Oolong with Odin

I have recently begun re-acquainting myself with Runes. I have dabbled in them at various points in time. I know some of the basics of working with them but I want to explore them in more depth. I’ve begun connecting with the energy of the Rune aligned with each half-month (each Rune is assigned a two-week period over the course the year, in order). I have no idea who created this system but it seems a good place to start. I then pull another Rune each day to see what energies might impact me and how they connect to the energies of the Rune associated with the half-month. Based upon the message I get from the joined energies of the two Runes, I then draw two Tarot cards for further insights or clarification. So far it has worked  well. This process is allowing me to begin working with the Runes on a deeper level. However I kept feeling blocked; as though there was more to be gained but I could not access it. After pondering this for a while I realized that my problem is I was avoiding connecting with Odin, the Norse god of magic, runes, war and a plethora of other areas who also happens to rule the Aesir. That’s like learning to drive a car via computer simulation. You may grasp the concepts but you’ll be limited in true understanding.

I’ve been wary of working with Odin for a loooong time now. In the myths, he is often portrayed as quite the trickster. He has his own agenda and we may not fit with it the way one anticipated. I have always felt more drawn to Thor and Tyr for their more plain-spoken and honorable approach to matters. For the most part Thor is not very straight-forward and Tyr’s word is his bond. Odin take a more diplomatic approach to matters in that he doesn’t lie but may not reveal the full truth either. His connection to Loki has also worries me a bit. I can understand the benefits Loki brought to Asgard but his tricksy, sometimes malevolent nature does not appeal to me. All that has become a moot point because I realize that if I want to truly understand the Runes then I need to work with Odin.

Legacy of the Divine 9 of Coins

So yesterday I sat down and had a chat with Odin. I asked if he would find a daily cuppa tea an acceptable offering for picking his brain. In response I drew the 9 of Coins (being more familiar with Tarot I used them for this conversation) which I’m taking as a resounding yes! So I made up each a cuppa oolong tea (Flower of Asia to be exact) and pulled a Rune – Othala, to go along with the Rune of the half-month Eihwaz. I then proceeded to ask Odin questions about the connections between these two Runes and how their energies work together and complement each other. It was a very interesting process. After each question I would pull a Tarot card. If I didn’t understand the response I could pull another card for additional insight but that didn’t happen. Each response I got from Odin made complete sense to me. It was exhilarating! I’m very excited to see where this journey will lead me. For now I’m taking baby steps but very much like a toddler I’m feeling quite a sense of accomplishment already.

Wheel of Change Tower

Wheel of Change Tower

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

The Book Says: In a reading, this card represents a loss of structure – perhaps a straight-forward physical loss, such as losing one’s job or home, or a more complex emotional loss, such as feeling of being misplaced or terribly wrong. It can represent a world in which you feel out of control, a world where others determine your future with no regard for your needs. A worst-case scenario is a world of war. The Tower can represent ineffective communication, either by yourself or by others towards you, perhaps in the context of an important relationship. This may leave you feeling isolated and remote, as if you were physically ensconced within an ivory tower. Your only way out is to break the spell of the distance you feel and to admit your pride and arrogance in order to resolve the impasse. The appearance of the Tower in your reading indicates that while the world may seem to crumble around you, perhaps this is the way that balance and harmony will be restored. The feelings you experience during a true titanic crisis will strip you to your soul, and through this kind of experience you may undergo a purification that will help you to find the creativity to go on.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card is one of almost absolute destruction. The tower is full of smoke and fire and not likely to survive. The volcanic eruption is filling the streets with lava, smoke and ash. It reminds me of what Pompeii must’ve looked like when Mt. Vesuvius spewed molten lava and ash across its streets. The searing heat of the lava must’ve felt unbearably suffocating. The lightning bolts shooting through the sky are threatening and frightening.  This image reminds me of a scene from an Irwin Allen disaster movie. The entire world seems to be destroying itself.

I have to admit that there doesn’t seem to be much hope in this card. And with things standing the way they are right now if almost seems prophetic. It certainly seems to bring to mind the current situation in the Middle East, especially Syria; explosions, eruptions, fire and devastation. Everything will be razed to the ground, with nothing left standing.  The only hope is that people are escaping. They manage to free themselves from the destruction and devastation and hold the hope of rebuilding and restoring some sense of structure and order. It brings to mind the Stephen King book The Stand which describes what happens to the survivors of a deadly, lab created virus which escapes a military installation. Civilization and life as they know it no longer exists. And the survivors must struggle to rebuild while at the same time, hopefully, avoided the same traps that condemned their civilization to destruction. The one hope the Tower holds is that we can learn from the destruction and devastation and take steps to prevent such things from happening again.

Wheel of Fortune – Blue Rose Tarot

Blue Rose Wheel of Fortune

Blue Rose Tarot
Created by Paula Gibby
Published by Soul Guidance

The Book says: Notice first, the spinning of the two wheels. The horizontal wheel, symbolized by the carnival merry-go-round, represents a concept discussed earlier; that of “being in a rut”, always ending up where one had begun. Never accomplishing anything. See how the horses speed along, their figures blurred with the flurry of motion. Poles deeply driven into their backs, these horses are controlled by the Wheel. They do not understand the workings of the Wheel and so they are mindlessly driven by it. The vertical wheel, symbolized by the Ferris wheel, symbolizes life’s “ups and downs”. No sooner do we feel on top of the world, than we are down in the depths once again. The vertical wheel also represents that feeling of vertigo and lurching of the stomach that can accompany the rapid ascents and descents. The clues to riding the Wheel are represented in the last two images. First, notice the acrobat, balancing carefully upon one hand in the center of the merry-go-round. Her body is a picture of constant and careful balance. Acrobats spend years learning their craft. They constantly stretch their bodies, maintaining flexibility, all the while performing tiny, almost imperceptible adjustments in order to maintain their balance. This is to say nothing of the intense conditioning of an acrobat’s inner state of being. In order to achieve perfect balance, one must achieve total harmony of mind, spirit and body. As with anything, the more one practices a craft, the more perfected it becomes. But it always requires serious work and the utmost application of years of skill. The final clue lies in the final image; that of the lovely face of the acrobat. Notice how it looms over the Wheels. This image symbolizes the inner spirit. The light of the Hermit turned outward, placing the Wheel and its purpose into its proper perspective. In this tiny acrobat, we see the perfect blending of inner spirit working actively with the material body. Both work in concert. Body and spirit. And by bringing his own dual nature into harmony, a Fool can begin to make his way slowly and carefully from the outer perimeter to the very center of it all. And ride the Wheel.
TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card is a reminder that the gods have a sense of humor and sometimes set things up so that our view of life gets turned upside down. Sometimes we need to hit the bottom before we can appreciate the view from the top. But it also suggests that there are moments when we feel so dizzy and spun around that we’re not sure what direction we’re going. We may not realize that we are spinning our wheels in place – just digging a deeper rut but not moving anywhere. I think many of us have experienced this in our lives. We think we are moving but we are really spinning in a circle. There is movement but no progress. But there is an overall divine guidance to it all. The acrobat is us – balancing carefully on one hand, trying to avoid falling over. But it’s also a reminder that we can’t do this forever. No one has perfect balance forever. We must eventually tire and lose it. No one was meant to stay on top forever. Professional athletes can only be at the top of their game for so long before their bodies can’t handle it anymore. Celebrities come and go, sometimes returning to the top only to slip back into obscurity once again. And what was once seen as the pinnacle is often overshadowed by new developments – we see this all the time with technology. What is top of the line in computers is quickly supplanted by the new “hottest thing”. It is easy to get caught up in these frenzy if we are not able to take a step back and realize that the minute we give in, something changes and we are once again kicked from the top spot. And the serene, slightly, amused woman watching over it all reminds me of Kwan Yin, Chinese goddess of compassion. I get the feeling that if we lose our balance or find the spinning is making us sick, she will catch us and gently lower us to the ground. And of course this song brings to mind that Byrds classic “Turn, Turn, Turn” based on a passage from Ecclesiastes. How true it is that “to everything turn, turn, turn, there is a season. . . and a time for every purpose under heaven”. In today’s world it is so easy to lose sight of that. But the Wheel brings us back to our center and allows us to remember not to get so caught up in the spinning and twirling that we lose sight of the purpose behind it – the genuine need for things to change and allow the cycle to continue.

Karma – Transformational Tarot

Transformational Karma

Transformational Tarot
Created by by Arnell Ando
Published by US Games ISBN:1572815396

The Book says: Karma, fate, destiny . A new cycle of growth and self-awarenss begins. Evolution. A run of luck. The art of timing. Taking responsibility for one’s fate. Learning to go with the flow, realizing there is a reason for everything. An awareness of the laws of change, natural cycles, seasons and all circular patterns. In the reverse this card can mean a bad gamble, a temporary set back. It could denote stagnation or being stuck at a level of awareness with an inability to see things from other’s viewpoints.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card shows our connection to the natural order of life’s cycles. We may blithely play and run around in our lives with no conscious awareness of this connection, but we are connected nonetheless. And the labyrinth created by the snake is a simple path to follow, although it may get disorienting. It is not a maze, which leads us down blind paths. It is one way in and out. But in order to come back out we have to go deep within ourselves to find our answers. Karma also shows the interconnectedness between human creations (the sun dial) and nature’s (the snake). One does not need to obliterate the other. They can coexist in a peaceful, colorful pattern. In fact this card suggests that they do coexists whether we realize it or not. And our choice is to either celebrate and enjoy this collaboration, or to ignore and resist it. Personally I think the girl on the swing looks like she’s having fun going with the flow.

Tarot of the Masters Youth of Swords Tarot of the Masters 10 of Swords

The Youth of Swords holds her sword aloft like a maiden warrior waiting to cut through the deceit and deception that surround her.  She is clear eyed and trusts that her judgment and intellect, guided by the divine, will help her through all challenges.  She has a youth’s simple faith and trust that the world is ultimately a good place and the righteous and just will triumph.  The Youth of Swords still believes there is honor in battle and that war serves a moral purpose.

The 10 of Swords shows a group of garbed figures leaving a room, swords or knives held triumphantly aloft.  A bloody body lies at the foot of an overturned chair.  He has apparently been slain by the victorious crowd.  According to James Ricklef, this image is inspired by The Death of Caesar by Jean Leon Jerome.  Am I Caesar, feeling stabbed in the back and slain?  Or am I a member of the crowd, victorious and determined to overthrow a perceived tyrant?

Actually I think the message of these cards is a bit reversed.  I think what they’re telling me is that in order to achieve what James Ricklef calls “the beginner mind” I need to slay that overly confident, tyrannical side of myself.  I need to leave it behind and let myself reconnect to the simple, child-like openness to possibilities and unlimited potential that surrounds me.  I need to cut away the cynical and allow the hopeful and believing side of my nature to expand and embrace it all.

Old Path The Close Old Path 10 of Swords

I got this question from the lovely Sasha Graham (the fabulous Tarot Diva) whose new book 365 Tarot Spreads is due out in May.   I find it interesting that these two cards seem to be different resonances of the same energy.  The Close (or Death) is a card of transformation, endings and beginnings and letting go.  The 10 of Swords offer a similar message – it’s time to lay down the arms and give up the battle.  Once we’ve released the urge to cling to the fight we may find that there are new opportunities opening to us.

On a purely practical level there are things I can’t and won’t release right now (and I’m no assuming I need to do so).  Caring for while in-laws (while sometimes thankless, relentless and frustrating) is non-negotiable.  I get the sense these cards are speaking to me of releasing an outworn and useless mindset, letting go of that damn inner critic that won’t shut up and starting a new way of thinking about myself and this situation.

Sometimes I can be a bit glib about things like this but I truly believe we have the power to create our own fate.  In my core I know that if I only focus on negative aspects of my life that’s the energy I will keep attracting.  If I focus on what I want to bring into my life I can do that as long as I truly believe.  Wishful thinking is real if I believe it’s real.

Sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day miseries that drain and exhaust me.  I won’t blow smoke up anyone’s butt (least of all my own) about how crushing and relentless this caregiving stuff can be.  However I refuse to let it crush my spirit.  I want to embrace the learning opportunity this provides even if I would prefer to forego the lesson.

Old Path World Old Path The Close

The World reversed is a puzzlement to me.  The image shows a nude woman holding her breasts while a spray of stars spurts out to nourish all the life around her.  She is framed by a mantle of deep blue and stars, the symbols of the four elements decorate the corners.  She is pale and luminous; her coloring the pale reflective light of the moon.

The Close (or Death) displays various symbols of death and transition – the Grim Reaper, an owl, a death’s head moth even an infant.  Combined they offer the message that change is inevitable no matter how hard we resist.

Looking at the two of these together I am struck by the fact that The World reversed suggests that my role as the nurturer and being “the world” to two family members may be reaching an end.  I’m not sure if The Close refers to a literal or figurative ending (time will tell) but what I do realize is that it’s also suggesting a change in mindset.

Reality is that no matter how dependent the in-laws may be on me, I’m not their world and don’t want to be.  In fact I don’t ever want to be the world to anyone.  It’s much too stressful to have someone rely on me that much..  It might be time for me to start considering options and planning for changes.  As much as I hate change, I also realize it’s an inevitable as the dawn.

Hidden Realms Queen of Swords

How odd that I drew these cards yesterday too.  I think they are telling me that the snow’s message is to slow down and stop trying to fight the inevitable.  I can’t do anything right now because weather and responsibilities are preventing me.  It might be more useful now to hunker down and just ride out the storm (and right now we’re getting hit with a doozy).

The expression on the Queen of Swords’ face makes me feel as though she’s looking right through me and saying “c’mon now, stop bullshitting yourself.”  She’s calling me on my interpretation yesterday that I yearned for nurturing.  The reality is that I am often conflicted about nurturing.  I often find myself wanting it desperately but then resisting when someone tries to offer it.  I can see myself now about 10 years old standing there with my arms wrapped around myself and struggling to get away when some relative tried to hug and kiss me.  In fact I can become rather nasty and aggressive (like a badger) when I feel my boundaries being violated.

Perhaps one of the things the snow brings me is the ability to avoid people and not feel bad about it.  I go through phases – sometimes I desperately want to go out, get away and hang out with friends.  Other times I don’t want to see anyone and prefer to hunker down in my snowy fortress of solitude.  Sometimes the longer my Hermit phase, the harder it is to break out of it.  That might be the reason I’m drawing a smirk from the Queen of Swords.

Hidden Realm Life Renewed
For some extra clarity I drew another card and got Life Renewed (Judgment).  Looking at this image I immediately got the message that although we’re still in winter’s hunker down mode, Spring will soon arrive.  The Earth will begin sprouting forth delicate green shoots and the air will slowly warm.  I think she’s also telling me that my life will change as well.  There will be a rebirth for me and an opportunity to make changes.  So for now I need to just hibernate and embrace the seasonal patterns of winter.  Spring will be here soon enough.

Dark Goddess 6 of Earth Dark Goddess Ace of Earth

Generosity, giving, abundance and prosperity as well as the opportunity to give and be generous with others are the gifts that appear to be offered by Tsonokwa.  I have always loved the idea of potlach practiced by the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest.  I don’t remember when I first heard of it but it appealed to me.  There is something very liberating about being able to distribute all of one’s wealth and possessions to others.  It is also a bit scary because giving up those things can also symbolize giving up who you are as a person right at this moment.  In American culture we often are our things.  The joke “he who has the most toys wins” has much more truth to it than we admit.  How many of us in this consumer society consider ourselves a success when we can buy whatever we want and can afford to discard items that are out of date?  We become greedy and hoard our possessions.  We want more.  As soon as the newest iPhone is released people flock to grab up a new one even if their current iPhone is working fine.  How many people fight and claw their way into stores on “Black Friday” to purchase items for themselves?  Tsonokwa reminds us that giving to others is often more satisfying than giving to ourselves.  Something I think we often lose sight of in our current world.

Gaia the Earth mother reminds me that I don’t near to fear that giving will leave me drained.  I can recharge and find new and abundant ways to recharge my batteries.  Looking at Gaia surrounded by the beauty and bounty of the earth, the idea struck me that spending some time each day just quietly sitting in nature might help me relax and recharge.  Even on the coldest day I can take a few moments outside to just seek the quiet and stillness.

The thing I find most frustrating about much of what I’m dealing with right now is that I know what I should or could do but I don’t do it.  I’m incredibly unmotivated.  I need to nurture and tend to myself and not lose sight of the fact that it’s not selfish to make sure I’m not exhausting all my resources.  They key to a successful potlach or the 6 of Earth is that there is reciprocity.  You may give a lot but you can expect others to give to you when you need it.  Perhaps I’m not being clear enough that I could use help.  Sometimes I make light of the situation rather than making clear statements.  If I want to manifest these changes then I need to change how I approach the situation too.  Otherwise I’ll find myself left in an empty, barren garden with nothing left to give.

Dark Goddess 4 of Earth Dark Goddess Strength

So today I started working with my new and fabulous Dark Goddess Tarot.  I decided to focus on what I need to release from last year.  Using Ellen’s Substance and Shadow spread from the LWB, I drew the 4 of Earth reversed (The Sphinx) as the Substance of the matter and Strength (Somavila) as the Shadow.

According to the reversed 4 of Earth, the action required is to take a look at how I define my life, how I’m limiting myself.  This card also makes me recall the Greek legend of Oedipus and The Sphinx.  That tale has always fascinated me because it encapsulates the concept of self-fulfilling prophecy and the futility of trying to avoid our fate.  Of course I don’t subscribe to the idea that fate is our entire lives written out at the moment we’re born.  I prefer to view fate or destiny as a series of stops we must make in life but how we get there is left entirely up to our choices.  The Oedipus legend has always made me wonder if these events would have played out the way they did if his father hadn’t tried to prevent the prophecy.

In my case I think the 4 of Earth reversed is a reminder that what is currently going on in my life was not pre-ordained and does not need to limit me or become set in stone.  I think my focus needs to be on breaking free of those expectations and patterns.  I’ve rarely found it useful to follow someone else’s path.  My innate knee jerk reaction makes me resistant to learning from someone else’s mistakes.  In fact this was probably the bane of my mother’s existence when she was trying to teach me life lessons.  So simply because one (or many) people in a similar situation handle it in one way, that doesn’t mean I need to do so.  Looking at the image of the Sphinx on the 4 of Earth I was struck by the idea that instead of sitting and brooding over the current state of things in my life, I need to spread my wings and look at things from a different angle.  It’s time to break out of the expected and try the unexpected.

Strength’s hidden influence is that I often find myself falling into the mindset that I’m too strong to need help.  My own arrogance is one of my biggest stumbling blocks.  I have really imbibed the “rugged individualist” doctrine to the point that I see it as weakness if I need help.  Or at least I used to feel that way.  These last few years have taught me that it’s not weak to need and seek help, it’s smart.  In a situation like this, not seeking help means you burn out and your life becomes a prison.  That tends to make me lash out – at my hubby, my mother-in-law, pretty much any one who stands around too long.  It’s not pleasant to experience or to manifest.

In this reading, the cards have pointed out to me that I don’t need to stick with whatever script might have been written by and for others who experienced this situation or by the expectations of others in my life.  It’s my life and I’m the one who decides how to live it.  At the same time, I’m being foolish trying to do it all alone.  That doesn’t mean I’ll change overnight but at least I might become more open to the prospect.

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