the Tarot of the Origins, the Eight of Wands speaks of the spirit of trees and slowness. 

Many believe the largest organism on earth is a tree. Not a Redwood or a Sequoia, but an Aspen. See, what seems to be an entire grove of Aspens is really just one organism, derived from the same original seedling, with new shoots/trees popping up over time. A single tree in the colony may live up to 150 years. But the root system...the colony thought to live tens of thousands of years. The largest of the Aspens, named Pando, is located in Utah, covers over 100 acres and weighs 6000 tons. It's rumored be anywhere from 80,000 to a million years old. To put that in perspective, homo sapiens existed only in Africa 80,000 years ago. And that Aspen is AT LEAST 80,000 years old. It beat man to Utah by at least 30,000 years.

The Aspen teaches us that building something big, strong and enduring takes time. The amenities of our modern world have done us a disservice in that they condition us to expect immediate results. They make us impatient. And so when we try to build a career or a relationship or change in life, we decide that we've "failed" or that "it's not working" before we've given it a fair chance. Of course, giving something a fair chance shouldn't be confused with sticking with a losing proposition until it drags you into the ground. But our dreams, the things we hunger for, deserve to be built slowly on a foundation as firm as the Aspen's. 

Every once in a while I'll come across someone who spends their life in regret because they tried many things and failed each time. Or I'll meet someone who is looking for a quick answer in their life. Or someone will look at my cushy job and say they wish they could do what I do. But if they were honest, all those people would really be saying, "I'm not willing to do what it takes to have that thing I want." 

I remember in the early years of my career I was an administrative person in the creative department of an advertising agency, helping the copywriters I wanted to be.... for three years. Then I worked in horrific retail jobs writing headlines like "SALE 29.99 No-Iron Slacks" for four years. Then I finally got a job doing what I wanted to do in an advertising agency. Over the first 10 years of my career I cultivated contacts and a portfolio, ultimately going into business myself. The difference between me and all the other people who wanted to do what I wanted to do but never made it, is that I never gave up. Many writers had much easier paths than I did. I didn't get those breaks. In many cases, I just wasn't as talented as they were, frankly. But I never gave up. I wanted it that much.

The difference between you and the people who have what you want is that they were willing to do something you're not willing to do to get it. Sometimes that means taking a lower paying job. Putting up with awful working conditions. Working for years without advancement. Making sacrifices of time, family, relationships or other things of value. Or simply putting in your time and paying your dues. 

Anytime I see myself looking over the fence at someone with a more sparkling career or relationship or whatever, I can't bring myself to be jealous. I can't tell myself that they're just lucky or they had different opportunities or anything like that. Because the truth is that they were willing to do what it took to get it. And so far I haven't been. We really can't blame our regrets about things like this on anything other than ourselves, imo. I know that sounds harsh, but it was seven years before I got the job I went into business to get. Seven very poorly paid years working way below my capability and talent level. It never once occurred to me to give up. 

The good news is that, if you're reading this, you're probably not too old to go after that thing you still want. I'm going after a new dream and I'm 48. I know it will take years to build. I'm willing to put in that time and make that effort. But this isn't just about careers. I've been working on my psychic development for 25 years. Same with my spiritual development and personal growth. I'm still working on all that and will be until the day I die, because I want to be the best, most authentic person I can be. I want to do my soul proud. 

On the other side of the fence, I had someone recently remind me that if I had put the effort into finding a gentleman companion that I put into the five million little side projects that I always have going on in my life, I'd also have a successful love life. If I focused on weight loss the way I focus on these blogs every day, I'd be four sizes smaller. If I put the effort into caring for my home that I put into Facebook, I'd have a spotless home. But I don't. And there's nothing to blame outside of myself for that. I accept that.

Although you wouldn't know it by looking at an individual shoot, its leaves quaking vulnerably in the wind, the Aspen puts out a complex network of roots and shoots, breaking ground here and there until one day it's the largest, most enduring single organism on the planet. This is how we build anything worth having, imo. So if you have what you want in life—whether it's your family, your friends, your self development or your career—recognize all the work it took to build and be proud of that. And if you're still working toward something truly worth having, persist. If you're willing to do what it takes to get it, you will.

*Today's entry is a reprise of the one posted on 7/13/11. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

3/20/12—Indoctrinating the Aliens

Today's Draw: The Hierophant from the Blue Dog Rose Tarot by Nakisha. Have you ever wondered what religion extraterrestrials might be? If they believed the same way as, say, Christians believed, what impact do you think that would have on the world's religions? And, assuming they're a significantly more advanced race than us, do you think whatever they believed would impact our beliefs?

The Heirophant is a keeper of religious knowledge. Sometimes known as the Pope card, he's usually a teacher of scripture and traditional interpretation, as opposed to being a modern or unconventional thinker. 

Yesterday's post posed questions about how the concept of God has changed over the history of mankind, based on cultures, lifestyles and popular belief. Because that was a re-post of an earlier blog, it got me thinking again about how the idea of God can change. And it occurred to would/could the idea of God change if/when we are visited by aliens and learn what they believe. Of course it didn't hurt that the goldfish in today's card looks a little ET.

Of course, everything's cool if aliens come here and say they believe in the Judeo-Christian God and that Jesus came and visited them and gave them his teachings. And then maybe they tell us about about their near-death experiences and the tunnel of light. And maybe they have statues on their planet that bleed at the hands. And then, every once in a while, the face of Jesus himself appears in a slice of toast. Just like here. 

Even if that's the case, you have to ask if God created this race. And why didn't he create them in his image (assuming they don't look like us)? Why didn't He, in all his Biblical teachings about life, ever mention them? Not even a peep...from him or Jesus. How come? And if He did create them, did he create them first? Are they equal to us in his eyes or, because he gave them superior technology, is it possible He loves them more? And what if their Bible and teachings are completely different from our own?

Then, what if it goes another way entirely? What if they're total non-believers and never have been? What if there is absolutely nothing in their experience that has ever pointed to a higher power? Can popular belief continue to hold that their entire race over generations and generations has all burned in hell, even though God or Jesus never showed themselves to them? 

Then what happens if they're all Buddhists? Or if they have a totally different concept of God altogether?

I know I've asked a lot of questions we may never have the answers for. But the point is, regardless of what they believe, aliens and their beliefs will likely be a game-changer for our race. Even if they believe the same things we do, just the fact that they exist will cause turmoil in traditional religious realms. I mean, imagine you found out your Father had an entire other family He never told you about!

It's interesting that when we think of aliens visiting our earth, we often think of how they might be combative or want our resources. Realistically, religion aside, just the fact they exist will be shocking enough. But just imagine the social chaos they would create if they rode in on pink unicorns claiming they were all Moonies or Scientologists. 

I believe there is intelligent life out there. I believe they've been to earth before. I also believe the government has some knowledge they're not sharing. And I understand why they wouldn't share that information and think they're wise not to. Even if they're friendly visitors (which I think they will be), the potential they have to literally shake us to the core just simply by being is significant. It would cause many to question everything they know and believe. And if those questions cause an institution the size of Christianity to crash to the ground, it could send humanity to spiral out of control. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

3/18/12—Considering an Evolving God

Today's Draw Classic*: 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?

*Today's entry is a reprise of the one posted on 7/27/11.