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…

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”.

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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.

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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.

 

Choosing Your Perspective.

I live nomadically. That means I am location independent and can choose where my home is at any moment. Every time I arrive, it is a celebration. New life. New views. New perspectives. New choices. It creates joy. Over and over again.

I wonder why I didn’t feel that way before I hit the road. What changed? I know the view is different, but I am the same. And, of course, they say you take your problems with you wherever you go, and I have no illusions of running away from my problems.

But, still, it was different. I started to listen to people around me. In RV parks, in National Forests, in random rest areas. They were all talking about the moment at hand, their past memories, and, mainly, where they were going in the future. Then it hit me. They had the brain space to do so. They were not cluttered with the small stuff, the tiny perspectives that they had before.

I returned to Los Angeles for a few, o.k. six. months. I was there long enough to spend time with all the people I had left. I was there long enough to start to hear them complain about what color their neighbor had painted their house (oh, no!), how someone left dog poop right in front of their driveway (dreadful!), how someone parked to close to their car (the audacity!). Now, all these things can be irritants, absolutely. But what I saw, from the outside looking in, was that everyone was so caught up in these mini dramas that it just took up a surprising amount of space in their minds.

With so much of your brain cluttered with small details, you start to lose perspective. You are not on the outside looking in at yourself, rather you are so ‘in it’ that you can’t see out. It happens to all of us. We want to do good. We want to save the world. We want to move forward. But we get so consumed with little details that there is no time or space left.

When we are traveling, yes, I step on dog poop, yes, I see houses painted the most, um, ‘interesting’ colors, yes, sometimes people park so close to me that I just wonder what the heck they are thinking. But now I choose my perspective. I have the ability to choose not to get caught up in the mini-dramas because it is just not important in the big scheme of things. I am here to help people. I am here to support the planet. I am also here to just sit and be joyfully in the moment. Dog poop is nothing compared to that.

You don’t need to move every week to see things anew. You don’t need major life changes to force a new perspective. You can just start to ask yourself if that irritant is really important. Is it more important than achieving your goals? What do you want for yourself? What do you want for the world? What little things can you change your perspective on to make that happen?

Lost

 Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you

Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,

And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,

Must ask permission to know it and be known.

The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,

I have made this space around you.

If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.

No trees are the same to Raven.

No two branches are the same to Wren.

If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,

You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows

Where you are. You must let it find you.

 

by David Wagner, from The House of Belonging by David Whyte

find yourself

 

 


The House of Belonging