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.

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.

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.

Three of Pentacles with Seven of Swords

Quantum Tarot 2.0 by Kay Stopforth and Chris Butler
Quantum Tarot 2.0 by Kay Stopforth and Chris Butler

Raise your hand if you know a single person that believes all men are jerks or all women are superficial or some other unflattering generalization. We all know that person who has decried every member of the gender to which they normally date to equally and universally have a debilitating character flaw, one that prevents them from finding Mr. or Ms. or M. Right.

Have you ever tried to talk that friend down from the ledge of hyperbole using rough math? I have. I tried it on myself when I was disgruntledly single. We may have seen this broken down in a sitcom perchance. It involves eliminating each subset of the population that is not technically eligible for dating based on gender, age, relationship status, proximity or place of residence, etc. The most common number I had arrived at was an average of 150,000 dateable people, adjusting for the population of where one happens to live in the U.S.

The trouble with using this technique on the cynically lovelorn and such is that they have a poor grasp of mathematical concepts. It’s not simply that they cannot imagine finding one good edible apple in a batch of 150,000. I don’t know… I have to admit, looking through that many apples is far from appealing, especially if many of the ones I find are mealy or worm ridden or Braeburns. Perhaps our friend dated a person with the last name Braeburn, I don’t know, and they left a bad taste in their mouth much like the apple of the same name. I think they fail to understand the concept of the common denominator.

Whenever we find ourselves having difficulty dealing with a certain type of person, we automatically think it is that shared aspect that makes them untrustworthy, be it the type of job they have, their likes for a certain type of sport, their income bracket, their hair color, their political party affiliation… any number of aspects we can put into boxes and apply labels. What we become blind to is identifying the labelmaker.

We will indicate that particular class or character trait and brazenly declare that its possessors are inherently flawed with unwavering certainty. Yet we fail to see that, while not everyone shares our particular perspective, the “truth” in our perspective shares a common source. You see, I am a huge champion of the principle of the reflective property of others; as we deal with people the way we perceive and regard them tells us as much about ourselves, if not more, than it does the other people.

When we believe all X types are not to be trusted, it is due to a lack of trust in our own character. When we see all people of a particular religion, faith, political party, or sorority as being just plain wrong or stupid or greedy or any other preferred ad hominem, we are expressing a deep seated fear of being wrong or appearing foolish. The aspersions we cast on an entire subset of people stems from the grain of sand within that we attempt to disavow as an irritant, surrounding it with our mother-of-pearl to insulate ourselves from the discomfort of introspection. Yet this irritant remains locked in the pearl that we proudly display in the form of self-righteousness toward ourselves and our types. We seem to forget that in the heart of every pearl is a bit of dirty silicate sea floor grit.

I had a former neighbor tell me his vicious dog liked everyone except other dogs and people. With each exception we take with a given type of people we are avoiding acknowledging the exceptions within we are afraid to face to prevent from having to do anything about them.

Seven of Swords with Two of Cups

Quantum Tarot 2.0 by Kay Stopforth and Chris Butler
Quantum Tarot 2.0 by Kay Stopforth and Chris Butler

A close friend of mine told me a story involving her and one of her close friends in college. Her friend was seeing a guy at the time, but she suspected my friend and this guy might have had a latent attraction to each other. In order to validate the existence of the attraction she had arranged for the boyfriend and my friend to be alone together sans her. Of course the girl’s suspicions were confirmed and she confronted my friend after the betrayal and admitted to deliberately “testing” her. My friend replied, “If you’re pretty sure I’m going to fail your test and you don’t like the results, then don’t give me the test.”

This whole business of trust in any burgeoning relationship is a tricky one; be it lovers, friends, associates, coworkers, any relationship that is unfolding. I can make you roll your eyes and nod rhetorically if I tell you that trust has to be earned. It is the theme of every banal teenage drama on television. Yes, yes… we know that, David… captain of clichés. Clearly David starts with the letter Duh.

I’ll spare you the wisdom of the banal and venture into the more exotic take on trust. In order for trust to be earned, it has to be broken. It must be tested and strained. The paper grocery bag we carry our trust in has to get wet in the rain and threaten to tear, releasing our grapefruit and eggs and flank steak and box of baking powder and our Crunchy-O’s to the wet pavement just before we reach the car door.

Think about this. Trust has to at some point be challenged. One doesn’t say “I know she doesn’t read my private journal” without it crossing one’s mind when it’s left on one’s nightstand when her roommate is home alone. At some point the opportunity for the breach is realized, and we sit staring at the crack waiting to see if our partner will chip away at it enough to be able to reach through the wall.

But here’s the tricky part, the smoke and mirrors, the David Copperfield’s flair and dazzle, the Penn and Teller’s humorous play-off-the-other-partnership, the David Blaine’s disarming deadpan, the Criss Angel’s saying “close your eyes and don’t peek”. The misdirection is the other person in whom our trust is tested. The real trust issue lies in the self. The need to constantly keep one eye open is a symptom of a lack of trust in our ability to align ourselves with people above board. Even when we find the limits to which we can trust another, we still insist on testing them to validate their untrustworthiness beyond the point of the validation we already received. Are we really testing ourselves to see if we can trust ourselves to not trust the untrustworthy?

This is not to say that it is simply our fault if another person betrays us our shatters our faith in them that should be there by default. It is to say that if we to continue to risk a betrayal from our partner when past examples show it to be inevitable, we are clearly demonstrating a lack of trust in ourselves. Perhaps it is an inability to trust ourselves to make sound decisions in love or in business. Perhaps we mistrust our strength in functioning independently. In any event a constant mistrust of a person with whom we are entering some form of partnership is an opportunity for us to examine where we need to strengthen our sense of self trust. When we find that and we secure that we will see that the partnership will naturally resolve itself to our personal benefit.

Eight of Cups with Seven of Swords

Cosmic Tarot by Norbert Lösche
Cosmic Tarot by Norbert Lösche

As eye-rollingly poppy and filled with cliche tumbleweed town wisdom as is Kenny Roger’s song The Gambler, I cannot wax condescending regarding its seemingly jejune advice, as I would find myself belied by my previous poker analogy ladened posts regarding being pot committed that I had written here –> (Page of Wands with Eight of Wands) and here –> (The Tower with Eight of Coins).

These two posts echo in their themes the advice given by the anonymous 1978 version of Johnny Moss in the lines know when to fold ’em / know when to walk away. So as to avoid the risk of the police coming to my door saying they received a disturbance call and hauling me off to jail in handcuffs while the theme of knowing when to walk away stares out the window as they put me in the squad car, I’m going to simply take a different perspective on this rather than beat it to death. I would not want Doyle Brunson rolling in his grave, was he not actually still alive.

It may seem like the least apropos time to think about this when you’re chest deep in quicksand, but sometimes we have to ask ourselves if we are deceiving ourselves by believing we can succeed in an otherwise futile scenario or if we are merely deceiving ourselves into believing the scenario is futile as a means of an excuse to eschew any future effort required of us.

Since I’ve abandoned the poker analogy and am now going with one involving quicksand, I’m going to go with it. In this scenario, the solutions to prevent oneself from becoming further immersed in quicksand seem counterintuitive. Some suggestions from the Bear Grylls ilk is to sit down or attempt to lie down. This feels much like turning into the direction of a skid or pretending you’re dead if a bear is charging you, or pulling prime rib out of the oven before it reaches its ideal temperature, or complimenting the wardrobe choice of your boss of a different gender. When you’re steadily feeling yourself being pulled down by the perception-addling non-Newtonian fluid, the last thing you believe will save your life would be to relax into it like coquette sipping a Piña Colada in a cabana. Yet this has been proven to help one escape from nature’s gravity well, though it might provide futile in escaping from this encumbering analogy.

This is an illustration of the solution residing outside the box. All too often when we find ourselves way too far into our pursuit with no hope of success and a long way back to Start, we are driven by the dynamo of intensity-fueled frustration, of a tenacity that is applied simply for the sake of tenacity. When all we know to do is to put our heads down and push through, we can’t see the possible divergent paths to our left and our right.

Before we are ready to walk away from an exhausting black hole of effort with no return, leaving the construction of our dream three-quarters the way complete only to find out we are broke and ineligible for any financing assistance, it’s time to actually lie down on the floor and stare into the starry sky since there is no roof on the structure. Stop the pull of the quicksand and the hemorrhaging of hope long enough to let the mind wander. When we release the frenetic fervor of effort even only for a moment, leaving our thoughts free to roll in Elysium fields of disassociation from our task at hand, we open ourselves up to finding an alternate route, an untried avenue, a probability that is just crazy enough to work.

Eight of Wands with Seven of Cups

Cosmic Tarot by Norbert Lösche
Cosmic Tarot by Norbert Lösche

Once again, I come to this blog with a couple of cards that seem to have a bit of a personal message. Whether you are anything like me, or nothing like me, or somewhat resemble me from the knees on down, there may be a message in these two cards for you as well.

First of all, I want to preface this post with the promise that this is in no way another New Year’s themed memorandum. I’m not vowing to eat more of this or less of that, I’m not planning a lifelong commitment into a workout regimen that will actually fade out in the third week of the year, nor am I promising to be nicer or less snarky to myself or anyone else. I’m not really a resolution maker, as I’m a proponent of the “the best time to start anything is now” credo rather than saving it for a monumental milestone marker date that’s highlighted on a monthly calendar containing pictures of puppies in baskets.

For me, why decide to start something anew on the annual Day 1 when there are so many things I have yet to complete? Admittedly I am one of those forms of folk that like to have a myriad of projects, many irons in the fire.  My grandmother, having recognized the multifaceted attention span that is inherent in us Gemini, often tossed me the “jack of all trades, master of none” idiom (or its Barbadian equivalent) as a harbinger of a life filled with the detritus of incomplete endeavors.

As I take inventory of the works-in-progress that lay strewn about in my mental hopper I see a fictional story, a non-fictional writing concept, an improvement on the coffee roaster, the continuing pursuit of my certifications for work, the next assignment in line toward my metaphysical theology degree, another podcast or reawakening the dormant one, a little music recording… that’s only to name a fraction of them. The list is inexhaustible yet exhausting to ponder. A small thread of anxiety shows itself when I try to discern which deserves the lion’s share of my attention.

Each and every one of these endeavors excites me, so I cannot begin to prioritize them by importance. That’s the trouble with these multiple interests; as each moment passes one of these happen to stop on the wheel’s flapper to say “pick me”, yet the wheel gets respun time and time again as the sun marches across the sky. How do I decide what is most important or most deserving of my time, or which I want to do above all others?

The trick here is to step back and look at it all from a thousand feet away. When all these little projects and interest get displayed on a single large canvas, they take on a completely different perspective. I can look at all these accomplishments I’m aspiring to complete in one singular theme. The question is not about importance or priority or ultimate desire, it is one of purpose and point, not about what I want to accomplish, but who I want to be.

As I stand back and soak in these endeavors in perspective panoramic, I seem to see a mish-mosh of disparate plans and projects, but my Gemini soul gazes upon the vista with great pleasure. I see a collection of tiny pieces of projects, each of which in turn catches the sun as it crosses the sky to create a glint to catch my attention at that moment in time, only until the next piece winks its light at me with the shifting azimuth. It is delighting in the distractions of the dabblings. It is the pleasure of engaging in a tarantella with a myriad of projects that exhilarates me. It is essentially the pure joy in being a jack of all trades, much more gratifying than being the master of one.