Now that I’ve completed the Comparative Tarot essays for the Major Arcana, I’ve decided to try some different Tarot focused blog posts before attacking the Minors (if I decided to do that). I’ve been inspired by James Ricklef’s wonderful KnightHawk readings that focused on 3 card readings for fictional characters. I hope I can do this technique justice.

Three card reading for Mary Winchester of Supernatural

Dear Tarot Hunter,

I have recently reconnected with my two grown sons after a 30 + year absence. I have no idea how to communicate with them; how to interact with them. They don’t need me they way they did the last time I saw them. What would be my best way to repair this broken bond?

Mary, thank you so much for entrusting me to do a reading for you on such a sensitive topic. I cannot provide any insight into your sons’ thoughts or feelings but perhaps we can look at the current state of this relationship and see if it can be healed. I will pull three cards and see what the universe has to say.

The current state of this relationship? Page of Cup Rx – Your sons are still those broken-hearted boys devastated by the loss of their mother. You are a mother devastated at what you missed in your sons’ lives. All three of you are relative neophytes when it comes to expressing and dealing with your emotions. I get the sense that none of you are especially comfortable with introspection and examining your motivations.  This reluctance for addressing emotional issues underpins this relationship even if you never acknowledge it.

Issues that fester or harm this relationship? 10 of Wands – There are a lot of burdens still being carried by members of this family. Considering that you mention not having seen your sons in over 30 years, I’ll guess that guilt is part of this burden – you missed their childhoods. How did they cope? Perhaps there are things in their past that haunt and weigh them down too. 30 years is a lot of history – both good and bad.

How can this relationship start to heal? 7 of Pentacles Rx – Upon seeing this card the first thing that popped into my head is you all need to stop revisiting the past, harvesting that guilt, and instead work to build a new future together. Although the past will always impact your lives, if that’s all you focus on then it will taint your future together. I’m not saying to ignore the past, perhaps discussing it will bring some closure, but don’t allow it to linger between you. It could create a toxic environment that will prevent anything new and healthy from growing.

The overall message from this reading seems to be that you can repair this relationship but it will be a slow process and will require understanding and honesty. You will need to look within yourself and be honest about the emotions this situation brings up for you as well as trying to understand what it brings up for your sons. You’re almost strangers to each other but a willingness to stick it out may go a long way towards repair this fractured relationship.

As fans of Supernatural know, Mary Winchester not only disappeared from the boys lives 34 years ago, she died. Her death became the catalyst for the story arc for the first five years of the show. The boy’s father, John, devastated by the death of his beloved wife, becomes a hunter to discover what killed Mary and cursed their youngest son, Sam. John Winchester trains and raises his sons to be hunters, sometimes acting more as a drill sergeant than a father.

Mary Winchester is brought back from the dead at the end of season 11 by Amara, God’s sister, as a gift for Dean Winchester. Over the course of season 12, we watch as Mary, unsure how to deal with her rebirth and her adult sons, distances herself from the boys, but this reading takes place early in the season before any of those conflicts have arisen. It’s interesting to interpret this reading knowing both the backstory and its ultimate resolution.

If you’d like to learn more about the show visit the Supernatural Wiki

You can also watch all 12 seasons of the show on Netflix.  

Sheila O’Malley also offers some amazing recaps on episodes from the first three seasons (well she’s working on Season 3).  I highly recommend reading them!!.

 

In Memory of Tom (1/5/71 to 6/16/86)

2016 proved to be quite a year. Quite a few major life-changing events occurred and I’m still processing many of them. Today, in honor of my brother Tom’s birthday, I’m going to highlight just a few; broad-stroking it. I’ll fill in the details as I go along.

So, let’s see – 2016 was my 30th wedding anniversary, the 30th anniversary of my brother Tom’s murder, my 50th birthday and the year my mother-in-law passed away. I’d say that was quite enough dramatic life changes for one year.

I think the one that surprised me the most with its impact was turning 50. I honestly believed it would be just another birthday but sometime after the 2016 Readers Studio and the lessons gained there I began to realize that I had entered an incubatory period and the me that emerged was quite different than the me who entered.

So, in honor of my brother Tom, I’ve decided to start back into blogging by remembering him. I’m also including articles from New York Magazine written about him. One when he was around 10 and the other after he was killed.

I still remember the day my mother went into labor with Tom. It was 1971 and we lived in Woodside, Queens. We had been staying with my maternal grandmother on the West side of Manhattan in anticipation of Tom’s immanent arrival but apparently the doctors told Mom that she still had a few days to go so we returned home. I can still smell the aroma of fresh baked bread that used to permeate the air going over the Queensboro Bridge emanating from the Silver Cup bread factory (now a movie studio). I remember the weird noises the cab’s tires made as they drove over the grating on the bridge. We finally arrived at our apartment and settled into our beds (my younger sister and I were in our pajamas). It seemed only minutes later when Mom came to wake us up – it seemed Tom had decided to join the party after all. So we put our coats back on and trudged downstairs to get a cab back to Manhattan so Mom could go to the hospital and give birth. We should have known Tom would create his own unique path in life.

In many ways, Tom was the best of us. He had a fierce temper which he eventually learned to control and channel into healthier outlets. He was a redhead like our sister and maternal grandfather. He was also quite the clown – he could make us laugh no matter how angry or tense things were. Tom loved animals. His menagerie of pets ranged from cats and dogs to parakeets and snakes. We all watched as he’d bring home new inhabitants – a nasty small turtle that was quite a snapper, goldfish, etc. He was a prankster – once setting up sofa cushions, clothes and a fedora to make it look like someone (possibly the ghost of our recently deceased great-uncle) was sitting there. His chuckle as he heard my shriek that morning was one we still remember fondly. I still miss him every day and wish I had the opportunity to see what kind of man he would become. Tom was quite the character and I like to think that despite his only 16 years on this earth he had a positive impact on a lot of lives.

 

A Death in Hell’s Kitchen

You always hate the one you love

I have been watching (well okay, binge watching) the Brit TV show Midsomer Murders and I’ve noticed a pattern that made me wonder about relationships. In each show there seems to be at least one couple in which one partner is continually putting the other down; the wife who scorns the husband’s lack of ambition or the husband show scorns the wife lack of sophistication. I have seen this in real life relationships as well. It seems as if the very traits that attract us to a mate in the first place begin to grate on our nerves over time. This is not always the case but it is common enough that it made me wonder why we sometimes start to hate the ones we love. What goes on in our minds that changes what were once endearing and attractive qualities into ones we despite and loathe.

Vampire Lovers

I am far from a relationship counselor but I do occasionally find myself struck by insights into human nature. For example I find it sadly amusing when couples who spend an inordinate amount of time planning a wedding end the marriage within a year. It’s as if they were (well, let’s be honest here, it’s usually the bride) so wrapped up in the ceremony they gave little thought to the actual relationship. Taking that theory to the next level, how often do partners in a relationship see their significant other as clay to be molded rather than as a fully formed independent human being? Based on the number of divorces out there, I’d have to say quite a few.

DruidCraft 6 of Cups

I’ve often heard the comment “he’ll change once the children come” or “once you’re married she’ll settle down”. I wonder what these folks are thinking. Why would the arrival of children change someone’s true self? It might change their behaviors but I’ve found that this often leads to resentment. For example, I know a man who held a part-time job he loved making okay money. He was not the primary bread winner in his relationship and he was okay with that. His job left him with free time to do what he enjoyed. Then his partner announced she was pregnant. They got married, he changed jobs to one with a better salary but that he hated. He stuck with it as the second, third and fourth child arrived. Then one day he left the wife and kids and began having an affair with an old girlfriend. He did return to the wife and kids but the story made me wonder why his wife thought having children would eventually grow on him, despite his protests that he wasn’t ready to be a father at that time. In forcing the issue did she create a pattern that inevitably lead to that outcome? I’m not sure but I doubt it helped the situation.

DruidCraft 3 of Cups

I’ve seen a number of people (usually women) marry partners who enjoy hanging out and partying with their friends (indulging or even over-indulging in alcohol among other things). They seem to believe the partner will stop indulging once their married and will settle into quiet domesticity once the children are born. Why? Clearly that is often an erroneous belief that often results in embittered divorced people. Could it have been avoided if the partners took each other at fact value and accepted the statements each made about themselves?

For that matter why do people not believe you when you state you do not want children? And why don’t more potential spouses discuss this with each other? I’ve come across quite a few wives who cannot believe it when they learn their husband does not want children or vice versa. When asked for details it is often revealed that they never discussed the issue before they were married because she assumed he wanted children or they did and she assumed he’d change his mind. When I was younger and told people I didn’t want children (never have, never will), I often got a patronizing ‘oh you’ll change your mind once you’re a mother” type responses. Thank the gods I met a man who felt the same way about the issue that I did and we discussed it once we realized our relationship would be long term. I don’t understand this assumption that everyone should want children and having them will be the greatest thing since sliced bread. In fact I can thing of few things more guaranteed to kill a troubled relationship than parenthood.

Once again, I have few answers and lots of questions. I can only believe that clear communication (and accepting what your partner tells you) can help matters but I doubt it’s a perfect solution. I suppose the reality is that sometimes one partner changes and the other doesn’t. Sometimes we delude ourselves about who our partner is and what personality traits he/she possesses. We lie to ourselves and we lie to the people in our lives. It may not always be intentional but it can definitely harm our relationships.

DruidCraft 4 of Cups

I recently completed an inner labyrinth journey using the Majors and Aces from the Dark Goddess Tarot. It was very transformative and magical and left me very excited to continue. So I have decided to work with Runes. I’ve dabbled in them for many years but have rarely focused on them in a more serious, structured manner. I started working with Runic Half-Months and drawing an additional rune each day to help me better connect with the energy of the rune of the half-month. Then I draw two Tarot cards for additional clarification and insight.

One thing working with the runes has made me think about is personal and ancestral wyrd or fate. How do the patterns woven by our ancestors play out in our own lives and in the patterns we now weave? I’ve always found it interesting that in ancient Norse mythology and belief the future is viewed as “that which is becoming”. It is not something set it stone; it changes and shifts according to our current actions. We literally create what will become in our lives by changing that which is right now. That is powerful. It takes our future out of the hands of some distant, impartial deity and places it firmly in our own hands. Now for some folks that is not a blessing but I embrace it wholeheartedly.

Dark Goddess Stars Spiderwoman

Of course it then made me wonder how my own family’s wyrd has impacted my ancestors and me. I’ve mentioned before that seeing the patterns woven through the tapestries of various family members’ lives has helped me forgive and let go of certain childhood pains. It has also made me aware of certain patterns that permeate my family line through generations. Substance abuse is a very strong thread as is abusive relationships of various stripes. On a slightly more comic note, the women in my maternal line seem to have a pattern of marrying relatively useless men and then needing to work to support them (this is a thread I have pulled out of my own tapestry).

Dark Goddess 3 of Earth

My family is not cursed but we certainly have made a hobby of being oblivious to how our own choices echo those of our ancestors. Perhaps if we were more cognizant and aware of the patterns we could have made better choices. Of course it’s never too late to change the patterns and weave a different tapestry. The true curse in any family history is the inability to see how you can change it in your own life. Instead we create self-fulfilling prophecies and tell ourselves it was inevitable and nothing we did would have changed anything. I think that’s bullshit! Every change we make in our lives today will change how our story continues. If we believe we are condemned to repeat the mistakes of our ancestors then that’s what will happen.

Lover's Path Justice

I have decided that I’m going to continue pulling out those threats that taint my tapestry. Like Penelope in The Odyssey, I will not allow my fate to be determined by anyone but me. I’m going to make sure that which is becoming in my life is beautiful, joyful and worthwhile. Perhaps things won’t always be easy but I don’t think that was ever part of the program. I have to do what I think is right for me. It might not be easy but I’ve got quite a stubborn streak (that was inherited from my maternal line too).

Celtic Wisdom The Challenger

Celtic Wisdom Challenger

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

The Book says: The Challenger of Will makes the soul question what is accepted and find true release from fear. He speaks words of liberation and wisdom to those who can hear them. Those who hear only what they want to hear, and demand that others obey them, petrify the living stream of tradition into dead formulas. How are you listening to yourself?
Fear, bondage, extreme challenge, misery, obsession, resentment, role-playing for effect, dependence, manipulation, humorlessness, self-sabotage, inability to realize goals.
REVERSED: Understanding, release, breaking the spell, respite from fears, obsessions or worries, recognition of the true self, challenges are opportunities for growth.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: It’s interesting but when I see this card the first thing that crosses my mind is the phrase “dialing for destiny”. The Cernunnos figure seems to be frozen, trapped for all eternity in his familiar pose. While above him the larger figure – human or god, seems to be working a cosmic telephone and dialing some sort of code. Will the code offer freedom to Cernunnos, freeing him from his frozen state? Why is he holding onto the serpent and the torc? If he releases them will he be able to free himself from his prison. Or perhaps Cernunnos is the guide, leading us through the hedge of leaves in into the heart of yourself. Maybe he knows the code for the larger figure to dial to free himself from his familial bondage, his ancestral expectations.

It brings to mind the adage about the “sins of the father”.  Are they the chains that bind this figure – the “sins” of his ancestors? Certainly we have all experienced the prison that is our family’s hopes and expectations for us. How much more prevalent was this attitude in earlier societies? Everyone had a place and a task. But what if you didn’t wish to follow other’s plans for you? Then they became an oppressive prison, a burden and an obstacle. So the challenge to us may be to break free of these expectations and obligations and listen to our own desires and dreams.

Learning through the pain

I have spent a lot of time over the last few years caring for my elderly, ailing mother-in-law. I have often written about how frustrated and trapped I feel in this situation but the last few days I’ve been looking at it from a different perspective. I’ve been considering what I’ve learned through this experience and started considering how this must feel for my mother-in-law.

Being forced to care for my in-laws has put me in a position of parenting my in-laws. As a result I am learning lessons many acquire while raising their children. I’ve learned the true meaning of sacrifice, strength and stamina. I am sacrificing freedom of choice, mobility and independence to take care of family. I am willing to make this sacrifice because the alternative of institutionalizing them is intolerable to me. That is my decision and I’m willing to accept its consequences, even though it sometimes makes me want to gnash my teeth and rip out my hair.

Greenwood Strength

I have learned that being tough and being strong are not necessarily the same thing. I may be tough and able to deal with aggressive behaviors and attitudes but this experience has given me a greater appreciation of inner strength. It takes an enormous amount of inner strength and fortitude to get up every day, especially when you’re not feeling well, to take care of others who cannot fully appreciate what you’re doing. There are few or no accolades for your efforts. Others may pay lip service to how strong or brave you are but few truly understand what it takes. It’s helped me gain a deeper appreciation for the Strength card.

Mythic Empress

I’ve been forced to embrace and enhance my Empress side. As I’ve expressed several times before on my blog, I have had a very distant relationship with the Empress. In the past, she and I have mutually agreed to keep our distance from each other. This current situation has pushed me into the Empress’ realm; forced me to sit at her feet and embody her energies. It was a true trial by fire and I’m still working on not getting burned or burned out by the flames.

Bohemian Gothic Judgment

This experience has also mellowed me a bit. I’m still judgmental (I think that’s embedded in my DNA) but I’m less harsh about it, more tolerant of perceived failings and imperfections – even my own. It’s forced me to realize that most of us are stumbling around trying to do the best we can with what circumstances and fate throw our way. Few people choose to be hurtful or mean or “evil”. Very often they believe they’ve made the best decision available under the circumstances. There are days when I feel like an absolute monster for the things I’ve said or thought about my in-laws. I don’t mean to be vicious but this usually occurs when I’m sleep deprived and overwhelmed. I’m striking out in anger and frustration but I’m not angry with them. I’m angry with the situation. Unfortunately they have less control over this than I do.

Dark Goddess Empress

I’m no hero, no saint and no martyr. I’m simply someone who loves her family and is trying to do right by them. I will say that I have learned to appreciate the strength of the human spirit. By all rights my mother-in-law was expected to die a long time ago but she is stubborn, tough and strong. She’s fighting for all she’s worth. She may exhaust and infuriate me sometimes but I can’t help but admire her stamina and strength of will. In fact I wish I could find a way to bottle it. I know I’m not the only one dealing with such a mess and my heart goes out to the others. We each have to make our own decisions about how to handle this type of situation based on our lives, our own obligations. This is one area that I refuse to judge anyone else. If I haven’t been in their shoes I cannot fully understand why they made the decisions they did. I can only hope that they have the support and love they need to make it work.

Changeling syndrome

My mother doesn’t understand me. In fact most of my family doesn’t either. Don’t misunderstand – they love me. I have no doubt of that at all, but they often seemed bemused by me. It’s as though I’m a changeling dropped into their lap and they’re not sure what to make of me. I’m more introverted and less social than my siblings. I’ve never felt having a large circle of friends and acquaintances was important while my sister and brother seem to befriend almost everyone they meet. I also don’t’ believe I’m alone in this sensation. I’m sure lots of folks out there have felt their family did not understand them. In fact I have no doubt that at various points in time my siblings have been positive that I don’t understand them either; and they’d be right.

So why am I bringing this up? It’s just been something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I recently had an experience where I shared what I considered to be an interesting insight with my mother and she snorted at me! Yes, she snorted at me! At that moment I realized that while my mother loves me and remembers who I was as a child but she rarely understood my motivations or thoughts and beliefs. To her credit, I’m sure she tried but I was not the most forthcoming child. Add to this three more children, a demanding and needy husband and a job that required a lot of overtime and my mother didn’t have a lot of time on her hands to dedicate to getting me to open up. It was easier to just let me alone as long as I didn’t get in trouble, and I was rarely in that kind of trouble.

Over the years I have come to believe that I make my mother uncomfortable. Over the years we’ve had conversations during which she revealed that for many years I intimidated her. She felt I judged her and found her wanting. She’s right – I was judgmental because I could not understand why my mother tolerated the abuse she received from my father. I suppose it speaks volumes for my mother that although she did not understand me, she did manage to raise me to be strong enough not to put up with that kind of abuse myself. She also loved me enough to tolerate my intolerable arrogance and judgmental attitude. We have managed to forge a very good, solid, supportive relationship over the last few years. Once I realized that many of the issues that troubled our relationship were as much mine as hers. This was another minor epiphany for me.

I am offering this to others out there who have had troubled relationships with family members; those who often felt misunderstood and alienated from them. Remember that sometimes our memories are faulty and that we tend to view such situations from our own, self-serving perspectives. Instead of clinging to our conviction that we were right and our relatives are don’t love us because they didn’t understand us, try looking at things differently. Be a bit more open-minded and honest with yourself; accept that some of this might be on you too. Of course I’m not talking about abusive family relationships – those are often broken beyond repair. I’m talking about more typical family dysfunction that can be overcome by some honestly, open-mindedness and love on both sides. Maybe you’re not quite the changeling you’ve believed yourself to be.

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