The heart stone

theolderrelative.jpg

I have an elderly relative who is feeling very lonely, especially since my mother died. They were roughly the same age and she was her only friend. We don’t live in the same country but now she has a smartphone and uses every opportunity to contact me; I find her extremely irritating because whenever I decide to respond, the conversations I have with her are meaningless and mundane: how are you? Fine, thanks, and you? I’m fine, thanks for asking.

Not every conversation has to be deep and touching obviously, but in this case it seems completely unidirectional: she is happy because she gets to the human contact she craves and I feel used, like I have wasted my time. When I was a child or later a teenager, she never showed the slightest interest in me or had a kind word but now that she is old and lonely, I have suddenly become interesting. When I decide to respond, weakened by this war of attrition of constant messages, I am polite and ask her about her day, her health, the sort of sundry words you have with someone you are not really interested in knowing better.

And yet, I guess I am unkind with her because I never stop and listen to whatever she has to say. I know that she has had a very sad and difficult life, she used to come over to my parents’ house every week to eat and to tell the same stories over and over and over again.

One of my sisters wanted to get pregnant and part of her inner work was to create the family tree. She spoke with this relative and found out very interesting things. In a novel, this would have been no more than one scene, but real life is not as well written.

I’m not a very family-orientated person, I would be just happy if I have a yearly contact with her or other members of the family. Once a year, thank you very much; twice if I’m feeling particularly happy (which doesn’t happen very often) but every day, every week…

I end up reeling with frustration because I don’t have the heart to tell her to leave me alone. It’s no use to tell her that I am not my mother, with her infinite patience, that I will never be a substitute of her. We never speak about her, yet she looms in the back of these conversations that, had she still been alive, we would not be having. In her eyes, my mother could do no wrong, I got tired of listening to her hagiography. A monolith of virtues. A beacon of hope and love in this hard world. Oh, how I wish she was my mother! As her daughter, however, I have a more nuanced vision of her: a person with as many virtues as flaws but I have to keep that narrative to myself because no one wants to listen. I’m disrespectful. I have a heart of stone.

Something broke in her heart, even in her mind, many years ago, that has made her impervious to anything that it’s not her pain. That has also given her a power that she doesn’t know she has: after all she’s been through, after having any possible road closed, she is immune to any kind of curse. And she really only asks for so little.

I asked the cards: Why do I find her so irritating?

IVSTICE – LEIVGEMENT – LE PENDV

You want things on the same level: you give something and you want to receive the same. You think this relationship is more of a punishment and only do so because of what it’s expected of you as a younger member of the family: their call cannot be ignored, even if it makes you feel trapped.

If I try to give this reading a positive spin: give her respect because it’s the right thing to do, you are family because there is a spiritual connection, a karmic lesson.

After looking at these cards, I do feel that I asked the wrong question. The message here is not about generosity or kindness, but of doing the right thing. It’s given me food for thought, and after I replied to one of her messages, I don’t feel as much resentment for doing it than before.

Whom do you serve?

img_20160610_193256_hdr_1465583653804.jpg
Borderless Deviant Moon.

I used to have the previous version of this deck and I loved it so much that I wanted to share its beauty and I gave it away. But I had to buy another one. Because one can never have enough decks; I also bought it directly from the artist so I was promoting art, even if it was in a selfish way.

Anyway, in my recent tarot course, I saw some of the students ask a question to their new decks to start building rapport with them and also to know them more, to find out what the deck is good for: spiritual, mundane, love questions… What is your purpose? What are you good for? Whom do you serve?

It may seem a bit of overkill having several decks for different purposes and most people would be perfectly fine with a single deck that can be used for all sorts. Most traditional decks (Marseille, WS…) are like this, a blank canvas of pure symbols that can adapt to whichever question is put before them because they speak directly to our conscience, but I’ve found that more modern or novelty decks that, albeit interesting, solid and trustworthy), are lacking in potency and sharpness and are, therefore, more useful if used for one thing only.

So I was shuffling the cards, thinking about the random patterns that connect us all and about what my boss wanted to talk about next week and whether I should do a divination before cursing someone and that I wished I was under that thick blanket of rain that was falling there and then, basically doing it all wrong and not focusing in a particular question. Those two cards, The Hermit and The Moon, kept popping out the deck (at least twice each) breaking my daydreaming.

This is their message: Pay attention and I will show you people’s secret driving forces.

If you can read Spanish, you can read my take on these cards in my other blog. I use the same cards but I don’t usually talk about the same things. It’s a bit of an experiment, to find out whether I think of different things in different languages and also to practice writing. Spanish is my mother tongue, however I am a bit rusty on the writing department after so many years in the UK.

 

I crossed the river

Yesterday was a momentous occasion for me, I finished off the last step to get a degree. I started studying with the Open University back in 2009 and I have been toddling along with courses until this academic year when I completed all the points I needed to get the degree: 360. I have trained to master number, but anyone with open eyes can appreciate this beautiful symmetry.

It’s a nice circle, is it not?; however I am not the same person I was when I started, I am Heraclitus’ river. 7 years have passed, nobody is the same, regardless of whether one decides to do something or stop doing another thing.

This fact, this slow burning, hasn’t sunk down yet.

So I have asked the cards, What now?

img_20160608_134147_1465389762245.jpg
The Wild Wood Tarot, a deck whose artwork I adore but that doesn’t get used much because the stock is wee bit flimsy so it doesn’t shuffle particularly well.

Take time to relax and celebrate your accomplishment. O well, I suppose that spending all that time on delayed gratification mode does something to your brain.

Remember that you have gained something that was rightfully yours: you have reclaimed your weapons (note how the circle is now part of them) and can face whatever it’s coming.

You have crossed that river, so go and explore the land. You are a free spirit.

 

The nerves on edge

examen02162106I’m at the very last moments of completing my undergraduate degree. One more exam and I’ll have the degree in the bag!

This afternoon I’ve done my second-to-last exam: Mathematical Estadistics, a subject as full of fun and games as its name suggests. I have been studying hard, but none of that have prevented the pre-exam panick I had this morning.

I want to keep calm, to remember that very few things in life are worth worrying for, that it’s all an illusion that one can pop with the pin of wisdom. I’ll get there one day.

Anyway, I decided to draw 3 cards; to force myself to break from the vicious circle of anxiety and focus in the here and now. The cards at hand were the superlovely Trionfi Della Luna, a Marseille version made by Patrick Valenza, the artist behind the not enough praised Deviant Moon Tarot.

Before going into the reading, let us stop for a minute and notice the movement of the characters in the three cards: half-buried, on her knees and standing up.

First, we have three characters gone crazy by fear. Far enough, the grating sound of the horn is enough to get on the nerves of the most  collected and zen among us, but these three have gone a step further and can’t think clearly. The Star is still being gnawed by her anxieties: on her foor, her back, her head… but she remembers the main goal, up in the sky. Then, The Force gets up and gets on with it.

Arise and walk.

Hat fashion

I’m doing a Tarot course with the wonderful Camelia Elias, using the superlovely Noblet deck. I am loving the simplicity of the design, the very thick card stock, it also feautures the happiest Death you’ll ever see…

Below a few things that have caught my attention.

lemniscata
Are these three folks wearing the same hat? #fashionvictims #copycats

I just love everything in LEDIABLE, it was a very talented artist whoever draw him. However, Jean-Claude Fournoy, the french artist who restored this deck, doesn’t seem to agree with me. He says that the Diable, the Wheel  and the World were made by an apprentice neither as talented nor as detail-orientated as the artist who draw all the rest of the cards. Have a peek at the website, and let me know with whom you agree! 😉

papesse_Acecoupes
She is bored of studying and wants to drink the water of life. #undergraduategoals

At first I thought that La Papesse was wearing the Ace de Coupes on the head, but now it looks more like she has at least three Aces stuck up on her head, Ikea-style.

pendubatons
First you lose your hat and look what happens.  Le Pendu dixit.

And lastly, this not-hat-related set is just too cute to miss: the figure that’s falling from the Roue finds himself hung up in the trees. Anyhow, he doesn’t seem too bothered to have lost his crown. And the Ace de Batons is a botanical close-up on the Pendu’s trees.

I also have a few pics of all the figures sorted by the direction of their gaze, but they are bad even for my blurry usual standards. It will have to wait until my photographic skills improve.

Until next time, which I hope it won’t be in two years.

 

 

 

A bit of Court-heavy fun

Here I was waiting for the screening of the last episode of the season of Game of Thrones in the UK and I thought about reading the cards about what is going to happen. I have to say that I’m Sullied (i.e. I’ve read the books so I kind of know what to expect. Although not anymore the way things are going now, I digress…)  I was trying to decide which deck of my modest collection would be more suitable for such endeavour:

  • the Barbara Walker: too Melisande-ish but dark enough
  • Marseille: it would be ideal if I wasn’t so emotionally invested in the story, that’s how to bias a reading alright
  • Crowley: it’s too hermetic for me, we just don’t have chemistry.

And then, I thought this is going to be a very Court heavy reading.  I’ll pick up the Daniloff deck, because its Court cards are so gorgeous. And this is going to be a general reading after all, I may pick up other deck when I ask about a particular character.

So I shuffled and these are cards from the cut (I like to make three piles). Let’s say I’m happy this reading is for fictional characters, it’ll be a grim opening if I had had to read this cards to an actual person.

All your dreams, your hopes going down the drain.
All your dreams, your hopes, going down the drain.

I have used the inverted pyramid, a dense spread whose information cascades down in the laterals and percolates through the smaller steps. It’s got two focal points: the tip at the bottom and the one at the centre, with the Hierophant laying on that position in this spread. In the complete spread, we’ve go everyone: Tyrion in his cell, brokenhearted, Arya on the second row… I won’t say anymore. I hate spoilers. I will, however, make some predictions, but not on this post 😉

I’m off for now, the episode is on now.

Tunnel vision

Tarot of the Witches, 1973
Tarot of the Witches, U.S. Games Systems 1973

I have been obsessed  terribly focused with things going a certain way during most of last year, workwise mostly. No matter how many setbacks I faced, I kept plowing through until I did find all the doors closed. It’s difficult when something you thought it was a good idea turns out to be a dead end; yes, those things happen all the time, however I have found it hard to pick up the pieces and try to find that elusive window.

I have asked the Tarot of the Witches why I wanted that so badly? The not so rational answers are that I was terrified of staying in the same place for too long, that I am approaching the big 4-0 and there are so many things I haven’t accomplished yet.

So to end with these grim opening tones, I’m quite happy with these cards. I can see the past and the future at the same time if that makes sense.

You can see the queen of swords, stuck in her ways, looking at only one possible outcome with her beady eyes, thinking that there will be success and roads opening up everywhere because it cannot be any other way. Although none of her plans came to fruition, she should’ve known better.

However, the suggestions for the future are a bit different, more hopeful: don’t be scared of all those changes ahead, with time you’ll be at peace with your memories and your choices, you’ll accept the mistakes as part of life. If only you use your mental power wisely…

So I’ve taken that advice on board and signed up for a mindfulness meditation course. It’s hard work!

Necrotourism

Arnos Vale, Bristol, UK
Arnos Vale, Bristol, UK

I’ve been doing quite a lot of thinking lately. After my uni course finished, I found quite a few free hours in the evenings that I’ve spent procrastinating, reading books and pondering but generally not drawing any useful conclusions. And just this afternoon, while I was wandering across the beautiful Victorian cementery of Arnos Vale in Bristol, that happens to be at walking distance from my home, that the penny dropped. I like to visit cemeteries, they are normally havens of peace with beautiful gardens, artwork and wild life.  I also like to pay respects to the people laying there, as my folks are too far away to do so in person.

As I was saying, the proverbial penny dropped. All this year I’ve been under the influence of the Hanged Man but without embracing its meaning of letting go, of accepting your deal. I’ve  been fighthing the statu quo, writhing like a fish out of water; for example I’ve done more job interviews this year that in all the rest of my work life put together and I don’t have much to show for it. But I’m still waiting for theresult of the last one, so fingers crossed!

But these last few days I’ve found some kind of inner peace, “If this is how it’s going to be, then so be it” So when I’ve come back from the walk, I’ve made a beeline the lovely number XIII’s from my decks, artfully arranged on top of a copy of La rage de vivre (Lust for life) by Boucq, a satyrical French comic book artist.

Top row: Marseilles, Barbara G Walker, Balbi Bottom row: Malinoff, Crowley, Gran Tarot Esotérico
Top row: Marseilles, Barbara G Walker, Balbi
Bottom row: Daniloff, Crowley, Gran Tarot Esotérico

I’ve divided them by rows, the top one with Death being depicted as static, almost arthritic, you may almost think that you can outrun her or at least, duck your head while she’s sweeping the air with her sickle; the ones in the bottow row are more interesting. Their role is active, they’re coming for you whether you’re ready or not.

Each of them with their own little way: either sweetly playing a medieval string instrument made with an hourglass, transforming the universe with her fierce dance or riding a wild Cerberus.

I must confess that all this started when I saw this magnificent display the other day; since I’ve started to watch Breaking Bad from the beginning, so if you are watching the last season already, please keep it spoiler free! 😀

Here’s to change!

New deck!

Alexander Daniloff
Alexander Daniloff

I have just received in the post the full set of cards by Alexander Daniloff and boy, are they beautiful! I had been longing for them for a few months and as I found with a bit of extra money at the end of last month, I decided to treat myself.

Apologies for the poor quality of the image, but I’ve taken the photo with the only camera I’ve got: the one in my mobile phone and it’s not ideal; I should invest in a proper camera! Anyway, if you want to have a better look, go to his page: www.daniloff-art.it and have a look. You can purchase the whole deck or just the Major Arcana.

I’ve made a selection of the ones I liked more at first glance: Herakles in the 7 of wands; the amazing Chariot; the ever-so-sweet Wheel of Fortune…

I particularly love his take on the 8 of wands: all those weapons, each with a different point, make me think of how we have to use different approaches to crack a particularly difficult goal.

As you can see, it follows the classical Rider-Waite design in some of the Minor Arcana, but I don’t see that as something negative. The artist’s graphic language is so personal that he succeeds in making them new and different; plus it makes them quickly understandable. My favourite suit in this deck are the Swords.

My only issue is that they are so beautiful that I don’t want to shuffle them; I feel like my hands are paws and I’m going to damage them, as if they are flowers or a new-born baby.

Once I’m over being lovesick, I’m going to ask them something, I don’t know what yet. Although, now that I see the cards I picked up again, they may be telling me something already! What do you reckon?

Fallow land

It’s been a while since I wrote anything in the blog, but I hadn’t forgotten it. It’s been a mixture of too many things going on in real life and a severe case of writer’s block, so I have been putting off writing a new entry for too long. I suppose I have left the mundane took over and, like my beautiful maple, I’ve lost the glossy red for the utilitarian green.

All this stems from my chronic lack of organisation and too many time-suckers (mobile-phone anyone?); these addictions are something I’d like to tackle seriously because they prevent me from accomplishing things. During this off the grid time, I decided to stop complaining about everything I don’t like and taking steps to change them; and if so far no measurable results have taken place, I’m at least happier and I’ve managed to keep the blues away.

It doesn’t help that I haven’t picked up the Tarot cards since; I don’t have any decent excuses to account for that either. To be honest, I did some practice with the Lenormand oracle with disappointing results. I was doing a reading using the “no-layout” method recommended by Sylvie Steinbach: you look for the most appropriate card for the query in the deck and read the cards before and after it. In this case, the query was about work and, after the querent shuffled the cards, the Fox turned up last. No more cards after it.

Would that be because the querent was going to lose his job? I didn’t think so at the time, but his team was restructured the day after the reading and his position was (and still is) somehow in the air. If anyone has a theory on that, please do share!

I’ll be talking about addictions and our dark places next.

So small steps, folks. Like that ivy.

Tree by the Avon.
Tree by the Avon.