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 gift 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 will you spend Eternity? 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 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 help us to clear out stuff.
The Tarot has so much to say about your fabulousness. The Queens of all four suits, and every female represented in the Major Arcana, are fabulous. I daresay the most glamorous card is The Sun, shining forth for all to see. In mere physical terms our Sun is over 4.5 billion years old so you have nothing to worry about as far as getting older. In all the mythos I know of, our Sun is thought of as a male deity, right? I don’t care. If I want to think of the Sun as a glamorous crone nobody can stop me.
Here and now I put into circulation the term “Glammacrone.” You already know what it means.
It’s okay for you to be fabulous because it is okay, and you don’t need anyone to tell you why. You may step in to your life as a Glammacrone. If it pleases you.
What would you do if you were a Sun God/dess? Upon whom would you shine. What dark corners would you illuminate. How often would you rise up, and where would you go to rest. How bright would you be. What would you create. How long would you live.
If I see The Chariot, the Knight of Swords, the Four of Pentacles, and the Nine of Rods all in the same spread for a person? I’m pretty sure they are just a complete asshole.
The Chariot says, “I must win at all costs. Nothing is more important to me than winning.”
The Knight of Swords is picky picky picky. Everything has to be perfect and nothing is ever is good enough.
The Four of Pentacles says, “This is mine. This territory, this relationship, this project is mine. Everybody else stay away.”
The Nine of Rods is stubborn. Don’t even bother trying to soften the Nine of Swords. The status quo means more than you do.
Of course all these cards have positive aspects when balanced out with other traits. Nothing wrong with a little fun competition, striving for high standards, declaring boundaries, or maintaining stability. It just has to be counterpoised with a card that says, “I am interested in you. I appreciate your efforts. Let’s work together. We can share this.” There are many cards saying these things.
I do so wish everyone would get a Tarot reading before launching a new job or a new relationship. It could save one a lot of ass-pain and heart-ache.
Do you ever feel alone? It’s a painful feeling. I’ve felt it many times.
When faced with an overwhelming challenge, when your usual human friends just won’t show up, when the clock is ticking, when you look around and there’s no one there, where do you turn?
Just put this in your back pocket so it’s ready to pull out when that time comes: you are never alone. Please inhale now, and as you exhale, say, “Hello, thanks for being here with me,” and smile a welcome to your ancestors.
I get asked about this all the time, so I’m writing about it. I’ll have a place to send the next person who calls me about it. We’re going to take it step by step.
You are going to read all this and then decide whether or not to do it, right? I’m fine with it; I know how you are.
Still feel alone? LOL no you don’t. If you like this feeling of being accompanied, you can have more of it. You can have as much as you want. Here’s one way to make that happen.
An Altar to The Ancestors
Clear a spot on the north side of any room where you live. Your spot can be large or small, it doesn’t matter. It’s nice if you can spread out a cloth, but anyway just make sure it’s clean.
Place there a candle of any color that pleases you. Many people use white. If you have a particular person in mind, you might use a candle of their favorite color.
Place there a photo of someone in your blood line who has passed over. If you don’t know of anyone you’d like to honor, use a photo of a person whom you admire and trust. Let it be someone older than you are though, that part is important. You want the sense of someone who has gone before you, paving the way.
Place there a small bowl of salt, a small bowl of water, a small knife (a butter knife is fine) OR a feather if you like, a few small coins, and some grains of rice or corn.
The coins and rice are your offering. The salt represents the element of Earth. The candle, Fire. The feather or the knife, Air. The water, Water.
If it pleases you and if it’s easy, you might add any memento of that person. Do not put a strain on yourself doing any of this. Everything you do is perfectly alright. My mother was fond of vodka, so I pour out a little shot glass for her. You will know what to do. And you can change things on your altar whenever you like.
All you have to do now is light that candle and look at the photo. When you’re finished, say something in appreciation and snuff out the candle. It is done.
See how easy that was? Take two minutes to do this meditation once in awhile, and that belief of being alone will stop bothering you. You will never have to feel that way again. Thank me later.
Getting to your destination without any wrong turns
Convincing someone to understand your point
Responding to people who do not understand you
Having the facts
Making someone else wrong
Fixing the world
Making having or spending a lot of money
Belonging to a group
Figuring it out, whatever it is
Wearing the right clothes
Eating the right foods
Doing your duty
Getting a bargain
Becoming famous or even “well known”
Getting agreement from anyone
Staying where you're at
Getting your chores done
You can still do any of these things! As long as you feel good first. Because feeling good is your most important activity.
And when you feel good, doing things is easy.
Props to poet Dory Maguire, author of Urban Swagger, for the basic idea.
The Emperor card talks about authority. Who is in charge, who is running the show, who holds the responsibility? The Emperor is the essence of fatherhood as he structures the world.
This card also talks about the problems that arise when authority is missing, when no one can be held accountable, or when there is not enough structure in a situation.
Many of us have ambivalent feelings about authority. We resent it. Our child selves rebel against it. Many of us in this youth culture get our identity from pushing back against authority. When we approach the boss at work, the bank, the landlord, law enforcement, or the college professor, we are approaching The Emperor, even if that person is female. This fathering quality is the provider, the protector, the gatekeeper.
All issues of order, discipline, organization, and structure sit with The Emperor. He represents a world where officials are respected, the train is on time, the floor is solid under your feet, the horses are harnessed, and the game has rules. In situations where chaos is whirly-swirly all around, The Emperor brings answers and clarity and something to hold on to.
Sometimes in a reading The Emperor is an actual physical father. I will see what’s going on for that client as it relates to being a father, having a father, looking for a father, or saying goodbye to a father. I can go deeply with this as long as the client is comfortable. Many many people are wounded and still tender in the father area of life.
“Come to Mama,” says The Empress. She is the essence of motherhood who cherishes all the world.
All the Queen cards speak of some form of nurturing. The Queen of Cups is a great listener. The Queen of Rods is a terrific cheerleader. The Queen of Swords is forthright and funny. The Queen of Pentacles cooks for everybody. But The Empress is the eternal principle of mothering. It’s not too much to see her as the goddess Demeter, who descends into hell to rescue her child. See her as Gaia, ready to give birth to all of life itself.
If I saw the Ace of Cups, The Star, and The Empress all in one spread, I would know the woman was pregnant. Yah, I’d be as sure as a pee stick.
We speak of Mother Earth, home, the body, substance, supply, green rolling hills, fertile soil, crops, the harvest, a feast on the table. If you could distill all these things into one spiritual ideal, you would have The Empress. She is the very soul of motherhood. She is connected to the infinite divine through that channel.
The Empress enjoys the life of the senses. She doesn’t just understand the rhythms of nature, she is those rhythms. She always has plenty of everything and she loves to share.
Looking into The Empress card, I might see a long line of descendants. I might see the power struggles among them, reconciliations, and the foundation of a dynasty. Once I saw twins, and it turned out I was right. Sometimes all I see is what’s for dinner. Sometimes I see the issues that result from a lack of mothering. I will see what’s going on for that client as it relates to being a mother, having a mother, looking for a mother, or saying goodbye to a mother.