Friday, 30 September 2011

Daily Video Draw for 1st October

I was trying to iron out some software issues, and had to upload another video.  Yeah, I know that sounds peculiar, but there was software on my camera and no menu was popping up when I searched for the software, so I needed to activate it again.  And while I was at it, I thought I'd try out some more editing software, too.  This won't be a regular feature, though I may do these readings now and again.  Let me know what you think of the new look :)

Solar Plexus Chakra

For this last day drawing from John Holland's Pscyhic Tarot Oracle Deck (Hay House 2008) I'm delighted to have pulled one of the Chakra cards!  As I mentioned before, the author removed Court cards from his "tarot", and added in Chakra cards.

This card represents the Manipura or solar plexus Chakra, which is associated with how we deal with emotion - are we able to digest what we experience?  It is also connected to our "gut instinct" and the actions we choose to take.  Its colour, yellow like the sun, suggests the warmth or even fiery energy which it provides us with.  Some writers describe the ten petals associated with the symbol for the third Chakra as being black or dark blue, like storm-laden clouds.  A reminder that our emotions can often be tempestuous.

I wonder what ride my emotions will take me on today, or whether doing a chakra-balancing meditation is what is called for to keep me on an even keel?


I am grateful for my passions in life, and also for the ability to be calm.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Elemental Interview with the Prairie Tarot

3 of Pentacles - Prairie Tarot 
I recently received this charming bit of Americana through from the author, Robin Ator, who has self-published it.  Robin Ator is also the creator of the Ator Tarot and the International Icon Tarot.

I like supporting individual tarot creators, and it's certainly no hardship having this lovely deck come to stay.  So, donning my favourite pair of comfy jeans and putting out some refreshing lemonade, we settled down for a little chat.

Tell me a bit about your values... the Three of Pentacles

"Well, I value liberty above all else. I'm up for the whole 'Truth, Liberty and the American Way, thing.'"

"That certainly makes sense, I guess, given your very upfront American roots.  What else?"

"I also value teamwork, and the support of community. And I think it's important to make the things we want attractive, as well as just useful or necessary."

"Like tarot decks, which help us understand ourselves better but are also beautiful?"

"Exactly!  And what else?  Hmm, I guess simplicity is something else I value, as well as people who aren't afraid of hard work."

"Very American frontier-type values.  OK, moving on..."

What are you like emotionally? The Fool

"Emotionally, I'm willing to take the plunge, without reservations.  I'll admit I may not always listen to my instincts, and I can get a bit carried away.  Still, I think spontaneity is a good thing."

"Well, spontaneity has got me in trouble a few times, but I'd still rather be spontaneous than not act at all,  dropping into analysis-paralysis.  How about with others?"

"I'll never hold out on someone or not be honest about my feelings.  I say it how I see it, and I'm always willing to connect with others and hear them out."

"Friendly, open, but without giving up on your own point of view, then?"

"That about sums it up, yes."

"Well, talking of talking..."

How do you best communicate?  The Hermit

"Well, I won't shout.  If you want to listen to what I have to say, all well and good.  Otherwise I'll just go on my way."

"Why is that?"

"I don't think you can force anyone to hear something they don't want to.  Like the old saw that you can take a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."

"That's very true.  Is there anything else you'd like to add?"

"I think it's important for people to read the signs for themselves rather than being spoon fed information.  So, I talk plain and from the heart, though I recognise that different people may respond better to different ways of speaking.  I am who I am, though, and if that doesn't suit someone, well, they can look elsewhere."

"Fair enough.  Now, may I ask..."

What's important to you materially?  The Six of Pentacles

"Generosity and sharing matter to me. This comes back to my values about teamwork and community.  You can't build a barn by yourself, and you can't herd cattle on your lonesome neither."

"Right."

"Honesty, too, that's important.  No good letting people onto your ranch if you can't trust them.  And if you aren't trustworthy well, when a time comes that you need a hand, there won't be anyone there to offer it."

"I see your point.  I guess that's especially true in small communities, and yet even with modern internet communities I get that same sense that people support each other, but will notice if you don't walk your talk."

"And another thing, it's no good not putting material things ahead of people.  You can have all the cattle in the world, but if you don't have a home and a community, what's the point?"

"That sounds like a very morally and ethically based approach, which brings me to my last question..."

What are your thoughts on spirituality?  The Queen of Pentacles

"I tend to be pretty down-to-earth.  Still, I find a connection with spirit through small things, and the everyday."

"Can you give me an example?"

"Take compassion, for instance.  Bringing compassion to your everyday life can lead to far more than you might think, both for yourself and for those you show it to.  Like a drop of water in a pond, compassion makes waves, and spreads out to those around you.  So its worth making a small effort, as it can affect so much more."

"I agree.  Is there anything else?"

"I also recognise that when it comes to spirit things are not necessarily what they seem.  I mean, you might think you're just speaking the truth when you compliment someone, but for them it might mean a lot more, and then they'll be happier and nicer to the next person they meet.  Or if you go riding and just take in the beauty of the landscape, it puts you in touch with a whole lot else.  That's what my spirituality is about."

"So, nature matters, and you've talked a lot about community..."

"Family matter to me, too.  They're who we come from, and what we work for.  I count my family as a blessing.  Even when we don't get on, they're still family."


Hmm, I get that one and yet...  Well, we don't have to agree on everything.  Still, I'm pleasantly impressed by the Prairie Tarot's very down-to-earth and yet deep approach to life.

Article first published in the TABI Ezine, Autumn 2011.

Fulfillment of Wishes

Today, another card from the suit of Emotions in John Holland's Psychic Tarot Oracle Deck.

What a lovely image this is!  A woman smells a flower, holding a scroll in her other arm, while seemingly standing on the leaf of a plant.  In front of her a treasure chest opens to reveal its illuminating wealth, and in the background water pours over the edge of two sheer walls, cascading down into a pool below.  The title "Fulfillment of Wishes" catches one of the traditional associations of the Nine of Cups, with none of the possible negative overtones to beware what one wishes for.

I see here both an enjoyment of simple pleasures - being out in nature, the majesty of a waterfall, the charm of a green leaf lifting to the sun - and of more emotional and esoteric joys - being surrounded by free-flowing emotion, reading words of wisdom, discovering a treasure which could be any of the above, or in someone else, or even in our own heart.

I won't have time to go for a walk in the park today, but I shall try to enjoy wherever I do go, and whatever I do.  I shall spend time with Big Boy and my Dear One, and appreciate the love we all share.

I am grateful for the beauty of the world and the people in it.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Interview with David Rosenhaus, creator of the Rock'n'Roll Oracle

As you all know, I have been following the Rock‘n’Roll Oracle for a while now.  When I spotted it I thought the concept was great.  I know I’m not the only one who is strongly influenced by music, and has song titles pop into their mind at the strangest times :)  I was delighted when the creator, David Rosenhaus, finally started offering these decks “in the flesh” as a self-published enterprise.  He's now also running a Kickstarter campaign to try to get them published more professionally, so sign up if you'd like to help out and net yourself some cool freebies to boot!  

Anyhow, back in August I did my daily card for a week with this fun and insightful oracle starting here.  Having emailed back and forth with David a few times, first when I got a reading from him and later when I asked if he was happy for me to blog with the deck, I decided to try my luck and see if he’d be willing to answer a few questions.  I was delighted when he said yes, and here is the result (first published in the TABI Autumn Ezine):

To start off, could you give us a bit of background about yourself?   How did you come to be interested in both music and decks?
Well I've always been interested in music. I wrote my first song in the 2nd grade. The music teacher put music to my lyrics and played it for the class. It was a horribly cheesy Thanksgiving song. I remember one line from it still: "Turkeys are very good to eat, November 25th they're beat."  Obviously a lyrical genius even at age 7, haha.

I've always written poems and lyrics, but could never really play an instrument well. I've tried to learn guitar and piano and just don't have a knack for it. So I wrote lyrics and sang in rock bands when I was in my early 20s. Actually I have posted some of my songs (which I finally recorded a couple of years ago) on the Rock and Roll Oracle Facebook Page and on Reverbnation.com/davidrosenhaus. They were all written back in the '80s, but I think they stand up fairly well.  

I spent most of my life pursuing an acting career on and off, and managed to create some good (or at least fun) movies in Hollywood, but nothing that got the career moving. Once the turn of the century hit, things started shifting for me big time and I started on a more spiritual path. I ended up splitting with my wife and leaving California to go back to New Jersey where I'd grown up.  My girlfriend Robin is an amazing healer and helped me tap into my authentic self. She also introduced me to Tarot and Oracle cards and I thought they were great fun.  I couldn't really get a handle on the Tarot because I got too caught up with the book and kept blocking myself from really using my intuition.  But the Oracle cards just clicked. They usually have that one word or phrase that acts as a springboard, but doesn't give so much information as to impede the intuitive flow, so I was able to use almost any deck immediately. I love the simplicity of them (did I mention I'm a little lazy?).
 
And what first inspired you to create the Rock and Roll Oracle?
It's amazingly simple, actually. I was driving one day and thinking about some issue I was having, when a song came on the radio that literally answered my question. I immediately realized that inspiration and spirit guidance can come from anywhere. Spirit gives us a never-ending stream of signs to guide us, we just miss them most of the time. I realized that this wasn't at all the first time a song has guided me when I needed it.  When I got home I immediately started looking for a music-themed oracle deck and couldn't find one. There was one Tarot deck which is out of print, but it was focused on using famous musicians as the Archetypes and that didn't resonate with me. I couldn't believe that this hadn't been done before.  

There are no coincidences, and I happen to be a graphic designer, so I decided to create the deck I wanted myself.
 
In terms of images, they seem quite varied.  How did you create the art work for the deck?


Completely by feel. I started with the song titles and then thought of the simplest visual concept to express the idea. Some were obvious like having a moon for Bad Moon Rising or a dock for Dock of the Bay, but I always made sure there was enough depth so the user can get lost in the imagery and really find their answers in an intuitive way.  Some of the images may seem simple, but the subtleties run deep.  For example, the clock for Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? (could that title be any longer, haha?)  At first glance it's just a clock, but then you notice that it gets blurry and a little surreal. Then maybe you notice that the numbers are actually going counter-clockwise. So even if you are a literal-thinking person, you still can't say for sure if it's 3 o'clock or 9 o'clock. What is reality?  That's the key question of that card. So again, while I tried to make the images as simple as possible, there is always more to see if you look a little deeper.
 
Was it hard choosing which songs to use as inspiration?
There are so many great songs out there. We're talking about over 70 years of Rock'n'Roll music to choose from.  That's why this is only the first edition of a series of decks. There will be another Classic Rock edition (this one only goes up to 1973), then I'll do '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s.  I also want to do Rock Goddesses and maybe some genre specific decks like Heavy Metal, Grunge, Punk, etc.  And I will be doing a Tarot deck as well.

So yes, it was very hard choosing the songs. Even after I decided to limit this deck to early Classic Rock, I still had 1000's of songs to choose from. I also knew intuitively that I wanted a 44 card deck.  The only song I'd decided from the start would be in there was Stairway to Heaven. No way was I leaving that out, but otherwise I had no idea.  I made database of all the songs I could find and whittled it down.

Originally I was going to be open to using a line from the lyrics as well as the title, but I realized that wouldn't be clear and people may not recognize a lyric as easily as a title. So that helped get the list under control.  The title itself actually had to say something.  For instance, that immediately eliminated songs with names. Eleanor Rigby is a great song with a beautiful spiritual message about how we live our lives, but title doesn't get the point across as well as Let It Be.

Another criteria was that I only wanted one song per artist. It would have been easy to have several Beatles or Simon and Garfunkle or Doors songs. Those groups were highly spiritual and we can learn a lot from many of their songs, but it just didn't seem right.  Plus I have a pet peeve about classic rock radio stations always playing the same artists. I mean, I love the Stones but can I please have just one day without them?

Once I got the list under control with those filters, I was able to go by intuition. I still had a few hundred songs on the list, and I would just read the title out loud and ask Spirit to guide me.  I think I actually ended up with 45 songs, but I couldn't channel an image for one of them and it just fell off the list by default.  Spirit's great like that.
 
Did one particular card give you trouble?  If so, in what way?
Of course it was Stairway to Heaven. I think in part because I chose that song logically/egoically without Spirit's help.  First of all, there is so much incredible imagery in the lyrics, I wasn't immediately clear on what the message of the song really was.  I also didn't want to get caught in the trap of doing a visual that was any kind of religious depiction of a religious-based heaven. It became a whole internal conversation about what heaven really is and how to visually portray that.  And again, what is the Universal message of the song?  With all those choices presenting themselves, I finally went "DUH!" the message IS "Choices" and the concept of heaven is represented by the Penrose Staircase which is actually an optical illusion. It doesn't matter if you go up or down you will always end up going around to where you started.  Heaven is where you are right now, every time, so I place the stairway in a sort of limbo between the sky and the earth but you can't really tell where it is.  Ultimately heaven is within us and I can only hope and trust that comes through in the image.
 

If you had to pick one, which would be your favourite card?
Wow, that's a tough one.  If I HAVE to pick one, I think it would have to be Purple Haze/Confusion.  The image is actually a shot of Jimi Hendrix playing Purple Haze that I did some major Photoshopping to, and you can really feel that energy.  There ended up being some "accidental" imagery as well. I can see huge Angel wings and a heart and that lets me know that no matter how confusing things get, we always have love and Spirit around us for guidance and protection.  

What have your experiences been like reading with the deck?
Absolutely mind-blowing. Like all of us, I've been intuitive my entire life. But I've only started tapping into it consciously in the last couple of years and still question if my "hits" are real or imagination. I certainly don't consider myself a "psychic" and I wasn't actually planning on doing readings. I just wanted to make the deck. But people asked, so I did readings.  The level of accuracy completely blew me away.  I've learned to trust what comes through and when I do, it's bang on.

Sometimes it's very funny, too. Some people like to argue with the messages they receive. One time a friend didn't like the answer she got, so she re-shuffled and pulled again... and got the same card.  That's kind of cute, but it was really hysterical when she pulled the same card FOUR TIMES in a row!  Don't mess with the Rock'n'Roll Oracle deck!
 
What do you make of reversals?
Every coin has a flip-side. I think one instinctively knows if the message should be flipped, so I don't put much stock in reversals myself.  Plus, I'm sort of anal-retentive at times, and I shuffle my cards carefully so they never turn. That said, I do recognize there are no absolutes. If a card does turn I think it's a good idea to consider the alternative meaning, but ultimately one must use one's inner guidance to discern how to look at it.
 
Which spreads do you most use, or are you more "free form"?
I'm totally free form.  As I said earlier, I have a tendency to get in my head and for me a spread requires too much thought. "What does this position mean again?"  Sometimes I'll do the simple 3-card past, present, future, but mostly I pull one card and if necessary, additional cards for clarity.  I have to say though, that I did have fun creating spreads for this deck. It was a fun challenge translating  "standard" spreads into the musical realm and I'm really happy  with the C7 and Les Paul spreads and I hope everyone has fun playing with them.
 
Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
Just that I really appreciate the opportunity to talk about the deck and I'm really grateful for your support. I love helping people and though I never could have anticipated that this would be the way it would happen, I am just so thankful to have found a way to reach people that is fun and spiritual at the same time.  Rock on!


Fertility

Drawing still from the Psychic Tarot Oracle (Hay House 2009) by John Holland, today we meet his version of the Empress.

Titled "Fertility", this card speaks to our ability to manifest a heart-based energy, full of life and growth.  I love the way that her hair transforms into green-tipped branches and her heart chakra glows.  Her upper three chakras are highlighted strongly, while her entire chakra body is also encircled, though less brightly.  This suggests that when we balance all our chakras, and dwell most in the upper chakras that unite us with our inner wisdom and the wisdom of the universe, we can bring to fruition anything our heart truly desires.

Today I definitely need to tap into the fertile ground of my creativity and intellect.  On Monday, the first day of our new term, I was assigned a presentation for next Monday.  So, gotta get my skates on!  Channelling this lovely lady's energy sounds about right :)

I am grateful for the inspiration that normally strikes when most needed.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Truth

On this misty Tuesday, the card I've drawn from the Psychic Tarot Oracle Deck by John Holland is titled "Truth".

This is the author's reworking of the Judgement card, and what a difference there is!  A heavily-robed figure stands with his back to us on one plate of a set of scales.  In front of him we see the other plate, and beyond that an arch leading to a starry sky.  The scales hint at the myth of Ma'at, the Egyptian deity said to weigh our hearts after we die to see if we have been pure of intention, and thus worthy of a happy afterlife.  We cannot see what is on the other side of the scales, but it seems to balance with the figure in the foreground.  Whew, no getting eaten by a crocodile god, then :)

What I see here, then, is the suggestion that truth, honesty and integrity are the path to new horizons, to our own Higher Self.  It makes me think of the saying that the truth will set us free.

Today I see counselling clients.  This reminds me that truth is so very subjective, and often not easy to face.  And yet, owning our own truth is paramount if we are to feel empowered and connected in our lives.


I am grateful for the willingness to face hard truths, with the support of kind others.

Monday, 26 September 2011

The Waiting Game

For this Monday, my first day back at college for my last term of the taught part of a Masters in Psychotherapy and Counselling, I have drawn the Psychic Tarot Oracle Deck's equivalent to the Two of Wands.

This is a fascinating take on this concept, so often associated with being at a cross-roads, or considering how to put something into action.  John Holland's card suggests that sometimes such choices are a matter of waiting for the right time.  Which begs the question: "How do we know when that time is?"

I also like the symbolic association: our roots are in the past; our green, leafy branches of new growth are in the future.  And around it all, different possible paths which echo the passage of planets, or magnetic lines of force.  We make our choices, choose our destinies, and yet we are also influenced by forces far greater than us, beyond our control.

For today, I am waiting to see if Big Boy is well enough to go to school.  I am waiting, too, to see how things will be with my new course tutor.  Sor far, through having been taught a different subject by her last year and through her emails in the run up to this term, I am not very impressed :/

I am grateful for the choices in my life that I am able to make.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Material and Spiritual Prosperity

The Psychic Tarot Oracle Deck uses colours to show the suit on the Minors.  However, the associations are a little different from normal.  Here we have green for Emotions (Cups), red for Physical (Pentacles), indigo for Mental (Swords), and violet for Spirit (Wands).  Despite these changes, and the very different key words, the connection to Rider Waite Smith imagery is still present.

Today, for example, I drew the Six of the Physical suit.  It is titled "Material and Spiritual Prosperity".  Traditional associations for the Six of Pentacles include giving and receiving, and generosity.  Although the man here seems to be simply enjoying his prosperity, because it is spiritual as well as physical I have the sense that there must be a balance in this, like the two fountains of water in front of him.  Life has been generous to him, but his purple shirt suggests that he also acts from a place of spiritual wisdom, not attached to the physical - enjoying it, but also seeing beyond it.

Back home after a two-day work marathon, I will enjoy the gift of being with my family, perhaps going for a walk together in our local park, making the most of the bounty of nature.

I am grateful to be able to spend time with Big Boy and my Dear One.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Emotional Withdrawal

This week I will be drawing from the Psychic Tarot Oracle Deck (Hay House, 2009) by John Holland.  Although it has the word tarot in the title, John Holland decided to remove the Court cards, saying many people just found them confusing, and add in chakra cards.  He has also re-named all the Majors and added a more modern, spiritual take to all the cards.  So, while it probably shouldn't strictly be considered a tarot deck, the cards are beautiful, and it does follow tarot structure and tradition to a large extent.

For this first draw, the card I pulled is the Eight of Emotions (Water/Cups), subtitled Emotional Withdrawal.  A man sits on an empty beach, facing the sea, hands in a mudra to draw the sea's energy in.  He wears a monk's robes, lilac in colour, which suggest wisdom and spiritual seeking.  I notice his footsteps in the sand, leading to where he sits, and a handprint on the other side, made as he sat.  This speaks to me of the marks we leave on the world when we engage with it.  These are washed away in time, and can be wiped out through strong emotions.

Today, the decision process the company I work for comes to a conclusion.  It'll be a busy day, and emotions may run high as people discuss and negotiate how to move things forward.  I take this card as a suggestion to stay out of the fray, at least emotionally.  Anything I contribute should come from a place on non-attachment.  Let's see if I can manage that, and hope that a decision that everyone can live is reached.

I am grateful for the reminder to stay neutral during discussions.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Quick Shapeshifters Video

So, this evening I'm sitting on my own in a hotel in the middle of nowhere on a business trip.  I decided to do a video reading for myself, on what energy I need to help me through, and had to laugh at the answer I got.  Sorry the quality isn't great, it's recorded on the built-in camera on my laptop.  At least that meant it uploaded quickly *haha*  One weird thing is that it comes out as a mirror image, so all the writing on the cards is backwards, don't know what that's about!  As for the image to the side, that would be a cool hotel to be staying at, but as you can tell, it's not where I am ;D

Weekly Vlog for 24th September

I will try to make a general video reading a weekly feature here on the blog - you'll find this week's Oracle of the Shapeshifters reading here.  (Just realised I've been accidentally directing people to the edit section, that's been corrected now *d'oh*)

Still on a learning curve, that's for sure.  This time I got creative with speech bubbles, as I spent a while "setting the scene", which would be fine except all you had to look at was a pretty golden back-drop (thanks to AniaM's reading cloth) and an amethyst ball.  Hope I wasn't too irreverent...

I have also just given my Inner Whispers website a complete overhaul, hopefully making it easier to navigate.

To celebrate these two things, I am offering a special on video readings  - one third off between now and Halloween!  Video readings follow this kind of format, but with more details, affirmations or other suggestions, and of course a private link so only the purchaser can see it.  If you particularly want me to use one of the decks you've seen me read with, just mention that and I'll be happy to do so :)

Two Kittens

What sadness in the eyes of this character, as she cuddles two fluffy persian kittens to her!  The Oracle of the Shapeshifters today challenges us to make a choice, and it doesn't look like it'll be an easy one :(

There are so many choices in life from what we want to eat, to what we want to do, from who we want to be with to who we want to be.  However, having to choose between two such gorgeous kitties seems downright cruel, and what happens to the one who isn't chosen?

Today and tomorrow, the company I work for is trying to make an important decision about the future direction we want to take.  This choice has been brewing for quite some time, and isn't going to be easy.


I am grateful that really tough choices don't come up every day.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Magic Mentha's Cartoon Gummy Bear Reading

Earlier this week I decided I needed a bit of a pick-me-up.  And, I'll admit, I'm already thinking about Christmas (enough to depress anyone!)  As I start college for my final term on Monday, things are likely to get really hectic again.  And I have essays due less than two weeks before Christmas *eek*  So, if I leave thoughts of Christmas til after that, it'll be too late for the family and friends I have scattered across Europe.

Anyhow, all this to say that I went over to Magic Mentha's site and bought one of her cartoon readings, which are on special offer this September.  Mentha asked me which deck I'd like her to use, and I chose the Gummy Bear Tarot, which seemed to suit the cartoon format well. 

What you see above is my altar, with a print I laminated of Mentha's cartoon reading for me.  The reading also came with two pages of interpretation, full of Mentha's hallmark humour and wisdom.  And here to the side is a close-up of the cartoon :)

I'm thinking these cartoon readings would make a great gift for someone who is open to tarot and likes a laugh.  You know who you are, so you know what's coming, but as each one is unique it'll still be a surprise ;D

It was interesting for me to take a picture of my altar, seeing it from a slightly more objective perspective than normal.  I notice that the air and earth quadrants get a lot more focus than the fire and water sections, which probably makes sense given I'm a double Gemini (sun and ascendant) with moon in Capricorn. 

In the air quarter I have incense and holder, and also a feather in a Bast holder.  In the earth quadrant a stone, pentacle-etched box that holds more stones - palm stones, balls and tumblestones - that I choose from and hold when meditating.  Actually, I guess the fire quadrant is also pretty full, mainly due to location, and yet I see the pictures as being rather of the element of air: ideas and communication.  There's an angel card titled "Nurture" that I use as a focus for Big Boy.  A "Pele" card as I'm working on my anger issues still, and of course Mentha's reading in the middle.  The water quadrant is the weakest, with just a small, Tintagel-labyrinth-etched plate holding water.  I shall have to think what else I can put there!  Any suggestions are always gratefully received :)

The Golden Phoenix

There are two phoenix cards in the Oracle of the Shapeshifters, the Phoenix of the Waning Moon and this Golden Phoenix.  While the other speaks of something ending, for now, here it is the moment of rebirth that we see, full of fiery energy.

The female character seems to cuddle the phoenix, and I feel like she might ride with him as he takes to the sky, holding on by his blue jewellry.  She also wears a black phoenix tattoo, the colour of the ashes from which the phoenix rises, aligning herself absolutely with the energy of light and flight.

On the surface this seems a very positive, dynamic, vibrant card: hurray, we get a second chance at something.  We can lift off, fly high, gain a new perspective.  Still, there is something in it I find worrisome.  What if we were glad to think that thing finished?  The female character's ironically raised eyebrow is a challenge: "Oh, you thought you were done with that?  Think again, you're gonna have to face it now!"

Perhaps I just notice that because there is nothing good in my life that seems over.  Instead, today I see my therapist, and I worry that we will have to revisit something painful and unpleasant that I had happily tucked away in a folder labelled "Past".  If so, I'm sure it will do me good, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.


I am grateful I can tell my therapist to back off when necessary.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Brother Raccoon

The Oracle of the Shapeshifters continues to delight with its sweet characters, both human and animal.  Today we meet Brother Raccoon - finally a male character ;)

This card shows a Native American girl with angel wings, and a rather cutesy raccoon in her lap.  With the key phrase "A safe place for you to go" the suggestion is clearly that the angels are watching over us.  However, it makes me ask - where is a safe place for you?  We all have safe places, be they real or imagined, or both.  And that safe "place" can be a location, or it can be a person.  I think that creating a mental safe place that we can go to in difficult times is a great idea for anyone, even if you do also have *real* resources too.  Being able to touch base with a moment of calm whenever needed is such a boon.

Today, for me, I think this is about a supervision phone call.  Working as a counsellor, it is considered a necessary part of good practice to have a supervisor you go to with worries, concerns, questions, or just for a more experienced or different perspective on any issues with clients which you want to raise.  My supervisor had an accident about three weeks ago, so I haven't been able to get that support in a while.  Today I'll be speaking with the service manager, who will act as proxy supervisor until our supervisor returns.  While I'll miss J (who is a wonderful, knowledgeable and deeply caring person) it's good to have this stand-in safety net with someone else who I also know and trust.

I am grateful for all my supervisors and mentors, past, present and future.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Elizabeth and the Lion

Today's card from the Oracle of the Shapeshifters (Blue Angel 2011) is rather royal.

Here we meet Queen Elizabeth I of England, who reigned for 44 years at the end of the sixteenth century.  At her side is a lion, symbolic of England since the twelfth century when it was the standard of Richard I, known as Richard the Lionheart.  Elizabeth became Queen after the brief reigns of her brother and sister, and she brought stability and religious tolerance to the country, as well as setting up a system of good counsel - gathering a group of trusted advisors to help her.  Her motto was "video et taceo": I see and say nothing.

This card has strong resonances with the Strength card in traditional tarot decks.  The idea that being a good leader requires an ability to enlist the help of others (the woman using the lion's strength to complement her wits), to keep your own counsel (calming the instinct to react to what is said to you), and to be willing to tolerate other people's ideas (accepting that we all have different aspects and drives), are all possible understandings of both cards. 

Today I see my counselling clients, and I would do well to think of these characteristics, too.  I enlist the help of others when I suggest a client might want to consult their doctor on medical issues, and when I speak with my supervisor.  I keep my own counsel when I notice a thought or judgement which may not be helpful to share with my client until I can process it and understand where it is coming from.  And I am willing to accept that what other people do, think and say is what is best for them in this moment, even if it doesn't seem that way from my external perspective.  That just means that I haven't yet understood their point of view, and so must see more and say less. 


I am grateful for the reminder to bring a sense of calm, openness and gentleness to my client work.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Vlog Reading on BB's Sleep

Following on from this morning's daily card, I decided to do a little reading to look at what I can do about BB's sleep, or lack thereof.  I  used the Tarot of the Silicon Dawn, as I thought that the video blog format would be great to show off the varnishing technique, which doesn't show up at all on stills.  However, in this particular reading no varnished cards came up *d'oh*  Still, a couple of the additional cards did show their faces.  All told, it's not the most cheerful set of cards, but I think it shows how I try to make my readings positive and empowering.  Anyhow, here's the link: Pathway Spread on BB's Sleep.

Beauty and the Beast

Another novel reference greets me today, in this card from the Oracle of the Shapeshifters (Blue Angel 2011).

The story of Beauty and the Beast has been given many an interpretation.  Here, the suggestion is one of an unhealthy relationship, or simply one where we need to re-find ourselves.  I find this an interesting twist - normally this tale is highlighted as being about seeing beyond the surface of another person.  Still, it's true that the Beast was rather controlling...

For me, this card signals Big Boy going back to nursery after the weekend - it's nice to have some more time for me, and especially to sleep.  He had a bit of a bad weekend, up at 4am on Saturday and 3.45am on Sunday, a bit snotty and pukey.  Today we got a lie-in, by comparison: up at 4.25 *woo hoo*.  Let someone else deal with him for a few hours, and I'll love him better when he gets home.

I am grateful for the English national education system, and for the fact that BB enjoys going to school.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Alice In A Sea Of Tears

For this second draw with the Oracle of the Shapeshifters (Blue Angel 2011), I pulled this card which links with Alice in Wonderland.  I like the fact that this deck mixes things up - including references to religious texts from around the world as well as from novels and culture more generally.

What a depressing image we have here, though.  Alice treading water in a sea of the tears she cried when she was big which, now she has shrunk, she risks drowning in.  This makes me think about how problems, which in a normal mood we might overcome with ease, can seem enormous when we are sad or stressed.

I am intrigued by the creatures swimming alongside Alice.  The mouse suggests something about the benefits of being inconspicuous, while the crab speaks to me of protecting myself by being a bit thicker-skinned.  These associations play nicely against the phrase on the card: instead of feeling abandoned we can look for the positive in flying under the radar; instead of feeling out of our depth, we can work on creating a safe space for ourselves.

I have been avoiding approaching an essay, which I half wrote a couple of months ago and now really need to get on and finish.  Part of my hesitancy is because it is a self-reflective piece, which feels quite exposing.  It is also in an area where I don't feel I have all the answers, or even many of them.  However, maybe I just need to stick to what I do know, and write it in a way that still feels safe.  This card feels like a kick up the butt to just get on with it and stop feeling sorry for myself...

I am grateful for my mother, who is often a rock in a sea of emotion.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Shapeshifters 3 Card Vlog Reading

I wanted to experiment with the format in which I do video blog readings, both in terms of on-screen presentation and camera/file format.  So, I decided to do another three card Pathway Spread, this time with the Oracle of the Shapeshifters.

First off I tried using my computer's webcam.  As it's pointed at the computer user, my face appeared and I held up cards next to me to show the images.  The image seemed OK (the lower quality was fairly kind to my wrinkles - ha ha), and it uploaded in just half an hour!  

However, having talked it over with my mother and later my Dear One, I decided I wasn't quite ready to appear on-screen myself.  I don't worry much about people finding my blog.  For one thing, I keep my Facebook page for family and friends, including tarot friends.  Business colleagues get a "Thanks, but no thanks" response to any friend requests.  Likewise, I have a purely tarot Twitter account.  Finally, although I think it's pretty obviously me if you know me, my work colleagues don't know me that well.  And they'd have to trawl through a fair bit of the blog to really be sure (well, other than some of my yoga pics, but even those could have been down-loaded from my yoga site).  Having my face up on-screen talking about tarot and oracles, on the other hand, is pretty in-your-face :D

So, that one got deleted.  Then I tried using a different camera, an older one which I thought might be less high quality and so quicker to load.  The quality is less (you can only go up to 480, instead of HD), but it still took nearly six hours to upload to Youtube :d'oh:  It was also evening by this time, so the lighting isn't great.  I think in future I'll try doing them in the room with the webcam, as the light was nice there.  The background is the sumptuous gold-silk lining of the AniaM reading cloth I used in the last vlog - talk about a great twofer!  Anyhow, you can find the result HERE.

I think I'll go back to my first format for future vlogs.  The camera is easy to use, the quality is good, and I'll just have to accept the up-load time.  My next problem is I need a sign-off.  Saying "Bye!" is pretty lame *blush*  Any suggestions?

The Snake Princess

There are 45 cards in the Oracle of the Shapeshifters (Blue Angel, 2011), which are numbered as well as having a name and key phrase.  I've added a blur effect to all of the images I'll be blogging with this week, to help fight pirating :)  I really like this deck, with soulful artwork by Jasmine Becket-Griffith and a companion book by Lucy Cavendish, though I'll admit that it is woman-centric, and rather youth and beauty focused.

The image on this card makes me think of the biblical story of Adam and Eve.  Yet the key phrase has a quite different feel to it.  In the Bible, the serpent didn't lead Eve to power, but rather to shame and exile.  And yet, some people ask whether that wasn't as it should be, given that living in a utopia doesn't allow for personal will and growth.  It was only by learning about sex and by being exiled that we humans could become a part of the natural world, reproducing, living, loving, hurting, changing.  Which, I guess, fits the deck's message of learning to deal with life's changes and challenges pretty well.

What I see here is the suggestion that a time of innocence is coming to an end, that we need to learn some hard lessons in order to transform ourselves.  Perhaps we need to learn to judge people by their actions, rather than by what they say.  Or to recognise the things in our lives which are harmful to us, even if they seem enjoyable.  And then we need to learn to say no to what isn't right for us, even when it's hard, and even if that upsets other people.

This puts me in mind of the fact that today I have to talk to someone about a mistake they made at work yesterday.  I hate this kind of conversation, it's one of the worst parts of any managerial role as far as I'm concerned.  Some people are really touchy, while others are brazen and belligerent.  I always try to bring these issues as queries rather than attacks.  I know that the sometimes angry diatribe in my mind at the moment doesn't help me deal well with these situations.  Still, clear boundaries and communication are good skills to learn and practise.

I am grateful for the reminder that life's lessons aren't always easy, but do lead to growth.

Friday, 16 September 2011

The Shapeshifters Are Here!

After much dithering about whether to get the Oracle of Shapeshifters (Blue Angel 2011), I ordered it and then had to suffer the wait for it to arrive.  Finally, it's here!  So, after bonding with the cards a bit, I shuffled and drew a card to represent what this deck will be to me.  Colour me delighted, what a great start to a relationship :)

This card, titled Little Owlyn, has the key phrase: "Wisdom as light as a feather".  What more could one ask of an oracle that is as playful as this?

As with Lucy Cavendish and Jasmine Becket-Griffith's previous deck (Oracle of Shadows and Light, Blue Angel 2010) the artwork is full of pouty, big-eyed, soulful looking female characters.  Don't let the images fool you, though, both decks pack plenty of punch.

The concept behind the Shapeshifters deck is that in times of transition we can call on the wisdom of the animal world, helping us along our path to transformation, or just to deal with the constant change that surrounds us.  All the artwork features animals of a wide variety of hues and types - from ravens to alligators, from beetles to kittens, from koi to crabs.  The colours are bright, and there is symbolism not only in terms of the animals, but also in terms of the environment, the characters and their clothes and what they carry.  Plenty to trigger intuitive readings!

So, I shall turn to this deck when I want some help delivered in a light-hearted but still heartfelt way.   And I will use it for my daily draws starting tomorrow...

Uzume

For this last draw with the vibrant Mythical Goddess Tarot by Sage Holloway and Katherine Skaggs, I have pulled the Fool - Uzume.

Uzume is a Japanese Shinto goddess.  When the sun goddess, Amaterasu, was upset and hid herself away in a cave, the world was dark and wouldn't grow.  The gods and goddesses gathered around and tried to persuade Amaterasu to come out, but to no avail.  Then Uzume hatched a plan.  She hung a mirror in front of the cave entrance, and then did a ribald dance which set the other deities to laughing.  When the sun goddess poked her head out to see what was going on, she saw her reflection and was enticed out.

This card speaks to me of enjoying simple pleasures - the warmth of the sun on your skin, dancing, your own body. laughter.  It also says that we shouldn't fear seeming foolish to others - sometimes that's the best thing to be and do.  I'd rather enjoy life than always be sensible!


I am grateful for the ridiculousness of life.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Finally - A Vlog!

Almost a year ago I decided I wanted to try my hand at video blogging!  Good thing no-one was holding their breath, as despite several attempts with the camera and having more or less solved the lighting (less), location, shaking (more) and background (whadya think - it's a reading cloth from the talented Ania M) issues, my umming and ahhing still dominated the readings.  In the bin they all went!

Then, earlier this week, I saw the video blog that Tarot Mama had created and felt inspired once again.  Yesterday, I dug out my camera and gave it another go.  I did a three card reading with the Oracle of Shadows and Light, authored by Lucy Cavendish and with artwork by Jasmine Becket-Griffith (Blue Angel 2010).  It's not great, it's not perfect, but I think it's good enough to publish as my first attempt, hope you'll agree :)

I forgot little things like saying who I am and where to find me on the web :duh:  And I still ummed and ahhed a bit.  Nevertheless, I hope you'll forgive these little hiccups and enjoy this foray into unknown territory - plus you get to laugh at my accent :)

The link is here.

The spread I used is the Pathway Spread from the companion book to the Wildwood Tarot, and the positions are: 1) Situation 2) Action to Take 3) Action Not to Take.

After the fact, I've come to a better understanding of how this reading relates to my own situation - in fact, it's about doing this vlog!  The beacon I was following was the example of Tarot Mama.  The drama was "acting" for the camera, and the difficulties of getting the vlog up.  As for the warning not to expect immediate results - talk about understatement!  Having made the video, the next stage was to try uploading it.  As some of you may remember, last Mercury Retrograde took my old computer.  So, I had some software issues even trying to load the vid onto my computer.  Then more software faffing to upload it to youtube, as I had to alter some settings in Java (didn't even know I had it running).  Between confusions about youtube settings, internet connection drop-outs, and other unspecified issues, it took me over 24 hours to upload 8 minutes of video!  How ridiculous is that!  And then another couple of hours to rotate it to be the right way up...

For the next one, I am going to try a different format, because while I don't expect to up-load things as quickly as I can say "Ah-ha!" 24 hours is extreme.

Anyhow, that's my own particular version of the reading.  I hope anyone who sees the video will perhaps find something relevant to them in there - I drew the cards asking for something of general use to my readership as well as myself.  And whether it chimes with you or not, I'd love to hear what you think.

Beauty

Today's card from the Mythical Goddess Tarot is the Maiden of Earth.  In this deck, the Courts have been renamed Child, Maiden, Mother and Crone, so the Maiden would equate to the Knight, if you feel a need for the correspondence.  However, I see them quite differently, and feel the words speak for themselves to a large degree - the Child before sexuality and gender come to the forefront, followed by the triple feminine aspects of the Goddess.

So, what to make of this Maiden of Earth (Pentacles)?  Around her is a wealth of natural beauty - flowers blooming, butterflies flitting, birds in the sky, and trees providing shade.  She wears a vibrant dress, and adorns herself with rings and an anklet.  Her hair flows, and her smile is peaceful, though by modern Western standards she may be seen as overly curvaceous for model-infested notions of beauty.

I see here a reminder to appreciate beauty in all its guises - both human and natural.  There is also a feeling of serenity, she's in no rush to do anything, just enjoying the day.  I could do with some of that energy!

I am grateful for the beauty I find around me - my local park, Big Boy, and of course gorgeous decks :)

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Confusion

Today we have a card from the suit of Wind (Swords) in the Mythical Goddess Tarot, the Eight - Confusion. 

While not as cheery as the cards from other days, I find this image very impactful.  The hands clutching at her head as it seems to explode with numerous mini-tournados is very evocative.  This speaks to me of the myriad worries that so often churn around in my head, the things I should have said or done, the ideas and images that I want to remember and those I'd rather forget.   This is certainly something that chimes with me, and for which I have been drawn to meditation.

I notice that the card is marked with the sign for Jupiter, and that of Gemini.  I'm not quite sure what to make of this.  As I understand it, Jupiter is a positive planet, associated with expansion and a drive for insight on all levels.  And Gemini is my own sun sign so, while I acknowledge a certain flightiness (or delight in variety), I also see the positives such as a desire to communicate and to understand (anything and everything).  I guess if we expand our desire for knowledge too quickly and too far, what we are left with may be confusion.  Perhaps what this card could indicate in such circumstances is a need for re-grouping, for allowing what has come in to settle before moving on again.

Amazingly, I have absolutely nothing planned for today.  And perhaps that's the problem, that I need a bit of structure as otherwise I shall be all over the place...

I am grateful for the reminder to meditate, and to take things slowly and purposefully.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Candy Cane Angel

I am awaiting the new Oracle of the Shapeshifters (Blue Angel 2011) authored by Lucy Cavendish and illustrated by Jasmine Becket-Griffith.  So, to ease my impatience I decided to draw a card from their previous deck, the Oracle of Shadows and Light (Blue Angel 2010). 

Having just posted on Facebook about no longer eating chocolate/cake/biscuits (none since 20th January - yay me!) I was somewhat shocked to be faced by this Angel of sweet treats.  But then I remembered something Deanne Jade said during the course I did last year on Eating Disorders, about the importance of still treating ourselves and doing pleasurable things for ourselves.

I also just read a great post by Arwen which reminded me that feeling love for ourselves and for others is part of our right (perhaps even our duty) as beings on this beautiful planet, yet also something that we have to consciously choose each and every day.

So, this Angel challenges me to think about how I can treat myself and feel rewarded without sweets, about how I can express my love for myself and for others other than through food.  I notice the symbolism of the Candy Cane she holds, and am reminded that this is based on the shepherd's crook.  A way for the shepherd to grab a sheep to stop them hurting themselves or getting lost, as well as to help the shepherd scramble around after the sheep.  This practical work implement has been transformed into a treat, can I do the same with things in my life?

I think I'll go and workout while watching a TV show that my Dear One wouldn't be interested in, and later I will meditate with a beautiful card.  I will also make sure to have some quality time with Big Boy when he gets home, not just worry about feeding him and making sure he's physically well, but play some game we'll both enjoy.

How will you treat yourself today?

Mother Mary

All the Majors of the Mythical Goddess Tarot are embodied through goddesses from around the world, who represent some element that chimes with the energy of that Major.  So, today's card shows Mother Mary, who represents Major XII - Sacrifice (traditionally the Hanged Man).

For me, this image represents well the energy of the Hanged Man, despite there being no reversal nor any bindings apparent.  From her calm face to the burning heart that hangs in the air between her hands, she speaks to me of meditative calm, passion and compassion.  Mother Mary offers up her heart, her body and her soul to provide nourishment (both physical and spiritual) for her children - humanity.  The dove suggests both peace and also the Holy Spirit entering her as she becomes the channel for deity to manifest in this world.

How often do women the world over make sacrifices, for love?  Be it giving up your job to take care of a child/children, leaving your home to follow your man, or staying home when he goes away, putting other people's preferences before your own, or giving others the best food/clothes/china, sacrifice comes in many guises.  Does our sacrifice uplift us?  Do we gain something from it, be it the chance at love, the knowledge that we have done something for others or perhaps recognition?

In this, I see both the positives and negatives of sacrifice.  We can become martyrs, expecting others to recognise and reward our sacrifice in some way.  Or we can willingly give of ourselves, trusting that this will be for the good in the grand scheme of things.  We can be doormats, or we can be a bridge to something better. 

What sacrifices do you choose to make, and how do you feel about them?

I am grateful that I can find love in my heart through times of hardship, be they emotional or physical.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Sophia

When I was deciding which deck to use for this week's daily draws, I pulled a card from each of the three contenders.  This was the card I drew from the Mythical Goddess Tarot which made me choose it.  So, I was delighted to see this goddess reappear for her moment in the limelight :)

Sophia is a goddess of wisdom, taking her name from the Greek word for the same.  She is found in many different religious texts including the Bible, and her name is often translated as spirit or soul.  In this deck, she replaces the Hierophant.

I'll admit to being one of those people who often has trouble with the Hierophant in his more traditional guise.  However, I adore this image and what Sophia represents.  I notice the points of light which illuminate her from within her belly and breasts, as well as her throat, third eye and head.  Not quite equivalent to the seven chakras most often referred to, they nevertheless suggest a balanced wisdom based in the body, heart and mind.  There are also eyes in the palms of her hand, and in the lowest point of illumination in her body, at her groin.  This speaks to me of wisdom and knowledge not just being of the head, but that body memory we gain from doing things repeatedly.  More than that even, the eyes in her palms suggest all that we can learn through touch.  Good massage therapists, osteopaths and reiki practitioners feel more than tight muscles and illness through their hands, sensing the energy in the person they are treating.

This card speaks to me, then, of wisdom developed in a balanced way, combining action and thought, body and mind.  Although this kind of wisdom comes from the individual, it can be facilitated by a mentor suggesting experiences for the person to try and points to be aware of or areas of focus.

I also notice her round, pregnant belly.  Incorporating this kind of wisdom into our lives gives us the potential to birth new ideas, new ways of being, that embody our inner light.

I am grateful for the wise healers in my life.

I am grateful for all I have learned so far in my life.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Regeneration

Today, the Mythical Goddess Tarot presents us with the Mother of Fire, equivalent in most decks to the Queen of Wands, though in last week's Tarot of the Silicon Dawn we saw her as the Queen of Pentacles.

She seems rather more pensive than many depictions of this Queen.  The flame shooting from her forehead reminds me of depictions of the Celtic Goddess Brigid, patron of poets, bards and smiths.  Although above the neck she is pensive, combining the elements of fire and air, below the neck she is a blazing inferno.  All that bodily passion, and yet she still maintains her calm, and is able to channel the energy and enthusiasm into creative projects and thoughts, rather than it dissipating into heat and nothing more.  The title on the card is Regeneration:  it is through her passion, inspired and wisely managed, that she re-creates herself afresh.

I am grateful for the things which inspire me to create and change: tarot cards; others who challenge my set ways of thinking; Big Boy who changes and grows, forcing me to do the same.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Gaia

After last week's reading with the vibrant Mythical Goddess Tarot by Sage Holloway & Katherine Skaggs, I decided I would use it for this week's daily cards :)

For this first day I received the beautiful Gaia, Major XXI - The World.  I love the fact that she is literally pregnant with the world, and that she sits as though meditating, peaceful and calm.  She is accompanied by a snake that cycles through the colours of the chakras, a hummingbird, and a pale blue and white butterfly.  Flowers and vines grow from and around her, and a calm body of water lies in front of her.  Though her eyes are closed, lilac flowers bloom at her third eye.

This card beautifully describes the feeling of completion and at the same time the idea of a new cycle being ready to begin, which I associate with the World card.  Gaia is peaceful, nurtured and nurturing, alive and growing, cyclical and changing, yet perfect just where she is.  I get a sense of both abundance and simplicity, energy and quiet from this figure.  She feels like an Empress figure, but taken to a higher, more spiritual level.

I have meditated every day for the last week - the first time in years I have been so consistent.  Already, I feel far calmer than last week.  And even if that changes, as there will surely always be new bumps in the road, I hope I can weather them with a degree of the equanimity shown here.


I am grateful for all the cycles in my life which are complete, and all the changes yet to come.

I am thankful for moments of peace and stillness, for feeling that all is right in the world, if only for an instant.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Kill Bill-y the Kid?

For my final card from the Tarot of the Silicon Dawn (Lo Scarabeo 2011, by Egypt Urnash) we have the Two of Swords.

The image makes me think of a cross between Kill Bill and a spaghetti Western ;)  Rather than a woman with swords crossed over her heart and a blindfold over her eyes, sitting in front of a body of water, we have this.  A woman in a wedding dress holds two crossed swords, points down, as though weighed down with defeat.  Behind her we see the silhouette of a man a la Clint Eastwood - hat, poncho, boots and pistol.  In the background, a Wild West Town, with black clouds looming over it all.  I have the sense of her being momentarily brought up short, perhaps taking a breather.  At any moment, though, she could re-find her direction and energy and suddenly turn, lifting the swords and going into attack mode.

Today, what this card makes me think of is a situation that happened a couple of days ago.  For some time now I've defined my spiritual beliefs a certain way.  I liked having a "name tag", a hook to hang what I practise on and the feeling of being part of a community.  Chatting with Carla of Rowan Tarot, she recommended a forum I'd never heard of, so I went to take a look.  The first thing I saw was that the "name tag" I have been holding for myself was thoroughly reviled and mocked :/  The forum moderators had posted a list of what they felt defined this name.  At first glance, I agreed with about half of what they said were defining of this name, and which they disagreed with.  So, I was left with a feeling of "Are my beliefs that wrong?"  That someone I like and admire could think the exact opposite of me on something so fundamental felt very strange.  I felt like I had gone to meet a new beau, only to be told that not only does this person not like you, they think you're stupid.  It also made me question what I really do believe.  Is it those things that were listed?

I have thought about this a lot over the last few days.  I went back and looked over the list, and really thought about each item.  I ended up considering that, out of 14 items, there is only one I would say an unconditional "Yes" to.  A further five I sort of agree with, depending on how you look at it, but don't practice as they've been described.  The remaining eight I said "No" to.  Where it left me is rather like what I see in this card.  I now have two opposing possibilities, but I'm disillusioned with both of them.  The tag I had accepted no longer fits, but I'm not sure I really like this new idea I've been introduced to.  It seems to me that they defined something very narrowly, and then reviled it for being narrow.  And I disagree on at least one point absolutely.  So, I'm left like this character, all dressed up, but nowhere to go.

Perhaps I can forge a new sword for myself - create my own definition, one that fits me properly.  Or just accept that different people use the same word to mean quite disparate things.  So, if someone reviles a word, that may just mean they are defining it differently from how I do.

I am grateful for the challenge to really think about what I believe in, so I can better understand myself.