Saturday, July 31, 2021

Tarot Card of the Week: The Empress


JULY 31, 2021


The Empress is one of the most visually soothing images in the Thoth deck, and this is not coincidental. The color palette of cooling blues and greens and pinks, with a heart center of passionate red, evoke the Great Mother.

This is Mother Nature in the fullest sense of those two words: the mother of all nature and the nature of all mothers. Her royal scepter is a lotus flower, a symbol of compassion and kindness in Tibetan Buddhism. Her throne emerges from a window in the wild grasses, and a pelican rests at her feet, suckling its young chicks.

She is the bringer of new life, fertile and caring. She is creativity embodied, the divine feminine energy that brings abundance. Her gaze is expressionless, but directed at the future, towards the next generation — that which is growing within her and is yet to be born but is already under her care.

The Empress also reminds us that Mother Nature is to be cherished, held as sacred and respected for her power. The Empress appearing for us at this moment is a reminder that the Mother can be wrathful when she needs to be. Mother Earth, Gaia, is a unified and intelligent organism with incomprehensible powers, and she is growing tired of the human species' disrespect, selfishness, and destruction of the environment she has provided.

We would do well to remember that her allegiance is towards Life itself, not towards any particular form of life. Humans have pushed her patience to its breaking point and we are now beginning to feel her fury. As in Tibetan Buddhism, compassion can be warm and soft or it can be wrathful and fiery. If we continue in this direction, she will destroy us, without mercy, and allow another form of life to take center stage.

Her allegiance is to all of her children, not to just one. She will do whatever it takes to protect and care for the entire family.

The Empress appearing for us this week poses an existential question: What can we do — each of us — to heal our broken relationship with the Great Mother and restore her trust in us?

Monday, July 26, 2021

Tarot Card of the Week: Five of Cups


SUNDAY JULY 25, 2021


The suit of Cups in Tarot decks governs matters of the heart: intimacy, relationships, trust, and the bonds that are formed between people. The Five of Cups is about that inevitable moment in relationships when our hopes are dashed and our illusions are shattered. It's a moment of grief and loss, but it is also a moment of truth. Sometimes the truth hurts. Relationships, like all things, move through stages and cycles. People change, and relationships must change as well.

The Buddha identified change as one of the primary forms of human suffering, because we resist it. We wish that people and relationships would remain as they were when they made us very happy — but nothing stays the same for long in this world. A lot of our suffering doesn't come from the simple fact that things change — it comes from our clinging to how things used to be and how we think they should be.

There's an aspect in this card, too, of realizing that "fools rush in." Maybe we took things too fast, fell too blindly in love, and didn't see the other person accurately because we viewed them through our own rose-colored glasses. But as the old song goes: "I beg your pardon? I never promised you a rose garden."

The good news with the Five of Cups is that it clears the slate for a fresh start. After we navigate through the grief and despair of disappointment and loss, we find a chance to practice forgiveness, to discover our own resilience, and to move on. And we move on with more clarity, more life experience, and more compassion. Out of the trauma of disappointment comes post-traumatic growth.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Heart

This weekend I met with several clients for private 75-minute Tarot consultations. One of the things I’ve noticed when I do Tarot readings for numerous clients in a short period of time is the appearance of common themes shared across readings and across the lives of the individuals inquiring with the cards.

At times, we are guided to recognize messages that are relevant for many of us at a given moment in our collective evolution. This takes the meaning of a Tarot consultation beyond the individual and into a sense of community — into the world.

A month or two ago, the theme that kept coming up was about the importance of dealing with our shadow material — the hidden or perhaps suppressed parts of ourselves that we’d prefer not to face. In the Tarot deck, this shadow material is sometimes represented by The Devil. 

This weekend, the message that came through again and again was about love. 

But not in a general way. This message came through for several women who share a common tendency to relate to life’s opportunities and challenges from the divine masculine perspective — that is to say, from a perspective that is centered in the intellectual, rational, logical, analytical, reasoning part of our being. The prefrontal cortex, if you want to think about it in terms of neuroscience.

We are all a mix of both energies — divine masculine and divine feminine. Problems can arise from placing too much emphasis on one or the other of these polarities of our energetic being.

You are probably familiar with the Yin/Yang symbol from Chinese and Taoist philosophy that depicts these seemingly opposing but actually complementary energies in the form of two aspects that encircle one another in a constantly turning wheel. 

Although the specific lives and circumstances of the women receiving messages from this weekend’s readings are wildly different, each was being guided to adopt a more heart-centered way of relating to their life experience. A way that centers love — not intellect — as the primary guiding force for action and decision-making.

How would your experience change if you shifted out of your masculine brain for a little while and into your heart-centered feminine and intuitive nature? 

How would your life and your relationships look different if your loving heart and your intuition guided your conduct and decisions, rather than your masculine, rational, thinking brain?

Get out of your head and into your heart! Center love and intuition as your guiding principles. Let your heart and your unconscious steer your decisions rather than the conscious, rational brain. That’s the message the cards have for all of us right now.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Tarot Card of the Week: Princess of Disks


SAT JULY 17, 2021



The Princess of Disks is one of the most striking visual images in the Thoth Tarot Deck created by Aleister Crowley and Lady Frieda Harris. It corresponds to the Queen of Pentacles in other traditional Tarot decks, but in the Thoth deck the Princess is the final (and in some ways most powerful) card in each suit. Disks represent the material realm and the earth element: shelter, food, money, work, prosperity.

She manifests the awesome creative power of the Divine Feminine. She stands in a barren and dying forest, which will be brought back to new life through her fertility. Her downcast gaze is intense, for she has the vision to see that beneath the surface, the roots of the barren forest are still green. With the feminine gaze of intuition, she sees into the depths of the unconscious mind and knows that even in our most desolate and emotionally barren moments, we still hold the fertile possibilities of resurrection, redemption, and renewal.

In one hand she holds a scepter, descending into the earth, tipped by a light-emitting diamond. In the other she holds a magical seed that she will plant, in whose center is the Chinese Yin/Yang symbol representing the balance and synergy of complementary forces that give rise to all creation. Masculine and feminine. Sun and moon. Consciousness and embodiment. Intellect and intuition.

She is adorned with the horns of the ram, relating to Aries, the first astrological sign that sets the wheel of the zodiac in motion. She also heralds the natural cycle of the seasons, specifically the transition from winter to spring, and all that spring implies in terms of freshness and new beginnings.

As Bette Midler sang:

Just remember in the winter

Far beneath the bitter snow

Lies the seed that with the sun's love

In the spring becomes the rose.

When this card appears in a reading, it suggests the possibility of new life, fertility, abundance, a fresh start. Trust in the power of nature to bring life and growth. Always. Even to unexpected places. If things feel stagnant or barren at the moment, look at the bigger picture and remember that life is cyclical in nature. This too shall pass.

Reflection: The seeds you plant now will come to fruition in a future moment of your life. Are you planting the correct seeds to bring about the desired outcome? Apple trees don't grow from chili pepper seeds. Carefully examine your thoughts, words, and actions, and choose the seeds you plant with intention and purpose. Karma can be a b*tch or your best friend. Up to you.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Here's to Freedom (Well, Sort Of)

Happy 4th of July! Celebrate independence!

While honoring this day, let's also take a moment to reflect on where we came from, and the people we exploited and murdered to get here.

July 4th is a bitter pill for the Native American/Indigenous people who had all of their land and resources stolen and were virtually wiped off the face of the earth in a long, intentional campaign of genocide.

July 4th is also a bitter pill for the descendants of enslaved Africans in America, whose backs were broken to build our economic prosperity. A prosperity they still don't fully share in.

As a country that asserts itself as a moral authority in the world, let's start with a searching and fearless moral inventory of our own history, which is bloody and cruel beyond imagination.

We owe apologies and reparations to those whom we've hurt. We all know it. Some of us just don't want to admit it.

And when I say reparations, I do mean money. Because money talks in America. It's one of the only things that does. Our blood is green from placing the value of money above all other things. From Day One.

Why reparations, so long after the fact? Because they are still hurting. Black and Indigenous People of Color in America — the descendants of those who were slaughtered and enslaved — still suffer from mass incarceration, police brutality, restricted access to employment, healthcare, and educational opportunities, economic disparity, and just plain old bigotry.

Let's start using July 4th as an occasion to celebrate all of what we are as a nation, and not to whitewash the past away. Because it's still haunting us. And until we do right by it, it will always haunt us. That's what ghosts do.