Four of Cups with The Empress

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Quantum Tarot 2.0 by Kay Stopforth and Chris Butler

Are you feeling jaded and bored? Be homeless for a day.

You say, “David, being homeless sounds boring. I see those people sitting around doing nothing all day with a cardboard sign that asks for money.”

Well let me tell you this… most homeless people I encounter are busying themselves. They are searching for food and provisions that will get them through the day. There is nothing boring about constantly being in a state of survival mode.

Well I’m not here to talk about social welfare or the plight of the homeless. I’m simply trying to make a point.

Being jaded and uninspired seems to be a symptom of middle class and above. We surround ourselves with a myriad of trinkets and toys and distractions until we inevitably find that none of these things seem to do it for us. We land in between the new and the used, the sheen and lustre and chrome plating has become dull, the gadget has been played with for the thousandth time and has become predictable and stale.

So I say if we find ourselves in the throws of ennui it’s time to get rid of our comforts. If we can’t seem to entertain ourselves any longer with the shiny trappings with which we crows have crowded our nests, perhaps it’s time to do away with them. It’s interesting to see what yields from the deep dark well of deficit.

Inspiration is not derived from objets d’sire. We have fallen under the Madison Avenue induced trance that has convinced us otherwise. We believe we are inspired by the fascination that novelty brings in the heads-up display of our new car or the slick features of that new smartphone. Yet these are merely distractions as they do not inspire outward expression drawn from the well of creativity. They are merely the tools of Mesmer that hold us transfixed until the newness sloughs off like so many dead skin cells.

Creative expression is drawn from the great void of isness. It is processed from the syrup that flows from the tapping of our soul. When we can turn inward to the cornucopia of our inexhaustible and boundless inner landscape we will find an array of flotsam and jetsam strewn out of the collision of countless beautiful experiences, tiny fragments of the constant re-creating and defining of the utterly broken and errant yet perfect and beautiful self.

If we find ourselves in the throws of the dulls, it is time we stop looking outside ourselves for inspiration. Our numbness is an indication we have become disconnected from the kernel of who we are and our inner voice sounds like din or worse yet, we have completely soundproofed ourselves against the call of introspection. What we are hearing is a clarion call disguised as boredom and numbness. Once we release the agitated ego that is attached to the ennui we find we were actually yearning to retreat within yet we were afraid to do so.

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Ace of Pentacles with The Empress

Witches Tarot by Ellen Dugan and Mark Evans
Witches Tarot by Ellen Dugan and Mark Evans

My wife and I often joke about writing a book entitled If We Had Kids… We are certain it would raise the ire of every parent that would read the About the Authors piece that described how we have no children. We would be serving as the armchair quarterbacks doling out sage wisdom that was not discovered through the scars upon one’s psyche earned through the process of child rearing. We would be placed in the stockades in the middle of Parentown by an angry mob of mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted moms and dads, pitchforks with impaled diapers and homework raised, the 1st Amendment standing in the background waving us off, saying, “you guys are on your own.”

The biggest problem I see with the title of the book, other than the fact that it would have been written by a couple of middle-class DINKS, is that nobody has kids. People bear children and raise children and teach children and feed and clothe children, but they don’t have them. Although children are under the care of adults for nearly two decades as they grow and mature and learn how to function in the world, they are still embodied with free will, individuality, and personality. Quite simply, they are not possessions.

I would like to see people substitute the term having kids with the term creating kids. The children we bring into the world are of our own unique creation that no other person can replicate. They are the quintessential form of personal expression of our uniqueness. We instill our values into our children so they can contribute to creating a world we want to see realized. Once we have accomplished this, we can only release them to the world when they become adults. The designations of mom and dad are now but associative titles of relation rather than designation of keepers.

I decided to be so bold as to illustrate my point through raising offspring, an experience of which I am richly devoid. Nonetheless, as producing and rearing offspring is the pinnacle of creativity to many, I felt it was rather appropriate. You see, that which we create, whether it be children or art or music or building structures or a company or a necklace or a quilt or a novel, they really truly are not our own. Even if we choose to keep it or possess it, its true value is realized when we acknowledge our creations are our gifts to the world.

Even if we were to custom build that house from the plans that we created, we leave that house standing as a gift to whoever moves into it long after our flesh has turned to ash or soil or crab food. When we see the products of our creations as devices through which to acquire stuff or satisfaction, we are really missing the point. We might be driven to create then we stand and admire our creation with great pride, but it really is no more than a chachki to put on a mantle that has to be dusted every week unless we give it to the world. That’s when our creations truly come alive and expand into the great network of life.

So let us share our creations. Don’t keep that novel in the drawer. Don’t hold onto our sons and daughters so tightly in fear of losing our identities if we release them to the world. All that we create is meant to be given away. If you’ve ever wondered what it means to have one’s cake and eat it too it is to say that we can make the most beautiful cake in the world and put it under glass to admire throughout the rest of our days, but we’ve totally missed the point of cake if we don’t share it to be eaten.

Knight of Wands

Knight of Wands
A knight on horseback carries a wand, moving forward at a deliberate pace

Manifestation begins at the moment of inspiration. The expression the spark of inspiration could not be more precise in describing the process of manifestation. The creation of our desired outcomes functions much the way a fire burns, and each fire begins with a spark. Thus, inspiration is the genesis of all manifestation.

Each time we allow our inspiration to move us to leap, to jump, to step forward, we are igniting a creative endeavor. However, much like starting a fire, that spark needs the appropriate fuel to catch it, feed it, and transmute it into an active flame. Much in this same way, we need to act on our inspiration. If we allow an inspired feeling or thought to arise in us but we take no action on it, we are not feeding the fire needed to shape and expand our desire.

This fire is not to be feared. We may hesitate to allow a flame to ignite, fearing it will blaze beyond our control, consuming everything in its path. Ironically, this fear of not being able to control this fire, the allegory for our passion, is indicative of the need to ignite it and allow it to consume what it will. The wildfire that consumes a forest may seem to wreak unmitigated destruction, but we humans fail to understand Nature’s intention of clearing the overgrowth, that the fire serves to revitalize the wilderness, bringing even stronger growth in the wake of the seeming devastation.

When we find ourselves standing still due to the fear of our own passion escaping our control, we choke off the cleansing flame of creativity. We would do well to trust in the flames, that the passionate creativity ignited by our inspiration will set afire to that which needs to be consumed and cleared to allow our desired outcomes the room to grow, feeding on the ashes of what no longer serves us in our lives.

A Revisitation from the Estranged Muse

"The Whole 9 Yards", our band from 1988
“The Whole 9 Yards”, our band from 1988

This evening I will be performing a handful of original tunes – songs I have written – in front of an audience, something I have not done in over 20 years. I am feeling pretty (insert adjective here) about it. I have a list of adjectives to choose from regarding it, though none seem to hit the mark quite right.

I blame my buddy for all this. We reconnected at a St. Patrick’s Day celebration hosted by the family of our deceased friend. I was inquiring about a post he shared on Facebook regarding a song he was authoring for the Americana style band he plays in. He had remarked that the song was stalled as he does not feel he has a knack for writing lyrics and a melody line. So I offered to see if I could come up with something for him if he would be willing to send me the music.

Later that week he did send the music, and inspiration struck like an eagle snatching a salmon from the Sound. The moment I heard the riffs he had recorded the first line of the lyrics and melody flashed into my mind. Within a week I had flushed out the rest of the words and melody, set them into a rough recording, and sent it off to my friend.

Well that process somehow became the porchlight to my muse in moth form. I became inspired to lay down a recording of the ode I had written about the passing of our aforementioned mutual friend (I recently shared this song on the podcast – check out Minister Mini #3: Everywhere), a song that I had been carving out over the last year or so.

Once the song was recorded I was moved to share it with my buddy, my late friend’s widow, and another friend that we played with in bands together back in our teens. This friend also happens to have a band that was the last band my departed friend played in before he died.

Next thing I know, he is asking me if I want to play the song live as an opening for his band at the coffee shop down the street. I kind of surprised myself when I agreed, as I have been in this self-imposed musical exile for so many years now. As this evening’s showtime approaches I hear the crows of criticism cawing in my head, speaking to my rough chops as a guitar player, parts of melody that reach the top of my vocal register, a rusty singing voice that is layered with a couple of decades of dust…

…then I remind myself that the three songs I will play are from the heart, and I present them from the heart then the truest essence of what these songs are about will come through. Time to once again unveil the vulnerability upon which these songs are created, while reminding myself this is all about expression rather than acceptance.

The Empress

The Empress
A woman in flowing robes of pomegranate print sits in comfort surrounded by nature’s abundant growth

To manifest is to create. When we set our intention for what we want to manifest, we are not simply casting a wish into some ethereal, mystical realm outside ourselves, only hoping that the intended outcome of our desires are presented to us by the hidden hand of fate.

Every manifestation we realize that was once based on an intention we set is of our own creation. We are the ones creating our desired outcomes. Sometimes our impediments in manifesting are merely due to forgetting that we are the ones with the creative power. We have somehow come to believe that we have to depend on fate or the will of a divine power or good fortune to bless us with fruition, that we are helpless in creating our own desires.

If we find ourselves waiting for some powers-that-be to look upon us and grant us good favor toward our desired outcome, we may need to reawaken our connection to our own creative power. This is when we can benefit by merely exercising in the act of creation. A simple creative endeavor would suffice to begin with. We can choose a project or a task to accomplish in which we already do well; this will remind us of how effortlessly we are able to tap into our innate creative abilities.

From there we can take on a creative task that we know we can accomplish that might take a bit more effort. The exercise of surrounding ourselves with the fruits of our labors will engage the energy of creating, of giving birth to actualizations that simply began as ideas and desires.

Once we reengage the momentum of our own creative force, we will find ourselves, without even realizing it, automatically applying that same creative energy to the greater intention we had set, the one that we had previously left in the hands of fate and good fortune. We once again find ourselves active participants in the act of manifestation, knowing our own creative energy is the true source of bringing our desires into reality.

Queen of Wands

A queen is seated on a throne, staff in one hand and a sunflower in the other. A black cat is seated at her feet
A queen is seated on a throne, staff in one hand and a sunflower in the other. A black cat is seated at her feet

The lion’s share of the power behind manifestation stems from creative expression. This is not purely limited to the creativity that goes toward attaining one’s goals and dreams. This applies to the exercise of creativity in and of itself.

The expression of creativity is a muscle, for all intents and purposes. The creativity required for shaping and forming the life we desire must be exercised and developed. In sports, preseason games do not count toward the team’s record but the games themselves are valuable for assessing their strategy and style. Painters, sculptors, musicians, and several other types of artists will initiate countless pieces and projects only to scrap them even after putting hours of work into them.

These exercises are just that, exercises. They are for the purpose of developing, training, and honing our creative power. The end result of anything in our life we work toward manifesting is the result of the many attempts that have preceded the final product.

However, what often holds us back from engaging in creative exercises is the frustration of repeated “attempts” that have not yielded any expected results. We see each attempt as a failure rather than an exercise. One way we can move beyond this perception is to view the exercises as playful endeavors, to not invest in the outcome, and allow our creativity to flow without the limits that can result from the expectations we place on ourselves to complete a task or to “get it right”. The final result will invariably contain every round of creativity we engaged in, therefore no trial run is ever wasted.

King of Pentacles

A king sits on his throne, adorned in opulent garments of printed grapes, surrounded by lustrous vines and growth

To attract abundance we have to believe we can attract abundance. We have to believe we are capable of manifesting our desires. How can we do this? As previously mentioned, maintaining a perspective of gratitude enables us to do this. From here we can take it a step further and recognize that all the things we are grateful to have in our lives are a result of our own actions and decisions.

The wonderful relationships we have with loved ones are the result of our choice to foster those relationships. The material blessings such as our home, our job, our belongings are due to decisions we made that landed us our jobs, that made it possible to afford our dwellings or our vehicles. As much as good fortune may seem to have had a hand in our blessings, at some point we took an action that directed the good fortune into our lives.

This simple observation illustrates how we are the sowers of the seeds of our own harvests. We are the creators of our own bounty. When we embrace this we remind ourselves that the lives we desire is within our reach, just waiting us to make the prerequisite choices to bring them into our present.