Wednesday, May 28, 2014

5 of Water on the Last Day of School

My oldest daughter is transitioning from middle school to high school, and today is her last day of 8th grade. While she's extremely excited about being "in the big leagues" she's understandably bittersweet about leaving an entire school and social structure behind. She was giggling and dancing around the kitchen last night, noticeably anxious, and she said rather off-handedly, "Mom, do a reading for me about tomorrow!" I couldn't in that moment, but this morning I agreed to pull a card for her. Each time we ask her how she feels, and if she's sad, she says, "Well I'm really excited for next year!! But I am gonna miss my friends and teachers!" We remind her that she can see her friends over the summer, and encourage her to copy down phone numbers so they can make plans to see each other. Some of these friends will go to her new high school, but not everyone (including her big 8th grade crush, which she's particularly upset about).  So I shuffled my new Gaian Tarot, and as I went to select her card, I had one of those moments where you just *know* what the card is even before you turn it over:

5 of Water - Gaian Tarot
Joanna Powell Colbert

My daughter had wandered off down the hall, so I called to her to let her know I'd finished her draw. I showed her the card and she said "Oh my god, that's me!!" And I said "Yes - I asked 'how does Isa feel about her last day of school?' and this is what came up. Kinda perfect, don't you think?" She agreed. And moments like this are some of those that highlight how deeply grateful I am to be a card reader, because sometimes all you need is confirmation of how you're really feeling - the permission to be bummed out without being apologetic for it, or minimizing it. She smiled and we chatted a bit about her thoughts, and then she ran off to get ready for school.

This version of the 5 of Cups, or 5 of Water, is one of my favorites of all time because it's so real. There is no real symbolism in this card, apart from the gray skies. The young woman gazes across the lake or bay, solemn and withdrawn. She's holding a hot mug of steaming tea, and really sitting with - experiencing - her melancholy. We've all been there at some point or another. We don't need to see the three spilt cups to get the idea that there's sadness here, nor do we need to see two cups standing in order to understand that this feeling won't last forever. And rather than putting a silver lining on the sense of mourning by reminding ourselves that "this too shall pass," it's nice to be allowed to honor that "space," even if only for a moment.

So I wish my daughter a wonderful, comforting last day of middle school, full of hugs, laughter, and friends' numbers. May she find strength in letting go, and joy in the road ahead!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Drawing the World

It's been a long time since I've posted a daily draw, but today felt like a good day for it. It's Memorial Day and everyone's home (no work, no school). The sun is shining and it's gearing up to be a fairly hot and humid day, perfect for watching the little ones throw themselves down the long length of slip-n-slide in the back yard later. Our second radish was pulled from the ground yesterday by Isabella, and ended up in our dinner salad (what a lovely flavor!). The tomato plants are beginning to show some small blossoms, promising fruit to come soon. I mowed part of the lawn yesterday, but Jorge and I agreed to leave a patch of wildflowers along the back fence for the bees.

So with all this nurturing earth energy on my mind, it was so fitting to have drawn XXI Gaia the World, from the Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert! She's layered many symbols in this card: Tibetan prayer flags, cleansing herbs, the butterfly, four creatures representing the four elements and directions (traditionally this depicts the four fixed astrological signs). And there is the Earth being embraced by the goddess Gaia at the heart of it all.


A card of completion, coming full circle, synthesis and integration, this card calls me to ponder what cycles in my life are reaching this stage at this moment….

This morning my youngest daughter was considering what she wanted to have for breakfast when she suddenly squealed, "It's the first day of the last week of school!!" She and my older daughter have just two short days of school left before officially beginning summer vacation, and they're so excited. My older daughter, Isabella, is finishing middle school and will be heading off to high school in just a few months. Talk about transition! It seems like yesterday that she was exhilarated to be a new sixth grader, feeling the prestige of a new label of "middle schooler," and suddenly that chapter is closing and a new, important one is on the cusp of being born. My younger daughter has had a great year in first grade, and has really adored her teacher, Ms. S. I thought it would be bittersweet for her as she brought home all of her tools and notebooks after clearing out her desk, but she's excited to be moving up to second grade. She loves school, and can't wait to see what's next.

Thus our house-cycle is coming to a close, as well. Most parents will agree that the true "New Year" is when the school year comes to an end. That's when things really change! The kids are at home every day (or at camp), so in important ways the subtle rhythms of life alter. In a few weeks' time we'll be driving our kids to their grandparents' house several states away, dropping them off to spend a month, enjoying an assortment of adventures.

The heavens are also coming full circle. Just this morning I was gazing out the kitchen window and noticed the sunlight shining through a patch of bushes along the east side of the back yard. I remember blogging about this last year, because the sun's position only allows for this to happen for a short time each year, usually right around late-May to late-June - Litha time. The sunlight seems to create a temporary door, like a portal to another dimension. It only lasts for perhaps 30 minutes, early each morning, before disappearing again, and I look forward to seeing it as I go through the motions of making my morning coffee.

Even with divination I'm experiencing a full circle. It was about this time last year that I leapt into professional reading and blogging about that journey. It's been a wonderful, rewarding year of reading for people all across the planet, exploring a wide variety of decks, jumping into Lenormand study, and joining in an international divination community which has provided endless opportunities to learn, share, and network. It's affirming that the close of this divination year should be punctuated by my experience as a guest on Christiana's Psychic Café - and that the show should air on International Tarot Day! It was almost a year ago, as well, that I joined the Tarot Blog Hop circle, and it's just now that I'm no longer "just" a participant, but a "wrangler" as well, for this June's Litha hop.

Finally, it's been a year of unexpected and important spiritual growth and awakening for me. I'm not a Wicca practitioner (though I suppose I practice some sort of "craft") but when I dove so intently and intentionally back into my spiritual practice last year, I held in my mind and heart the idea of "a year and a day" of study. My year and a day is almost up, and I find myself reviewing what I've learned, how it has impacted me on a variety of different levels, and how I will continue and build on this work moving forward. I hadn't thought of celebrating this in any way, but maybe, just maybe, I will.

Friday, May 23, 2014

First Earth Tarot on Christiana's Psychic Café!

I'm so excited to announce that I will be the guest on Christiana Gaudet's Psychic Café show on the Paraencounters Network!  The show will air Sunday, May 25th, 2014 at 9pm EDT. You can access the show at that time via this link: http://paraencountersnetwork.com

You can also watch it from Christiana's YouTube archives following its Sunday broadcast.

I won't lie, I was sweating bullets during the entire pre-tape this morning, and I still can't remember half of what I said! But what I do remember is that it was a pleasure chatting with Christiana, and I look forward to having the opportunity to do it again in the future.

We talked about….Tarot, Lenormand, the stigma of "fortune telling," Free Will, my reading business, and probably even more that has escaped in the black hole of my nerves!  Please feel free to listen if you have the opportunity!

Update: Click here to access the YouTube archive of this show, or view it below!

video

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Gifts and Gratitude

Yesterday a lovely thing occurred: a nice-sized USPS box arrived at my home, sent from many states over by my diviner-friend, Robin, from the Quartz Cafe. I get tired of hearing myself say things like "I can't believe it!" or "This is amazing!" or "How the hell did I deserve this awesomeness????" But the truth is, those are the thoughts that have been flowing through my mind for a couple of days now, and they'll probably being hanging around for a while more to come.

Many months ago, just as I was falling ill with a nasty cold, Robin had sent me a package that she said would include "just" a new Kipper deck. I was pretty excited. When it arrived it was far more than a deck - she had sent incense, and an incredible quantity of wonderful teas, of all types. So as I descended into the throws of coughs and sneezes and lethargy, I was nursed along by Robin's teas, and entertained by my new deck.



Yesterday's box was amazing for many of the same reasons (and some others as well). First of all, she wasn't just sending goodies to me. She sent along some special things for a mutual friend of ours as well, who happens to live in my same town. Not only did I (and our other friend) become the recipient of the new Under the Roses Lenormand, but she just happened to toss in the Gaian Tarot for kicks. Really? That would have been enough to induce deep silence in me for days, but as padding for the decks she included a variety of tea, a sack of dried rose buds, a bag of loose white sage, spell candles anointed with her handmade charging oil, and boxes of new incense. 

Gaian Tarot - Joanna Powell Colbert

I tell Robin that I simply have to provide her with something in return, to show my gratitude. A lifetime's supply of readings??? It seems pathetically disproportionate, though I'd do it with joy (and I will most certainly hatch a plan to get her back some day). But she always says, "Just let me set my tent up in your back yard when I come visit." 

There's a sacred lesson here. (Though even typing that seems trite, since I'm the one who's done all the receiving, to date!)

All I can say is that I feel blessed and deeply humbled to have this ridiculously selfless person in my world. (Oh, and I suppose that one way I can show her some gratitude is by mentioning that her eBay shop has all sorts of wonderful divination items, so check it out! - this is someone worth doing business with).

So thank you, Robin. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Thoth, Reversals, and Divinatory Sustenance

The Crowley Thoth deck is amazing. What took me so long to work with it? Throwing all nay-sayers to the wind, I purchased this pack of cards on a whim a little over a month ago, and I’m so very happy that I did.

I’m blown away by the art. Each card is a masterpiece of symbolism, color, shape and symmetry. I’ve never seen a more exquisite Ace of Disks, with so much texture and flow. No, the minors don’t feature scenes (no people, houses, activities) but the cards speak quite clearly all the same, as the artwork is extremely expressive – it may simply be a different dialect than one would experience with other decks (especially of the RWS tradition).

Thoth Ace of Disks (Crowley/Harris)

I’d read so much about not using reversals with the Thoth deck – if anything, elemental dignities should be employed. I’ve experimented with EDs for the past year or so, and while I do find them useful and interesting, I don’t find them more useful than reversals – though I often observe the influences of both within a single reading. Perhaps someday the EDs will make so much sense that I’ll toss out reversals altogether (or perhaps not!), but for now I enjoy the rich depth that reversals give to readings – so why stop now?

So yes, I’m saying it here and now, with no shame whatsoever: I use reversals with the Thoth deck, and it works splendidly!

And why shouldn’t it? The concept of reversals is vast and inclusive in its use: we’re not talking about strictly applying the opposite meaning to a reversed card – it’s far more elegant than that. It may suggest that the card’s energy is obstructed, covert, slow, new, suppressed, fading, muted, or overpowering. Caitlin Matthews wrote a couple of blog posts regarding the use of reversals (click here to access her first post) in reference to the Wildwood Tarot, and this kind of system is applicable to really any Tarot deck you use (per your personal preference, naturally).

Once I allowed myself to release the external pressure of “no reversals with Thoth!!” I could actually open up to the deck and dive right in. And I’m loving it!

When I started working with the New Orleans Voodoo Tarot (another cherished deck) I started to really consider the beauty of the 10 Sephirot and how they interact with each other. The Voodoo Tarot is very much its own deck (meaning it doesn’t closely follow any particular tradition, per se) but the creator, Sallie Ann Glassman, did draw quite a bit from Crowley’s Book of Thoth and Jewish mysticism, and my work with that deck has drawn me into the wonderful, nourishing sustenance of Kabbalah’s relationship to divination. My work with the Thoth is increasing, enriching and expanding my awareness and application of this relationship.  Good stuff!

Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot/US Games

If you’re considering this deck but are put off by a few seemingly different card meanings – don’t be.  Crowley’s Thoth simply presents another perspective on similar energy. For example, in the RWS tradition we tend to see the 7 of Pentacles as a positive card. It’s about patience, review, recalibration, and continued efforts to achieve a goal. The Thoth 7 of Disks carries the keyword “failure” and shows a depressing gray landscape that brings to mind rot and putrefaction.  Yikes? They seem like such different meanings, but in reality the core essence is quite similar. The 7 of Disks is about putting a lot of effort into something but not seeing immediate results. Patience is still highlighted here. It’s about working hard, and finding that perhaps the effort you expend outweighs the fruits of your labor. What can you do differently? What can be tweaked or adjusted, or should you choose a different route altogether? These are some questions you might ask yourself if you pull the 7 of Disks – and when you think about the 7 of Pentacles, there really isn’t a significant difference in essence – only in presentation.

7 of Disks, Thoth Tarot (Crowley/Harris)

This is only an example, and I’m not prepared to do a complete analysis of the differences and similarities between RWS and Thoth in this post. But I do want to encourage anyone who may be avoiding the Thoth deck due to some of these elements to give it a chance!  Don’t take it at face value (especially not the keywords) – be prepared to go far beneath the surface, and you’ll find a wealth of knowledge, information and depth that will nurture your divinatory practice.

As I originally mentioned (and clearly feel the need to mention again!), the artwork alone took my breath away. I opened the deck and spent an hour flipping from card to card admiring the beauty and perfection of the images. I laughed to myself at one point because I was so utterly moved that I suddenly felt compelled to sing its praises from the hilltops…..as if no one had ever heard of, or come to appreciate, this deck! Ha ha ha. I do believe that this deck is undervalued in some circles, but in general it’s overwhelmingly well respected, and sits as a critical Tarot system for a reason.

I’m profoundly enjoying my study and work with the Thoth deck, and am looking forward to the unfolding journey of delving even deeper into its many layers.

I’d love to hear about your personal experience with this deck – please share with me in the comments below!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Gifts

I'm a lucky woman.

A few days ago my mother sent me a text saying that she was sending a couple of packages for both Mother's Day (for me), and for my younger daughter's birthday. Then she quickly sent another text saying, "Do you want to know what I got you??" She was never very good at surprises - she gets so excited she can't contain herself! I didn't want her to burst from nervous tension so I replied, "Sure, if you want to tell me!" So she told me, and a couple of days later it arrived in the mail: Osho Zen Tarot. I still haven't asked her what prompted her to choose this deck for me, but I was touched. And in fact this is a deck I've admired from a distance, particularly every time I see Ellen from Grey Lady's Hearth feature it in one of her posts. So it was pretty cool.


Then this morning, the day of Mother's Day, my husband and kids surprised me with yet another card treat: Wonder of the Mother inspirational cards. This is a deck I'd never heard of before; it's not Tarot, and not really an oracle either per se, though I suppose you could use them to understand unfolding energies. I think they will be wonderful for meditation and inner awareness. There are 54 cards, each featuring a distinct image of one of the many faces of motherhood along with a key word - patience, surrender, strength, chaos, imagination, to name a very few. On the backside of each card there is a bit of writing that tells a story to give depth to the keyword. On some cards it's a poem, on others a little narrative or explanation. I adore the diversity in the images on these cards; ladies from all walks of life, all ages, cultures, colors, are featured. I also love the inclusiveness of having a card in this deck that features single fathers. So, score for Jorge and the little ones!

Wonder of the Mother card box and a lovely greeting card

So I took both decks for a test drive.

I had just seen a nice Mother's Day spread that Veronica Chamberlain had posted on a social media forum, and I thought I'd try it out with the Osho Zen Tarot. The spread itself calls the reader to meditate on the Empress card, and then shuffle and pull three cards: 1) The legacy given to you by the women of your family, 2) What new work you should begin, and 3) What advice your female ancestors have to help you on your way with this new work. You can try this spread out as is, but I riffed a bit: I left the Empress out, and changed the second question to "What am I experiencing at present."

I pulled:

Legacy: Adventure
Current experience: Clinging to the Past
Advice: New Vision

Spread with Osho Zen Tarot

I am leaving out the associations from traditional Tarot, and simply going with the energy presented by this deck, in its own context. So the legacy from my female ancestors is Adventure, and features what appears to be a young child toddling forth into a new world, full of light, color, and possibility. It's both beautiful and interesting because I do sense that many of the women in my family, at least in the most recent generations, are or have been adventurous. My mother has often called our family "nomadic" in that we've just never been the kind of family that settles in one place for long periods of time. My ancestors traveled, learned to speak new languages, learned to survive (and eventually thrive) in new landscapes and cultures. My ancestors raised families in difficult circumstances, and kept blooming. I like that the spirit and legacy of my female relatives has been summed up by Adventure.

As for what I'm working with in my present circumstance - Clinging to the Past - this reminds me a bit of the 3 of Swords I pulled the other day, the subtle sadness that floats under the surface of late. What it highlight for me is that I'm at the cusp of a personal paradigm shift, and that comes with some discomfort and grief, by virtue of the nature of change. I think that on some level deep change is scary, so this card is recognizing that fact: even positive change can be difficult to experience.

And their advice to me is New Vision. This beautiful figure appears vibrant and fluid, the back arched almost as if in communion with the universe. It's perfect really, that my adventurous ancestors would see me struggling with a transition, and urge me to embrace a new perspective, a new understanding, a new way of seeing. There's an element of trust here, as well - trust in my connection with all that is, that is always present, and wants what's best for me (which sometimes necessitates a shove out of the nest).

A wonderful, touching, meaningful first reading with this deck - thanks, Mom!

This morning I decided to do a "nurturing" spread with my new Wonder of the Mother deck. I made up a simple three card spread in the moment:

Card 1, How I nurture myself: Mirror
Card 2, How I nurture my children: Happy Happy Joy Joy
Card 3, How I nurture my spirituality: The Red Dress

Spread with Wonder of the Mother cards

The first two made sense immediately. Figuratively, I'm always looking in the mirror, asking myself questions: Am I being honest with myself? Am I embracing the right actions? What is the root of my emotion? What do I really want? And I try to be the truest form of myself that I can be, at all times. (It's a work in progress!!). I feel that being open with myself is the best way for me to be kind and loving to myself.

In terms of how I nurture my kids, "Happy Happy Joy Joy!" definitely sums up how I feel about them, and what I try to give to them. I adore my kids, they're the light and sustenance of my soul in so many ways. They're my heart, my root, and my deepest passion. I love making them happy, watching their faces light up in wonder and excitement, I love simply laughing with them. I hope that when they're all grown, they have fond memories of our crazy dancing sessions in the kitchen, listening to Mika, Joan Jett, Los Van Van, and Lykke Li.

The Red Dress caught me off guard momentarily, but after a few moments it all made complete sense. This is a card that represents the need for down time. This would be the moment when you take the baby to a sitter so you can enjoy a night out on the town with your husband or partner. It's about loving your kids enough to make time for yourself, which is a very important concept. And really it's vital for spirituality as well. Yes, it's something that is imbued in all I (and all people) do, a part of simply existing. But I need to create moments of uninterrupted time to focus on spiritual practice as well, whether that means fifteen minutes to meditate, ten minutes connecting to the vastness of the sea while standing at the shore, or an hour to do some readings. Alone time is my spiritual red dress.

So Mother's Day was a good day. My new decks are wonderful, and I'm still absorbing the layers of meaning from these two readings. It's very special that both sets of cards were gifts from my dearest family members, and I am looking forward to working more with each of them for a long time to come.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Simple Questions

From time to time I sit with my Tarot cards and ask a simple question: what am I feeling?

It may seem a bit silly, especially because I consider myself to be someone who is very self-aware and thoughtful, in general. But something about feelings……just slides under the rug sometimes. I know when I'm anxious, especially at 2am when I wake up, turn over, and then can't fall back asleep. Things always tend to feel most ominous in the darkest hours of morning when everything is quiet. I know when I'm joyous, basking in the amazing wonder of a breezy, sunny, tree-filled afternoon in springtime.  I know when I'm particularly full of potent love, snuggling with my little ones, listening to their innocent chatter, their amazement at something as small as a centipede crawling in the grass.

At my core, I've always been a happy person. Over the years, I've learned that happiness can coexist with a rainbow of other feelings and sensations. I've also always been a pretty reasonable person, grounded in "what needs to be done" rather than "how do I feel about it?" So sometimes I like to check in with myself, crack open the nut, see what's happening inside. I shuffle, pour my soul and essence out into the deck, and lay out a few cards.

I did this just a couple of days ago, and drew:

3 Swords rx - Ace of Wands - Ace of Disks

Thoth Tarot - Crowley/Harris

(Yes, this is the Thoth deck - don't be shocked or offended by the reversal, I swear I can explain ;-) )

As odd as it might sound, I was relieved and pleased to see the 3 of Swords; I suppose on some level that was part of the motivation for having done this reading to begin with. I've been sad for a little while, a momentary sadness that sits alongside my regular happy and positive nature. It's not a sadness from betrayal or lies or other woes sometimes attributed to this card. It's a low-key, subtle sadness that floats around in the background of my days and nights, the sadness of movement, of reality, of awareness, acceptance and release. Its presence is evident to me, but it doesn't stop me in my tracks, nor does it heavily impinge on my happiness. It's simply there, and I feel it.

The dark murkiness of the 3 of Swords is off-set by the bright vibrancy of the Ace of Wands, which in turn is complemented by the earthy, grounding energy of the Ace of Disks. These two cards are full of intention, optimism, and possibility. The pair suggests newness and fresh starts - energetic and material. And they are reflections of me, as astrologically I am a double Capricorn with an Aries moon. The fire has been rising within me over this past year, which itself has been lovely and strange, new and empowering. Both of these are important aspects of my life at the moment, just as surely as the 3 of Swords….and perhaps to some degree these two cards contribute to the presence of the 3 of Swords (in most cases pain is a natural component of important, even very positive, change).

I spent quite a while gazing at the beauty of this trio, the contrasting colors, the helpful illumination of the reading itself. It serves as a wonderful reminder and meditative focus: for moments when I'm feeling the 3 of Swords more keenly, I can also be mindful about honoring the equally important presence of the two Aces, and the positive movement and promise and power they bring into my world. Fire and Earth.

Sometimes it's the simple questions that end up being the most valuable.

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Sudden Message

A couple of nights ago my husband asked me to lay out a Grand Tableau to see what things might be coming up for us in the next few months. I didn't pose a particular question as I shuffled, and held both of us as a couple in my mind as I laid out the cards. I noticed that we both fell in the first line, and I was four cards from the right edge. Directly next to me sat the Scythe (and yes, I did give an audible groan). Following the Scythe were the Letter and Bear. As a family member is a bit ill, my first concern was that I'd hear something rather sudden from my mother (Bear) related to that. But secondarily my thoughts went to my supervisor at work, and I was wondering what somewhat-unpleasant message she would possibly send to me. Scythe is pointing to me meaning that I'm the recipient of something semi-painful, and the pain itself would be coming from the written message (Letter) from my boss (Bear). I was due to have a comp day at home the next day, so I decided to just let it go and see what might transpire.

A re-creation of the line of 4 from the GT - C. Matthew's Enchanted Lenormand

Upon waking up the next morning it occurred to me to check my work email, but ultimately I decided against it - it was a comp day after all, so I should be spending it on "me stuff" rather than worrying about the office….right? I decided against it. (cue some dreadful soundtrack music)

Jorge was out running errands and I was just settling our youngest child down for a nap around midday when I received a text message. After a few minutes I checked it and it was from…my supervisor! The message went something like this: "We're all here for the meeting in room 204." I think my heart stopped briefly. Meeting????? I had no idea what she was talking about, but there's a student I'm teaching who's on academic probation, and I was afraid they'd scheduled a critical meeting about him and I'd somehow missed it entirely. So I wrote her back and told her I had no idea what she was talking about, but I'd be there in 30 minutes. I proceeded to call Jorge to tell him to return as quickly as possible, and the first thought that came flooding into my mind was….Scythe…Letter….Bear! Gah! She wrote me back to explain that she had scheduled a team meeting complete with food for all, and had invited the dean to attend as well….how had I forgotten? On one hand, I felt relief that it wasn't about the student, on the other hand, I still felt bad as I hate missing important events, especially when people such as the dean are in attendance! So I threw some clothes on and drove through the pouring rain to the meeting. In the end, it was all quite fine, thankfully. But the cards were remarkably quick!

This is a great example of how time is a bit wavery with Grand Tableaus (and most readings, I suppose). You intend to set a time frame of a month, two months, or more, but the cards play out how they will, and if that's in a day or two, then so be it. The Scythe was both extremely quick, and a bit painful, and the discomfort was due to the unexpected (also Scythe) message (Letter) from my boss (Bear). I gave myself a mental slap and reminded myself to act next time I see these kinds of messages in readings, rather than allowing them to play out and cause unnecessary displeasure. If I had checked my work email I would have seen the meeting reminder! ;-)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Beltane Blog Hop: Uniting Opposites


Welcome to the 2014 Beltane Blog Hop! Please use the links at the top or bottom of this page to continue along in your reading loop, and check out the other wonderful posts in our circle.

As I was considering how I wanted to discuss "uniting opposites" - the theme chosen by our wrangler, Maureen Aisling Duffy-Boose - a lot of topics crossed my mind: how much I love sweet and sour candy….the way I've always thought of my sister and I as "yin and yang"…..me and my pair of cowboy boots (so wrong but so right?)....even our move two years ago from the cool forests and lakes of Michigan-land to the palmy and balmy sands of Florida (exchanging a northern peninsula for a southern one). What I finally felt most motivated to write about, however, was my garden, because I've been ruminating on it lately and I think it works well for May Day!

My herb garden

Remember when I said "balmy sands of Florida"? I wasn't just talking about the beach, I was talking about the craptastic "soil" in my backyard, which has been a bane as I've toiled for long hours attempting to grow my own veggies and greens. Last summer I excitedly purchased top soil and seeds, and watched with glee as my husband built a raised bed for me. The seeds rapidly transformed from seedlings to plants.....but it was all very anticlimactic. The tomato plants produced about 3 little grape tomatoes all season long, the labyrinth of watermelon vines nurtured a single fruit that didn't embrace its full glory before needing to be picked due to a declining stem. The pepper plant gave me one pepper which took months to grow large enough to harvest, and even then I don't think it was completely ready. The only things that thrived were my daughter Lourdes' marigolds.

This year I decided to try a different approach. Clearly the dirt wasn't an easy partner to work with, so in a last ditch attempt to grow SOMEthing edible, I resorted to herbs. The greatest union of opposites so far this spring has been the agreement I managed to strike with my garden to allow some lovely herbs to take root, and it seems quite fitting for a May Day post!

I have a joyful cilantro plant, fragrant rosemary, and creeping thyme. Lourdes' marigolds have resprouted, marking the plot with shots of gold and orange. Aside from the glory of having finally been able to cultivate something in my raised bed, each of these plants serves a purpose. They can all be used for cooking, adding nice shades of flavor to many dishes. The rosemary and thyme also have medicinal and magical properties. Both herbs can be used in teas and other applications. Rosemary is an astringent that can treat various skin conditions, and is great for purification. Magically speaking it's said to aid in enhancing memory, so is great for dream pillows and past-life regression work. Meanwhile thyme is great for treating coughs and digestive discomfort, and also has antibacterial components. Magically, thyme is another fitting element in a dream pillow as it helps prevent nightmares. It's said to strengthen fortitude, and reduce melancholy, and as such is great for emotional healing work.

So to recap, the dirt and I melded our very different minds and produced (as all unions do) a third entity: some lovely herbs.

Now bringing divination into this fragrant, green wonderland, I considered the question: what union-of-opposites am I working on right now? I shuffled my new Thoth deck (which will have to be the subject of a future post!) and pulled a single card…

8 of Swords - Interference

Thoth Tarot - Crowley/Harris

Two swords stand straight up; a mind looking for clarity of direction and purpose, but there's a lot of "other stuff" that gets in the way - the attempt to find too many solutions, entertain too many possibilities, analyze too many potential outcomes - making it hard to organize my thoughts at times. While some things in my environment are progressing really well, others are in various stages of chaos, thoughts flying around left and right, too many threads of intellect spinning against each other counterproductively. (Incidentally, and appropriately for this post, it's in moments of over-active mental states that I like to seek out my garden for a period of meditative (and aromatic) respite!) Those two swords are two poles, bringing together clarity with chaos, working to right the remaining 6 swords so that all 8 may usher me forward rather than giving me a bumpy ride. My mind as my own worst enemy! Being aware of this is helpful in that by understanding the reality of my intellectual busy-ness I can make an effort to sort and calm my thoughts, choose the most important areas on which to focus my energy, and slowly weed my mental garden.

Happy May Day, Happy Beltane! Please see the links below to continue through the circle!

Taroscopes for May 2014

Greetings, May! I hope in the northern parts of the world that the snow has finally remained melted, and that flowers are blooming throughout the land. In Florida the summer heat is beginning to creep in and the humidity is on the rise, but there's almost always a fine breeze to take the edge off, and the fierce but fleeting rain storms are one of my favorite parts of this season.

Before I jump into this month's 'scopes, I want to briefly discuss some elements that (literally) jumped out at me. During shuffling not one, but two, cards popped out of the deck: the 2 of Disks and the trump card Adjustment (aka Justice). After laying out the cards for each astrological sign, I took a peek at the bottom of the deck (which I like to do to understand underlying influences) and there sat Art (Temperance). This trinity suggests to me that regardless of your individual card for the month, May will be a time of changes and shifts, and it may feel challenging at times to maintain balance amidst all of the fluctuations. Harmonic balance truly is an art!

So if you couldn't tell by now, I've used my new Crowley Thoth deck for this month's taroscopes. One of the most striking aspects of this deck for me so far has been the artwork and the amazing attention to meaningful detail. I appreciate the movement, the use of color, the symmetry, and the many surprising layers. So here we go!



Capricorn - Hermit: Take time to go within this month.  Life can be wild and crazy and distracting, but the greatest source of truth lies in your heart. The rich wisdom you discover by taking quiet time for introspection and careful consideration will be an important strength not only for you, but for those in your most intimate circle as well.

Aquarius - Lust (Strength): You may feel that your inner flame has dimmed somewhat this month, perhaps due to heavy pressure in your environment. The important thing to understand is that your fire isn't going any where - you can call on it whenever you need it, so if you're having a low moment, remember that it's only temporary, and find some time to reconnect with your passion.

Pisces - 5 of Wands: There may be some energetic disarray this month that manifests as difficulties with communication, or even personal conflict or crises. Take one day at a time, and remember to see the forest for the trees. When you get caught up in "what ifs" it's easy to lose track of what is. Calm your focus, and be kind to yourself. Accept help where it is offered.

Aries - Princess of Wands: If the road ahead isn't as straightforward and clear as you want it to be, or had hoped it would be, don't allow yourself to succumb to fits of frustration and hopelessness. Perhaps the door isn't wide open because there's more planning to be done. Take some time to reassess your desires and goals, and tweak your route if need be.

Taurus - Hanged Man: If you're feeling stuck, know that "this too shall pass." Sometimes there isn't much you can do except decide to change your perspective, but in your case you may just have the ability to make some small changes that will help you to make forward progress. The best time to confront your hesitance regarding risk is right now - today. Nurture your inner power, and be as fair with yourself as you try to be for everyone else.

Gemini - Tower: Big shifts are in store for you, Gemini! The beauty of the Tower is that is doesn't embody just one type of change - you may experience a life-changing realization that alters your perception, you may lose the job you actually hate but were afraid to let go of, or your car may have transmission trouble causing you to recalibrate your vacation plans. Whatever it is, know that the universe has your best interests at heart, and try to roll with the punches.

Cancer - 7 of Disks: Patience is your virtue for May. When things don't work out as you'd hoped, progress feels too slow, or life throws you a curve ball, it's natural to feel some level of desperation. Just don't let that feeling own you, or direct your decisions. Don't stop finding a way forward, just do so with grace, knowing that solutions will manifest when the time comes. The powers haven't forgotten about you.

Leo - Princess of Disks: This month you may (no pun intended!) feel caught between a rock and a hard place in terms of your goals. You may be both excited about a new prospect or project, and yet feel like roadblocks keep cropping up that prevent things from running smoothly. Don't let these obstacles knock you off your game. What can be changed? What can't be?  What will you do with the situation you're given?

Virgo - 10 of Disks: You're doing alright this month, Virgo! Economically you may enjoy some comfort and relaxation (did that tax refund make it into your bank account??), and you'll have opportunities to treat yourself as well as your family to some pleasantries. If you've been working hard, this month you'll be seeing some rewards.

Libra - Knight of Disks: You've been working on building your world up around you, making it into something that not only fits you, but that also provides material benefits. Progress may be measured and deliberate, but you're making great headway, so keep at it!

Scorpio - 10 of Cups: Take some time this month to review all of the good that's moving in and through your life. There may be moments when it's easier to focus on what's going wrong, rather than what's going right, just be sure not to throw the baby out with the bathwater (as they say). Be fair and right both with others and with yourself.

Sagittarius - 3 of Cups: Swim in the waters of happiness and joy this month - let loose and enjoy your community, your friends, and the positive relationships you've been blessed with so far on your path. If you've been invited to attend a wedding, baby shower, or graduation this month, do everything you can to go, and partake in the riches of shared celebration.

As they used to say in church when I was a kid: Go in peace! Make the most of May, find your balance, and be good to yourself!

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