Two of Swords--Samurai Tarot

On Fairy Tale Endings and Why They Don’t Exist (And Shouldn’t)

from Facebook, today

from Facebook, today

“Heaven’s logic is not human logic.” –Caroline Myss*

“Your spirit guides will not protect you from your life lessons.” –Sandra Ingerman*

Three of Chalices -- Samurai Tarot

Three of Chalices, the wedded rocks at Futimagaura, from Lo Scarabeo’s Samurai Tarot. An ocean of love, and the sun rising. Will that ocean of love erode and shape these rocks over time? Of course.

The people who love us want us to be happy, of course. And so it’s out of good intentions that they try to steer us toward “good matches” in love, and away from those who they perceive to be “bad for us.” Our parents would like us to marry (especially if we are female) partners who are “good providers” and who are stable. In fact, all those who love us would like us to find mates who will not present us with any challenges — people who will support us in every possible way and take care of us in our old age. How lovely. And that’s what we see, and think of, when we think about fairy tale endings and Cinderella stories. The couple rides off into the sunset and they live happily ever after.

How boring.

Judgement, Samurai Tarot

Judgement, from the Samurai Tarot. The little white book that goes with the Samurai Tarot says this of judgements: “Look into the depths of your heart and do not conceal anything. The heart is a good judge.”

What if we weren’t put on Earth to live happily ever after? What if we aren’t meant to have lives that are as comfortable as possible? What if we are meant to face adversity and struggle and sometimes fail? What if the life partner who is right for us is the very person who will challenge us — the person who does NOT rigidly follow the same rules that we do — the person whose presence in our lives teaches us something? That something might not be, how to be just like him or her, but might even be something along the lines of how to be patient, how to be gentle, how to not judge, and also (because we were not put on this Earth to be doormats, I’m fairly sure) how to be independent and set appropriate boundaries at the same time that we gently refrain from judging. Over time, by the way, we may learn more than non-judging — we may learn that this person had something real to teach us that we could and should consider emulating.

Who did Jesus hang out with? The people who were “good for him”? Apparently not or he wouldn’t have ended up on the cross. But, do we disapprove of his choices, or do we think that he did what he needed to do in the life he had to do it in? Ask yourself, whether or not you are Christian (and I am not) whether you’d prefer Jesus to have made safer choices.

This is why, when I see relationship card spreads that indicate challenges and obstacles, I don’t immediately say, “oh, you should end this right now.” To me, that honestly seems a bit crazy — or at least very premature. There is no one on Earth, first of all, with whom you can have a truly non-challenging relationship that will never try your patience. But secondly, the person who tries your patience the most may be the very person you are called to spend your life with (or the current portion of it). If you are thinking of leaving someone, or conversely thinking of getting involved with someone, to my mind, the questions you should ask are:

Two of Swords--Samurai Tarot

Two of Swords, from the Samurai Tarot. “Keep your mind focused. Be peaceful even in the heart of battle,” the LWB tells us. Or, I would add, even in the heart of love.

  • is there love and commitment here?
  • is there a deep heartfelt connection?
  • is there a basis for a strong friendship that can withstand challenges and that can exist without the need for judgement?

These answers matter much more than the question of whether there will be obstacles. There are always obstacles, and life wouldn’t teach us anything without them. 

That’s not to say that there are not bad relationships that should be left. But those are the relationships in which there is no love, not the relationships in which there are no challenges, no obstacles, and no mountains to climb. Do you see the difference?

When I see a mountain, I don’t sigh and walk away. Instead, I sigh with relief. O Beautiful Mountains! Finally! I missed you! :-) But, I was raised by mountain climbers. Still, mountains, like life’s challenges and life’s challenging people, are gorgeous. They shape us and make us stronger, better people. They are not always insurmountable, and even when they are, sometimes it’s wonderful to live next to mountains — we don’t always need to be on the other side. 

*Quotes above are paraphrased–I heard them in audio format and can’t seem to find the original references.

Card Practice: What Will the Next Email I Receive Be About?

Three card spread from the Art Nouveau Lenormand: the Birds, the Letter, the Crossroads

Three card spread from the Art Nouveau Lenormand: the Birds, the Letter, the Crossroads

I’ve found that it builds my confidence with divination considerably to pull cards about random stuff: the books I read, t.v. shows, silly, trivial stuff. Today, I decided to pull Lenormand cards on the topic of the next email I would receve. I shuffled, chose the letter as a significator to represent my email, and then looked to see what cards were next to the letter in my shuffled pile: the birds, and the crossroad (though in this deck, it just looks like a road).

Here is what I wrote in my Penzu journal about it:

birds, letter, crossroads

 

Birds: arrival of news, messages, possibly setting up a phone call or meeting. Could be a salesperson.

 

Crossroads: about making a choice

 

Asking me to choose a time for a meeting or call

 

Looked back at my email an hour later, and guess what my next email was? A Google invitation to a video conference call, asking me to RSVP.

Sometimes these cards are really amazing. Not such a practical exercise, but this was definitely fun! :-)

Literary Lenormand: Forecast for Brave New World

[Update to this post: I've decided to make this a regular feature...so watch this space for more book forecasts using the Lenormand!]

So, one of the techniques I’ve been trying, to learn Lenormand, is using my Lenormand deck to predict what will happen in books, movies, and t.v. shows. To that end, I did a Lenormand reading on my husband’s favorite book, Brave New World, which I had never read. Now, here’s the thing: I read him my prediction, which I logged in my Penzu journal on March 3, and his comment was “You are almost entirely totally wrong.” But now, having finished the book, I have to say that I see a lot of my predictions in it (a controlling government based on the employer-employee relationship, sex without commitment, a son who is taken somewhere, the book starting in an institutional setting, and even the hoses/tubes, which turned up in the first scene, etc.), though there are also some things here that didn’t pan out in the book. I’d love to hear comments from those of you who have read Brave New World! I’m pasting the spread and my Penzu journal notes (which are pretty rough; I wasn’t originally planning to publish them — and unfortunately the photo is a bit dim) from March 3 below.

Nine card forecast for Brave New World, from the Art Nouveau Oracle Lenormand

Nine card forecast for Brave New World, from the Art Nouveau Oracle Lenormand

The beginning: Perhaps the book begins in a tower or apartment, or in some institution, or on the road to that place. If so, the road might be twisty and turny (the snake). It’s not always clear what is around the next bend.

The Tower: a government with a lot of restrictions. Deceptive choices were made; politicians went down that road. The future of the government is clouded, there is a lot of worry and anxiety. Perhaps the government itself puts clouds in the way of people’s happiness.

The Crossroads: The book begins at a decisive point in time: a crossroads. Perhaps there has been a complication (snake) and a choice needs to be made. This problem involves things that may be hard to digest, or hard for people in general to digest. There might be hoses involved, or tubes of some sort. OR, a choice is made to protect the tricksters of the world, or to protect those who are sneaky and underhanded. Possibly to use money or institutional power to protect them, and maybe letting the foxes into the henhouse.

The Bear: money, resources, and protection are a central theme in the book. Also, loyalty, or love and loyalty. However, there is deception connected with love as well. The dog: friendship as well as love is being put to the test. Perhaps it is that loyalty is clouded by love, or that love is clouded by loyalty (to other things).

The Fox: finding sneaky ways to be loyal and to be a loving friend. Finding sneaky ways to be happy. Work-related ways. The employer-employee relationship is a subtheme. OR: there is a trap being laid at work, or at a police station. Just when everything seems to be working out happily, it turns out to be a trap.

Another subtheme: I see some sex in this book, though it might just be alluded to. The heart and the tower knighting each other. But the relationship is threatened, it’s not clear whether it will be possible for the lovers to be loyal to each other. Though they might have a son together. But if so, that son might be taken in and deceived by the book’s tricksters, just what the parents would have wanted to avoid.

Want to recommend a book for my Literary Lenormand series? Write to me at bonnie@tarotsalve.com!

Ostara Blog Hop: Resurrection and Rebirth

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So, I want to look at resurrection and rebirth from two perspectives. To begin with:

In order to create, it is necessary first to destroy.

The Sun, Yoga Tarot

The Sun, from Lo Scarabeo’s Yoga Tarot

In order to rise like a phoenix from the ashes, one first has to burn to death.

In order to be resurrected or reborn, one first has to die.

"Resurrection," from Biblepictures.net

“Resurrection,” from Biblepictures.net

Or, put another way, in order to have spring, we must first have winter.

That’s why death is not necessarily bad news; losing a job is not necessarily bad news; getting sick is not necessarily bad news; experiencing loss and betrayal is not necessarily bad news; even global warming is not necessarily bad news. Not looked at from a longer perspective. Destruction is the precursor to creation.

But from another perspective:

Although I do believe in offerings, I don’t really believe in sacrifices, at least not at the level of religion (I do believe in day to day sacrifices — we could not live our lives if we did not sacrifice some options for the sake of others). For many of you reading this, the crucifixion of Jesus was a beautiful and necessary sacrifice. To me, it’s just blood sacrifice taken to a whole new level. And to me, to partake in Christianity would be to give my blessing and approval to the actions of a mob of people who chose to basically lynch Jesus. I also think that if Jesus saw this coming and had the opportunity to avoid it, it’s utterly wrong that he did not do so, a form of ritual suicide, of which I can’t possibly approve. Jesus on the cross

How do we (or at least I) reconcile these two perspectives?

First, I would say this: make your offerings to your god or gods by all means, or to the universe, or to the earth, but don’t think that an offering has to be a blood sacrifice. An offering can be a piece of fruit laid on an altar, or a heartfelt prayer. It does not have to require the shedding of blood. See, an offering should be a good thing, like a present. Something wonderful. Something you would look forward to. NOT something terrible.

Second, when terrible things happen on their own — do you see the difference? — we can embrace those things. We can recognize them for what they are: the opportunity to transform a situation, the chance to rise like a phoenix. We can recognize that while earlier there were few options, now, because of the Tower moment we may have just experienced, or because Death came to visit, there is suddenly a plethora of possibilities: many, many, many options to choose from. Suddenly doors have opened that were previously closed.

While the polar vortex of winter may have made our lives ever so much more challenging, it may also have made our lives ever so much more of an adventure. The crisp clean air of winter may have refreshed us and woken us up. If we had nothing but warmth and ease, we would remain drowsy. We wouldn’t fully wake up. We wouldn’t be in the present moment. And we wouldn’t have this opportunity to sprout something new in the spring.

What I’m saying is, even the challenges in our lives are blessings, and maybe “even” is a word that shouldn’t even be in this sentence. Our challenges almost always bless us, don’t they, in the long run? Our depressions, likewise. They give us what we need to grow.

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For One Great Big Dose of Happy, Watch Aliy Zirkle!

It’s Iditarod time again! And that’s a great thing if you are someone who is prone to depression, because you can head on over to You Tube and watch Aliy Zirkle, the musher who I think could frankly be called a one-woman antidepressant. I’m not necessarily saying that she’s a complete substitute for Zoloft, I’m just saying that you truly cannot be in the same space with her, even virtually over the Internet, and be anything other than positive, at least for those few minutes. Although your mileage may vary (pun intended!).

If you’re not an Iditarod fan, what do you do to add a quick shot of joy to your day when you need it?

Practical Tarot: Reacting to Transportation Delays

StrengthSix of CupsI tend to think of tarot as a spiritual tool, so it’s taken me some time to trust that it can also be extremely useful on a practical, everyday level. But I had a nice lesson in trusting tarot last night. I was trying to make it to a reiki 3 class on the other side of town, but I don’t have a car. My plan was to take the bus to the end of the line and then walk the rest of the way (it would have been about a 30-minute walk). I knew a winter storm was coming in, though, so I brought taxi fare with me just in case it didn’t look feasible to walk once I got that far. And, it didn’t. Our “winter storm” turned into a thunderstorm with rain turning to ice on the roads — I decided walking on the side of the road (no sidewalks), on slippery ice, in the rain, at rush hour was not going to be my wisest choice, so I ducked into a Taco Bell and called a cab.

And waited.

And waited.

I knew I had about 45 minutes to get to my class, so I thought I could afford to wait 20-30 minutes for a taxi. While I waited, I pulled tarot cards using an app on my phone: Strength, plus the Six of Cups. To me, the Strength card has to do with inner strength. When I see this card, the first thing I think is “Patience.” So…I counseled myself to be patient and wait. And I interpreted the Six of Cups in light of my circumstances (since this was a cups card and it was very wet outside) instead of thinking about it in terms of its more usual associations of nostalgia, childhood, and being with children.

But here’s the thing. My interpretation wasn’t wrong, in that it was very wet out and was going to continue to be wet. We had many “cups” of rain coming out of the sky…but tarot cards have layers of meaning, and I missed the more practical advice on this card because I was so anxious to make it to my class. This card, I now think, was saying, “go home to your children.” I just couldn’t accept that advice because I had planned so carefully to make it to this class. So I waited.

An hour and a half later, after talking to the taxi dispatcher several times, I gave up and got back on another bus and went home. If I had been open to the message I was receiving from the tarot in the first place, I could have saved myself a good 90 minutes of worry and anxiety.

Though this may seem like a trivial application of tarot, I think there’s a larger lesson here — about being open, about being able to listen, and about developing the ability to let go of a desired outcome in order to pay attention to actual circumstances.

Are the cards accurate? Only if we let them be.

Is Hollywood Hillbillies’ Memaw a New Incarnation of the Queen of Swords?

So, Hollywood Hillbillies is my first reality show. Ever. (It was on You Tube a few days ago, but is gone again now…see if you can find it.)

And I will be honest with you. My first reaction was, “I must never, ever, EVER, set foot in the South again.” That was probably just because this family may have triggered a bit of post-traumatic stress disorder from my own visits south of the Mason-Dixon line. I have many, many relatives, and friends, in the South. But–you friends and relatives in the South have to admit that y’all have no kale whatsoever in your damn grocery stores. (You know, kale? It’s a cruciferous vegetable. Like broccoli and spinach and cauliflower. Yes, people eat it and it’s delicious.) No tofu either. And that is a fact. I have checked. (Y’all need to write some letters to Winn-Dixie, stat!)

My second reaction was, “Why do these people have to talk like they have a mouthful of marbles? This is not My Fair Lady! We are not all being taught by Henry Higgins! Can’t we talk like it’s not painful?” (Did you realize that the Southern drawl is based on an upper crust British accent? Listen to it, people! Neither accent is my personal favorite, but, you know what, that’s really okay.)

But my third reaction was, “You know, though, I kind of like Memaw.” (The show doesn’t spell her name that way, but I honestly think you have to if you’re going to pronounce it right.)

And my fourth reaction was, “Actually, in some ways this family is really rather sweet.” How can I say that? Because they hold hands walking down the street! Could we start there? This is a loving family of people who are deeply loyal to and protective of each other. Is that wrong? Actually, no. Now, if my whole family came with me to a job interview or a business meeting, I’d have some words with them. But that’s my personal problem because I am just that intolerant and/or independent and because I have a bit of a temper when it comes to family members bossing me around. But those are my own flaws, which don’t give me the right to judge other people who are kind, sweet, and tolerant enough to cope with family being right up in their faces all the time.

And then there’s the fact that they stop and talk to the people working on the side of the road and ask to try the cactus they are eating for lunch! When was the last time YOU stopped to chat with a road worker and shared his lunch? To me, being willing to talk to and relate to and share food with ANYONE is the heart of democracy.

But let’s talk about Memaw, since she’s the heart and soul of this show. And Memaw TOTALLY is the Queen of Swords. Why? (I know some of you are thinking, “how can Bonnie denigrate the Queen of Swords like this?” Well, just listen for a minute.)

1. She doesn’t like phonies and she doesn’t like people acting like they are highfalutin’. She believes in honesty and in being yourself. And God bless her for that! We see too little honesty in this world. And I agree with her: I am tired of phonies, frauds, and lying.

2. She cuts through the bullshit. And in Hollywood, there is plenty of it. In fact, Memaw even cuts through her own bullshit. She tells her grandson that she doesn’t want to see any sexual activity going on while he’s living with her but then adds, “but if you do, make sure you use some protection.”

3. She IS the unrivaled queen of her family. No argument there. They all agree on it! She is the boss and there is “no negotiating with her,” according to her son.

4. Yes, she’s overweight, and no, that’s probably not technically any of your business, actually. What of it? Big deal! She looks pretty healthy to me despite the weight. You know what being overweight means? It does not mean you eat too much (even if it did, that would be nobody’s business but your own). But usually, being overweight means you maybe eat the wrong stuff, probably because you are too busy taking care of other people to take care of yourself, and it means you have led a stressful life so far and so your fat-producing hormones have gone into overdrive. That is what it means. These are NOT moral failings. Quite the contrary. They just indicate that like all queens, Memaw is preoccupied with looking after and protecting people. That’s her priority — not making a fashion statement.

4. You may think Memaw’s racist but I think she’s just plain interested. Yeah, she makes comments about people of different cultures and ethnicities. But have you noticed? All her comments in that department (or all the ones I’ve heard so far) have been complimentary. She frankly seems to admire diversity. “Japanese people are so smart,” does not sound like hate to me. “The only thing David Weintraub’s got going for him is he’s a Jew” does not sound like hate to me. To me, racism is a type of hate. Racism leads to violence and genocide. What I see here is not that. What I see in Memaw, and many, many other people like her, is racial stereotyping that stems from ignorance of other cultures combined with total fascination with those cultures. She’s thirsty for diversity — and that’s wonderful. What could be wrong with that?

And by the way, if you think she’s “white trash,” then you are more hateful than she is. And way more shallow. By far. Because this is a woman who walks up to literally everyone she meets and gives them a hug. She is love.