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?

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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.

 

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.

 

 

 

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!

The queens locking horns

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I hit a wall and wasn’t feeling inspired at all. It seems that my mojo comes and goes without any regular pattern, so I need a change of plans in order to publish more regularly. However, I’ve got an exam coming up, so I just need to be more organised. I plan to spend some time each day prepping this blog as a rest from revising.

Anyway, I’ve got a spread to discuss today, a friend from Twitter asked me to look into some new work project he’s undertaking so I asked him to draw 6 cards and send me a picture of them. To be honest, I should’ve asked him to draw 7 cards, as it’s a spread I’m more familiar with. Nice and easy, with 3 cards for the past, the one in the center as the present situation and the last three for the future. There is another spread that I like, specially useful for mundane divination, so if you are using tarot, I recommend to take the major arcana out and use just the minor arcana. I know this is a bit controversial, but for certain questions, I do believe that using the Major Arcana seems overkill.

Three rows of 7 cards, with the centre cards as the focal points:

  • the bottom one is the past
  • the middle one is the present
  • the top one is the future

It is a wonderful spread for the wealth of information it yields and also for how easy it is to link the different meanings of the cards. It certainly helped me to find my feet while I was learning the tarot. Plus one can always go into more depth with a celtic cross to clarify certain points; although it took me some time before I felt confident to move on to the celtic cross. You may have seen similar ones when reading the Lenormand* cards. Although I think the Grand Tableau uses all 36 cards and there are just 21 in this one.

So, after telling myself off for asking for 6 cards instead of 7, I started looking for a spread with 6 cards and I came across faerygodmother’s awesome blog: Faerygodmother: My top ten relationship card spreads. And there is it, the last one, the harsh truth has 6 cards! Excellent, I can use that.

The positions are as follows: 1*3*2
4*6*5

6 card spread, using Barbara Walker Tarot
6 card spread, using Barbara Walker Tarot

Let’s go to the reading:

1. What you want to be true: Queen of Swords

2. What you don’t want to be true: 2 of Wands

3. What it’s true: Justice

4. What you want to happen: 8 of Wands

5. What you don’t want to happen: Queen of Wands

6. What will happen: Strength

Although the question was about work, those two queens (one of them is his mum or someone older than him and the other one, his partner) are telling me something else, as this is a spread for a man, however I’m going to try to focus on the work side of things.

1. What you want to be true: (Queen of Swords) He’s a person that is capable of a long sustained effort to achieve his goals, he wants to prove himself that he can make it on his own. I’d also say that he’s forgotten his own strength as he feels attacked by everyone and his uncle.

2. What you don’t want to be true: (2 of Wands) He thought that the way to his goals was going to be easier. He has taken an important step, but there is still a lot of hard work ahead. He feels his knees weaken at that thought.

3. What it is true: (Justice) I’ve always thought of the Justice as a karmic card, so I’d say that he is now where he needs to be (as if he wasn’t before because he was living someone else’s expectations of how his life should be and he’s now broken free from that), that he is in a quest to find his inner voice, his inner strength. It is very important that he cross-examine his motivations before committing to do anything, as he has a tendency to play fair even when the rest of the players in the game aren’t.

4. What you want to happen: (8 of Wands) He wants things happening and happening now, there is a slight whiff of desperation as if his patience has run out and needs some action straight away. I’d suggest him to stop and meditate, to take this opportunity to take some time out for himself now that things are slow.

5. What you don’t want to happen: (Queen of Wands) He doesn’t want to be bossed around, I’d say that he is also worried about how much money his partner is spending (is she financially independent? I’d ask)

6. What will happen: (Strength) The test he must pass is to find the courage to speak his truth. It is crucial for him to speak up, otherwise situations from his past, where he has done as he was told to, will arise again. This is his Rubicon for the classically inclined or his Punxsutawney for the Bill Murray lovers 😉

I think that although things are a bit slow at the moment, his project is likely to pick up from where it is now and grow steadily. I wouldn’t worry about that if I were him. However, the main undertone of the reading is the tension between the two queens. Oh boy, I wouldn’t like to be in his position. There is a lot of diplomacy to be used and gallons of oil to be poured onto troubled waters.

He must be firm and listen to his heart first, instead of trying to please them.

*I bought a Mystic Lenormand oracle and I have started studying them, but it’s early days, I am not fluent in their language yet.I’m keeping a handwritten journal with the daily draws, I may post something if I find it interesting.

 

The Fool says: Why so serious?

Hey ho, let's go!
Hey ho, let’s go! Balbi, Gran Tarot Esotérico, Marseille by Camoin, Barbara Walker, Crowley

Goodbye to the Life I used to live –
And the World I used to know –
And kiss the Hills, for me, just once –
Then – I am ready to go!

Emily Dickinson, poem 279

I wish the Fool had been playing up tricks in my mind lately, he always brings a sense of cheerfulness that I was sadly lacking. As the winter seemed to stretch forever, I was feeling sluggish and withdrawn, nothing to do with the spring in the step that our friend The Fool has.

What a jolly bunch of fellows we’ve got today, all going resolutely towards the East (except the one from Crowley, who bizarrely looks at the spectator in a static position, but Mr Crowley always liked to do things his own way, didn’t he?) I seem to remember that the one in Rider Waite looks to the left, I suppose that it’s up to the artist to depict the symbolism of this card but I personally prefer it going to the right.

The innocence and wonder that fills our hearts when we start a journey! The Fool is our soul before the Fall, when everything is new and good and bright and we still don’t know the many lessons that lay further ahead in the way. His fair hair is yellow, the colour of spring and new beginnings. He still carries the baggage of his previous life in a bundle and the dog is trying to stop him in his journey. That’s my favourite part of the card, as that’s no longer a symbol of bigger-than-life things but a small sample of everyday life.

It’s remarkable how he is the only one of the Major Arcana that has survived in common playing decks, as a Joker. Barbara Walker in The Secrets of the Tarot says:

“So the Fool was permitted to stay with, if not exactly in, the deck of cards, because he had no heresies to teach.”

Didn’t he fooled them? He wasn’t so innocent after all 😀

When I started reading the Tarot, I really didn’t like the Fool; his nimbleness and innocence made me suspicious and I thought that behaving that way was wrong. Ah, that stubborn teenage belief in all things black and white!

It can be used as a charm, although not on its own as it needs some counterweight to secure us to the ground, for the following situations:

For artists or just anyone who is about to embark in a creative pursuit: it will act as an antenna to open up our senses to new ideas and be non judgmental of our efforts. Combine it with the Ace more suitable to your purpose.

– With the 9 of Pentacles and the 2 of Swords: Very favourable for online-based businesses. Maybe because of its connection to Uranus, I think the Fool is very technology oriented. The 2 of Swords represents communication and the 9 of Pentacles gives fruition to our endeavours.

Many faces.
Many faces.

In the Secret Dakini Oracle, there is a card related to the Fool, but with an interesting twist: it’s the Fool but after he’s finished his journey through the 21 Major Arcana; he has attained enlightenment and knows that everything, the good and the bad, are parts of the journey, are just jokes of Brahma. He is many things, as shown by his numerous faces, but he doesn’t get caught up in self-definitions. I like that, as sometimes we focus in just one part of us, in sorrow, in anger, in self-pity… and forget that we may as well choose lightness and humour as our persona.

So that’s my intention for today: be merry and forget about inevitability, things don’t have to be just because, we are free to choose. I’ll go watch something amusing 😀 Suggestions welcome!!

The Hanged Man and the miracle of spring

Nine nights I hung in the windy tree, wounded with the spear, sacrificed to Odin,

I myself to myself.

Major Oak, whose branches are as big as trees.
Major Oak, whose branches are as big as trees.

This weekend I went for a walk to Sherwood Forest, to decompress from a very long and tiring week. To fill my soul with the wonder of nature, by watching  the wild life and the ancient oak trees, still sprouting acorns after those many centuries in their belts. We were blessed with the delightful sight of many great tits, blue tits, blackbirds, squirrels, wrens and robins, whose fun-spirited demeanour filled my heart with a joy that it’s difficult to translate into words. Even though we’ve changed seasons, at least by name (the spring equinox is old news already), it felt like the winter was still among us. There was quite a bit of snow on the ground and the wind was still bitterly cold, leaving the noses red and dripping with silent tears.

Barbara Walker, Gran Tarot Esotérico
Barbara Walker, Gran Tarot Esotérico

When I saw those magnificent oak trees with their branches still bare, oblivious to the arrival of spring, I couldn’t help but think of the Hanged Man, one of the cards of the Tarot that cannot conceal its pagan origin. For example, the Great Priestess is related to Hathor and Isis, but as their cult was disguised as Virgin Mary’s, they could get away with it. Unlike the Hanged Man, that shows a man hung upside down, with an unusual expression of bliss or contentment for someone in such predicament, this kind of worship (men hanging themselves as a sacrifice to Odin) wasn’t considered appropriate to keep when Christianity took over.

Odin’s is a male-centric myth, as he had to hung himself in the Yggdrassil for 9 nights in order to gain the knowledge of the runes, magic, the secrets of Fate and poetry. All these lores had traditionally been preserved and taught by women, hence his choice of staying 9 nights, as a symbol of the 9 months of gestation. According to some versions of the legend, he had to endure all this ordeal to earn all this knowledge by drinking from the sacred blood of the womb of the Goddess. However, as it can be seen in Barbara Walker’s 5 of swords, despite having become a wise man thanks to all this knowledge, he wasn’t above the control of the Fates, who still remained the ones who called the shots 😀

The other card shown is from the Gran Tarot Esotérico, a deck designed by a Basque witch, with many references to Basque mythology  that has omitted the hanged man but kept the bare trees. The name of the card La Picota means “The Gallows” which I think that keeps the theme of the card in a simple but effective way. We may not see the hanged man as the trees have become the focal point of the card.

The main theme of this card is sacrifice, we have to sacrifice something precious to us (the ego, our time, our friends…) in order to gain something better in the future.

Today this card resonates deeply within me because it’s my birthday and I’m away from my family. I wasn’t born in this island of Faery, she’s treated me well and given me many things, I grew up as a woman here, I found my voice, but I had to leave many things behind. I don’t regret that decision  but a price had to be paid; I wasn’t there when my dad died, I was even late for his funeral; now, I’m missing watching my sister’s belly grow with my nephew and I grieve for my native language that I seldom get to speak anymore.

To end with a more positive note, this card is really good to use as an amulet, combined with the World as they are mirror images of each other, as their legs point one to the sky and the other to the ground, for the following situations:

  • For students revising for exams: all that work may seem overwhelming at times, but this period of intense concentration will pay off when the results come up. Make a colour photocopy of the cards and keep it in your wallet, o somewhere in your desk.
  • When trying to beat an addiction: meditate on these cards when you are fighting the cravings, as they will help you remember why you are quitting.

And remember that spring is coming, whether we like it or not. I want to be like the daffodils that are blooming and filling the roads with the happiness of yellow just because they must.

daffodils

5 of swords – beware your pride

Crowley, Balbi, Barbara Walker, Marseille
Crowley, Balbi, Barbara Walker, Marseille

My favourites of this lot are the Marseilles one, as I find the interleaving of the swords very pleasing to the eye and the Barbara Walker one, for its rich symbolism. The martyrdom of Odin, hung from the Yggdrassil, in order to get the secret knowledge previously only held by women. He descended from the tree with poetry, runes, the gift of prophecy and many more wonderful presents for humankind.

That’s the positive twist of this potentially negative card: many rewards await for those who can accept life’s setbacks with sacrifice, patience and faith. Just as the days are becoming longer and winter, coming to an end.

Ah, the infamous 5’s… they are all about strife, annoyance and adversity. I can see that there is something positive about all this upheaval, it’s something necessary to break the statu quo marked by the 4’s and their tendency to write things in stone.

But the one we are talking about today even more so. There are plenty of fights, specially of the dirty variety, when this card turns up. Scheming, double intentions, manipulation (the venerable Bene Gesserit teachings come to mind)…  Vatican City may well be a very good representation of these energies at the moment, don’t you think?

It is just as well that it’s one of those cards that is always referring to “someone else” and never us or the consultant. It is: “They will be angry because…”,  “They are waiting for me to fall..” , and so on.

And that’s the second point I wanted to make with this post, what to say when the cards are not pretty? It’s important to make the difference between reading for ourselves and reading for others.

So, if reading for ourselves:

As a firm believer that what we encounter in the physical reality is a reflection of the energies we send forth*, I think that, regardless of whether it’s true that strife, opposition and malevolence may surround us and we’d better be prepared for it (that’s the usual intention of gathering intelligence, isn’t it?), it would be an ideal time to make an internal examination of the motives behind our actions:

  • Are we doing this thinking of the greater good or just because it’s more convenient for “us”?
  • What part of ourselves is being so selfish?

When reading for others:

– The consultant is embodying the “5 of swords” energy: They may be in denial (or not necessarily), unfortunately this kind of people wins too many times. Maybe something along the lines: “Beware your pride” or “Remember to be kind when you win” I’ve been pondering on this a lot lately, on how we can skew them to a less selfish path, but I haven’t got any satisfactory answers. Maybe I’m just reading too much into this card: being the bad guy is a karmic path as valid as any other.. At the end of the day, it’s just the 5 of swords on its humble own. Maybe when in company with the Devil or the Hierophant…

– The consultant is on the receiving end of the “5 of swords”: Be extremely careful as an impresionable consultant may fall in the “self-fulfilling prophecy” trap. Tell them to protect themselves as best as they can, to watch their back and to rethink their approach to the matter in hand. It’s not time to be naive.

*In respect of this, there is a powerful and really easy meditation to do, go and check it out: Ho’oponopono. Such a beautiful name!