Memories gush forth
Torrential flood of the past
Heart embracing all
Just a quick update for any and all who might be interested. I haven’t been updating my blog lately because I seem to be on a journey of inner transformation since returning from Reader’s several weeks ago.
I feel as though I’m being broken down and rebuilt on a molecular level. I’m not sure how I’ll be at the end of this process but I feel strongly that it will come to a head by my 50th birthday in late July.
Who knows, maybe the divine us remaking me into a Crone! I am excited and curious to see how things turn out. Please stay tuned!
Have you ever done a burlesque act? You know what I mean, done a song and dance number to hide the truth about yourself from someone else? It’s probably a defense mechanism you’ve developed to protect yourself after feeling hurt of victimized at various points in your life. I do it all the time. I joke about the pain and difficult experiences I’ve gone through to deflect questions I’m uncomfortable answering. I don my “tough broad” armor to repel any attempts to breach my defenses and get to the heart of me.
I realize this can be counter-productive simply because it’s creates situations in which I’m isolated and feel abandoned but that’s my own doing. I create self-fulfilling prophecies in which I don’t let people in because I’m afraid to trust them but then when I need them no one is there because I pushed them away. In my script, however, I’ve been “abandoned”. It’s screwy and I own it but I’m also taking steps to change this pattern. Quite frankly I didn’t even realize how often I do this until I was reading several blog posts by Sheila O’Malley about this tendency in the Dean Winchester character on Supernatural. As I was reading her analysis something clicked in my brain and I realized how often I do exactly the same thing. I think Dean and I might both be like Charles Durning’s character in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas – dancing my little side step.
This can be diverting and a very useful survival tool for brief periods of time. Over the long haul it can eventually create more problems than it solves. As I mentioned, when you are constantly burlesquing people don’t know when to take you seriously. They aren’t sure what is a true issue versus a humorous skit. I’ve done this myself, I make my pain into a comedy routine so people are never sure how serious the pain is. Hell, sometimes neither am I. Don’t misunderstand, I’ll never completely give up the burlesque act because it also serves as a filter – people who are repelled by the burlesque act probably aren’t folks I want to incorporate into my life anyway. Those that are willing to stick around will eventually see the more serious me. In fact they may quickly grow to regret that. Either way the point is that there isn’t anything wrong with putting on a burlesque act. I think it can be healthy and a powerful survival tool. It only becomes problematic when you can’t stop the act; you can’t allow anyone beyond those defenses. It might seem safer but I imagine it’s a lot lonelier too.
Created by by Arnell Ando
Published by US Games (2006) ISBN:1572815396
The Book says: Escape from prison and all that it implies. Renewal through the acto of detruction. Defeat of false, rigid of outdated beliefs. Forcing oneself to live in an extreme conrary to the true self and so the pendulum swings back violently. Abrupt change or unforseen disruption. Could indicate the severing of a relationship where growth and change were actively discouraged. This card does not stand for the realization, but instead, the cause. If a person is not psychologlically or emotionally prepared for such an abrupt and often disruptive change, she or he may regress, becoming disoriented and confused, and it may seem difficult to recover from the fall. If, however one is aware of the need for such a change to occur or can regard fate objectively, they will rise above the circumstances and experience a deep awakening.
At first glance the chaos visible in this card is a bit overwhelming, but once you are able to focus on one or two pieces of the image its message becomes clearer.
Kali is often considered a goddess of destruction and death, trampling Shiva in the ecstasy of her dance. She is also the matron goddess of the Thugees – a cult of cutthroats and thieves. She seems like a dark, scary, dangerous kind of goddess.
Kali is also a creator, clearing away so that regeneration can begin. She helps us break free of beliefs, views and concepts which hold us imprisoned. She forces us to reassess & reevaluate our lives and shakes the foundation of our world. Kali destroys the illusions we cling to so fiercely and frees us to see the world from a new perspective.
Of course this process is neither easy or painless. It can feel like we are being deconstructed, torn down to the bone and then slowly re-fleshed again, It is a process which leaves us feeling raw exposed and vulnerable. This is rarely a pleasant experience and is certainly not one most of us will rush to embrace. However it is a learning experience and a transformative one. We can learn so much about ourselves from these moments – our true selves, not the personas we adapt for our various roles in life. Tower moments can provide us with the opportunity to face who we are at our core – ugly, exposed and genuine. This isn’t necessarily a pretty experience but it can offer us a change to change who we’ve been into who we want to truly be.
Blue Rose Tarot
Created by Paula Gibby
Published by Soul Guidance
The Book says: Yes, we create our own Devils. We, ourselves. Without any help from anyone else. We can do this trick with no hands. All we have to do is experience a willingness, no matter how fleeting, to give up. To abdicate responsibility. To refrain from thinking. That desire to offer up those gifts that are our most magical and filled with light (our Inner Power and Free Will) creates the vacuum for the Darkness to come in. An invited guest that, once firmly and comfortably ensconced, is very difficult to oust. These days we call it “selling your Soul to the Devil”. And nothing could be more true. Many a rational mind will repel from such a notion. The idea that we each create our own personal Devils or Dark Spaces, is an unattractive idea. It is far more comforting to entertain the notion that Darkness/Evil/The Devil exists as a separate Entity that wreaks havoc upon innocent travelers who have the misfortune to fall victim to him or his followers. But as much as we may like this to be so, it is not. This does not mean that we cannot fall victim to the Darkness of another being, another traveler who has forfeited himself to his darker nature. We certainly can. However, no matter what we may suffer at the hands of another Fool’s “Devil”, it is nothing compared to what we suffer when we succumb to a Devil of our own making. In the first case, we can lose much. We can lose life, limb, a loved one, our sexual innocence, our property. We can lose little or we can lose much. But what we do not lose is ourselves. We do not lose our own Souls. We know this because spiritual “forward progress” can still be made. The Journey may become more difficult or the path may divert into a harsh terrain not previously envisioned or anticipated, but the Soul can continue forward. If it wants to. And that is the key. For even if you think you have observed an innocent Soul succumb to the ultimate Darkness because of the pain or evil inflicted by the Devil of a fellow traveler, this is not the case. Think again. For what has in actuality occurred is that, as a result of that victimization, the innocent Soul experiences a loss, translating to an emptiness, translating to a fear, translating to a need of such proportions that he now creates his own Devil.
TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card is one of attraction that seduces and imprisons, losing yourself in the false enchantment and false promises of an illusion. The masked man is the dream lover who seduces us from reality and promises a happily ever after that will never arrive. He is the male counterpart to the Spider Woman we saw in last week’s Transformational Tarot Devil. It is a trap into which we fall.
The image of this Devil reminds me of Charles Boyer in Gaslight – a seductive, sociopathic husband who tries to drive his wife insane. This is the abusive lover who undermines our self-esteem and cuts us off from our friends so we are isolated, vulnerable and dependent upon him. It is the parent who cuts away at our sense of self-worth and confidence so that we feel unable to break away and create our own life. This Devil is everyone in our lives who is supposed to love and nurture us but who undermines us and creates a sense of helplessness and dependence.
The key to liberating ourselves is realizing that we allow ourselves to remain in this trap. We accept the false illusion and give up our power. We allow ourselves to become or to remain weak, convincing ourselves that we will be happier this way. Anyone who has ever given up their dream to maintain the status quo or who has forced themselves to conform when they have wanted to rebel has been trapped by this Devil.
What is important to remember that we can climb that fence, break down that barrier and reclaim our power if we so desire. We have all seen or heard of amazing stories about people who have overcome amazing obstacles to achieve happiness in their lives. One example who always stayed with me is Liz Murray, the young woman whose parents were drug abusers, one (or possibly both) died of AIDS, she and her sister were homeless and yet she still managed to stay in school, get good grades and get accepted to Harvard. What a tribute to the human spirit and our ability to overcome anything.
For every abused child who becomes a child abuser there are hundreds who do not fall into this trap. For every child raised in poverty who becomes a life-long welfare recipient, there are hundreds who manage to get decent jobs and live productive lives. So while poverty and hardship are indeed major obstacles, they are only permanent traps if we allow them to become so. It is our choice. In the words of Sarah Connor in The Terminator movies “no fate but what we make”. We can only remain imprisoned if we allow it.
Created by by Arnell Ando
Published by US Games (2006) ISBN:1572815396
The Book says: Passion at it’s most primal level. Erotica and sensual pleasure. A tendency towards mischievousness. Obsession, temptation, blind impulse. Feeling out of control. Dependence upon another that can lead to misery. Self-destructive tendencies. Ignoring one’s inborn code of ethics. Lack of Balance. It may indicate an inability to trust. The seeker may be experiencing limitation in a current situation which narrow the perception of options. On the other hand this card can imply an attempt to break the chains of psychological bondage. Separation, divorce. It could also indicate pleasure in the subjugation of others: sadomasochistic tendencies.
TarotBroad’s Buzz: This is the Spider Woman, the dark lady who lures you into her web and traps you before you even realize what has happened. She seduces, entices, attracts and repels. Her confidence and aura of self-control and power is a powerful bait. She is the Black Lady of whom Cher sings (“Black Lady sang and danced and lit the candles one by one”) She is attractive and soulless. able to capture you in her web and suck all your energy, all your life force. She is the eternal vampire who takes and never gives. As Billy Joel sang “she’s so fascinating that you stand there waiting while she comes in for the kill”. If she doesn’t direct the demon’s actions then at a minimum she approves and possibly enjoys them.
She could just as easily be male. Think of the lonely hearts con man – a sociopathic charmer who can smile as he empties the bank account. This Devil is the dominatrix who teaches you to beg for her abuse; the addiction which holds you in its thrall; or the lack of self-esteem that keeps you captive in a lousy situation. But the key to overcoming this Devil is being willing to say “Stop”. We only become her victims if that is what we want. If we are finally able to wake up and see how we have become trapped then we have the potential to break free. It may no be easy or fun but it can be done. But first you have to take the initiative
For some reason the other day I found myself pondering the sin of envy. I’m not really big on thinking about sins but the more I thought about it the more convinced I became that envy might just be the worst of the batch. When I think of the acts that envy has caused individuals and societies to commit, it reinforces this perception. I suppose none of the seven deadly sins are especially pleasant, sloth, gluttony, pride, and wrath don’t seem to wreak the havoc that greed, lust, and envy do. To me, greed and lust seem to be different shades of envy. We become greedy because we envy what others have and we don’t. Lust, although often sexual in nature, is also a sin triggered by what we see others have and we envy and lust for their possessions or relationship. In fact in many situations we use lust almost interchangeably with envy.
I also think envy has grown more predominant in our society lately. As television, social media and a 24-hour news cycle makes the world a smaller place, we are also more aware of what we don’t have in our own lives. Beginning with shows such as Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous and continuing with such media darlings as Keeping Up with the Kardashians, we are continually exposed to lives which can most likely never achieve ourselves. At the same time we realize that these people are not better than us. This may result in feelings of envy because we find it difficult to accept that they deserve what they have and that we deserve to have more. Instead of being satisfied with our lives and what we have, we grow envious. We lust for what we see others have and become greedy to have more “things” in our own lives.
The term consumer society is often tossed around to describe our current society. It is predicated on the need to generate envy, lust and greed. We won’t buy new things if we don’t feel these emotions driving us to do it. How many of us must have the latest, greatest thing? Every time a new iPhone is released, people line up, sometimes for days, to be sure they’re among the chosen few to be blessed with this latest technological innovation. I can count the people I watched get rid of televisions that worked fine in order to acquire the latest in flat screen technology. People update their computers for no other reasons than a new model is available. Many people no long own cars, they lease them and upgrade them every two years.
It’s as though we’ve been primed and programmed to be dissatisfied with our lives. We’re told the only way to heal this dissatisfaction is to buy new things. We let envy, greed & lust push us to spend more than we can afford in pursuit of an illusory goal. I am as guilty of this kind of behavior as anyone else but my envy, greed and lust are focused more on books and Tarot decks. I see images of other Tarot reader’s decks and am suddenly filled with lust to own a copy for myself. Then once I get it, I rarely work with it. The lust, greed and envy overwhelm me and once they’ve been satiated, I no longer have an interest in the object of desire.
Much of this reminds me of The Devil card. We are chained, trapped and imprisoned by envy. We allow our greed and lust to control our behaviors and then try to project them on an external source. We keep reaffirming our addiction by falling into the same pattern of conspicuous consumption and consumerism.
In an effort to kill this particular devil and break free of these chains, I’ve decided to change my pattern. I’m going to commit to making September a no purchase month. Instead of purchasing anything new during the month of September, I am going to “shop my closet”. I’m going to look over what I already own – books, Tarot decks, clothing and actually put them to use. Rather than add to the mess of my already cluttered life, I’m going to start paring back. I’m going to review my possessions and either use it or prune it. I’ve had books in my collection for 15 years and I haven’t read them yet. If that’s the case then I have to assume I’ll never read it. If a Tarot deck does not ignite a warm, fuzzy feeling in my heart, then it needs to be released to find a new home. Clothes that no long fit or were never really “me” will be given or thrown away. Once I get rid of the extraneous things that envy, greed and lust convinced me to buy, I can get to the core of who I truly am and what I really want to do with my life. Somehow I doubt buying more stuff will aid this process at all.
The other day while working with the Dark Goddess Tarot I drew Tefnut/6 of Water. She is associated with dew and rain and simple pleasures. This got me to thinking about how long it’s been since I’ve allowed myself to enjoy simple pleasures.
Don’t get me wrong, I can find plenty of ways to waste my time on a daily basis such as sitting in front the television and staring mindlessly at the screen. However it’s been a while since I’ve really been able to lose myself in a book or spend time playing with my dolls. Tefnut reminded me that these are the things that make life enjoyable – small, everyday pleasures that bring joy and contentment into our lives. So today I thought I’d share some of my simple pleasures with anyone out there who might read this post and maybe encourage them to spend some time reconnecting with their own simple pleasures.
One of my earliest remembered simple pleasures is reading books. I can clearly remember how excited I was to receive a few Dr. Seuss books as a child. I’m sure I had Golden Books too but the Dr. Seuss ones were special because they came in the mail (thus beginning my life long love of online shopping ;D). My mother had signed me up for a Dr. Seuss book club and I remember how much I loved those books – Green Eggs & Ham, The Lorax, The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss’ ABC – all were beloved and read over and over again. As I got older I remember losing myself in my local library and bookstore for hours. I remember how S.E. Hinton’s books impacted me. I remember such bizarre titles as Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack and If I Love You Am I Trapped F
Forever. I remember discovering Lois Duncan’s tales of horror and suspense. Let us not forget Judy Blume’s amazing tomes for teens. I still remember the subtle subversive sense of rebellion the girls in my 7th grade class felt reading Forever and referring to “Ralph”, much to the confusion of our male classmates and teacher. Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself was my first remembered exposure to the Holocaust. Are You There God it’s Me, Margaret was the first time I grasped what puberty and menstruation were all about (thank you Sheila Mayberry for recommended this classic). I’ve recently determined to reread these books because I have such fond memories of them.
I’ve also found some new authors to love and treasure. I just finished Lynda Barry’s One Hundred Demons and I’m currently reading Cruddy. Her book What It Is reminds me of a darker, snarkier SARK, which is right up my alley. I’ve always had a fondness for historical romances (well-written ones anyway which is still somewhat hard to come by). Once I find an author whose works I enjoy I will stick with them until they’ve disappointed me over several books. One bad book isn’t enough to deter me. I love books that take me to another place and make me feel for the characters. I still remember crying my heart out at the end of Patricia Kennealy-Morrison’s Hedge of Mist, the final book in her trilogy about King Arthur. Judith McNaught’s and Elizabeth Lowell’s historical romances often bring to tears as their tortured heroes and feisty heroines battle with each other in search of love. Stephen King, Dean Koontz and H.P. Lovecraft all scare me and fill me with vague terror at what lies hidden beneath the veneer of civilization. There are many more books and authors I could mention but I think I’ve made my point.
Another simple pleasure I’ve always enjoyed is coloring. I’ve never considered myself especially artistic but I still using my box of 64 Crayola crayons to color images in coloring books. I’ve always loved it. In fact I can think of fewer fragrances as enticing as a newly opened box of Crayola crayons (cheaper ones just don’t have the same aroma). It brings me right back to my childhood. I even still have some older Barbie coloring books that I occasionally pull out and lose myself in bringing color to the black and white pages. I used to have a fondness for color by number paint sets as well but even as a child I often found that the paint would dry up on me before I managed to finish painting.
Yet another simple pleasure I’ve always enjoyed is playing with fashion dolls – especially Barbie. She’s taken quite a hit over the years for her alleged negative impact on young girls’ self-esteem but as a child I saw Barbie as a gateway to possibilities. Barbie wasn’t married. She didn’t have kids. She was a free, independent female who could spend time with Ken if she chose or hang out with her buddies. She could be an executive, a doctor, an astronaut or a model and if she could be those things then so could I. I still remember my first Barbie – a Malibu Barbie I got when I was 6. Over the years I added a few others Barbies (Quick Curl and Superstar) as well as other dolls (does anyone else remember Tuesday Taylor?). I even got a Barbie dollhouse one year – it folded up into a cube shape and when opened became a 3 room house with very mod furniture. I eventually lost interest in Barbie as boys and friends took prominence. Then one day while working at a recreation center I was faced with a distraught young boy who had received a Barbie doll by mistake at the center’s Christmas party. I happened to have a brand new football in my office and offered it to the boy in exchange for the doll. He was thrilled with the trade. The doll was a 1995 Jeweled Hair Mermaid Midge and
I still have her. She slowly rekindled my interest in dolls. Every so often I would add another. Then Mattel released the Silkstone line and I was enthralled. They were lovely and felt so solid and substantial. They also had wonderful fashions. A few years later the Fashion Royalty dolls by Integrity were released and once again I fell in love. These ladies were gorgeous, poseable and had some great back stories. I eventually managed to accumulate quite a collection – over 200 Barbies and approximately the same number of Fashion Royalty dolls.
I’m no longer an active collector for a variety of reasons but I still have most of my dolls. I think Tefnut is telling me it’s time to play with them again. I used to love taking photographs of them and posting them to various doll-themed boards I frequented. Maybe it’s time to get back into the hobby. In fact I think I might find a way to combine my dolls habit with another simple pleasure – Tarot cards.
My Tarot card hobby started off slowly. I had known about Tarot for several years because I was reading about witchcraft, Wicca and Paganism and somehow they just seem to go together. I eventually bough myself a few decks – the Arcus Arcanum Tarot, The Hallowquest Tarot and the Norse Tarot.
I loved the imagery and would look at them quite often but I realized I really didn’t know much about their meaning. As is my tendency, I found a few books about working with and reading Tarot cards such as Eden Gray’s books and Mary Greer’s Tarot for Yourself. These offered some insights but it wasn’t until I discovered the Comparative Tarot group on Yahoo that I really began exploring the world of Tarot (and Tarot card collection). Thanks to this group I eventually became a decent Tarot reader and an insatiable Tarot deck collector. Each deck seemed to open the door to a new world, a new realm of knowledge to explore. It’s what still keeps me interesting and active with the Tarot.
Last but certainly not least on my list of simple pleasures are music and tea. I still believe listening to Led Zeppelin is one of the most most-blowing, sensual experiences in which I can indulge. I also have a fondness for AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Melissa Etheridge and P!nk but S.J Tucker, Incubus Succubus, Laura Powers, Enya and Loreena McKennit also have a place on my playlist. I have to admit that I have even created my own playlist of stripper songs in my head. I should probably make that playlist up one of these days and just dance around like no one is watching (and they probably aren’t). If music can get me revved up then tea is what soothes me and calms me down. Whether it’s a traditional blend like Earl Grey or Irish Breakfast or a seasonal blend like Pumpkin Spice or Gingerbread, I find making a cup or pot of tea grounds me and helps me focus on myself for a few precious minutes. I have learned to love the exotic and varied blends available in the tea world. My favorites will always be black teas but I’ve also come to appreciate oolongs, especially the stronger, darker blends. There are also myriad flavored teas out there for every taste (mine tends towards chocolate blends).
So how about you? Are there some simple pleasures you once enjoyed that you’ve lost touch with over the years? Why not try reconnecting with them and see if they bring some joy and happiness into your life. I’m going to listen to some music and make a pot of tea.