Friday, January 4, 2013

1/5/13-1/6/13—Reading Your Lips

Weekend Reading: Ace of Staves from the Nigel Jackson Tarot. You may recall this is the second time we've had this exact card this week. It's urging us to get to the root of our thoughts and to get to the point in conversations. Dilly dally and deny some other time. This weekend you really need to take the direct route to the heart of the matter or in making your voice heard. That doesn't mean to be rude or cutting. But instead of relying on others to read your mind or read between the lines, let them read your lips. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

1/4/13—Taking Inventory

Today's Draw: Judgement from the Nigel Jackson Tarot. Have you ever really taken a good, honest inventory of your life....your good side as well as the things you may not even admit to yourself? If the two sides were judged against each other, would you be well into the light or just kinda into the light? If you really looked, what would you change and what would you do more of?

The Judgement card is traditionally about resurrection and rebirth and all that jazz. To me, the way his wings are drawn, the Archangel Michael seems to be floating in the midst of a bright orange (the color of the sexual chakra), NSFW, flaming vagina, which would support that rebirth thing. The dead have risen and they'll be purified by the fire and allowed into God's kingdom. 

I don't read the Judgement card that way. I have my own cool way of interpreting it that I wrote about on 11/29/12. But tonight as I was looking at this one in particular, I thought to myself, "what if we were judged on the sum total of what we did in life?" It makes you think. I'm pretty sure we'd all end up on the positive side of the equation, but still....

What if your secret shames and behaviors were held up against your public ones? What if your most honest thoughts about others were held up against the genuine words of praise you offered? What if your dark side were held up against your light? Your angry moments measured against your happiest? Your times of engagement held up against your times of avoidance?

If you really took the time to look at things you'd rather not focus on or see, what might you change? If you looked at all the good you do, where might you find time to do more? There isn't a human among us who doesn't have both sides operating within us every day. And there's nothing wrong with it. But if you thought about it, you'd probably see areas you'd admit could use a change. 

Looking at my own life, most of it is lived in a more or less neutral state. I'm just living and doing the stuff we all need to do to get by. I imagine the same is true for all of us...a big chunk of neutral surrounded by bands of dark and light. And while I figure the good I do and the smiles I spread more than make up for my darker corners, I do see places where I could be kinder of thought and more evolved of action. These things, like much of the good we do, as a matter of fact, are things we brush to the side as we focus on that day-to-day stuff. But these things, good and bad, are critical to what sets us apart in life. 

I'm going to be turning 50 this year. It's not something that weighs on me from a "getting older" standpoint, but it *is* something that weighs on me from a "getting serious about life" standpoint. It seems like kind of a fulcrum to me. Say we live 80 years on average. The first 20 or so are spent preparing to live our life. So 50 is a midpoint in the remaining 60 years....the second half of your adult life. And I'm pretty sure it's the best part, because of your maturity level and self knowledge. So maybe that's why I feel a need to assess, clear and rebirth at this time. I have some pretty big designs on the next 30 years, but I can't achieve all I want without clearing out certain areas of my life. 

What is or has been your experience with an assessment like this? For me, I'm not sure if it's the age thing or just because I'm naturally coming to a turning point. What has inspired this kind of inventory in your life?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

1/3/13–Being the Star

Today's Draw: The Star from the Nigel Jackson Tarot. Are you going through something difficult right now? Could you use some hope or encouragement? What do you suppose you're learning through your experience?

The Star is one of those cards you want to see in every reading you get. The card's meaning is hope. In the tarot, it comes right after the Tower card...a card of destruction...a change that shakes you to the core. The Tower destroys so it can rebuild on a more solid foundation. But Tower moments can leave you unsure, jittery. So the Star comes along to let you know things are going to be ok.

The Star presents a good opportunity to give you a deeper understanding of the mechanics behind tarot cards. The Nigel Jackson version has most of the elements of a traditional Star tarot card, so it's a good example for us. Before I begin, however, I will say that different sources will offer different reasons for the symbols on the cards. It's really just a matter of interpretation. What follows comes from my own interpretation of this particular card, based on what I've learned over time.

First of all, the nekkid woman. She's naked to show her purity and vulnerability. The star itself suggests guidance. So her unclothed nature symbolizes the openness and purity with which she approaches the receipt of that guidance. The circle of stars above her head is like a crown, telling us that this guidance is her crowning glory and it is innate within her...the divine guidance we all have within. The second ring of stars tells me that this inner wisdom radiates out, but also radiates in from the heavens. The big star over her head is positioned above the crown chakra...the chakra through which divine wisdom and inner wisdom text message each other.

Birds are symbols of communication, suggesting the communication exchange between us and the heavens. But they're also carriers of the soul, lifting us higher. This particular bird seems to be a phoenix, rising from the ashes of the Tower moment. He seems to sit on the tree, often symbolic of knowledge in the tarot, receiving the divine light and guidance.

Although usually pictured differently, the Star card also shows the woman with one foot on earth and one in water. This is symbolic of the interplay between that part of us that is grounded and that part of us that is led by our emotions. It can also be symbolic of that part of us that is earth bound and that part of us that is spirit. This particular Star card show a tree (usually the tree of life or tree of knowledge), as well as a mountain and the gentle flowers budding in the foreground. That says to me the card speaks of that which is seasonal as well as that which is enduring.

And her pitchers, holding the waters of her love and her spiritual gifts (as water is symbolized in the tarot) shows how generously she gives of herself, fueling new growth and replenishing the well from whence those gifts originally came. She gives from both hands—the conscious side of the brain and the unconscious—speaking of how the breadth of our intentions are put out into the universe and reflected back at us. And the generosity and almost transcendent ease with which she pours, symbolizes the never-ending cycles of growth and abundance available to us all and the energetic connection we have to the "all that is".

So that's just a taste of what a tarotist sees when looking at this card. And all you saw was a nekkid woman on a starry night pouring out water. *eye roll* *superior sigh*

So, anyway, we wrap that all up with the keyword "hope", when it's all really a message of how divine you are and always have been. When we're having difficult times like Tower moments, it's hard to see that. But that's precisely what our difficult moments are there to teach us....that there is something beyond our suffering and the peace, hope, abundance and divinity we seek is always available to us. It is in trusting that the star is within us that we learn resilience and peace in the midst of crisis.

Like Glenda the Good Witch tells Dorothy when she asks for help getting "home", she says "you always had the power, Dorothy". To which the Tinman says, "why didn't you tell her that before?" And Glenda replies, "because she wouldn't have believed me. She had to learn it for herself."

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

1/2/13—Attracting Bad Energy

Today's Draw: Nine of Swords from the Nigel Jackson Tarot. Are you a beacon for a certain type of person or energy in your life? Have you ever really examined why? Would you rather be a victim of these situations, or would you rather be the cause?

Today's card art is one of the reasons I like Nigel Jackson. It's non-traditional, tarot-wise, and just has these great colors and concepts. The meaning of "martyrdom" and "ominous signs" is also non-traditional, seeing as how Swords are the fire suit in this deck. For the non-tarotists, those meanings are closer to the Nine of Swords as an air sign than they are to the Nine of Wands, which is the traditional fire sign in tarot. *nudging the non-tarotists who fell asleep during that last sentence*

We all know people who come upon the same problems with others over and over again in their lives. They know all the perpetrator's problems and pathology. And yet they're completely unaware of the role and responsibility they have in the dynamic. The only explanation is that the other person is an asshole or jealous or mentally ill. And, for some reason, people like that keep finding them. Like the guy in the picture, there's some sort of cloud or demon or bad luck hanging over their head. 

Truth is, all of us have these repeating issues in our lives, whether it's with another person or with life in general. And sometimes it's hard to pinpoint the reasons why. But the reasons are never anything or anyone outside of us. If you're a beacon for all the assholes, idiots and crazies in this world, it's because of something you're doing—or not doing—to attract the behavior. And, like most psychologically and spiritually unhealthy things, it usually driven by some sort of fear. 

An example from my own life is a pattern of attracting people who take advantage...who don't return the energy given in the friendship. Which is not to say all people are like that. I have plenty of people in my life that aren't like that. But that I tend to draw "users" close, then regret it. Some of it is due to a need on my part to be liked and seen as "good". I give so I'll be liked. And the people most attracted to that are people who like to take and not give in return. That's only a part of why I've attracted those people in the past. There's more, because I'm clearly a deeply disturbed person...haha. But you can see how the puzzle pieces fit together. 

Thing is, it's not an issue you can fix as long as you're focusing all your attention on how bad or inconsiderate or crazy they are. You can only fix it if you see where you attract it and focus your attention on fixing it. Otherwise, you'll just attract another. Or create a scenario in your mind where someone is doing the same thing to you. If you go looking for it by seeing it in everyone or thinking people have a secret agenda, you'll find it. 

None of us wants to believe we're the reason things are the way they are in our lives. Personally, I'd rather find out these patterns are all my fault than to find out I have no control over what happens in my life. The scary things are the things we can't change in life, not the ones we can. 

Monday, December 31, 2012

1/1/13—Letting Go Of What No Longer Serves

Today's Draw: Queen of Swords from the Nigel Jackson Tarot. Do you have items that once belonged to a loved one who has passed over? Do you use them and appreciate them, or do they sit in a closet? What things are you holding on to that no longer honor or serve?

This tarot deck has made a home on my bedside table lately and I just love looking at it. So since I brought it downstairs for yesterday's reading, I may as well do an entire week with it. Just so tarot peeps know, Swords are the suit of fire in this deck. And Staves, like we had yesterday, are the suit of air. It's usually the other way around. 

The book that comes with the deck identifies the Queen of Swords as a widow engaged in a spiritual struggle over material odds. It's an interesting interpretation. If a spouse dies, you're left with all their stuff. You probably come into some insurance money. The money can't replace their absence in your life and you feel guilty letting go of anything that's theirs. That would certainly put you in a struggle over material things. 

I know I still keep things of my mother's because I feel too guilty to get rid of them. But I also believe that she no longer gives a crap about any of that stuff. She's been gone 28 years. That's a spiritual struggle, too. 

The same also holds true for those parts of us we've left behind...things that once meant something to use, but no longer do. I know I struggle over stuff like that. It was once something I loved. Like I have a pair of boots I'll probably never wear again. Who knows? But buying those boots was special for me. I had saved up and I loved those boots. They're kind of back in style, but they're more whimsical than I am these days. They're for a 30 year old woman, not a 50 year old. 

And yes, I know I can give all this stuff to charity and someone less fortunate than me can enjoy them. It's not about that. It's about emotional attachment to things. And there will always be things we have an emotional attachment to...unless we're a Buddhist nun or something. That's why they shave their release their attachment to ego concerns—things that hold value in the outer world. Buddhism is all about the inner world. 

So there's a struggle inside me. Part of me believes that, unless it's something I use and enjoy, I'm disrespecting it anyway. Part of me believes that holding on to things from the past that no longer serve is detrimental to my growth. And part of me just doesn't want to let go. It's a struggle over material things. And I believe deep down that holding on to this stuff is distracting me and slowing me down. And yet I feel frozen in the face of it.

Definitely something I need to look at. Every year I seem to make some indent in all of that, but not at the same speed at which I acquire new stuff. I'm cluttery. Probably no more than many people, but the size of my home and lack of storage space emphasizes it more. Ultimately, though, I'd like to be rid of it all. 

What are you holding on to that no longer honors and serves?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

12/31/12—Manifesting Happiness

Today's Draw: Ace of Staves from the Nigel Jackson. What do you want the New Year to bring you? What does that mean in terms of what you have to do to get it? What are you willing to give up in order to experience more happiness?

Since this is the last post of 2012, I asked for a card to indicate what we should consider as we move forward into 2013. Although the Ace of Staves might normally mean new thoughts and ideas or communication, this one screams to me, "higher thought". Lifting ourselves up higher. 

Many will wish for more peace, joy and happiness as we enter the New Year. And those are fabulous things to hope for. But I think the real secret to getting those things is to first understand where they come from. They come from detaching ourselves from our egos...that part of us that seeks fulfillment and approval from things outside of ourselves. Happiness and peace come from letting go of the petty things that run through our minds and manifest in our actions. And they come from living in the moment, instead of obsessing over something that happened five minutes or five years ago. 

In other words, peace, joy and happiness do not just descend upon us as a divine gift from God, they're gifts we give ourselves through honest assessment and conscious choice. They come from being willing to let go of behaviors that ultimately leave us feeling empty, ashamed, angry, frustrated, etc. 

An example for me would be disengaging from drama. I've put a lot of effort into that in recent years. That sometimes means setting aside the need for being right in order to fulfill the need for peace. It sometimes means resisting the habit to take everything personally in order to create a new habit that leads to happiness. Sometimes it means looking away when you see some sort of juicy train wreck of a meltdown happening online. And it sometimes means clearing out friendships and affiliations that still support your old drama-loving ways. In short, it takes hard choices and work. 

That is the reality of finding things like happiness and peace. They don't come from the outside and swaddle you in their warm arms, making everything right. They come slowly, in phases, over the years as you lift your thoughts, words and deeds ever higher. 

Lately I've found that my lack of motivation and discipline have been fueling unhappiness. So that's what I've put out into the universe this year...a desire to build my motivation and discipline day by day so I can make more positive changes in my life. Discipline sounds like such an unappealing thing, but I find that it makes me feel grounded and good about myself. Doing this blog daily is a discipline, for example. Making your bed each morning is a discipline. Personally, I know that the happier times of my life were times where I had discipline, motivation and vision. A lack of vision has never been my problem, but the other two have. 

So, while trying to manifest more self-discipline may not sound as exciting as manifesting happiness, they're really the same, as far as I'm concerned. The person who asks for more happiness will be faced with countless opportunities this year to move away from ego and move toward their higher self. So it's six of one, half dozen of the other. But I think a key part of greeting those opportunities successfully is having the self knowledge and self honesty to even know what they look like. 

Had I focused on happiness, instead releasing drama, the past couple of years, I might have misinterpreted why all the juicy drama opportunities presented themselves to me. And I might have indulged more often, deciding that a bit of drama here and there makes me happy. And I'll admit, it's fun. I'm sure heroin is fun, too...haha. But ultimately, neither of them fuel long-term happiness.

So that's just something to consider as you think about how you want 2012 to be different from 2013. We all want to be happier, of course. But what is it that really blocks you feeling that way? Sometimes it's a behavior or habit that's hard to see. In actuality, it's probably a number of things. So it may serve you to look inside and really be straight with yourself about how you get in your own way. That way when the opportunities come along to choose happiness or the same-old, same-old, you'll know what those opportunities look like.