Tuck one of my new gift certificates into a lovely metallic gold envelope (included) and voila, you’ve gift-wrapped a personalized experience of insight and perspective. Your loved one can redeem anytime within a year of your purchase.
Gift outside the box
The gift of Tarot works for all the traditional gift giving occasions, such as birthdays, showers and graduation. It’s also a great way to encourage and support family or friends who feel a little lost, or are in the throes of massive personal growth.
This year, I worked a Halloween party where no one had ever had a Tarot experience (or at least none of the folks who sat down at my table). What happened seemed truly miraculous.
Man with the mustache
First, there was the woman who wanted to know if her husband was hiding something from her. I threw some cards. One landed face down, with the Knight of Pentacles atop it. (I was using the Morgan Greer Tarot from U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) I knew the knight was her husband, and he was hiding the face-down card. My client exclaimed the card even looked like her husband.
The pot of gold
Then there was the man asking whether his sales lead-generation program would be successful within three months. I turned two cards and asked which one appealed to him. Without hesitation, he pounced on the 10 of Cups, also from the Morgan Greer Tarot. When we completed the reading, he pointed to that first card and explained how perfectly its artwork reflected his company’s name.
Literal translations like this are fun, but the true miracles were the shifts I saw in these people. How their Tarot experience encouraged them and validated them. How they straightened their spines, carrying their chests high.
Transformations before my very eyes
Another client arrived with a beer in either hand. I doubt he’d have sat at my table without a little buzz on. But he became more and more focused as we went through his cards. More clear-headed and thoughtful. He seemed positively inspired.
Were these clients truly looking for insight, or simply taking advantage of the night’s judgment-free atmosphere to sit for a reading as a lark? It doesn’t matter. Whatever brought them to me, I gave them my best and was awed to witness what they offered in return. I’m so grateful.
Shuck the rules and discover yourself
At Halloween, costumes give us permission to behave strangely. Like demanding candy. Or requesting a Tarot reading. The usual rules don’t apply. And when everything is just for fun, it’s amazing how easily we find our wings and fly.
Through my life, I’ve noticed three distinct kinds of sleepiness.
The body’s gently persistent call to sleep comes with heavy eyelids and heavy limbs. It’s difficult to summon energy for facial expressions, and easy to share murmured secrets. Even when it’s inconvenient, there’s a sense that it’s healthy and natural. This is the sleepiness that eventually overtakes children at slumber parties.
Exhaustion or “over-tired.”
This is the tired of final-exams week, a long-anticipated conference or a competition. A relentlessly overstimulated body/brain eventually runs out of juice. The head may ache, there may be dizziness or trembling, digestion becomes irregular. It feels like the machinery of the body is revving in neutral. And even exhausted as the system is, it takes awhile to fall asleep.
The wild card of sleepiness. When reboot comes calling, there’s a sense I’ll be powering down soon, so I may as well find a comfortable place in which to lose consciousness. Unlike the other two types of sleepiness, reboot can happen regardless of what’s going on in my life or how well rested I feel.
Reboot stalked me throughout the final week of August, along with some other physically intense symptoms which have since eased.
Until now, I’ve not talked about reboot. Is it common? Do you experience it?
Time was, I suspected drops in barometric pressure were responsible for reboot. But lately, it’s seemed more random. Maybe it’s connected to the uptick in solar activity. If you have insight, please share.
Looks yummy, doesn’t it? Let me tell you about a months-in-the-making addition to my list of 50 new things I’m trying this year as part of my 50th birthday celebration. Vegetable gardening.
I eat tons of salad, year-round, so I was happy to support my housemate’s enthusiasm for putting together a small garden in the backyard. I imagined the money I’d save growing my own organic cucumber. I thought about the varieties of lettuce I’d experiment with. And I counted the days until we’d have our own homegrown tomatoes.
(Brilliant American songwriter Guy Clark said/sang it best with a tune called “Homegrown Tomatoes” on his 1983 album, Better Days: “There’s only two things that money can’t buy, and that’s true love and homegrown tomatoes.”)
She mixed up earthy magic using a recipe developed by Mel Bartholomew (founder of Square Foot Gardening) to get us going and pretty soon, our little patch of heaven boasted seedlings galore.
The sugar snap pea scampered up its trailing string in a mad rush to bloom and fruit. The mint, basil, sage and dill made themselves at home. When we added mums and petunias for natural insect control, our fledgling garden literally blossomed.
Thanks to the magic of Mel’s Mix (and careful watering), I even coaxed lettuce and strawberries to grow in a notoriously inauspicious strawberry pot.
Cucumber and tomatoes were slower to establish themselves. The tomato plants mostly kept getting taller and needing more support. The cuke spent its days climbing and dividing into more vines. And we had a squash plant that made showy blossoms but was stingy with the actual fruit.
The solo gardener
For all my housemate enjoyed planning and setting up the garden, and as much as she and I both loved the hide-and-seek game of looking for fledgling cucumbers, the everyday routine of gardening couldn’t hold her interest.
I might have given up, too, as the Texas spring got hot and we spent more time in the air-conditioned house, but dang it, I wanted my salad goodies.
So I remembered to water every day. I tapped the blooming tomato plants to help ensure pollination. I guided the greedy cucumber vine to things it could hold onto besides the tomato plants. I dead-headed the ‘mums and petunias to keep them blossoming.
The harvest of our first cucumbers and plum tomatoes began a riotous abundance of delicious summer eating. Soon, we were refreshing ourselves with cucumber-mint water from a never-empty pitcher. Snacking on plum- and cherry-tomatoes. And when at last we began getting full-sized tomatoes, we celebrated our homegrown bounty with BLT sandwiches and tomato cucumber salad.
It’s mid-August now. Temperatures here have been in the triple digits for weeks. The vine of plum tomatoes is still producing fruit, though at a sluggish pace appropriate to these dog days of summer. Much of the garden has withered in spite of my ongoing efforts.
Knowing what I know now, will I get caught up in another gardening frenzy around here next spring? Ask me again when temperatures drop back into the 80s. Whisper words to me of love. Like bell pepper and sweet potato and other yumminess we haven’t yet tried to grow. Remind me how drinking cucumber water made me feel wealthy beyond measure.
“Think of important moments in your life. Choose a Tarot card to represent each experience.” This was the exercise offered by one of my Tarot mentors, Ferol Humphrey.
Three of us did as she suggested. We arranged our picks in chronological order and narrated our life’s highlights to one another.
Strength, 3 ways
All three of us included the Strength card. One, to represent her discovering a special affinity with animals in distress. Another, to represent her realization that one can choose not to fight without being weak.
For me, Strength represented my relationship with my skin. A decade ago, 40-year-old me faced yet another encore of disfiguring cystic acne. It proved a turning point in my life.
The battle I couldn’t win
Over the years, I’d tried any number of poisons to do away with this genetic condition. Nonstop antibiotics were the norm through my teen years, along with treatments involving sunlamps or dry ice, surgical lancing and occasional local steroid injections. Twice, I bombed my system with Accutane, once at age 21 and again at 30. (Sizable lawsuits have since forced the drug off the market.)
At age 40, the mirror once again reflected a familiar, hated landscape of redness, inflamed sores and distorted facial features. I could no longer kid myself there was any “conquering” cystic acne. I was going to have to befriend it.
So rather than seek a doctor crazy enough to prescribe a third round of Accutane or its equivalent, I sought a more holistic approach. With the help of a naturopath (who was also a skilled esthetician), I’ve come into a place of sustainable balance.
When Strength calls for surrender
Fighting against my condition kept me angry, resentful, fearful and occasionally mean. I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror and I took it out on everyone, including me.
Strength meant having the courage to lay down arms and try to understand my body. Strength meant having the patience to let small changes show their effects over time. Strength meant taking responsibility for my body’s nourishment rather than ask a doctor to fix me.
Being ashamed of my skin diminished me. With Strength, I can appreciate that my skin will forever show me — and everyone I meet — when I’m out of balance.
What have you done with Strength?
Think of important moments in your life. Is there a Strength moment among them? What did it teach you? How did it change you?
At some point in our lives, we experience all 22 cards of Tarot’s Major Arcana — it’s why they’re Major. Turning points. Game changers. Some fill us with gratitude, others leave us with scars. And some, like my Strength experience, do both.
Would you like clarity or insight on something in your own life? I offer personal readings and would be glad to help.
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.
When I say I’m not the woman I was at 25, usually it’s because today’s 50-year old version of me feels freer, more confident and happier than I could imagine in my twenties. But recently, I freaked out in a spa’s floatation tank. It’s made me think about what personal growth really means.
Unsinkable in a mere foot of water
The spa promised an hour free of gravity’s shackles. I’d float like a cork in womb-like darkness in 300 gallons of water, saturated with more than a thousand pounds of Epsom salts, in a human-sized tank. The tank was soundproof and utterly dark. No distractions. Thanks to the body-temperature water, I’d soon lose track of where my skin ended and the water began.
Some might quail at the prospect, but I couldn’t wait. Back in the 80s, float tanks provided me a rare escape from my busy, busy brain.
When history fails to repeat
I had anticipated a spiritual experience, appropriate of the many ways I’ve evolved in the decades since my last float. Instead, I panicked before I’d even turned out the light.
Lying in the dark tank was out of the question, but I decided I’d use my hour in this warm, quiet place to enjoy some private meditation. Upright, I gained sufficient density to touch my bottom to the tank’s floor. I switched off the light, listened to my breath and released the need to wonder why 50-year-old me rejected something my nervous 25-year-old self had embraced so easily.
Sometimes it’s okay to be left in the dark
Why is a question I still haven’t answered. Perhaps it happened that way because I’m currently learning to recognize energetic boundaries, and so losing sense of my body would confuse me. Perhaps I was simply having a touchy day.
Perhaps why it happened that way matters less than that it did.
Turns out, growth isn’t linear
Fifty-year-old me went into the tank expecting to pick up where 25-year-old me left off. But if 25-year-old me had freaked in the tank, harsh self-criticism would have followed. Only with the perspective of age was I able to adapt to what was happening with presence and a new set of responses, rather than cling to my expectations and judge myself accordingly.
When I look at it that way, I reckon I had my spiritual experience after all.