Lacking the foundation

Interpretations for the Tower: Sudden insight or clarity (“a-ha!”) / The shattering of illusion / Crisis / Depression / Liberation
Tarot readers come in all stripes. I tend to be a “good news” reader, finding constructive ways to frame even the most challenging cards. Like the Tower.

To me, the Tower often represents an unexpected “a-ha!” moment (or series of moments) of sudden clarity. But when one of my Tarot mentors, Ferol Humphrey, suggested I choose a Major Arcana card to represent significant events in my life, I had quite another thing in mind for the Tower.

Expecting one thing. Getting another

My 16-year-old self longed for adventure and applying to be a foreign exchange student seemed the perfect thing. I sailed through the selection interviews, but the day I received a letter containing my departure date and the name and address of my host family, I felt flooded with abject terror.

Behold my Tower

Other than my lofty dreams, I had no foundation for such an adventure. My blissfully stable upbringing had never forced me to adapt to new family dynamics, let alone the rest of it—school, community and culture. My world was shaken and I was thrown.

Welcome to the Tower.

My 16-year-old self was asking for the experience of the Fool card—a bold, grand adventure—but first had to endure having her self-deception shattered. The experience was visceral and upsetting. Looking back, I wish it hadn’t been necessary, but I can’t regret it. It changed me.

That’s what the twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana are about—the key experiences that mark the turning points of our personal stories.

Your choice: the hard way or the easy way

Even if we never leave the house, there’s no avoiding the lessons of the Major Arcana. They’re part of our human experience. You could say we draw them to ourselves. I sure did. The only question is, when they arrive, will you resist or will you meet them with grace.

As a good friend of mine said of the figures falling from the Tower, “Though we can’t see it here, a moment after this ‘snapshot’ was taken, they remembered they could fly.”

An insight like that makes the fall worthwhile.

Would you like clarity or insight on something in your own life? I offer personal readings and would be glad to help.

Mirrors, mirrors. Aren’t we all?

People can be so annoying. Especially when they show me something about myself I don’t want to see.

It happened at a recent Meetup. One of my fellow students of Tarot read her cards with fluttering hands and plenty of mystical drama. Normally, I would chalk it up to personal style and perhaps find it amusing. This time, it irritated me.

Why? If I needed to justify my feeling, I’d point to the way she spouted prognostications as set-in-stone truths. This precludes free will and thus violates my code as a Tarot reader.

But that very afternoon, I’d rolled my eyes while telling a friend about a client’s infatuation with the mystical trappings commonly assigned to the intuitive and psychic sides of life.

What was my beef?

Time to look in the mirror

Truth is, I was once as infatuated as my client. And while I’ve not indulged in the kind of hand-fluttering as my fellow reader, I recognize it as a symptom of the same thing.

It seemed my irritation stemmed from being reminded of a version of myself I’ve left behind. But if I’d truly left it behind, I’d feel compassion rather than irritation.

My irritation carried the ugly whiff of judgment. And now that I’ve noticed it, other examples are popping up. They represent different areas of my past/beliefs/self-image. Facing these mirrors challenges me. It’s uncomfortable to admit to feeling judgmental, of myself and/or of others.

It helps to remind myself that I’ve grown–I’m experiencing these feelings from a perspective never before possible for me.

In other words, it’s okay to be where I am today. It’s merely my opportunity to embrace what I see in the mirror, and to appreciate the people who show it to me.

What are your mirrors showing lately? How do you handle it?

Photo credit (mirror): Elizabeth/Table4Five

Entering the dark of the year

With the days noticeably shorter and Halloween spookiness fills our awareness, it’s natural to reflect on where we’ve been and what we’ve lost. To mourn our dead and dig in for winter.

Astrology reinforces the theme. Last weekend, the sun entered Scorpio, a sign known for going deep into the Mysteries with a capital M. It happens to be my rising sign, making Pluto–god of the Underworld–the ruler of my chart. You could say I’ve some experience in going deep.

Which is why I know that there is no death without rebirth. Every sorrow teaches us something, if only we’re open to receiving its gifts.

Stuff that won’t stay buried

Today, I felt called to visit my neighborhood coffee shop. I asked the Tarot, “what time is it?” and received the same answer I got when I did my new moon reading on Wednesday. The cards told me, “It’s time to stop denying the pain of old wounds.”

My past holds gifts I’ve not yet mined. They’re contained in old hurts, and I must acknowledge the pain. Only then can it be transformed into new awareness. Now that I’ve received the message, I won’t ignore the guidance. My journal pages are taking a beating this week.

How to go after your own buried gifts

What about you? What pain have you buried? Halloween is the perfect time of year to transform it into a treat that will sweeten your life going forward. A playful way to do it would be dressing up as your pain (or the thing that caused it) and let it play out over the course of the night. Too intense? Scream. You’ll feel better, and trick-or-treaters will love it..

(A personal note to my table-mates at the coffee shop. Please call me when you’re ready for a Tarot reading. I would love to help you.)

Moon photo: Goddard Photo and Video

Nothing to see here. Move along.

When I notice repeating patterns of things, I like to play a game, asking, “If there were a message for me here, what would it be?”

This weekend, I asked after noticing a pair of older-model cars, one white, one black, both convertibles. Because I asked at a Tarot meetup, the answer came with a five-card spread and commentary from everyone present.

Short answer from the cards: It’s a coincidence. Keep moving forward.

“Eyes on your own paper”

It tickled me. The “pattern” of the cars had been a playful God-wink (one of the more fun ways to look at a coincidence). But of course, I noticed a new pattern in the Tarot cards. Of the five cards, I saw 3 fire and 2 water cards. Also 2 pip cards and 3 court cards (two kings and a queen).

I didn’t have to ask what this new set of patterns meant. The story I’m writing involves not only the forces of fire and water, but the same kind of lover’s triangle so clearly depicted by those court cards. Time to get back to work on that!

Do you play this game, asking yourself about patterns you’ve noticed? Had anything fun come up lately?

Photo credit: jurvetson

“Trust the Universe”

Receiving vs. acting

Recent weeks find me sleeping a lot (except for the nights I lay in sleepless meditation, but that’s a different post, which I may get around to writing one day).

Isn’t sleep more suited to winter than the frenzied growth of spring? Especially when my life’s circumstances seem to be demanding not sleep, but rather Very Serious Action?

(I see a few of you nodding. See? You’re not alone!)

New month, new moon, new energy

Tuesday, I laid out Eowyn’s New Moon Tarot Spread. This time, I did it twice, using two different Tarot decks, looking for patterns between the different cards and their positions.

There were lots of parallels, both deck-to-deck and in connections between what I was seeing and what I’ve been experiencing.

The star of the show was the card shown here from the Light & Shadow Tarot deck by Brian Williams and Michael Goepferd—a wealthy, abundant 9 of Cups.

Do good things come to those willing to receive?

The week before the new moon, an awakened friend related to me how she lucked into a luxurious, beautiful place to live, mere hours before she’d be forced to move from her temporary home, she said, “I really had to trust the Universe on this one!”

In describing her experience, she seemed to be relaying a message especially for me. And boom, the new moon shows me the plump and well satisfied 9 of Cups. As soon as I saw the card, I heard my friend’s voice.

People, more people, and dead people

Since then, social opportunities have been flooding in. Ideas are perking. My need for sleep seems to be easing. Even my dreams are bearing messages from “the other side.” (The night before the new moon, I received dreamtime thanks and blessings from someone whose hospice care I’d supported before her death almost exactly a year ago.)

Something is afoot. What it is, I can’t yet say, but I hearby declare myself willing to receive.

It’s going to be an another amazing month.

What’s inspiring you? What messages are crossing your path? Heard from any “long lost” sources lately?

This is a test. This is only a test

Who’s in charge, here?

I’ll be the first to admit it—I can be stubborn about acknowledging patterns. Yet it frustrates me that Team Sally is so patient, I could keep my fingers in my ears singing la-la-la until I draw the last breath of this lifetime without them ever insisting I take notice.

That’s the nature of free will.

Ask and it is given… sort of

Yesterday, I acknowledged a pattern that’s been occurring for at least a year. I took it to the Tarot for insight and came away puzzled, so I brought my request for clarity into my meditation.

The only suggestion I feel I really understood: go without TV for a week. Uh… OK. I can do that. I think.

Can I expect a spiritual Scooby snack for doing this? I don’t know. But two questions do have me glued to my seat. One: will I really make it for a week? And two: how many amazing things might I learn/accomplish as I go?

Stay tuned.

Photo credit: d.billy

Surrendering to the shadow

What is the shadow?

If ever you’ve compared yourself to another or been scolded by a parent or teacher or minister—and who hasn’t?—you’ve got shadow material. These are the parts of ourselves we’ve deemed unlovable. Parts of us that don’t live up to what we “should” be, based on some version of what we’ve heard, observed and finally internalized.

Names we call ourselves

We give our shadow stuff equally unlovable names like selfish, irresponsible, cowardly, arrogant, dishonest, childish, sellout, fickle, etc. One of the most challenging things in life is facing and loving our true selves, warts and all.

Me and my shadow

So this week, on the heels of recognizing Resistance around my unfinished project, came the bigger aha that I was facing shadow material.

The two biggest clues:

  • A dream in which, as a student, I mediated between an affronted Coach and a spiteful Teacher.
  • An email from a friend that triggered an out-of-proportion emotional response.
How I’m working the clues

The dream. Since the characters in most dreams are merely aspects of ourselves, it seems obvious the Coach was the keeper of my “shoulds,” and the Teacher was the part of me that feels the “shoulds” are unfair, but would rather stay stuck—and lash out to others—than change the rules. The way the dream played out showed my waking self I have made progress toward accepting and loving my shadow self. I didn’t have to change the Teacher (or Coach), but neither did I give them ultimate authority over me and my choices.

The email. First off, I was grateful it was email and not a phone call. My friend never needs to know what happened in the first hour or so after I read the message. First, I felt resentful over the “shoulds” that were triggered in my brain. Then I felt threatened. Then guilty at realizing that if I followed the dictates of my “shoulds” and made the generous offer that seemed called for—what a true practitioner of unconditional love “should” do—that I would resent him.

I tortured myself for awhile about being a petty and possessive person (note the shadow names). Then I asked Team Sally to help me find a response I could offer with love. I pulled from my Tarot deck, receiving the Queen of Swords, and pondered awhile longer.

Beyond should and shouldn’t, beyond black and white, lies an open heart

As soon as I opened my heart to solutions beyond either doing what that old Coach said I should or telling my friend to fix his own damn problem, I remembered that there is more to life than This or That. In short order, I had a new idea—I could recruit from other friends to help this one. I sent out an email asking for help.

Minutes later, I had another email from my friend. False alarm, he said. There wasn’t going to be a problem after all.

Heh. That’s the thing about shadows. Once you turn around to embrace them, they dissolve.

Photo credit: D. Sharon Pruitt