Shared with the permission of Mark A. Greene, author of Atheopaganism: An Earth-honoring path rooted in science, from his blog at https://atheopaganism.wordpress.com/
Since the beginning of the shelter-in-place order in response to the coronavirus pandemic, it has been utterly gorgeous here.
The skies are clear and the green mountains stand out crisply. The mustard is golden in the vineyards, and the forests are growing bright new leaves.
The silence broken only by birds’ calls, the scant traffic on the roadways and the clean, perfumed spring air remind me of how beautiful this world could be if we could just find ways to stop mucking it up.
We’re all sheltering inside, of course, except for those of us on necessary errands or—like me—working in essential industries. We’re going stir crazy, having brain fog and sleep disturbance and all the many symptoms of a human who feels trapped.
But outside our walls, Life carries forward. The good Earth turns, the Sun burns, the trees awaken from dormancy and unfurl new leaves, the leaves perform the alchemy of light into sugar and fuel the many forms Life takes.
It’s the 50th Earth Day, and perhaps there is no better way to see our way forward than to notice what happens when humanity just stops its headlong rush for a little while.
So even if you’re sheltering in place, take a step outside today. Breathe the air and listen for what’s missing. Hear what has been drowned out by cars and other human noise. Gaze off to the horizon and notice how clean the air is, all of a sudden.
The Earth can bounce back. Life is tenacious and adaptable.
Even now, when it seems so late, there is hope.
Happy Earth Day, everyone.
emergency medical technicians
personal care aides
food delivery drivers
grocery and drug store workers
UPS and all parcel delivery people
restaurant workers who prepare takeout
field workers who plant and harvest
psychiatrists and psychotherapists
Thank you so much.
CDC: Wash your hands again.
CDC: Stop touching your face.
CDC: Wear a face mask.
CDC: Disinfect all surfaces.
CDC: Cancel everything and stay home.
CDC: Stay six feet away from everyone.
CDC: Stop kissing your cat.
Me: Aahh, if I die I die.
Drawing by Kliban
A car pulled up next to me at a stoplight. Their radio was really loud and clear. The radio announcer was saying, “Woman your car is so dirty. Why don’t you wash your dirty car. Your car is so dirty, ugh. Your car needs washing.” I looked over and that man’s car window was closed. And he was giving side-eye to me and my dirty car.
When you get a reading, listen hard. Remember I have no idea what I am talking about, because I do not know you. Or maybe I just barely know you.
So here I am looking at pictures on cards and seeing all kinds of things about you. Listen and pay attention. There is no time to waste in a reading that is under an hour, it’s going to be busy busy busy with no time for bullshit. I never know what I’m going to see and once in a while I do get creeped out, just because when I see the client make that nervous little giggle, I know they are repressing their own little creep out about how much I can see.
Please do not get a reading if you are unwilling to be seen. I mean it, please don’t. Let me do my job.
Sometimes I see things that I can’t identify. I have never been to a monster truck rally. I’ve never seen a ferret. I’ve never felt the pressure on the body of deep sea diving. I’ve never killed an animal with my bare hands. I’ve never kissed a ray of laser light, or piloted an airplane, or worked in higher mathematics, or been to Japan. I might not know what I’m looking at. I might not know what I'm talking about. I will just tell you what I see.
Lately I’ve been checking into what it is you actually believe about yourself. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you believe you are the only person who can talk directly to God, and there is only one God. Did I get that part right?
Next, I started looking at the things you say to God every day. There are well over an hour’s worth of things, and your job requires you to say them. Yah, the same things every day. Those things all fall into one of three categories. Those categories are 1) Telling God what his powers are, 2) Telling God how awesome adorable and chill he is, and 3) Asking God for favors.
Fine so far, and none of my business, but don’t you think God gets bored with this? He is not allowed to hear from anybody else. He doesn’t have any equals with whom he can hang out and just shoot the shit. You have been hectoring him with the same agenda for (I looked into this too) 1695 years now. Wouldn’t one assume that God already knows what his powers are, and he has sussed that you’re kissing his ass because he can get things done for you? One would like to think that God is smarter than I am, and I can figure out this much, so.
So I don’t know this part here. Please fill me in. When you are talking to God, do you do any listening? And if so, does he tell you he is bored, and would like to hear from some other people, and would like to bring in some more supernatural beings to play some DnD tonight, with brewskies or maybe even shots, and you can stop kissing up to him because he finds it distasteful? I’m just wondering if that’s ever something you hear. But and so IF you heard that, would you pass it along to the cardinals for their opinions? Or would you just make it happen straight off, or would you ignore it?
Eagerly anticipating your response,
Gretchen Williams, Santa Rosa, CA
Because I like to know that we both are serious about this. At a later date, she will go back and reflect upon what we talked about. She won’t be distracted by trying to take notes while I’m reading. She won’t be relying on her own selective memory. Not even a speck of the message will fall to the ground.
When I see that cell phone set up on the table, and I see that sly little tap on the red button, I know I’m on. I like it. There’s nothing better.
I’m putting up the Judgment card here, which is heavy for this topic I’ll admit. Who gets heavy about cell phones. Stay with me here.
The Judgment card says one is reflecting upon oneself and evaluating one’s life purpose. It has something in common with the Seven of Pentacles, in the sense of gathering up one’s investments, but the Seven speaks only of seasonal temporary things. The Judgment card speaks of the Soul’s journey toward enlightenment. And how is that going. How are one’s actions in alignment with one’s highest goal. Even the person who is really staying on track should be getting goose bumps at the Judgment card. It asks, Where are you going after this? After this wave of time washes over you and is gone, who will you be?
Not every reading speaks to such a large question. But every reading deserves to be recorded, because every reading contains something for one to reflect upon. That is my hope.
It's okay if you don't.
We think of totems as things like bears wolves eagles lions and large scary beings who were in competition with early humans. But little magical creatures like hummingbirds butterflies and squirrels can also carry psychic power.
The Dragonfly is a totem animal. Mine, in fact, dear reader. It says to me, the material world is an illusion. The great Hindu teachers call it Maya. If the material world is something along the lines of a lucid dream, then with practice one can learn to deliberately create it the way one wants it to be. I appreciate that dragonflies are carnivorous, that they shimmer in sunlight, that they metamorphose, that they are older than the dinosaurs, that when they are newborn they have gills and breathe underwater. What could be more dreamlike than that.
A dragonfly will appear to me when I need to be reminded that my experience is not just happening to me, without my volition, but that I am attracting experiences that make my beliefs true for me. And my belief is nothing more than a thought I continue to think. And I can think whatever I please. So take that, reality.
Inserting the truth of the Dragonfly is a great thing to do when you get one of those bummer cards like the Five of Cups or the Five of Pentacles. The Aquarian deck I use doesn't have a card with a dragonfly on it so we'll just do it for ourselves.
Photo by Karen McDonald.
I have a habit, which I think is a good habit, that I learned from my mother. Once a week or so I inventory my possessions and get rid of things. It’s not as if I look into every drawer and closet, ack no, but I cast a critical eye here and there and try to find something I can give away or throw away. It’s quite refreshing.
In the Tarot, the cards for getting rid of things are The Tower, Death, Strength, The Hanged Man, the Page of Swords, and the Nine of Pentacles. So let’s look at these.
You’ve been holding on too long, resisting change, and it’s time to snap out of it. You’ve got The Tower now. If you won’t let go, circumstances will force you. And soon.
Clear the way for new things. Out with the old, bury it. The Death card tells us to make space for new ideas, new people, new events.
The shadow living within the self, where we hide our trashy secrets, must be encountered with gentleness. To be persuasive and patient with oneself takes true Strength.
The Hanged Man has surrendered. He ends the struggle. He drops the rope in the tug-of-war with life. In that way he allows the goodness of life to come to him. He submits to all of it, so all of it is good to him.
The Page of Swords insists that you embrace a difficult situation and meet its challenge. He demands your honesty, your ethics, your logic and reason, and your firm resolve. I never said he was easy to live with.
Rejecting whatever is coarse or offensive, pursuing greater refinement, and relying upon one’s own judgment is signified by the Nine of Pentacles. The self-discipline of this card is totally anti-hoarding. It’s the Marie Kondo of Tarot cards.
It’s no surprise that four out of these six cards are Major Arcana. Letting go and cleaning up are big issues in our more-more-more culture. Seeing it in the Tarot can break that mesmerism.