Before writing this blog post I asked the universe how I should approach this topic; where should my focus be? I drew the Page of Wands Rx – all sorts of potential creative and dynamic energy being blocked or channeled in wrong directions. Hmm, so is writing about the dark nooks and crannies of my soul focusing in the wrong direction or is are the dark nooks and crannies of my soul created when I channel my energies in inappropriate or unhealthy directions? I’m choosing to interpret the Page of Wands Rx as indicating the latter – blocking my creative energies creates the dark nooks & crannies.

So, now that I’ve established that where am I going with it? I’m doing to dive right in the deep end. Reality is that I’m not an especially introspective person – at least not on a daily basis. I tend to be more of a doer than a planner. I can plan but it’s not my first instinct. My tendency is to dive into the deep end of any endeavor and then just figure my way out. It’s been relatively successful so I’ve had little incentive to change this pattern. Which also explains the reversed Page of Wands – when I take on a new project or creative impulse I tend to jump right in to things. Poking around in my dark places is rather counter-intuitive to me.

I will say that using Tarot has been a great way to sneak into my subconscious. I can be quite good at rationalizing and intellectualizing my actions. Deflection and denial can be quite powerful so the only way for me to subvert them is a tool like Tarot cards. Tarot forces me to hold a mirror up to myself and address what I see. It often takes more than one attempt but eventually even my stubbornness cannot hold out against the slaps upside the head that Tarot offers. Each deck offers different insights and perspectives.

I realize now that I’ve used Tarot as a therapeutic tool. Despite my MA in forensic psychology, I have a resistance to therapy. I resist believing that I need another person’s input to my therapeutic process. I hate being told what to do, even when I know the suggestions might be useful. I am one of those people who has to stumble through the jungle on my own. I don’t value the experience unless it’s first hand. It’s the same reason I rarely find self-help books helpful – I may be glad that others have found their way to healing and wholeness but I need to forge my own path. I also have no interest in mentoring others. If you find something useful in these musings then I’m thrilled. If not, that’s okay too because it helped me.

Over the next few months I’ll probably share more specific tales of this journey through the wilds of my own mind. I don’t know if it will be especially interesting or edifying but I’ll guess time will tell. What I do know is that for some reason I’m compelled to share. Maybe just knowing that they’re not alone out there will help others who have similar experiences. Maybe at the end of the day that’s what helps us all stay a little saner – the knowledge that we are not alone.

 

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.

Blue Rose Sun

Blue Rose Sun

Blue Rose Tarot
Created by Paula Gibby
Published by Soul Guidance

The Book says: Traditional meanings  – Principle of unity in spirit; experiencing a time of rekindled enthusiasm. Revitalizing something that has previously existed in your life. Joy, happiness and a great sense of the beauty of life. Clarity. Signifies the transit from the manifest light of this world to the light of the world to come. Law of radiance. Abundant joy.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: The young girl holding the pineapple gives a sense of the joy of youth and new possibilities. She holds the faceted pineapple and each facet can serve as a reminder of the potential and possibilities. She reminds us that each of us possess a crystal pineapple – with hundreds of possible opportunities to sparkle and shine. Maybe she is offering us a chance to explore new possibilities and expand our wings. The rainbows and sun shining overhead give a sense of joy, well-being and happiness.

The overwhelming message from this card is one of celebration and exuberance; a chance for a new start and new pathways to explore. But is also shows that once the sun has shone on our lives, there is no more room for self-deception and hiding from the truth. The sun shines its light into all corners of our lives, waking up whatever shadows may have survived our journey through the lunar landscape. And perhaps we first need to come to grips with our deep, intuitive and inner nature before we will be ready to enter the brilliance of the solar world. It will burn away whatever we need to drop by the wayside and release in order to continue our journey. Just as the sun can wither crops if it shines too brightly and too long, so it can wither things which we no longer need or use. This can be beneficial or negative, depending upon focus and needs. So, as Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm sang on the Flintstones, “open up your heart and let the sun shine in“.

Mansions of the Moon Sun

Mansions of the Moon Sun

Mansions of the Moon Tarot
ZADOK (dahogue@nctc.net)
Self-Published

The LWB says: The Sun represents the dynamic, vital energy of the true self. The symbolism of this energy is the inner child – that embodies innocence, enthusiasm, and joy.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card radiates energy and joy, exuberance and growth. The sense of joy the emanates from the horse and the flowers is almost palpable. This card reminds me of the song Here Comes the Sun, especially the line “it seems the ice is slowly melting. Little darling it seems like years since it’s been here” Perhaps the figures are celebrating the return of the sun after being held in the darkness of the lunar landscape. We have survived facing our inner shadow and grown more comfortable and confident with our intuitional nature. And now is our opportunity to celebrate this new sense of wholeness and integration.

Then again the sun can sometimes represents the face we show to the world – the mask we put on when dealing with others. If the moon is our inner selves the sun is our outer selves. In this card our outer self is having a marvelous time just celebrating being alive. We are like flowers reaching for the warming, nourishing rays of the sun. It also a reminder that after the darkness comes the light; after night comes the day. So no matter how dark or frightening our lunar experience may have we know a new day is dawning and we will have a chance to start over again. Of course sometimes the rays of the sun can be harsh too – revealing things we might prefer to remain hidden. But allowing things to remain in the darkness may prevent us from learning and growing. To me The Sun is a card of growth, radiance, new beginnings, illumination and joy.

Showing the Universe how to treat you

A few weeks ago while chatting with someone about the low self-esteem of a family member I was struck by a thought – the way we dress, carry ourselves and interact with others shows the Universe how to treat us. If we slump, wear ill-fitting or worn clothing and try to act invisible we are telling others we are not worthy of their time. This can often result in others ignoring us or treating us with thoughtless cruelty. As shallow as it may sound, we judge books by their covers all the time and a book that has a torn and frayed cover and yellowed pages sends a very different impression than one with crisp, clean pages and a new cover.

DruidCraft Queen of Swords

This makes me consider how I present myself to others. My style of dress is decidedly casual. I find that when I try for more dramatic or flowy pieces I feel as though I’m wearing a costume. I gave up wearing certain colors (black, grey, navy and classic red) a long time ago for a variety of reasons. One of the primary ones is that I realized that these colors have become de rigeur for those who try to proclaim themselves as chic Manhattanites, as a native New Yorker I decided that I don’t need to wear certain colors to prove my bona fides. If my personality doesn’t prove my birthplace then nothing will.

I also have a bit of a swagger when I walk. I have patterned my walk on my father’s. I didn’t realize this until my husband pointed it out to me. When I thought about it I realized that I was trying to project an image of a tough customer – someone not worth treating as prey. When I was younger I was raped and afterwards I tried to make myself invisible, unnoticeable. That just seemed to make things worse. It was as if I had put a sign on my back saying “easy mark”. I drew all sorts of inappropriate and even frightening attention. Once I decided to carry myself as though I was a 6’2″ bruiser (my father was a large, imposing man) I found that this behavior dramatically decreased. Despite working in some rather sketchy areas as part of my job, I was never threatened or harmed. I unconsciously seem to have tapped into creating a glamour – I sent out energy that gave predators the message that I was a risky target.

All of this is my rather long way of explaining what I mean about showing the Universe how I will be treated. When I acted as though I was a frightened mouse too afraid of my own shadow I became prey. Once I showed the predators that I might be dangerous, they stayed away. I walked with a brisk pace, appeared alert to my surroundings and make sure I held my purse in a way that would make it difficult to snatch. I also carried pepper spray or something I could use as a defensive measure in case the glamour failed. Perhaps when we are bullied or treated badly it is because we are sending out subtle signals that the bullies of the world pick up. I remember a Simpsons episode in which Lisa discovers that “nerds” send out pheromones that attracts the attention of bullies. Who knows, perhaps this is what happens. Maybe when we lack self-esteem and consider ourselves different and worthless freaks we send out some kind of signal to the bullies of the world. If we start to change our perceptions of ourselves and show it in our dress, behavior and attitude, we will find that the Universe begins to treat us differently too. Channel your inner Queen of Wands! Show the world that you are confident, strong and worth honoring. It certainly can’t hurt to try.

Wheel of Change Queen of Wands

Wheel of Change Sun

Wheel of Change Sun

Wheel of Change Tarot
created by Alexandra Gennetti
Published by Destiny Books, 1997
ISBN #0-89281-609-0

The Book says: When you have drawn this card in your reading; it is a time of recognition for you. You have just been able to see the independence of something against the complex background of the world. Perhaps this is something inside of you, but it need not be. You realize that because you are now able to see that the individuality of all people is the issue and that any relationship is between two separate individuals. We are each traveling our own path and experiencing a brief moment called life. It is a learning journey, and the light of the sun is the light within each of us that grows brighter and then dimmer as we travel. The Sun is a metaphor for the recognition of individuality, both our own and others. When the Sun is part of your reading, it is a time of new beginnings, and like the winter solstice it is a time when the warm light within you grows stronger.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card is reminder of the possibilities of new beginnings and the potential present in every child. I worked with children on a daily basis and it was wonderful to see the untapped possibilities present in each of their faces. Their Sun energy shone so brightly and so strongly that you believed they could accomplish anything. These two children, standing together holding hands, would almost be a perfect symbol for unity and racial harmony. They represent hope for a bright future and the youthful joy and exuberance symbolized by the sun. They are also a reminder that each time we begin a new project or pursue a new path in our lives we are tapping into this solar energy. Think about how excited we become about new opportunities and new interests in our lives. On a smaller level, I feel this way each time I get a new deck of Tarot cards. There is the excitement of getting something new, the joy of becoming acquainted, the new sense of inspiration and enthusiasm. When we gain new insight into our lives or to a situation, we are feeling the Sun’s energy.

The Sun is so full of hope, joy and exuberance that it brings a smile to the face. Have you ever walked outdoors on a warm sunny day and turned your face to the sun, just enjoying its warmth and light? Have you ever watched a sunrise or sunset and just been awed by the gorgeous colors streaming across the sky? Whenever I feel myself shining and bristling with confidence and energy, I know I’m channeling the Sun’s energy. The Sun represents our chance to dazzle others with our brilliance and revel in our accomplishments; our time to enjoy our place in the spotlight. We should all experience moments when we are truly the center of our own universe.

This card is also a reminder that although we all need to work together for certain goals, we are individuals. When we join forces we do not meld into one being; we are separate but joined like pieces of a puzzle. I can also see this being the key to equality in our lives. We don’t all need to be the same, we just need to accept that each of us has a value and worth. Even in any relationship in our lives, we do not truly merge with that person or those people. We retain our individuality, our separate beliefs, attitudes and ideas. If we don’t we run the risk of becoming too dependant or getting involved in an abusive relationship. The Sun is both a symbol of hope, a sense of self and future possibilities.

Discipline and the shallow stream

I have come to realize that I resist any form of discipline – even when it’s one I believe I want. When I try to keep a journal, I find I’ll stick with it for a few days and then I grow resentful and stubborn and decide that no one is going to tell me what to do (not even me) and I stop. It’s ridiculous, immature and self-defeating. I know this. Hell, I’m calling myself on it and yet I can’t stop it.

DruidCraft 4 of Cups

This has recently forced me to ask myself why? I tend to avoid being overly introspective because . . . well read the preceding paragraph. This time I forced myself to really think about why I’m so resistant to this stuff. After a few uncomfortable fits and starts it finally clicked for me. I avoid journaling, introspection and other exercises which might force me to take a deep look at myself because I’m afraid of what I might find. I may joke about being as “deep as a shallow stream” but the reality is that I like to believe I have some depth; that there is an introspective side to me. I have a feeling that I avoid exercises that might help prove this theory because I’m equally terrified that it will disprove it. What if I am truly shallow? What if the things I consider signs of depth and introspection are simply going through the motions? There are times when I am convinced that I lack the capacity for human compassion and empathy; when I don’t understand the emotional undercurrents that drive people’s behaviors. There are times when I actually believe I have sociopathic tendencies. I wonder if my preference for well-defined boundaries and strict adherence to rules (well most rules anyway) are an effort to enforce an ethical code because I’m afraid relying on my conscience won’t cut it.

Touchstone 7 of Wands

Of course I also realize that a large amount of this fear is due to my father. I loved my father but learned early on that there was a huge screw missing. He often did things he knew were “wrong” or unethical and he did them anyway. His lack of understanding and compassion were frightening to child, especially one who was so often told how much she was like him. As I grew older as realized I didn’t quite fit in with others in the sense that I just didn’t understand their reasoning and motivations for things, I panicked a bit. I thought I was defective somehow. So I learned to compensate and hide this – or at least I tried to, I can’t say I did a very good job. Even now I just don’t understand what drives people in certain areas. I will never understand what pushes women to submit to increasingly invasive procedures in order to have a child. It’s not in my psyche because I’ve never, ever wanted children. Now at least I realize there’s nothing wrong with me or them – we just differ in this area.

Tarot of the Crone Ace of Cups

Now as this post draws to a close I’ll reveal my big discovery (which readers may have figured out already), I’m not shallow. As I was reviewing this post I realized that if I was shallow I wouldn’t worry about it. If I truly had no depth or talent for introspection then this blog wouldn’t exist. Whew! I really had myself worried for a minute there.

Celtic Wisdom Imaginer

Celtic Wisdom Imaginer

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

The Book says: The Imaginer shows the seascape of Manannan, the Irish God of the Otherworld and of the Sea. Like Odysseus, he is courteous and cunning, a companion to our soul’s seafaring. He issues invitations to his realm to those who are worthy to seek his rich treasury. The golden-oared boat is an authentic image of the vessel used by those who made the immram or heroic voyage to the Blessed Islands of Manannan. Under the light of the moon, within the rhythm of the tides and currents, we discover our deep harmonious self.
Keywords: Imagination; latent powers; attunement to the rhythms, tides and patterns of one’s life; unconscious influences; dreams and visions; introspection; creative conception; pregnancy.
Reversed: Illusions; fear of the unfamiliar; inflexibility and impatience with natural rhythms; mental disturbance, magnification of worries and problems.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card speaks of the soul journey to the center of ourselves. Irish myths and legends offer several stories of heros’ voyages to a number of mystical islands before finally returning home, changed forever. Manannan also serves as the gatekeeper to the Otherworlds and he guides and guards these lands. We cannot visit these islands without Manannan’s approval. In his role and lord of the seas he also can help us cross the waters of emotional turmoil that arrive in our lives.

This card reminds us that even when we feel we are most alone in this voyage to the center of ourselves, we are not alone. Whatever one chooses to call one’s greater power it is there for us – guiding and guarding us on our journey. It is an opportunity for healing and growth, crossing over to a new level of emotional growth and introspection. The Imaginer reminds us that while the journey may take us to uncharted territory and unfamiliar places, we can safely make the journey and reap it benefits. But first we have to get passed our fear of the unknown and our worries about what is hidden along the journey.

Exploring behind the mask

The other day I got a writing prompt from Psyche’s Call that asked me to consider what hides behind my mask. Of course I would deny I have a mask – I like to claim that I’m as deep and mysterious as a babbling brook. Of course that’s bullshit. We all have masks we hide behind and roles we assume according to environment. At the same time I clearly have a bit of resistance to seeing mine so I decided to ask the Tarot.

Transformational 9 of Wands

I used Arnell Ando’s amazing Transformation Tarot (one of my favorites for this type of work) and asked “What hides behind my mask?” I drew the 9 of Wands. In a traditional RWS based Tarot deck this image would show someone pausing for a moment of respite after having survived a clearly exhausting experience. This figure on this card is more contemplative and less worn out. There is a serenity and calmness to this card that I initially did not understand. Looking at it for a few more minutes finally gave me and insight. What lies behind my mask is someone who does have depth, who does love considering the interconnectedness of things. If you only know me on a superficial level or fall for the burlesque show I often put on in public venues, you might miss this. It’s an aspect of myself I closely guard and only share with trusted friends.

That made me wonder why I feel the need to maintain this burlesque act, to wear this mask. As with most masks, it’s a protective device. In childhood I learned that being a “thinker of deep thoughts” is not conducive to a peaceful childhood. I got teased a lot (in face sometimes I still do). I had friends who used to mock me for using “dollar words” rather that speaking the common tongue. I was proud of my knowledge and intelligence (maybe vain and arrogant could apply as well) and used as many “big words” as I could. To reduce the teasing I became aggressive. If perceived mockery or bullying, I struck back quickly. This often created additional problems that I preferred to avoid. So I learned to become more of a joker, a verbal fan dancer. I distracted others from my more sensitive, contemplative side by acting like a somewhat outrageous, opinionated, and over the top character. That character is a part of who I am but it’s not all that I am, not by a long shot.

A friend recently commented that she has learned to accept that she is different from the majority and her definition of success might be very different from theirs. I am the same way. I realized a long time ago that I don’t need to find fulfillment from my job. I have many other avenues for personal satisfaction and spiritual fulfillment. What I need from a job is that it not be overly stressful, time consuming or aggravating. I need a job that doesn’t take away from my true vocation and spiritual path. It may be that they will dovetail nicely someday but if they don’t I’m okay with that because I have become comfortable with who I am as well as the masks I wear. This is not the only one but it’s the only one I’ll share right now.

Mansions of the Moon Tower

Mansions of the Moon Tower

Mansions of the Moon Tarot
ZADOK (dahogue@nctc.net)
Self-Published

Traditional Meaning:  Sudden, disruptive and potential devastating change.  A shattering, eye-opening experience that changes one’s perspective forever.  A dramatic, sudden and unexpected clearing away of obstacles so that the path ahead becomes clearer.  Disaster and upheaval.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: The image is very traditional in nature but the addition of the figure in the sky shooting a bolt of fire at the tower changes it slightly. This gives the impression that the destruction of the tower is not an “act of God” or a natural phenomenon, adding another layer to the card.

This image suggests that there may be times when we experience Tower episodes which are the direct result of someone else’s impact on our lives. This may be in the form of a divorce, or other marital shake-ups, or the boss from hell, or perhaps from some government official or politician. Certainly one of the most dramatic examples was seen on Sept 11th. The destruction of the Twin Towers was the direct result of one man’s decision and his followers’ agreement. Destiny or fate was not the dominant factor in that event (at least not obviously so).

This card is a clear reminder that we can also create Tower moments in someone’s life. Perhaps it occurred as a result of a thoughtless comment that preyed on the recipient. Or perhaps you found yourself in a situation where you were the third wheel in a relationship or having to terminate the employment of someone in a difficult life situation. The fact of the matter is that none of us live in a vacuum so we may very well have had a Tower impact on someone else’s life of felt someone else’s impact in our own.  This has always been one of my issues with the Wiccan Rede “As it harm none, do what thou wilt” (or whatever variant you prefer).  The reality is that it is almost impossible not to cause harm to others through our own actions – no matter how unintentional.  If I win something that means someone else had to lose.  If I am hired then others were not.  We can try to ameliorate the harm we cause but causing some form of harm would seem to be inevitable for most of us.  I must admit there have been times when I feel like Godzilla rampaging through Tokyo because I seem to hurt everyone with whom I interact.

Maybe in order to free ourselves from the Devil’s chains we had to create a Tower moment in our own life. Consider situations where a woman leaves an abusive relationship or a person decides to face the truth about their own sexuality. These may be moments where we deliberately shatter our own lives in order to be more true to ourselves. Addicts trying to clean up their lives create Tower experiences in order to overcome their habit. All this and more is what this card brings to mind. Yes, there is the destruction and devastation, but once all the shaking is done we finally have a chance to start picking up and rebuilding our lives. It might not be easy but it can certainly bring a sense of liberation in the long run.

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