Monthly Archives: December 2011

Late Chanukah Spread

Standard

No, I’m not Jewish.Yes, I’m aware that Chanukah is already over for this year. Nevertheless, I liked this Chanukah spread (created by RedMaple on AT) so much and found it so appropriate for what’s on my mind these days that I decided to read with it today. The spread looks like this:


——————-9——————
8—7—6—5——-4—3—2—1

1. CH – Chaim – Life – How do you celebrate life?Wind Resolving (equivalent of the King of Swords)

Behind the blades of a windmill, a man sits at a desk and writes. It seems that right now, in reflecting upon life, I become most aware of it and celebrate it most. I also see this as life happening while I’m doing something else, which could either mean I need to pay more attention to life while it’s happening, or that I celebrate life by making time for solitude and reflection. Both ring true for me today.

2. A – Aysh – Fire- What is the fire that burns in your life? What candles need lighting?8th Wave Song (Eight of Cups)

A table has been set for eight people at the edge of the sea. After the meal at night, all of them have left the table, seven to walk up a hill, one to walk across the plains. One of the chairs is about to fall into the water. This is about the transience of community, and about celebrating togetherness while it lasts instead of focusing on how it will be over soon. I take it to mean that I need to look for the joys of community and togetherness without expecting it to be “forever.” The companion book adds this:

Are you continually moving on […] always hoping happiness will find you in some new place? If this aspect of the image rings true for you, recognise that this emptiness can only be completely filled when you come home fully into yourself.

Indeed.

3. N – N’Shama – Soul-bird – What does your innermost soul-bird sing to you?9th Wind Song (Nine of Swords)

“I’m caged and want to break free!” Well, that’s very literal: a bird sits in a small cage hanging from a tree that grows on the edge of a cliff. In fact, the bird does seem to have a way out of the cage, so all it needs is to gather up the courage to leave the cage and fly free even if the landscape immediately surrounding it looks rather bleak and uninviting. But there is a golden glow in the sky that promises better times and places are ahead. This is all very true: I desperately want to break out of some aspects of my current life – and really the only thing holding me back is my own fear. Time to get over that, I think!

4. Yod – Universe – Gift of the universe – What resource or strength do you have that is far more than you thought? 6th Wave Song (Six of Cups)

Water is flowing through a water mill. I’m not sure the mechanics of the watermill in this drawing are right, but it does seem to work just fine nevertheless. To me, this is about life’s cycles and about a force that keeps me going even if it all seems a bit impossible. It’s also about using resources and gaining energy without wasting anything. Actually, I have to correct myself here after learning about the differences between watermills, water wheels, and norias. What is depicted here is in fact a noria, which is used to scoop up water and transport it up into an aqueduct, usually for irrigation purposes. (Norias also make a fascinating and very unexpected sound that you can listen to on the Wikipedia page.)

So, back to the tarot card at hand (by the way, does anyone else get distracted by their research in the middle of a reading done for themselves?). Water is transported upwards to feed plants that feed animals and humans. The theme of cycles apparently remains. If I read water as representing emotions, it seems I’m able to “lift up” my emotions to feed my sou (and my surroundings?) in a way that I apparently underestimate. It’s true that I’m an optimist at heart, even though I occasionally visit very dark spots. But life goes on, and things get lighter again.

5. K – Kadosh – What is sacred to you? Sun

Well, this is another pretty literal card. The sun is indeed sacred to me, much more so than the moon (which I still enjoy as an “idea” but don’t feel as drawn to emotionally or spiritually). The absence and presence of sunlight affect me greatly, and I love basking in the sunshine, motionless like a snake. The sun for me represents a major source of life and energy, and speaks to me as the huge ball of fire it is. Maybe I need to explore sun deities and sun cults some more? Maybe I need to find a way that makes sense to me to celebrate the sun wheel of the year?

6. K- Kadosh – How can you participate in making the whole world sacred?Flame Innocence (Page of Wands)

A child sits on her bed at night, cuddling a teddy bear. A candle burns on a nearby table, and the full moon hangs low and orange in the sky outside, illuminating the house’s garden and the land beyond. Well, the moon is illuminated by the sun, right? Maybe that’s how I can learn to embrace it as well… But mostly this card speaks about becoming childlike and curious, knowing how/where to find comfort so I can face the wide openness of the world beyond my home. Bringing in a light to mirror the two big lights in the sky, which leads me to the idea of “as above, so below; as below, so above; as within, so without; as without, so within.” Rituals don’t have to be big and elaborate, what counts most is awareness. And, finally, this may occasionally be a bit scary, so take it one step at a time. Makes sense.

7. A – Aleph – The Sound of Silence – What do I hear in it? Or: How can I listen for it?Beyond Judgment (Judgment)

Two open hands, the sea, an achor, a flying seagull, an egg-shaped, red-rimmed opening. I take this to mean I need a place to put my anchor to use as a basis from where to fly free (this reminds me of shamanic journeys where the physical body remains anchored in everyday reality while the soul flies out into non-ordinary reality). The hands are about both receiving and letting go. At any rate, this is a moment of change. From the companion book:

The egg which contains the bird and anchor reminds us we are continually involved in a process of rebirth, breaking out of old and secure patterns when we have outgrown the limits of our previous ways of thinking, perceiving and valuing. […] We may need known boundaries and a time of emotional incubation before surging forward into new domains. Periods of reflection and assimilation are necessary safeguards in the process of transformation. […] We are able to see pain and beauty, loss and blessings, intermingle and interweave. We sense patterns we may not be able to name.

To me this ties in with the first card of the spread. Silence is necessary to digest, to incubate, to reflect upon what happened. By making room for it and anchoring myself in regular periods of silence, I will ultimately be able to see/hear the patterns of my life that (hopefully) lead me to fulfill my purpose in this existence — and maybe even teach me just what that purpose is.

8. H – Hay – The Sound of Being Present – How can I be more present in my life, to my family, partner, children, etc.7th Wave Song (Seven of Cups)

A person sits at the bank of a river and fishes. In a net above them hang a bowl of fruit, a shell containing an island with a palm tree, and a trunk full of treasures. To me, this is about someone not quite present with their current situation. This person is dreaming themselves away into a fantasy of a (mostly materially) good life instead of enjoying what they have. I’m taking this in several ways. First, there is the need for regular solitude again which affords a place to clarify my idea of what makes a good life after all (and how to achieve it once I return to company). Then there’s the idea of not focusing on what could be but on what actually is (namely, a beautiful sunrise) and enjoying that for what it is. Part of me agrees with that notion, but another part of me says we need dreams and fantasies so we don’t get stuck in accepting something not ideal just because we never dared to imagine anything else. Which may in fact just be the other side of the same coin. I believe the secret lies in combining them into what may well end up being the serenity prayer:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

9. Shammash – The flame that ignites all the other candles.2nd Flame Song (Two of Wands)

Two people are on a hill watching the night sky. One of them looks at it just like that, the other uses a telescope, the shape of whose legs remind me of the sign for Awen (inspiration). I take this to mean that both looking at the big picture and zooming in to look at the details are valuable and necessary to truly understand something. Around the scene there are representations of the zodiac, with the telescope pointing to the one for Sagittarius (my own rising sign). To me, this is about a constant drive to explore ever more of what life has to offer, mostly looking outside of oneself for inspiration and food for thought rather than within oneself. In fact, that endless curiosity and desire to explore is indeed something I perceive to be one of my very crucial personality traits which does inform and impact every area of my life. The same goes for my ability to accept seeming contradictions (illustrated by the juxtaposition of astrology and astronomy here) and to always look for way that allow for both-and instead of either-or.

Since the shammash candle literally means “serving candle” I also take this to mean that these abilities are not meant as an end of themselves but as something meant to be used to serve a greater purpose.

Interesting spread, and interesting reading! I mostly like how the deck often uses traditional RWS meanings but illustrates them in an entirely new way. The round cards do make for uncomfortable shuffling, though. And they require a surprising amount of space to lay out!

Advertisements

New Deck: Songs for the Journey Home Tarot

Standard

Since I extended last week a little, I decided to pick my new deck a bit early, too. So, random number generator, what do you have for me this week?

I already spent some exclusive time with the Phantasmagoric Theater Tarot a while ago, so that one’s out for now. The same goes for the Tarot of the Four Elements, whose intense colors also don’t seem such a great idea on a migraine day as today. That leaves the Songs for the Journey Home Tarot, which is fine with me.

I got the deck from a friend on AT, but haven only used it a couple of times so far. I really like the deck’s name, because I’m still looking for a place to call home without reservations. So having a handful of songs for the journey towards whereever home may ed up being sounds like a good thing to me. As does having a handful of songs in the first place because my life has been strangely devoid of music for several years now. I rarely listen to any music when I’m home because it distracts me from the things I do (mostly reading and sometimes writing), and I can’t sit still for even a song’s length and do nothing but listen to music. That used to be very different earlier in my life, and I couldn’t even say what caused this change. I can say that I miss music and dancing, though. Maybe I’ll ask this deck about this issue…

Songs for the Journey Home is my first and so far only round tarot deck. It’s a bit harder to shuffle than other decks, but that’s mostly due to its diameter which is at the limit of what my hands can comfortably handle (I usually shuffle my decks lengthwise, even the small ones). That slows down the shuffling process a bit, but that’s probably not a bad thing.

I’m not quite up to do a reading today, though, because I still have a headache (despite my migraine medication), so that’s for another day…

The good thing is: I know where it hurts

Standard

I haven’t been feeling to well emotionally the past few days, so here’s a spread to look at some good things. I found it on AT but originally it’s from Know Your Tarot.

I’m still using the International Icon Tarot because I didn’t get around to choosing a new deck last weekend and didn’t yet do much with the deck anyway. I’m taking the spread positions as pointers to how things are right now for me.

1 – 2 – 3

1. AbundanceFive of Wands

2. Sources of loveTen of Pentacles

3. Silver liningsThree of Swords

I’m not sure if this is a cruel joke the deck is playing on me, but this doesn’t look like a very comforting spread to me…

I certainly have an abundance of conflict, mostly within myself but also with the world around me. It’s not so much that I have fights with individual people (although I did sort of fight with my mother over the holidays) but that I perceive myself to be in conflict with the world as it is. I don’t seem to find the right place for me to be me. But as I said, most of the conflict is within myself, with different “voices” arguing against each other about way too many things at once. It’s mostly making me crazy right now, because I can’t seem to find some solid ground to stand on and make up my mind. Oh well, maybe I will appreciate the polyphony again sometime soon… And all that anger? At least it’s energy.

Well, this is one of those family cards… My most recent experience with my biological family wasn’t all too pleasant, so I didn’t quite feel the love. I’m not saying it’s not there but we really don’t seem to speak the same language when it comes to expressing that we care for each other. Instead of time, understanding, and honest communication (things that I rate very highly as expressions of love) I always seem to get money from my mother (her favorite way of expressing love but unfortunately the one I appreciate the least – material gifts just don’t mean much to me).* At any rate, at least money is not an area of worry for me right now (which is more than many other people can say at this time). And maybe these people on the other side of the doorway are actually caring for me, and I just don’t feel it right now.

* My ideas about “love languages” here are based on Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages, a book which I much recommend¬† (if you either don’t mind his strong Christian slant that only talks about heterosexual, monogamous marriages as love relationships or are willing and able to translate it into your own relationship life that may be none of these things – the basic ideas certainly are worth the effort).

And the silver lining to all of this is heartbreak? Now that sounds great… *rolling eyes* Okay, maybe this means that the pain is now out in the open, it has been expressed (if only mostly to myself and therefore not necessarily been heard), and now the worst is over? Maybe taking the time to really cry about a whole bunch of things has been the first step forward and out of this mess. This card also reminds me of a blog post I read earlier today. My AT friend Nisaba Merrieweather wrote about pain and why it’s good to feel it. She says we are more gentle with ourselves when we actually feel the pain instead of blocking it out and that we therefore heal more quickly. I think she has a point there (but I still think blocking out the pain can make a lot of sense if you do it temporarily and still remember that you’re not at the top of your strength).

I think I’ll listen to my sore back now and go offline to have a relatively early night. Even though this reading didn’t cheer me up the way I hoped it would. But maybe that’s the other pain I need to feel right now.

Bling the International Icon!

Standard

I mostly had a Four of Cups kind of day today (thanks, hormones…), so when I came home tonight, I felt like playing. What better way to do that than blinging a few more cards?!

When I looked through the International Icon Tarot, the weirdly emphasized scepter of the Empress stood out to me. Suddenly it looked like a microphone, and that’s where it all started… Now I had to find someone for whom she would hold the mic, and then there was that guitar, which seemed even better, because you can’t have the Empress just sit there and serve someone else, right? As you can see, there isn’t much left of the original microphone idea by now, but that’s probably for the best.

The interpretation of this blingified version? Classic Empress, of course: This card is all about femininity, boundless creativity, female power, a bit of chaos and overabundance, and generally ruling the masses.

Imagine it is 1992 and she is the all-female rock band L7 (except I believe L7 would never have tolerated a disco ball) at an outdoor music festival I went to with my best friend (back when people always thought we were a couple but we never were). This was the first time ever I saw a bunch of women rock a crowd like that – needless to say I was massively impressed and went on to get all their records on tape. Fast and Frightening still is one of my all-time favorite songs. Here’s the official video (to get an impression of how they were on stage check out this video from 1990).

After that, I looked for another card to bling, and since I had discovered the wig section of Blingee.com, I decided to put some strange wigs onto some card characters.

What can I say? There were mostly wigs with long, feminine hair, and then I thought of how we always complain that the Lovers and Two of Cups are so heterosexual all the time, and then it all turned into a lesbian version of paper dolls…

I would have preferred to make a nice butch and femme couple (since that’s how I rock), but there weren’t any useful pants, the short hair wigs didn’t fit the three-quarter position of the head, and it probably wouldn’t have looked the way it feels anyway.

So I settled for these two. Thank goodness someone started associating rainbow colors with gayness a long time ago, because that made it all so much more kitschy so much more easily! I’m especially delighted with the image of Applejack and Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony – Friendship is Magic I came across right at the end – a butchy outdoor pony and a nerdy femme one make the perfect subtext to this otherwise rather mainstreamy image of lesbian love. More so since the character on the left had that braided wig and hat combo, and the one on the right was clad in pink things already.

Serendipity works in the strangest ways!

And my mood has improved, too.

Talking romance with the Story Cubes

Standard

Sometime last week, I had discovered the Story Cubes while I was looking for games I could give my niece and nephew for the holidays. They are originally meant as a game and/or language learning exercise where you throw all dice and then make up a story that includes all the images (for example, a plane, a sheep, an eye, a question mark, a pyramid, a rainbow, an alien face, and many more).

However, “Nine dice with a picture on each side? 54 different pictures altogether? Sounds like an oracle to me!”, I thought and ordered a set, while telling myself they’d be a great gift for my nephew who has just started to write his own stories.

The Story Cubes arrived today. I was very, very tempted. I know it’s not quite the best of behavior to test drive things you intend to give to others as presents, but I simply couldn’t resist. So I opened them. There wasn’t much packaging anyway, just a taped-shut plastic bag around the dice themselves, which I also applaud from an ecological perspective. The storage box is small, square, sturdy, and really pretty (it closes with an invisible magnet). The dice themselves are made from plastic that feels very nice. The images are embossed into the surfaces and colored with black. All in all, it’s a attractively packaged set of high-quality items.

But what interested me most were the oracular qualities of the dice. So I asked a friend I was chatting with if she wanted a quick reading with the Story Cubes. She agreed and asked me about a new romance in her life that currently occupies her to the point of distraction. She first wanted to know why she was so smitten with that person. (Of course she also agreed to me posting this!)

I put all the dice into the pocket of my big, cozy knit jacket, mixed them around with my hand and then pulled three of the dice out. I then rolled these dice and gathered them together in a line. This is what she got.

Tower – Cell Phone – Clock

I told her the Cell Phone was referring to them having more contact than they initially planned to (they live in different cities),which kept the emotions very present to her. I read the Tower as something unavailable, which in this context meant that the longing itself was fueling the way she felt. It also meant that her careful defenses against anything unforeseen were pretty useless in this situation (which she didn’t like much). The Clock referred both to their round-the-clock communication and her feeling that this could develop into something more long-term than she initially expected. Her direct feedback confirmed all these things, but we also noticed that she pretty much knew all this already.

At that point my gaze was drawn towards the front sides of the dice. It seemed they wanted in on the reading. We decided they would be about the more hidden aspects of the situation.

Tree – Lightning Bolt – Lightbulb

The most apparent one was the Lightning Bolt, signifying a surprising turn of action with a great impact. The Lightbulb represented some illuminating and inspiring aspect of their relationship, something that shines a light into an area that had been lying dormant/idle for a while. My friend confirmed that her new romance partner did indeed address parts of her that she wasn’t used to having addressed, especially in terms of gender dynamics, which was mostly confusing but also interesting to her. She recognized a need to talk to her new romance partner about that in more depth. The Tree was something solid to me, something that had been there a long time. Since the two had already been girlfriends many years ago, I suspected their common past might influence her current feelings as well.

We finally decided to do another throw of an additional three cubes to see what would be the best way for her to deal with the situation. These were to be read together with the previous three.

Die – Flower – Apple

The Die said that asking the oracle was a good idea already. My friend added that it also meant to her that she should leave things to happen the way they wanted to instead of trying to control the outcome. Trust coincidences and serendipity and all that. I took the Flower to mean she needed to relax and enjoy what was currently happening. The Apple symbolized learning something to me (via the American association of teachers and apples). This could be referring to the unfamiliar sides and gender dynamics that had come up, but it could also refer to learning more about how to live in a polyamourous constellation (which she already does, but this new partner still adds a new aspect to the whole existing dynamic). That theme appeared again when we examined the numbers on the Die, which all seemed meaningful in her current context.

All in all, this apparently touched on some themes that had come up for her more generally, too.

For me, it was a fun way to find out that these cubes do indeed work well as an oracle. The images offer a lot of possibilities for different kinds of associations, which are much multiplied by all the combinations that are possible. So I went to order another set for me. I promise, if it arrives in time, my nephew will get the brand-new one… ;-)