the skylark sings of safety
where did it wander
how can it find this lost feeling
the armadillo sings of joy
how can it feel this thing
it cannot uncurl its heart to see
the starfish sings of sadness
a foreign place it’s never known
a frown it can’t physically achieve
the bee sings of laziness
because it cannot fathom
having the time to stop and think
A Study of Shields
A dear friend of mine recently explained the difference between blocking and shielding. A block is an attempt to stop one move at a time and is focused only on the direction of that strike. A shield is different. It is intended to block many strikes from any direction. This made me want to explore different kinds of shields, and more importantly not just physical shields, but mental, emotional and spiritual shields. Today I’m doing this using the Way Home Tarot and the Enchanted Map Oracle.
Shields can be barriers and these barriers can be both helpful and hinder us. Sometimes we need to hibernate like the Hermit above. In this case we are shielding ourselves from the world in order to heal, but if we stay there too long we are just hiding from life, and that’s not protection, that’s stagnation.
Some barriers are helpful tools in order to allow us to complete a task. The frog in the four of pentacles is using the lily pads as a barrier to the water. The structure of the lilypad shield allows the frog to walk on water.
In many ways shields are a show of collective strength. A community is a type of shield, like the ant colony in the Three of Pentacles above. By working together we are able to protect ourselves by building one bigger stronger shield rather than each of us holding our own.
A shield can also be used as a weapon, although if that’s what you are doing, you should know that you are going back more to blocking than using the shield as its truly intended. The minute you aim a shield at something it becomes a block. But it could be a very effective block at the right time – two swords crossed together can be a shield.
I know what you are thinking – how the hell is this thing a shield. In my study of shields this week I have decided that the most powerful shield we can have is the ability to connect with the present moment. We cannot live in the future, it doesn’t exit yet – if we live there we are living in the ghostlands where no sheild is possible. Yes we should plan for the future and have goals, but we can’t live there. We also cannot live with the ghosts of the past, in a place that we have frozen in time and are trying to use as a shield to keep us from joining the present. That place no longer exists as well, and staying there is only harming yourself and not anyone else.
When we can truly connect with our present we are able to send energy out in all directions, farther than the heart or soul can see. Its the biggest shield of all, and maybe the hardest one to build in a strong way.
I wish you peace in whatever shield you need this week, and I wish all of us progress in staying in the present and out of the ghostlands.
The ingredients for a feast
This week just a fun light three card story from the Way Home Tarot. The 6 of pentacles shows some harvested herbs and garlic. Some painstakingly prepared ingredients for sure which required the passage of time in order both grow and dry some of the herbs.
On the left, the 9 of pentacles – a harvest from another well tended garden, this one has most likely taken several seasons to develop.
In the center, the 2 of wands, the conflict of the sticks is necessary to create the spark for the cooking fire.
Its a good example of three thigns that are important, but don’t work as well if they are not combined, in this case into a tasty feast?
What three ingredients would you focus on in order to create your long awaited feast?
Why so judgmental?
Judgement is the name given most often the next to last card of the major arcana in the Tarot. It has the number 20 and is has been one of the hardest ones for me to connect with so I thought I would study it a bit more and write an article.
The general idea of this card is that its time to make a decision, and not just any decision, a life changing decision. For this reason I have stopped thinking of the card so literally and renamed it the Huge Decision card in my head which has helped immensely. Here are some examples and some of the nuances that come with them. If you want more info on the decks that the cards come from please go to the page of this blog on tools of the locksmith.
Whoa! Am I right? This card from the Afro-Brazilian Tarot says huge decision with high drama for sure. Its literally asking you if you are ready to grab the lighting in the storm within and transform. Well…..are you? Maybe you would like some time to think about that.
Sometimes this refers to a huge decision that we made in the past depending on the location of the card. It might have been a decision you had to make to survive. If that’s the case you should look at how that decision is currently impacting your life, and understand why it was necessary, but if at all possible do so without…..wait for it….judgement.
Well this seems a bit more low key…almost, I mean its a monkey how bad could it be? Beware, this is from the Tarot of the Divine where legends, myths and fairy tales abound. This is Sun Wukong, the monkey king born from stone who acquired supernatural powers through Taoist practices. The story of Sun Wukong is a long and winding one where he made some very bad and downright evil choices, and then later on proves himself by accompanying and protecting a pilgrim on a journey of 81 tribulations.
In this case this judgement might be more about redemption, and being able to look at what led up to this moment as a whole story instead of only seeing either mistakes or victories. Its more than the “simple” balancing act of the card called Justice, its the ability to look with detachment at the whole picture to inform the choice for redemption.
In the Voyager Tarot the card with the number 20 is called Time-Space. Its the ability to see all things as one and how they are connected. This is less of a judgement or decision, and more of the ability to have this kind of perspective and awareness.
In many ways this is harder than making a big decision, because we often blind ourselves to important bits and pieces if our judgement is clouded by the past, or if we are projecting something that is not really there into the future.
Lastly I offer this simple vision of transformation from the Way Home Tarot. Is the now transformed cicada looking back on its shell from the past, or is the shell from the past looking forward to the future transformation. Trick question, there is no time or space at this point in the archetypes because we are about to come to the final realization that they are all the same thing.
In this case the transformation is inevitable, even if the cicada will have to wait 17 years to experience it. So then what? I think the message then is to prepare and study for this big impending moment.
The story of the Two of Swords – the positive transformation of conflict into partnerships
Sometimes we get to a point in a project or a partnership where things don’t seem to be working like they used to. Everything feels like work , and two parts that at one point seemed to be executing in harmony are now working against each other. This is not a sign that the project, idea, or partnership is over or can no longer work. It is sign to stop and examine things, and figure out a new way to communicate, work or understand each other. If we do this, we can create something even stronger than what we had before.
Lets look at a couple of examples of this card.
First the two of swords from the Santa Muerte tarot is a scissors. If we look closer at the scissors we can see that the sharp part of the blades are facing outwards. With this configuration the scissors may not be very effective. If we stop trying to use these scissors for a second and take a look we might decide to re-orient the blades so they can work more effectively together. If we don’t stop and thing about why things aren’t working though, we might keep trying to use the scissors as they are, and eventually decide they are broken and can no longer be used. If we make the change the top of the scissors starts to represent a butterfly instead of a broken skull. The end result of any of the twos is to transform into a better version of itself.
In the second card from the Brady tarot we have the two of arrows which in this deck is called Armistice. What is an armistice specifically? Its a mutual agreement between two parties to stop fighting, but not an agreement that the war is actually over. The two parties see that they must work together in order to get through a rough part of the path, or to achieve a mutual goal. In this card a wolf and a mountain lion are working together. They are wearing blindfolds that bind them together which can mean they agree to turn a blind eye to their usual differences and work together.
The amazing thing that could happen if the two parties see how well they were able to work together is that it could turn into an actual partnership instead of the two going back to war. What a transformation if people can only see the power in that.
Lastly we have the two of swords from the Afro Brazilian Tarot. Again we have two leaders putting aside their swords to talk and understand one another. What could be the possibilities of this?
I don’t mean to make it sound easy. Putting away swords when one of the swords has always been pointed at you, your family, your project, your way of life is a very difficult thing to do. And that’s only the first step. Next you have to learn how to talk to each other without drawing swords again. But once this is achieved common ground can usually be found, and upon this common ground new things can be built.
Where is this manifesting in your life today? Do you have a “broken” pair of scissors that just needs a tune up or reconfiguration to become a new tool? Have you been in an uneasy armistice, and can you see yourself maintaining the partnership once the challenge is over? Or are you in a place where you can lay down swords and make powerful change for more than just yourself?
With so much love!
In Honor of the Sturgeon Moon
The Moon is one of later cards in the Major Arcana and represents how we realize our connection between our finite self and the infinite universe.
This month we have a blue moon as well as a sturgeon full moon, (the typical name for the August full moon). What does this power mean, and what does it caution us to be weary of?
The Moon card in the Tarot is reminiscent of the foundational archetype of the High Priestess. The Moon reflects the suns light, and it reminds us to reflect upon what energies are bouncing off of us in the present.
Unfortunately some of us might equate the introspective nature of the moon to that of a mirror. Looking at yourself in a mirror is not introspection, it is illusion and distortion. Depending on what we see in that mirror, we may become obsessed with that reflection, and never want to stop looking at it, and even worse, we may take that illusion and define ourselves by it.
Notice that none of the female spirits in the three cards above are looking up. They are all looking down or back toward a reflection or the moon. One – the Moon card from the Afro Brazilian Tarot, is fighting its own reflection. The Moon card from the Santa Muerte Tarot shows a woman who cannot see past the reflection in the water, and becomes obsessed with this illusion. The Moon card from the Divine Tarot is the story of the Japanese Fairytale of Princess Kaguya. Princess Kaguya was from the Moon and eventually had a huge decision to make, stay with her earth parents, who adopted and took care of her, or return to the moon to her moon parents. She choose the moon because she became obsessed with the robes of the moon, and she was unable to see herself as she truly had become, only as her reflection told her to be.
So what advice does the moon have to give us. Never look in the mirror? Don’t look within? Ignore the divine feminine influence of the moon?
Hardly! The advice of the moon card is to visit this place often, but not stay here permanently. Don’t get stuck in the illusion. Observe and take note. Learn new things about yourself each time you visit, but always return at the end of the night to your path where you will find a place to ground, and a time to incorporate your latest lessons from the moon.
As always with many bushels of love.
Understanding Your One Ring Circus
This week I had a re-occurring Oracle Card from the Enchanted Map Oracle which was the One-Ring Circus. I won’t post all of the readings I did in combination with other Oracle and Tarot decks here, but definately a big message to dive deeper into this – at least in my world, or should I say my circus. Here I pulled two cards from the Literary Witches Oracle which are shown on either side.
A ring is circular, kind of like a cycle. Sometimes we spin in that cycle over and over again without ever really completing it or looking at why we are spinning. This is overwhelming and exhausting.
Sometimes we can’t see why we are spinning on our own. When we do that we should ask for help, especially if that spinning seems too heavy. It may feel comfortable and safe to stay on the rock shown in this card, it may even feel comfortable to sit on the back of the elephant in the room, but eventually you have to face it, and you might need help doing that.
I guess I should probably get to the Hedgehog and the Spider. I am someone who bounces between the two notions of retreat and preservation (hedgehog), and reaching out and trying to connect myself and others to various parts of the universe (spider). So the overall message for me is to become aware of this and to ask myself if that is balanced or in constant spin. I’ve felt emotionally exhausted lately, and this could be one of the places to look.
Maybe these two polarities aren’t what your are spinning between or maybe its more than two things. That can feel pretty crazy. In this case I would tell you to spend time in mediation reflecting on this. Do this until you can clearly see it. Maybe talk that through with a friend or even a therapist depending on how drastic that spin is for you.
I would also point that cycles are meant to have beginnings and ends, and when we hit those beginnings and ends they can feel awfully rough. Death and rebirth are no small tasks, especially if its in a major area of your life. But they signal breakthroughs and that we may be actually breaking out of a cycle. If this is where you are at do not take this on yourself. Take care of yourself, get off the island.
With much love!