Friday, December 27, 2013

12/28/13-12/29/13—Healing Your State of Mind

Weekend Reading: Nine of Swords from the Tarot Roots of Asia. This weekend you may have heavy thoughts on your mind. Whether it's anger, deceit, envy, sadness, fear or a superiority complex that has you thinking poorly of yourself, another person or situation, it's your choice to feel that way. You could just as easily choose love and/or forgiveness and make the swords that stand between you and your own personal Valhalla disappear. Recognizing you have this choice is a first step. And while you may still feel angry—and it's ok to be angry—staying stuck in that state is a toxic choice that nobody but yourself imposes upon you. Once you realize you have other options, then you can use them for your own healing. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

12/27/13—Changing Things Up in 2014

Today's Draw: The Seven of Swords from the Kitty Kahane Tarot. Is it time to walk away from something that no longer serves? Has something in your life reached the point of diminishing returns? Are you fooling yourself about something?

The Seven of Swords is one of those cards that can trip me up in a reading. The meaning I usually use is usually in the area of deception, thievery or trying to get away with something. But lesser known meanings can be about prying into someone's life, hiding from the truth, standing guard over what you value and/or taking a non-confrontational approach to things. The book for this particular deck talks about leaving the scene of a battle because being involved keeps you from progressing. 

Then there's my own personal meaning, which is about recognizing your limitations and working within the boundaries of them. The card after this is also about limitations, but false ones. So I sometimes see these two cards as creating that tension between what's really a limitation and what's all in your mind. In the context of the imagery, I see the two swords left in the ground as being two swords too heavy for his trip. And I see him trying to get out of a spot that was never his to get involved in to begin with. 

So you can see how all the possible meanings are related. In a way. But they're also all over the place. Thus my anxiety about seeing it in a reading. How will I read it and what will it mean? Sometimes, of course, the context of all the other cards makes the meaning really obvious. But a lot of times if someone is really trying to sneak quietly away from something—whether ethically so or not—they're not too eager to admit to it. And the reason is because there is a piece of them still tied to the thing that they're leaving, causing conflicted feelings. Thus, the furtive glance over the shoulder. (A glance, btw, that most would interpret as making sure he's not followed or making sure he's getting away with whatever he's getting away with. But like I said, it's my personal meaning for the card. The nuance is really all in whether the intention behind everything is honorable or not.)

If you're a new reader or are asking the question, "well, then what do you do when you don't know which meaning to use?" My answer is to just start talking and trust whatever flies out of your mouth. :) That is my recommendation for anything having to do with cartomancy and nerves and not knowing where to start. Just open your mouth. The first third of what you say will probably sound ridiculous, but the last 2/3 will be so brilliant it will make them forget what a fool you were in the beginning. :)

So anyway, this is a WAY long way around to what I really wanted to talk about today, which is that things will change at the Daily Draw in 2014. I don't know how or when, but they will change. 

I started this blog 3 1/2 years ago, which amazes even me. (The first six months was entirely on Facebook, which is why you'll only find three years' worth on And in that time, I've probably missed a total of five days or so, including the three we just missed. I write this blog six days a week, so that's a pretty good record. 

When I first started, I committed myself to just a year of doing it. So I've long since kept that commitment. But because my goals and needs have changed and matured in that time, there are aspects of the blog that no longer serve me. So it's going to have to change. The two most likely changes that will happen have to do with using tarot and/or Lenormand as my inspiration and the six days a week thing. (In other words, the "daily" and "draw" parts of the Daily Draw...haha) Like I said, however, I really haven't worked out how I'd like to use this space yet. One thing is for certain, though—spiritual growth, wisdom and discussion will always be the thrust of this blog. That will never change. 

Tying this all to today's card, in order for me to continue to use this space as a place for my personal and professional growth (as well as yours) in regard to the things I want to achieve, I have to walk away from the way I'm doing it. Simply put, cartomancy is a hobby (obsession?) for me, but was never intended to be part of my career path. That part was an unplanned surprise for me. 

Cartomancy is also not the primary source of spiritual inspiration for me (which I'm sure is surprising, considering I've done 1000 posts using it as my "inspiration".) The fact is, most of the spiritual knowledge and thought I have comes from meditating, observing nature, communing with the universe and just living my life. The cards serve as a trigger to recall or reframe these things and, through the "communion" I experience during writing, put deeper meaning to it all. So tarot is an important tool on my spiritual journey, but it isn't the truth of that journey. My own self reflection and observation is. The two can get very intermingled and confusing at times. There was a time tarot almost felt like my religion, but as it turns out, the RWS is not a fitting God for me. :D 

There's something else I've wanted to say for a really long time and it's that, since I began this, I've never heard one complaint...not about the subject matter of a blog, the number of repeat blogs I've posted...not about anything. It has all been positive feedback. 100%. And that's a beautiful thing. I've never asked for or expected anyone to read, much less like, anything I've ever written. So it's all gravy for me. I like to think out loud and some of you like to listen. So it has all been a blessing and that's another reason why I'll still continue a regular thing here, albeit fewer days a week... perhaps. I might think of a way to keep putting out new content every day without it being a big long essay every day.

So anyway, that's that. I can't begin to express what a sacred space this is to me and the respect everyone has had for it over the years. However things progress, that's what I most want to stay the same.

Monday, December 23, 2013

12/24/13—Being Beautifully Big

Today's Draw: Beautifully Big (Empress) from the Circo di Vision Circus Insight Cards.* Do you love yourself as you are? Do you love your life as it is? How can you be your biggest you this holiday season?

If you have been properly stalking me through this blog, you know the ONE thing that can really piss me off about a deck is card stock. I have only come across two decks in all my collecting that gather dust primarily for reasons of card stock. And this, unfortunately, will be one of them. It's like shuffling tissue paper. The other deck, the Tarot of Transformation, would probably be one of my favorite decks if it weren't for card stock. It may sound like I'm cutting off my nose to spite my face to not use these decks regularly, but tarot is as much a tactile and sensual thing for me as it anything else. Touching flaccid paper is the same to me as trying to be inspired by ugly imagery. 

That said, this IS a cute deck. And I was totally charmed that the first card I chose from the deck was "Beautifully Big". Not "The Fat Lady". Not "The Obese Empress". But Beautifully Big. So this kind of smoothed over the stock issue for me. :D (I chose the Empress from another deck today, so I think the universe is trying to tell me something.)

And the book (which gives two pages of interpretation from different angles for each image) goes on to talk about enjoying life to the fullest. Being open to love. Nurturing others. Being a comfort to others. Being warm. And being a celebration in and of ourselves. These are perfect thoughts for bringing into Christmas day, no matter where you're going or who you're with. 

In fact, one of the meanings attributed to this card is loving yourself as you are. What a holiday gift that would be, huh? Imagine how different the world would be if we all do just that. A little self love and self respect would quickly defuse the Pol Pots of this world.

One of the wishes of the holiday season is peace on earth. You see it on cards and hear it in songs. And many carry the wish in their hearts. But peace is something that has to begin within and radiate out. It's not as if we can achieve world peace through the efforts of people with self hatred in their hearts. There's too much baggage that goes along with self criticism and self hate for it to create anything peaceful. And how do we even know what peace is if we haven't felt it within?

There's a song that is kind of cloying to listen to, but the lyrics are perfect: "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me." Peace, kindness, compassion and forgiveness are choices, just as are anger, cruelty and intolerance. In any given moment, each of us can choose peace over conflict, forgiveness over vindication. We can't blame our reactions on the other person or on the situation. The onus is entirely on us. It's a choice. If peace is going to begin with you, you have to drop the rope in your tug of war and greet anger with kindness somewhere along the line. And if you try it once and it doesn't work, then you have to choose to try it again and again. 

We can go on and on about what's wrong with this world and with other people, but until we exhibit the kindness and compassion that we'd like to see in this world, we're just part of the problem. When you radiate the change you'd like to see in this world (as the Buddha teaches) then you're modeling behavior for others to emulate, just as you are when you choose to fight over choosing to yield. In short, choosing peace is being beautifully big. 

So that's your thought to bring into the holiday (and continue well past the holiday). Since this is the Christmas Eve edition (even if you're reading it the night of the 23rd) I'm going to wish you a Merry, Peaceful and Beautifully Big Christmas. I'm going to take off a couple of days and, depending on my mood, may put up classic posts or may put up nothing at all. :) See you later in the week!

*I got this deck through a Kickstarter campaign and can't find anywhere it's for sale online. But I'll bet if you email the creators through the link I provided above, you can find a way to purchase them. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

12/23/13—Muddling Through the Holidays

Today's Draw: Three of Swords from the Light Visions Tarot. Are you genuinely excited about the holidays? Or are you rushed, stressed, sad and just hoping it all ends without any casualties? How do you experience the holiday season?

Here's another card from the Light Visions deck, which I talked about in more detail last week. The Three of Swords is a card of heartbreak and sorrow. And, frankly, I'm feeling a bit in that direction as Christmas approaches. It has been a long time since Christmas has been "magical" or even special to me. Part of that is age, I suppose. Part of it is because it's a season of togetherness and one of the rare times I almost wish I wasn't a loner ("almost" because I wouldn't feel like getting all dressed up and social anyway...haha). 

But part of it is because, for many of us, Christmas' sparkles and cheer are a whitewash covering hurt that is going on inside. Because the season is so magical and because most of us remember how it's *supposed* to feel, the divide between what's going on inside us and all the blinking lights outside us becomes more pronounced. And because we all smile and greet others kindly as we're supposed to, there is this sense that everyone is able to feel the spirit of the season but you. (And while I'm talking about Christmas here, what I really mean is all the December holidays that people come together for, like Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.)

This past year, more than ever, I'm seeing people struggling all around me. Some are having monetary issues. Some have just experienced a loss. Some are alone and don't want to be. Some have just had surgeries. Some are facing serious family or health issues. Some are weighed down by enormous burdens or secrets. Some are incredibly stressed. And all of this is made worse by the fact we have extra down time in which to wallow in our pain. For me, even my good Christmas seasons have been colored by my mother's death 30 years ago. It was her favorite holiday and she died just days after. The loss of a mother is something that never fully heals. 

But this year, I also find myself haunted by the experiences of two of my Facebook friends—people I've never met in person, but whose stories are heartbreaking. One is a man who can't escape the loss of his two small children and their mother in a fire 10 years ago during the holiday season. The fact that his daughter, badly burned, fought to live for a couple of days, makes the story unbearable. Everything he lived for was gone just like that. And while he's rebuilt his life and now has a young son, how can you not think of the two you lost every year when you set up your tree? While you're grateful for the second chance, how do you ever stop wondering what could have been?

Another is a mother whose adult son has gone missing. He is mentally ill and without his medicine. He was seen a couple of days ago, but has eluded the police and others who are looking for him. She uses the word psychotic to describe his state, so I imagine his illness is quite serious and getting worse each day he is without medication. She had a birthday yesterday. And while she is a very spiritual and strong woman and her son is a fully grown adult, how can your heart not break with Christmas two days away and your baby out there somewhere in the weather, wandering the streets of NYC?

It puts things into perspective, doesn't it? Sure, I'm blue, but I have a warm, comfortable place to sleep, plenty of food for my belly, gifts under the tree, safe loved ones and three dogs that worship my every breath. And while the typical nuclear family might enjoy the holidays more, their pre-holiday rush and preparation has been nowhere near as peaceful as mine. It doesn't exactly convert my sadness to happiness, but it shows me all that I'm grateful for.  

All of this inspired me to do a ceremony last night for the solstice. I built a fire and placed the "burdens" I carry into the fire...thoughts and emotions I carry with me that weigh me down. Then I smudged my house. Then I took a long shower. All of this was to cleanse the pains and shortcomings of the previous year off of me and purify myself and my home for the next six months as the sun's light expands day by day in the world and in my heart. I'll probably do something similar at the end of the calendar year to honor this past year and the coming year. 

Anyway, I share all of this not to offer spiritual platitudes to people who are feeling down. "Buck up little beaver" isn't going to do the trick, because much of the pain that bubbles up during the holidays is deep seated and comes, I believe, to show us what we still have to heal. But really I just want people to know they're not alone. Not by a long shot. Behind many smiles you see on holiday faces—even among those who will experience the day's magic once all the rushing and shopping and cooking is done—there is a person just trying to cope until the season has passed and regular life can resume. Feeling what you feel don't make you abnormal or a killjoy. It just makes you human.

So if you know someone who might have reason to struggle this holiday season, be extra gentle and loving. Reach out to them even if they have carols blazing and a cup full of nog. And if you are that person, muddle through. It's OK to feel the way you're feeling. The other day I did a random act of kindness for a stranger and that helped my mood. But the person you most need to be kind to is yourself. So take a hot bath, maybe write everything down in a journal, or just binge watch movies. Whatever gets you through. And when you start to feel alone or broken, remember that you're not alone. We'll make it through.