Friday, September 27, 2013

9/28/13-9/29/13—Creating Utter Destruction

Weekend Reading: Kali, Destruction (The Tower) from the Dark Goddess Tarot. For those of you used to the sweet, "have a nice weekend" cards that I usually end up drawing for my weekend reading, here's a refreshing change. Remember when Ozzie Osborne bit the head off a bat? Kali would think that was a cute, but lame attempt at embodying her spirit. Known as "the destroyer", she has no problem burning something down to the ground just to create change. So what does that mean for you? Well, don't go burning anything down. And while you're at it, don't go hurting anyone, either. But if something needs to change this weekend, there's no need to be delicate about it. Sometimes the change we need requires utter destruction to happen first. And sometimes the only way to get up off your butt and do some changing is to have the earth give way beneath you. So whether you're the destroyer or the destroyed this weekend, welcome the change. It may hurt in the short term, but it could turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

9/27/13—Embracing Brussels Sprouts

Today's Draw: Lilith, Siren of Air (Knight of Swords) from the Dark Goddess Tarot by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince. Have you ever tried something you were sure you wouldn't like, only to find out you liked it? Is there something now that you're curious about, but not daring enough to try? And where do you stand on the whole brussels sprouts debate?

Today is indeed a fine day in the land. My workday was relaxed. I received a check from a chronically late paying client without having to ask for it first. And in the grandest moment of all the day, I received my Dark Goddess Tarot. 

The Dark Goddess is a non-traditional deck and, as the creator says, all the goddesses or mythical females in the deck have one thing in common—"powers that are disturbing, or considered disturbing when in female hands". Which is pretty much everything women do from the perspective of the conservative right...haha. 

If all you know of Lilith is that it's the name of a concert (like me), then you'll be pleased to know that Jewish folklore identifies Lilith as the first wife of Adam. Instead of being created from Adam's rib, she was created at the same time as him. She eventually left him because she refused to become subservient to him. Then she coupled with the Archangel Samael (an angel of death) and never went back to the Garden of Eden again. Though there are many legends of Lilith, all characterize her as something of her own woman and dangerous to mess with. 

Lilith sounds like my kind of chick. And she comes to us today to say "be seduced by the strange to grow your mind." Do something different...even out of character. 

For lack of a better analogy available to me at this moment (I also had a long nap earlier, adding to my most excellent day) this is how I and many people I know came to embrace brussels sprouts. For me, it was a Barefoot Contessa show where she insisted that roasting brussels sprouts with just some olive oil and salt would change my opinion of them. 

My assumed dislike of brussels sprouts was so significant that I thought long and hard before I risked the roughly $3 investment it would take to prove Ina Garten wrong. But I eventually roasted them. And guess what? Now I LOVE brussels sprouts. The strange seduced me and opened my mind. 

The other night I went to a Deva Premal concert. She is a goddess of Sanskrit chat. If you're a yoga person, you're probably familiar with chant music, though you may not have known that's what you were listening to. The oft-mocked Hare Krishna chant—a devotional chant honoring the Hindu God Krishna—is a Sanskrit chant.

Anyway, I was sitting in the audience enthralled by both the skill of the bands that played during the concert, as well as the different instruments that were being played—zithers and all sorts of other things you never heard of. And this guy, Tripp Dudley, was playing the tabla (drum). The tabla is played partly with your fingertips and partly with every other part of your hand. This dude did a solo that had the audience on the edge of their seats in amazement at how much complex sound was coming out of two "hand drums". His hands were moving so fast you couldn't even see them. Beyond that, the music was played with such passion. You knew he did this pretty much every night, but that performance felt like it was done specially for us. 

As he was playing, I thought of an associate of mine who is a musician and performer, but who works in the corporate world. And it occurred to me that he would be so inspired by Tripp Dudley's playing (I think any percussionist would). But he would never go to a chant concert. Chant is too "out there", too "woo woo"....too strange. 

Think of all the things you might miss because it's just not your cup of tea...a cup of tea you haven't tasted lately or never even tasted to begin with. Lilith tells us to open our minds. Her refusal to live in a limited world led her away from Adam and his earthly limitation and toward her destiny. Had she not overcome her trepidation over leaving the ONLY MAN ON EARTH, she would have never discovered who she truly was. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

9/26/13—Surrendering to Harmony

Today's Draw: Empress in the Relationship position from the Clover Tarot and the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Do you have any relationships that are perpetually harmonic? Or do you find that harmony waxes and wanes? Do you know how to get more harmony in your life?

This is the kind of combo everyone wants to see in a reading. Simply put, it means harmony in a relationship. And that's what everyone wants, right?

I have harmonic relationships. Until they're not, that is. What I've never had is a relationship that is unceasingly harmonic throughout its entire course. The closest I've ever gotten with my dogs. Those relationships always start out unharmonically, as we two critters get used to each other. Then once that phase is over, it's pretty much harmonic until the end of their life. 

I used to think I just didn't know how to do relationships, but have since come to realize that nobody has unceasingly harmonic relationships. Unless you fall in love with someone and they die before they get a chance to annoy you, that is. I know couples who put off the appearance of total harmony. But my experience is that the ones who show their occasional annoyance freely usually have the strongest relationships. The ones who appear perfect are usually hiding something. At least that's my experience. 

Being a "confirmed bachelorette" who doesn't believe in marriage, I don't believe "happily ever after" or 30-year relationships is the norm. I imagine statistics will back me up on this. I think there is a minority who is graced with the tools and love to pull off a forever relationship. And I'm fortunate enough to know some of them. But I think it's human nature to grow and change. And to do that and still be relevant to the same person in a committed relationship for 30 or 40 years is the exception, rather than the rule. 

That said, anyone can MAKE anything work. I know my parents weren't always on the same page, but they were deeply in love with each other when death parted them after 36 years of marriage. Family lore says there were times it almost fell apart. But they stuck together and worked through it. And my success in loving my dogs and living in harmony with them until death gives me a clue as to what the secret is—letting go. 

I think it's the same with any permanent change we make in our lives, whether it's coupling with another or quitting smoking. You have to resign yourself to the commitment. If that's marriage, then divorce isn't an option. You take the necessary precautions to stay together—you talk about things before they fester, you have open and compassionate discourse, you make your relationship a priority and you choose to be happy rather than right. 

My first dog, Passion, was as stubborn as I am. She and I locked horns a number of times when she was a puppy. And I remember one day saying to myself, "I can allow this frustration to continue to eat at me or I can surrender to unconditional love". And I surrendered. Which meant that, no matter what she did or how our lives changed, I would love her. So when she got older, even more surly and became somewhat incontinent, there was never an angry thought or action. I hugged her anyway. I cleaned her pee off the sofa. She was never told she was bad for these things. I loved her unconditionally. 

Just the act of surrender alone can render most of the stuff that annoys you irrelevant. Pretty much every lingering interpersonal issue I have stems from wanting the other being to be different from who they are and pushing up against whatever that is. When you surrender to what is and commit to unconditional love (or love that exempts extreme conditions like abuse) most of your problems go away. And by commit, I don't mean until the going gets tough. I mean forever. This works for situations, too, and not just souls. I quit smoking 10 years and it was all about surrendering to "forever, no matter what."

Surrender and letting go aren't easy. But they make everything in their wake easier. What could benefit from your surrender right now? And if it's not worth surrender, why are you still holding on?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

9/26/13—Seeking Abundance

Today's Draw Classic*: The Ten of Pentacles from the Art of Life Tarot. Are your time and energy eaten by things you don't enjoy? Do have enough time to do the things you enjoy? Is it time for a priority makeover?

The quote on this card from John Petit Senn reads, "Not what we have, but what we enjoy constitutes our abundance." This quote is accompanied (haha) by a Renoir of two girls playing the piano, just living life. 

We're raised and socialized to work hard so that we'll have "enough". And as soon as we have enough, we see a different "enough" that we need to have. And so on. We don't even think about it. Our quest is automatic. Either that, or we're afraid we won't have enough "if"...if we lose our jobs, if the stock market crashes, whatever. So we hoard and always feel we need more. It's like we've been programmed to think of abundance in terms of money and things, when it's really about experiences and feelings. 

Today I was thinking about how I have "enough" to take care of this third dog for as long as I'm fostering her. I have enough money, patience, love. And I was also thinking about what I gotten in return. I get to be a hero in this little girl's life. And I get to be her surrogate until her real mommy comes along. PLUS I get Kizzie and Magick. And my Best Clients Ever™ and Best Job Ever®. AND I got a really special email from a friend today. 

And the literal icing on the cake was that I saw these Pillsbury orange sweet rolls at the Safeway. I NEVER buy stuff like that, but I decided to today. I checked the date on the can and I had until late November to eat them. So I figured I'd save them for just the right craving. And you know what? I dropped them on the ground getting them out of my car and the tube ever so slightly popped. They would have to be baked pronto or rot!

Is my life great or what??! But it's not like I'm being showered with money while in a hot tub with a nekkid Gilles Marini or anything like that. It's just a normal, ordinary day. No windfalls or surprise packages in the mail. Just the stuff I love all around me. 

I remember when I first moved into my house. I was really good at keeping everything neat, clean and trim. But then I realized, I hated being neat, clean and trim. I'd rather be doing something else. This was a case of putting what I had in front of what I enjoy. This house? It's just a thing. A really ADORABLE thing that I love, but just a thing. If I had to choose between this house and my dogs...this house and my career...this house and my hobbies....this house and my spirituality...this house would lose. 

So, assuming I do the needed upkeep, who cares if the windows need washing? Who cares if the bushes out front are a little bushy? I realized one day that I never even look at my house from the outside...haha. My neighbors do, but I don't. So I should be breaking my back for THEIR view? I hired yard dudes. I do the gardening once or twice a year...enough to keep me from being the scourge of the neighborhood. I fix what's broken. Replace what's old. And let perfection I can focus on what I enjoy. The people across the street? They enjoy their yardwork. So they're out there every weekend doing it. And I get a good view of their yard while I'm in here enjoying all manner of writing, crafting and whatnot. 

So think about some of the things that are eating your time and energy. Do you enjoy them? Or is there something you'd rather be doing? Trust me, you don't HAVE to clean the house this weekend. Just don't invite anyone over next week and no one will be the wiser. Fill yourself with the abundance of enjoying what you and I'll bet you won't even care. 

*From 9/26/12...not writing a new post tonight because I'm out doing something I love. :)

Monday, September 23, 2013

9/24/13—Showing Your Authentic Self

Today's Draw: Seven of Swords from the Clover Tarot. In what ways are you betraying yourself right now? What is the payoff for that betrayal? And what are the consequences?

The Clover Tarot is a new deck with some interesting imagery. I believe the deck comes from Latvia or someplace around Russia, because the website seems to be written in Russian and the URL to purchase it seems to suggest Latvia. Wherever it came from, the card stock is nice, the imagery is non-traditional (like I like it) and the book is quite comprehensive, giving a description as well as meanings for both upright and reversals. 

In fact, something written in the description is what gave me inspiration for today's blog. It says the demon is "burning and betraying himself in his own greed." This idea of "burning and betraying ourselves" for something we want or for some excess is an interesting thought. It immediately brings me back to my dating years where I acted all sweet and polite, only to end up with some guy who was looking for a sweet and polite girl and got me instead. It's no wonder the relationships didn't last long...haha. 

Right now I have a recruiter wanting to talk to me about some work in Richmond and it just doesn't feel right. I told him he could call me, but I'd be betraying myself to talk to him. It doesn't feel right. And this morning I was at Starbucks after a doctor's appointment and I usually get a cinnamon scone, seeing as how I only go every three months. But I realized that, though "cinnamon scone" was who I used to be, "steelcut oatmeal" is who I am now that I have diabetes. I made the right choice and didn't betray myself. 

If you're on the same path I am, you want very much to move through life as your "authentic self". But that's a hard thing to figure out. At least it has been for me. Partly because I have an authentic self and then I have an "aspirational authentic self". For example, my authentic self is probably still cinnamon scone. But my aspirational authentic self—the authentic self I'm becoming—is steel cut oatmeal. So that's makes things a little confusing. 

And another thing that makes things confusing is that we all have facades and behaviors we use to get by in the world. So, as a business person, I should never turn down hearing out an opportunity like with the recruiter. But my emotional authentic self is moody and fickle as far as that goes. And my authentic psychic self is at odds with this opportunity. So considerations get very complex very quickly with all the authentic selves clamoring to make the decision. 

When I first started search for my authentic a long time ago, I had a lot of trouble even knowing what that was. We're conditioned to be certain ways by our upbringing. Like growing up, our house was always neat. So me being authentically messy and cluttery is a constant struggle. It suits me to have crap laying about...haha. But there's that voice in my head that says I'm "bad" for being less than sparkling. 

On another note, about 20 years ago or so I had piled on so much as far as appearances and such was concerned that I completely lost track of my soul. When I was ready to leave that phase of my life, it was hard to find what was real in the sea of '90s glam I'd been swimming in. I managed to dig out of that and find more authentic substance in my life, but I know that, for a while, I was a sheet flapping in the wind, not knowing what was true to me and what was not. 

So there are many ways in which we betray ourselves. And some of the ways in which we betray ourselves happen on the way to finding ourselves. So it's not wasted energy. But it is something to be cognizant of. Because whether we do it for money, love, gluttony, fashion, acceptance or just out of habit, each time we betray who we really are and who we want to be, we make it that much easier to betray ourselves the next time. And we invite betrayal to us through mirroring as well as by clouding our own vision, making betrayers hard to see. Our betrayal burns us. 

We can spend a lifetime masking and fighting against who we are to suit some vision of who we "should" be, only to find that the peace and happiness we ultimately seek—along with the acceptance and consideration we want from others—comes from living fully in all our moody, fickle, steelcut glory. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

9/23/13—Separating Myth from Fact

Today's Draw Special Edition: The Sun from the Mythic Tarot. What are your beliefs about tarot? How can you be sure it works? How do you know you're not just creating a reality where it works?

Today's post is special because it's part of a tarot blog hop. Me and 24 of my tarot blogging friends have created a virtual circle of posts all on the topic of mythology and/or divination ("fortune telling"). Many are doing it to celebrate Mabon or the Autumnal equinox. Me, I'm just doing it for the heck of it. Anyway, lots of people arrived here after visiting Aisling's blog. And after reading this post, they'll continue on to Joy's blog. By following the links on each blog, you can read all 25 posts. Or you can just pick and choose off the master list, found here. Now that that's out of the way, on with the show!

I can't recall what got me interested in mythology in the first place. It must have been the stories. My fascination began before I met my favorite professor who taught classical studies. It began before I took a class called Gospels and the Greeks in high school. It's something that feels like it has always been in me, as if I'd spent a lifetime in ancient Greece or Rome, living at the mercy of dysfunctional families of gods.

From Greek and Roman mythology, my interest grew into the Hindu gods, then Norse, then Celtic myths. There's something endearing about the polytheism that sparked so much mythology, too. I can't say I ever believed in Zeus or Odin or Shiva, but I'm certainly not beyond creating a shrine to Lakshmi to manifest money nonetheless.

If it weren't for mythology, I'm not sure I'd be a tarot reader. I tried to learn for a year or so, but it just didn't capture me...until I found the Mythic Tarot. All the cards are built around classical mythology and the book for the deck was written in story form. So the suit of Cups has a single story running through it, for example. It made it easy for me to learn. I wasn't learning cards meanings. I was learning stories. And, because of the pictures on the cards and my knowledge of the stories, I knew the Five of Cups was when Psyche sees her husband as he truly is—a God who cannot, by God law, love a human—and they separate. But all is not lost. So I know the Five of Cups is about disappointment, but not utter devastation. 

Something about myth and religious stories is supernatural and captures the imagination. And I find it fascinating that people who scoff at, say, Prometheus having his liver eaten out of him every day for eternity for defying the Gods are quick to believe that Lot's wife was actually turned into a pillar of salt because she defied God. To the ancient Greeks and Romans, these stories were their history, just as the Judeo-Christian stories are considered history today. SSDD  :D 

Myth is what we use to explain great mysteries. It's salve to our curiosity. We build a story about how the sun got in the sky or how man came to be on this earth and, after a while, it becomes "history". Fact. We don't have to wonder about it anymore. 

Tarot and other forms of divination do the same thing. They explain mysteries—why isn't my bf calling me? What lies at the root of the argument I just had? Does my deceased mother check in on me from heaven? We get affirmation of the things we say happened in the past or are happening in the present because the story we weave together out of images and randomly drawn cards makes sense in some small or large way to the querent. And we tell the querent what will happen in the future and they don't have to wonder about it anymore. But trying to tell a tarot reader that their readings are myth is like trying to tell a Christian that Lot never had no stinkin' wife to turn into a pillar of salt in the first place. ;)

I sense some tarot readers shifting uncomfortably in their seats right now. And that's where today's draw comes in. The Sun does not pick and choose where it shines its light. It shines on things sparkly and sweet as well as on things uncomfortable and schlumpy. We have built a series of beliefs around us that explains how and why tarot works. And tarot DOES work. But who's to say you're not dreaming this lifetime? Or maybe you've created this reality and everything and everyone in it is your creation? Who's to say the whole kaboodle isn't some augmented reality created by an alien race?

Everything we think and believe about why we're here and how the world works is myth. These things are mysteries and it doesn't matter the religion or the belief, the fact is that the facts are a mystery. So all our beliefs in that regard can be nothing more than myth. Talking to someone about the mystical energies dancing in the universe is just as ludicrous as talking about how Moses parted the Red Sea, depending on your audience. 

For the non-tarot readers out there, tarot is not a religion. We hail from all different religions and each of us has our own beliefs about how and why it works in the context of our larger religious and/or spiritual beliefs. In fact, there are roughly 8 billion different stories explaining the mysteries of life, all varying from the next by silken threads of difference. In fact, if you stacked all the different stories explaining why we're here and who/what God is on top of each other, it would reach all the way to the planet Scientologists believe they came from. True story. 

We take our beliefs so seriously that we make them fact and history and we forget that they're nothing more than conjecture stemming from a need to explain mysteries. That doesn't change the mysteries into known quantities, though....there are still 8 billion myths for every mystery. It just makes it convenient for us to stop asking questions and stop seeking answers. And the Sun came here today to remind us of that.

If you're hopping, Joy Vernon's blog is next. If you're gnippoh, you'll find Aisling's blog here. And here's the master list of blogs. Happy hopping!