Archive for June, 2013

And the children shall lead me

I had an amazing experience today while working at a Summer Solstice fair at The Nurtured Spirit in Warrwic, NY.  I had the opportunity to read for 3 lovely young ladies.  Two were either good friends or bosom pals for the duration of the event (their parents were vendors).  I would guess they were 5 and 6 or 6 and 7.  The other young lady was a 9 year old.

The two pals wanted me to read for them both at the same time.  It was adorable and fun.  I found it interesting to see how I modified how I explained the cards and my responses to make it more appropriate and understandable for young children.  They were both wide-eyed and fully engaged in the experience.  They enjoyed seeing connections in the cards and seem to have a great time.

The other young lady was interested but also a bit nervous (she kept looking to her mother for support) and seemed to calm a bit when her dad stood nearby.  When I asked her questions about herself that seemed on target she got a small smile and nodded.  She also seemed to enjoy the experience even if she didn’t fully comprehend some of what I was saying.

All three of these young ladies were charming and adorable.  I had a great time reading for them and they helped me realize that I can read for children.  It’ requires more discipline on my part but it is so much fun to see their eyes widen and their face light up when they connect with what I’m saying.  I hope to have the chance to do this again very soon.

Witches' 4 of Swords Dance of Life 4 of Health

 

As The Eagles once sang “take it easy, take it easy, don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy”. That’s what I thought of seeing this card today. The Dance of Life’s 4 of Health shows someone wrapped in a red shroud standing alone in a desolate, barren, lunar-looking landscape. Barbed wire separates us from this figure. the keyword for this card is “emotional burdens”. The is a sense of isolation and despair about this figure. She is cut off from everyone who might be able to help her. Is this by choice? What experiences have caused her to imprison herself in such a way?

I don’t know about this shrouded figure, but I know in my cast it’s a combination of things. On the one hand are concrete family issues that cannot be changed at this time. I am the primary caregiver for an ailing mother-in-law. By definition, that isolates. My life revolves around her needs and her timetable. I cannot make definite plans because they may change at a moments notice due to a family crisis. In many ways it’s like having young children except she will never improve or get better. This is basically a death watch and all I can do is make sure she’s well-taken care of, comfortable and aware that she is loved for the time remaining to her. It may be years (she’s in very good physical condition) or months but that’s out of my control.

On another level this card is also referring to the self-imposed isolation I’ve managed to create. I have friends and loved ones out there but I hesitate to reach out to them. They all have their own problems and I don’t want to burden them with mine. It’s not about being a ‘rugged individualist”, it’s about the fact that they’ve all got their own issues to handle. Aside from that, there is also the fact that when I’m dealing with weight/health issues I sometimes feel anti-social. It’s not that I don’t want to be around others, simply that I feel as though I shouldn’t subject other to my grotesque appearance. (Okay, in the interest of full disclosure I must admit I don’t think I’m grotesque – fat maybe but not grotesque). It’s as though I just don’t want to talk about my issues anymore so I prefer to just avoid people and then I don’t have to think about them.

The image on the Witches’ 4 of Swords is different than the traditional one associated with this card. Instead we see a woman standing near a brick wall (perhaps the side of a castle) with 3 swords resting against the wall, a 4th in her right hand and a bunch of twigs in her left. Her expression is rather odd, as though she’s been caught doing something she should be doing. Has she collected these swords after a battle and now she is honoring the fallen? Did she gather them from fallen foes to gloat over the victory? Or perhaps she’s stolen them so that the soldiers are forced to take it easy and relax for a day. I’m not sure but to me this card is reminding me that I need to pace myself. I do need to plan and prioritize and get my head screwed on right but that doesn’t mean I can’t take some time to relax and have fun too.

Because finances are very tight right now, I’ve been limiting my visits with friends to a bare minimum. I keep running a cost/benefit analysis in my head and if it seems that a get-together will be too expensive, then I cry off. However I also need to consider the benefits to my spirit and emotions. Humans are social animals, even though of us with occasional introvert streaks. I do need to see friends. Companionship and emotional support needs to be as important as finances. So I’ll need to find a way to keep those connections open even if I can’t be in the same room with the person.

Witches' King of Pentacles Dance of Life Sage of Money & the Material World

 

Hmm, I’m taking this card as a good sign that this gent turned up. He gives me some hope that I’m moving in the right direction and that I’ve got some things under control. Right now things are getting quite scary on the fiscal front. We’ve been hanging in there but we’re starting to reach our limit. Things are still tight all over. When I hear reports about the economy improving I wonder where they’re looking. I still know quite a few people who are unemployed or under-employed. Folks are still scared and scrambling just to hold it together.

I have learned that I can survive on less money than I would have believed possible. I have also learned to enjoy what I already have rather than looking for new distractions. I want to be a successful Tarot reader and counselor. I want to be able to support myself doing something I love and that I feel allows me to make a difference. I want to offer help to people when I can. I also want to make a living.

Both these figures seem secure, comfortable and confident in their surroundings. They are not worried that they will be able to support themselves, they know they can and have achieved that goal. They can be mentors for me. In fact perhaps they are reinforcing some of the messages I’ve been getting this week to ask for help and guidance when necessary. I can’t do it all by myself. The only way to address that issue is to admit I need help and ask for it. There is no shame in that. It doesn’t make me a failure. In fact it will serve me better than wasting hours stumbling around in the dark on my own. That might be a bit challenging to put into action but now that I know I need to be aware of it, I can start taking steps to fix the issue.

As the saying goes no woman is an island. Being a “rugged individualist” will only take you so far. Eventually one needs to seek guidance from a map or a guide or someone who has already explored the terrain. It’s not shameful, simply sensible. I need to start being sensible and work on strategies and plans to help me reach this goal. Otherwise it will all be wasted effort and what’s the point in that.

Contemplating my own inner beauty.

Witches' Page of Wands Dance of Life Tarot Muse of Self

As soon as I saw the Muse of Self reversed I realized this card is a continuation of my message from yesterday.  The Page of Wands reminds me that I need to learn about myself again; to connect (or reconnect) to things that excite me.  Recently I have been feeling a new energy and enthusiasm for things that rarely interested me in the past – one of which is home decorating.  In the past – I couldn’t have cared less what my house looked like.  I tend to leave all the layout and design stuff to the hubby.  Lately I’ve been finding myself drawn to country cottage and French country style type magazines.  I think I’m feeling an urge to make my physical environment more reflective of my tastes; a place that nurtures my body and soul.

I’ve also been focusing more on the fact that I need to make changes to my lifestyle.  Looking at the Muse of Self I am struck by her comfort with her body, her beauty and her vulnerability.  That is an ideal towards which I strive.  I want to feel that unself-conscious and comfort with my body and myself.  The Page of Wands exudes an energy and enthusiasm that I want to embody.  I want to embrace that sense of daring and fearlessness.  I know that it might be a different sort of energy than I had when I was younger but it’s still there.  It’s a banked fire just wants to burn brightly once again.  I just need to tend it and feed it as necessary.

It’s been interesting to see how the Dance of Life cards I’ve drawn have so accurately given me messages about dealing with my health and self-image.  This is something I need to focus on in the coming months (and even years).  After all it’s not as simple as twitching my nose and changing things (oh that I was Samantha on Bewitched!).  As they say the longest journey begins with one step.  This is my one step.

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Witches' Queen of PentaclesDance of Life Lover of Money & the Material World

Looking at these cads today I realized that her message is twofold – one is that I need to be more nurturing of myself on a physical level. I need to take care of my body and treat it with love and respect. She’s also reminding me that I have friends who can function as a support network for me in this endeavor. The young turbaned man on the Dance of Life Lover of Money and the Material World holds a scale – a reminder that this is not an all or nothing prospect. It’s about balance and moderation.

I have a tendency to plunge head first into failure. If I slip from the path, eat something I know that I shouldn’t, I just give up and spend the day rolling around in poor food choices. I need to accept that just because I stray from the healthy eating path, doesn’t mean I can’t get right back on track. Instead of wallowing in the slippage, I need to pick myself up and get back on track. Of course I already know this but actually doing it is another matter.

I had a great conversation with a friend today about this issue. She pointed out that one way she stays on track with her eating is finding “cheats” that aren’t really cheats. She finds foods that are allowable under her dietary restrictions but are close enough to whatever she’s craving that she stays on track. It may not be the best choice but it’s better than the usual choice.

I also have to get over the fact that I need to plan ahead. If I’m going to make better and healthier food choices then I need to make sure I have the right ingredients in the house to make this happen. I need to get over my resistance to meal planning and strategic grocery shopping. As the old saying goes – one doesn’t plan to fail, one fails to plan. If I continue to fail to plan I’ll find it impossible to make these dietary changes and modifications.

I think the key for me is learning to love myself and believe that I am worth feeding healthy food, even if it is more expensive. I want to be more particular in the food I select and not focus so much on cost. I know money is an issue but reality is that if I don’t start investing in my health now, I’ll pay for it later with more long-term health issues and visits to doctors and hospitals. I hope to avoid having to have body parts removed or replaced because I didn’t care for them properly. And I need to remember that any change in life starts with that first step.

Witches' King of Swords Dance of Life Sage of Health

 

Whoa! Powerful stuff, especially considering that I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about my health and my choices in that area. Again, it boils down to a matter of knowledge and intelligent choices versus laziness and sloth. I know what I should do and yet I don’t do it. That makes me wonder why? What is it about me that makes me act as though I don’t deserve to be healthy; deserve to live? The bottom line is that I am well aware that if I don’t make changes to my eating habits, exercise patterns and general well-being then it’s likely I’ll end up with health complications or even an early grave. I’m not trying to be melodramatic – I genuinely believe that if I don’t change my future is likely to include increased medication and some hospitalizations due to complications from diabetes.

I’m growing frustrating and angry with myself. Why can’t I control this? I’m an intelligent, knowledgeable person. Gods know I’ve studied various eating plans ranging from low-fat to the Zone to South Beach to low-carb and now Paleo. To be perfectly honest all have their good points but the lower carb diets seem to work better for me. I’ve seen the results – my blood sugars are better regulated, my health indicators (cholesterol, triglycerides, etc.) improve and my weight drops. I know all these things and still I cling to bad habits and a sweet jones that makes heroin addiction look mild. I feel like such a failure, and an ass.

Of course that in turn triggers enjoyable bouts of self-loathing and hatred. These feelings never seem to last long (although I suppose that’s not a bad thing) but they leave their lingering impact. I can even justify it be rationalizing that eating wheat creates an additive need for more wheat, but I already know this so why eat the wheat in the first place? It’s not like I don’t have resources to help me find substitutes. Instead what I find are excuses. If there is one thing I am an expert at it’s rationalization and intellectualizing. I can come up with dozens of reasonable, realistic and logical explanations for these behaviors but at the end of the day that means little.

So coming back to my cards for today – I think both are reminding me that I am moving closer to a place where I can begin to heal myself and gain more of a sense of mastery over my mental processes. I need to take a more logical, rational approach to this and stop letting old emotional scripts and behaviors trip me up. And when they do trip me up I need to learn to pick myself up, brush myself off and keep going not let it become and complete derailment. I need to find support to keep me on the right track and not well-meaning friends and family who help me enable. Not that I’m trying to blame this on anyone else, it’s my issue and my problem.

I think the Sage of Health is also reminding me that once I am able to heal myself I may find myself better able to help others. This is a challenging battle because unlike other addictive substances, you can’t give up eating cold turkey. I think both these cards are reminding me that I can’t force myself or strong-arm myself into these changes. I have to change my thinking patterns, my concepts and my beliefs about myself. No small task and not an easy one to do. In order to do that I need to also be a bit kinder, less harsh and judgmental towards myself. It’s so easy to be supportive to a friend or family member, why not me too? I have to remember this is a long term process. It won’t be easy and it may not be fun but it can be achieved. I can heal myself. I know I can and the Universe is telling me I can with these Tarot cards.

Facing the truth in the mirror

Witches' JusticeDance of Life Mirror of Reflection

Today I drew Justice/Mirror of Reflection.  Quite an interesting and rather intense pair, if I say so myself.  In both I get the sense that it’s time to take a long hard look at myself and my behaviors and choices and see the truth.  I need to take stock and see if I’m being balance and just in my life.  That sounds a bit ephemeral and esoteric but put in plain language I need to call myself on my bullshit.

I’m actually fairly accomplished at recognizing and claiming my bullshit.  Where I fall short is actually making the changes necessary to reduce the bullshit.  The bottom line is that my own mishegas doesn’t always bother me.  When I realize that it’s causing problems I may finally take the necessary steps to make changes but until them I often procrastinate.  It’s not that I don’t know changes need to be made, it’s that I’m often lazy and in a rut.  I’m like Milo in the children’s classic The Phantom Tollbooth but Norton Juster – I’m stuck in the doldrums.

I know it’s time to look in that mirror and clearly see what reflects back to me.  It’s not about judging or enabling myself (sometimes I’m much too accomplished at both), it’s about acknowledging so that I can make the changes I need to make.  It’s about taking up Justice’s sword and scales, weighing my current choices and behaviors and cutting away those that no longer benefit me or will benefit me in the long-term.  I know what I should do and I think it’s time to actually start doing it.

It’s one of my biggest frustrations with myself and one area in which I can be extremely harsh and judgmental towards myself too.  I know what steps will improve my health, help me lose weight and reduce stress in my life.  Rather than do these things I keep finding books and articles and reading about what to do.  I could fill a library with the various self-help books I’ve read and the bottom line is that I already know the things they all proclaim will improve my life.  I am smart, well-educated and capable of researching topics when necessary yet I repeat the same pointless behaviors over and over.  It’s as though deep in my soul I don’t believe I deserve good health.

I have joked that I have reverse anorexia because when I look in the mirror I see a slim woman not the real me.  The truth is that I don’t actually see myself at all.  It’s as though I’m looking at a photo of someone else or not even registering the true image being reflected back.  Have you ever walked past a mirror or window and caught a glimpse of someone out of the corner of your eye?  You think – who is that fat person?  And then you realize it’s you and your heart sinks.  I’ve done that.  In fact sometimes it so demoralized me that I want to go home and never come out again.  Luckily the memory fades and I’m able to face the world without panic.  However the reality is that it’s rare for me to truly see myself for who I am.  I think these cards are calling me on that trait and telling me it’s time to do right by myself and make those changes.  If not, I may very well find myself dealing with health issues I never anticipated or assumed would never happen to me.  If I don’t take those steps now I’ll pay that price later.

Witches 5 of Swords Dance of Life 5 of Health

 

My card for today is the 5 of Swords R (from Ellen Dugan’s Witches’ Tarot) and the 5 of Health R from the Dance of Life.

I have to say, feeling like a butterfly being pinned by 5 swords (a la the Witches’ Tarot) has certainly been a familiar experience in the past. Luckily things are improving somewhat so that sense is not as immediate as it once was. There has been a reduction of craziness in the day-to-day responsibilities. I’m feeling like I can breathe just a bit easier.

The keyword on the Dance of Life Tarot for this card is Stress and I can certainly identify with that. My life has been one big stress ball for the past 4 years or so. I have made some changes to my own attitude to help me deal with it – the reality is there is nothing that will fix this situation but how I approach it can make all the difference in how my day goes. And for the past 2 or 3 weeks I’ve seen some improvements on the home front. Perhaps my new approach is helping.

I’ve also found that keeping myself busy, even if it’s only browsing through interior decorating magazines, helps reduce some of my stress. There have been days when I’ve felt as though my guts were as twisted up in knots as the scarf on the Dance of Life 5 of Health. It’s not a fun place to be or an enjoyable experience. Lately the knots have come undone a bit. There are still days when it’s a challenge not to run screaming into the night like a Banshee but so far I’m holding it together. The bottom line is that I do love my in-laws and want to do what I can to help them and the hubby out right now. However I am human and feel resentful, angry, frustrated and a bunch of other emotions that make me less than pleasant. Hopefully I’m getting better at finding ways to siphon those unpleasant energies into more constructive channels.

I think these cards are reflecting the stress reduction and reminding me that I have made changes that proved beneficial and I can continue to do so. It’s not easy (then again there are days when nothing is easy so that’s no surprise). I think the fact that these cards are connected with air (ideas, thoughts, etc.) in one deck and health in the other is significant too. I’ve come to realize that my current lifestyle specifically as it pertains to eating, is slowly killing me. The fact that I have Type II diabetes and eat cookies and other sweets like they’ll disappear tomorrow is so ridiculous that I cannot fathom why I do it. In some ways I’m like a junkie in need of a fix. I know some of this is driven by a need to make myself feel better when the shit hits the fan. It’s also partly due to a lifelong sweet tooth. However if I can reduce the stress then I can also find healthier and more positive methods of dealing with this issue. It won’t get fixed tomorrow but as long as I start taking those damn baby steps, I’ll reach my destination.

Steampunk Lady of Submersibles Witches' Queen of Cups

The Queen of Cups, my former nemesis. Of course she would show her face when I’m trying to focus on other issues. She can be most inconvenient. I was rather surprised to see her. Of course I guess she was reminding me that while I am most comfortable with Wands and Swords energy, I have learned the benefits of Cups energy as well.

Looking at the Steampunk Lady of Submersibles, helps me realize that I can move through the sometimes murky waters of the heart, emotions, relationships and inner dreams without drowning or losing my way. She has the tools, equipment and experience to find her way through even the darkest, coldest waters. I don’t think I’m at that level yet but I am growing more comfortable with this element.

The Witches’ Queen of Cups sits on her lonely beach looking into the chalice in her hand. She also seems comfortable and at ease in her element but she also seems isolated. The beach is rather barren and desolate. I’ve never noticed this before in a Queen of Cups card but she seems very alone, although not lonely. It’s as though she is sustained by looking into her chalice. Maybe it is a mystical portal in to the hearts of others and enables her to see what they need to heal. Perhaps knowing the deepest secrets of the human heart creates a need for periods of distance and separation.

Today she is an especially appropriate messenger for me because my family is in a bit of a brouhaha and as a result I got angry with my sister and harsh words were said. I am able to see into my sister’s heart and I know some of what motivates her. Perhaps the Queen of Cups is gently reminding me that I need to be a bit more tolerant and understanding of my sister’s foibles. I don’t need tolerate them or enable her but I could have been a bit kinder and gentler in how I handled it. Sometimes my rather Wands-y nature makes me harsher than the situation warrants. My no bullshit/take no prisoners approach can create rifts where none needed to occur. There is a strength in the Lady of Submersibles that is different than that of the Lady of Engines but no less powerful. That is a fact I need to remind myself of more often.

She also speaks to me of psychic abilities. This is a skill I have always denied possessing. I may be intuitive and/or able to read people. I am proficient at interpreting Tarot cards but I resist calling myself a psychic. The likeliest reason is that so many who do seem like charlatans to me. They seem to disingenuous and that is not how I want to be perceived. However I have also met people whom I believe possess genuine psychic abilities. Maybe this lovely lady is reminding me that possessing psychic abilities is not all it’s cracked up to be. Seeing into the hearts of others can prove to be an unpleasant experience sometimes. It also requires that the psychic shield herself to avoid unwanted intrusions. That is the sense I get from the Lady of Submersibles wet suit and the Queen of Cups solitary splendor on the beach.

I sometimes lose sight of that fact and see psychic abilities as a really cool trick – rather like a teenager “ooh that’s cool I can read other people’s minds”. I think that’s why I have resisted it for so long. I may indeed have psychic abilities but I choose to block them because I’m not sure I want the responsibility. I have feeling this lady is reminding me that it’s mine whether I want to claim it or not. My best option would be to learn the skills necessary to shield myself and work with these energies rather than avoiding them. Something to ponder further in the weeks ahead.

 

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