Sunday, December 21, 2014

Yule Blog Hop: The Joy of Gifting

Happy Yule 2014, and welcome to the Tarot Blog Hop! Please use the links at the top and bottom of this post to access the other wonderful blogs in this circle.

Arwen Lynch, our joyful wrangler for the Yule hop, asked us all to focus our posts around a spread that she created about gift giving, and freed us up to use whatever type of oracle we pleased. Normally I use Tarot for our hops, but I felt moved to go a different route this season, and have used the new Game of Hope 2.0 Lenormand deck instead (to learn more about the deck, click here).

I wanted to keep it as simple as possible, so I drew three cards for each question. Here we go!

1. What gift would you give the world if you could?

Rider - Letter - Clover

Fortune telling! Perfect, on to number 2! Well okay... just kidding (sorta)! These cards tell me a lot of things:

I see this line as a message that we should all start sending more letters, increase our communications with fellow humans, visit each other once in a while. After all, unexpected correspondence is a joy! Just a few days ago my long-time friend Danica sent me a lovely, hand-created Christmas card with pictures of her family. I thought, "When is that last time I sat down to create holiday cards?" Too long. Then this morning she wrote me a lovely, touching note. We don't speak nearly as often as we should. I think in this era of email and Facebook and nomadic lifestyles it's easy for us to become silos. We have to remember how to reconnect with the people that really matter to us.

I see this as a message about helping others. Do you have extra material goods? Reach out and share with others, send support. I recall a time when my cousin was struggling financially. I didn't have a lot either, but I went online and bought a book by an author she loved and had it sent to her as a surprise. I think at times we tell ourselves that we simply don't have enough to truly help someone else, so we don't. But we don't have to limit our giving in those ways. Find a cause you can get behind and make a donation. If we all focused on the small ways we can help each other perhaps we would go far in helping improve human relationships and our greater sense of community.

Finally, bloggers, keep using those writing skills to spread positivity throughout the blogosphere!

2. What gift would you want from the world?

Heart - Fish - Sun

Well isn't this an easy one to interpret! Love, money, success and joy - boy my cards sure do know me! Ha!... Honestly these cards each embody an energy that is important to me, but let me actually string them together:

Fulfillment of a desire for financial success. Deep love and joy. A heart that flows with happiness. Yes, there is nothing more precious in this world than to love and be loved, to experience profound joy.

3. What gift have you gotten that has brought you joy?

Sun - Rider - Ring

The first thought I had upon seeing this line was the gift of being able to share goods news in my marriage. My husband and I entirely support each other and cheer each other on. If I experience success I can express that with Jorge and I know that he'll feel that joy along with me. That is a precious gift.

This line also reminds me of the moment when we moved to Florida. Within a month of deciding to look for work in the south, and sending out resumes, I had a couple of interviews, and we packed up our cars and our kids and started the move. Everything was hanging on the final word that I would be hired, but it wasn't until we were at a rest stop in Georgia that I finally got the news that I had successfully leapt through all of the hiring hoops, and I was "in." That was immensely relieving and rewarding.

Finally, the only jewelry I regularly wear on my hands are two golden rings, one on each ring finger. One is my wedding ring, representative of a grand gift - my marriage - and the other was a gift I received for mother's day - another immensely joyful gift being my children. My rings are constant reminders of these two shining elements in my life.

4. What gift have you given that has brought you joy?

Bouquet - Fish - Anchor

I saw this line and read: the gift of financial stability. After relying primarily on my husband for financial (and emotional!) support for the years that I was working on my Master's degree, I was able to reciprocate. Once I secured a good and regular job, he was able to leave his old career behind in order to work on developing his passion: photography. Watching him explore and develop his talent, watching how engaged and passionate he was about his art - that brought me great joy and satisfaction.

5. What is one last thing you would like to share about this season?

Cross - Stork - Clover

This too shall pass. Our burdens are temporary. Life is change, and even our hard times won't last forever. We will have relief, and fortune, perhaps in ways we would never expect, and when we're least expecting it. It's amazing to see, in retrospect, how our challenges can lead to wonderful opportunities. Never lose hope and faith!


I thought it was pretty amazing how the Clover, Rider, Sun, and Fish all appeared twice throughout this series of mini-readings - very fitting for the topic of joy and giving! 

I wish you all a beautiful holiday, a splendid Yule, a marvelous Christmas, a Joyous Kwanzaa and very Happy Hannukah! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bella Rosa (Devil): Recognizing Our Power

I have so many "ah hah" moments with the Chrysalis deck. Sometimes it feels like a key unlocking doors I didn't even realize were there.

Last night I was thinking about Bella Rosa (the Devil). My favorite Devil cards across decks are those that show Cernunnos, or Pan, or in some way represent the depth of our earthy power as humans, as opposed to the images that depict the perception of the Devil as the embodiment of evil. What I love about Bella Rosa is that it entirely nails the energy of the Devil in it symbolism. A figure appears, masked, costumed, a mirror facing outward. Who is this person? Are they representing their genuine self, or mirroring back to me what they think I want to see? Do they even know who they are?

The Devil, in any deck, is about our vast power and beauty as human beings, and how sometimes we diminish our own ability to be our full selves through: negative self-talk, living into a role rather than the allowing the truth of our soul to shine forth and be seen, hiding behind our weaknesses, or letting our weaknesses guide us rather than embodying our own great Will.

And then I thought of a fairly well-known, and deeply moving poem by Marianne Williamson, which feels so precisely connected to the energy of this's wonderful.

When the Devil appears in a reading, ask yourself:

-In what ways am I denying my truth?
-In what ways am I conforming my Self to a set of prosciptions (real or imagined)?
-How am I undermining or giving away my own strength?
-In what ways do I try to convince myself that I'm not worthy?
-How am I hiding my light from the world?

"We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
 Actually, who are you not to be?"

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Lenormand Predicts a Little Luck

This morning I pulled a daily line of 3 for my husband, using my Game of Hope 2.0 deck:

Clover - Fish - Tower

Game of Hope 2.0 Lenormand

I showed him, happily, and said, "Financial luck with a company or institution!" 

He said, "Hmmm, should I buy a lottery ticket?" 

I said, "Meh... there's no Letter, so I don't necessarily see a winning ticket, but at any rate it looks good! Let's see what happens..."

I had to run off to teach an English class (yes, on a Sunday morning, the first time ever and I'm hoping not to make it a regular thing). While I was on campus I received a text message from none other than the cell phone company, notifying me that they would be deducting $20 from my account, as I had approved. This is the second time I've received such a text in the past week, and sure enough they do take the money. But I definitely didn't approve anything of the sort. I quickly sent a message to Jorge letting him know what was going on, and he said he would call them and find out.

Later at home he informed me that he had called and left a message with them, but they never called back, so he went outside to try again. This time he managed to reach a phone operator and after a cursory glance they informed him that for "some reason" we had been signed up for a service without our knowledge, and they were making regular deductions for it. They immediately put a stop on the payments they were pulling from our account, and explained that they would credit our monthly bill for the amount they already charged for this mystery service. 

As Jorge was filling me in, I suddenly grinned and said, "Hey! Your cards!" 

He smiled grudgingly and said, "Hmph... I'd rather have a winning lottery ticket."

Hey, Clover may give us a "little luck" - but I'll take it!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

New Year's Reading Special

Through early January I am offering a 10-card reading that covers your goals, driving forces, relationships, career, spirituality, and principal focus for the year ahead. The spread positions are:

Card 1, You, now
Card 2, Goal for the year ahead
Card 3, Challenges to reaching your goal
Card 4, What empowers you to reach your goal
Card 5, Relationships in the year ahead
Card 6, Career in the year ahead
Card 7, Spirituality in the year ahead
Card 8, Talents/gifts to develop in the year ahead
Card 9, Most important lesson in the year ahead
Card 10, Summary – Where you are headed in the coming year

Emailed readings include an attached photograph of your cards, and a PDF document of your full reading. Normally 10-card readings are $50 but for this special I am reducing the cost to $30! You may purchase this as a gift, or for yourself. Click here for ordering!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Homemade Runes

I had always wanted to make my own, personal set of runes. Over the years I've seen a lot of sets that people have made out of wood with rune marks etched in with a wood burner, or made from clay, shells, even twigs, ogham-style. In my mind's eye my future set would be made of smooth black stones, roughly the same size, but not necessarily uniform. I didn't make an effort to find suitable material, I just put the thought out there into the trusty universe.

Last week I was puttering about in a local thrift shop when I happened across a clear, plastic sack sitting on a shelf, full of a nice set of.... smooth black stones! You know, thrift stores are full of random-ness but I still was not expecting quite this level of random-ness. I have no idea what the original intention or use was for these stones, I only know that when I saw that lonely sack sitting there, I knew they were my runes. So I purchased them for a hefty sum of $1 and brought them home. I sorted through the bag and chose twenty four that were of the right size and flatness, and scrubbed them carefully with soap and water, and set them out to dry. The next day I drove to a local art store and bought a set of metallic Sharpies. I wasn't sure which color would look best, but fortunately I had ten or so extra stones available for testing. I thought gold would be nice but in the end I found I much preferred bronze. So I sat quietly at my kitchen table on the night of the last full moon in 2014, and drew rune symbols on each stone, one by one.

After allowing them to dry fully (this didn't take long) I brought the stones together into a pile on my marble table top, closed my eyes, rolled them around between my hands, and thought, "What's next?" This question stems from the very palpable energetic tides that have been churning around and through my life for some time.

I chose a stone, and when I opened my eyes and looked down, I saw that I had pulled Beorc/Berkana.

My first reaction was to smile in gratitude (and probably relief!). This rune is quite a bit like the Empress in Tarot. Berkana is replete with mother energy, that nurturing, life-giving fertility that paves the way for rich new experiences to be born. Berkana is about "being pregnant" with creation (an idea, a project, a baby) but goes further to encompass the actual birth of something new. This rune corresponds to the birch tree, an ancient symbol of a new cycle of life beginning to unfold. Having pulled Death, the Tower, the 10 of Swords, the Fool, and the Wheel quite a lot over the past few months (and the Empress, too, once or twice!), I'm quite aware that times are a'changin,' but somehow seeing Berkana there staring up at me was like a calming, affirming whisper, quietly reminding me that indeed something new and good is on its way.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Corsair: Time for Adventure!

This morning I asked the Chrysalis Tarot for a message about what I need to embrace for the well-being of my Self, and as a result, my family. I drew the Corsair (also known as the Knight of Spirals, or Wands). In the Chrysalis this Knight appears as a pirate, and the little white book says:

Individuals with Corsair energy take great risks that yield substantial rewards. The treasures he most delights in plundering are cherished worldviews. He peers deeply into your subconscious to set it ablaze with mystical visions. The Corsair emboldens you to live life to the fullest on your own terms. (Toney Brooks)

This is apt.
Knight of Spirals - Corsair
Chrysalis Tarot, H. Sierra

As I have mentioned in previous posts, change is unfurling in my life like the sail of a pirate ship, threatening to take me on new adventures whether I'm up for it or not. Fortunately, I am up for it! But even being willing to embrace change doesn't mean that it's easy or without any anxiety or doubt. It's a process. In Lenormand readings, the Ship is never far from me, hinting of travel to come. When I look at this Corsair, I see the ship in the top left corner, and immediately feel the synchronicity here. That, and there is the fact that I've pulled this fellow once before when asking specifically about moving out of state!

I need a lot of encouragement, and the Corsair provides that. He reminds me that while there is risk inherent in change, in the big plans that I'm considering, the pay-off will likely be well worth it when all is said and done. He reminds me of how much I love movement and the manifestation of new ideas (I suppose that makes sense as my soul card is the Magician, and my personality card is the Wheel of Fortune!).

The final sentence from the LWB rings in my ears....emboldens you to live life to the fullest on your own terms. What are my terms? My terms are: feeling free to pursue what satisfies and fulfills me, and what I know will be in the best interest of my family. My terms are: letting my highest good be my guide, and therefore not allowing "golden handcuffs" (as my mother would say) to keep me bound to a situation that I have long since outgrown.

I'm ready for fresh winds and new's time for adventure......

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Novena Spread for St. Expedite

Yesterday I conducted a novena for St. Expedite.

When we think of novenas, we think of a 9-day act of devotion. St. Expedite is known to petitioners to address requests very quickly, and for this reason his novena lasts 9 hours instead. It was a sweet day of contemplation. For each hour there is a separate prayer associated with a special theme, such as faith, hope, strength, purity of heart, and perseverance. After reciting the hourly set of prayers, I would journal about what that topic meant to me, and then I created a question structured around that same focus area, and drew a card from my Thoth deck for deeper insights. By the conclusion of the day I had created a spread based on these themes, and I want to share it here:

Artist: D. Alvarado, Crossroads University

Novena Spread for St. Expedite

1: How can I experience faith more fully?

2: How can I work to manifest my hopes in the world?

3: How can I rise above the limitations or bonds of material reality in order to live my purest truth?

4: What is my greatest source of strength?

5: How can I release attachments to expectations, outcomes, and desires?

6: How can I most effectively deal with negative emotions so that they don't hold me hostage?

7: How can I best seek guidance from my higher power?

8: In what manner can I share my good intentions with the world?

9: How can I be my best self, no matter the circumstances?

I offer this to the world, and I hope you enjoy it! Working with St. Expedite was a heart-warming, special experience and I hope you should find the same if you ever decide to incorporate him into your practice. For general information about this Saint, click here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

9 of Spirals: Releasing Expectations

Over a week ago I drew the 9 of Spirals from my Chrysalis Tarot (Toney Brooks/Holly Sierra), whose keyword is "perseverance." I drew it reversed, and honestly I did momentarily feel the wind leave my sails (hmmm, that's rather fitting, actually, given the card imagery!). I thought, "I'm going to feel defeated today?" Dissatisfied with that conclusion, I focused on how I could turn that energy around so that I felt empowered.

On this particular day some family was on their way in from out of state for the holidays, and that morning my husband had received news that the mother of a close friend had just passed away, on the friend's birthday no less! My husband was feeling pretty badly about all of that, and not necessarily in the best frame of mind to receive a house full of guests. I felt that I would likely be steering the ship all day, in many regards. At the time I drew the 9 of Spirals, I had been cleaning for hours already, and on top of that I was anticipating a stressful day at work the following day, which was floating around in the back of my head. This flurry of thoughts, feelings, concerns and energy could certainly all have led me to feel rather oppressed.

9 of Spirals - Chrysalis Tarot
Holly Sierra

When I looked at this card my eyes fixated on the what looked to me like a clenched hand over the head of this wind being. After considering it for a moment I realized that it felt to me like a fist holding tightly to "the way things need to be." And I realized that the more tightly I held to my sense of "facing difficulty," the more oppressed I would feel, and I probably wouldn't cope very well. This card asked me to relax my expectations (both of others and of myself). The interesting thing is that, as most card readers understand, it's one thing to identify what needs to be addressed, and quite another thing to put forth the effort to actually follow through! In this case, I was almost surprised by my ability to simply let things go. By being flexible enough to roll with the gusts instead of against them, I felt better about my entire day. As potential complications arose, I pictured the 9 of Spirals in my mind, and I "unclenched the fist." I let go of any desire to impose my rules or structures on the people and environment around me, and I was thoroughly amazed at how good I felt.

In all sincerity, that card draw and the ensuing experience became an "ah hah" moment for me. We often express the importance of "no expectations" but it's not nearly as simple to practice it as it is to utter those five syllables. Actually - truly - releasing all expectations meant that I was more compassionate, less frustrated, happier, and as a whole I felt very liberated. I've carried that feeling with me ever since, and have applied it to many different contexts with equal success. Don't get me wrong - there is mindfulness involved here, so it's not like I flipped a switch and suddenly am entirely expectation-free.... but what I learned from this is that through self-awareness I am capable of experiencing the joy and peace that comes from allowing people to be who and what they are, in any given moment (and that applies to situations as well!). I can feel things - I can be a bit sad, or pleased, or excited - but the predominant, overarching experience is one of understanding and acceptance.

There is great power in that - both self-empowerment, and the acknowledgement and acceptance of others.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Taroscopes for December 2014

The glory and chaos of December is upon us once again! If you are one of those people that rejects the entire season for how commercial it's become, just remember that it only has to be as commercial as you make it. Turn off the T.V., light some candles, read ancient tales in front of the fireplace, and decorate your home with handmade embellishments (remember the old cranberry-and-popcorn garlands??). The soul of this time of year is ever-present, sometimes you just have to dig a little extra to find it!

For this month I've decided to use my Viking Cards (by Gudrün Bergmann and Ölafur Gudlaugsson), so technically these are oraclescopes, not Taroscopes, but I thought the energy of this deck would be a nice complement to the season. So here we go!

Viking Cards
U.S. Games Systems

Capricorn - Sagas: December is a great month for honoring the knowledge you've cultivated over the years. Don't underestimate your experience, capabilities, and know-how. Next time you grab for a book, or look to an expert in search of the "right way," remember that you yourself are a deep well of wisdom.

Aquarius - Bull: Satisfaction is a state of mind. Though you may not have every last thing you might wish for, you're able to understand that you're taken care of in the most important ways. This month, honor all the abundance that is present in your life.

Pisces - Hearth: Be sure to balance your care-taking tendencies this month. December is a busy time, and in the busy-ness it's important to make time to care for yourself as well as for others. Don't leave yourself out of the equation!

Aries - Sword: It's time to let go of a person, place, mindset, or habit that has been keeping you tightly bound, and you may be feeling rather reticent about dealing with things. Baby steps are a great way to start. As you let go of the elements in your life that have felt restrictive, the relief you feel will help keep you headed down that positive path.

Taurus - Huginn & Muninn: Everything in your life serves as a message of one sort or another: when your body is satisfied, you feel full, and you know to stop eating. When relationships struggle, you know that "something" isn't working, and can take time to address it. Your life is sending you many important messages at this time aimed at helping you to raise your quality of life. This month, make a point to listen!

Gemini - Council: If you find yourself on the threshold of big-decision-making, be sure to talk things out with friends, allies, and experts, so that you're as informed as you can be. Then, make your choice and don't beat yourself up about it. At best you'll see positive results, and at worst, you can revisit and revise at a later date. Trust!

Cancer - Giant: As you reclaim and heal aspects of your Self that were damaged as a child, you'll find a sense of balance that refreshes you within, and provides the fortitude and security necessary to move forward on your path. The Giant will protect you as you do this critical work.

Leo - Helmet: You are where you are in life largely due to the decisions you've made. If you're not happy with any aspect of your current situation, you have the power to do things differently in the future. Cultivate patience and wisdom, and be kind to yourself.

Virgo - Sleipnir: You may experience some anxieties related to the shifts and changes unfolding in your life. Try to release your hold on "what should be," and open yourself to "what is." You will be amazed at how relieving it feels to let go of expectations.

Libra - Eagle: Use December for reflection and assessment. Sometimes when you're surrounded by the many distractions of everyday life, it's easy to lose track of the long view of things. Where are you headed? Does it match up with your desires and plans? How are your decisions impacting your path forward?

Scorpio - Armor: In order to love others you must love and honor yourself first. Are you protecting yourself from deeper emotional connection due to anxieties or concerns? Is your fear of being vulnerable preventing you from engaging with others? This December consider how you can value yourself, and share yourself with other people.

Sagittarius - Mjölnir: You have the opportunity to experience positive changes in perspective this month. If you keep a journal, this would be a great time to make ample use of it - don't let your thoughts, ideas, or musings escape you this month! The first step in manifestation is awareness.

Finally, the summary card for December is: the Libelous Pole.

This month it's important to consider how to nurture communication with others. Be as open, honest, kind, and diplomatic as you can, and if others don't reciprocate, let it be - that's on them, not you. Be the best person you can, and spread your joy to the world!

Happy December, everyone! May peace and love prevail.