Knight of Chalices reversed--Yoga Tarot by Lo Scarabeo

Cards for the Day: R’d Knight of Chalices/10 of Swords: A Prescription for Courage in the Face of Fear

Because the site has been doing so well, my wonderful, supportive husband, in his awesomeness, decided to celebrate by buying me two new tarot decks. The second deck will be revealed at a later date, but the first deck is the Yoga Tarot by Lo Scarabeo. So of Knight of Chalices reversed--Yoga Tarot by Lo Scarabeocourse I’m Ten of Swords--Yoga Tarot by Lo Scarabeopulling my cards today (a bit late in the day) from this deck. But the meanings here are somewhat different than in an ordinary tarot deck — so I am feeling my way through.

The first card for today, the Knight of Chalices, corresponds to the Knight of Cups in a traditional deck, and came out reversed (though I’m showing it right side up here so you can better appreciate how beautiful it is). The second card is the Ten of Swords, which would be depicted in a Rider-Waite deck by a person lying on the ground with ten swords sticking out of him (or her). So, quite a different take.

Turning to the book that comes with the Yoga Tarot, I find a cryptic sentence and pair of words to go with each card:

Knight of Chalices: The path of the heart presumes the letting down of all defences. Timidity — pessimism

Ten of Swords: Am I ready to know the world through action and love? New path — seeking another

Hmm…maybe this should be renamed the Lovers’ Tarot! Because what I see here is love and desire, along with fear (fear of rejection? fear of being pierced by a lover’s words the way the Rider-Waite Ten of Swords fellow is pierced by swords?). This fear may turn the Knight of Chalices, though he is very strong, upside-down. But the humble approach of meditation and calm reflection, as demonstrated by the Ten of Swords yogi, will turn him right side up again.

Did you see the word “humble,” above? Humility, tenderness, and genuineness, not overconfidence, are what will touch the heart of a lover. The Knight of Chalices knows this. In other words, keep it real.

Though I am interpreting this situation as being about love, the truth is that we find here a prescription for courage in the face of all kinds of fear. Whenever fear and anxiety attacks us, we can respond by turning to breath and calm poses, choosing not to engage with fear but rather to focus on regaining and keeping our equilibrium in order to respond with focused awareness to all challenges. This is a warrior’s approach to fear, whether the warrior is a member of the military, or is a warrior of the spirit.

The Magician--Rider-Waite tarot

A Magic Lesson: 180 Your Day or Your Mood by Using the Power of Intention

The Magician--Rider-Waite tarotMy yoga teacher, Theresa Reed, always begins her classes by advising us to set our own intention for the class. But only recently did I begin to realize the true power of setting an intention. Setting your intention is a tool that can ground you, put events in your life into a larger perspective, and cause your mood for the day, if it was negative to begin with, to do a 180 degree turnaround immediately.

How can that be so?

Setting your intention works almost like magic — so here, to help you to think about this, I’ve added The Magician, who to me is almost synomymous with the idea of intention, creation, or the power of manifestation. If  you need to have something happen, or have something turn out a certain way, it’s not a bad idea to call on your inner magician — and you do have one. I’ll prove it to you.

But first a step back. What does it mean to set your intention? It means that you take a moment and think about your own personal purpose in doing something. Before a yoga class, it could mean that you stop to express your aspiration to yourself that the class will help you to become calmer, to destress, to stretch a tight muscle or muscles…whatever your personal goal might be.

So where does the magic come in? It’s here: if you do yoga (to extend our example) without first setting your intention, you may indeed feel calmer afterward, or more peaceful or more energetic or whatever. Or, you might not. The fact is, you are much more likely to achieve your goal if you set it first. Why is that? Is it like making a to do list? Does it happen just because you remember to do it?

Well, yes and no. Making a to do list is similar to setting your intention. And a to do list is a good manifestation tool. But, making a to do list is more like making a road map for how you are going to achieve your intentions. When you set your intention before an act that you are about to do right that moment, on the other hand, it’s more like saying grace before a meal. It can be a form of prayer, it can be a dedication, it can be an aspiration.

So what good does that do?

Tibetan monks have a saying: “Good in the beginning, good in the middle, good in the end.” This saying (which I heard in a talk given by Lama Kathy Wesley) has to do with making a dedication: dedicating your action that you’re about to commit (in the case of Buddhist monks, typically the act in question is prayer), for the sake of the benefit of all sentient beings, both before you commit the act in question, while you commit the act in question, and after committing the act in question. While Tibetan Buddhist monks might dedicate (i.e. set an intention for) the act of prayer, I want to point out to you that you can set an intention in this way for ANY act, whether it is prayer, eating dinner, doing yoga, reading a book, paying the rent, or whatever.

Can I repeat that? You can set an intention for ANY act.

Let’s go one step further: you can set ANY intention for ANY act.

Let’s explore how this might work. It’s almost the end of the month. Soon I will need to pay my rent for July. As I commit the act of paying the rent (writing the check, mailing the check or handing it in person to my landlord, or whatever other actions are involved), I could set my intention. I could intend for my action to result in my family and I having a place to live. But I could also intend, as I write my check, that all people everywhere have shelter when they need it. Will my act of setting my intention provide shelter for the homeless? No. But it doesn’t do nothing, either. Here’s what it does: it changes the energy in the world and in me. While I can’t empirically verify the energy changes that might take place in the entire world, I can verify the changes in myself, especially if I compare this potential intention and the effect it has on my spirit with some other intention. If I intend for all people to have shelter when they need it, I feel peaceful and grateful for the shelter that I have myself. An instant sense of wider perspective on the situation. But what if I write my rent check while thinking how aggravated I am with my landlord for raising the rent? What if I am thinking about how many other bills needed to be paid for with that money, and now won’t be? What if my intention is to be grumpy with my landlord or to look grumpily at the lowered level of my bank account? What effect does THAT have on my energy and my spirit? It lowers my spirits, that’s what it does!

The example above, by the way, becomes even more powerful if you apply it to sending money that is required by law but that you resent bitterly, such as alimony or child support to an ex-wife, or money sent to pay property taxes. The acts of making those payments can damage your spirit — or you can take the opportunity to mend and lift your spirit, by intending that your money that is sent out be put to good use, by intending that children and mothers everywhere have everything they need, by intending that your property taxes be used to pay good teachers for good schools, etc. Same act, different effect on you and your perspective and your mood. The difference between bitterness and contentment. All in one simple act: setting your intention. Are you convinced that this is magic yet?

Let’s explore another example. What if I am about to eat, and I say to myself, I intend for this food to nourish me so that I can go forward and walk on my path and be of benefit to sentient beings? (Sorry for the sentient being obsession, but what do you expect? I am a Buddhist; I can’t help it — but your intention can be your own, something different that is meaningful to you.) If I approach my dinner in this way, I also feel more peaceful, and I feel a sense of appreciation for my food. This approach also makes me want to choose nourishing food to eat, because nourishing food will better carry out my intention. Aha! Suddenly we’ve graduated from “good in the beginning” to “good in the middle.”

How do we get to “good in the end”? Simple: check back in with your intention after committing the act that you set your intention for. After my meal, I could say to myself, “I intend for that meal to energize me for the work that I must do.” Yes, it’s redundant because I presumably had already set my intention before the meal as well. But, that’s okay. When you set your intention not only before the act, but during the middle of it, and afterward as well, you make that intention stronger and you give it more power.

What kinds of acts can we set an intention for? ANY act. Even breathing.

If you practice setting your intention often,  you’ll find that setting your intention, and checking back in with that intention, can be especially helpful when you are trying to keep your calm, keep your temper, keep from generally losing your cool. When you are trying to stay balanced. When you are trying to ground. Even at a time when you are in physical or emotional pain and you need comfort.

For example, I can intend for the air that I breathe to travel through my body and heal the big toe that I just stubbed and make it stop hurting — and, it pretty much will.

If I go into a meeting with an angry, confrontational colleague, I can intend that my calm voice and relaxed posture will keep me in balance, and chances are it will go one further and balance my colleague as well.

I can intend to use the time that I spend stuck in a crowded waiting room to look around and practice paying attention to the energy of the other people in the room, or even saying a mental prayer on their behalf, intending that my practice or my prayer will somehow nudge the energy in the universe in some small way that will bring each of these people more happiness, and, whether my attempt to benefit a stranger in this way works on that person or not (I choose to think it helps them, but you are free to think I’m an idiot, I don’t mind), it will assuredly change my own waiting room mood from frustrated impatience and potentially rising anger into a playful “let’s see what I can accomplish here” frame of mind.

Setting your intention IS magic. It’s magic you can access at any time and in any situation — and I can think of plenty of situations when, frankly, we need it.

Let’s consider a more serious example. Suppose I am very upset and/or depressed because of negative events in my life. Such as trauma, or the death of someone close to me, or major mental illness, or…well, you fill in the blank. Suppose that there is NOTHING that will shake my negative mood because these events are so serious that they have knocked me out of the ball game for several weeks, or maybe even months, or years. And suppose there is NOTHING that can change that. Suppose that I say to myself at such a time, “my intention is that I will experience this pain at this moment and for however long it takes in the hope that by doing so, I will prevent others from having to experience this exact same pain.”

Even then, setting my intention, while it probably will not relieve my depression, can make a difference. It just might be that one small difference that would ground me enough and balance me enough to keep me going, however minimally, at at time when nothing else would.

And if that’s not magic, then I don’t know what is.

Four of Swords--Rider-Waite tarot

Cards for the Day: 4 of Swords/R’d Knight of Cups: Rest after a rough week, counsel a moody friend

Four of Swords--Rider-Waite tarotKnight of Cups reversed--Rider-Waite tarotIt’s been a rough week, and we all need to rest, recover, and meditate (Four of Swords). And there is one issue that is particularly weighing on our minds right now — something that needs to be thought through. Take time for that. Unfortunately, I think you may also have to take time for a moody friend who wants to pour out his or her feelings to you (reversed Knight of Cups). There are a lot of those moody friends around at the moment — everyone’s had a rough week, everyone’s feeling vulnerable and touchy, and everyone’s being affected by the upcoming Mercury retrograde. So if you run into one of these moody individuals — or if you are one! — be patient with yourself and with everyone. This too shall pass.

Two of Swords--Rider-Waite tarot

Cards for the Day: 6 of Pentacles/2 of Swords: $ from an Unexpected Source, Weighing Our Options

Six of Pentacles--Rider-Waite tarotTwo of Swords--Rider-Waite tarotWhy doesn’t money solve all our problems and bring us happiness? Well, it undeniably does solve some problems. But, the thing about money is that it almost always brings us choices (Two of Swords). Today, money may arrive from an unexpected source, putting us in a position to weigh our options (Six of Pentacles). We have several options to consider and a lot of work to do before going home for the night. Although we aren’t always ready to make choices like this, today, we are ready. We are calm and centered and balanced and we have at our disposal an ocean of wisdom and intuition just waiting, ready for us to draw on it as needed. It’s not a day to be depressed and anxious, but a day to be calm and steady, and to move forward on a path that will prove to be the correct one. It’s hard to make choices regarding what to say and how to act. Have faith in yourself and the path you choose to walk.

Two of Pentacles reversed--Rider-Waite tarot

Cards for the Day: R’d 6 of Cups/R’d 2 of Pentacles: Memories Disrupt Our Attempts to Multitask

Six of Cups reversed--Rider-Waite tarotTwo of Pentacles reversed--Rider-Waite tarotThere are so many people in the world who specialize in organizing, planning, decluttering…keeping us on task. And this is a helpful role to fill. But whether the person in your life who does this is a professional organizer, or your mother, spouse, friend, or boss, there is one thing that people who try to keep us on task, and who look judgmentally at our current state of disorganization, tend not to understand. And that is this: disorganization frequently does not stem from being irresponsible, or from not caring, or even from having a disorganized brain. Disorganization, quite often, comes from being overwhelmed with emotions. Any emotion, positive or negative, can take over and disrupt our schedules and our day. It could be excitement over having met someone new. It could be a long standing depression or feelings of worry and anxiety.But these feelings are shorting out our sensitive nervous systems and making it hard for us to concentrate — maybe even just making us want to sleep, instead!

Today, this is what I see happening: we’re trying to juggle multiple responsibilities (Two of Pentacles), but the past, especially feelings from the past (Six of Cups), are getting in our way. They are distracting and disruptive, even when they are positive. In some cases, it isn’t just feelings from the past — in some cases, we are still juggling extra balls from the past, in the form of debt, or promises that we still need to keep, or old papers that we have to sort through because something important might be squirreled away in there. But our feelings about these things aren’t helping us to focus.

I have several suggestions to offer you to help in getting through this day. First of all, taking some time, even though you are already behind schedule, to center and meditate, exercise, or do some self-hypnosis, will help. I turned to self-hypnosis myself this morning in desperation — picked a short hypnosis track off my iPod, got very into it, and then listened to Dire Straits (“Walk of Life”) to wake me up so the hypnosis wouldn’t put me straight back to sleep (a distinct danger). It helped — so much that I wasn’t in as big of a hurry as I usually am for a cup of coffee. (Though, if you are planning to give up caffeine, you might want to wait until tomorrow…and if you are on medication for ADD or ADHD, don’t skip that medication today!) On a day like today, you might even have to stop to do something centering such as hypnosis, or exercise, or both, several times during the day. It’s worth taking the time for these kinds of activities if they help you to let go, relax fully, and then be better able to concentrate afterwards.

I could say, try to let go of the past, but it’s not that easy, is it? Still, if you can relax fully, you may be able to at least let go of the hold that tension from past events has on your muscles.

Then, turn to those calendars and to do lists that the well meaning organizer people are always pushing and see if those tools may actually help. But, slowly we go. Don’t expect to do a thousand things at once today. If you single task instead, and slowly steadily do one thing at a time, you may find that you are able to accomplish more than you expected to today. Good luck.


The Empress reversed--Rider-Waite tarot

Cards for the Day: R’d 2 of Wands/R’d Empress: Don’t Delay Too Long in Choosing a Creative Path

The Empress reversed--Rider-Waite tarotWriters and artists of all kinds, I wonder if you are feeling blocked today. These cards look to me like a creative project (The Empress) is ready to be born (or at least conceived) and move forward, but we are still hesitating over the best path to take (Two of Wands reversed–sorry, my Two of Wands jpg file has gotten corrupted somehow and I can’t include it this time). There’s also an element of considering how to move forward in a way that will be helpful to the community and to the world at large. These are good things to be thinking about and considering, and our intentions are very good. However, don’t neglect that project for too long. It’s ready to be started on now.

Another interpretation of these cards is for couples considering whether or not to try to conceive–it looks to me like you’re not ready yet, though still thinking hard about it! If you’re thinking that hard, you probably are ready — you’re just trying to go slow and be responsible about it. Nothing wrong with that.

Knight of Wands reversed--Rider-Waite tarot

Cards for the Day: R’d Knight of Wands/R’d 7 of Swords: Deceit and Deception Throw Us for a Loop

Knight of Wands reversed--Rider-Waite tarotSeven of Swords reversed--Rider-Waite tarotTroubling cards today: is someone rushing in impulsively (Knight of Wands reversed) to steal another person’s ideas or approach (Seven of Swords reversed)? If these cards were upright I would think that this person just might get away with it (what a jones!) but, reversed, I feel that this won’t be the case — this particular thief is rushing into something so hastily that he (or she) does not realize that these actions have consequences. What is happening here will lead to nothing but trouble: trouble for the person committing these deceptive acts, and disappointed astonishment/disillusionment from the person against whom this deceit is directed.

I really don’t like these cards.

If you are drawn to another person’s idea, make sure that you give that person credit before drawing on those ideas in your own work. That’s common sense, right? But sometimes the Knight of Wands isn’t prone to common sense.

Also, knights, in some ways, are cards about experiences that test us. Consider that someone may be testing you today. Act appropriately. Likewise, you may be tested, or have your patience tested, at the very least, by today’s events. Stand up straight and tall, keep your chin up, and put on your best behavior, please. Take the dishonor implicit in these cards and turn it into honorable conduct.