Judgement reversed--Samurai Tarot

All Hallows’ Eve Cards: R’d Judgement/The Priest: A Day to Welcome Ghosts

Oooooh, spooky cards for Halloween: reversed Judgement and The Priest. If you’re familiar with the Rider-Waite deck, you know that Judgement typically shows dead people rising out of their coffins. What could be more spooky? And the Priest, a symbol of spirituality, on the day when the spirit world is supposed to be at its closest to our own. Do you have goose bumps yet?

Judgement reversed--Samurai TarotI didn’t draw from the Rider-Waite deck The Priest--Samurai Tarot(where the Priest, anyway, would have been the Hierophant), but from the Samurai Tarot. Here, the Judgement card shows a woman apparently considering whether or not to throw herself from a cliff, and, at the bottom of the cliff, what I will call her “shadow self” looking up at her cheerfully. (It’s okay–the shadow self can be cheerful!) The Samurai Tarot book says that this card represents the depths, and counsels us to be honest with ourselves and to judge with the heart. The Priest, on the other hand, represents flow — a perfect companion card to reversed Judgement. Because if we let go of our need to judge, what do we end up doing? Going with the flow.

Note that we should not always drop judgements and go with the flow. In the presence of evil acts, for example, Judgement is certainly called for. We don’t want to flow towards evil. But if we are striving to be less judgemental and more understanding in our lives in general, the idea of “flow” can show us the path. What is the Priest doing? Observing the flow neutrally. We can take the position of patient observer when we want to suspend judgement. As long as we’re okay with where the current flow may carry us. Do you see how the concepts of judgement and flow are neutral? Neither one is better than the other. We have to use wisdom to decide when to deploy judgement and when to deploy flow, and patience, in our lives.

But if you see a ghost today — a real ghost, or a ghost of the past rising up in your own soul — I feel relatively safe in counseling reversed Judgement and Flow. The dead are dead. They cannot hurt us. Don’t pick up a dead samurai’s sword and stab yourself with it. There’s no need for that. Likewise, don’t fight the ghosts, and don’t run from them. There’s no need for that either. Be neutral and observe. Expect the flow to take you somewhere that you will appreciate, somewhere that satisfies a deep need.

Happy Halloween!

Goddess of Shadows

Samhain Blog Hop: Exploring the Shadow Self

Welcome to another blog hop! First, the technicalities: 

To go back to Donna Faber’s blog, the blog hop post before me, click here.

To go ahead to Lina Ljunggren’s blog, the blog hop post after me, click here.

And now, my pretties, on to the shadow self…if you dare! Bwa ha ha ha ha!!! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist that. This is a Halloween blog hop, after all!)

Our challenge in this hop was to examine the shadow self, the aspects of ourselves that we have to keep hidden. Being an introvert, I keep most of myself hidden. I’m shy, quiet, and reserved, and I like it that way. I haven’t seen a definition of introverts and extroverts that works in the concept of the shadow self, but I imagine it would be something like this: an extrovert is someone who keeps the best part of him/herself in the sunlight. An introvert keeps the best parts of him/herself in the shadows. Consequently, extroverts think introverts are extremely boring. Little do they know! Bwa ha ha ha ha!

But to anyone who knows me at all and pays attention, it must surely be obvious what part of myself I hide the most. Oh, you weren’t paying attention? Too bad for you! Pay attention next time! Bwa ha ha ha ha!

Outwardly, I have always appeared to be a rationalist. So it took many people by surprise when this science writer/atheistic/Buddhist type person started reading tarot cards and talking about angels. I got reactions like, “you’re doing this as a joke, right?” Wrong! Bwa ha ha ha ha!

The truth is this. (Can you handle the truth? bwa ha ha ha ha!) (Sorry, I keep doing that — it’s like a tic or something.)

Goddess of Shadows

Not sure what deck this is from, so please tell me if you know!

  • No, I’m not joking about tarot, and yes, I think the cards I pull are a reflection of actual energy in the universe and yes, I think the cards I pull contain messages from the universe. And yes, I believe that the messages are sometimes intended to be humorous.
  • On a related note, yes, I think the angels like to joke around. It’s one of their favorite things! They love laughter. In fact I can hear them laughing at me sometimes. I don’t think they’re into solemnity.
  • Yes, I do think I can clear negativity out of a room by burning incense or white sage and saying prayers. You don’t?
  • Yes, I believe that reiki healing is real and yes, I’ve tried it myself. In fact, if I lie down next to you, or anywhere in the vicinity, and go to sleep, there’s a strong likelihood that you will too — and you’ll be, as they say, down for the count. Oops, sorry about that.
  • Yes, I believe that reiki and other forms of energy can be sent long distance. Not only can it be sent long distance, but it will sometimes travel long distance on its own whether you want it to or not — it just shows up.
  • Yes, I have encountered a ghost and no, this ghost wasn’t scary. (I don’t encounter them all the time, though.)
  • Yes, I talk to people who are dead, whether they talk back or not. Yes, I’ve taken to buying cigarettes for my husband’s dead stepfather and lighting them for him on the balcony. What? He can’t die of lung cancer after he’s already dead. No, I’m not smoking them myself. I’m not THAT crazy!
  • Yes, I can see auras, but not in as much detail as someone like a medical intuitive could. Yes, they are real. (As a science writer, I’ve thought a lot about this and have a plausible scientific explanation, but we don’t need one on Halloween, do we? No, we don’t!)
  • Yes, I sometimes see what I think are angels (to me they look like auras with no physical bodies attached).
  • Yes, I think that healing occurs on the spiritual level before it occurs on the physical level. Again, you don’t?
  • Yes, I think flower essences and other forms of energy medicine work.
  • Yes, I believe that you can breathe in reiki energy from the air. What did you think air was for?
  • Yes, I believe that you can soak up energy from the earth. What did you think earth was for?
  • Yes, I’ve been depressed for the past several years, and yes, I think that’s a good thing. Yes, I mean it: a GOOD thing. Depression is one possible doorway to enlightenment. I don’t think I would have developed my intuition as strongly if not for my depression. Like they say on Once Upon a Time, all magic has its price. The price for enlightenment is going a little bit crazy compared to the rest of the world. I think that’s okay. I prefer crazy people anyway.

Am I scared of the occult or stuff like ghosts and demons? Naaah! Ghosts, demons, even the criminals of our world are not truly bad when you look at them deeply and understand them on a spiritual level. You can’t be corrupted from the outside in, only from the inside out. I have a black belt in karate, but I’m going to tell you right now that the best protection in this world against anything is a pure, innocent heart (um, it has to be YOUR OWN heart, just saying, because tomorrow is Halloween). And the company of angels. Hey, a little madness will go a long way! And one more thing — if you are out there harboring evil in your heart, YOU are the one who should be scared. Because evil intentions, unlike good ones, CAN be transformed from the outside — all someone has to do is find a way to touch your heart, and that evil will be a goner. So watch out! Bwa ha ha ha ha! :-)

Abundance--Universal Wisdom by Toni Carmine Salerno

Cards for the Day: reversed Compassion/Abundance: Heal Anxious Energy and Nervous Tension with Breath and Affirmations

Compassion reversed--Universal Wisdom by Toni Carmine SalernoAbundance--Universal Wisdom by Toni Carmine SalernoIt’s been a long time since I drew from the Universal Wisdom deck by Toni Carmine Salerno. Today we have Compassion, reversed, and Abundance. In this deck, Compassion really means self-compassion. And Abundance refers to a feeling that something is lacking in our lives. Awww…this day was made for the words, “don’t be so hard on yourself.” It’s a day of anxiety, worrying, and generally feeling nervous about things. Pay special attention to your own thoughts and self-talk (there is a lot of throat chakra blue in this card–and yes, it still counts as talking even if you are talking to yourself). Many of us are kind to others and kind in the words we use with others, but still remain intensely self-critical. Whatever we are worried about, we figure it’s our own fault! Affirmations are a good way to try to change the habit of thinking judgmentally and assigning blame and guilt — even though many of us feel very silly trying affirmations for the first time. I don’t usually include affirmations in this blog, but I feel moved to  today, so here are two:

This is my precious life.

This moment will never return.

Why am I suggesting these two affirmations rather than something along the lines of “I am so great”? Wouldn’t that be better for self-esteem? Well, maybe, but what I see here is that we are being hard on ourselves over the feeling that we are missing something: enough time, enough money, maybe enough comfort. The antidote to this is to return to an appreciation of the present moment. We have far more than we realize, in this moment. We are alive, and the clock is ticking. We don’t know how many moments of our life we have left, but this is one of them, and therefore precious, regardless of present circumstances that we may find difficult or adverse. And regardless of the many ways in which we feel we may have screwed up.

Note that the Abundance card comes with an angel! We always have angels and bodhisattvas watching over us. We are never as alone as we think we are.

In addition to the affirmations that I’ve suggested for today, there is also a visualization that I feel might help. I have been thinking of air as a healing substance lately. It’s the world’s most frugal healer, always available and amazingly effective. Coincidentally, as I was thinking along these lines already, I then heard James Finley say (in the audiobook Transforming Trauma, which I’m listening to), that in his first enlightenment experience, he had the epiphany that air is God, and that when we breathe, we breathe in God. When I heard that, I thought, yes — that’s exactly it. This is not a fantasy or an imaginative exercise, but a way of improving our awareness of reality. Think that as you breathe in, you are breathing in healing energy (because I do reiki, I think of it as reiki energy). On the out breath, that healing energy flows toward every part of your body and also into your aura, healing what needs to be healed, releasing what needs to be released, and also protecting you from negative vibrations and the negative energy that might be around you. Breathe for seconds or minutes, wherever you might happen to be. Breathe in appreciation for the perfection of this moment and the perfection of who you are in this moment. Is this gushy self-indulgent tripe? No. It’s a technique for marrying faith with love with mindfulness to create a powerful healing experience.

Queen of Wands--Samurai Tarot

Cards for the Day: Queen of Wands/Emperor: The Creative Struggle for Control of Time and Work

Queen of Wands--Samurai TarotThe Emperor--Samurai TarotIt’s not easy to do creative work in the world, amid chaos and many people who make demands on your time. The creative spirit pines for solitude. Nobody, perhaps, has understood this better than Murasaki Shikibu, author of Tale of the Genji and possibly the world’s first modern novelist — a woman who spent many years as a lady in waiting for Empress Akiko, but who wrote in her diary about her frustration with the boring frivolity of court life. In the Samurai Tarot, Murasaki represents royalty herself: the Queen of Wands. With her we have the Emperor. To me, the issue here is power and control — the power to control how we use our time, especially if we are trying to do creative work. Can we seize control of our own time today?

I couldn’t — I am writing this Cards for the Day post at almost 6 p.m.!! Better luck to you.

Cards for the Day: A Call to Humility/ Lonesome Valley

For fun, I decided to pull from a new deck, Caroline Myss’ Archetype Cards, even though this is not a tarot deck and I don’t think it’s meant to be used for divination. (But it lends itself to divination so beautifully!) Unfortunately, I don’t have the images for these cards to share with you — but because they are archetypes, you can visualize them using your imagination. I pulled: Messiah, Dilettante, Student. Many of us, in these times, are called on to serve humanity (Messiah). But, we can’t “save” humanity. We can only offer support to others as they work to liberate themselves and to walk on their own paths to enlightenment.

“You’ve gotta walk that lonesome valley

You’ve gotta walk it by yourself

Ain’t nobody here can walk it for you

You’ve gotta walk it by yourself.”

We can’t walk that lonesome valley for others — we can only try to show them the resources they need. Maybe draw a map…

Moreover, these cards warn us that the spiritual path is not for dilettantes. We can’t walk it in our spare time. We need to become lifelong students of it. If others look to us for help, we have to remember — and let them know — that we are only fellow travelers. Experience and wisdom count for a lot, but we still have to walk that lonesome valley just like everyone else.

“You’ve gotta sleep in a lonesome graveyard

You’ve gotta sleep there by yourself

Nobody here can sleep there for you

You’ve gotta sleep there by yourself.”

Lonesome Valley (click on the link to hear Woody Guthrie sing this on You Tube)

Six of Wands--Yoga Tarot

Cards for the Day: 6 of Wands/R’d Stars: To What Music Are You Dancing? Checking In With Spiritual Goals

Six of Wands--Yoga TarotThe Stars reversed--Yoga TarotThe Six of Wands at first looks auspicious: creativity, fire, enthusiasm, leading to success. And in the Yoga Tarot the Six of Wands is represented by the pose of the dancer: focused, balanced. Sounds good! But then we have the Stars reversed, which leads me to ask: what are we being successful at? are we moving in the right direction? what music are we dancing to?

It’s nice to be an overachiever and reach your goals, but be sure they are the right goals. Or at least the right goals for you. This is one of those cases where the advice is to turn the card back upright. Also, note that in the Yoga Tarot The Stars represent the sound “Om,” a vibration representing all existence, in a set of three: no beginning, no middle, no end. This would be a good time to check in with spiritual goals.

Finally, I can’t resist saying, do you see the similarity between The Stars and the foundation on which the dancer is holding her pose? The dancer’s focus, her concentration, her very balance, depends on a stable foundation that brings heart and voice into spiritual union. Why is voice so important to our balance? It’s just what we say. Yes, but what we say is the food we feed our minds (and the minds of others). It’s a pillar of our reality and our experience (so much of which is an illusion created by our minds). Like heart, voice is vital. Both heart and voice need to be kept aligned with your spiritual goals. That’s why truth, honesty and sincerity are equally as important as compassion, even though sometimes the truth is indeed hard to take.

Knight of Pentacles--Yoga Tarot

Cards for the Day: 3 and Knight of Pentacles: Distracted by Desire?

Three of Pentacles--Yoga TarotKnight of Pentacles--Yoga TarotI don’t really want to tell you my interpretation of these cards today. But duty compels me to be honest. Drawing from the Yoga Tarot, I pulled the Three of Pentacles and the Knight of Pentacles. In the Yoga Tarot, the Three of Pentacles is a yogi doing bridge pose, and a peacock spreading its feathers. The Knight of Pentacles is a pose that I don’t recognize–lotus lifted up in the air (can someone help me out and tell me the exact name? is it actually called rising lotus?)–with a rooster in the background. According to the Yoga Tarot’s accompanying book, the Knight of Pentacles, unlike in the Rider-Waite deck, represents physical pleasure and an amorous rendezvous. And that’s what I see in both these cards too: desire, whether or not it is acted upon (but this might be quite a day, or night, on which to act on it!).

A few words of advice:

See how the peacock’s feathers seem to contain an eye? And what colors are in that eye? Blue and green — the throat and heart chakra colors. Look with your heart through your eyes today — and speak from the heart, as well. (Aww…How romantic is that?)

Lots of yellow in those feathers too — the color of the solar plexus, or will and action. Act based on your will and your true intentions — or use will power, appropriately to your circumstances, whatever they may be.

Bridge pose: how is a relationship a bridge? what bridge are you crossing if you choose to act on today’s desires? The Yoga Tarot associates this card with risks and investments — and in the traditional Rider-Waite deck, there are three people working together. Think about the risks before you act, think about whether you are investing in the relationship that you most want to invest in, and once you’ve crossed your bridge, think long and hard before you burn it.

On the Knight of Pentacles card, we have the orange and red of the first two chakras (sexuality, relationships, safety, family) surrounded by the purple of the crown chakra (spirit, soul, morality). There’s more to sex than physicality — there is a spiritual component as well. So connect with it — it will help you to make better use of this day. Can the bridge of the Three of Pentacles connect you more strongly to your spiritual self?

Knight cards can sometimes be about testing. Are you being tested today? If you are, recognize it — and act accordingly. I can think of all sorts of tests that might apply to these cards!

Are you blushing yet? Let’s hope that tomorrow’s cards are a little more conducive to the G-rating of this blog. Good grief!