Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Daily Draw - A Story with an Ending

Once upon there was a pair of sisters.  Times were hard, but they were hard for everyone, so the sisters did not feel especially persecuted.  Their father had left before they were born to seek his fortune on one of the shipping vessels that came in and out of the port, kissing their mother on the nose and promising to come back rich and make all of her dreams come true.  The seas were cruel that season, and Maiden's Glory proved to be the maiden's downfall in truth as she spilled her cargo and crew into the gaping maw of a black storm.  Their mother grew as salty as the sea she gazed into for hours on end, and by the time the girls were born, one squalling and red, the other mewling like a white kitten, she was so lost in her grief even her newborn babes could not call her back from it.  The twilight haze of the opium dens, where she could chase the half formed memories of her lost love, were more appealing to her than the drudgery of raising the children who were the only legacy of that love.  The man with the yellow eyes would provide the opium as long as the coin flowed, and with the last one left to their mother, she ordered a black mushroom as well.  The man with the yellow eyes never hesitated as he slid the pipe and the fungi across the counter to their mother, and as she chewed, the taste of salt and earth and her lovers' seed filled her senses, and as she drifted into her opium dreams to find her smiling young sailor, she felt herself transform once again into his laughing girl.  So lost in her reverie, she never thought once of the girls she was leaving behind and she never felt the black bile rise in her throat, nor did she turn to spill it onto the ground, but rather let it smother her, her long and desperate grief made manifest after all this time.
Nicoletta Ceccoli Tarot - The Devil, Five of Swords, Five of Cups

The girls were young, but they were clever, and they knew how to sew, and how to garden, and they could read and they could write, so they lived quietly and comfortably in their cottage, sad for the loss of the mother they never really had and sad for the father they wished they had known, but taking comfort in each other.  Celine, the mewling kitten who had grown into a soft and sweet young lady, was prone to fits of melancholy, which Celeste, the fiercer and more sturdy of the twins, was forever pulling her out of.

One year after their mothers' death Celine was in a particularly melancholy mood, feeling the waves of sadness wash over her as she made her way home from her position as a nanny to a rich family.  Lost in her thoughts of her mother, her dreams of her father, and wishing she could be braver and stronger like her sister, she nearly stumbled into the man with the yellow eyes as he stepped from the dark doorway.  Tobacco smoke curled from his lips as he smiled a smile that did not quite reach his yellow eyes.  "Careful there," he said, as his hand gripped her elbow to hold her up.  She smiled timidly and tried to take her arm away, but he only strengthened his grip.  Not knowing what to do, Celine stood frozen.  "Would you like to step inside?  It's warm and it's comfortable, and I have exactly what you need."  Celine nodded mutely, and the man with the yellow eyes wasted no time pulling her into his den.

As the twilight mellowed into evening and then true night, Celeste became frantic.  Neither girl came home late as a rule, and she threw on her cloak and stepped out into the night air to walk the route she knew her sister must have taken.  She strode through the dark with purpose, with her head held high, her eyes meeting those of the few people she encountered so that they would know she was not afraid.  She walked all the way to the home of her sisters' employer, where she noted the dark windows, and she turned around to retrace her steps.  When she reached the street where the man with the yellow eyes kept his den, she turned down it, even though both sisters usually avoided the place, finding the memory of their mothers' death too sad.  She slowed as she approached the opium den, and stopped.  She wouldn't go in there, she thought, and even as she made up her mind to continue on, the door swung open.  A dead eyed man slunk out, stumbled briefly, and slumped against the side of the building.  A pretty girl, too skinny and just as dead eyed, nearly fell out the door but an arm, hairy and rippling with muscles, reached out, further than seemed possible without revealing the body it would be attached to.  Meaty fingers grasped at her collar, and she reversed her falling motion to return unceremoniously from whence she came.  As the door swung closed again, Celeste caught the barest hint of a gleam of golden hair in the shadows, and she gasped.  Without another thought, she steeled herself and marched through the doors of the opium den.

Sweet smoke mingled with the acrid odor of unwashed bodies and dimmed her vision.  The room was dark, with bodies strewn across faded cushions.  As her eyes adjusted, she moved further in, gingerly sidestepping piles of sick and perilously cast pipes.  "Celine," she whispered through her teeth, but she was answered with more dead eyed stares.  A grasping hand tangled itself in her billowing skirt, and as she yanked the fabric from between the ragged fingernails, she turned to see her sister, lank in the arms of the man with the yellow eyes, who had scooped her up and was turning down an even darker hall with her.  "Stop," she cried, and the man with the yellow eyes turned to face her.

"Yes?" he asked, lazily arching his brow as he stroked the pale skin of her sisters exposed neck.

"You have my sister," Celeste stated calmly.  "I see that she is unwell, so I will take her home with me.  Thank you for caring for her but now it is time we leave"

"Oh, will you?" he asked, still bemused.

"I will," Celeste nodded as she started to move forward.  With a single motion of his finger, two thugs appeared from the shadows. With an arm in each thugs firm embrace, Celeste glared at the man with the yellow eyes.  "What is the meaning of this?" she demanded.

"This slut partook of my product but she did not have the coin to pay for it.  So she will earn her comfort with her body." the man with the yellow eyes explained in a level voice.

"That is my sister and she is not a slut!" Celeste proclaimed.

"Well she will be when I am done with her.  Please remove this creature," he said to the thugs.  "She is too loud for our patrons comfort."  To Celeste he said, "You are not as pretty as your sister.  If you wish to pay her debt, you must do four times the work I expect from her this night.  If you return I will take that as your consent to the bargain."  The man with the yellow eyes continued down the hall.  Celine moaned softly as he ungraciously bumped her head against the wall, but she did not wake.

Celeste drove her sharp heel into the shin of the thug to her left, and with an "Oof!" he let go of her arm.  The thug to her right reacted swiftly, pulling her in, but Celeste was quicker, bringing her knee to squarely meet his crotch.  He doubled over in pain, and the thug to her left grabbed her from behind.  She used all her strength to shove her elbow into his gut, then into his nose as he bent over in pain.  She felt the crunch of the nose break as blood gushed from his face.  She grabbed a pipe from a prostrate patron, who only protested weakly in his stupor, and held the misting end up to the left side thugs nose.  As he breathed in he relaxed, and as he drifted away into the opium dream, she did the same to the right side thug.  When he was also soundly in his cups, she smashed the pipe against the floor, leaving herself a deadly sliver of the sharpest glass.  She jumped to her feet and followed the man with the yellow eyes.

A flickering light under the doorway led her to her sister, who was laying prone on a filthy mattress, without even a tattered sheet or dirty blanket to cover her.  The man with the yellow eyes had his back to the door, and so he did not see Celeste as she sprang upon him, sliver flashing in the candlelight.  She struck at his face, but he turned away, and so she slashed a jagged line through it, where blood welled and began to spill like tears.  The man's yellow eyes bulged, and he brought his fist back to hit Celeste.  She rolled away, and his momentum caused him to stumble.  She reached for his ankle, slashed wildly, and crippled him neatly with her makeshift dagger.  He rolled over as she crept forward, and when she slid the silvered pipe between his ribs, he closed his yellow eyes, never to open them again.

"Celine, Celine, wake, please wake," Celeste cried as she shook her sister, but it was no use.  Celine's chest rose and fell, barely perceptible, but she was lost to this world.  Defeated at last, Celeste curled up next to her sister on the filthy mattress, wrapped her arms around her, and spoke her softly, "Celine, I love you, you are my sister, I love you.  Please come back to me.  You are all I have, and I need you."

The night wore on, and the sisters continued to breathe in tandem, Celine's breath shallow and soft, Celeste's ragged and tear filled.  As morning broke and the dingy room began to grow light, Celine's eyelids began to flicker.  They opened in confusion, and Celeste cried out, "Oh, sister!  You are awake!  Are you well?  Let's go home, let's leave this place."

It took Celine but a moment to take in the horror of the room, the man with his closed yellow eyes in a dark pool of blood, the filthy bed, her torn clothes on the floor, and she screamed in horror.  "Shh, shh, sweet sister, shh," Celeste tried to soothe her, but the girl was inconsolable.  She tore at her hair and she tore at her skin and she sobbed.

"What have I done, I am ruined, I will have his baby, and he's not even alive anymore to claim it even if he would," she wept into her sisters' arms.

"No, Celine, no, he never touched you, he never did.  I got here before he could do the evil deed, he never did touch you," Celeste assured her, but Celine was beyond her reach.  "Let's go home, sister," Celeste pleaded.  "Let's go home and you will rest and you will heal and it smells good there."  Celine nodded her acquiescence, and Celeste jumped to gather her clothing.  "These are torn, they will not do.  I will grab something to cover you and I will be right back," Celeste promised, and she darted into the dark hallway.  Cloaks of many colors and conditions lined the hall, remnants of opiate filled patrons who neither remembered nor cared that they had a cloak when they arrived, and she snatched the first one her fingers met.  She turned back to the door and entered it with the cloak in her hand.  Celine had fallen back asleep, which surprised Celeste given the vehemence of her tears only moments before and the horror of the man with the yellow eyes laying dead on the floor.  Celeste rushed to her sisters side and shook her, crying, "Celine, Celine!"  She was answered with a trickle of black bile leaking from her sisters mouth, and as Celeste pulled her upright, Celine's hand fell open, dropping a black mushroom with one dainty bite taken from it onto the dirty floor.

And so the man with the yellow eyes had his price, though he also paid a steep one, and so Celeste lost her one true love to sadness, to despair, to grief.  Celine fell prey to the temptation of easy escape, and Celeste fought hard to save them both.  Her best efforts were not enough to convince her sister to live, yet Celeste had a spine of steel and she went on to live a full and happy life.  She slayed her sisters, and her own, demon, but she did not get to keep her sister.  Celeste thought of Celine every day, and though she had tears in her eyes when she did, she also smiled, because even though it was unbearably sad, the love never left her at all.

These cards are from the Nicoletta Ceccoli Tarot, published by Lo Scarabeo.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Daily Draw - No Means No

My name is Ludy and the publisher asked me to write something about myself and about this deck.

So begins the text in the Little White Book included with this deck, the Ludy Lescot Tarot.  The deck purports to follow a young lady in turn of the century New Orleans.  It's a fun romp through an imagined gothic landscape of a privileged and unusual young woman, and the facade never cracks. If you enjoy period pieces and the version of Dracula with Winona Ryder, this deck is probably right up your alley, and you will hear the clicking of heels on the cobblestones behind you as the heady scent of the sea air mingles with the heavy scent of gardenia and the jangle of the jazz music plays in the distance.
Ludy Lescot Tarot- Seven of Pentacles, King of Swords, The Lovers

The cards I have drawn today tell a story of jealousy, cruelty, and revenge taken.  The Little White Book is rather bleak in its' descriptions, and while I do not happen to agree with them or find them particularly useful for reading or working with, they do make an excellent story!

The Seven of Pentacles reads, "Your body is like a garden that grows according to your desires.  Don't let it run wild, but cultivate it."

The King of Swords, "Even the smallest man has the right  to justice, but beware: the justice of a king with no throne is often revenge."

And The Lovers, "Passion is born of blood.  Kindness is born of the soul.  Love is cruel and, if it is authentic, you will not be able to escape it."

This sounds an awful like the pure drivel we are sometimes expected to accept when people want to excuse rape and rape culture.  The girl is asking for it by virtue of being sexy, whether that is an image she cultivates or not, the man is unable to control himself, and who are we to expect him to anyway, and the inevitable conclusion is consumption, regardless of her will in the matter.

And that disgusts me.

As a mom to four young men and a young lady, this hits hard.  As a human being, this hits hard.  I am tired of my daughter being held to a standard of dress that is designed to keep males from getting sexually excited, when the truth is boys of her age usually get that way if the wind blows just so, and because she has been blessed with physical beauty, she could wear a potato sack and that would still appeal some some fetish or another.  Not to mention that the bottom line is that we need to focus on teaching people of all genders some self control instead of telling people they have to present themselves a certain way in order to avoid being assaulted.  I worry for my young men, not that they would cause any harm, but that the world we live in seems to accept a certain amount of sexual assault as collateral damage.

Usually I try to spin these darker cards into a positive message, or at least a reading that is relevant to my life right now, but all I really have to say about them today is, "Don't rape."

And if you are a victim of a sexual crime, don't excuse it or let the blame fall on you.  And please, please get some help. The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network is available to help at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).  You are worthy of respect, dignity, compassion, and anyone who tells you differently with their words or their actions is a filthy liar.

I am including some handy infographics if anyone has a question about when it's consent and when it's not.

And most of all-

These images are from the Ludy Lescot Tarot by Patrizio Evangelisti, published by Lo Scarabeo.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Waning Moon Tarot Spread

To keep rhythm with the moon today I am doing the Waning Moon Tarot Spread, courtesy of Ethony on Tumblr.  I am using the Archeon Tarot by Timothy Lantz.  I have trimmed the large borders and titles from my working deck to free the dreamy landscape to flow over and through the images.
Waning Moon Tarot Spread: Archeon Tarot- Death, The Chariot, Ace of Cups, Five of Cups
Card One: Waning- What do I need to release?  Death.
 I tend to have a scorched earth attitude towards things I leave behind.  I am often all or nothing, and I don't need to be that way.  I can exercise a little moderation, and I don't have to turn away from a thing altogether in order to move forward.  In regards to my back injury, I keep hoping for the day I wake up and I am remade, a whole new person, and that simply is not going to happen.

Card Two: Reverse- What can I reverse to help me or my situation?  The Chariot.
 I tend to have a rather bullish attitude about things, believing I can power through the unsavory parts of life, or see hard things through with sheer tenacity.  Although this has served me well in many cases, some situations need a little more finesse.  Sometimes I can (and should) hold on loosely.  I cannot force my healing through my usual means of getting things done.

Card Three: Hecate- What path is in line with my highest self?  Ace of Cups.
Love.  Love is always the appropriate response.  This was the clear message in the single card reading I did for my October project, being documented on Instagram, #ShadowWorkOctober.  Let love flow, let it fill me, let it spill over, stop putting restrictions on what it looks like, what it feels like, besides good, and what it can accomplish.  I need to focus on the love in my life.

Card Four: Guidance- What guidance can the waning moon show me? Five of Cups.
I am not a great multitasker, which means when I focus on what I don't have, I do not have the attention span to really feel, enjoy, and appreciate all the things I do have.  I think it's a normal and natural response to remember the things and the people that are no longer in our lives as better, or smoother, than they really were.  There's no use crying over spilled perfume, and since I am lucky, I have the memory of the scent to see me through, but my focus needs to be here and now in this place.  I can feel sorry for myself forever, I really could, but there is nothing to be accomplished with that attitude.

Do you like to do spreads based on the cycles of the Moon?  Please share if you do!

These cards are from the Archeon Tarot by Timothy Lantz, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Daily Draw - XIII Tarot

Today the Hierophant makes another appearance, which is not really surprising to me since I have often observed cards continue to repeat until I have really heard all they have to say to me.

XIII Tarot by Nekro - The Hierophant, The Hermit, Eight of Swords
The rising mists gently part for this Hierophant as her haughty gaze falls coolly to mine.  She offers no comfort, but neither does judgment flash in that steady stare.  Her hands steepled together in prayer, her perch on a pedestal, all of it speaks to a grace and stillness alien to me.

The Hermit is another solitary figure, as befits a Hermit, and her prayer is active, bringing the fire of desire and knowledge to share with those who are willing to brave the heat and gain the wisdom to handle it without fear.

The Eight of Swords in this pip deck shows a perfect balance of the deadly sharp tools.  They are dangerous and so must be handled with the greatest of care. In this arrangement, they are impotent, and without rearranging them into a suitable pattern, or condensing them down to a suitable number, they cannot benefit the user.

From this reading I take the idea that both blind adherence to man made religion and reckless refusal to look to God for anything are dangerous ideas which lead me to dangerous places, at best rendering me powerless to act, and at worst setting myself a booby trap in my own mind.  The Eights are always in perfect balance, although being in the suit of Swords renders this one ill dignified, and balance is what I must continue to reach for.

These cards are from XIII Tarot by Nekro, published by Fournier.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Daily Draw - Tempering the Mask

Book of Azathoth Tarot- Two of Pentacles
Today the October dark deck fest continues with an independently published Book of Azathoth Tarot.  The images in this deck do contain nudity, so if that's not your jam here is your opportunity to not have your eyes defiled.

The Two of Pentacles is not part of this reading.  He is just here to provide a little balance, to give my readers the chance to decide if they want to see a penis in the next set of cards or not.  Just like the rest of life, it's perfectly acceptable to play with the Pentacles a little before committing to the whole thing, and you can change your mind at any time.

I pulled a threesome of Major Arcana, which is always slightly alarming, and I don't find the images in this deck to be comforting and warm.  They are non-offensive, to me, but I am notoriously hard to offend, so don't let that be your guide post.

I have an incredibly difficult time trusting God, which sounds audacious to me even in my own mind.  It's not because I think I am not blessed, because I know I am.  Just by being born in America I am in a better situation than most of the world, and there are things every day that I am grateful for and know speak the presence of the Divine in my life.  It's not because I think I am owed more, because I know that God truly does help those who help themselves, and I need to do a little more for myself before I start telling God to do for me, too.  And it's not because I think I am not loved, because I do think God loves me, but in an impersonal way, the way all of humanity is loved, the way I love all animals, a lot, but the way the Zoe dog and those fatty ratties actually hold my heart, no I don't think I am loved like that.
The Book of Azathoth Tarot - The Hierophant, The Devil, Temperance

When we are little, our parents wear the mask of God for us.  They teach us about dependability, unconditional, and sometimes conditional, love, trust, grace, and the Divine.  But when our parents do not have a good grasp of those things themselves they cannot pass them along to us, and I, like a lot of people, have struggled to separate God from my fear of my tempestuous mother, the total absence of my father, and the judgment of the grandfather who undeniably loved me, and was undeniably disappointed by me on the regular.  I see this in the Hierophant, the representative of God here on earth,  wearing a mask and sitting on a throne, untouchable and unknowable.

And in our quest for something we can touch and know, somewhere we can feel safe, loved, accepted, we often find it easier and quicker to turn to excess- shopping, food, sex, alcohol, pills, escapism through video games, books, television, gossip, marijuana, and even harder drugs.  These things do not judge us, they do not condemn us, they can take the place of broken families and broken images of God, but they ultimately destroy us.  None of those things is wrong when not given a place above our own well being in our lives, but if we are using them as crutches rather than healing the broken pieces of ourselves, the Devil has truly taken root.  Anything that controls our lives and covers our hurt is an addiction, and it's the easiest thing in the world to stay in bondage to those things until we die.

Temperance is the great healer.  When we are tempered, we can enjoy a glass of wine without entering a binge.  We can eat a slice of cheesecake and enjoy it instead of needing to devour the whole cake in an effort to fill a vast hole.  If we partake, we can enjoy a mellow high without needing to get high to enjoy life.  We can have sex out of love and desire for closeness, or even just for fun, without feeling it turn into a desperate plea for validation, a distraction from our lives.  We shop for things we need and will enjoy, but we are not under a compulsion to buy, buy, buy, fill fill fill.

But the kicker is I cannot tell you about your path to Temperance, to being healed.  I cannot even tell you mine, because I don't know it, at least not the whole of it, and so much of it is discovered by the way the road feels beneath our feet.  The thing that stands out to me about this trio of cards, though, is that the Hierophant is both observing and being observed, and the Devil is a vignette of horrors to watch, but the angel of Temperance is actually doing.  And so I know that if I want to move forward, I too must actually do, not just wish and hope and think and despair and talk, but put one foot in front of the other, one word after the other, one digit after the other in making phone calls to people who can help, and actively work on healing myself rather than waiting for it to simply happen.

I am finding these dark decks to be thought provoking too, which I suppose is a by product of exploring the darker aspects of the psyche.  This reading is part of a series I am doing in the month of October featuring dark, spooky, creepy, and Halloween themed decks.  I am sure some of them will yield lighter reading.  Please share your favorites with me!

These cards are from The Book of Azathoth Tarot available at Nemo's Locker.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Daily Draw - Focus on the Solution, Not the Problem

I would find it impossible to begin the season of Halloween, of all things dark and spooky, quirky and mysterious, without the Deviant Moon tarot deck.  This was the first deck I instantly connected to, the images reflecting back to me a half realized piece of my own inner landscape.  The deck was gifted to me, and at this point I find it impossible to separate the love of the deck from the love of the person, which is a blessing, although a bit of a mixed one, but the best things in life often are.  Dark decks in particular reflect back to me the tangled and twisted parts of myself, which are not ugly or shameful, but may not often see the light of day.

Deviant Moon Tarot - Two of Pentacles, The Hanged Man, Four of Pentacles

This reading begins with what is perhaps the most iconic image of the deck, the belly dancing two of Pentacles (who also graces my living room wall as a beautiful print).  Belly dancing is one of those mysteries, wherein the tight discipline of the physical body leads to beautiful expression of the soul.  Pentacles deal with physical aspects of life, often money, possessions, our bodies.  She is displaying her back to us, which strikes me in a particularly soft spot as I am several surgeries and countless procedures into treatment for a back injury that is not vastly improving.  At this point treatment has moved from the attempt to make a full recovery to simply trying to keep me in as little pain as possible.  This has affected every aspect of my life, and my family's lives, and honestly, it sucks.  It's a terrible thing to have happened to a fairly young person, but I need to focus on the fact that I am able to get treatment and that my quality of life has changed, but whether it is diminished or not is up to me.  I have many blessings and just this one cross to bear, which in the cosmic equation puts me squarely on the positive side of things.

The intrepid belly dancer is turned away from The Hanged Man and the Four of Pentacles, who are in turn focused on each other and ignoring her, too.  She doesn't have time to deal with them when she is so focused on her intricate dance and keeping her own Pentacles carefully balanced.  She is focused on the solution.

The Hanged Man is one of the most neutral cards in the deck for me, taking his spectrum of meaning from where I see him in a spread and the cards nearby, as well as the feeling it evokes in me.  By the nature of his situation, The Hanged Man is in limbo.  Sometimes limbo is a good place to be, offering us a safe harbor to rest, to heal, to assess, but sometimes it becomes a place to hide, to avoid making hard choices, and to keep from facing the next phase of the journey.

The Four of Pentacles features a man with a fearful expression, facing towards The Hanged Man, and not paying any attention at all to the real problem, which is the demon whispering terrible things in his ear as she leads him towards the fire.  This is me.  I fear staying in limbo, and I fear the fire of the pain I am in.  Sometimes I focus on the problems in life, instead of the solutions, and the Two of Pentacles, with her cool serenity and intense focus, reminds me that the way out of all my issues is to focus on the solution and not get bogged down in worrying over the problem.  I can't instantly fix my back, and I can't go back in time to prevent the injury, which was probably inevitable anyway, but I can focus on doing what makes me feel better, I can focus on all the beautiful things in my life, and I can focus on the other areas of life, like writing and enjoying my family, which can be altered but not ruined by this back injury.

It is my intention to share Halloween themed decks throughout the month of October.  If you have a favorite one I would love to hear about it, or if there is one in particular you would like to see, please tell me so I can check my collection to see if I can share it, or track it down.  This is my favorite time of the year, and I love to share the fun!

The images in this post are from the Deviant Moon Tarot by Patrick Valenza for U.S. Games Systems, Inc.  Mine has been lovingly altered by removing the borders, but it is now available in a borderless edition.  An eagerly awaited companion book is forthcoming.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Daily Draw -

The Chronicles of Destiny Fortune Cards
This week I will be working with The Chronicles of Destiny Fortune Cards by Joseph Ellershaw and Emily Ellershaw, with artwork by Claudia McKinney, published by Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.

I drew an apt pair of cards to begin working with this non-traditional deck, which is neither a tarot nor a Lenormand, and which follows a unique to itself system.  Heroine II and The Call -

When we are called to our destiny, or even just our duty, it is always up to us to take up our weapon of choice and accept it.  We can choose to be a part of history or we can watch it happen.  Time passes either way, and we have to make the choice that will leave us with the least regret and which will make our tomorrows look the way we wish.

The imagery in these cards strike me on a deep and personal level.  Once a story, fully formed and perfect already, popped into my head, and I began to record it.  The opening lines spoke of of a steel grey sky and the bony fingers of weathered trees reaching towards the wan sunlight in homage.  I loved the story, and it was not so much mine as I was its' keeper and caregiver.  Spoiler alert, I did not write a heartbreaking work of staggering genius that took the lists by storm and deeply touched the souls of my readers.  What I did do was get scared, get timid, and let my ex tell me that writing is stupid and I needed to spend my time doing something that would actually yield results.  And that story, it is gone.  It is a few pages scrawled in a now tattered notebook, which fills me with grief when I see it.  That is the end of the story in its' incarnation as my story, but I certainly do hope it moved along to someone who was ready and willing to excavate it bravely and with the respect it deserved.  As for me, I can only regret my choice to not honor that call and vow to do better next time.  Which, as it happens, is today.  And again every day after that.

Some of my big, grand work has to do with developing and valuing my own creativity, and I know that, but sometimes our callings are things we may think are smaller, but they are no less worthy.  Some of my small callings are to make meals for my family, to provide opportunities to create memories, to love on my pets and love on my man.  And to master winged eyeliner.  These are small things which will not change the world, except that maybe the only way the world changes is via these small things which shape lives and hopefully human compassion.

Not Bad For a Monday - The Empress

Sacred Isle Tarot - The Empress
Summer is in full bloom here in the Rocky Mountains, and thanks to El Niño it has been mild, leaving us with lush grass and gorgeous sunsets.  Much like this card.

The Empress is a card of grace and abundance, or rampant growth and creative expression with tangible results.  For me, I have to remember that all my ideas are only as good as the effort which I put behind them in order to to see them grow.  The Empress does al of what she does from a place of love and surety that growth is inevitable.

My boy recently looked through some shaky amateur footage of his basketball games, and while he found plenty of great things to feature in his video, he lamented the lack of the things he wished he could showcase that were not there.  "If you want to see it on film, you have to do it.  I can only film what you do," I told him in the semi-sarcastic way I sometimes have, and the same is true for me.  If I want to see my garden grow, I have to plant the seeds.  If I want to see my dreams bloom in the full glory of their potential, I have to nurture them and take the steps.  It's that simple.  And that hard.

This image is from The Sacred Isle Tarot, available from the creators' site here.  I waited years for the full deck to be finished and I enjoy the deck in my collection a great deal.  This image, however, is courtesy of The Fool's Dog Sacred Isle Tarot App.  Please visit them here and know they make unparallelled apps for iOs.  I can't recommend them enough for beautiful, functional and well priced apps!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Daily Draw - A Pair of Aces!

Fenestra Tarot - Ace of Wands, Ace of Pentacles, King of Cups

This draw is an exciting one, including two dynamic Aces.  The creative fire of the Ace of Wands leads to the prosperous promise of the well rounded Ace of Pentacles, culminated by the master of his art, the King of Cups.

This is such an auspicious pairing that I can't help but feel maybe this is the day I manifest my million dollar idea, or begin the project that will be my breakthrough.  Aces are all raw potential and energy, and of course they require attention, feeding and care.  The King of Cups is a fully actualized manifestation of sensitive creativity combined with masterful execution.  The Aces represent a male and female energy, and this King holds both energy in his being as well.  It's perfectly balanced.

To bring this reading back to reality, I note that every figure in it is facing left.  I draw my cards with my left hand, using the philosophy that the left hand is most likely to be connected to the subconscious place of dreaming from which tarot reading, and all the art I create, come.  This energy is largely under the current and may not be the Boom! firework in your face undeniablity that I sometimes prefer to reading more subtle signs.  The intuitive King of Cups shows me I need to be deep in the flow, or at least willing to partake in order to reap the harvest these Aces promise.

Fenestra Tarot - Empress
If we were trying for such a thing, I could read this spread, especially with the Empress appearing as the Shadow energy, as a happy pregnancy.  The life force energy of those particular Aces is strong, and indicates growth from an initial burst of energy (I'd like extra credit for having originally typed "spurt" and thought better of it).  The Empress governs creativity and growth, overseeing her fruitful garden, a metaphor for both our earthly wealth and the inexhaustible wealth of our inner landscape.  The shadow energy of that is she can also hold our insecurities and doubts, and she can appear poorly aspected when we are creatively blocked, which like depression acts in such a way as to protect itself by preventing us from taking the steps we need to alleviate it.

The day is ripe and juicy!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Daily Draw - When Strength Isn't Enough

Fenestra Tarot - Two of Cups, Strength, King of Cups

For this week I have picked a deck that is easy, in that it is largely a Waite Smith clone deck, meaning that it almost perfectly mirrors the art of Pamela Colman Smith under the instruction of Arthur Waite, done in one artists' particular style.  The earth tone colors and androgynous figures of the Fenestra Tarot by Thai artist Chatriya Hemharnvibul and published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. is just what I need to kick off a new year of blogging.  Familiar enough to be comforting, but with a fresh set of eyes for me.  I have had this deck for quite a few years, but have rarely done more than glance at it.  Let's get to know it together.

Today I am using a Daily Spread which I attribute to a member of a forum I no longer frequent, Thorhammer.  It is an introspective spread which allows for examination of the day just passed rather than making a prediction of the future, and this is one of the best uses of reading tarot for myself.  The positions are "What I did well today"  "What I need to leave behind from today" and "What I need to carry forward into tomorrow".

What I Did Well Today - Two of Cups.  I'm very lucky.  I know what I am supposed to be doing with my life, at least most of it.  This family first and foremost.  Writing.  Tarot.  I am also very lucky because this is a quiet moment of life which allows for time for all those things.  I made a deal with myself, which was that if I was given this time I would honor and I would do my work.  The Two of Cups is a card that signifies sacred contracts to me.  Sometimes that includes a lover, and it becomes a miniature Lovers card.  In this case, for me today, it is the sacred contract I made with myself and the one I have with God.  I'm doing my work.

What I Need To Leave Behind From Today - Strength.  This fiery card nestled between two Cups has been weakened, and with the positional meaning of the spread I can see that I am reading the shadow energy of this card.  I am Taurus, through and through, and most of us are not known for our subtlety and nuance.  I power through most issues, demanding that everything be on the table.  I expect me to pull my own bootstraps up, hitch up my big girl pants, and buckle down to make things happen, and by and large that is what I expect from my family and loved ones, too.  Some situations call for a little more finesse and a finer eye to the shifting shades of grey that exist in life.  There are some things that cannot be powered through, and as I do my work, internal and external, I need to be more sensitive to the particular energy of the situation rather than having a one size fits all mentality.

What I Need To Carry Forward Into Tomorrow - King of Cups.  Again, we are looking at a softness of attitude that I sometimes lack.  Like the figures that populate our dreams, Court Cards often indicate aspects of our own personalities, and in this spread I see no other options for this tender and compassionate King.  I need to be gentle with myself and with my loved ones tomorrow too, because that will get results where the bullheaded stubbornness I am prone to will only cause damage.  And wine.  I should definitely have a glass of wine.

Fenestra Tarot - The Star
Shadow Card energy - The Star.  I read the bottom card of my shuffle as a little extra tidbit of knowledge, something that will add to the spread or that I need to know in my reading.  The Star is so many things- Hope, most of all, wishes granted, healing, a promise of dawn soon coming.  I often read The Star as a Sun-ish energy, bright and bringing great blessings, because our Sun is also a Star, but The Star is further away.  It's still a wish unfulfilled, but it is a promise that the Sun always rises.  We just have to hold on.  For me today, I relate to the healing energy of the water bearer, and I see myself in the card, with the keys to my own healing, as long as I accept the flow and not try to impose my own will and understanding.  It can be so hard to let go and just let things happen as they are meant to, but the struggle for control is an even bigger illusion anyway.

Friday, January 2, 2015

My Anti-Bucket List, Tarot Edition

Today I am blogging at Thematic Tarot.  The New Year is all shiny and most of our good intentions and big dreams for the year are still hopefully earnest and intact.  I'm not going to take away from any of those, but I am going to tell what all I am not going to do with my tarot cards this year.  Come visit us at Thematic Tarot.  Nobody bites, just whisper your safe word in someone's ear.  Happy New Year!