7-31-12 cards for the day

Cards for the Day: High Priestess/Queen of Wands/Two of Swords: Do You Have to Choose Between Action and Intuition?

7-31-12 cards for the dayEvery time that I have a rough day and have little time for card interpretation, that’s when lots of cards fly out of the deck at me. Today is no exception: three cards, and initially my mind was a blank, so I went back to Donnaleigh’s method that I blogged about yesterday and extended the reading into a nine-card square. Here are the patterns I noticed:

1. Six out of nine cards in this spread depict meditation in one form or another. You already know what I’m going to say about that. Meditation is key on the kind of day I’m having!

2. There are columnar patterns here: first an all meditation column, second an all wands column, and third an all swords column. The wands column has an interesting ten – knave – queen progression from bottom to top.

3. The first and last card drawn both emphasize meditation.

All of these cards, for one simple message. We may feel that we have to make a choice (Two of Swords) between action (Queen of Wands) and intuition (The High Priestess), or between a practical life and a life of the heart and spirit. But we don’t. We can have energy and intuition in the same moment. How? Through meditation. By making time for meditation even during an active energetic day, and by bringing meditativeness into our daily actions. Yes, today is a day for meditation, but it’s also a day for action — for bringing that fully present self that is the gift of our meditation into full energetic focus. The Magician, appearing on the bottom row of this spread, reminds us that this was our intention all along — no need to hesitate.

And no need to scrimp on meditation even on a busy day, because meditation provides energy for action. It saves time; it doesn’t waste it.

Put another way, here is a different card that I drew earlier in the day from Doreen Virtue’s Magical Messages from the Fairies deck (though the fairy cards will never seem to scan straight!). It seems to express the message of my nine-card spread much more succinctly: “You’ve got the power! Use your abilities to resolve this situation. You can do it!”

Ironic, isn’t it, that the most positive messages appear on the most challenging days?

7-30-12 cards for the day

Cards for the Day: Rising Like a Phoenix From the Ashes of Depression

Three cards popped out of the deck at me today. Maybe the cards had been feeling neglected since I haven’t done a cards for the day reading in a couple of days (I haven’t been feeling well — starting to suspect I might be part of the whooping cough epidemic, but maybe it’s just a bad lingering cold). Coincidentally, over the weekend I watched Donnaleigh de LaRose’s video on how she does her tarot readings, using additional rows of cards to show what led up to the cards she drew initially. So I decided to apply Donnaleigh’s technique to today’s cards, though in a more limited way (two extra rows instead of three, to make a perfect square with the three cards that popped out initially). Here’s what it looked like (the first three cards are on the top):

The basic idea here is that the cards laid out under the first cards that were drawn show what is leading up to those cards — how the energy represented by the cards on top came about, so to speak. The cards in the top row here show three different things happening today:

The Sun--Yoga TarotThe Sun: a release from (or at least a temporary lifting of) the depression that many of us went through over the last few days — causing us to rise like a phoenix from our own ashes, almost as if we had literally come back to life. And that is what it may feel like.

Reversed Ace of Pentacles: Family connections are blocked. Ace of Pentacles reversed--Yoga Tarot

Reversed Nine of Chalices: Feelings of detachment, and calm, but turned upside down. Even though our emotions may have calmed since the weekend, we are still feeling discombobulated or turned upside down — but some element of calm is still with us — it’s been turned upside down with us, if that’s possible.

Nine of Chalices reversed--Yoga TarotWhat do we find out about these unusual cards if we follow the columns down to see what led up to each one?

First column: Below The Sun, I see the Ten of Chalices and Eight of Wands. The Eight of Wands represents concentration, and shows a yogi in warrior one pose. Each of us, especially during times of depression, has our own struggle to grapple with, a struggle of the spirit. This warrior pose represents that for me. It represents a strong act of will power and discipline, and it’s paralleled by the pose on the The Sun card. To me this suggests that despite the negative emotions and the strong desire to creep inside like a hermit and sleep all day during depression, we may have pushed ourselves just a bit over the weekend to try to nudge our way out. We may have said to ourselves, “come on, at least do the laundry.” Or we may have taken time to go out for a walk or read a book — something that could start to move that blocked energy, just a little, but enough to create some momentum that we can see the results of today. Next we see the Ten of Cups, a card that to me looks as though it has love written all over it — and if you do warrior one pose as depicted on these cards, you’ll find that physically, you can’t help but open up your heart chakra. So perhaps the willful act that brought us to a sunnier place was more than just doing the laundry. Maybe we did the laundry for someone else, literally or metaphorically. Maybe we took some time to forgive, or to talk with another person about something that was bothering us, or simply made some small kind gesture like cleaning up or doing the laundry. These small gestures, particularly when committed as an act of grace, with a feeling of unconditional love and no hope of reward, are not really small at all in their effects on us. They start the movement of energy in a small way; the momentum builds up; and at a later time, we find that our mood has improved markedly.

Second column: the reversed Ace of Pentacles, or blocked family connections. This is a common thing to see in cases of depression. People who are depressed don’t like to talk or to reach out to family members. There are two schools of thought on this: one school is that it’s important to reach out and talk to people anyway, and the other school is that it’s important to take time for solitude and reflection as part of healing. But never mind that right now. What led up to this? Reversed three of wands (flexibility reversed equals rigidity) and reversed Magician (lack of attention to the individual and that individual’s intentions). To me, this says that family members may not understand depression. They react with rigid points of view and lectures. They don’t pay attention to the individual experiencing depression or what that individual’s hopes, dreams, goals, and intentions may be. That’s what leads to a block in family connections. Why is this block still here even if the depression, by today, has cleared to some extent? Because family blocks don’t clear up that fast.

Why don’t family blocks clear up faster? Well, in cases of depression, family members who sense that something is wrong will want to walk in and start running the show to make things better, simply because they care intensely and they want to fix the problem. But nobody with an ounce of spirit and free will (and to be depressed, you have to have plenty of spirit to start with) is going to take kindly to other people walking in and telling them what to do. It’s just not going to go over well. It will cause strife. Even if the depressed person does put up with it, there will be resentment, and it also won’t work, because you can’t do another person’s spiritual work for them no matter how much you may want to.

Third column: calm that stays with us even when we are turned upside-down. I honestly think this is another feature of depression. Depressed people spend a lot of time alone and in reflection, even if they don’t consider themselves to be meditators. This produces calm. And the depression itself produces a sense of detachment, because part of depression is simply not caring any more what happens next. Not taking action in your world to maintain all the infrastructure that keeps us pulled together (and by infrastructure I mean holding down a job, keeping up with housework, eating properly, exercising, taking care of ourselves) can result in being turned upside down by the consequences: debt, health problems, family problems, problems galore. So it’s not hard to see where this card is coming from. But let’s look at the cards leading up to it: Seven of Chalices (giving up illusions) and reversed Knight of Swords (rationality, fixed ideas, a test that challenges those ideas). The being turned upside down and the not caring that much any more are intimately connected with the fact that our ideas about the world, the things we thought we could depend on, were torn away — leading to disillusionment, and ultimately, a medical state of shock. Because what is the calm that stays even when you are turned upside-down? Often, it is shock — emotional shock, maybe even spiritual shock. Medically, shock is treated with first aid. So this card suggests to me that even though our mood overall may be sunnier today, there is a still a need for emotional first aid or spiritual first aid to help alleviate this shock.

This is a lot to throw at you on a Monday, and I would greatly have preferred some simpler cards today that would be easier to read. But at the same time, I think the Yoga Tarot’s insights into depression are on target — please let me know if this makes any sense to you! :-)

Eight of Wands--Yoga Tarot

Cards for the Day: r’d 8 of Wands/Knight of Cups: No Will to Fight: the Dynamics of Depression

Eight of Wands--Yoga TarotKnight of Chalices--Yoga TarotPut a yogi in warrior one pose, turn that yogi sideways and upside down, and what do you get?: the letter Y.  Or put another way, Why? That’s what many of us are asking today. It’s not the “why?” of exploration, but the “why?” of giving up. More like, “why bother?” It’s as if the will to fight has gone out of us. We have gotten off our horses, abandoning whatever power to move forward we have, in order to focus on trying somehow to nourish the heart chakra, or at least to rest it and let it recover.

Though we live in a culture of “don’t give up,” I choose not to judge this choice, because there are times when it is appropriate, though, of course, there are also times when it’s just a big pity party. If you’re feeling this way today, then it’s for you, and you alone, to judge which type of giving up you are engaging in — the positive, sitting this round out in order to recover and to strengthen/nourish your heart kind, or the obstinate feeling sorry for yourself and waiting for everyone else to help pick up the pieces kind.

Either way, what I can do is point out the dynamics of the situation and what’s happening here. First, voice is blocked. People who are depressed and giving up don’t feel like talking, even though everyone else usually thinks they need to. Communication isn’t working the way it should and depressed people instinctively know that no one else will really understand. Moreover, it’s not that the throat chakra is blocked (my guess is that the throat chakra is actually fine), it’s that two chakra levels below, the will to ACT is blocked in the solar plexus. That will to act has to drive communication, because communication is a form of action. The throat chakra itself works exceptionally well, and you’ll often find that depressed people can pack vast amounts of information into small amounts of words, through the use of metaphor and sarcasm. The throat chakra can become very sensitive and effective to compensate for the weak will to act that is driving it.

Second, the power to move forward is there and it’s waiting. Do you see the horse waiting behind the Knight of Chalices? That horse represents the power to move forward, quickly. For depressed people, it’s only the will that is weak. The actual power to act (in the form of intelligence, resourcefulness, the ability to focus and concentrate) is strong and fierce, once it is activated by intention and will. But during the depression, that power has to wait, restlessly and anxiously.

Third, the key to healing lies in the heart chakra. The Knight of Chalices is wise in stopping in his current location. He’s nurturing his heart chakra with the color of the heart chakra, green. He knows that his heart must heal for his intention to move forward to return. Why the heart chakra when I’ve talked above about the throat and solar plexus chakras? Well, the heart chakra is the bridge between the throat and the solar plexus. In addition, the loss of will in the solar plexus originally was caused by damage to the heart, its neighbor. This is why I don’t believe in judging depressed people for taking time out away from all the things that everyone else thinks they should be doing. When the heart chakra needs care, it is an immediate need, just as it would be an immediate, urgent need if the physical heart organ needed emergency care. You can’t move forward effectively when your heart is not in it. Like it or not, even when there are other urgent needs, if your heart needs care you have to attend to it. There’s really not a choice; it’s a necessity.


Nine of Chalices--Yoga Tarot

Cards for the Day: R’d 9 of Cups/R’d 8 of Swords: Overwhelmed by Emotional Release (or the Need for It)

Nine of Chalices--Yoga TarotEight of Swords--Yoga TarotWhat happens if you take nine cups full of water and turn them upside down? You get wet, that’s what. Today might be a day for tears and emotional release. Emotions can be positive or negative, of course, but in the Yoga Tarot, the suit of chalices is represented by a lotus flower, and lotuses grow in muddy pond water — old, stagnant water that’s been sitting around for a while (like the emotional issues that are brought back up by Mercury retrograde, come to think of it). When you imagine that turned upside down, it seems to me that a lot of the emotions being released today are negative and especially hard to take. It might be a day of depression for many of us.

But even if it’s a hard to take, depressing day, I still see some benefit in taking off the blindfold (the Eight of Swords traditionally shows a blindfolded, bound woman surrounded by semicircle of eight swords) and looking at the actual situation. Swords are good for cutting through deception, including self-deception. No matter how bad things look, or how depressing it is, we can’t take action to transform the situation until we look at it clearly — that’s just the way it is.

Celtic cross tarot spread: Whatever happened to Ron Paul?

Prognosticating About Politicians: Whatever Happened to Ron Paul?

I’ve been thinking about doing a Celtic cross spread about a celebrity, and since I haven’t been following the presidential campaign, decided to try doing a spread to answer my question: Whatever happened to Ron Paul? Is he even still in the race? What’s going on with him?

Just a quick, nutshell reading this time.

Celtic cross tarot spread: Whatever happened to Ron Paul?

1. Ron Paul himself: The Hermit. That doesn’t look good for a political candidate. Looks like he’s going it alone, out wandering as a solitary voice in the wilderness.

2. Obstacles/challenges (his “cross”): Five of Pentacles. He’s short of political capital — and very likely running low on literal capital as well.

3. Strength: reversed Knight of Wands. Caution. He’s not in a big hurry, and he likes to think decisions through before making them.

4. Recent past: Four of Wands. A celebration. Did someone in Paul’s family get married or have a baby? Or does this card refer to a recent, but likely small, political victory, such as Paul getting his “audit the Fed” bill to go before the House of Representatives for a vote?

5. Near future: reversed King of Pentacles. This card is likely about the question of whether or not to support Romney. Paul will be sorely tempted to do whatever it takes to win more support — including betraying his own integrity. Will he give in to this temptation? Maybe. But I think the temptation will be more fleeting. Candidates who have a committed core of supporters with extremist views tend to be loyal to those supporters. In the end, I don’t see Paul selling those supporters out just to become more mainstream — and I don’t think it would work if he did.

6. Crowning card or best possible outcome: Knight of Swords. Paul can’t become President (at least not in this race) but he could influence the debate by pushing the candidates hard and by using his metaphorical sword to cut through lies, deceit, and b.s. (or what he views as lies, deceit and b.s. — others may not agree, but this reading is meant to focus on Paul’s own perspective).

7. Paul’s own current attitude: Knight of Pentacles. He’s out looking for more political capital, stumping for it, but his horse is at a standstill and he knows it.

8. Environmental influences/support network/etc.: Three of Swords. This race is breaking Paul’s heart. Has there been a betrayal of a political alliance somewhere along the way?

9. Paul’s hopes/fears: reversed Ace of Swords. Fear that he won’t get to speak his truth — possibly at the Republican National Convention.

10. Final outcome (of this race, for Paul): Temperance. He’ll have to find balance — a balanced role in politics, a road to more support from political centrists, a way to seem less extreme to voters. His future political capital may depend on this ability to be viewed as moderate and in balance — and I predict he’ll manage to find that middle of the road path that he’s looking for, though some may doubt his sincerity in seeking it for political reasons.

Overall: Does Paul have a role to play in this campaign? Yes. But his part will be influencing the debate, possibly as a political gadfly.

Queen of Wands--Yoga Tarot

Cards for the Day: Queen of Wands/Knave of Swords: On Fire With Ideas, But Remember to Be Truthful

Queen of Wands--Yoga TarotKnave of Swords--Yoga TarotThough I’m drawing my daily cards from the Yoga Tarot, my sense of what they mean is coming from the Universal Waite. In the Universal Waite, the Queen of Wands and the Page of Swords are both wearing yellow, the color of the solar plexus chakra: will, efficacy in the world. Our ability to work with our circumstances and make things happen. Today, we may find that we are so enthusiastic about our ideas (Queen of Wands) that despite possible communication and technology problems (Knave of Swords — see his broken trident?) we still manage to act on our ideas and share them with others.

The Queen of Wands also brings us a message — if we want to work to excess, today might be the day we could get away with it, because our passion for our work is running higher than usual today. Also, prosaic day-to-day work and family duties can bring us spiritual realization (symbolized by the Queen’s purple background) — we don’t have to live in a monastery to achieve that.

The Knave brings us a message as well — but his message is of testing. We are challenged to be truthful and honest today, and though we may think that honesty will bring everything we’re trying to achieve crashing down, it won’t — it will, instead, prove to be another, different way of accomplishing what we were hoping to.

Both cards are indicative of getting things done today. It should be a better day, especially for those of us who are prone to depression and anxiety and who often have difficulty accomplishing what we need to. It will be a little easier today.

Four of Pentacles--Yoga Tarot

Cards for the Day: 4 and 6 of Pentacles: Heart and Throat Work Together to Ensure Safety

Four of Pentacles--Yoga TarotSix of Pentacles--Yoga TarotI can’t look at the Yoga Tarot cards without thinking in terms of the chakras — and today, here come two cards with beautiful blues and greens. The colors on these cards look like Earth, from a distance! Yet these cards are both from the suit of pentacles, a suit that speaks to us of root and sacral chakra issues: safety, security, family, physical health. And those lower chakra reds and oranges are present in these cards as well.

I think what I’m seeing here is a message to advocate on behalf of our physical health and material well being today, using truth and sincerity. For some of us this may mean going to a doctor and confiding in someone about those mysterious symptoms that have been worrying us. For others, it might mean picking up the phone to negotiate with bill collectors or going out and sincerely looking for work, using one’s voice. For some, it might mean confiding in a friend or other trusted person about feelings of depression, or about being a survivor of abuse, or about some other concern that deeply affects us at a very basic, primal level. It might mean being a whistleblower. Or it might mean something as simple as stating one’s honest opinion rather than swallowing it. In fact, if you start to think about it, there are many, many situations in which just talking to another person about a serious concern — getting something off one’s chest — can bring the beginning of deep mental, emotional and even spiritual healing.

But most of all, I think these cards remind us that our spiritual well-being affects our physical well-being and our material abundance. So even if we think we see a path to security that involves falsehood or deception or maybe just the simple self-deception of trying to be someone we are not — we’re asked to remember that paths not based on truth and sincerity are not as secure as they look. A path that might look riskier is likely going to turn out to be safer in the long run, if it’s the path that involves being who you truly are, acting with integrity, and speaking from the heart. Not just spiritually safer, but physically safer, and safer in terms of doing a better job of keeping a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. We can’t always tease out the connections between ethical integrity and material abundance, and it’s especially hard when we choose an ethical path that doesn’t bring much material wealth. That’s when people start thinking that ethics come at a high price. But that’s not true. It’s just that we don’t always recognize the things we have for what they are, and we don’t always recognize that the hardships in life are the experiences that help us to become who we truly are. Without experiencing hardship, ever, who would we be? And without who we are, who is left to appreciate material wealth and/or good health anyway?

I’ll leave you with that thought.

Four of Chalices--Yoga Tarot

Cards for the Day: 8 of Pentacles/4 of Chalices: Trust and Flexibility Are the Foundation of Our Strength

Eight of Pentacles--Yoga TarotFour of Chalices--Yoga TarotIt looks like yesterday’s doubts and self-doubts have given way, somehow, to a greater sense of security and trust. It’s not that circumstances have changed — it’s that we have. In the Yoga Tarot, the Eight of Pentacles is presented as an axis of abundance and equilibrium, while the Four of Chalices is an axis of trust and hopes. And I’m sure you haven’t missed the fact that eight is divisible by four. In a nutshell, what this tells us is that our sense of abundance and equilibrium in life comes from our willingness to trust and hope — it relies, in fact, on a double dose of trust and hope, just as eight relies on the number four doubled. Therefore, although I drew the Four of Chalices second today, I want to talk about it first — because it lays the foundation for the Eight of Pentacles.

Notice that the yogi on the Four of Chalices card is in triangle pose. This may seem wrong to you, since triangles have three corners and this is a Four card. However, I’m looking at, and I presume the artist was thinking of, the four limbs of the yogi — three touching the ground, representing a strong connection to the earth, and one reaching up longingly toward the sky. If you can (i.e., you’re not reading this on an airplane or something), take a moment and do triangle pose. Notice that you must open your heart chakra area up wide in order to have good body mechanics for this pose. Trust, and hope, depend on opening the heart without knowing for sure whether it is safe to do so. Actually, almost all progress in life depends on our willingness to open the heart without really being sure that it is safe to do so. This opening of the heart makes us vulnerable, yes — but not as vulnerable as we will be when we get to the Eight of Pentacles backbend!

But we’re not there yet. Notice also the mountain on the Four of Chalices card. It is not commonly recognized that mountains, rocks basically, are a potential source of emotional support for us. We recognize rocks as symbols when we give them to each other as pieces of jewelry, but we don’t often recognize their true power to provide emotional support. Now you’re thinking that I’m crazy (um, Bonnie, they’re just rocks…) but, hear me out. Rocks, crystals, mountains, all have the ability to clear negative energy from your aura. They can literally take the sting out of emotional pain. They draw pain and negative energy out. If you don’t believe me, then you haven’t tried working with them yet!

Coming finally to the Eight of Pentacles. True strength is based on flexibility and patience. We’ve all heard the cliché about the simple willow being stronger than the mightiest oak — but it became a cliché because it represents an important truth. Fundamentally, our basic security in life — our root chakra security, depicted in this card by the color red and representing our most basic and primal needs for physical wellness and a loving family — THIS type of security depends on our ability to bend, and to not be utterly rigid. When we develop the ability to bend and to be flexible in our views and in our approaches to all sorts of problems, we find that family issues and basic security problems that seemed struck and entrenched in our lives suddenly start to move and come loose.

So that’s the basic message for today: when we act with trust and hope, our most basic problems begin to resolve and the stuck blocked issues that we were pushing and pulling on begin to come loose. Finally! All this because we were willing to open our hearts a little and take a chance. All this because, instead of reacting to fear and anxiety and depression by curling up in a closet in a fetal position, we instead chose to go out into the world and be vulnerable, at a time when it was the last thing we felt like doing (especially when it’s 99 degrees and humid out there!). Think about that.

The Emperor--Yoga Tarot

Cards for the Day: The Emperor/r’d 8 of Swords: What does it mean to be a true warrior?

The Emperor--Yoga TarotEight of Swords reversed--Yoga TarotI love the Emperor’s Warrior II pose in the Yoga Tarot. You can almost imagine the Emperor turning his hand over and beckoning with his fingers to an opponent. Saying, come on, bring it on, I’m ready for battle.

Of course, he isn’t really ready. None of us are. Inside, he’s the reversed Eight of Swords (which more traditionally is depicted as a bound and blindfolded woman inside a cage of swords). His confidence that he will win this battle may not be high. He is beset by self-doubt.

When in this kind of doubt, though, and when we have a major crisis of self-confidence, we can turn to structure to put things back together and to give us the tools we need to get through the day. We can take the attitude that ready or not, we’re going into battle. Ready or not, we can bow, look our opponent (or our problems) squarely in the face with a calm gaze, take a ready stance, and charge in with full commitment to our goals. Ready or not, we can do this. When a warrior who is clearly not ready, who is clearly heading into battle injured or tired or sick or full of internal strife, does this, that is what gives me shivers down my spine. Because that’s true commitment, and it’s true courage.

What do I mean by turning to structure to keep us together? Let me explain by way of an analogy. I used to practice martial arts, and in the martial arts, one of the most terrifying spirit challenges you can take on is breaking a board. In my opinion, at a time like this, absolute formal etiquette (structure) can be the tool that keeps us calm enough to face the challenge. Taking time for a short meditation, bowing to the board holders, bowing to teachers, bowing to any onlookers, bowing after the break — these are structures that keep us in the moment, keep us calm, and keep us moving forward toward our goals. Formal etiquette can be a tool that creates absolute, icy, formidable, unstoppable calm. Forget the idea that martial etiquette or any other form of etiquette is something you do for the sake of respecting diverse cultures — it isn’t. Etiquette has a far more important purpose. It is a highly developed technology for producing a calm, focused mind.

Though we may not need to break a board today, we can still turn to structure as a way to take control of a situation that we fear might spiral out of control. We can use organizational tools such as calendars and schedules to create structure in our day. We can use tools of business etiquette to take charge of or help us face a problem that can’t be solved right away. Polite communication combined with absolute sharp swordsmanlike honesty can go a long way when it comes to addressing problems that you can see brewing, such as problems that you worry may displease your business partners. Try addressing these problems head on. A word of caution, though — let matters of diplomacy in business be handled by your beautiful etiquette, not by deceit. For this warrior-like strategy to work, you have to be completely honest. Don’t try to whitewash unpleasant truths. Don’t encourage denial of difficult realities either by yourself or by those you work with. Cut through deception (even self-deception) with your sword of truth. Accept whatever consequences may result from your actions, but also realize that others will respect you, and you will respect yourself, for your direct approach.

Don’t be afraid to take on the icy calm of the warrior even when your inner self is quaking in its boots. Either it will work, or it won’t, so what is there to be afraid of? Once, when I was about to break a board with a roundhouse kick, I thought to myself, “This will never work — I’m going to break my foot!” Then, I thought, “well, I’m just going to try my best, and if it doesn’t work, then I’ll just have a broken foot!”

If we have to, we can live with broken feet. We can’t live with a broken spirit. Take charge today, and let your calm exterior actions be the rope that pulls your interior self out of its doubt, anxiety, and fear.