Tarot Insights: Ten of Coins

Ten of Coins—Bonefire Tarot Deck
Ten of Coins—Bonefire Tarot

In the Bonefire deck, the Ten of Coins (aka pentacles) is illustrated by ten flowers in bloom, a coin in the center of each, growing in lush green grass. We can see the roots of one of the flowers, and there is a dog sniffing around the foreground, seemingly also at root level.  A castle sits in the background. Between the flowers and the castle is a clothesline with a few items of clothing that seem plain yet new, or at least well cared for.

The ten of Coins is the culmination of that practical, tangible, material earth energy. It is often associated with family, especially in association with legacies or Dynasties. Every family has its own traditions and attributes that make them unique, and in the best of circumstances they are handed down and cherished from generation to generation as a linear connection to shared ancestry, stretching back to the beginning of civilization, uniting more of us the further back we follow the line, forming a strong connection to our foundation. The castle in the background is a stand-in for that foundation—for how many generations has that castle served as a dwelling, and for how many more will it remain.

The family legacy might take the form of a family business, or it might be a talent that runs in the family, musicianship, for example. Whatever ties this family together there is strength, security, and abundance. This family is secure and thriving. All is well.

Tarot Insights: The Hermit

The Hermit, Bonefire Tarot Deck
The Hermit—Bonefire Tarot

There is conflicting energy in The Hermit as he is pulled in two different directions. He shines the light of a star from out his lantern, but he is using that light to look within.  And with that inner focus he is also called on to share his knowledge and wisdom with the outer world

We think of the Hermit as someone who is off on their own, but reality is usually not so literal. Most of us don’t have the opportunity to live in a cave. We have to exist in the mundane world with everyone else and deal with the distractions that come from it. In that environment, The Hermit is the one who can unplug himself from social media, get off the treadmill of the daily routine, turn off the autopilot reaction to emotional stimuli. This doesn’t need to be all day every day, but often enough and long enough to develop a personal relationship with the inner world.

In those moments of solitude, The Hermit shines the starlight lantern inward in order to see himself clearly. The Hermit looks fearlessly and objectively at the inner shadows as well as the bright spots. Not judging but observing, discovering the holistic self and accepting that self for who he is, integrating the light and the shadow to be at peace with himself. In so doing, the Hermit discovers the universe as it is contained within.

With all that self-seeking, the Hermit has a calling to share what they discover with others, not necessarily the personal, but as a spiritual teacher. Because the inner-seeking and teaching are ongoing processes, the Hermit’s methods and message will change over time as he learns more. Knowledge will increase, belief’s will change and some will be abandoned. That’s why they call it “Seeking” and not “Found it”.

The Hermit does not need to be a guru selling out workshops to teach. Displaying business ethics regardless of gain, setting an example for your friends, having an openhearted conversation over coffee, parenting , blogging—there are always opportunities to teach. The Hermit knows that we are all connected, and that shining a light makes the path brighter for everyone.

Tarot Insights: Five of Swords

swords5_bonefireI’ve been working with the Bonefire deck recently, where previously I worked mainly with the RWS deck. In the latter, the Five of Swords seems a bit ambiguous—is that person in the foreground collecting the swords for the others, or is he stealing them while their backs are turned? The Bonefire Five of Swords seems a little more straight forward— two tattooed, brawny men duking it out over a woman, pursuing their own self-interest.  The one tattooed with the name and number of the card just landed a solid blow on the jaw of the Tao-tattooed guy, meanwhile the woman in the background gazes at the sunset with her back to them. Probably just as well, or she might decide to write-off both these guys. Maybe she already has, and maybe they’re fighting over which one of them to blame.

Maybe the bearded one felt entitled to ingratiate himself into an existing relationship, and and what we are seeing is the release of the Five of Swords guy after putting up with so much for so long. Let’s stick with that vibe for a moment, because I feel like that’s what this card might be saying this morning. This is what happens when you let people walk all over you for too long while you rationalize, make excuses, and put others ahead of yourself. You know that it happens all the time in a variety of different contexts. Then one day, WHAM! All that pent up frustration finds an outlet.

It’s OK to be selfish. If you can’t take care of yourself, how can you take care of anyone else? You’re not a martyr—That would be the Ten of Swords. But being selfish doesn’t need to be taken to the literal extremes seen here. There is a great amount of scope for balance between being a doormat and flattening someone into a doormat.

Sometimes we can get to a Five of Swords point because we are not communicating our truth effectively. We gloss over what we think, believe, want and/or need. Why? Fear of rejection? Not wanting to rock the boat? Assuming what the response will be and not wanting to have to deal with it?

You can only be who you are. You can try to be who you’re not, but the ruse will fall apart at some point and no one will be happy, especially you. There will be times that this will rock the boat, and at those times you might need to ask yourself if you are a minor actor in someone else’s drama, or the leading character in the story of your own life.

Tarot Insights: Three of Swords

Everybody Hurts Sometimes

Three of Swords - Bonefire deck

Most people don’t want to see the Three of Swords come up in a reading. It generally speaks of pain, misery and sorrow more obviously than any other card in the deck. On the other hand, there are times we need to see this card for our own good, so we can deal with and process those energies. Because, although it can come up as a potential future issue, I usually find the Three of Swords comes up because of some unresolved issue from the past.

No one goes through life untouched by this energy. Even in the happiest place on earth (allegedly) people die on occasion. What isn’t the same for everyone is how we deal with the emotions that come with a three of Swords experience. The healthiest thing to do is to feel them, let them impart whatever wisdom there is to be gained from such an experience, learn the lesson, then release them. So simple it can fit in a sentence. And yet so difficult it can take years, or even a lifetime, depending on how affected you are and your capacity for resiliency.

Deep emotional pain can be more than some people can bear, and as a result they will do what they can to bury those feelings in self-medication (drugs, alcohol, reckless behaviour, etc.). Alternatively, some people are more like Marge Simpson and can just “push the bad feelings down into your toes and crush them”. The problem in both cases is, instead of going away, those feelings lurk there and fester, dragging the person further down.

No matter how good you think you are at pushing away what you don’t want to feel, and even if you can do it most of the time, those feelings will still pop up at inopportune times in inconvenient ways. You will be having a jovial dinner with friends when suddenly your face goes dark and angry. You suddenly feel every drop of bitterness over that person who broke your heart, simply because there is asparagus on the table and asparagus was that person’s favourite vegetable. And now everyone is looking at you thinking “WTF?” and even if you could explain yourself you’ve already decided it sounds too mad to share.

So anyway, if you really want to start feeling something different you need to stop running and start listening to those feelings. They are trying to tell you something. That’s why they are there, and they will keep coming back until they believe you heard and understood their message. Then you will be able to release those feelings and the emotional baggage associated with them. That might take a little energy work—the longer you’ve held onto them the harder it can be to let go.

And if there is a lesson for you in this message from your emotions, I would recommend learning it and acting on it. Lessons not learned have a habit of recurring until they are learned—the universe seldom gives up. If you decide to opt out of the lesson, you might want to read this post again in preparation for reliving it.

The Daily Draw: Three of Pentacles

pents03.jpgI know I haven’t been around much through October. Let’s just say life was complicated, most of my time went to others, and I ended up feeling drained and run down.  There’s no point thinking the demands won’t continue, because they will, but I’m getting a better handle on retaining a bit of that energy for myself, focusing on what charges my batteries, which includes writing this blog for all of you.

And so we get to today’s card, which is the Three of Pentacles, a card about planning and and teamwork.  This might seem a bit ironic after that first paragraph about focusing more on what I want, as opposed to contributing more to the group of people that depend on me, but let’s look at that.

Being part of a team means contributing your time and energy to work towards a common goal. The assumption is that everyone on the team is also making a contribution. Of course, we all have our strengths and weaknesses, and we all bring different talents to the table, but overall there should be a balance—if I do more of this, then somebody else should be able to do more than that, resulting in a fair distribution.  And in that fair distribution some people may seem to do more than others, but everyone is working to the best of their ability.

On the other hand, there are some teams where some members are quite happy to let other’s carry their weight. The imbalance isn’t because they can’t contribute more, it’s because they don’t want to. Now, the knee jerk reaction here is that they are lazy gits and need to be kicked to the curb, and that may well be true in some cases. But there is also a possibility they may feel overshadowed by other people on the team.

When you’re younger or less experienced for example, you may be the recipient of a lot of, shall we say, constructive feedback (criticism). When this feedback becomes a constant, which surely it will be when working with more experienced people, it can become tiresome for the recipient even if the feedback is given in soothing tones with the best intentions. And when it’s given more harshly it can downright piss a person off and cause them to feel bad about themselves. “What is the point of even trying? Johnny Super-Team-Member is going to come along and do it all again better and faster just to make sure it’s perfect, and Joey Blowhard is going to go on about how experienced he is and how much he knows in great, painful detail.”

Meanwhile Johnny S.T.M. is wondering why he has to do everything around here, and Joey Blowhole is thinking “Why don’t people listen to me more when I’m always right?”  OK, Joey needs to get over himself. But Johnny needs to take a step back and remember a time when he wasn’t quite so capable, and how he became that way. He learned by doing, like we all do. No matter how much you read or are taught, you still need the practical experience to develop your skill.

Not everything has to be perfect all the time. Most jobs just need to be done well enough.  If Johnny and Joey can live with that, the new guy will have the space to do work that won’t be redone and over criticised, something they can stand by, self-evaluate and learn from. That way they feel like they’re making a real contribution. Chances are they will like that feeling and want to keep building on it. Then Johnny might start to believe that he can trust someone else to do the job and Joey…well, while we respect your knowledge and experience,  just take it down a notch Joey, alright?

The Daily Draw: The High Priestess

Deep and Flowing

The High PriestessAt the top of the tarot deck, just past the fool, are the archetypes of male and female energy in their purest form—The Magician and the High Priestess, and they are apparent opposites. The Magician ‘s realm is the conscious mind, the power of taking action, exerting will to shape and change the elements around him. The High Priestess ‘s realm of deep unconsciousness, the power of knowing without acting, sitting back to let whatever happens unfold on its own accord.

The High Priestess is abundant in feminine symbols. She sits before a tapestry adorned with pomegranates. She wears the familiar triple moon as a crown.  She wears a white cross against white clothes, and holds a partly hidden Torah in her hand. She also sits between the pillars of Boaz and Jachin from King Solomon’s temple, all of which are nods to patriarchal religions. However overall is a blue gown, encompassing the various religious trappings—they are within her but none are her entirely.

That gown that seems to flow like water as it nears her feet, where there is a large crescent moon.  And from what we can glimpse behind the tapestry, thee is even deeper water beyond. This is the wisdom of her emotions, her intuition. We long for a better look behind the tapestry but we cannot simply part it and walk through. The High Priestess has the patience of eternity to wait for us to find our way in.

In her passive gaze is a truth we cannot always grasp, in our eagerness to shape our worlds, to fix their problems, to go, to do, to be. That is, sometimes the best course of action is no action at all. That instead of pushing out, we should focus in and see how deep we can submerge into our own bodies of water where we can see what is hidden, where we can understand what we have forgotten, where we can know and be one with all, and thereby know ourselves.

The Daily Draw: Page of Cups

Find Tranquility Within

Page of CupsThe cups are the suit of the emotions, the imagination, love and intuition. The page is a person who is learning to work with that energy.

I’ve written about the Page of Cups a few times before. What jumps out at me this morning (besides the fish) is that choppy sea behind the page who is standing on the solid pier holding the cup. To me, that sea represents raw emotion, roiling away unchecked within. Those of us who are especially aware of our emotions know what a roller coaster ride they can be, taking us up, down and around, sometimes at great speed. When we let them have their way with us they can come out in all sorts of inconvenient ways.

But the page of cups seems oblivious to the emotional turmoil, projecting a calm, perhaps even playful, concentration. Their complete focus is on the cup and what might emerge from it. Whatever the emotional weather, there is an inner tranquillity here, and in the tranquillity the page can hear a quiet, inner voice.

The suggestion is not to rein in your emotions like the person on the Chariot might, for example, but to have your emotions instead of letting them have you. Try to observe them, learn from them, listen to what they are trying to tell you. Trying to ignore them only makes them want to grab you and shake you until you do listen. And when that happens, how can you focus on the cup?

The Daily Draw: The Page of Cups

The Daily Draw: Page of Cups, Reversed

The Daily Draw: Page of Cups Reversed





Card of the Day: Knight of Swords

Friday Night at the Right Fight Fiesta

Knight of SwordsYesterday we had the politicians (King of Wands) and today we have their critics.  I did not intend to make the week about politics, but here we are. I’m even inclined to go back to Wednesday and add to the reversed Two of Cups that this could be an indication of two people with a connection being at odds with each other. Come on, we’ve all seen the photo of the Trump’s and Clinton’s canoodling at some event or other. They’ve got more in common with each other than they do with the rest of us.

Anyway, being a politician does not preclude being a critic, obviously. For example, the morning after this week’s Vice Presidential debate, the Hillary Clinton’s people released a campaign ad in which Donald Trump made one statement after another intercut with his VP denying Trump ever made that statement during the previous night’s debate. There must have been somebody editing the debate clips together even as the debate was going out live. It was as if Clinton’s people knew this was going to happen, as though her VP’s constant interruptions of his opponent were intended to exacerbate Pence into making such statements. Dare we be that cynical about politics? We dare. We dare.

Getting that ad out was quick work, as quick as a knight rushing into a storm with all the analytical (critical), insightful (picky), straightforward (opinionated), logical (coldly calculating) qualities of the Knight of Swords.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post in which I stated that everybody is right. What I didn’t say at the time is that this also means everybody is wrong. It just depends on who you ask—the people who agree with you or the people who don’t agree with you.

Social media is lousy with sword knights right now, furiously right fighting, shouting their opinions in full caps or, more likely, sharing someone else’s. Do those opinions represent facts? Of course they do! I saw them on Facebook. I didn’t make it up. Somebody else made up this meme and I agree with it. So yes, this is what I believe.

Sometimes I wonder how many people on social media realize they are sitting in front of a Google machine that can be used to check the veracity of these “facts”.  There are sites that do nothing but parse every political statement to determine whether it should be rated as true, almost true, in the same time zone as truth, a Pinnochio, or a Pants on Fire (those last two are actual ratings used by fact checking sites).  If you’re going to right fight, do it right.

In the end, someone is going to win, someone is going to lose, and the knights are going to keep on fighting about who should have won, who should have been jailed instead, who lied to whom about what and when, when to start the impeachment hearings, etc . Because some people just have that knight energy going for them, and sword knights know they are always right. If two sword knights  disagree, those knights will fight about who’s right all night and on into the next century, or until one of them drops.

Or just…chills…out.

The Daily Draw: King of Wands

Man (or Woman) on Fire

The King ofKing of Wands Wands is a charismatic leader who is able to inspire people to follow him along on his journey. He’s enthusiastic, and he has a talent for convincing people that he has the best plan of action for whatever needs to be done. People admire his confidence and are therefore more likely to follow him. Someone clearly believes in what they are doing can often fill a void for people who are not sure what to do. The King of Wands will fight for what is right. They are not afraid to take on the opposition.

So it’s hard not to look at this card this morning without also thinking that there are only 33 survival gear shopping days left until the US presidential election. Because really, the King of Wands has all the qualities one needs to be a high profile politician. And there’s nothing wrong with that. As a wise person once said, “it’s not the technology. It’s what you do with the technology.” Or in this case, energy.

Along with all the leadership qualities the King of Wands has, as opposed to the other kings, he (or she) has more of a propensity for narcissism with all its trappings. I’m not saying that all wand kings are like that, but there is a dark path that I have seen politicians go down time and time again. Once they are in power they cannot be seen to be unworthy of it, and they certainly can’t do anything that would cause a majority of voters to take that power away.  So they will twist the truth a little here, cross their fingers while making a promise there, and get all self-righteous and angry if someone points out the flaws in their policies, despite the fact we can all see the gaping holes. As bad as the Internet can be for disseminating misinformation, it is ridiculously easy to use it to verify whether someone is telling the truth, so much so that I can’t believe everyone isn’t doing it. But then all the meme makers would go out of business, I suppose.

If you are one of these political kings, you owe it to yourself and everyone around you to have a strong sense of integrity. Remember, it’s called public service not self-service. That probably sounds like political suicide in modern politics, but some people seem to be doing a pretty good approximation of it. Granted, none of them are running for president (anymore).