Two of Pentacles--Rider-Waite

Cards for the Day: 4 & 2 of Pentacles: Budget Juggling

Four of Pentacles--Rider-WaiteTwo of Pentacles--Rider-WaiteQuick post today: Financially, things are better than they were, but ironically, we are all still very worried. That’s not surprising in the middle of a recession. But try to breathe through this. Money may be tight, but not as tight as we fear, and we are managing to juggle. It will be okay. We have the skills we need for this kind of balancing act. Just hang in there.

And, notice, the juggler with two coins looks like he’s doing better than the worried urbanite who is clutching his four coins for dear life. If we can move with the flow, using intuition to help guide us, we can make do with less. Be flexible: money needs to be in motion. If it sits in one place, it doesn’t grow. You just have to balance the in flow with the out flow. Easier said than done! :-)

Knight of Chalices reversed--Yoga Tarot

Cards for the Day: R’d Knight & 4 of Cups/R’d 7 of Pentacles: Head in the Clouds/Missed Opportunity

Knight of Chalices reversed--Yoga TarotFour of Chalices reversed--Yoga TarotSeven of Pentacles reversed--Yoga TarotThree cards in the form of a story today, from the Yoga Tarot: Something is troubling our hearts, and we stop to take time to focus on it, getting off our horses and pausing in our forward movement on our paths (reversed Knight of Chalices). Because of that time (though it was time appropriately spent), we have missed an opportunity, or perhaps just didn’t recognize or care about that opportunity when it arose (reversed Four of Chalices). It happens. All choices, even good ones, come at a cost. But, it happens that the cost this time is financial as well as being an opportunity cost (reversed Seven of Pentacles) — we realized it eventually, too late to do anything about this missed opportunity, but never too late to learn from the experience. Oh well.

Whatever is going on, this day is a rainbow–it’s affecting us in all of our chakras, but especially our upper ones. Notice the green for the heart chakra, the blue for the throat chakra, the purple for the crown chakra. Do we ever have our heads in the clouds today!

The Lovers--Yoga Tarot

Cards for the Day: The Lovers/7 of Swords: Love Can Withstand the Truth: Tell

The Lovers--Yoga TarotSeven of Swords--Yoga TarotThe Lovers have appeared in my cards today — but with them, the Seven of Swords, a card that often indicates deception, trickery, betrayal. In this case, though, I am interpreting the Seven of Swords as the truth that we might not like to hear (look at the beautiful blue throat chakra colors on this card!). Love can withstand it. If you need to tell someone something, tell. Ground first, like a tree, like the yogi on the Seven of Swords card, hold your loved one in your arms, like the couple on The Lovers card, and then be brave and tell. True love isn’t about always hearing what we want to hear — it’s about walking a path in life, a rocky path if need be, but walking that path together.  True love can withstand the truth, no matter how hard. (Yes, I’m a romantic.)

Three of Swords reversed--Samurai Tarot

Cards for the Day: R’d 3 of Swords/10 of Cups: Lay Down Your Sword and Pick Up a More Powerful Tool: Forgiveness

Three of Swords reversed--Samurai TarotTen of Cups--Samurai TarotSome problems can’t be solved with fighting. They require magic. And what greater magic than the magic of forgiveness? In the Samurai Tarot’s version of the Three of Swords, a samurai has set aside his weapons and taken off his armor. He is taking time in nature, next to a waterfall, to meditate. In his meditation is all the stillness of Mount Fuji. Through forgiveness and meditation, he is able to make all well again — first internally, and then, externally. There are situations that you can’t fight your way through, and the wise warrior recognizes when he has met one.

And I want to say something further about forgiveness as magic. Forgiveness IS magic, one of the most powerful kinds of magic that there is. If you are looking for a miracle in your life, forgiveness is one of those tools that is just powerful enough to make it happen. True forgiveness from the heart, forgiveness not because you expect the person you are forgiving to change, and maybe not even because you have faith in that person that he or she didn’t mean to cause harm. Not because you think that person regrets his or her hurtful behavior and won’t do it again. True forgiveness doesn’t require mitigating circumstances. It’s based on unconditional love.

Forgiveness is not being a doormat, though. The kind of forgiveness I am talking about is a kind of action to make the situation better. It’s a way of making an offering to the universe to change the karma of the situation. It’s a kind of intervention, actually. If someone has harmed you grievously, and that person is a family member who you are unwilling to exile or give up on (and the Ten of Cups here makes me think of family members), and you don’t have the heart for fighting (Three of Swords reversed) and you know that aggressive yang energy won’t help matters anyway, there are two options that lie ahead of you. A commonly chosen option is depression — not putting the sword down, but turning it (metaphorically or sadly, in some cases otherwise) against yourself. What I am talking about is the second option, the one that doesn’t involve fighting and doesn’t involve turning the sword inward. Forgiveness. This is NOT doing nothing. This is setting aside the power of yang and picking up the power of yin to transform a situation. If you haven’t played with the power of yin before you may not realize how powerful it is or that it can change not just your internal climate but the whole situation.

Why? Because if you want someone to stop behaving hurtfully, you can’t accomplish it by hurting that person back. That person will naturally think he or she had better keep fighting and keep the armor on if only in self defense. Fighting precludes the one thing you need to have happen — you need to reach that person’s heart and touch it, opening it to the possibility of transformation. When you touch the heart, magic will happen. Understanding floods in. The sword falls to the ground.

Don’t go thinking this tool of forgiveness is easy to use. Most people will find it safer to leave the situation or build a wall. It takes tremendous courage to lay down your weapons and be vulnerable at at time when you feel there is a risk that you will just get hurt again. And laying down your weapons, alone, won’t do it. You must at the same time generate your intention to call upon the magic of forgiveness. Consciously dedicate your action to the universe, to all sentient beings, to the situation, and to the person you are forgiving. Consciously tell the universe, as if you were addressing a court, “I have standing in this matter, and I am calling upon the universe to release the negative karma that this person has incurred in harming me. I am calling upon the universe to set things right.” It will take time before the person in  your life will believe that the forgiveness is real and be able to relax and lay down his or her weapons, and allow his or her heart to be touched. And you will have to work to maintain that heart connection every day. Also, there is a chance that it might not work. Some people have surrounded their hearts with so much armor that it is impenetrable. But, swordfighting and using yang energy is not risk-free either. If you are determined to fix a family problem, if you are determined to stay in a situation and work with it, forgiveness and using yin energy to touch the heart is a tool that will surprise you with how powerful it can be and how much it can accomplish in terms of real change. If you are brave enough to try it.

King of Chalices--Samurai Tarot

Cards for the Day: R’d 10 of Chalices/King of Chalices: Exiled? Proceed with Fortitude

Ten of Cups reversed--Samurai TarotKing of Chalices--Samurai TarotUpright, the 10 of Cups suggests that everything is perfect. Upside-down, not so much. But — everything is always perfect in some sense, we just don’t always realize it. And in the King of Cups (well, King of Chalices, since this is the Samurai Tarot) card, we have an appearance from the Buddhist monk Nichiren, one of the rare people who has ever survived an execution (apparently a bright round object, as bright as the moon, appeared on the execution grounds and frightened his executioners, so he was exiled instead). This is what I mean by a near miss!

I wonder how many of us feel like exiles from our own lives, right now. And why are we exiled? Is it because, like Nichiren, we bravely spoke our truth to power?

If so, Nichiren tells us that’s okay. It may not feel fine, it may feel like the Ten of Cups reversed, but it is fine. We can proceed with fortitude and pick our way along even the rockiest path. It may feel as though everything is going wrong, but we can handle this, even if our problems seem to be the size of Mount Fuji. It is simply a matter of putting one foot in front of the other and finding our way. If we proceed in this way, even with a mountain of a problem and even with a rocky path, we can still enjoy being out in the fresh air, getting some exercise, with the refreshment of our own thoughts for company.

Wheel of Fortune--Rider-Waite

Cards for the Day: When good luck follows bad, we don’t always believe in it…

Nine of Wands reversed--Rider-WaiteThe Tower--Rider-WaiteWheel of Fortune--Rider-WaiteEvery storm is followed by sunny skies eventually — but sometimes we have post-traumatic stress from the storm, if it was tumultuous enough, and then we don’t trust even the sunny skies. It looks like the last few weeks have been rough going and may even have turned some of our lives upside-down (The Tower), but now our luck has changed (Wheel of Fortune) and things are getting better. But we don’t believe it yet (reversed Nine of Wands). Instead we are feeling a bit paranoid, still carrying that umbrella around in case of a sudden downpour. There’s some emotional lability going on. You never know when that Tower will strike again, true, but the thing about the Tower is, that when it appears, it is usually for the best, once you look at the matter from a longer perspective.

Be patient and have a little faith. We’re in the calm after the storm. We may still have some cleaning up to do, yes. But the tide has turned and things are getting better. They always do, if you wait long enough. :-)

And by the way, those fences? those walls? those carefully enforced boundaries and limitations? They won’t protect you, so you may as well take them down and use the wood for something more productive.

The Hanged Man

Mabon Blog Hop: The Power of Transformation: Liberate the Shadow Self

“…it is far too late to wonder if it is safe to put your toe in the waters of transformation when you are already far from shore.” –Rasha, Oneness

Welcome to another blog hop! This time we’re celebrating the fall equinox, with — appropriately as we head into the dark and dreary days of winter, gear up for Halloween, and watch everything green shrivel up and die — an exploration of the shadow self, and transformation. This topic sounds intense and serious, so why do I feel perky, like a cheerleader? Because I’m a Scorpio and Scorpios love, above all else, transformation. Dark nights and cold, gray, rainy days. Solitude. Caves. Snakes shedding their skins. All that stuff that the rest of the world thinks is a downer but that makes me want to shout, “hurrah!”

First a few announcements.

This blog hop is being wrangled by Aisling the Bard, who I suspect will cover the story of Mabon for you much better than I could myself. To find that story and to start the hop from the beginning, click here.

If you are going backwards through the blog ring, please click here to leap to Louise Underhill’s Mabon post.

If you are going forward through the blog ring, please click here to leap to Arjen Glas’s Mabon post.

Mabon is a Welsh hero who was stolen from his mother as a baby; he grows up and develops his skills apparently on his own — some versions of the story say that he was raised in the Underworld, and that he is the masculine equivalent of Persephone. He represents the “Shadow Self.”

Now, in my opinion, the Shadow Self gets a bad rap sometimes. The Shadow Self is not evil (unless you want to believe that part of you is evil?). The Shadow Self is merely hidden. It’s the part of ourselves that we keep secret. Why would we keep it secret, unless it is evil, you may ask? Well, lots of reasons. Sometimes the Shadow Self is connected with a passion or dream or vocation that we long to pursue but that we choose not to at this time. Sometimes the Shadow Self is connected with negative emotions that we choose to turn inward because we have compassion for others and don’t want to take out our feelings on them (or maybe because we just don’t want their pity). Either way, the Shadow Self contains gifts, like the nuts that are inside the hard shells that drop from certain trees at this time of the year. What’s hidden in the Shadow Self can enrich our world. It’s the Shadow Self, and its needs, that typically drive transformation and bring about the exact changes that we most need. Unfortunately, very often we fight the Shadow Self.

Why would we want to fight the Shadow Self? Because you have to pay a price to liberate it. For example, if all those negative feelings are locked up in the Shadow Self’s keeping, and have not yet been fully experienced and processed and released, you will have to walk through them to let the Shadow Self out. Hello, pain. I was saving you for, um, now. Another example: If the Shadow Self holds the dream you want to pursue but haven’t, often the reason for that is that following that passion will take you down a path of poverty, a path that entails risk, something few of us really want to court, no matter how much we might talk a big talk about liking to live dangerously. Or the risk might not be poverty. It might be that people will think we’re crazy. Or that our families expect something different of us.

Trust me, though, the risks entailed in fighting the Shadow Self are far greater. Because if you fight the Shadow Self, the risk is not that the Shadow Self will defeat you. The risk is that you will win and succeed at strangling your own soul.

How’s that for a Halloween story?

Let’s illustrate this story with some cards. To me, four cards tell the story of the liberation of the Shadow Self. Eight of Swords--Rider WaiteThe Hanged Man--Rider-Waite

The first two go together: The Hanged Man, and the Eight of Swords. Both these cards represent the moment of inner change when our perspective suddenly shifts, and we realize that we have the power to liberate ourselves, or perhaps, that we are already free–we just didn’t realize it. This is an enlightenment moment.

The Moon--Rider WaiteWhat happens next? The Moon. Madness. Or, what looks like madness to others. We don’t care about the stuff we used to care about. We may not care about the people we used to care about. We may sink into a deep depression. But, bear in mind, depression is a potential spiritual gateway — it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Depression is very often a part of the process of transformation. We should welcome it and dive into it to see what it can teach us — not necessarily fight it. Don’t get me wrong here: if you are seriously depressed and need psychiatric help or the support of a therapist, then get it — but, at the same time, bear in mind that what’s happening is spiritual as well — and you might be experiencing it for a valid reason. In any case, you can’t fight depression (and few depressed people have the energy to do so) — it will win. But what you can do, is accept the invitation to transformation. And yes, you can medicate depression, if that’s what’s needed, and still meditate and go within and see what your inner Shadow Self is trying to teach you.

What happens when you’ve walked through the madness and the depression? What lies on the other side of that gateway?

The Fool’s path, of course. The Fool--Rider WaiteThe path that your Shadow Self was jonesing for all along. And with it, beginner’s mind, the willingness to take risks, the volition to follow the path. Even if all you have to take with you are a few meager possessions and one loyal companion. It will still be worth it. Look! The sun has come out, and the air is fresh and clear.

Ready for the next hop post? Click here to reach Arjen Glas’ blog.