Friday, May 11, 2012

5/12/12-5/13/12—Moving Toward the Light

Weekend Reading: The Devil from the Tierney's Delight tarot by Beth Seilonen. What is holding you back from flying large and free? We all have some sort of unhealthy behavior lurking in the wings. Maybe it's a relationship that's run its course. Or a set of beliefs. A bad habit or behavior. Or a flat out addiction. You may not acknowledge it to others, but you can't escape it in your head. It mocks you. It never goes away. And you never get around to doing anything about it. As a person who smoked for 26 years (and has been quit for 8), this much I know for sure—there will never be a "good time" to quit drinking, leave your boyfriend, change a bad habit, step away from something you no longer believe, etc. So since there's never going to be a good time, you may as well do something now. The first step is to identify and acknowledge that thing inside your head that is telling you to move in another direction. If you haven't done that yet, do that this weekend and start thinking about your plan for change. And if you've already done that, make one step toward change—seek out a 12-step program, buy an exercise ball, check out a new apartment, investigate other churches in your area...whatever makes sense to your issue. It doesn't have to be big. It just has to be enough to show the universe you want change. Every day you don't do this, the calendar turns another page. Your stash of pages is limited. Don't waste another day in breaking free of the chains that bind you. Move toward the light!

And, hey....check out the tarot deck named after ME at

Thursday, May 10, 2012

5/11/12—Letting The Sun Shine In

Today's Draw: The Sun from Dylan's Tarot by Dylan Guthrie. What has brought you joy today? What is your best, guaranteed, sure-fire way to raise your spirits when you're down? And what can you do to bring a little joy into someone else's heart today?

I received two tarot decks in the mail today. One is called Tierney's Delight, the latest major's only deck by Beth Seilonen. It's Number 1 of 50, which is an absolute honor. And it came with a note from the artist thanking me for my inspiration. As you can imagine, all of that gave me quite a smile. I mean, how many tarot enthusiasts have a deck named after them AND have the honor of getting the first copy?

But you know what gave me a bigger smile? The note that came with the second deck, Dylan's Tarot. Mine is Number 8 of 25, which was, interestingly enough, Dylan's age at the time of the deck's creation in 2008-2009. At 8, Dylan Guthrie was possibly the youngest tarot artist in the world, making his limited-edition deck a must for any collector. He is the son of Beth Seilonen, creator of Tarot Leaves, my favorite Fishy Tarot and, of course, my new favorite Tierney's Delight.

The note came on a card with a lighthouse on it, illustrated by his mom. It was written in the artist's own hand and it said, "Thank you for buying Dylan's Tarot. It has been a long time since I have had a sale! Sincerely, Dylan." He signed the card in cursive and accompanied the signature by a neatly printed version of his name so I would know it was him.

Clearly there has been an egregious oversight in the tarot community if I was able to snag copy #8 of 25 of this delightful major's only deck. Few decks reflect the whimsy and innocence—not to mention the fresh eye—of this heavily researched, year-long labor of love. Had I chosen Justice, I might delve further into the INjustice of this deck having not already gone out of print! 

But I won't go there, because today I chose the Sun card, which is about happiness. And Dylan's deck and his note brought me a sweet dose of that today. 

While still adhering to the traditional, many cards are visually reinterpreted in surprising and symbolic ways. For example, the shadow cast from the Devil while being lit by the flames of hell makes me think of how much bigger our personal challenges and shadow selves can appear to us, making them that much harder for us to overcome.

The Death card evokes the Ten of Swords to me in the sense that it shows someone utterly defeated, but with the sun rising in the background, suggesting the dawn of a new day. Also the three bees or dragonflies intrigue me...perhaps a new resourcefulness rising up from the defeat? A trinity of transformation in body, mind and soul?

And the Hanged Man also stands out because the man is displaying a different posture from the traditional card and he hangs over water, which is suggestive of emotion. Since the traditional meaning of this card is finding a new point of view or taking a pause in the action, it seems to call on us to take a more measured look at the emotions of whatever situation we're in...or that perhaps the solution we speak is in suspending ourselves in or near our emotions before we can acquire the grounding we seek. 

But perhaps the masterwork of this deck is the card I chose today, The Sun. It has a lot of traditional symbolism in it with the sunflowers and the horse and the bright, happy sun shining down. Everyone in this card—the bird, the horse, the child—is stopping to smell the flowers. Even the sun seems to be wanting to catch a whiff. And that's where happiness lies, isn't it? In immersing yourself in the beauty of this very moment. And even at the age of 8, Dylan knows that beauty is all around us. We just have to open our awareness long enough to look. 

Dylan's Tarot comes in a black velvet-y bag, snuggled within a one-of-a-kind illustrated box that bears the numbered copy of the deck. It is a small deck, perhaps a bit smaller than a deck of playing cards. It is a BARGAIN at any price, but at the time of this publication was available at a reduced price of $25...for a limited edition deck! That took a year to research and create! Outrageous! I'm guessing Dylan is 11 or 12 now and could buy some wicked video games or boy gear with the proceeds he could earn from his remaining decks. Just sayin'.

Today's entry was more like a deck review than my usual thing. But it also illustrates how the simplest things, like a note from a child, an exploration of a new deck or one of the countless flowers that's blooming at this time of year can bring joy. We just have to clear our daily haze long enough to experience it. What has brought you joy today? And if you haven't yet found it, what can you do to make it happen?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

5/10/12—Remembering Grace

Today's Draw: The Empress from Angel Tarot Cards by Doreen Virtue. What is your first memory of a time when you felt truly loved? Who was the person that made you feel that way? And can you still feel the energy and quality of that love today?

Ever since I first started hearing about the movie, The Help, I've been wanting to get the Empress card at a good time to talk about Grace. Not the quality of grace or divine grace, but Grace, the lady who worked in our home doing laundry and ironing and cleaning and taking care of me.

We only lived in Montgomery, Alabama a year or so of my life, but it was a pretty pivotal year. I was three years old. This is where I learned that barefoot was the best way to walk, "y'all" was one of the most used words in the whole, entire dictionary and "ain't" was the kind of word that could get you in trouble with momma...well, if your momma was born speaking the King's English, that is. 

My first memories also came from that time. The first time I remember feeling forgotten and heartbroken was from that time. My daddy had promised he'd take me to the commissary with him. He worked so hard we didn't get to see him much, so this was very special. I think I'll forever have an image seared in my mind of standing at a big window, all dressed up for my "date", screaming and crying while my father pulled out of the driveway without me, oblivious to his promise and to me. 

What I also remember was the lady who pulled me away from that window and comforted me as I cried. Grace. You would imagine a child's first feelings of being wholly and totally loved would come from their mother. But mine came from Grace, the lady who was hired to work in our home. I remember sitting and playing at her feet while she ironed. And I also remember a quality and sweetness of love that I don't think I've felt from another person since. 

Let me be clear that I had a phenomenal mother. She had six children and a husband who worked and traveled hard. I have no idea how she did it. I imagine in Alabama pretty much everyone had someone helping in the home. I imagine it was fairly cheap, too, because we weren't rich. So I'm guessing that—and the fact she was nearly 40 with six kids aged 3-11—precipitated hiring Grace. I don't really have any memories of my mother until the following year when I was four and would stay home with her and we would eat crustless sandwiches and watch Match Game and Hollywood Squares together. I had a crush on Paul Lynde. (Didn't every girl?)  :D

I'll also say I don't have the best memory in the world. What I remember, I remember quite clearly. But you could fit most of the memories of my childhood in a basket compared to the truckloads of memories other people I know seem to have. But there was something about Grace that has stayed with me for 46 years, even though she was only in my life for less than a year. 

The *feeling* of her is something I can't quite describe. It was an unconditional kind of love that I FELT and trusted in a way that I'm not sure I did with my own parents. Logically you would think her love wasn't  unconditional. I was just some kid she had to take care of during the day when the other kids were in school. But the way it imprinted on my memory was an unconditional love that was free of all the complications and ups and downs of a parent-child relationship. 

You know your parents love you unconditionally, but you probably didn't always feel it growing up. My memory of Grace was feeling it. It was a pure thing. Sweet. Safe. Comfortable. And, though fleeting, it lasted inside me for 46 years. And maybe its brevity is why. It was never tested against time. But the incredible thing about our memories is that all I have to do is think of it to feel it again.

I like to think I love my dogs that way. That they are never without the knowledge of their mother's unconditional love. But of course that isn't accurate. There are times they come to get love from me that I don't notice they're there. And there are times I might yell at them for barking or being mean to each other. So it's not like this vein that pumps the experience and feeling of unconditional love between us 24/7. Sure I love them that way 24/7, but they don't always *experience* it that way. 

The gift of my memory of Grace is that the experience of it was always there for me. And I can't tell you how many times I've thought of her over the years and wondered if she ever thought of me. I've also wondered how different my life would have been if I'd had that in my life longer. And I wonder if she could possibly have any clue of how much of an impact that short time in her life had on me. 

I'm not real big on kids, but I do get kind of passionately annoyed by parents who say "they're too young to understand" in order to justify arguing or addiction or other ill behaviors performed within reach of children. My first real memory was the loving energy that emanated from someone who'd been entrusted with my care. It wasn't something I could verbalize or analyze, but it was something I could fully understand. It was a brief experience that helped shape my life. (As was being forgotten by my father. So ferchrissakes, gentlemen, don't break your little girl's heart. She will forever seek love and acceptance from men just like you.)

The Empress is a card about nurturing and loving. So much of life gets in the way of telling our loved ones how we truly feel about them. I like to think I'm good about voicing the things I value to the people I care about. But I'm sure I don't do it enough. So consider that the next time you talk to your mom or sibling or child. Make that an occasion to say out loud what you truly value about them. And while you're at it, sprinkle a little of that love on yourself, too.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

5/9/12—Fueling The Machine

Today's Draw: Seven of Cups from the Druidcraft Tarot. Have you ever glimpsed into a whole other possible reality? What did you see? And what do you see in Tierney's Dark and Wild Adventure Into the Subconscious?

The Seven of Cups is one of those cards you can see in many abundance of choices and a lack of decision making, visions for the future turned into mere daydreams and emotions that turn into manifestations. Another meaning of the card has to do with illusions and the many facets of emotion. 

I've spoken before about this amazing emotional/spiritual music evoked healing thing I do with a woman in Maryland. What happens in the session is that we set an intention, then she chooses music to fit the intention. She relaxes me and puts me in a meditative state and plays the music, which is almost always classical. And, in this relaxed state, images form as I listen. I describe the images I'm seeing and she writes down everything I say. Then we analyze what has happened at the end of the session.

I've been doing this with her for a couple of years now. So it has become common for me to go into a really deep hypnotic/subconscious state during the session. During these times I get really cold. It's odd. It takes a lot to make me cold. And it was pretty cool in the room today, but not THAT cool. Anyway, I always put the blanket on me before a session, because it's inevitable that, at some point, I'll leave consciousness and get really cold. 

But this isn't about my body temperature. It's about my session today. Like I said, I've been doing this for two years. And while this isn't a literal interpretation of what happens, it has always conjured angels and glitter and Jesus—that type of imagery. The sessions are always very expansive and reassuring. And yes, even though I'm not a Jesus person, I have seen Jesus in these sessions. I've had angels joke around with me because I act so human as a human, when in fact, I'm one of them and I've just forgotten. I've flown as a bird. Sat with wise men. And experienced my soul as the magical, transcendent, immortal thing it is. 

For as light and ethereal as all my sessions have been, however, today's was surreal and dark. While I recognized there was a purpose to the human situation, I saw us as being imprisoned. Stored. Warehoused. Our brains were used to power the universe, not for the benefit of humanity, but for the benefit of biology. And while we're all connected as one, we are all just chemicals used to power the machine. 

Some of the things I said when I was in a subconscious state today were really deep. Usually when I go that deep my mutterings are random and don't seem to have meaning. An example might be "marshmallow butterfly elephant". Who knows what that's supposed to mean? But here are a few things I said in the subconscious state today that were actually quite lucid, and I thought I'd share:

• You can't look at something from the outside and expect to understand it.
• It's like the other side of this place [the things we see] doesn't exist. 
• It's the modern thing to be invisible. 
• I look out a window and there's no "there" out there. 
• [Someone] has got a broken foot, but we can replace that. 
• On a computer screen I see a progress bar that is making progress. And, on a pull-down menu, I'm given the option of "advise".

Another thing I said in that state was a musing about how we buy nice things, then don't use use them because we don't want to ruin them. And then they just go to waste. 

I know that seems like a lot of disconnected mish-mash. But the overall feeling of the session was that we are basically automatons within a grand machine. We think we're free, but we're imprisoned and destined to fulfill the purpose intended by the machine. That the chemical reactions in our brain that produce thought are the fuel for this machine. It doesn't really matter what we think. It's the energy produced by thinking that matters. And that (and this is how it ties back to the tarot card) everything is illusion. There is no "other side" to this place, because it's like a movie set, arranged to be the backdrop for our chemical thought process to reflect against, thereby producing more energy for the machine.

Depressing, huh? Part existentialist, part futile and part really bleak and disappointing...haha. It suggests that the importance of humanity and the ego of man is a veil created to ensure we pump out enough fuel to power "the machine", which could be God, the universe or an actual machine for all I know. But it also offers up the notion that, while we're here, we get to benefit from this really cool veil, instead of living in the reality that we're slave fodder. So we should appreciate the veil while we've got it. 

Anyway, I thought it was really interesting. It's not the normal thing these sessions reveal to me...this dark underbelly of the human psyche...of MY psyche. On the upside, though, I wasn't dismembering babies or anything awful like that...haha. It could have been darker than the feeling of futility in the service to some great machine. What does all of this conjure in you?

Monday, May 7, 2012

5/8/12—Releasing Understanding

Today's Draw: "Where Understanding Hums" from Illuminate! Life Journey Cards by Linda Clayton. Are you feeling stuck on, or held back by, something simply because you can't understand why it happened? Or because you don't have all the answers you need to come to peace? What do you think having all the answers will give you that can't get right now without them?

This card depicts a woman with her hands outstretched. In one hand is a bird. The keywords in the deck's book include insight, understanding, serendipity and acceptance. The book also asks an interesting she welcoming the bird in or letting him go?

We always want to know why things happen—especially those of us who believe everything happens for a reason. Why did our marriage break up? Why did he cheat on me? Why did so-and-so do xyz? Why can't I seem to ever have such-and-such? Why now? Why not? Why me?

For some of those questions there will be answers and understanding will come in a timely manner. For some questions, understanding will be delayed. For others still, understanding will never come. And in some cases in all of that, understanding will never be enough. Sometimes the best you can hope for is peace. Or truce. 

We often think understanding will be what heals us. When we get the answers we want, then we can move forward. But sometimes letting go of the need for understanding is the most healing thing you can do. I've spoken before about how my father was murdered 24 years ago. There are things about that I'll never understand. And not just because the act was unconscionable, but because there are just questions that will never be answered and that's the way it is.

Letting go of needing to know...of even wanting to know...doesn't mean I'm not honoring my father's memory. It actually means I'm embracing his memory. Without the need for answers or revenge standing between me and his memory, I'm able to honor it more. What is holding on to the bird for 24 years going to get me anyway? 

I have faith that there are reasons for everything. I accept I will not always know the reasons. And I believe that if I'm meant to know the reasons, they will find me whether I'm looking or not. That three-sentence mantra or prayer is often the best we can do in life, especially when it comes to our most difficult experiences.

The lady in the drawing knows that understanding often hums sometimes at a distance. She can neither expect to fully grasp anything, nor hold on to answers that will never come. Wisdom lies in finding peace and acceptance, regardless of what understanding may or may not come.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

5/7/12—Taking Emotion Out Of Decisions

Today's Draw: Woman of Science from the William Blake Tarot. Do you tend to make emotional or knee-jerk decisions? Or do you tend to collect relevant evidence first, then wait until you can make an objective decision? Has your approach to decision making changed anytime recently?

Today's card is about seeking out pertinent data and taking a methodical approach to solving a problem. The ladies in the card are all being very precise and scientific. They have put their emotions aside. And rather than making assessments of the situation, they are simply collecting information at this time. Later they can view all the information as a whole and draw more informed conclusions.

Too often, we make decisions in the moment that don't have to be made in the moment. And, if you're like me, you often let emotions drive those decisions. I honestly feel like I've never made a decision I regret. I have no use for regrets in my life. Things are what they are. But even though I don't regret any of the decisions I've made, I can see where I could have made better decisions if I had just slowed down enough to take emotion out of it. And not just made better decisions, but also exited situations more gracefully and calmly.

One of the things I've done in the past is walk away from things too quickly. But over the last year or so, I've taken my time and thought things through more. Back in February I wrote about a meetup group that I quit going to. It was something I thought about for a long time...weighed options and everything. I didn't let emotions rule my decision. And by giving myself the opportunity to be more objective, I was able to see the "truth" of the role, the role of others, the motivations beneath actions....what I would be losing, what I would be gaining.

In the end, I think it was a good decision. I didn't make a fool out of myself upon leaving. I didn't walk away in anger or take a final parting shot. I just walked away. And while making the decision itself was a bit emotional, once it was made I was able to let go. I really haven't missed those meetups at all and I thought I would.

Turns out I would have made the same decision if I had made a flip emotional decision, though. The difference is, if I had relied entirely on emotions, in retrospect I would have questioned the intentions behind the decision and wondered if I had walked away in a huff. Not out of regret, really. But it would have been part of a pattern I had followed that would always make me question if I walked away out of fear or hurt or whatever. It's one thing to have hurt initiate a departure and another thing to have it drive one. And my objective is to not have emotions drive my decisions in ways it has in the past.

When we take the time to step outside of an initial drama, we have the wits about us to make a more measured decision. We can look back at the pattern of a dynamic. We can see the "truth" of the relationship or situation. Maybe it's one-time thing and we're being silly and emotional. Or maybe it's part of a pattern that we're tired of repeating. Of course, this goes for happy decisions and bad, yesses and nos, joining and quitting, blah, blah, blah. 

On Friday we talked about clearing the fields. This is kind of related to that. It's saying that if you're going to clear the fields, at least give yourself the benefit of a measured and objective take on the situation. Well, as measured and objective as you can be. And also make a commitment that, once you're done burning the soybean field, you don't just go and plan soybeans again.

So what about you? Are you on the verge of a rash decision?