Two of Swords with Wheel of Fortune

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Cosmic Tarot by Norbert Lösche

A for-sure guaranteed inevitability that will definitely happen at some point in life is where we come to a crossroads, that place of indecision. Chicken or fish? The one that comes in gray or the one that comes in black?  Date the one from Arkansas or the one from Missouri? Call an Uber or call a cab?

Of course I cited examples that could be filed under small potatoes minutia. There are the biggies like coming out of the closet, or taking a job in another state or province, whether or not to quit our job, or whether or not to deliberately disseminate our glorious bouquet of DNA throughout the universe. Those are the ones that make us lay awake at night with our eyes wide open, counting bits of ceiling popcorn.

These episodes of paralysis-inducing ambivalence on what we truly desire is not as it seems. We like to believe that our vacillation stems from the fact that we want Option A as badly as we want Option 2. Let’s keep telling ourselves that we are the flag on the tug-of-war rope with the equally covetable options vying for our final decision.

But here’s the truth: the very thing that gets us stuck between Scylla and Charybdis is fear. Fear of being permanently encumbered with the result of making the wrong choice. It’s not that we want what’s in the left hand and right hand equally, we are afraid of being disappointed with what we ultimately chose and letting the unchosen option get away, never to see it again.

It seems to me that we stand at these crossroads looking in one direction or the other as if the road will always continue in that chosen direction. The reality is no matter which decision we make, that path will lead us to another bifurcation at some point. Every choice presents us its reward through what it used to tantalize us, yet it also calls for sacrificing something else we desire.

We are never permanently stuck with the results of a decision. What we chose inevitably leads to the next mentally rending decision at some point down the road, like a set of Matryoshka dolls with another point of decision within the preceding one. We could decide to bivouac in the middle of the intersection and refuse to take a path if we find ourselves that paralyzed. However, life is avaricious for change, it insists on exacting its toll of metamorphosis, it throws entropy in the face of the static. If we think we can avoid regret by not choosing, life will choose for us and we will invariably receive neither option.

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Ace of Wands with The Moon

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Witches Tarot by Ellen Dugan and Mark Evans

Simple question: Who doesn’t like to be tantalized and titillated, mesmerized and mystified, enthralled and enraptured?

Did you raise your hand? Did you say “No, I’m not one for wonderment”? Probably not. I didn’t. I like to have my senses all atingle. I am much like most people I know; we love to find ourselves enthralled by some stimuli that widens our eyes and pries our mouths agape.

This might come in the form of a plot twist in a movie or tv show, it might be the high conflict in a novel or a story, perhaps it is a juicy piece of news about some big event that happened to someone famous, or innocent, or notorious.

Maybe our senses were stimulated by something new in the form of the material; we bought a new car, we tried on a new fancy wig, a puppy was introduced into our home, we just powered on the latest version of the smartphone we just received.

I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing or a human condition thing, but we are addicted to newness. New events, new circumstances, new things, new technological advances, even new concepts and ideas. We love the moment when we cross the threshold from the banal to the thrill, we love to gasp at the reveal.

The problem is, the eternal stretch of the jejune that lives between the moments of delight inevitably rises up. It is during those lingering moments when we leap out of staying in the present like a cat walking across a hot stove. We play in our mind the highlight reels of the past events which tickled our senses, or we drum our fingers on the table waiting to be delightfully surprised again.

We as present-day people are jaded by peace and quiet and solitude. The irony is that true inspiration is found in the still space beyond the senses. We believe we are moved by all the little twinkles of delight that we so fervently seek, but these really are just distractions.

In all honesty, we are quite often afraid of those quiet moments where we are left with nothing but our own thoughts and feelings. The unspoken and unseen recesses beneath our senses are regarded like under-the-bed monsters. We live in fear of facing the part of ourselves that is meant to be grounded indefinitely without tv, phone, or dessert. We do anything to avoid having that long overdue nonverbal conversation with our subconscious. We know it will tell us what we need to do to be who we want to become, who we need to become, but it requires of us the work we aren’t willing to sign up for. It requires ripping the bandaid off our tender ego to reveal the shadow side that comprises our wounds and begs to be washed, rinsed, and exposed to the air in order to heal.

If we find ourselves frequently uninspired, with an insatiable itch to be tantalized by the next distraction be it through acquisition of the next latest and greatest thing or through a volley of escapisms, that is our queue to seek out the quiet space within. That realm may seem like it offers nothing but void and formlessness, but in all actuality it is the source of that which propels us toward our own rich becoming.

Ten of Swords with The Fool

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Tarot Illuminati by Erik C. Dunne

At some point in nearly every life, without exception, we find ourselves at the end of the road. We have ventured far enough into the blind alley to the point where we can proceed no further.

If I were to take a guess, the path to this impasse contained detailed plans, carefully deliberated decisions consisting of tweaks and changes to an outline of what we intended to achieve. We thought we regarded every contingency. We thought we entertained multiple alternate scenarios. We believed we had made our plan as foolproof as possible, only to find it had failed to come to fruition at the end of the day.

There are occasions vast in number when it is more than appropriate to chart out exactly how we will proceed in a given endeavor. However, there are moments in our journey or steps in our undertakings for which careful planning is not only futile, it can be detrimental and inevitably disastrous. During times such as these it is imperative to rely on our intuition.

Our intuition is a most brilliant guidance system that seems to follow no guidelines. It will fire off a message that signals us to make a specific choice or avoid a specific scenario, sometimes suggesting an option that falls counter to what might make better logical sense. Yet our left-brain ruler born of academia and conventionalism and even dogma spurs us on to stay on the well laid out path of the tried and true. A sensible plan was created; we must stick to it.

The tales of the greatest achievements of our lives often contain an anecdote of a whimsical decision we once made, or a leap of faith we had taken, or a series of serendipitous events that fell into our laps simply because we responded to a strange urge that came upon us. I will be so bold as to say the grander the intention the more unreliable our meticulous plans will be and the more often we will be tapped on the shoulder by our inner voice as to the best course of action.

The most detailed roadmap or accurate GPS cannot predict cuts of chaos into the fabric of order. We could not account for the aluminum siding that flew out of the truck bed, lifted by a gust that had been generated by the Brazilian butterfly’s wing flapping days prior. The subconscious, however, has the ability to see such things. It lives in the basement of reality along with the fractals blossoming from seeming randomness, with the quantum particles that occupy multiple places simultaneously, in the realm where time is merely the phone conversation doodles of the unrealized forces of our universe.

Our inner knower scoffs at conventional physics and linear perception. We however are enslaved by this inviolate illusion. All too often when our intuition raises its hand and makes a suggestion we are all too quick to dismiss it. We go back to studying our pieces carefully laid out on the board of our game of Mitigated Risk. The non-Euclidian math of the inner voice’s suggestion just doesn’t add up, so we chalk it up to nonsense and we stick to the plan.

There is a beautiful opportunity for us if we choose to look back through our dead-end endeavors. I would bet my spleen (or any other non-essential internal organ) that there were multiple times in a failed journey we had embarked upon when our intuition was screaming and waving arms to get our attention and we simply hit the snooze on its signal. If we can find those moments and recognize them as directions from within, we will know how to spot them in the future when they come along again to save us from ourselves.

The World with The Hanged Man

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Quantum Tarot 2.0 by Kay Stopforth and Chris Butler

Because I have a mind that resembles a rebus depiction of a circus, I want to expound on the commonality between music and death. Look at that, the Death card isn’t even present and accounted for. Thanatos didn’t even show up for his senior picture for the yearbook in this week’s post.

I speak to this concept as a musician, though not as one who is dead. I write music, songs as it were. I look at my audial creations as being on loan from the Muse. I get to borrow them as I’m cobbling them together, but once they are complete I have to let them go, release them to the world like a dole of doves that just came into a bit of luck during a wedding ceremony, or each spider I insist on tossing across the threshold to the great outdoors as opposed to meeting its maker under a shoe sole or a rolled up Vanity Fair or in the vortex of the toilet grave. But since we’re speaking of death…

In a way, that song I wrote dies once it has been written. It no longer serves me in such exclusivity as it did during its creation. I no more own it than anyone else who hears it at that point, much to the contrary of James Hetfield’s philosophy. This is no different to when a creature dies. The creature had exclusive use of the body while it was alive, but when it gives up the ectoplasm and falls into decay, as human turns to humus, the breakdown of what was the vehicle of identity focus now gets called dibs on by a myriad of bacteria, insects, and other delightful connoisseurs of carrion.

Alright, let me perform last rites on the above analogy. Much like the written song and the surrendered body, all our endeavors, once they reach completion, no longer belong to us. This is true for what we may be building, the project we are vested in at our places of work, the children we bear, anything that is of our creation. Once the creation process ends, so does our ownership of the creation. Or it should.

The idea of all that we create being for ourselves really does not serve us, though we may believe it does. If we are holding onto our creation too tightly, then we would do well to find a way to sever it from the clutches of our ownership. I don’t mean in a take it to Judge Judy and let her rule on it sort of way, I mean in a true appreciation sort of way. So you made that beautiful bench out of the stern of a Colonial galleon, gold leaf, and the teeth of a crocodile; if you are the only one to sit upon that bench, then what good is it?

Our creations are our gifts to the world. They are ours while we are shaping and forming them, as that’s when we inject who we are into them. Once the finishing touches have been applied it is time to let them go. A gift of our creation to ourselves is not really a gift. It only acquires value once we relinquish ownership of it and surrender it to the world at large.

Justice with Three of Wands

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Tarot Illuminati by Erik C. Dunne

Today I introduce a new deck into the rotation: Tarot Illuminati. Thanks to Jacque for this fantastic gift!


 

This seems rather apropos for this time as we are three days into the New Year and all, but really the message in these two cards is applicable at any time…

The first few weeks of the new year often ushers in these specific gravity wells of enthusiastic endeavors fueled by resolutions. Queues build up behind rowing machines at fitness centers, food cabinets and refrigerators get purged of fats and sweets, friends and cousins last contacted in April or in 2009 get phoned or emailed or poked on Facebook. We commit to grand ventures that spent eleven and one quarter months in cobwebs and mothballs.

There’s really nothing wrong with lighting the fuse on that giant bottle rocket while the chrome on the new year still gleams in the sunlight. Soon enough the persisting rains that carry into March will dull the plating to the point we can no longer see our enthusiastic grin in the reflection. Strike while the iron is hot, leap while the adrenalin surge of inspiration from the new Top Gun wall calendar boils within us.

The one unfortunate byproduct of this unbridled enthusiasm carried in on the waxing days of January is that it leaves orphans of unfinished endeavors in the previous calendar year. We are in such a hurry to leave behind the flotsam and jetsam of last year’s challenges and tragedies that we jump into the grand premiere of our big new plans without cleaning up the mess we left behind the curtain of December 31, 11:59pm and 59 seconds.

Last year’s promises we made to ourselves and by association and inference to everyone else don’t simply dissolve away like sugar patched potholes in winter’s rain. Their ghosts remain to shuffle through the halls of our enterprising aims, waiting to appear when we feel our  verve dampening as we approach the final week of January. We stumble over the carcasses of last year’s abandoned endeavors with nary an interest of completing them in the light of the now lengthening days. The spectres which rise up from them remind us of our inability or unwillingness to complete what once flew as the banner of new and exciting ambitions at this time last year.

Perhaps we need to form New Year’s resolves rather than resolutions. We may do well to use the freshness and enthusiasm of the flipped calendar page, of the jubilation of our escape from the short-day solstice to finish up all that we carried into the new year with us, and put a bow or a cap or a completed stamp on last year’s labors. Let us put the finishing touches on the previous year’s plans and let the newness of this year wear off in the meantime. We will have the pride that comes with attainment and completion, which will stretch our enthusiasm further into our new projects when we are ready to take them on.

Influences on 2016

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Witches Tarot by Ellen Dugan and Mark Evans

Is this another one of those what’s coming in the year ahead readings? Yes with an ifNo with a but…

If you are one of the wonderful listeners of our podcast Menage a Tarot then I’m sure you’re already aware I don’t care to do predictions with the Tarot. If you do not or have not listened to our podcast… you know now.

I see Tarot as a way of seeing the influences that are floating around in the air of probability like dust particles dancing in the sunlight through a window. There are energies that create eddies of influence based on the culmination of current events, the way the amount of traffic on the road or a Miley Cyrus song on the radio can influence our mood. I don’t believe anything is set in stone, though I do believe a train can be headed in a certain direction that will be tricky to stop or redirect at it’s current speed.

Okay, enough of the disclaimer. Here we go.

Eight of Wands – 2016’s energetic influence

2016 is the year when we see endeavors come to their fruition, when imminent closure becomes the word of the day, when we are close to saying we’ve arrived. This may be things we’ve been working on for a few months or several years. Even if we don’t see definitive endings in this year we will certainly see the signal that things are wrapping up soon.

Karma – mid March to mid June (spring)

The roosters are coming home to roost. Or is the chickens? The chickens are coming home to roost. I suppose because chickens roost rather than roosters? You’d think roosters roost based on their name. Maybe they do. What do I know, I grew up on a block with a cul-de-sac.

Spring of 2016 is when the piper comes around and asks for his check. Events come around that make us say “Did I deserve this?” Good or bad, up or down, whatever big chunks of circumstance that come around seemingly out of nowhere, it’s the universe’s justice system meting out sentences. Whatever groundwork we laid in 2015 or even further back based on how we treated others or the decisions we made and actions we took will pop up out of the ground or fall from the sky during this time. Even if the reaping doesn’t readily occur we will see the chickens on the horizon heading back this way to settle into the coop, whether we’re ready or not. Nonetheless it has to occur to create the energetic space for the rest of the year ahead.

The Lovers – mid June to mid September (summer)

This time of year will present a nice ripe opportunity for us to get our big projects and endeavors wrapped up, to finally see our plans come to fruition. Now here’s the caveat, because there’s always a caveat and nothing is free: These plans won’t just fall into place. They need to have a safe place to land. That means that we need to have our house in order. We need to lay out the logistics with our head and find inspiration and enthusiasm with our heart. Nor can we attempt to stamp it finished without getting the one person closest to us to sign off on it. Without the approval, cooperation, and accompaniment of our bestie, the wheels will never touch ground and our plans will simply become carrots on sticks.

Queen of Swords – mid September to mid December (autumn)

If we paid attention in the summer and found completion with our closest advocate in some manner or another, we will have the clarity and strength to wrap up the self-work that is due as we roll into the autumn. There will be a particular type of fullness that we will have attained through traveling to the end of a given road abreast with our number one ally, which is just what the witch doctor ordered to ready us for finishing up our solo endeavors. If we brushed them off during the summer and told them we’d meet them in the fall to complete our plan, we will find them absent as the cool air drifts in with the falling autumn leaves. We won’t find ourselves going it alone, we will find ourselves going it lonely.

Seven of Wands – mid December 2016 to mid January 2017 (winter)

If we haven’t found closure or completion by the time winter comes around, it will be that much harder for us going into it. The heaviness of the cold season with its short days will add another 50 pound bag of flour to our load in getting things wrapped up. The naysayers will seem to come out of the woodwork and they’ll have their tongues cocked for clucking and their mighty pen-swords armed for trolling our efforts. All our energy will be spent fending off energetic saboteurs rather than completing what should have been done well before Old Man 2016 was delivered last rites. We will carry our unfinished endeavors into 2017 like returning home with suitcases full of luggage to unpack from a canceled trip.

What has been in play in 2015 will get a neat little bow in 2016, or it will throb and pulse in our vista until we give it the attention to enable it to culminate into whatever finale it is yearning to reach. We need to either let them finalize or willfully stitch them up. We can only carry into 2017 the endeavors which we began near this new year’s end, as this is the year the window on our long standing plans will close.

Karma (Judgment) with Knight of Wands

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Witches Tarot by Ellen Dugan and Mark Evans

 

It’s perfectly safe to say our decisions, choices, and actions have an effect and impact on our world. What we say and do affects those in our social circle, at our jobs, in our culture, and our society at large without exception. Interestingly, we often make decisions based on how we think people will view us, or how we want people to perceive us, while in reality the perception of others toward us has less impact on our lives than most of our non-ego related choices.

Am I saying it’s not important to care what people think of us? I know you want to fire off examples which might prove otherwise such as going out in public without having showered in three weeks or getting that neck tattoo of a demon with an erection. Those are cases where one might be displaying indifference or flaunting disdain for public approval so they don’t count.

I’m talking about how much energy we expend to gain the approval or avoid the judgment of the throngs of strangers that we pass every day, none of which will mention us in their wills and testaments. Yet we worry about how we look or what we are driving or what social class we might be representing. Are we doing our culture proud? Are we saying things that are relatable to the cool kids?

Again, I’m not saying our projections designed to influence others’ perceptions of us have no effect. I’m saying that being perceived as Ms. or Mr. Wonderful or Glamorous or Successful has much less impact on the shaping of our culture than how we regard others. We may be surrounded by our steel cage of entitlement as we drive to our destinations but every errant maneuver of our vehicles that leaves a wake of frustrated drivers impacts the world far more than showing we can afford a new BMW.

Perhaps we need to embrace a greater level of self expression that does not bear the intention of gaining approval. Perhaps if we give ourselves permission to make choices that reflect the elements of ourselves we find titillating, we would be much less starved for the approval of others. We would then focus our actions on giving others the respect and consideration they would like to have.