Our Need for Order and Meaning

image

 

I live on the road. Out in nature. From campground to campground. It is visually random. Audibly random. Yes, there is a rhythm here. But you have to listen for it. Therefore, I wonder, if we don’t see it, how deep is our need to place it all in a pattern?

I was out walking my dogs the other day as I passed a woman standing in an empty campsite. It looked to me as if she were picking up rocks. But I did not look closely.

Later that evening, as I was, yet again, walking the dogs, I saw police cars. Quite a few of them, on the other end of the campground. On the return round of the walk I discovered her story, sort of. This woman was lost in San Diego. A 3-4 hour drive away from where we are camped in the high desert.  They had been searching for her for 3 weeks. She had Alzheimer’s. How she got here was a mystery.

But here she was. Collecting rocks.

As I passed the spot the next day, I took a closer look. On the picnic table, she had organized rocks, twigs, raven feathers, and even a silver earring she had found. All in order. All classified by the thoughts and patterns in her head.

We are the pattern seekers of all the species. Humans look for order, patterns, meaning, in all things. I saw that in this older woman. She didn’t know where she was, she may not have known who she was, but here she was, making patterns, making order. I wonder what she got from it. Did she feel safer with order? Did she find meaning with the patterns and classification? Was it a comfort or a drive?

My guess is that it was both. We feel comfort with order. It helps define what things mean. Puts things into place and perspective. And that helps us to know who we are in relation to this world.

 

 

True Self, The Devil, and Shooting Yourself in the Foot

 

Why is it so hard? Why do we almost make things happen, but not quite get there. Why do we start things and not follow through? Why do we put things off until later/never? Why do we find excuses? Over and over again.

Showing up as your true self is amazing. It is powerful. It is healing. It is connected. It is real.

It is real scary.

We can fear our own power.  It is different. It is a new way of being. It feels odd. Maybe we feel too big. Maybe we feel we shouldn’t dare. Maybe we feel we don’t deserve it. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

So, to support these doubts. To stay with the status quo. To keep change from happening, to keep us from showing up, we conveniently shoot ourselves in the foot. We set up roadblocks and believe them to be beyond our control.

But it is not the truth. This is where the devil lives. Making us believe that it is out of our hands, that we are powerless to remove our chains.

The devil is hoping that we don’t notice that the chains that bind us are actually loose. They are just hanging there. For us to remove at any moment. But we believe the story. We believe that these roadblocks are created from outside of us, therefore we stay chained.

And when we shoot ourselves in the foot, yes, it is our own doing, our own action. But we still blame it on something that can’t be helped: we are stupid, we are lazy, we are forgetful…

As if that is fact. Just the way it is. The devil lies. And we believe.

To remove the chains, to be set free from what pulls us down, we don’t need to ‘do’ anything. We don’t need to try to break the links with our own bare hands. We don’t need to fight. We don’t need to struggle to squirm out of them.

We just need to stop believing in them…

Superstition

 

Black cat crossing your path.

Walking under a ladder.

Stepping on a crack, breaking your mama’s back.

There are so many superstitions in every culture. As a part of culture, they are quite  interesting to look at and and their history can be fascinating.

But once you internalize them. Once you give an object or event power over you, that’s where the danger lies. It’s giving up agency. It’s telling the world, and, more importantly, yourself, that you are powerless.

I used to avoid cracks as a kid. It was fun. Until it was stressful, as I just didn’t want to take the chance of actually hurting my mother, because, oh, I loved her so much. What if it really happened? I couldn’t take that chance As a child, it is easy to slip in to all forms of beliefs about yourself and the world. Especially with a child’s desperate need to feel safe. But, as adults, we need to investigate these beliefs, shine lights on them, make conscious decisions, become our own sources of power and knowledge.

Let’s take this to tarot. The cards have no power over you. Drawing The Devil card does not mean that awful things are going to happen to you. Drawing The Tower card does not mean that there is going to be an earthquake. replete with lightning and thunder, that tosses you and everything you love out the window.

If we went with superstition, that is what we would be lead to believe. Or, conversely, that if we draw The Ten of Cups, it means marriage, house and children are all waiting for us around the corner. I know, this is where superstition really draws us in. This safety, this happy ending. This luck of the draw and (at the same time)  this guarantee.

Yes, superstition can make us promises. But they are not real. And they are random. Life is random enough. To allow superstition to come in is taking any power we have in circumstances away from us.

But we actually are more powerful. We do have choice. We have the ability to decide for ourselves. This is so much more amazing than just being led by the nose.

The power is in the Wheel of Fortune card. Yes, life spins around us, tosses us challenges and gifts. But that is just what is. The power shows up when we consciously make the decisions on how to take it on.

And that has nothing to do with not opening an umbrella in the house…

We Make Our Own Three of Swords

imageWe are all powerful. Sounds good, doesn’t it? We have the ability to create our world, see our world, interact in our world however we like. A good thing, right? Absolutely. Until we create our world in a way that is harmful to us. That makes us sad. That disempowers us. We have the choice to go either way. (we really do)

Take a look at the Deviant Moon Tarot’s Three of Swords, above. She has three swords piercing her heart. A loss, a blocking of energy. Maybe a heartbreak or a betrayal. These things happen. We can’t live in a 100% perfect world with no pain or suffering. It is called being human. We can’t ‘opt-out’ of everything that is challenging.

But. Take a look at this woman again. What is the one thing that she is taking action on, that she is actively doing? She is poking her own wounds, isn’t she? She has a black tear running down her face, but you have to ask, is it because of  her situation, or because of her actively adding to the suffering? If her hand was on the other side, on the handle, pulling a sword out of her heart, she would be powerfully engaging in her situation. But, no, she’s poking. She’s adding to the pain. She is going in deeper.

This is an aspect of our power that we have to recognize. We often get in the habit of taking things to the dramatical heights, seeing the worst case scenario, dwelling in the suffering. We forget that we have choice. That we may not be able to change the situation, but we can change our reaction to it. And that makes all the difference.

So, what are you wallowing in? What are you poking at? What can you step back from? What can you do instead of poking the wound?

Tarot as Tool

imageI believe that the tarot is a tool for us. Not magical. Not an oracle. But a tool where we have the power. The future is in our control. The images and stories of the tarot remind us of the path we are going through. As this path is pretty universal to humanity, the symbols in it are common to us all. Maybe different shapes, sizes and colors, but we are still the same.

We all share goals in one form or another. It is this sameness that the images speak to, the collective consciousness. Sometimes this ‘sameness’ is hidden. Under layers of protection. This can even be hidden in the unconscious.

By using the tarot to open oneself up, it can bring back out, from under these layers, our inner guide, which knows what we, as living, loving humans, strive for.

The tarot can help re-guide us back to beauty, love and happiness.

The Imaginary Hierophant Named “Family”.

image

One of the Hierophant’s elements can be structure. Also authority. When you put those together in a family dynamic, it can be intense. It can become a structure that we were raised with, then automatically, unconsciously, fall into as adults. This can run our lives. At the very least, it can keep us from living full out in the life that we want for us. Bringing it up into consciousness and the light of day can be scary, but truly amazing as well.

A family can generate a set of ideals. Created by the group, or by a single or few strong personalities in the family. These ideals can be absorbed into our ways of being, being run by that awful word, “should”. Shining a light here is a great thing. Ask yourself if you have been striving for perfection based on someone else’s ideals/desires or your own. Look at how you are comparing yourself to your family and ask yourself it you are being how you want to be, or how they want you to be. Are you punishing yourself because you are not fitting in to their expectations? These types of questions can be difficult to look at. But once they are answered, once you get clear on  who is really making your decisions, it can be truly liberating when you let go.

It’s exhausting living your life according to someone else’s vision, it really is. For me, not living an authentic life makes me feel as if I am not living a life at all. It just doesn’t work. I had spent years trying to fit in to someone else’s idea of how life should be. Years. I compared myself to how I was “supposed” to be, I was outwardly well behaved and gave all the correct answers on demand. I covered up who I really was. They were all so proper and well behaved, and I must be lesser than, because I was not fitting in to that mold. Turns out, they were all full of shit anyways. Not only were they not better than everyone, they were downright creepy. I spent so much time wasted on being unforgiving towards myself for not keeping up with those ideals that never even existed in the first place. It is just not worth it.

Don’t give up your true self for anybody.

 

 

What is Our Nature and The Moon Card.

image

Yesterday a loved dog went past this life to meet Wolf, his guide. It was both painful and a relief to those that loved him. It was a tragedy all the way around, and his tremendous gift will be missed. It was a hard day.

This morning I woke up, of course, with him on my mind. I also awoke to the image of The Moon Card, as it, in the classic Rider Waite deck, features a dog and a wolf. I have recently been doing a deeper study of this card and was stuck on a description that included “fear of the natural mind”. “Natural” was the term that challenged me. I woke up this morning knowing. It is the fear of our own nature. We fear who we are, what we are capable of. We fear the bad that can come from us, but that also makes us fear the good, as the shadow and the self are both deep down in there. The Moon is shining light on our fears, so we can see the good as well.

Ralphie, the dog, feared his own nature. Trying to control his dangerous impulses, he also couldn’t let go and experience his own good.

We are more fortunate than Ralphie, we can make greater choices than a canine can. While the moon card refers to “hidden enemies, danger, darkness, deception” (Rider-Waite), these are all things that we bring up, ourselves. They are all within ourselves, and because they are, we have choice. We have a choice in how we look at it. We have a choice on how we feel about it. We have a choice on what action to take.

I am heartbroken that Ralphie could not make that choice. According to Thich Nhat Hahn, nothing dies, everything lives on within us, around us. A cloud never goes way, it just changes form. Ralphie’s gift to me is a deeper awareness of our nature and what is possible.

May you go play in freedom with Wolf, Ralphie. And thank you.

 

End of the Day Sadness with a Touch of Anxiety? Tarot’s Thoughts

There can be a certain sadness at the end of the day. Its over. Like the end of a vacation, the last moments of a party. But it is a daily ending. We go through it over and over again. Little endings. It can leave us at a bit of a loss.

I did a quick little tarot reading about this, looking at both the sadness and the anxiety and the advice that follows. What I drew was:

image

 

 

 

 

I drew the Two of Swords for the sadness. A woman with her arms folded protectively across her chest. As if she is protecting her heart. Maybe we fight to protect ourselves from this sadness? Maybe we are using energy to not admit that, hey, yes, one more down.

  • What would it be like to just open up and feel it? Have a little melancholy with your evening tea. Maybe it really won’t be so bad. It might honor the day. It might bring you closer to yourself by being honest. You might find that it is quite o.k.

I drew the Three of Pentacles for the anxiety part of the end of the day. This one is obvious. We work each day with goals and  desires. We don’t always reach them.  And when we don’t, we beat ourselves up over it. The end of the end of the day is the time we have to let go. We don’t have a choice in the matter, the day is gone, nothing we can do about it. But some part of ourselves wants to finish up the unfinishable. That can create anxiety.

  • What would it be like to just let that go?

The advice card I drew is the Queen of Swords. Mature. Wise. Faces the truth, but doesn’t get worked up over it.  She can see ‘what is’ and still not get all worked up over it.

  • So what would it be like to just be in the acceptance of it?

When you give it a try, you  find the beauty that is there. Being o.k. with however it shows up allows everything to fit into the right place.

The Tower in Tarot.

image

 

The tarot. The tower. Many people are uncomfortable with this card. It’s easy to see why. The image is of destruction. Of  people flying out of a tower. But think of it. The tower is decaying. You are only there because of familiarity. Change is scary. We would rather stay in something that no longer serves us than take action to move to a better place. So sometimes the universe shakes it up for us. If we are stagnant we often need a kick in the butt. Its what we do with this kick that matters. How we face it. The attitude we have. How we embrace it. Ask yourself: do you really want to stay in this rut? Day in and day out, because its what is known, which is safer than what is unknown. But guess what? Where do your dreams reside? Yes, more over towards that unknown place. That place where you have to take a step outside your comfort zone. Where you have to open up. Take a bit of risk.

So, take a new look at the what areas you are not moving towards your dreams. What is stopping you? What is keeping you hiding in this safe (for now) and crumbling tower? What is getting in your way of taking your own step forward and has you waiting for the tower to shake it up for you?

You have the strength to take the first steps forward.