Saturday, November 5, 2016

November Cards: Believe In Yourself

Admittedly a bit late, I've decided to pull some "cards of the month" for November. Rather than use assigned positions, I simply pulled a line of three from the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot, and an oracle card from the Dat Black Mermaid Man Lady deck.

Judgment - 6 of Cups - Chariot

Ole Caney Sharp - Divine Opportunity
I sat down with cards and coffee on my son's race car rug in the early hours of Saturday morning as he played superhero next to me with his trucks and an assortment of miscellaneous items. It was a nice way to start the weekend.

I understood the significance of this line almost immediately. Though my job focuses primarily on directing an English language program, I have recently been called to give presentations on cultural awareness. Language acquisition is a small aspect of the overall theme, but much of the "weightier" material delves into concepts of religious diversity, racism, and cultural labeling. This sort of work is a passion of mine. My undergraduate degree is in Cultural Anthropology, and most of my adult life has involved addressing injustice, increasing awareness of the beautiful fabric and texture of human existence, and preserving ancient legacies - language, traditions - before they are lost in an ever-expanding globalized society. I am one half of an interracial marriage, and my children straddle a number of cultural and racial divides that will likely bring them (in addition to many joys) frustrations from an outside world that struggles to place things (and people) in tidy (and utterly limiting) boxes. Throughout my life I have worked in various roles in places that include Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, central city urban neighborhoods, immigrant communities, and the Basque Country, Spain. Honoring and understanding the breadth and depth of humankind, and facilitating that understanding in other people, is extraordinarily important to me. 

An initial invitation to give a presentation to administrators who support international students gave way to a second invitation to present on cultural awareness to a group of faculty members from two different departments, which then led to a third invitation to present to yet another department at the end of the month. Judgment is an interesting card because it both represents the elements of this work that feel like a true "calling" and it also touches on how hard I am on myself. After that first presentation I ruthlessly beat myself up about "what people might have thought," and "how much more clearly I should have explained [insert topic]." My husband was a bit shocked at what he dubbed my "self punishment." And he was right - that is exactly what I was doing to myself. Ultimately I received so much positive feedback that I came to understand that it "wasn't that bad" after all (!) which was both a relief and a blessing. When the day came to present for the second time, my daily draw was Judgement. I didn't think about it at the time, but later I realized that perhaps this was touching on something deeper than I was acknowledging. (And that session went very well!)

The 6 of Cups represents this connection to who I have always been, my essential self, that part of me that has remained unchanged since childhood. In doing this work I'm tapping into a voice that has a lot to say; a part of myself that has gathered experience and perspective over many years, and is primed for expression. The Chariot gathers all of that up and carries it forth into the world. It tells me that I have a lot to do, and so much more to develop and explore in this capacity. As I approach my third presentation, I've already started to consider how to expand into a "part two." There is so much that can be discussed in the broad arena of diversity and cross-cultural understanding, and in the current limit of two hours I can only scratch the surface. I see that there is a need for it, and a place, as well, and that will spur me onward in the coming months and year ahead. 

Ole Caney Sharp represents the energy of Elegua, my dear friend and road-opener. When I read the advice on the back of the card I had to laugh in appreciation. It says: 

Let your questions go
you ain't got to know.
You thinks too much
that's why you stuck.
Get on up
and fly.

I have spent a lot of time lately considering how much I over-think, over-worry, and thereby limit myself. This card is a pointed reminder that (as illustrated by my intense - and unfounded - self-criticism following my first presentation) I tend to clip my own wings, and that it's a good moment to let go of that bad habit and see where the winds take me.....


  1. We are definitely our own worst critics. It sounds like you're doing a wonderful job at work and you're only going to go up! The Chariot feels like the result - your strong inner energy and drive and ultimate triumph. Keep up the good work, Olivia :)

    1. Thanks, Alaina! Yes, identifying that brutal inner voice and then learning to release it can be challenging, but so important. Thanks for the kind and encouraging words!!!