Tarot Hunter’s Salt Rounds

  • Are you hiding yourself from changes that are necessary? Doing so might be negatively impacting your creative energy.
  • If you wish to unleash your full creative potential, achieve mastery in your desired field then you may need to release things that no longer serve you.
  • Effective leadership requires more than charisma and glib promises. It’s possible to transform oneself into a strong, positive leader but it requires commitment and dedication.

A Hierophant in flames

I have on occasion been told that I should teach something – Tarot, CPR, child abuse awareness, either because the speaker thought I would do it well or because my job required it of me. I can do it. In fact when I have been a presenter/trainer at various professional functions I often receive excellent reviews. I am a show-woman; a performer who feeds off the positive vibes I receive from satisfied attendees. However, I have always resisted pursuing teaching in a more structured, formal setting and I have never fully understood why. I do enjoy teaching but feel no need to become a teacher. Today was a chilly, rainy, grey day here so I found myself with some time to ponder this quirk.

Pearls of Wisdom Hierophant

One of my biggest obstacles is that I do not feel I have the expertise in any specific field to teach others about it. I have never been one of those folks who believes that as long as I am a few lessons ahead of my students then all will be well. I’m not criticising teachers who do use that approach (more power to you), it’s just not for me. I have a tendency to shoot from the hip; to wing it when I present a workshop. This can only work if I have enough knowledge and information in my brain that I can draw upon to supplement and enhance my notes. I can improvise but only if I’ve got a solid foundation upon which to stand which means I need to feel I have a full grasp of the information.

Transformational Sage

I’m also fairly undisciplined. I have neither the inclination nor the patience to create a curriculum. My approach is usually to created a bulleted outline of all the information I wish to be sure to present and then weave my ways among those points with some verve and theatricality. I admire teachers who can sit down and create lesson plans and curricula but I cannot. In the past this failing bothered me. It made feel unworthy. Today I realized it’s simply because my teaching style is more in line with my overall personality – fiery and rather erratic.

Wildwood Knight of Bows

If you ever look at a flame, even one that appears to be steadily burning, it flickers and twitches in an erratic pattern. Even when it seems at its strongest, it can unexpectedly die out. It is one of the reasons we cannot leave fire unattended – its erratic, unpredictable nature. Today I realized I am a bit like that flame. I can glow and dance with brilliant and mesmerizing intensity and then suddenly I’m burnt to embers with nothing left to give. That can be entertaining in a friend and even enjoyable in a one-time presenter. It’s rather frustrating in a teacher with whom one has signed up for a semester worth of courses; at least it would frustrate me to be taught by someone using that style.

Teaching styles seem to vary according to personality type. I’m sure there are teachers who are very watery & cuppish in their energies; appealing to students in a spiritual and emotional way. I’ve had several teachers who approach their job from a very theoretical, analytical viewpoint – all that swordsy air energy, as well as many that have a practical, down-to-earth approach to presenting their subject matter to students. I suppose it’s even possible that the different teaching styles are drawn to specific subjects – for example I would not be surprised to find that many teachers drawn to hard sciences have a very swords-ish approach to teaching, but that’s just a broad generalization and guesswork.

Celtic Wisdom Rememberer

So I have decided is that I may pursue or stumble into teaching opportunities in the future and I need to be careful and cautious in how I handle them. If I am asked to do a one day workshop, I can probably handle that with a minimal amount of stress on my part. Being a guest speaker or substitute presenter would probably offer the same kind of acceptable stresses and benefits. Where I would be ill-suited, and thus unfair to potential students, would be presiding over a long-term series of classes or workshops. I may be able to handle such an assignment but I do not believe I would be at my best and thus the students would be ill-served. I am fairly comfortable stating that I know my strengths and I know my bullshit. If I ever set myself up as a tenured professor type in any topic I think I’d have to call bullshit on myself. Of course that’s just me, everyone else’s mileage may vary.

The healing gift of a fart joke

Baubo Siren of Earth Dark Goddess Tarot

My message from the Dark Goddess Tarot for today was Baubo the Siren of Earth. Baubo is a bawdy, rowdy and raunchy Greek goddess best known for her role in the Demeter/Persephone myth. Baubo is an old nurse in the house of King Celeus who makes a desolate and mourning Demeter laugh by lifting her dress and showing off her private parts. Now that’s someone willing to do anything for a laugh. Baubo seems to function as comic relief during the Eleusinian mysteries, breaking the emotional tension and stress with a well-placed raunchy maneuver.

This is the second time I’ve pulled Baubo in three days. Clearly she has a message for me that I am either missing or haven’t fully embraced yet. When I consider her legend and look at the image on the card I am struck by the absurdity of it all. We often treat women’s genitals as something either too uncivilized for polite conversation or too gross. Baubo couldn’t care less – she lets it all hang out. So what if she’s described as a crone with withered genitals, she’s showing them off to get a laugh. She refuses to be bound by societal expectations and regulations.

Baubo’s myth brings two things to mind for me. The first is that when things seem darkest and most gut-wrenching, that is when we most need to laugh. Sometimes life is just nonsensical, absurd and ridiculous. If we allow it to these absurdities can easily overwhelm us and suck the joy out of our existence. The best way to counter this is with a good laugh. I know there are days dealing with my in-laws when the very monotony and tediousness of it makes me want to pull my hair out. Baubo reminds me that putting on a raunchy comedy (not some cerebral, satirical movie but a juvenile movie filled with fart jokes and sexual innuendo) can help relieve the stress and strain.

Baubo also reminds that I don’t need to do anything according to societal expectations. I do not care for my in-laws because it’s expected or required. I am doing it because I choose to do it; because I love them and want them to remain at home in familiar surroundings for as long as possible. If laughing at the ridiculousness of what goes on around here and in the world in general helps me maintain my equilibrium then bring on Meatballs, Caddyshack and Grandma’s Boy!!

I realize that “funny” means different things to different people and I make no claims to expertise in this area. I only know what has worked for me when in that kind of place – ridiculous, silly, practically juvenile comedy. When I’m in a dark place certain types of comedy just irritate me because what should be humorous becomes all too commonplace and triggers my cynical side (Bart Simpson I’m looking at you). So the next time you feel frazzled caring for loved ones (infant or elderly), the next time the news has put you in a deep funk, the next time your job has gotten on your last nerve take a page from the Baubo handbook – go rowdy, raunchy and ridiculous to rejuvenate and relieve the stress.

Yesterday i drew the ogam Duir/Oak

Green Man Tree Oracle Oak/Duir

 

Based on its meaning, I asked the following questions:

What are my greatest strengths? 6 of Cups
How do I use those strengths? 3 of Swords
How do my strengths hold me back? 4 of Cups R

I interpreted these cards this way:

My greatest strength is that I remember things – family stories, fun memories, etc. and I honor those memories.  The 3 of Swords suggests I use those memories as a tool to help me get over betrayal and heartache.  The 4 of Cups R suggests that sometimes holding onto those memories holds me back because they prevent me from admitting when I’m unhappy or dissatisfied with situations.  I feel I owe something to someone so I can’t say I don’t want to do something for them.

Today I drew the ogam Saille/Willow

Greenman Oracle Saille/Willow

 

Based on Erynn Rowan Laurie’s take on this Ogam in her book Ogam:  Weaving Word Wisdom, I asked the Tarot:  Where am I resisting the flow of my life? 4 of Cups, 3 of Swords R + 6 of Cups R

Drawing these same cards today is reinforcing the message from the 4 of Cups R Saturday. If I’m going with the flow in my life then I need to be honest about what is making me dissatisfied and creating a sense of ennui. I think the 3 of Swords R and 6 of Cups R are reinforcing the concept that there is no way to stop the heartache in this situation no matter which choice I make. And all the good memories and nostalgia in the world can’t make this better. This is what it is.

Perhaps these cards are giving me the message that I need to stop fighting the inevitable. It’s not a sign of failure on my part (even if it feels that way right now). It’s not because I’m weak or incapable. Their needs are just beyond my ability and capacity to provide for or fulfill. If I keep caring for them it will mean my life is on complete hold for an indefinite time. I don’t know if that’s fair to me or them. It will cause me to become resentful and angry. That won’t make me especially nurturing or caring.

I also have to think of their needs. Is it fair to my brother-in-law that his social contacts and experiences are limited to me and hubby? Is it fair to my mother-in-law that there might be treatments that might improve her life but we can’t provide them for her? Is it fair that hubby and I can’t even go out to dinner for an hour?

I don’t kid myself that life is always fair or just. It’s also sometimes very ugly and cruel. However in these circumstances there might be steps I can take that will change that. There might be resources available that will make things a bit easier and less stressful on us all. Accessing those resources isn’t begging or a sign of weakness or mean that we’ve failed. It means we’ve accepted the truth and realize we need help. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. It’s time I embrace that concept.

 

 

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.

Tarot of Prague 5 of Wands Tarot of Prague 3 of Wands

Where am I weakest?  5 of Wands R (Prague)
Where am I strongest?  3 of Wands (Prague)

I am weakest in letting go and picking my battles.  Instead of being selective and focusing on which battles are important, I waste energy in futile and pointless struggles.  The 5 of Wands has always reminded me of a bunch of school kids engaged in mock battle.  Nothing is truly gained or lost but they enjoy tussling with each other.  As an adult, I no longer have the energy necessary to expend on these types of energy drains.  And yet I continue to do so.

I think the biggest energy drain and futile battle is the one to try to change the reality of my in-laws’ circumstances.  No matter how much I wish my mother-in-law would “snap out of it” that’s just not going to happen.  I also experienced this futile waste of effort when I kept acting as if I could start a business as a Tarot reader by sheer force of will.  The reality is that right now my time is not my own.  I don’t have the time or energy to devote to maintaining a website, promoting and marketing myself and actually providing services to clients.

On the positive side, I’m strongest in establishing projects that really take off.  Once I am able to channel all that creative energy I have inside, I think I’ll be able to see my ship come in and find success.  I think the 3 of Wands is also letting me know that I will find a way to build the partnerships and networks I need to achieve this success.

So my biggest challenge is accepting that sometimes the time is just not right for what I want to do.  Timing is everything and right now my energies need to be focused on my in-laws’.  I will have the time to focus on my goals, dreams and desires but now is just not the best time.  So rather than righting that reality, I might be better served by focus my energies on what I can achieve and using my energies in a more productive fashion.

Today I drew the ogan/ogham card Duir/Dair.  This card is often associated with the oak tree, strength, endurance and stability.  After reviewing the various meanings associated with this fid, I came up with the question shown above.

 

So many of the books I referenced for additional insights into this card and its meaning offered interpretations about stress, distractions, minor crises and being challenged to adapt and grow.  None of these feel right.  I’m sure they’re all valid and useful at different times but in this situation and this question, they don’t offer much help or insight.

I’ll be honest, when I saw this card appear in response to my question, I wept.  It was a chest-wracking, deep sobbing not some “tears running gently down my cheeks” type of cry.  I wanted to throw myself on the floor or bed and just give in to it – this horrible, painful sobbing.  Instead I waited until it passed and tried to calm myself down.

I asked myself this question because right now I have become the primary caregiver to an 82 year old mother-in-law who is in the early to mid stages of senility (it’s not Alzheimer’s but that’s little consolation) and a 55 year old deaf and retarded brother-in-law.  We have tried seeking assistance from various government agencies but the reality is that the mother-in-law is not on Medicaid and so not eligible for any home care services (and we can’t afford to pay for it privately)  The brother-in-law is eligible but has not been under a doctor’s care (until 5 years ago my mother-in-law was his primary caregiver) and without a doctor’s approval, no services will touch him.  I have come to realize that even if we can get home care services for the brother-in-law it only solves half the problem.  That person would not provide any assistance to the mother-in-law and so I would need to be here anyway.  It is mind-numbing, relentless and thankless and yet I have to find the way to handle it.  The only other solution would involve some type of institutionalization for one or both of them.  If that happens, I have no doubt that the separation would destroy them.  As heartless as I may sometimes sound (or even present myself to be), I can’t do that to them.  And so I’m left trying to deal with this in the best way that I can while my hubby returns to work so we can afford to live.

The 5 of Wands appearing in response to this question tells me that my fighting spirit, my contentious nature is what will enable me to deal with this.  I’m too damn stubborn to let myself be defeated.  I make no pretence to nobility or sainthood.  There are times when I resent every minute of what I’m doing and wish it would end.  Then there are times when my heart breaks for both of them and I realize it’s not their fault.  Neither of them would choose to live this way if given the option.  For that matter who would?

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