Blog Archives

A case of the “mean reds”

I always remember that in Breakfast at Tiffany’s Holly Golightly refers to her bouts of anxiety as the “mean reds”. I like that expression although for me it tends to refer more to bouts of self-doubt, jealousy, anger and anxiety triggered by realizing I’m not where I’d thought I would be at this point in my life (such realizations usually occurring when I learn of something wonderful happening to a friend and feeling happy for them and jealous of their good fortune). I suffered a bout of my own mean reds the other day. They were triggered by the realization that I am no longer the new kid on the block, the new generation of anything or the young turk. I’m not a prodigy anymore. I’m going to be 50 soon and while that doesn’t preclude new and interesting experiences, it does pretty much ensure that opportunities to feel like a young turk will be as rare as hen’s teeth.

I don’t like feeling this way. It makes me uncomfortable with myself and resentful of friends’ successes, which really sucks. So I have decided to take the mean reds by the horns and try to develop a strategy so that I don’t get lost in them. I pulled out my Tarot of the Hidden Realm and asked how to handle bouts of the “mean reds”. I drew the 9 of Cups crossed by the 8 of Cups. My first reaction at seeing the 9 of Cups is that I need to look inside my own heart and see what resides there. What do I truly wish for and desire in my life? Many times I realize that although I’m happy for a friend’s success, I don’t wish to so what she does. That changes the dynamic and shifts my perspective. I’m don’t wish for their success to become my own. I don’t wish I had their lives. I just wish I felt more like a success in my own life. The first step to achieving that would be to look inside my heart and see what I find. Instead of a vague “I wish that was me” type wish, I really wish for success on my terms.

Tarot of the Hidden Realm Nine of CupsHidden Realms 8 of Cups

I believe the 8 of Cups is telling me that before I can manifest any wishes or desires in my life, first I need to go on a bit of a quest to see what that would look like for me. There are things I need to let go of, things that I used to enjoy but have now become a distraction. Once I can release those items along with their emotional charge I hope to feel less burdened and freed up to find new joys and new satisfaction with my life. I’m realizing that carrying around all those unfulfilled hopes and dreams is burying me. The only way to free myself from these negative emotions is to simply let life wash them away; let them stay in the past.

At the same time I also believe the past holds some of the keys to finding a fulfilling and enjoyable life for myself. I need to reconnect with young me, hopefully a truer me who remembers what I enjoyed doing before working and the expectations of supervisors and coworkers mutated what I love do into what I’m good at doing. This part of the answer isn’t especially new to me but it is something I haven’t focused on much lately. Obviously I need to change that. I’m sure I’ll develop other techniques for dealing with the “mean reds” but I think this is a good start.

Am I happy with my life?

Dark Goddess 6 of Air

Today I heard from a former elementary school teacher via email. She wrote that as long as my classmates and I are happy with out lives that was what is important. One of the reasons for this comment is that I had several classmates that were expected to accomplish “great things”. I’m not sure what that meant but somehow I doubt we reached our anticipated heights.

This is an issue I’ve been grappling with a lot lately. Part of the problem is that I have often been outwardly focused, seeking external validation for my accomplishments. I was the excellent student who got good grades as much because I sought the approval of my father and teachers as because of an internal drive. I got good grades to please the adults in my life as much as because of my competitive nature.

This comment by my former teacher made me realize that I’ve spent a lot of time over the last five years or so retraining myself not to need the external validation. My life is such that it would not be forthcoming anyway so seeking it only creates frustration and disappointment. It is also miraculously freeing. I find that the less I need external validation, the less I feel any need to live up to someone else’s expectations of me.

I can see this will be a long term journey for me. I’ve been doing an inner labyrinth journey with two friends using the Dark Goddess Tarot as a guide. One of the primary messages I keep getting is that I need to follow my heart. I need to find a path that is meaningful to me and stick with it whether it meets with anyone else’s approval or not. That can be very difficult. I think we are all so conditioned to seek the approval of others that it can be a challenge to untether ourselves from that need for approval and validation. I’m taking it one step at a time and trusting that I’ll eventually reach the goal I’m mean to achieve in this life.

So the bottom line – am I happy with my life? Sometimes I am and sometimes I’m not. I’m working on it.

Simple Pleasures

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.

My mojo is gone. I don’t know where it went. Did I misplace it somewhere and it’s just sitting there awaiting my return? Did someone else snatch it away? Did it run away after feeling neglected for too long? I have no idea but I know that I’m going to work on finding it/re-acquiring it again.

Life without mojo is quite bland and boring. It’s rather colorless and unexciting. You make it through the day but I have to admit but sometimes I wonder “what’s the point?” I feel like Austin Powers when Dr. Evil stole his mojo – a reverse Frog Prince.

So what can I do to regain or reignite my mojo? Based on the readings I’ve been getting for myself, creativity is the key. That’s ironic simply because I’ve never considered myself an especially creative person. I’m a good student but that’s not the same thing.

Music helps. I find that putting on a great song and just moving around the house helps me feel better and seems to get my energies flowing. Great funky 70s songs like Boogie Wonderland and Fantasy help with that. I can’t listen to those songs and not feel the desire to move. Donna Summer and even the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack help gets things moving too. Maybe that’s the key – I’m too damn sedentary. I do things around the house but it’s not quite the same. I think I need to give myself 30 minutes every day to dance like a fool and get back in touch with my body. If that doesn’t re-ignite the mojo, nothing will.

Celtic Wisdom The Shaper

Celtic Wisdom Tarot
Text by Caitlin Matthews, art by Olivia Raynor
Destiny Books, 1999 ISBN 0-89281-720-8

The Book says: The Shaper of Growth gives life to all that is. The Mothers maintain the fertility of the land, the life of its animals and people, and were often venerated as the guardians of the land’s sovereignty. They maintain their loving watch over all life, transmuting the Soul from death into life. The Mothers are the midwives of the Soul, nurturing it with qualities that enable it to respond to the good things of life. They also imbue the Soul with its instinct or mother-wit, the basic common sense by which we are protected and sustained.
Keywords: Abundance, wealth, fulfillment, reverence for the earth, motherhood, fertility, loving guardianship, value, house, health, harmony and wholeness, emotional growth.
Reversed: Infertility, poverty, delay in accomplishment, squandering of resources, laziness, inaction, emotionally immature, self-neglect.
Soul-Wisdom: The Shaper of Growth gives life to all that is. The Mothers are the midwives of the Soul, nurturing it with qualities that enable it to respond to the good things of life. They also imbue the Soul with its instinct of mother-wit, the basic common sense by which we are protected and sustained. What spiritual nurture is your Soul seeking now?

TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card represents the gifts we are offered from the Earth, the blessings we receive from friends and family and the bounty offered all around us. The Shaper is the source of all of these things. She is the one grants us her blessings and allows us to bloom and flower under her beneficent gaze. She not only offers us her blessings and her abundant gifts, but she reminds us that we need to share them will all things who share the Earth with us. Her gifts are not just for people, but for animals, plants and other inhabitants of the planet. By her nature she also symbolizes the cycles of life. As well as life, she helps the Soul pass into death. Along with abundance and prosperity, there are cycles of scarcity and want. But the Shaper reminds us the these times are a nature part of life’s cycle. They don’t indicate a loss of nurturance or caring. The Shaper’s abundance and fruitfulness bring us her blessings and bounty. But if we hoard these things and don’t share them with those around us, then we denigrate her gifts. They should be shared, enjoyed and appreciated; not hoarded and hidden so that others won’t take them from us. If we hide these gifts from ourselves or from others, then we are not honoring the Shaper and don’t truly understand her gifts. And if we don’t use them, we risk losing them. And once again we are reminded that these gifts may not be of a physical nature. If we have creative gifts that we hide from the world, then we are not honoring our creative spirit – a writer who doesn’t write (even if it is never published) is a sad thing indeed. Take time today to honor the gifts of the Shaper – both the physical and the spiritual ones.

For some reason today’s entry was difficult to write. The well was dry and I couldn’t come up with anything I thought was worth sharing or that I felt competent to write. Finally, as I was browsing the NYPL website I hit upon something – libraries!

I love libraries. From the time I was a child they were my haven, my sanctuary against the world. I’ve had a library card as long as I can remember. I still recall the day my mother brought me to the local library and signed me up for a card. It was restricted (I could only take out 2 books at a time and only from the children’s section) but it was a start. One of my favorite books to take out was The Little Witch Cookbook. I adored the illustrations and the recipes were very simple for a child to make. I actually reacquired a copy as an adult but it just wasn’t the same and I passed it along to my youngest niece who seemed very thrilled to get it.

I also enjoyed losing myself in Bulfinch’s Mythology. This began a lifelong fascination and attraction for mythology. I started here and eventually found my way to more adult versions of Greek mythology as well as Celtic, Arthurian, Norse and Egyptian mythology. I was so excited the day I was able to take a book from the adult section of the library – it was Mythology by Edith Hamilton and I still remember the cover.

The first time I was allowed to walk to the bigger library near me (the now gown and much mourned Donnell Branch of the NYPL), I felt so proud I almost burst. I still remember how overwhelmed I felt when I walked in because it was much bigger than my local branch. It also had a Young Adult section. Oh the books I read from that library. I could spend hours simply walking through the stacks and losing myself in the books. It was wondrous and amazing to me.

During high school and college I managed to wend my way through the maze of research materials – magazines and non-circulating books, that allowed me to complete term papers, book reports and other school assignments. Computers were not yet the omnipresent devices they have become so I learned how to work the card files. I felt such a sense of accomplishment learning to find books and make inter-library loan requests.

These days I still visit the local library – sometimes to take out books, other times for movies or music. My primary use of the library is for electronic books – it’s so much easier to request and return books that way. However I’ll always feel a sense of soul-satisfaction and deep emotional connection to the physical library. I will always love losing myself in the stacks of books and finding lost treasures I would never have known about without browsing. It saddens me that so many local NYPL branches are nothing more than computer kiosks now. So many of the books are gone, the space freed up for more computers. The people using the library don’t seem to have the same sense of awe and wonder I did. They also don’t enforce the quiet rule much these days. That sacred hush that I remember when I entered the library, that reminded me I was in a special spiritual temple, has been replaced by laughter and chatting. I suppose it’s wonderful that libraries still fill a niche in their communities but I miss the slightly more formal, quieter days.

I hope we never lose our libraries. It’s sad to see so many bookstores going out of business and libraries downsizing. There is something magical about these places; these repositories of fabulous mysteries and hidden treasures. Hail to libraries and librarians! Long may they rule!

Baroque Bohemian Cats Queen of Cups

So I need to listen to my heart, nurture my inner dreams and desires and allow myself to simply feel what I feel.  That should be easy.  Actually all smart-aleckyness aside, I think the Queen of Cups is reminding me that one way to chase away gloominess is to focus on things that bring me joy and make me happy.  It sounds rather easy and in reality it should be but sometimes the easy things are the ones we lose site of the most.

So what brings me joy?  Reading, cooking, fashion (or perhaps style is the more accurate term), dancing.  I’ve been focusing on my wardrobe. I desperately need to update it and it’s also time to release certain pieces I know I’ll never wear again (such as the two suits I bought when I thought I’d be pursuing a very different life path).  I want to simplify things and find a few good pieces that will last me rather than lots of cheap crap that wears out quickly.

I’ve also realized that some of the things I love (my Tarot decks) need some pruning.  I had manage to acquire a number of decks that are lovely to look at but with which I feel no connection.  I can admire their loveliness without being touched by it.  In some cases I never really connected with the deck and I’m finally admitting that and in other cases it’s just that my tastes have changed.  Regardless of why, I get a sense of freedom and lightness when I release these decks to the universe (or someone else who will love them).  I’m just too burdened down by stuff.  It’s time to unburden myself a bit at a time.

Lately I have been relying on tea and Tarot to help me deal with the insanity of the situation in which I find myself (wine too but that’s a topic for another day).  I’ve always been a tea drinker but in the last 3 years or so I’ve become more adventurous.  I’ve begun exploring loose tea, teas from different locales, oolongs as well as black teas as well as trying different vendors.  I’m quickly realizing that my tea obsession is right up there with my Tarot obsession.  This made me wonder why roles they fulfill in my life.

SoHo
I think the tea (in addition to being tasty) allows me to take some time for myself.  The process forces me to slow down for at least a few minutes and just focus on me.  Tarot offers me the same opportunity – for at least 10 minutes every day I take a breather and focus on me.  That may not seem like much but for me it’s a brief respite in the midst of what tend to be exhausting, chaotic days.
Butter TruffleTchaikovsky Tea Time
Drinking coffee, for me, was a necessary evil.  I needed the caffeine jolt to get me kickstarted every morning (I’m just not a morning person).  Tea drinking is a labor of love, a tiny touch of civility and relaxation in an otherwise externally focused, frenetic day.  It allows me to feel as though I’m nurturing and caring for myself.  On gray, gloomy days, tea allows me to feel snuggly and warm  On warm, sunny days, tea allows me to slow down a bit and just enjoy the beauty of the day.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
It’s also interesting what insights I’ve learned about myself via tea and Tarot.  The types of Tarot decks towards which I gravitate tell me that I’m not pastel, light kind of person.  I have nothing against decks that focus on positivity and lightness but they don’t resonate with me.  I need darkness to balance the pastel.  I need shadow to offset the light.

My taste in teas is similar.  I tend to avoid green and white teas in flavor of full-bodied blacks and oolongs.  If a tea is described as having green, vegetal flavors I know it’s probably not my taste.  If it has chocolate or honey flavors I’m putting it on the wish list.
Teatime Bliss
Both tea and Tarot can allow us time to focus on ourselves.  They give us space to relax and reconnect with our inner selves.  Both have enough variety to suit every taste and palate.  They also both have connections to fortune telling – reading tea leaves and Tarot cards are both well established divinatory techniques.  So the next time you are doing a Tarot reading for yourself, considering having a hot cuppa as accompaniment.

Tarot of the Masters Youth of Cups Tarot of the Masters King of Swords

I was inspired to ask this question after reading an email from SARK.  It struck me that I have the same tendency to miss out on the unexpected sweetness in life.  I think sometimes it’s so easy to lose oneself in the morass of negativity the surrounds us and drown in the doldrums of modern life.  It’s almost as though we’re afraid to focus on the positive or joyful things.  In fact I’ve even heard folks express the opinion that if we focus on the positive we open ourselves up to the possibility that a capricious and mean-spirited deity will take it away from us.  That seems a rather sad way to live one’s life.

I had to smile when I saw these cards.  They reinforce that the simple answer is to listen to my inner voice and look within myself; listen to my heart and turn off that left-brained overly intellectual side.  That doesn’t mean I need to abandon that side of myself simply that it needs to be given less prominence than it’s gotten in the past.  The way to reconnect with my more child-like, simple joy in life is to stop focusing on and demanding rational and logical approaches to things.

The Youth of Cups is seeking answers in the chalice she cups in her hands.  She trusts that the answers she seeks will be found within.  She does not require external validation or logical explanations for the wisdom she seeks.  The King of Swords holds a book in one hand and a sword in the other.  He is the master of logic, rational thought and skillful communication.  He is the epitome of the left-brained person.  The scientific mind raised to exaltedness.  If it cannot be replicated and verified then the knowledge is not honored.

For years I’ve worshipped at this altar.  I didn’t trust my intuitive side; my instincts were suspect.  If the knowledge arose from my psychic side I ran from it as though it was some sort of evil clown.  I couldn’t and wouldn’t trust it.  Now I’m much more comfortable with my intuitive, psychic nature but I’m taking baby steps.  It’s still very early in this process.

Drawing these two cards reaffirms that I’m moving in the right direction.  The way to embrace, celebrate and enjoy the unexpected sweetness in life.  I am learning that rather than mourning what is gone and clinging to the past, I’m happier when I can remember it with joy and still be open to new moments of unexpected sweetness.  If I focus too much on what is gone I miss out on those opportunities to celebrate the small joys and unexpected sweetness in life.  I need to trust my heart and be an optimist.  It can sometimes be fun and funny to be cynical but it does not allow for much appreciation of the small things in life that make us smile.  Sometimes it so easy to lose sight of what is good, sweet and joyful in life.  These cards offer me a way to keep them in my heart.

BoS So Below Knight of Swords BoS So Below King of Pentacles

The images on these cards spoke to me.  The Knight of Swords shows a focused, somewhat intent blonde woman writing while sylphs dance about her.  I realize that her message to me is that I need to get back to writing.  When I was younger, writing was one of my passions in life.  A semester of English composition in college shook my faith in my writing skills and I fell away from it.  In recent years I have begun writing a bit by maintaining my blog but I’m beginning to realize that I need to write again.  It doesn’t have to be something I share with anyone else but I need to express myself.  I need to find a creative outlet and writing is that outlet for me.

The King of Pentacles is reminding me that I can have it all – personal satisfaction and prosperity, if I believe in myself and work to manifest it in my life.  I think it’s also showing that expressing my creative side is the key to achieving this prosperity.

These cards seem to be telling me that I need to let go of my resistance and fear.  I need to let go of the self-doubts that bubbled up during that English comp class and haven’t gone away.  I need to embrace writing for the sake of writing not for public approbation.  I need to do this for me.  Where it might lead is irrelevant.  What’s important is what it can do for me now.  Otherwise I’m denying myself a creative outlet and a sense of satisfaction and joy.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: