I turned 50 back in July.  I have to say it’s been more of a shock than I expected.  I figured all the hype about becoming a Crone or 50 being a big transition age was just that – hype.  Once again I have been proven wrong.

The biggest shock I had upon turning 50 is the realization that I have somehow manage to shed almost 30+ years of civilizing.  I joke that the women in my family don’t domesticate well but it’s kind of true.  None of us has ever been a “traditional” female.  Quite possibly because most of us have had the unluck to marry men who have proven to be abysmal partners for one reason or other.  Clearly this is some type of familial pattern; a cycle that needs to be addressed and changed.  Anyway, I’ve gotten off point here.  The point is that apparently 50 year old me has a lot in common with 13 year old me.  Now that I no longer need to “dress for success” or anyone else’s approval, I have gone back to my favorite look – jeans, boots and plaid shirts.  How ironic that I loved this look long before Supernatural became popular.

I’ve also experienced a shift in attitude.  Not that I was ever shy about expressing my opinions but I did occasionally manage to tone things down depending upon the company.  Now I just don’t give a shit.  It’s as though that poor, weak, fragile filter that prevented me from being completely unrated was demolished, destroyed, damaged beyond repair.  Don’t misunderstand, I rarely intend to be insulting, rude or obnoxious but somehow I’m sure I come off that way when my mouth gets ahead of my brain.  At the same time I realize this is the result of not having to worry that I’ll offend someone who good opinion I might need later on.  The truth is I am a lousy diplomat.

For many years I felt as though I identified most with the energies of the Queen of Swords and Queen of Wands.  Now I realize that Queen of Swords persona was exactly that – a mask I donned when the occasion called for it.  Now I fully embrace my Queen of Wands energy but it means that sometimes I bash people into submission (or as my mother likes to say, I use “truth” as a weapon).  What I have also discovered is my connection to the Queen of Pentacles.  I can be a caregiver.  I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not my favorite role but when I have to make a choice between doing what might be sensible and/or more convenient or doing what I believe is right, then I’m willing and able to make sacrifices.

 

So, turning 50 has proven to be quite a mind-blowing experience all around.  I’ve realized that I don’t need things to be happy (in fact, much to my shock, I’ve realized too many things just makes me feel overwhelmed).  I’ve learned that I don’t want to bend to the wills of others.  I want to run my own life and follow my own passions.  I’ve learned that I’m tired of letting the perfect get in the way of the good.  I’m sure there are lots more things I’ve learned but this was a good starting point.

Just to make it interesting for any readers out there I decided to ask the Tarot what message I can offer to any others going through a similar experience.  I drew the Page of Swords from the Tarot of the Secret Forest.  At first I thought the youth was playing a cello or similar instrument but looking closer I realized he is holding a sword and shield.  The minute I saw this card I heard the phrase “relearn your own mind; stay true to your inner music”.  I’m interpreting this to mean that turning 50 gives us a chance to reconnect to who we really are without the obligations of motherhood, career, marriage and societal expectations.  We’ve been able to moved beyond all that and now we can pick up our instruments and learn how to dance and sing our true songs, our soul songs, again.
 

Celtic Wisdom Changer

Celtic Wisdom Changer

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

The Book says: The Changer shows the god Taranis (the Thunderer) wielding his lightning bolt. The Romans associated Taranis with Jupiter and his thunderbolt. Taranis turns his wheel and everything is changed utterly. Victims dedicated to Taranis were stabbed to death as part of his sacrificial rites. The upturned cauldron in this card appears in numerous stories where guests are invited to a specially built hostel by their enemies, only to find that the hostel is made of iron, that is has been heated from outside, and that there is no way out.
Keywords: Complete or sudden change, alteration of the world as one knows it, shocking or traumatic incident, old habits overthrown, breakdown, routine destroyed, revelation, clarifying or cleansing event, humility.
Reversed: Cooperation with disastrous influences, refusal of help, repression, ignoring warning signs, the prolongation of suffering, trapped in the past, calamity, squalor, clouded motives, hubris.
Soul-Wisdom: What old habits, concepts, and structures have you outgrown?

TarotBroad’s Buzz: There is a sense of energy and upheaval in this card. The Changer’s energy will shake-up your life and turn over everything you’ve ever believed. He will force the changes only implied in the Wheel of Fortune, whether you are ready or not. His lightning bolt will shoot illumination and change into our lives. While this upheaval may be beneficial in the long run, its initial impact will probably not seem helpful. In fact we may resent and resist the change, seeing it as something destructive and traumatic, but one of the things this card may show us is that these experiences are a necessary part of our growth.  They help us transform and alter our reality. Sometimes we have to be forced out of our rut or to move on to break free of our self-defeating patterns.

I think the key to understanding this card is to accept that sometimes we need to be shaken out of our complacency. It is natural to want things to stay the same in our lives; there is a comfort to familiar things. Even if things sometimes become too routine or boring, we still prefer that to the unknown. The Changer shows us that there are moments in our lives when we need to face the unknown. Sometimes we need to move on in order to find happiness and fulfillment in our lives, The Changer helps us (indeed forces us) to make this move.

Losing sight of my dreams

Dark Goddess 2 of Water

 

Over the last two weeks, during my Dark Goddess labyrinth journey with Arianrhod/The Moon I’ve drawn Lorelei/2 of Cups three times. This makes me realize that there is a subtlety to her message that has been eluding me. The majority of the cards I’ve drawn along with Lorelei have been either Cups or Majors. This tells me that one of the challenges she’s pointing out is that the next major shift/life lesson for me will involve my dreams and emotions; two things I’ve lost touch with over the years.

When I looked over these cards they forced me to reflect on the fact that I truly don’t know what my dreams are anymore. I had dreams when I was a kid, although as with most childhood dreams they were mostly vague, nebulous and unrealistic (like wanting to be a princess). As I grew older my dreams became more practical and less connected to what my soul desired. I wanted a job that I enjoyed that paid me well. I wanted things – computers, clothes, etc. I wanted to attend college. I wanted to be the director of the recreation center I attended as a child. Of these goals, only the last one felt connected to my spirit. The rest were either to prove my worth to others or so that I could silence my spiritual ennui with stuff. It worked for a while but eventually cracks appeared. Even achieving the last goal was ultimately not as satisfying as I had hoped, a;though I was glad I manage to accomplish it.

Considering the Lorelei’s appearance with The Moon, I realized that I haven’t even tried to connect with my dreams or my inner desires in a long time. Feelings of betrayal and disappointment had caused me to dismiss them as worthless and pointless. Of course this left a huge hole in my soul. I didn’t realize it until I sat down to write this. It began to occur to me that without dreams we have nothing to look forward to in the future. Instead it becomes a vast, desolate wasteland; an endless barrenness that one tries to avoid at all costs. It explains my rigid and stubborn resistance to change. At least if things are familiar they offer a certain level of comfort and consistency, even if we don’t feel a sense of excitement or joy. Unfortunately this very sameness makes it difficult to get up every day. Who really wants to live a same shit/different day existence?

The Lorelei’s song is luring me to a land of dreams and desires; a world of hope for the future. That is a scary, unfamiliar world indeed. I don’t know what I’ll find there but just making the decision to follow it is encouraging me to decide to plan for the future. It is making me feel more alive and creative and excited. That terrifies me and exhilarates me at the same time. I want to dance to her song but not get crushed on the rocks. Of course the truth is that nothing in life worth doing is without risk. I’ve been avoiding risk for a long time (or at least telling myself that I”m avoiding it) but the reality is that I’m deluding myself and it’s time to stop.

Am I happy with my life?

Dark Goddess 6 of Air

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

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

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

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

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

Blue Rose Chariot

Blue Rose Tarot
Created by Paula Gibby
Published by Soul Guidance

The Book says: The Chariot symbolizes the active realization of those concepts by getting out there and participating in Life. And you begin with the basics; navigating through the world, getting to know the other players, learning how to fend for yourself, cloth yourself, educate yourself. Control yourself.

The Chariot card is all about mastery and control. And in most cases, when you first attempt to control a situation, you exert a lot of energy and concentration. It’s a kind of “brute force” attempt to navigate one’s way through a situation, issue, relationship, whatever. You rely upon great strength of will. You constantly employ the concept that every action results in an equal but opposite reaction.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: When I first looked at this card I didn’t see the monitor, I saw it as representing people heading to the “big city” to find success, money or themselves. It reminded me of the expression “all roads lead to Rome”; if you can make it there you can make it anywhere. All of which I though fit The Chariot card – the desire to steer your own course, follow your own destiny. The need to move beyond your starting point (home town) and move on to a bigger challenge. Then when I realized that it was representing the electronic age, the information superhighway – it added an additional layer to the meaning.

On the Internet there is a need to be focused on your goals and aims, to have an idea where you are heading and how to get there. Without this focus and aim you can find yourself spending hours doing absolutely nothing but roaming without direction. You may have a goal in front of you but it is very easy to get lost on a byway or side route. There is also, unfortunately, a serious need for cautious and taking steps to protect yourself. Some strange and dangerous people populate the Internet just waiting for someone to cross their path.

The Internet also demands a certain amount of self-control and discipline. Communicating with people online can be tricky. One misplaced word can lead to a flame war of immense proportions. So The Chariot can also represent the need for maturity and responsibility. It can be so easy to send off a letter shredding someone else’s opinion to bits without giving a second thought, something many of us would never do in person. But the anonymity of the Internet seems to release us from some of the controls we usually place on our tongues. The Blue Rose Chariot card is a reminder and a representation of all the potential and the lure of such freedom. The road lies gleaming ahead of us and it is up to us whether we steer through it following some of the basic rules of the road or being a road hog, leaving pockets of road rage in our wake.

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 7 of Arrows

It’s such a gorgeous day outside that I changed my focus a bit.  Instead of focusing on the Shadow I decided to look at soulwork issues.

Looking at the image on this card and its keyword (insecurity), what strikes me is the arrows piercing the woman’s body.  Are these the arrows of self-doubt?  Of inner demons and critics?  Despite the arrows embedded in her body, the woman’s expression seems melodramatic.  It’s almost as though she isn’t truly wounded but is acting as though she’s wounded.

That made me wonder about the nature of insecurity – at least in my case.  There are times when I claim to be insecure or self-effacing about something but in reality I’m just fishing for praise.  Have you ever found yourself doing that – seeking reassurance and reaffirmation that you are good at something (or at least not as bad as you fear)?  That’s the message I’m getting from this card today.  Her pose is so contrived and her expression so overly dramatic that I want to say “just get over yourself!”  And there are many times when I want to say that to myself too.

In relation to this question, I think she is telling me that I need to stop letting myself get held back by self-doubts and insecurities.  They can only hold me back if I allow them to do so.  They can only hurt me if I make them reality.  They are phantasms; illusory weapons that can only wound if I give them the power.

I often see this card as representing the reclaiming of one’s own power.  That can certainly apply here.  By not allowing the slings and arrows of self-doubts, negative opinions and inner critics to wound me and hold me back, I am reclaiming my power.  I am standing up and saying I can achieve anything as long as I believe in myself.  What a great message for such a beautiful day.

Dark Goddess Siren of Air

I wasn’t sure what to write about for Shadow Side Saturday.  It’s not that I can’t find lots of dark things in my life it’s that I don’t necessarily feel the desire to share them with anyone.  So I decided to ask the Dark Goddess Tarot what I can write about and I drew the Siren of Air – Lilith.  At first I wasn’t sure what she was telling me.  Then I got an email letting me know that a movie I  requested was mailed to me.  The movie is The Stepford Wives, the original version.  This movie focuses on a community of men who seek to create wives who are the antithesis of Lilith’s energy.  They are submissive and subservient, catering to their husbands’ needs and putting their own on hold.  In fact once they are transformed they don’t even acknowledge having needs.  Of course they also happen to be highly sophisticated androids.

That made me wonder if that’s what men truly want?  I think there is always a layer of this desire in men.  They can feel emasculated if their wife is more successful or accomplished.  In it’s most violent form, this attitude manifests itself as an abusive partner however it cal also subtly pervade various aspects of our lives.  How many women in the work world have been overtly or subtly told that she was behaving in an unfeminine way or is excluding by the “boys”.  Even today these kind of behaviors and attitudes exist.

While working on a paper for my psych degree I read the book Against Our Will by Susan Brownmiller.  One concept she put forth that struck me to the core is that even men who will never rape benefit from the fear of rape.  She points out that rape is sometimes an effective tool for dominating (not just women, it is quite effective with men too).  If women are afraid that certain behaviors might cause them to be raped, they will avoid those behaviors.  Even now we read stories that imply or outright state a woman brought it on herself.  Why was she out so late?  What was she dressed that way?

Things are changing – there are many more men willing to be the stay at home parent but they are still in the minority.  And while the men are praised for getting in touch with their nurturing side, the women are often castigated and view as exhibiting aberrant behavior for not being satisfied with the fulfilling life of a stay at home mother.  Attitudes towards rape of all types as well as domestic violence are being treated more seriously.

This is where Lilith comes in.  Lilith is the patroness of those women; those who are honest enough with themselves to admit they won’t be satisfied to be a stay at home parent.  Lilith understands the need to be true to yourself and claim your power.  In a world where women are still marginalized or penalized for trying to claim their independence, Lilith defiantly walks (or flies) her own path).  In a world where women are convinced they need to stay youthful looking and beautiful; where no price is to high to pay to achieve these goals, Lilith doesn’t care what you think of her appearance.

She terrifies men because they can’t control her or dominate her.  Lilith stands up for all women and shrieks “I won’t be boxed in or dominated!!”  She’s rather like Glenn Close’s character in Fatal Attraction when she declares “I won’t be ignored”.  Lilith may reproduce but she doesn’t mother.  She consorts with demons and demands to be on top.  Lilith won’t let someone else dictate her life or sexual preferences.  She may be frightening and dark but she’s also powerful and fierce.  She is free and independent and that might be considered dark but it is very appealing to me.  So let’s take a moment today to embrace this dark goddess and honor her fiercely free and frighteningly forceful approach to claiming her power.

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?

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