Friday, May 31, 2019

Deliberate Draw: Justice

First impressions:  Fairness, sense of honesty

Book:  Seeing all sides clearly, taking responsibility for our actions

Guidance:  Be honest with yourself and others

Journaling

I don't like this reading today.  I picked this card because the bastard that raped my daughter was arrested this week and I want him to get justice.  Okay, that's not truly accurate as I want vengeance.  I want him to suffer the worst that life has to offer.  I want his body, mind, and soul to be destroyed.  However, I don't trust the justice system to deliver anything anywhere near justice.  He has pleaded guilty and has a public defender, which means the odds are more in our favor than if he could afford a private attorney, but I still don't trust the justice system.

Lady Justice,

Please let him pay for his crimes.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Deliberate Draw: Six of Wands

First Impressions:  Triumphant, accolades

Book:  Arrival of good news, mark a moment of glory, self confidence forged the path for victory, achievements honored by others

Guidance:  Enjoy your time in the limelight for what its worth, but know that glory fades

Journaling

This is another card that I've had a love and hate relationship as on the one hand it strikes me as self promotion and ego, but what I have come to realize over the years is that there is a difference between self confidence and ego.  Self confidence says that I am good at what I know and I know it and ego says I am better than you and I know it.  Self confidence leaves room for others to be good at what they do as well, while ego means that there is only enough room for one person to get the glory.  John (my ex) always used to say I was constantly in competition with him and had to be the best.  I always denied it, but looking back I realize that it was true.  I did have to be the best with him because he was always trying to bring me down a notch.  He even admitted as such in the horrible days after he'd announced he wanted a divorce but before he moved out.  I've thought about that a lot and I've realized that in his mind there was only good and bad, there was no room for both of us to be good at something.  He always had to compete with me and if I wanted to write, he wanted to write as well and be better than me.

I've realized in the days since my divorce that there is room at the top for everyone and that there doesn't always have to be a best.  Sometimes one person is good at one thing and someone else is good at something else and they compliment each other.  I've also finally come to realize that I do have something to offer the world and that I don't have to sacrifice myself to be good at what I do.  There are a lot of people who think I've done the impossible at itelligence by actually starting an OCM practice that is starting to be successful.  I don't know if I'm the only person who could have been successful at starting an OCM practice at this very stubborn and hard to change company, but I do know that it required grit and tenancity and those are things I've always had in spades.

Another thing that I've realized from reflecting on the six of wands, is that it is okay to let other people build you up.  I've always thought that the only way to get self worth was to have innate self worth, but I've realized that sometimes hearing the praise of others can help you build your own self confidence.  Looking back and reflecting on my life, that makes sense because I let other people (namely John and Charlene (the person who gave birth to me)) erode my self confidence, so why wouldn't it make sense that other people could help build me up and help me have self confidence?

Exercise

Take some time to reflect upon your awesomeness.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Deliberate Draw: Hanged Man

First Impressions:  New perspective, looking at things from someone else's point of view

Book:  Suspended between the worlds, linking heaven and earth, some element of your life is on hold, being vulnerable and questioning

Guidance:  Be willing to give up some belief that no longer serves you

Journaling

I've learned that when I am stressed out and nothing seems to be going my way, I "other" people.  I take exception with the way that other people choose to live, how they choose to behave, and generally who they are.  I've learned that when the words "they should..." or "they shouldn't..." go through my mind, I need to top and take a pause to figure out what's bothering me.  This is especially true when the things that are bothering me are really benign such as someone talking to loudly in the nature center or someone sitting where I want to sit.  Granted, it is kind of rude to talk at the top of your lungs in a nature center, but it is also not the worst offense in the world.  And the person who sat in the chair that I wanted to sit in was just as entitled to sit in the chair as I was.  Once I pull myself back and remember that the world does not revolve around me, I quit "othering."

My personality runs to extremes and if I am not "othering" other people, I am looking at things from everyone else's perspective and ignoring my own needs.  I was raised by a mother who put everyone else's needs above hers and who expected me to do the same.  My maternal grandmother had an undiagnosed mental illness and she was someone who could never be satisfied.  She looked the other way when my mother's brother abused her, she gave away my mother's wedding gifts to the same brother, and she treated my brother and I like second class citizens.  However, despite all of this, my mother was at her beck and call and would drop everything to take care of her.  My father enabled my mother's acceptance of my grandmother's bad behavior as he preached respect your elders so I learned that your elders were to be respected at all costs.

I vowed to myself that I would never let people mistreat me because they were elders to be respected and with people outside of my family, I did a good job of standing up for myself and demanding respect.  However, I let my mother mistreat me without calling her on it and I married a man who began mistreating me from shortly after we said I do.  Since I had been raised to believe that unconditional love meant accepting whatever behavior someone dished out, I twisted myself into knots trying to make him happy even though at my heart I knew that someone else's happiness was not my responsibility.  As the years wore on, I became angry and bitter and ultimately he ended up leaving me.  At first I was devastated, but I've come to realize that his leaving was the best thing that ever happened to me and I'm happier than I've ever been.

As I reflect upon the hanged man, I realize that I need to give up my black or white thinking.  Most likely I am not always right, but the other person is not always right either.  The truth is usually somewhere in the middle.


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Deliberate Draw: Magician

First Impressions:  Making things happen, conduit

Book:  Channeling spiritual energy, accessing immense power, directing energy, creating and transforming situations

Guidance:  Take an active approach to life

Journaling:

I like to call this card the "get shit done" card and it is a card about being connected to the divine and seeing the next step laid out before you.  This is a card that bypasses intuition and just lets the energy of spirit happen.  When Magician energy comes into my life, I feel as if the future just happens. It is as if I think something and it happens. However, to become a Magician takes a lot of thought and training in order to get to the point when muscle memory takes over and the signal goes from holy spirit to hand without thought.

It's odd to think about where I'm at in life right now and to realize that I am at a magician phase in my life and I'm able to do things quickly and make them happen without a lot of thought.  That's because I have so much experience that I know instinctively when to zig and when to zag.  Even if I have not happened upon the exact same circumstances, I've had enough experiences to be able to draw on those experiences and be successful.  What's truly interesting about where I'm at right now is that I've never let myself get to this stage of something before.  I've always walked away before I've become an expert because I got bored and wanted to learn new things.  However, what I'm realizing is that being a Magician is about being able to take what you know and quickly apply it to new situations.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Deliberate Draw: High Priestess

First Impressions:  Self contained, power onto oneself, in touch with the universe

Book:  Standing in solitude and silence, guarding the mysterious realm, speaking through dreams

Guidance:  Come into a place of stillness, receptivity, and self awareness

Journaling

This is an image that it is easy for me to lose myself in.  I can imagine myself stepping into the body of the high priestess and standing naked and unafraid under the crescent moon while I draw down the goddess herself.  I love the way she is standing in a stone circle and her shadow is before her as the moon lights the path.  The more and more I clear out the mental clutter in my life, the more I realize that we are connected to the goddess and our intuition at all times, but sometimes we let life get in the way and we feel disconnected.

One of the biggest changes I've noticed in my life as I have moved from randomly choosing tarot cards (although we know there is nothing random about it), is that I've felt more connected to my intuition.  I've felt more attuned to the world around me and to my inner world.  It has also helped me to let go of things in the past that I didn't even realize I was fiercely holding on to.  I've also come to see that when I obsess over things, that means I'm holding on to some pain surrounding them and that obsessing about them is my way of trying to work out the pain.  It isn't an effective way, but it is a way that my psyche attempts to work things out.

One of the things I realized over the weekend when I was reflecting on the Virgin of Guadalupe who is my goddess of the week is that I was angry at myself over my mother calling me a drunken slut when I told her I was going to AA.  At that point in my life I was so beaten and broken and afraid that I did not tell her to fuck off and that I deserved to be treated with respect.  Instead, I absorbed her ugly words and became even more broken.  I think there is a part of me that has thought for thirty years that I was a sell out because I needed her and dad to support me through college.  However, when I look at myself with loving kindness, I realize that I was too broken and hurt to do anything else.  I had also been raised to be very sheltered and to respect my elders at all costs.  I saw how my  mother continued taking care of her mother despite the abuse my grandmother heaped upon her.  In reality, there is nothing else I could have done.

As I reflect upon this card, I realize that this is also a card of standing tall and being whole within yourself.  It is a card of knowing that I am worthy and knowing that I am enough, just as I am.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Deliberate Draw: The Empress

First Impressions:  Sensuality, freedom, creativity, mothering

Book:  Great provider, all things related to motherhood

Guidance:  Love and care for yourself and your own body, listen to your instincts

Journaling:

The message to love and care for my body is one I have been working to take to heart lately.  One of my goals for 2019 was to do something physical every day.  Some days that is taking a long walk with the dog, some days it is swimming, some days it is working out and laughing on the WII fit.  I just have to do something.  This is so different than the kamikaze goals I would have made 15 years ago where I would have set a target weight and beat myself up if I didn't meet it by my totally unrealistic deadline.  I've learned that I actually have very little control over whether or not I lose weight.  I realize that this statement may set off a chorus of judgement from those who believe that weight loss is as simple as calories in and calories out, but I've learned that it really is not that simple.  For me, weight loss is complicated and I've given up on setting a weight goal for myself.  However, that doesn't mean that I've given up on myself.  It means that instead of setting an arbitrary goal, I'm paying attention to what I eat, giving up soda, and getting some exercises every day.   It also means refusing to beat myself up if my body doesn't respond as quickly as I think it should.

Recognizing Empress energy also means celebrating the motherly instinct in all creatures and today I got a first hand glimpse of Empress energy in my dog Wendy.  Wendy is a mom at heart and she loves and nurtures all creatures great and small.  I knew that from the moment I met her at the pound.  We had taken Clark with us to meet potential playmates and the first thing she did was kiss him.  It may have been because she'd had puppies several weeks before (and no, we don't know what happened to them) or it may just be because she is a mother at heart.  She also mothers us by scolding us when we break one of "Wendy's Rules," which include prohibitions against working on the computer on the dining room table, going to bed too late, moving chairs around, and other random things that she thinks are improper.  The problem is that there is no list of Wendy's Rules and we don't know that we've broken them until she comes, sits in front of us, and barks at us.  Humans are not the only creatures she wants to mother.  We took her to the dog park today and she fell in love with the puppies who had come to play. 

The Empress in another form was in the news today as I read a story in the Washington Post about Auntie Networks that are forming to help women who live in patriarchal states that believe that clumps of cells have more rights that fully formed women.  These Auntie Networks are offering assistance to women who need abortions including funding, places to stay if they need to travel, and other assistance.  I realize there are some who would question why the Empress who rules over motherhood would be embodied in women helping those who need abortions.  I believe that as someone who embody's motherhood, the Empress is also about supporting women who choose not to have children for any and all reasons.  That includes women who are choosing abortion so they can provide for the children they already have.  One of the lessons I've learned over the last few years is that even grown women need to be nurtured, cared for, and supported and the Auntie Networks do that.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Deliberate Draw: Three of Cups

First Impressions:  Openness, honesty, heart to heart, fun

Book:  Triple aspect of the Goddess:  maiden
, mother, and crone, mutual respect, enduring bonds, and social pleasures, loyalty, and shared ideas, creating sacred space

Guidance:  Enjoy the company of a few good friends, have a feast, indulge yourself, act from the heart to build relationships

Journaling:

Most three of cups cards have a sense of frivolity and fun as we see three women dancing and toasting.  This one has a deeper meaning as the women sitting topless indicating a willingness to be open and honest with one another and to be truthful about all things.  It is about letting go of our masks and getting real with the people we call friends.   It's about being able to share the uncomfortable things with people, the things we'd be embarrassed to tell anyone else, it's being able to cry without worrying about the snot coming out of your nose, and being able to laugh until you snort without being embarrassed.  And it's about being honest with people and knowing they won't give you advice unless you ask for it.

I grew up believing that friendship meant having people stick their nose in their business and give you unsolicited advice.  And unfortunately, that is all too often the way that friendship is portrayed today.  However, I learned about real friendship in Al-Anon where I learned that real friendship meant being able to just listen and witness someone's pain without rushing in to fix things.  One of the things I realized in being forced (as there are rules against unsolicited advice in Al-Anon) to keep my mouth shut when people poured their hearts out was that giving advice was more for me than for the people on the receiving end.  It is hard to sit and listen to someone who has a problem that you are convinced you have the solution for and keep quiet.  It is uncomfortable to silently witness people's pain.  However, I also learned from being the one pouring out my heart that there was something empowering about people not giving me unsolicited advice.  It meant that I was free to ask for advice, if I chose to, or figure it out myself.  The more I experienced this true unconditional love, the more I found myself wanting advice from people who had it together.  I also realized that unwelcome advice creates a power differential as the person giving the advice inevitably acts superior to the person on the receiving end.

As I discovered that type of relationship, I realized that the relationships of my childhood were unequal relationships where I was made to feel less than for not having all the answers or for not taking unsolicited advice.  My ex-husband was great at making me feel less than for not taking his advice.  What he didn't realize that even if I didn't take his advice, I often listened and considered it as I developed a plan of my own.  I don't have a lot of friends now as I'm still a hermit at heart, but I do have a few friends that I trust with my soul and it feels amazing to have people who love you and accept you for who you are.

Exercise:  

Think about the people in your life, who do you love because they trust and empower you?

Friday, May 24, 2019

Deliberate Draw: The Hermit

First Impressions:  Finding your own path, walking toward your future

Book:  Seeking true understanding, Listening for the voice of God

Guidance:  Make room in your life for spiritual matters, take time alone to reflect and look within, stay open as you walk

Journaling:

This card reflects the Cairn by Cairn philosophy I've been working to live by as I work to find my own path in life.  What I am finding is that we all do walk alone and although there are people in our lives who can bring us joy and help us, at the end of the day we are responsible for what happens to us.  What is interesting for me right now is that I am able to claim the power of this card.  John derided me for so long by calling me a hermit and making fun of the fact that I didn't like to go out and meet people.  I was content to stay in and read and reflect.  He made being a hermit into something ugly, but I'm realizing there is true beauty in being willing to sit with yourself in silence.  I think part of the reason he worked to make the hermit an ugly thing is that he was unable and unwilling to sit with his own demons.  He could not face the ugliness in his own soul and he worked to drown it out with the TV, with alcohol, and with other people.

I've always been content to be on my own and to read, to reflect, and to just spend time in my own company.  That is where I find my strength.  It is difficult for me to be around large groups of people who are expecting something from me.  That saps my strength and takes my power away.  That seems very ironic in that my job is to coach and train large groups of people.  However, there is a boundary there in that I have information I am imparting to them.  It is a two way communication in that I listen and adjust, but it is not a personal conversation about getting to know people.  It is not feeling like a million people are tapping at my soul and wanting to get to know me.  However, it does sap my soul and I do need time to recover, which is why I guard my personal time viciously and am very choosy about who I choose to go out with.  John had loud drunk and druggie friends and it was very difficult for me to spend time with them.

The period immediately after my divorce was very difficult for me as I had become so accustomed to the chaos that John preferred that I felt uncomfortable sitting alone with my thoughts.  Living alone on Hermitage was so difficult for me because all I could do was beat myself up and belittle myself for ending up divorced.  However, it was also the best thing for me as I started to rediscover who I was.  Finding Al-Anon helped me so much because I learned to create boundaries and I learned the importance of letting go of people who do not support me. It has also helped me to find my way back to spirit and to begin listening again.   I've found that listening is hard when you are scared and anxious, but that when you can start to let go of the fear, you can connect with deity.

Exercise:

Take some time to be by yourself today and listen for guidance from the spirits

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Deliberate Draw: The Tower

First Impressions:  Change forced up on us, dramatic change

Book:  Having our self delusion torn away, release from a stagnant condition,

Guidance:  If you haven't learned the hard way, chances are that something major needs to shift, be prepared for guidance from unexpected sources

Journaling

Sometimes when we do not have the courage to take a leap of faith out of a bad situation as the Fool asks us to do, the world crumbles around us and we are left in a pile of rubble that has us questioning the meaning of our life.  For me this happened when my now ex-husband announced four months after a life altering heart attack that he was moving out.  I was devastated because I had spent 22 years twisting myself into knots to be the person he wanted me to be.  I felt as if my security was ripped of its foundations and I was left floundering.  I was no longer a wife and it felt as if all of my worth had been taken from me.

Fast forward nine years and I'm truly happier than I've every been in my life as I own my own beautiful home, my two kids live with me, I have an interesting and challenging dog, I have two pit bulls playing and bringing me joy, and I'm comfortable in my own skin.  I'm not trying to fit myself into someone else's idea of who I should be.  As I look back on my marriage, I realize that it was an angry and hateful place to be and not a place of love and support.  My ex-husband's undiagnosed mental health issues meant that he was incapable of being loving and supporting.  I didn't realize exactly how on edge and stressed I was for most of my marriage and the first few years after my divorce, it felt uncomfortable to be peaceful and not have that stress in my world.  However, I've become acclimated and I've learned that peace is a wonderful place to be.

As I reflected on this card yesterday, the twin towers came up over and over and over.  I'd catch snippets on the tv about the twin towers, two of my assignments for class talked about the twin towers, and those images played over and over on the tv and in my head.  It made me think about whether there was a greater cosmic meaning to the towers than a single act of hate.  I've realized they were about shaking us out of our complacency and forcing us to confront the ugliness and hate in our world. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Deliberate Draw: The Fool

First Impressions:  Taking Flight, Trusting, leap of faith

Book:  Fool lives perfectly in the present, innocent and open to surprises

Guidance: take a leap of faith and trust the universe will provide, recognize risks, and carry on with confidence

Journaling:

The Fool is one of my favorite cards because it is a reminder that we need to let go of our worries and inhibitions, take action, and trust that it will all work out.  One of the thoughts that just struck me is that the fool is often thought of as a simpleton who doesn't have deep thoughts.  Most of us view that as a bad thing, but if we look at it through a different lens we can see that not having deep thoughts means we are acting from intuition and not overthinking things.  Sometimes our gut tells us what the right thing to do is, but we think ourselves out of it.  Don't get me wrong, I appreciate brains and logic as much as the next person, but I also know that all too often we ignore our gut instincts and we think ourselves out of something that might be the next right thing for us or we talk ourselves into something that's wrong for us.

I got a wake up call on this today because I'm close to being ready to hire people and build my OCM practice, but I want to give them very narrow lanes.  Someone I consider a mentor reminded me that we need to give people latitude so they have passion.  I pointed out that I have worked so hard that I don't want someone else screwing that up.  I was told that sometimes we have to face failure in order to grow.  That was a fool moment as I was reminded that sometimes even though we're afraid, we have to take that leap of faith.  We have to trust that even if we fail, we won't totally crash and burn.

As I think about taking leaps of faith, I think about the possible outcomes:  I could tumble all the way to the ground and be injured, I could fall almost to the ground and be caught and brought safely to earth, or I could find my wings and soar.  Unfortunately, I will never know which of these scenarios will be reality unless I find my courage to step off that roof and soar.

Exercise

What are you afraid of?  Do it.




Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Deliberate Draw: Six of Swords

First Impressions: Fleeing, walking away, courage

Book:  Journeys of all kinds, taking a trip, change of consciousness, exploring realms on the other side

Guidance:  The time has come to leave old pain, places, and patterns behind, choose to take the next steps

Journaling:

This is such a card of courage and commitment and that's where I'm at right now as I am choosing to commit to my new life and to leave my hold life behind.  It's funny, buying a house with John in 2007 was a bigger commitment than marriage because it involved my financial security and he came close to destroying me financially when he walked out because he chose not to help and he chose to just walk away.   The funny thing is that at the time that I signed the paperwork I knew it would end poorly, but I chose to take the commitment because I believed that it was a commitment that would save my marriage.  It did not.

Buying a house in 2015 and choosing to move to Cleveland was my physical moving on and leaving behind Chicago and all that it entailed.  What I just found out from two close friends from Chicago as they both viewed it as a spiritual graduation of sorts as I was taking charge of my own life and making deliberate choices versus drifting.  It was a huge step in my growth, but I'm still working on moving forward and finding my way.  What I have found is that, as the text from the World Spirit, book says, "...the hardest part may be getting over your fear of moving into unknown territory."  For me, unknown territory means choosing to claim my life as my own and choosing to move forward alone instead of waiting for someone to share my life with.  

It is a little scary to accept that I may always be alone, but it is also very liberating as well as it means that I don't have to subjugate myself to anyone.  I can paint my bathroom pink if I want to, I can buy a little red sports car, I can live my life according to my own wishes and not have to take someone else's opinions into consideration.  It's liberating and scary all at the same time, but I'm finally ready.


Exercise:

Pull the six of swords from your favorite deck, climb into the boat, and sail toward your destiny.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Deliberate Draw: Six of Cups

First Impressions:  Nostalgia, partnership

Book:  Sanctuary, loving sanctuary of family and friends and family, kindness and compassion, relaxing fully into who we truly are

Guidance:  Leave the worries of the world behind, live fully in the present, draw insight from the past to enrich the present

Journaling:

The six of cups is a card I have historically disliked because my childhood memories were not all happy and I equated this card with an imbalance of power that occurs in childhood.  As a child, we have little power and we are at risk of being exploited or taken advantage of by those older than ourselves.  Even though the meanings from most decks are all about nostalgia, I never warmed to this card, but the cards from the World Spirit deck and the Druidcraft deck are different representations of the six of cups.  The six of cups from the World Spirit deck allows me to see two friends who are hanging out and having fun and there isn't the power differential that there is in the traditional RWS version of this card.

The six of cups from the Druidcraft deck shows an older boy and younger girl being supervised by a parent, which gives me a feeling of safety that the traditional RWS card doesn't give me.  Additionally, the reflection for the DruidCraft deck by Philip Carr-Gomm provided exactly the insight I needed as I contemplate letting go of the anger and pain my relationship with my mother causes.  Carr-Gomm said, "Receiving this card in a reading may mean that you are working on integrating the gifts and experiences of your past--your childhood, or even past lives--with your consciousness in the present."  This reading captured where I am at as it was an acknowledgement that I cannot totally sever my past and I need to figure out how to start from where I am.  It also means that I need to take a step back and look at the past as a whole and not focus on all the negativity and anger.  I need to remember the 26 mile bike ride we took with my mom and how much fun that was, I need to remember baking cookies, and the fact that she drove me to college.  What I've finally realized is that by acknowledging the good doesn't negate the bad, it just means that I am choosing to love myself and make room in my life for good memories instead of just hoarding the bad memories. 

As a demonstration of the synchronicity of the world, I'm reading Beyond Forgiveness:  Reflections on Atonement by Phil Cousineau and the passage I read tonight, an essay by Michael Bernard Beckwith, included a reflection on the biblical story of Jesus telling people to turn the other cheek.  Beckwith said, "Many people interpret this as saying that if someone hits you, you should turn the other cheek and let them hit you again.  I don't think he meant that.  I think he meant that you are supposed to give back a different form of energy.  If you are given hate or indifference, you are to give back love, patience, and compassion."  Tears streamed down my cheeks as I read this because I realized it was exactly what I needed to hear.  I've started doing a metta, or loving kindness meditation every night.  First I remind myself that I love myself and I am loved, then I expand the circle outward to include my children, my friends, and eventually the world.  As I expand the circle of meditation, I envision each person/group receiving peace and love.  Part of the meditation is specifically giving loving kindness to people who are difficult.  I realized as I read Beckwith's words that I had not been including my mother in my loving kindness meditation.  I took a pause, breathed deeply, then recited my version of the loving kindness meditation for my mother:

Mom, you love yourself
You are surrounded by love
You are kind and compassionate to yourself
You are surrounded by kindness and compassion
You are strong
You are fierce
You are vulnerable
You love with an open heart
You are enough
You have enough

As I visualized her and said these words, I felt peace within my heart.


Exercise

Begin your own metta meditation practice to begin blessing those who you find difficult.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Deliberate Draw: Ace of Swords

First Impressions:  Discerning, cutting away what no longer serves

Book:  Truth, Yoni as gateway to powers of the sword, Inspiration, insight, and keen intellect, double edged sword

Guidance:  Rationally analyze situations to make good decisions, commit yourself to the truth

Journaling:

I chose to write about the Ace of Swords today because for me this card symbolizes cutting away what is no longer needed.  I view it as a giant pair of scissors that cut away attachments that tangle us up and serve no purpose.  As summer is here, this card could also be viewed as a big pair of pruning sheers cutting away dead wood so that what is left behind can grow and find the sunlight.  Unfortunately, pruning the dead wood out of our lives is not as easy as pruning dead branches, because all too often the dead wood is relationships that have outlived their usefulness or that are strangling us.

My separation (2010) and divorce (2011) not only cleared away the dead wood of a marriage that was strangling me and causing me to become an angry and bitter person, they also illuminated the root of the problem which was an unhealthy relationship with my mother.  I realized that she had raised me to be a doormat and put everyone else's needs above mine.  When I wanted to go to a writer's conference and my now ex was going to watch the kids, she asked me if he was okay with that.  When I was chosen to go to a class at work, she said he should go because he worked in IT and I didn't.  And what caused the final rift was when I told her John and I had separated and she asked how everyone else was, except me. She never once asked how I was feeling or if I was okay.  It was all about everyone else.  Then she had the audacity to say, "There's not going to be a divorce, is there?"  It did not matter to her that I was crushed and devastated, all she cared about was everyone else's feelings and about social standing.  That was a moment of truth for me and at that moment it felt as if a flashlight was illuminating my entire relationship with my mother and I realized how she had hurt me.

Cutting your mother out of my life was difficult because there was a part of me that felt guilty and as if maybe I was overreacting, but when she guilt tripped me on my 50th birthday and refused to even consider that my feelings might be valid, I realized I had made the right choice.  However, knowing intellectually you've made the right choice and knowing in your heart you've made the right choice are two different things.  There are so many moments in my life where I want a mom to be there for me and to listen to me and to help me figure things out, but I don't have that mother in my life.  It hurts sometimes and there are times I Google estranged parents online to see if there is anything else I can do to heal the rift, but there's nothing.  At the end of the day, if she refuses to acknowledge her part in the rift there is nothing I can do.   I've also pondered if I could have a more superficial relationship with my mother, but I also know that that wouldn't work because anytime I told her she that a topic was off limits, she would pout.  It still hurts, but I also know that I'm in a healthier place because she is not in my life.

I'm also working to apply the sword of truth to other people in my life and over the past week I've realized that I need to cut a friend out of my life who was my rock during my divorce.  As I sat and listened to him complain about how people had teased him, I realized he was being a hypocrite and the teasing he'd endured was no worse than what he had dished out to me.  The worst was when I fell and got a serious concussion.  He told a coworker that I was drunk and wearing high heels when it happened.  And when I protested, he said I was being too sensitive.  As I look back at the incident, I realize I was in no way being too sensitive.  It would have been one thing to say that to me in a teasing manner, but to say that to someone else was out of line.  I reminded him of that and he chuckled as if it was no big deal.  I realized that our friendship wasn't going to work any longer because I've grown and changed and I no longer accept disrespect in my life.

Exercise:

Visualize the toxic people who are holding you back and see the ribbons of energy that are attaching you to those people.  Pull out your great big sword of truth or a big pair of shiny pruning sheers and virtually cut those energetic ties.  Once you've got the times, take a moment to thank them for whatever lessons they've brought to your life and let them go.  For some relationships, you may have to do this exercise multiple times, but eventually you will know that the cords have been cut.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Deliberate Draw: Four of Swords

First Impressions:  Rest, Recuperation, taking care of ourselves first

Book:  Retreat, seclusion guarded by three swords, need for rest

Guidance:  Now is the time to heal through solitude and reflection.  Learn how to better balance your ideas with reality.  An honest evaluation of your part in the drama is key to your growth

Journaling

What I love about this image is that she is laying on her side and appears very much at peace and very restful.  You can also see her horse grazing in the background while she sleeps.  This card tells me that it is time for me to put myself first and to take time for solitude and reflection.  It is time for me to let go of the outside world and to let myself reflect on what is going on in my life and where I'm going.  What's interesting for me is that I have been doing a lot of that lately, especially reflecting on my part in the drama and what I could have done differently.  One of the key messages that I've been receiving lately is that I need to commit.  I need to commit to jobs, I need to commit to the World Spirit Tarot deck, and I need to commit to myself.

I was let go from a job nine years ago right after my husband decided to leave me because I had totally flaked out and was unable to function.  I felt lost and abandoned and ever since that time I've had a problem committing to jobs.  I've always found something wrong with a position around the two year point and started looking.  As I reflect on that situation, I realize that I was afraid.  My husband left me after 22 years and it had become really difficult for me to trust people, especially people who held my financial future in their hands.  I never let myself get comfortable in jobs and I also believe that's part of the reason that I'm a consultant as it means I am jumping from project to project all the time.  However, my guides have been very clear that I need to commit.  I need to quit analyzing and finding fault and commit to my job.  The funny thing is that the job I'm in right now was CREATED FOR ME.  No one else has ever held this job and it was created because the company believed that I had skills they needed.  When I take a step back, I realize they have committed to me and it's me who is having commitment issues.  I've decided to commit to my job and when I start to get antsy, I take a step back and recommit.  The interesting thing is that when I allow myself to do that, I am able to see all the good things at work and to see how valued I am.

My guides have also told me I need to commit to one tarot deck for a while instead of dating a whole bunch of different decks.  One of my key spiritual practices for the past four years has been pulling a card a day from a tarot deck.  I've done one deck for a month, then switched to a different deck.  It has really helped me to learn tarot and learn the nuances of the deck.  However, my guides have said that the time for dating is over and it's time for me to commit.  The question they asked me is how I could expect a person to commit to me if I wasn't able to commit?  It's a fair question and my first defensive response was to say that I am committed to my family and my dogs.  They're telling me that that is not enough so I will be working with the World Spirit Tarot for the foreseeable future.

Committing to my job and to the World Spirit Tarot are part of the bigger commitment to myself.  I need to take myself seriously and learn to open my heart and follow my dreams.  That's tough as I've spent most of my life being committed to other people and now I'm realizing that in committing to other people I let go of myself.  I need to find my way back to balance and the ability to commit to myself and other people instead of taking care of others at the expense of myself.  That's hard because I have a tendency to say yes to everyone, but I'm learning that it is okay to say no and that it is also okay to ask for help.  I'm also learning to put my own hopes and dreams first and that's hard sometimes.  I enrolled in a Masters program in January and there are times when I am tempted to not do my homework because someone else needs me, but when I feel tempted I remind myself of how much I'm paying for the class and that helps.

Committing to my health and taking time to rest and recuperate is also a big part of my new found commitment to myself.  I was raised, like I'm sure a lot of you were, with the mandate that sleeping in meant you were lazy, that relaxing instead of doing something was lazy, etc, etc.  However, I've learned that there is serious value in being "lazy" because it allows us to recharge our batteries.  One of the best decisions I ever made was to buy a personal laptop and stop using my work laptop for everything.  I even travel with my personal laptop and that means when I turn off the work laptop, I'm done with work.  No more watching TV and checking email.  When I'm done with work, the work laptop goes off and I'm done.  I'm also committing to going to bed at a reasonable hour and not working all night.


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Tarot Blog Hop: Continuing Education



Welcome to the Beltane Blog Hop.  The topic for this Hop as provided by our intrepid wrangler Joy Vernon is Continuing Education.  She invited us to talk about classes we're taking or recommending or what we're doing to further our Tarot Education.  Unlike some of the topics where it takes me a while to get inspired to write, this one is easy as I further my knowledge of tarot by buying and using multiple tarot decks.  What I've found is that every deck's creator puts their own spin on the cards and working with multiple decks helps me to learn more about the nuances of meanings in each of the cards. 

Once I realized that every deck spoke to me in different ways, I started to look for different ways to incorporate different decks into my practice.  I typically work with one deck for spreads and another for my daily draws.  I also work with different decks in different locations as I've found that some decks respond better in different geographical locations.  For instance, The Gaian Tarot  by Joanna Powell Colbert always talks to me when I visit California so I always take it along and make it a practice to pull a few cards at the beach or in the redwood forest. I didn't realize when I first started taking the deck to California that Joanna had lived in the Santa Cruz area and many of the images are drawn from that area....but I digress and will need to write a separate blog post on that topic.

I'd like to share with you a couple of my experiences with a couple of different cards and how working with various decks helped me to gain a deeper understanding of the meaning of the cards.  I've also found that as I broaden my understanding of those cards, that deeper understanding applies no matter which deck I am working with.

Six of Pentacles

DruidCraft Tarot
The very first tarot deck I worked with was the DruidCraft Tarot by Phillip Carr-Grom and I hated the six of pentacles.  At the time, I was going through a messy divorce and this card made me feel as if the poor druid sitting in the tree was being asked to give more than he could truly afford.  The meaning of the card in the guidebook is similar to that of cards from other decks as Carr-Grom wrote the card was about receiving and giving.  It could mean being the benefactor of someone else's generosity or sharing what was had with others.  He said that there was a sense of balance and fairness in this card.  However, the image did not portray fairness to me at all and I learned to dread what was next every time the six of pentacles came up as it felt I would be asked to give more than I could afford either physically or emotionally.



RWS
The next deck I started working with was a more traditional RWS Clone and the person doing the giving was depicted as a wealthy merchant who was carefully balancing who he gave the coins to.  He did not have to enough to give to everyone, so he had to carefully mete them out to make sure that only people who were worthy received his largess.  Although I liked this image better than the image of the poor druid on the mountain, this one still made me uncomfortable as it felt like I was either judging people or being judged.  The traditional meaning of this card, according to the RWS guidebook is all about charity with justice, fair distribution of wealth, and generosity.




Gaian Tarot
It wasn't until I started working with the Gaian Tarot that I began to see this card as being part of a cycle of giving and receiving.  In this card, there is an abundance of produce and some people are selling it and some people are receiving it, but this image tells me that everyone is equal and no one is being made to feel as if they have to convince someone of their worthiness to receive assistance.  The guidebook says, "You are part of the cycle of giving and receiving."  She adds, "Your generosity and support of others circles back to you and increases your own prosperity and health."  This was a meaning that resonated with me and made me look forward to having a "Six of Pentacles Day" instead of dreading it.




Four of Pentacles

While I disliked the Six of Pentacles from the DruidCraft on site, I didn't have a strong reaction one way or another to the Four of Pentacles.  To me the image and the meaning spoke of building wealth and being responsible.  I saw the person in the image taking care to safeguard what he had.  The guidebook said the card could refer to building wealth and using money wisely.  There was a caution about not becoming preoccupied with wealth and using hoarding to protect yourself from inner loss, but the image did not give me a visceral reaction of hoarding.  Interestingly enough, I equated this card with hoarding my emotional resources and not physical resources.  When I pulled this card, it felt as if I was being reminded to guard my emotional resources closely.



The visceral reaction to hoarding came when I saw the Four of Pentacles from the Everyday Witch Tarot where a man is sitting on a trunk and looking around suspiciously as if someone is going to come in and take his wealth from him at any moment.  The guidebook said, "Fear of not having enough may be more harmful than the lack itself."  This meaning resonated with me as I have seen in my own life how fear is so much more destructive than negative situations.  What was interesting to me was that both the image from the DruidCraft and the Everyday Witch show a man with a trunk, the way they are portrayed conveys vastly different messages.

Dark Goddess Tarot
Interesting enough when I went looking for a third deck to round out my trio of meanings for the Four of Pentacles, I chose the Dark Goddess Tarot and the Spinx adorns Ellen Lorenzi-Prince's version of the Four of Earth and the guidebook said, "Definitions work two ways, helping you understand reality and separating your perception from reality."  It went on to say, "Find your own reality, the only position you must defend, and find the center of your power."  In typical tarot fashion, the cards basically told me to look within my heart for the meaning of the cards.

If you'd like to get some more continuing tarot education, hop back to Arwen's Blog, hop ahead to visit Katalin's Blog, or click on Master to visit the Master List.



Popular Posts