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Yesterday I asked myself this question and drew the King of Vessels (Heron) from the Wildwood Tarot.  Today I asked “What else can I do?” and drew the 8 of Stones.  Here are my thoughts:

Wildwood King of Vessels

As soon as I saw this card I got the sense that I need to let the heron’s bill pierce my heart.  This card seems especially appropriate because I’ve felt the heron’s energy in my life lately.  We’ve been visited by one several times over the last few months.  He tends to visit when the weather is grey and rainy; a ghost barely visible in the misty day.

I looked up Heron in Ted Andrews’ Animal Speak and learned that it represents self-reliance and self-determination.  They also straddle boundaries to some degree – connecting with the earth and water at the same time.  Seeing this card appear in my reading made me think that I needed to embrace the Heron’s energy more in myself.

I don’t get the sense that my focus should be on manifesting this energy in the world or for others.  It’s about channeling it into myself.  Allowing my to embrace the Heron’s energies.  I have been self-reliant and self-determined for many years.  In fact I can get downright prickly about it.  Perhaps the Heron is reminding me to embrace these qualities in myself and suggesting I find ways to straddle some boundaries of my own.  I’m not sure how just yet but it’s pointing me in the right direction.

Wildwood 8 of Stones

This is about planning to me.  I need to take stock, assess my skills, interests and desires and then create a plan that will allow me to pursue them.  Now is not necessarily the time to take action, it’s the time to take stock.

I’ve already been doing that in small ways – weeding out clothes, books, music, even Tarot decks that I don’t need anymore.  It’s time to release some things into the world.  At the same time I need to bring in some new things.  I definitely need a new wardrobe (I haven’t bought anything new in some time).  Before I start on a buying binge I want to come up with a strategy so that I’ll know what I really need rather than falling prey to a pretty color.  Too often I just feel the urge to buy something and end up with items I’ll wear only once.  I don’t want to waste that kind of money anymore (I can’t waste that kind of money anymore).

I want to take stock of what I’m truly interested in manifesting in my life – what do I want to do with myself?  It’s been some time since I’ve even considered it and my previous path no longer holds any interest.  I don’t need to rush into anything but I do need to take time and make plans, prioritize and strategize before manifesting.

Wildwood 3 of Bows

The hooded figure on this card holds up his hand as he stands before a large tree just beyond two staves planted in the ground serving as a gateway.  Is he greeting me or warning me back?   He seems to guard a path that splits off behind him.  Is he a guardian of the crossroads?  How does his energy merge with the energy of this card?

The keyword on this cards is fulfillment.  In traditional Tarot interpretation it is often seen as representing projects or creative endeavors coming to fruition; seeing the fruits of our efforts come back to us.  In this card I get a sense that this hooded man is both guardian and guide.  Our efforts have brought us to this point but now the choice to go on must be made and he is there to remind us that all choices carry some peril with them.

Behind him on the left side the road seems to dip a bit lower while on the right it rises up.  Will the lower path take us to the Underworld?  For me, today, that is the sense I am getting.  With each week that passes I get a stronger sense that shadow work and embracing the dark side is becoming more important to me.  There are dark sides to myself and to the world that I still need to explore.  I’m very curious about this dark side.  I’ve always been partially drawn to it but I resisted its call because part of me felt that I needed to stay on a more “normal” path.  I was already odd enough without adding a layer of darkness.

I have been known to joke that I’m as deep and mysterious as a babbling stream.  To some degree this is true because this is the persona I don when I interact with people.  I’ve tried being more withholding and aloof but it never seems to work.  I think it’s a defense mechanism that I developed over the years to hide my shyness and genuine introverted nature.  As a child I would much rather lose myself in books of fantasy or mythology than interact with peers.  With rare exception, I just didn’t get it, I didn’t understand kids my own age.  I still don’t understand many of the drives and desires that motivate my peers.  Although there are times when I desire company and people, most times I am find being alone.  I find myself seeking answers to supernatural phenomenon and mythical creatures such as Sasquatch and UFOs.  I’ve already mentioned my fascination with serial killers and criminal behavior.  The darker side of human nature calls me.

I remember many years ago when I read The Mists of Avalon that Viviennne (at least I believe it was Vivienne) mentions that there are four faces to the Goddess and that Morgause manifested the fourth face – the dark mother.  This concept has called to me since.  As a child I understood Medea’s choice to kill her children in revenge for Jason’s betrayal.  As an adult I understand the rage and pain that drove Betty Broderick to shoot her husband and his new trophy wife.  I am not condoning these behaviors but I do understand them.  I identified with Persephone as Queen of the Underworld.  The need to separate from one’s mother and forge an independent identity (even if it is somewhat forced upon you) resonated with me.  I connect with Sekmet’s rampage through Egypt until she is calmed by blood-colored beer.  Even now I am (in many ways) dealing with death and dying on a daily basis.  I have walked through many dark places both internal and external and emerged transformed.  Maybe the message for me today is that my focus needs to be on finding a way to use those experiences to help and heal others.  It’s a lot to process.

Blue Rose Magician

Blue Rose Tarot
Created by Paula Gibby
Published by Soul Guidance

The white-faced, leering visage of this Magician is at one frightening and comical.  Is he an illusionist or a trickster?  Is to he to be feared or followed?  Is he mad or a genius?  I think he is all of these things and none of them.  He controls the appearance of reality and can trick us into seeing what he wants but not necessarily what is true.  A rainbow shoots forth over his shoulder.  Is it from his wand?  Is it from another source?  Is it even really there?  The only way we will ever be sure is if The Magician admits his tricks.

Magic, when done well, can fill us with wonder and amazement.  The slight of hand and distorting of reality takes us to a place of wonder and lifts us out of our day to day reality.  Sometimes it can even freak us out, especially if the magical working seems impossible.  Is what we see truly happening?  For that matter, what is it that we’ve seen?  It can be difficult to know what is real during a magic show (at least if the magician is truly skilled).

This Magician reminds me that sometimes we fool ourselves.  We have the skill and drive to create the reality we desire but sometimes we fool ourselves and create the reality others expect from us instead.  Are we tricking ourselves or truly working magic in our lives?  The Magician reminds us that we have the power to control our fates but it can be quite scary to wield that kind of power.  We can create rainbows and maybe even find the gold at their end but first we need to be truthful with ourselves.  We need to release the illusions we hide behind, take off the face paint and accept who we truly are and what we want our of our lives.

That’s what makes this Magician appear so frightening – he reflects our own fears, self-doubts and ambitions back at us.  He shows us what we expect and what we might achieve.  He represents our potential and our reality.  The question is do we want to create our own magic or let ourselves be deluded by the tricks and illusions of others?  Accepting the tools and focusing our energies to create our reality can be daunting.  It requires us to stop blaming others or circumstances for our failures.  It means realizing that if something goes wrong it is the result of our workings.  Many people are frightened of taking this step but if we aren’t willing to take it then we are subject to the whims of fate.  That frightens me even more.

Transformational Tarot Magus

The Magus
Transformation Tarot
Created by by Arnell Ando
Published by US Games ISBN:1572815396

This Magus is true magic man.  He reminds me of a DJ spinning a spell with each record he plays.  He weaves a tapestry of truth and fiction, of reality and fantasy with a deft hand sweeping his listeners along for the ride.  He uses the songs available introduce us to all the amazing possibilities of human experience.

This Magus doesn’t play the music for anyone else; she does it for herself.  Her primary goal is creating the musical magic that is an expression of her heart and soul.  She is also a trickster who breaks down walls that divide us through the songs she plays.  She channels her powers through the music and out into the world helping to create the reality she desires.

How can I embody this Magus’ energy?  Surrounding myself with sights and sounds that express who I am and who I want to be,  Music is one powerful tool to do this.  So is drawing, writing and dancing.  I can use them to channel my energies in ways that will help me manifest my desired reality.  What magic is more powerful than that?

Hidden Realm 8 of Pentacles Hidden Realm Faery Stallion

It took me some pondering but eventually I decided the 8 of Pentacles R shows me that instead of focusing on external products and stuff (toys), focusing on what I’m manifesting internally is one antidote.  It can help me get out of the mindset that I don’t have enough money.  I am what I’m minting right now.  I am the golden coin that will be produced at the end of my labors.  Instead of losing sight of that getting distracted by things, I need to stay focused and keep my eyes on the end goal.

The Faery Stallion reversed is a reminder that I have little control over what goes on in the outside world.  If I want to steer the course of my life then I need to worry about how I interact with the outside world; how I play that game.  If I decide not to play it that’s fine as long as it’s a conscious decision and not apathy.  Looking at it I was reminded of the old 70s song Wildfire.  If I want to ride off into the unknown on my stallion I can do that.  I just need to set my mind towards that goal.

To ward off despair, I think these cards are telling me I don’t need to play the money game or be part of the system.  I can find my own path that might be less traveled but no less successful for me..  They both tell me that the antidote to despair is not becoming distracted by other people’s definitions of success, achievement, etc.  I need to work on myself and plot my own course regardless of what “the world” thinks.

It is my choice if I give in to despair.  I may not have control over various situations in my environment but that doesn’t mean I need to let them beat my spirit.  In reality the only thing that can defeat me is me.  Despair can only claim me if I allow it to do so.  If I want to live a happy, joyous and fulfilled life then it’s a matter of priorities and focus.  I can choose to focus on what I don’t have and what isn’t there or I can celebrate and embrace what is.  I may occasionally give in to bouts of bleak despair but I think my nature is such that I refused to let it defeat me for long.

Tarot of the Crone Crossroads Tarot of the Crone 3 of Cups

That both these cards are reversed tells me that this is a time to focus within and that this is an issue which I’ve already addressed in the past.  In other words I already know this answer and the Tarot is getting a bit tired of answering the same question unless I do something with the answer.

I think what I need to focus my energy on is why I’m not making the choices I know need to be made.  Why am I not taking the necessary steps to achieve the goals I desire?  I don’t even need to pull a card to answer that one – fear and laziness.  Not doing something is so much easier than actually doing it.  If I never try then I can never fail.  The two biggest areas in my life that exemplify this behavior are my lack of progress changing my eating patterns and with establishing myself as a professional Tarot reader.  I regularly proclaim that I wish to accomplish both these goals but do almost nothing to actually reach them.

The red hooded figure on the Crossroads card tells me there are choices to be made and I can’t keep hiding from them.  The red of her cloak reminds me of joy.  It is a bright, cheerful red that speaks to me of the possibilities for happiness that making these choices can manifest.

The two figures on the 3 of Cups are also garbed in shades of red.  They seem to resonate a sense of serenity and joy.  It’s as though they are in perfect harmony with each other and with their environment; a harmony which I’m denying myself.

Taken as a team, these two cards are telling me that before I can fully experience and manifest joy and happiness in my life I need to make some changes.  It’s time to make the hard choices and stop trying to hide from them.  It’s time to make choices that will bring joy, fulfillment and happiness into my life.  The reality is that not making a choice is still a choice.  Why take the passive route when I can be more assertive and fully participate in creating that joy in my life?

Dark Goddess 4 of Air Dark Goddess 3 of Earth

Looking at the reversed figure of Nut on the 4 of Air I get the sense of being consumed; entering through the red circle she holds in her hands and emerging through the one at her loins.  It’s almost as though she is diving towards me, ready to subsume me whether I’m ready for it or not.  She does not seem fearsome, her blue, star-filled body and calm expression preclude that.  However she does seem determined, almost like a mother who is determined to give you medicine whether you like it or not.  She knows what is best.

How tempting that seems – to rest myself in the body of the night sky and allow her to heal and succor my spirit.  Just writing that makes me tear up.  It’s seems as though it’s been so long since I’ve had a true rest; a healing, soul-restoring rest.  My life is filled with cat naps and exhausted sleep.  I awake feeling as tired as I was when I fell asleep.  In many respects caring for my in-laws is similar to having toddlers – you have to sleep with one ear open because you just don’t know when one might awake and what they might decide to do.  Even when I’m not sleeping at their house I find it difficult to relax and fall into a restorative sleep.

This card reminds me to the ancient healing temples that used sleep and dreams as part of the treatment.  It’s a reminder that sleep is necessary to maintain physical, mental and spiritual health.  I’ve read several books on dreaming and one of the concepts that grabbed me is that when humans do not have enough deep sleep, dream sleep, they suffer mental breakdowns and other health issues.  I think Nut is reminding me that I must make time to drop my defenses and responsibilities and get that deep, dream sleep.  The repercussions of not doing this may be more devastating than I realize.

The 3 of  Earth shows the Norns sitting at the roots of the world tree, Yggdrassil, weaving fates.  One of the things that has always appealed to me about the Norse concept of fate (or at least my limited understanding of it) is that rather than Past, Present and Future it is viewed as “That Which Was”, “That Which Is” and “That Which is Becoming”.  On the surface they are the same but in practice the Norse saw time as circular.  Actions today can not only change “that will is becoming” but can also changed “that which was”.  Certain aspects of our wyrd were predetermined but others could be changed by our current actions.  That seems more hopeful to me than a predetermined fate which cannot be changed or modified.

On a personal level, The Norns remind me that I do have the ability to change my future.  I’m not the plaything of an indifferent Universe but a full participant in my own life.  That is something I occasionally forget.  Perhaps the lack of true rest is also distracting me from focusing on creating the destiny I desire.  It’s time to carve out some time and space for myself and focus my energies on manifesting the future I deserve.

Ghosts & Spirits Knight of PentaclesGhosts & Spirits King of Swords

Well this will be my last day using the Ghosts & Spirits Tarot.  It’s interesting that the new year and the New Moon coincide so nicely.  Starting tomorrow I will very happily begin working with the amazing Dark Goddess Tarot.

So I decided, in honor the new year, to see what I should take away from this year.  The Knight of Pentacles is the Moss Maiden.  According to the LWB she is a web spinner, moss maker and protector of her natural environment.  She can heal or harm according to how she is approached.  As with most nature spirits her loyalty and devotion is to the natural world around her.  She will do what is necessary to protect that world. Her priorities are not our priorities although they may sometimes intersect.

It’s interesting that when I first saw this image my mind saw it as the Knight of Cups and wrote my interpretation accordingly.  Now that I’ve looked at it again and realize it has very different symbolism I am modifying that interpretation.  The Moss Maiden is a protective nature spirit.  She made be methodical and the most deliberate of the knights but she is energetic and not afraid of risks.  The Moss Maiden reminds me that I need to be careful not to let the moss grow too thick around me and to start spinning webs to manifest what I want to achieve in the year ahead.  She speaks to me of being protective and defending my world but at the same time create a new future to move towards.

The King of Swords reversed in this instance reminds me that sometimes we need to trust our heart and now allow the head to overrule the heart and hold me back.  The King of Swords is sharp, intelligent and thoughtful.  He is much too controlled to take chances unless he has carefully considered all the odds.  Right now I think that approach is holding me back.  I spend so much time thinking and planning and not enough doing.

These cards remind me that it’s important to maintain a connection with what has been as well as continuing to move towards what will be.  I can protect and value what exists in my world right now but don’t need to let it bury me so that I can’t manifest a new reality.  My focus needs to be on doing and not get too bogged down and lose my head over planning and thinking.  So let’s hope that 2014 will be the year of me doing.

 

Housewives Knight of PentaclesHousewives 3 of Pentacles

The first thing that struck me about both these cards is the figures on them being engaged in physical labor.  What it brought to my mind is that kind of drudge work that no one really appreciates but which must be done to keep up the home or the car or one’s life.  It’s work that we have to do for ourselves not because it will garner praise from others.

This ties in perfectly with inner work that I’ve done recently.  I’ve become a SARK fan over the last few months.  Her breezy, irreverent and fun approach to things appeals to me.  A recent blog post detailed her journeys through magical manifestation.  I LOVED it!!  Her approach is so simple it’s almost amazing – act as if.  She describes how she and a few intrepid fellow adventurers began meeting for lunches during which they each described their lives as they wanted them to be (I’m simplifying a bit – you can see the original post here).  SARK eventually realized that all of them had manifested their wishful thoughts.

So I decided to give this a try with a few friends.  We can’t always manage to meet for lunch so we’re going to use email, instant messages and phone calls to do it.  So far I’ve written one magical manifestation exercise and it was fun.  I realized that sometimes just acting as if you’ve already achieved something can make it easier to manifest.

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry is able to produce a powerful Patronus charm and protect Sirius Black and himself from the Dementors because he had already seen himself do it.  He knew he could do it so he was able to accomplish it.  In Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the Gene Wilder/Peter Ostrum movie), Charlie finds the Golden Ticket because he believes he will.  In his deepest soul he is sure that he is meant to find one and he does.

Sometimes it so easy to fall into the pattern of focusing why I can’t accomplish things that I undermine myself.  This Magical Manifestation approach avoids all that because it focuses me on what I’ve done.  If I focus on actually doing what I already know I can do, then it will happen.  It’s magical work at its most basic.  And these cards are the reminder that most of the work I need to do to manifest these miracles in my life is within myself, behind the scenes as it were.  It doesn’t need to be shown to the world because the important piece of the puzzle is the outcome.  I’m now convinced the outcome of this exercise in magical manifesting will produce miraculous results.  To paraphrase Eminem, “I am whatever I say I am.’

Celtic Wisdom Warrior of Battle Celtic Wisdom Decider

 

The Warrior of Battle is Fionn mac Cumhail, ancient leader of a traveling band of Irish warriors. He was a figure of respect and fear. He and his band lived outside the bounds of “normal” society. In some sense they were outlaws in the truest sense – the lived outside the laws that governed those around them. They did not recognize the bonds of family, kinship or sovereignty. He was gifted with prophetic insight thanks to his Thumb of Knowledge, possessed poetic inspiration and amazing fighting prowess. He reclaims his father’s honor by regaining the magic Crane bag which was taken by his father’s killer and served as the emblem of the fianna. The fianna still live on in folk tales commemorating their defense of the weak and defeat of tyrants.

The Dedicator shows the Goddess of Sacrifice from the Gundestrup Cauldron processing an offering. This image is a reminder that we often have to be willing to sacrifice in order to achieve our goals in life. The question becomes what is being sacrificed and is it worth it? If a man or woman sacrifices time with family in pursuit of career success, is that worth it? Only the person involved can answer that. How many times have we realized too late that we sacrificed our todays for tomorrow. We didn’t enjoy what we have and what is available for some delayed gratification. Sometimes it proves a worthwhile sacrifice (such as putting certain things on hold to pursue an advanced degree) and sometimes they are not.

So what I need to know is when to fight for what I believe and what is right for myself and balance against the inner sacrifices I am willing to make to achieve them. I think what I need to fight for most is myself, my goals and my dreams. Sometimes I’m too willing to sacrifice what I want to expediency, to the needs of others, to common sense. Now is my opportunity to stop that and reclaim my own magical Crane Bag. Perhaps I’ve already passed through the cauldron of transformation and now I can focus more on what awaits rather the sacrifices that need to be or have been made

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