Archive for the ‘ Life ’ Category

TarotHunter’s Salt Rounds:

  • Your emotions may be leading the way on certain issues but you can remove yourself from a situation physically but emotionally the issues may still haunt you. Instead of letting your emotions guide you, try looking at the situation logically and rationally first.
  • You may be pursuing Mastery of a certain situation but for the wrong reasons. Instead of doing it because you want that sense of achievement and accomplishment and to acquire the knowledge, you’re haunted by emotional issues in your past. Perhaps you felt you never measured up and now you’re pursuing this Mastery in an attempt to prove your critics wrong. You might want to consider whether this is the best path for you right now.
  • Perhaps you already possess this Mastery, this level of accomplishment and achievement, but self-doubts and inner demons are preventing you from realizing it. What is haunting you and preventing you from appreciating all that you’ve achieved in your life?

TarotHunter’s Silver Bullets:

  • Sometimes we are so distracted by our imagined desires and wants that we lose touch with who we truly are and what will provide true fulfillment & satisfaction.
  • What choices will satisfy your soul, your inner spirit? Consider before deciding.
  • Are you haunted by “what might have been?”. Are the ghosts of past decisions leaving you dissatisfied? Look deep within and find the truth. You can’t undo past bad choices but you can stop letting them taint your present and future.

I ask myself this question a lot. The other day I drew the Ace of Cups Rx and The Empress Rx and they seemed to be addressing this issue for me. I’m one of those people who have loads of advice for everyone – ways to improve their lives, their health, whatever. Unfortunately, I am notorious for not applying such advice to my own life. I can be stubborn and hard-headed, or as my mother likes to call it – thick. I am a relatively intelligent person – or I at least have book smarts and know the answers to a number of Jeopardy questions. Common sense, however, does not appear to be on of my innate skills. Of course, life loves to throw us curve balls and I was finally thrown one that forced me to face a few issues that I’ve been trying to avoid.

I have Type II diabetes and until a few years ago I had it fairly well controlled. Once things got more challenging dealing with my mother-in-law, caring for myself was one of the things that fell by the wayside. Short-sighted and stressed, I chose to live in denial that this behavior would come back to bite me in the ass. Fast forward to July of this year (the day after my 51st birthday, in fact) and my chickens had come home to roost. I visited my doctor and got a call from his office the next day informing me that he wanted to up my medications adding an additional pill for diabetes, Lipitor and a prescription Omega 3 supplement. Now I hate taking more pills than is absolutely necessary but I also don’t want to suffer from complications due to diabetes later in my life. So I bitched and moaned and bitched some more. Then I talked with my hubby and we came up with a plan. I would give myself a specific time period to change my behaviors – eat healthier and exercise more. If there was no improvement at the end of this time then I’d have to start taking the additional pills.

It was difficult at first and I became discouraged and almost gave up a few times but I knew that if I began taking these additional pills I’d be psychologically giving up and I didn’t want to do that. So I hung in there. I’m finally seeing an improvement in my glucose levels and am definitely making healthier food choices. So I’m making progress but this made me wonder why I did this to myself? Why do so many of this do this to ourselves?

We bend over backward to care for others but ignore our own needs. We put off our own needs and try to ignore or avoid the potentially negative repercussions of these choices. Is this something we’re acculturated to accept? Are we programmed to think that our needs come last? I can’t claim to have all the answers but I will say that in my case it was simply a matter of not making myself a priority. I was programmed early on in life to do what was expected of me – to be the good student, the good daughter, the good employee. I craved the positive reinforcement and external validation. It was exhausting.

It took a long time but I think I’m finally reaching a place where my needs count too. They’re not necessarily more important than the needs of loved ones but they are as important. If I don’t take care of myself then I can’t care for them either. It’s a pretty simple concept but one that I traveled a long, winding road to reach. I’m sure I’ll still have days when I backslide but I feel more positive that I’m moving in the right direction.

#TarotDaily – The Fool + The Hermit Rx

TarotHunter’s Salt Rounds:

  • Try something new and creative. Believe in your ability to accomplish new goals
  • Don’t keep hiding in your lab but instead bring your findings to others who share your interests. Don’t be shy about your explorations and achievements.
  • Don’t let self doubts and inner critics (or outer ones) prevent you from jumping in with both feet and living your life with exuberance, joy and gusto! Long live The Fools!

#MeToo

I’ve been following the media coverage of Harvey Weinstein and resulting #MeToo campaign with a lot of interest over the past few days. It has clearly revealed that this is a conversation that has long needed to occur. Women already know just how many of us have been harassed, victimized, assaulted, marginalized and raped. Men are the ones who seem surprised by these numbers.

When I was attending John Jay College for my MA in forensic psychology, I once wrote a paper on rape & date rape. I looked at the psychological impact each had on survivors as well as how societal responses differed to both types of assault. In many instances, survivors of date rape expressed feeling more blamed and less support. They often blamed themselves and questioned whether they had “asked for it”. This mindset shows the fundamental misunderstanding we still face about rape – it has nothing to do with sex! Let me repeat that – RAPE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SEX! Harvey Weinstein isn’t a sex addict, he’s a sexual predator. He used sex to impose his will upon unwilling women. If rape is the result of a desire for sex then I would expect there to be no sexual assaults of those society has deemed no longer sexually viable or attractive. That does not appear to be the case.

I have no doubt that physical attractiveness can play a role in why someone has been put on a sexual predator’s radar but I don’t believe it’s because the predator wants sex. It’s because it fulfills some need in them to impose their will upon others, especially those who might be seen as a “catch” by society. I would bet that if one caught some of Hollywood’s male actors in a private moment, we might learn that they are just as harassed and preyed up on by those in power.

I will admit that by the time I completed that paper I was suspicious of all men and looked at them with rage. I’m rather impressed that I didn’t attack any men during that time period.

One of the reasons I had an interest in the topic of rape is because I have been raped, sexually harassed, hooted & hollered at as well as molested many times over the course of my life. I know how it feels to have people look at you as though you brought this upon yourself. I know what it feels like to think you did something wrong and your actions triggered the assault. I know how it feels to tell someone what happened to you and have them either disbelieve your or, worse, believe you and do nothing. I’ve been afraid to sleep in my own home because I wasn’t sure if I’d wake up to find my molester assaulting me again.

I’ve never been silent about these assaults. I might not share the details with everyone I know but I’m open about having been through these experiences. Many times I fought back, either verbally or physically. In my youth I was gifted with the nickname The Nutcracker because if boys touched me in ways I didn’t like (such as trying to cop a feel or snap a bra strap), I kicked them in the nuts. Needless to say I wasn’t very popular with the boys. When I first began working I experienced harassment from some of the men in charge. This ranged from the 60 year old warehouse manager who kissed me against my will when I was 13 to the “dirty old man” comments from a 60+ year old man when I was in my 30s (you know the type – “why don’t you sit on my lap and we’ll talk about what comes up”).

I tolerated the comments for a while because, while I wouldn’t say it was harmless, those types of comments didn’t seem threatening to me. At least not until I saw those same behaviors aimed at younger (in some cases adolescent) females. Then I began commenting. My responses ranged from subtle “jokes” about how apple seeds are poisonous and would be so easy to slip into someone’s food to statements about how “crazy” and violent my hubby could be to more straightforward comments like “you couldn’t get it up if you used a crane” or “if you touch me I’ll push you down the stairs”. These often got brushed off as jokes but they achieved the desired results. I was left alone. Unfortunately there wasn’t much I could do to stop it with other females. Too many laughed and treated it as a joke and the executive director was guilty of similar behaviors. I’d like to think that I made a difference but in truth I’m not sure.

I drew two Tarot cards from the Darkness is Light deck to get an idea what I should write my next blog post about (it has been a while since I’ve updated). I drew the 3 of Blades Rx and The Empress Rx. To me that spoke of sharing times I’ve felt betrayed, heart sore and hurt; times I’ve been left to fend for myself rather than being nurtured, cared for and protected. So here is it – as much as I hate to jump on bandwagons, #MeToo

​I fight Authority, Authority always wins

So, I have noticed my pattern of butting heads with authority figures.  It’s not that I don’t respect people in positions of authority, it’s simply that I refuse to respect them merely because they’re in a position of authority.  In fact when I run into “authority figures” that assume they’re entitled to respect because of position and/or money, I tend to get confrontational.  It brings out the worst in me.  In fact I’d had incidences where I’ll run into an authority figure (usually an alpha male type) who raises my hackles so much I feel the urge to growl and bare my teeth at him.  I can’t necessarily pinpoint why I react this way.  It tends to occur exclusively with male authority figures.  I get along quite well with most female authority figures – especially those labeled ball busters.  So that clues me in that one of my issues has to do with gender power dynamics too.


I decided to use Tarot to ask the universe “What is my relationship to authority?”  I drew the 2 of Cups from the Pearls of Wisdom Tarot.  Looking at the image I was struck by the way both figures in the card seem to be equals.  They are both grasping a chalice in one hand and touching their partner intimately with the other.  They each gaze into each other’s eyes and are approximately the same size and height.  Each figure has a flower behind them and a tree beside them.  Both figures are framed by a fish, necklace and chalice.  There is a balance present in this card, a sense of equality and true partnership.  The power and authority in this relationship go both ways.  Perhaps their powers are not identical but they are equal.

That suggests my issues with authority flare up when things are not equal.  I have no problem with authority figures who treat others with the respect and courtesy they expect.  I also prefer the give and take with an authority figure who is as open to listening as she/he is to talking.  Perhaps there is truth to the fact that most women’s management styles are more inclusive than many male managers’.  Those are broad stroke generalizations but in my experience they’ve proven true.  


My next question to the Universe was “Why is my relationship to authority this way?”  I drew the Ace of Swords.  My immediate reaction was that my relationship to authority causes me to feel the urge to cut through the bullshit when faced with one of those negative authority figures.  I feel the urge to confront and puncture their egos.  It’s not necessarily the most mature response but it’s true.  Maybe on some level I also hope that confronting them on their behaviors might open their eyes and allow them to explore new ideas and beliefs about power and authority.  I suppose one can always hope (and keep on fighting!).

Misjudging Relationships

Have you ever observed relationships of people and initially perceived them one way but then had your eyes opened and realized you were totally off base?  I have.  It’s been quite an interesting experience too and one that has reinforced the concept of not judging books by their covers.

It usually happens when I come across what I would describe as a solar/lunar (or almost stereotypical male-dominated relationship).  You know the type I mean – the male/yang/alpha partner appears to be the dominant one while the female/yin/beta partner seems to cater, kowtow and reflect the alpha partner’s glory.  Now, I also have to admit that my life experiences have primed me to recognize these types of relationships because they’re the ones with which I’m most familiar.  They were the type most common in the blue collar neighborhood in which I grew up.  Unfortunately, they were also the ones I saw become abusive (although let me be clear, I’m not saying all of these types of relationships become abusive).  It is the kind of relationship I was determined to avoid,

Of course, one’s perceptions as a child and those as an adult are quite different.  Watching these types of relationships now I have come to realize that the power dynamic is not as imbalanced as I once believed.  I have learned that a more yin/beta partner can be just as controlling and domineering as a yang/alpha partner. They just use different techniques to ensure their goals are met. For example, I’ve watched the “passive” partner use subtle and sometimes not so subtle behaviors to influence their partners. The most frequent one I’ve noticed is almost a temper tantrum. The more passive partner will become upset because something is not to their liking (for example their food is not prepared correctly). Instead of addressing it with the wait staff, the beta partner will complain to the alpha partner. This will cause the more assertive partner to take up the banner and charge into the fray to ensure things are corrected to the beta partner’s liking. Or the passive/beta partner will push buttons that will result in the outcomes they desire but allow them to look blameless. Things turned out this way because of the alpha/assertive partner’s insistence. It can be fascinating to watch.

It’s an interesting dynamic and requires a subtly of which I’m not capable. I can admire it and acknowledge its effectiveness while accepting that it’s beyond my capabilities. The major realization I’ve taken away from these observations is that I’ve misread these relationships. Due to my own blinders and prejudices, I didn’t realize that just because the passive/beta partner is assertively challenging situations or fighting whenever their partner did something insulting, domineering or just not to their liking, that doesn’t mean they’re not handling it. They simply use a less confrontational (and possibly more effective) approach.

 

I’m being deliberately provocative with the title of this blog post. I am a female and, as such, I was a girl when I was younger. However, I was not raised to think of myself as “just a girl”. I decided to write this post after reading an article a woman wrote about gender expectations and American Gods. This got me to thinking, pondering if you will. Why have I never felt the weight of gender expectations? In fact, I clearly remember a very vehement argument I once had with a former friend about sexism and gender in the workplace. It’s entirely possible that I have been denied promotions or suffered a lower salary because I am female, but if that’s the case I was as oblivious to it as I was to the Stations of the Cross in my childhood church. I simply plowed forward and did my job. If my behaviors upset or offended supervisors because I didn’t act in a typically female way, I either addressed it head on, was oblivious to it, or ignored it.

I have never been told that I could not achieve something because I’m “a girl”. I was never discouraged from trying or accomplishing something because “girls don’t do that”. Sure my parents tried to civilize me and teach me to behave but they also encouraged me to be independent and strong-willed. They regularly gave me the “would you (fill in the blank) just because everyone else does?” speech. I was never encouraged to downplay my intelligence because boys don’t like smart girls. I was never told I was too aggressive for a girl and should tone it down (in fact my father preferred to teach me the correct way to throw a punch). When boys touched me in ways I did not want, I punched them or kicked them in the balls. My nickname as an adolescent was “the Nutcracker”. At the same time, I accepted that if I was going to hit others I might get hit back. I couldn’t use the “I’m a girl” excuse. I was fine with this. Looking back, I was truly blessed to have two parents who never, ever fell victim to gender roles and stereotypes – at least not when it came to me. I remember one Easter my grandmother bought my sister and me matching outfits – they were royal blue pantsuits (think polyester button-down shirts and pants) with T-shirts that proclaimed “Anything boys can do, girls can do better” and a graphic of a girl in a baseball outfit getting ready to swing her bat. We LOVED those shirts and proudly wore them every chance we got. In fact, that saying became our unofficial motto throughout childhood.

I was also influenced by Greco-Roman and Norse mythology as a child. I identified with Athena, the wise virgin who owed nothing to a man (okay, I’m oversimplifying because that’s what I believed as a child). I loved Freya who was the leader of the Valkyries and free to sleep with whom she chose, even if they were dwarves. It wasn’t just independent female goddesses that appealed to me – they had to have a fierceness to them, a martial aspect as well. I loved goddesses who bowed down to no man or god. As I grew older and learned about Irish goddesses I felt a strong connection to many of them too. Once again, fierce feminine figures who were not bound to a male.

Looking back, I am also a product of my generation. I grew up in the 70s and clearly remember the hoopla that following the tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. I remember how excited I was when Charlie’s Angels premiered! Yes, in retrospect it was a T&A show but as a young girl, all I saw were these tough, independent women who took on bad guys every week and triumphed. I was a fan of both Wonder Woman with Lynda Carter, Isis, and Electra Woman & Dyna Girl. I read Wonder Woman and Supergirl comic books. I remember being vaguely disappointed when the ERA was defeated. I didn’t fully understand what it was or why I wanted it but I knew that its failure was not a good thing for me. I remember having an epiphany during a religious class in Catholic high school when our teacher while conducting a cakes & wine ritual, informed us that ancient frescoes showed that women administered the sacraments in the early Christian church. I was floored! It never occurred to me that women could serve as priests. I often think that this was the pivotal moment that ultimately led me to pursue Paganism.

So, it occurs to me that if we don’t want to raise our daughters to be “just girls” we need to reinforce that message. We need to support them when they show interest in traditionally “ungirly” things or behave in non-girly ways. We also need to let them know that if they choose to pursue traditionally feminine pursuits, that is wonderful too. It’s so easy to denigrate traditional feminine pursuits, interests, and behaviors but that’s just as damaging as only allowing them to pursue these things. Some girls want to be fairy princesses and some want to be G.I. Joe. Some want to play with dolls and some want to play with toy guns. Some will do both and all of that is great and should be encouraged. For that matter, we should use the same approach with boys. I guess the important thing is to focus on what the child wants and needs and make sure to nurture and support them. Sounds easy and yet somehow we make it so complicated.

The Hermit – After having our world turned upside down we might find ourselves in need of a retreat; to regroup. Instead of considering what we need to do to conquer the world, we ponder what will allow us to fulfill ourselves. We are still searching the darkness and trying to forge our own path through the darkness but now it’s the darkness within ourselves. We’re working towards finding truths in our soul that will allow us to lead a more fulfilling life moving ahead.

Strength reminds us that enacting these types of changes in our lives requires fortitude and inner strength; the need to stick with it especially when the going gets rough. This card reminds me of people who, after some dramatic shift in their career or life, manage to pick themselves back up and move forward again. It symbolizes those who find the inner fortitude to add a second act to their lives. The divorced woman who finds her passion in life again. The middle-aged man who discovers that he still has a lot to offer. Instead of letting themselves become defeated and miserable, they pull themselves up and find new meaning in their lives. They fight to find fulfillment and satisfaction.

The Chariot is our mode of transportation to get to that new place of fulfillment and satisfaction. Once we’ve made the decision and set the intention to find new meaning in our lives in Strength, we need to find the way to make it happen. We need to pick up the reins, grab the steering wheel and drive ourselves towards our new destination. We need to determine what route will serve us best and what speed we intend to travel. Do we want to take our time and enjoy some rest stops or do we want to get there as fast as we can? Either way, the decision and the choices are all on us. Do we believe this part of our lives has been fated? Is it our destiny to make this journey? Only you can decide that for yourself.

The Lovers reflect all the choices that still remain in our journey through life. I often like to view fate or destiny as a series of points on a map that we must experience – how we get there and how long the journey takes is up to us. I like to think it’s the combination of destined experiences and personal preferences that are reflected by the two different horses in this card. How & where we choose to steer them is on us.

The Hierophant shows us as we step into our role as mentors, lore keepers, historians. We have now reached a point in our lives when we can teach and guide others. We can show them the options available to them; share our stories. We can help open their eyes to the traditions and history that preceded them and allow them to determine who they might wish to incorporate this knowledge and wisdom into their own lives.

The Emperor is our journey to self-sovereignty. We no longer need to build an external empire, instead, we need to feel as though we are finally in charge of our own lives. We are the masters of our fate; the lords of all we survey. We no longer see success as an external measure but rather an internal one of personal satisfaction and fulfillment. It’s not about money and possessions, it’s about feelings of accomplishment and pride.

The Empress is when we finally learn how to nurture and embrace our true selves. We finally allow ourselves to explore our internal creative energy. Instead of feeling the need to focus on external objects or people, we aim it at ourselves. We tend and care for our own secret gardens and learn to feed our inner needs and desires. It doesn’t make us selfish but rather self-centered in the best possible way. Tending to ourselves allows us to replenish our resources and be there for others when the need arises.

The High Priestess guards the veil behind her. It is not something she parts lightly because one what awaits behind it is revealed, it can never be unknown again. When she pulls it aside we realize that what it hides is our true selves. We are finally ready to learn, accept and embrace who we truly are and were meant to be. We realize that we need to do things for ourselves; to nurture our souls not because they meet someone else’s need. In my experience, when the veil parted I was faced with my feral thirteen year old self – the part of me I’d tried (and failed) to civilize over the years. I was able to reconnect with that energy and unleash her into my life today. It was quite an amazing experience.

The Magician allows us to realize that (much like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz), the power to make things happen in our lives was in our hands the entire time. We are not dependent upon others to grant us power; we merely need to accept and grasp it. We often hear people talk about helping to empower others but the truth is we cannot do that. We can only help them understand that the power lies within them and only they can use it. That is what The Magician shows us at this point in our journey. Perhaps it’s near the end of the road but the message is no less valuable.

The Fool is our final stop. This is when we embrace all our foolish qualities and trust in the world again as we prepare to take that leap and move beyond this life into something new and unexpected. We are still leaping into the unknown but now all our knowledge and wisdom has combined to make us realize that we truly know nothing and the journey is always about the experiences and the learning. We have to believe that what awaits beyond is something new and exciting. Perhaps this is why so many of us believe in an afterlife – we want to believe we are leaping into something,  not just nothingness.

Speaking with the Dead

I had a very strange experience last week. I’m not sure why I should be so surprised by it but I was. I had arranged for a Tarot reading with the wonderfully talented Mitchell Osborn. My reading with Mitchell was very different to they type of Tarot reading I’m used to giving and receiving. His style reminded me of a session with John Edwards. It was more as if he was channeling messages from the spirit world than interpreting cards.

Over the course of our reading, Mitchell described receiving messages pertaining to my hubby from someone he felt might be associated with show business or a comedian. Now my hubby had an uncle who worked as a teamster in the film industry but that didn’t feel right. Mitchell once again said he was getting a strong feeling of a comedian. I mentioned my brother Tom who has been dead since 1986 but was well know in my family as a clown. The 31st anniversary of his death was two days after the reading. As soon as I mentioned him Mitchell almost shouted “Yes!” I explained that Tom had died when he was 15 but gave no more details. I just shared how Tom had been a practical joker and one statement that Mitchell had offered from the spirit world sounded exactly like something Tom would have said.

For the rest of the reading, Mitchell gave me messages from Tom that I didn’t even know I needed to hear. He explained that Tom was showing him his head hitting the ground as a way to explain that he died instantly and felt no pain. What I did not know at this point is that my brother’s skull had been fractured in seven places by the attack on him. Mitchell also shared that Tom was showing his spirit standing next to his body in shock – he didn’t realize he was dead, and that he stared at his attacker wondering what had made him so angry and full of pain. This sounds so much like something Tom would think that it brought tears to my eyes. Any skepticism I felt immediately drained away.

A few things Mitchell mentioned didn’t make any sense at the time. He asked if my brother ever drove a car or liked cars because he kept seeing a red Mustang. Now, I assume my brother Tom like cars as much as any teen boy but living in NYC meant very few people we knew owned cars. My hubby was one of the few and although Tom like riding in them he showed no special attachment to them. Of course, the odds are that the longer he spent with my hubby the more likely that would change. Mitchell also asked if Tom had a girlfriend. I explained that as far as I knew he didn’t, at least not when he was killed. Mitchell said he kept mentioning “the girls that wasn’t included” but I had no idea who that might be. Once our reading concluded I immediately called my mother and shared that portion with her. We both cried at the confirmation that Tom hadn’t suffered. I think we’ve carried that burden for 31 years and never realized how heavy it was.

Now here comes the part where I got messages from Tom. I kept thinking about the “girl who wasn’t included”. It bothered me. So as I laid in bed thinking things over it hit me – Tom meant my sister-in-law Tracey who had died last year. She wasn’t included because she was not yet part of our family when Tom was killed. I became convinced that was who Tom meant. I believe he was trying to let us know he was watching over Tracey in the afterlife. I mentioned this to my family and got non-committal responses. They didn’t want to disagree but didn’t really agree either. So I went to my default divination tool, my Tarot deck, and simply asked Tom for clarification. I asked, “Who was the girl who wasn’t included?” I drew Death. That seemed pretty clear to me but I wanted additional confirmation. So I asked Tom “I want to be sure, we’re talking about Tracey, right?” I drew The Hierophant upright. This is significant because I indicated that an upright card would be a positive response and The Hierophant is my birth card. So Tom was clearly saying “Yes, you are right”. I once again shared this with my family and we all agreed this was Tom’s way of reassuring us. Even my brother Billy (Tracey’s husband) said he felt a little better after receiving that message.

To add even more layers to this, I began thinking about the car connection. Now, as I mentioned, Tom certainly enjoyed spending time around my hubby’s cars but wasn’t a “car guy” per se. Then I remembered something. Tom was scheduled to start high school the September. The high school was called Automotive High School! Then, while driving up from NYC, my hubby passed a spot where he has noticed people place cars that are for sale. This time as he passed by he saw a red Mustang! We took that as another sign Tom was around and wanted us to know it.

This was a very powerful and mind-altering experience for me. I’ve always wanted to believe that we can communicate with loved ones who have passed on but I’ve also always been skeptical. This has definitely eradicated that. It occurs to me that perhaps our loved ones on the other side are often trying to communicate with us but we don’t pay enough attention or understand the signs and messages. Going forward I am definitely planning to keep my eyes, ears, and heart open to future signs. I already know my father is good at finding us parking spots when none seem available so simply being more aware would probably help this process.

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