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.
There is no end to the books. You could fill your house with Tarot books and just exhaust yourself with “book” knowledge of the Tarot cards. And why shouldn’t you, if that’s what you want to do.
If you would pick just one good classic book and just sit with two or three cards a day, for about half an hour a day, you could learn the entire deck in one month. Then take a week to review, and without putting any strain on yourself you have mastered the book meanings. Anyone with moderate self discipline can do that much. Even I have done it.
The book meanings will not show you what the person is feeling in their body or thinking in their thoughts, their memories or their loving relationships, what risks they have taken, why they have so much pain or exactly what they fear. The book will not teach you to love that person or to care about helping them. The book does not see with their eyes or hear with their ears. Only being psychic will do that for you. Being psychic is an entirely different skill set.
Your reading is always about you and only you.
There will be cards that describe other people. The interpretation of those cards will be in their relationship to you. We’re not going to delve into the lives of your friends and family, revealing their secrets. Your reading will be all about you, having to do only with you. Your gifts, your challenges, your next step, what you need to know, your promise, your strength, your expertise, your power, your path.
Things will come up, lots of things, that are none of my business. I will not remember any of it. The trance in which I work offers me a bit of amnesia which protects your privacy.
Here’s the question that almost everyone asks me at some point, in almost every reading that I’ve ever done for anyone: “How did you know that?” I love that question. It tells me I'm on the right track. That doesn't mean I can answer it. I do not know why I am clairvoyant or how I am able to see and hear things. It's telepathy, partly, plus I can sometimes know things that haven't happened yet. Thank goodness I've learned to limit it to what I see in my Tarot cards, when I am entranced, or else it would become burdensome and take all the fun and suspense out of life. Think how boring life would be if you knew all the outcomes of everything. What a yawn.
And sometimes you really do need to know. Just sometimes.
I was moving in to a new apartment. I was trying to clean out the closet. Up in the back of the top shelf I found this thing, I didn’t know what it was. It looked like the charred remains of what, I couldn’t tell. A stack of cards with pictures on them. I showed it to my roommate. She said, “That’s a Tarot deck. I wonder why someone burned it and hid it.”
I took out the card called Temperance and put it up on the refrigerator.
That was The Aquarian Tarot by David Palladini, published in 1970. He was only 24 years old when he created these seventy eight paintings. I’ve worn out four copies of that deck. It’s still the only one I use.
I love to see all the different decks people own. The art and craft of Tarot is wonderful. So many beautiful ways to show forth the traditional imagery. My Tarot-reading friends own drawers full of decks. I love looking at them. But I’m not a collector, myself. I’m only trying for the best reading I can give to the client. The number of different decks I might own doesn’t seem helpful to that purpose. The Aquarian has a lot of space in it where I can nerd out and “see” the pictures that aren’t there, and that’s what the client finds helpful from me.
I thought you might like to see where I work. The hand held camera creates a spooky appearance, doesn't it? In real life there is nothing spooky about this room. It's a nice little room off my kitchen, no doubt intended to be a pantry, and I have reclaimed it.
One time I spread out a reading for myself regarding a certain relationship issue. Just by the cards and their positions, and by looking for everything that was there, while I stood at the center of the room, I was able to see things I had never seen before. I saw all of it with perfect clarity. My questions, my answers, my next steps. It was like reading it all spelled out in neon light against the sky, so clear and plain and simple. There were my bullet points, step by step what to think and what to know and what to do, all right there on the table.
Then that person, the one I was asking about, came over to my house! and I had not closed the drape on my reading room. The cards were there for him to see. He would know what I knew! He went in the reading room. I saw him looking at the cards. He would know my question! He would know my plan! Omg omg my cover was blown. I looked anxiously at his face, and then realized, he is just looking at some cards on a table. He sees… cards. He doesn’t see anything. He doesn’t see a darn thing. He might as well be blind. He just sees cards.