The Moon with Seven of Wands

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Tarot Illuminati by Erik C. Dunne

Recently I’ve been hearing the idea of microaggressions tossed about, although the term has actually been around since 1970. I have no desire to chase down Webster or Wikipedia or any sources in an effort to give a nice clean clinical definition for you; however, I will give you a description of how I understand it to be.

I see the idea of a microaggression as an act or statement against a group of people (generally a minority) that could be construed as offensive, whether intended or not, but not necessarily overtly. I’ll give a personal example here. As a biracial person, I have been told several times in my life by one person or another that they don’t think of me as black. That statement could be construed as a microaggression.

What makes it so? In this case, there are implications that can be called into question. What does the person making the statement consider a black person to be? What is the intent behind the statement? Does it hint to how they may view black people, or how they view me in the perspective of that contrast?

In light of the deconstruction of that statement I just gave, it could be considered a microaggressive statement if you choose to chase it down the cultural rabbit hole deep enough. At some point amidst the roots and rocks and hardpan and grub worms is buried the grain of sand that gives way to offense. Therein lies the nerve that has been jabbed to send up a klaxon of psychological antibodies.

I think of such epithets as heat seeking missiles and our unresolved angst in the given cultural genre as the heat signatures. In the example I gave above, I personally find the statement very much a throw-away; it has little to do with who I am and mostly to do with who the bearer of the statement is. But what if I found it deeply offensive? What fragile and delicate part of me did it speak to where I felt a call-to-arms in protection of my ego and definition of self?

I am not making light of people slinging around offensive statements without consideration or forethought. Nor am I condoning it. I am saying that being offended is a cooperative action. We enter into a contract with the offender where we are consenting to being offended. Our offense is often our ego imposing an expectation on all others out in the world to view us the way we insist that we should be viewed.

To flesh out the example I gave earlier, here is how the conversation went:

Microaggressor: You know, I don’t think of you as black.
Me: (facetiously) You know, I don’t think of you as white.
Microaggressor: You know what I mean.

Sad thing is, I actually did. And it had nothing to do with me. At least that’s the way I chose to see it.

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Five of Cups with Temperance

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Cosmic Tarot by Norbert Lösche

Indulge me for a moment while I briefly discuss sports. American sports. Specifically, American football. I promise I’ll make it brief.

In 2008, the New England Patriots went to the Super Bowl, facing the New York Giants. New England waltzed into the Super Bowl having not lost a single game in the entire 16 game regular season, giving them a 18-0 record going into the big game. New York was facing this undefeated team after squeezing into the playoffs as a wildcard with a regular season record of 10-6.

Needless to say, the Patriots were heavily favored to win the Super Bowl. Yet New York was able to beat them in the big game 17-14.

Here’s my belief in the outcome of that game. Had the Patriots lost a game in the regular season they would have probably won the Superbowl.

Nobody save the psychological masochist or the celebrated victim likes to lose. Losing rends from us the last shred of self-confidence we clung to for survival during our final battle. The higher the stakes of the contest, the harder the gut punch we receive with a loss.

The biggest losses we experience, or let me be so bold to say nearly every loss we experience, comes through necessity. When we experience defeat it is a defeat that is necessary and often overdue. The loss tells us that our current trajectory of growth has plateaued, that there was really nothing more for us to gain with a win, and that it is our destiny to rediscover ourselves.

Does a win compel us to look inward to the degree that a loss does? Does one win create as great of an appetite for victory as does our most recent defeat? Now mind you, this is not to say we should make sure we lose or that we should deliberately lay down our swords in the midst of combat just for the sake of experiencing a loss. Au contraire, we should play to the hilt even knowing the odds are stacked against us, for when we lose in light of this, our loss creates an even greater opportunity for us to grow, beyond where we would have otherwise.

King of Cups with Ace of Swords

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Quantum Tarot 2.0 by Kay Stopforth and Chris Butler

Someone’s parent or teacher or pastor or guidance counselor probably gave them this advice at some point: It was something to do with making clear logical decisions by setting aside one’s emotions. Yeah, I don’t know about that.

That’s all fine if you want to don a lab coat and tote a clipboard around (or is it a laptop these days? Probably a tablet, I’d guess…). Decisions devoid of an emotional influence are best made with control groups and data sets.

I am an advocate of making emotionally-based decisions. Before you start pecking at me like a bunch of territorial crows, let me flush this out: I believe how one feels about the outcome of a decision, paired by one’s truest desire, provides for the absolute purest compass for the direction to take.

I’m not talking about that kind of flailing-wildly-in-a-state-of-panic type of emotion. That’s what comes to mind for many people when referencing the idea of deciding by feelings. I would be so bold to say that fear and panic are more reactions than emotions. They are more byproducts of the klaxon of the adrenal medulla figuring out how to get the heart out of a box on fire. The ensuing actions we take due to panic are rarely based on any thought whatsoever during episodes of an epinephrine surge.

The clearest decisions we can make are the ones that trace directly back to what we want. This is actually the trickiest part, as our truest desire is often layered and stacked and dogpiled with several other subsidiary wants. Many of these are based on what we think we are supposed to want, gifted to us by cultural expectations, social mores, and all things obligatory. We will find many of these lesser wants battling it out, vying for psychological dominance.

At some point, we need to strip away all of the little wants that are in essence superfluous in the background of our true desire. We have to distill down to the single most emotional intention that catches that glint of light in our solar plexus. We have to identify what we want most as it is left standing on its own after clearing away all the emotional flotsam and jetsam, leaving only the purest of aspirations. It is from here that we make the best, clearest, and most focused decisions, and these are the decisions that yield to us the greatest growth and success.

 

Death with Ten of Cups

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Witches Tarot by Ellen Dugan and Mark Evans

I need to preface this post with a disclaimer: normally when the Death key comes to the surface in a reading, I take pause in going straight to that Chicken Little reaction of someone’s going to die! Most Tarot readers and students know that Death doesn’t necessarily mean anyone’s mortal coil is about to unwind any more than The Devil means Satan is going to show up unexpectedly to your dinner party or that The Lovers means you’re going to meet Mr. or Ms. Excellent or that The Hermit means you’re about to go out and buy a vinyl copy of Led Zeppelin IV.

However, as a Tarot reader that has instilled in myself to be cognizant as to what on a card might draw my attention during a given reading, today I found myself drawn to the two towers behind the boy in this rendition of the card. I was pretty sure I remember it from the Rider Waite, but I went and referenced it anyway to be sure… yep, they’re in there too.

I wonder how many of you are thinking of where I’m headed, or if you yourselves have gone there at any point in time. My mind quickly went the the fateful day of September 11, 2001, an eternal blight on the collective consciousness of the United States, and to some degree, the rest of the world.

I’m not going to go all David Icke meets Nostradamus at a Masonic dinner party here. I’m not going to fold dollar bills presciently or convert 9-1-1 into specific foreboding font symbols. I just can’t help but reflect on the degree of death focused in a single time and place that occurred on 9-11-2001. I’d say it is just a coincidence that it shows in this card, but…

Let me not digress into too many stories of Archons and Reptilians and Annunaki and ruling elite family cabal globalists. Rather, I want to look at what came to mind as I see the Ingalls family play out in Tarot syndication on the card to the right. I want to look at the juxtaposition of the big mean spooky boogeyman of the Tarot abreast it.

Here’s the thing: In talking about the tragedy that irrevocably tore our society asunder fifteen years ago this year as I write this, I do think about the symbol that Death is intended to convey in the Tarot. I see the Ten of Cups talking about what is on the other side of the door or river or chasm or realm or Van Allen belt or veil, that it is a glory, a jubilation, a realization of a reward when the new life is attained and realized.

When I put this in relation to that horrific memory and image that that fateful tragedy invokes, I ask myself where the rainbow is. How have we grown to become better people, better human beings, better members of society? It is a highly debateable idea by many that the Holocaust brought about a raising of consciousness of sorts, an awakening of the self-awareness of humanity within that was long dormant, that could only be jarred awake through such an extreme atrocity. Viktor Frankl, himself a Holocaust survivor, echoes this to some degree in his book Man’s Search For Meaning.

Yet here we are, a decade and a half after the September 11 attacks and I have yet to see any lotus bloom growing out of the mud. We invest inordinate amounts of time and energy putting “security” measures in place that are intended to make us feel more safe yet have the unintended (debateable by conspiracy theorists) effect of making us feel less safe. We have discarded the notion of personal privacy offhandedly. We have added another race, religion, and culture to our collection of Them that are out to get Us. We immediately release the hounds to sniff out the extremist Islamic group du jour after the town cry of every newscaster generated by an attack upon a group of people like a war vet reacting to a car backfiring.

I’m waiting to see us arise from the horror and tragedy of that event into a place where we see our unity and interconnectedness, where the deaths of those 3000 victims of the event and the resulting deaths 100 times greater in number from the reaction to the event are not in vain. I can’t see a burgeoning police state with its Orwellian overtones being worth the number of lives lost. I can’t imagine the departed soul believing its death was meant to propagate jingoism and racism for decades to come.

Death indicates a transition where a state of being must come to pass to make room for a new consciousness. If we cannot move into creating a beauty and new light from the ashes of the fallen towers, we are still in the throws of death and have not yet transitioned to the side where a new life is born. We are still wandering through the rubble no matter how many illuminated monuments we construct at Ground Zero. Endless wars and wary eyes on every Middle Easterner will not bring justice. Balance, growth, and renewal only comes through the joy that is created from the loss. This is what we are still waiting to find from this tragedy, and it seems to be slow in coming, as the evidence of it has yet to come forth.

The Fool with Four of Pentacles

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Quantum Tarot 2.0 by Kay Stopforth and Chris Butler

In this particular deck The Fool is portrayed as the Big Bang. You know, that astrophysical concept they teach in science, while forgetting to regularly remind students that it’s just a theory? Behemoth quantities such as 14,000,000,000 years ago which are capable of inducing astronomical ice cream headaches when trying to cognize them get thrown around. I wrote it in numerical form so all those zeros would force your eyes to cross.

Despite having a degree in metaphysical theology I’m not one to see Genesisian cosmology (I just made up that word) as barely more than allegory, yet when I compare this massively adulterated Sumerian origin story draped in anthropomorphic language to the fresh-out-of-the-autoclave science-based “I don’t know… it just happened” account of the forming of the Universe, I really don’t see much difference. In both, there was really nothing, then suddenly there was everything.

Let’s stroll over to the right and look at this deck’s portrayal of the Four of Pentacles. It is represented by a depiction of an elliptical galaxy. Basically, these type of galaxies don’t crank out very many new stars and as a result don’t have many young stars. Think of Branson, Missouri. Thus, they are mostly comprised of older stars and big black holes. They are essentially the Florida or Arizona of galaxies.

So what’s up with these types of galaxies? Why are they packing in the same old stars for eons of ages? With that big black hole in the middle keeping tight reins on everything, it’s suppressing the creation of all those new stars. Bastard.

This is the way I see the energy of this card. It states that we are holding onto something so tightly as a means of maintaining an iron-fisted sense of security. Change is the boogeyman threatening to crawl out from under our bed and consume us. Newness is the Jehovah’s Witnesses knocking at our door right when we’ve sat down with a dinner plate heaped with piping hot food. The unknown is a disruption, an annoyance and aggravation and inconvenience as we would have to go through the trouble of learning how to deal with a fresh situation or circumstance.

Staunch, rigid routines have the appearance of creating a nice safe stasis field, but in all actuality they rush us toward entropy. Ask how the preservation of the status quo is working out for the fly in ember. If we want to cling to an unwavering way of life, we will in the process (or lack thereof) create such stagnancy that it will inevitably become a vacuum. What did Aristotle say? Something about Nature abhorring a vacuum? We can substitute Nature for Life. If Life senses a vacuum being formed by those who “hate change”, it will seethe and punch them in the face. It will ensure an environment so inhospitable only the nastiest of creatures can thrive. Look at deserts and swamps, Nature’s poster children for stagnation. I once again reference Florida and Arizona.

Nothing keeps entropy at bay like a surprise. Life thrives when bursting through the opened door of which we had no clue as to what was behind it. Let us unlock the box of mystery and dump its contents on our dusty floor. Let us choose to take the action of which we have no idea of its outcome, for that choice leads to renewed life.

Three of Swords with Queen of Pentacles

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At some point in our lives… actually, at several points in our lives, we will hurt. We will feel loss or betrayal or heartbreak, maybe heartache. Sometimes it’s quite literal pain, the klaxon of neurotransmitters doing their job to warn the mind of our physical welfare being compromised.

Funny how we deal with these different aspects of pain in different ways, although in the simplest of terms, pain is pain. Pain hurts. When it comes to a cut or a burn we’ll readily bandage it or ice it, with fleet of foot reaction and response. Yet for some of us it gets a bit grey as to how we deal with physical pain that’s not visually discernible. Perhaps we tell ourselves it will go away soon enough. In many cases we’ll slip ourselves an analgesic and bypass the option of examining the cause of the pain.

Then we get to emotional pain, which may be the trickiest of them all. This is where all the crazy-making occurs. We may deny we’re hurting. We may suffer our sufferings, wanting the heartache to simply go away. We might put on our best game face or pull up our big girl panties or nut up and soldier on, believing we are bigger than the personal ache. We may even lash out at every and anyone that crosses our path.

In all actuality, the healthiest thing we can do is regard emotional pain the way we would address physical pain. For this example let’s consider a pain which has as its source some physical trauma. The pain serves as an immediate identifier of the source and location, we then apply a bandage or ice or some other appropriate treatment to mitigate the injury and prevent the damage from exacerbating.

With emotional pain we all too often try to push it away. We don’t seem to regard psychological hurt and trauma as serving as a warning the way we do the throb of a cut or burn or sprain. Physical pain is an indicator that a part of our body needs to be addressed and rebalanced. Emotional pain actually serves the same function, but it is pointing out the part of our life that needs to be redressed.

Just like our body cannot begin to heal until we’ve treated the trauma, nor can our mental hurt and emotional injury heal without addressing the traumatized area of our life. The best thing we can do is to acknowledge the pain, look it square in the proverbial eye and own it. We need to see our heartache as serving a function, as a way of asking us to examine the source of the pain, to be okay with the emotional discomfort and anguish even though we may despise it.

Emotional trauma is one of our greatest teachers when we allow it to do so. As long as we acknowledge it we can let it be our vehicle for something rewarding on the other side. If we continue to try to push it away or force it to abate, it will persists and mitigate our healing. We don’t have to like it, we just need to accept it and it will serve us in a positive way that may seem contradictory, but is profoundly healing.

Prince of Swords with Seven of Wands

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Cosmic Tarot by Norbert Lösche

Someone said the best offense is a good defense

…or is it the best defense is a good offense?

Either way, someone said it. Likely someone military or game or sports oriented, like George Washington or Lao Tsu or Guy Lombardo… or is that Vince Lombardi?

The idea here is that if you are constantly pressing an aggressive offense onto your opponent, they exhaust themselves in their defense so that they have no time or energy or provisions for a counterattack.

Enter American Football. The adage in today’s 21st century gridiron is that it’s the defense that determines the outcome of the game. In other words, an excellent defense against a good offense is more likely to win than an excellent offense against a good defense.

Are you confused yet? You should be.

Enter David and his warped-ass concepts, birthed from the carnival of his cognizance and conceptualization…

Much to the condescending contempt of colonels and coaches everywhere, I would dare to say these two sides of the coin of conflict are indistinguishable. Offense and defense may seem different on paper, but the only true difference is no greater than the color of the chess pieces on either side of the board. If you’re in an offensive position you are simply exercising proactive defense. If you find yourself on the defense it is because you are offended.

Let me take this one step further, a step away from merely waxing philosophical and toward practical and functional: whichever side we believe ourselves to be on during any melee, skirmish, scrimage, or campaign, it would behoove us to not purely consider ourselves merely on offense or defense. Each side must acknowledge and embrace the other aspect in all engagements, or we will lose whatever battle we are embrawled in.

As offense, we need to be ready to defend ourselves at a moment’s notice. When we are on the attack, the assailed will fight back. During our attack we constantly need to parry against defensive countering. On defense we cannot simply brace our shields and hope for the best. We must counterstrike each blow to drive back the aggressor.

This concept is not restricted to sports and military and fisticuffs. It benefits us to apply a well balanced mix of offense and defense in any challenging situation. Any time we need to apply energy to get through an obstacle or we need to steel ourselves against an adversity life decides to throw at us we need to apply this principle. A purely aggressive or defensive position in any endeavor leaves us vulnerable, no matter the power of our onslaught or the thickness of our fortification. Like all other things in life, balance in the mode we take toward our conquests assures us the strongest position.