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Friday, July 29, 2016

In the Dream – Can’t Get There From Here

For this series here at Tarot notes, I describe a dream I had recently and devise a Tarot spread to explore possible interpretations.

Here is a description of the dream:

Setting: I am supposedly at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, a place I have been many times, with my mother and a few other people.
We arrive and my mother heads into the main office of our motel to register. Somehow I and the others wander off and soon lose any sense of where we are supposed to be. We end up following someone’s directions that take us through a ridiculous series of narrow tunnels, difficult climbing situations, and so forth.
We decide we are not getting where we want to be, and then, suddenly we are riding on a bus or in a van of some kind, being (supposedly) driven to our desired destination. We drive down a street that looks familiar, with shops and motels, but then we head down a series of long country roads, and eventually realize that – no – we are not going anywhere near the beach. When we stop, the driver doesn’t seem to care and tells us that we might be able to walk there, but it’s a very long way.
We find a woman who agrees to take us back to the beach. Suddenly we are on her boat out in the middle of a very large lake. I comment that I don’t recognize this area, and it doesn’t look like we are going to Myrtle Beach at all. Others agree with me, but we don’t know quite what to do at that point. I wake up.
I am asking the Mystic Dreamer Tarot the following questions:

(1) What type of energy will help me interpret and utilize the message(s) of this dream?
(2) What might “Myrtle Beach” (my intended destination) represent?
(3) What might the series of tunnels and difficult climbing situations represent?
(4) What might the bus/van and its driver represent?
(5) What might the woman with her boat represent?
(6) What might the lake represent?
(7) What message might the dream as a whole have for me?



(1) What type of energy will help me interpret and utilize the message(s) of this dream?

EIGHT OF WANDS – In short, Wands (Fire) energy is active, courageous, enthusiastic, imaginative, passionate, and confident. On the Eight of Wands in this deck, we see a woman who is ready to be off at a moment’s notice.  This energy at its best is focused, and directed -- fast-moving without being reckless.

(2) What might “Myrtle Beach” (my intended destination) represent?

SIX OF PENTACLES – My reaction to this image is to notice that one of the beggars is receiving coins from the woman who is standing up, while the other is not. To me, Myrtle Beach means vacation, enjoyment, relaxation, rest, a carefree spirit, a “treat.” I think perhaps in this dream it symbolizes for me something that I want and need, but a part of me feels or fears I might not receive it. There is a lot of feminine energy involved in both the dream and this card. Who is the person deciding whether to give or withhold what is needed? Are all of the women aspects of myself?

(3) What might the series of tunnels and difficult climbing situations represent?

THREE OF SWORDS – Typically, this card refers to new, raw pain. It can be an indication that the truth (Swords) hurts. The pain might be based on a misunderstanding or maliciousness, and it may be hard to discover the truth in that situation. In the dream, it was very uncomfortable (if not painful) trying to crawl through narrow tunnels and claw my way up. The pain was intensified when it became obvious that all of that effort was not getting me any closer to my destination (rest, relaxation, enjoyment). I had been misled or deceived. Who made me go through all of that? Again, could it be an aspect of myself?

(4) What might the bus/van and its driver represent?

FIVE OF CUPS – Fives often suggest difficulties, challenges, change, restlessness, or turbulence. The Five of Cups, specifically, is often about a loss that is difficult to deal with but provides an opportunity for growth. Even though three Cups are turned over, two are still standing. Something (represented by the driver of the bus/van) keeps taking me away, in the wrong direction from where I want to go or be. In the dream, the only option suggested to me to overcome this “loss” is to turn around and walk miles and miles back towards my destination. In a sense, the Five of Cups could be saying that I have “lost my way” by allowing an aspect of myself (the driver) to transport me in the wrong direction.

(5) What might the woman with her boat represent?

ACE OF PENTACLES – Aces often represent a new beginning or approach. The suit of Pentacles is typically about the physical, material world. Certainly at first, being on the boat seems like an improvement over the idea of trying to walk a long distance. It’s a “new opportunity” to get to my desired destination. However, gazing out over the vast lake, it is obvious that the boat is not taking me there, at least not quickly! The vehicle I am on is useful, but it seems to be in the wrong place.

(6) What might the lake represent?

KING OF PENTACLES – How interesting that the woman with her boat is the “Ace” and the lake is the “King” of Pentacles. We go from the lowest Pentacle to the highest. As the “King,” the lake represents abundance, pride, protection, generosity, and reliability. The lake seems to represent personal qualities belonging to another person in my life or perhaps to me. The boat floats on the lake (the lake “supports” the boat, allowing it to move forward). In general, I view water (as in a lake) as representing the subconscious, emotions, and intuition. Water is a feminine or receptive element; Pentacles is a feminine or receptive suit (Earth).

(7) What message(s) might the dream as a whole have for me?

STRENGTH – A Major Arcana card comes forward to sum all of this up for me. Strength presents us with a woman sitting with a lion, which represents her own inner animal instincts and passions. The woman and the lion are compatible. Neither tries to dominate or control the other. How might this apply to the dream? In general, the dream definitely has a push-pull energy to it: I arrive at a desired destination, wander off track, wrongly believe I have found the way back, and end up floating on a lake in a boat. Is it possible that I am being encouraged to look again at the lake, to consider the possibility that it can offer me the same or similar “rest, relaxation, and enjoyment” that I intended to get from Myrtle Beach? In other words, am I being told that a change in destination does not have to mean disappointment or feelings of loss? That I need to take a closer look at a new opportunity that is right in front of me instead of focusing on getting somewhere else? Perhaps I am trying too hard to get or be somewhere when it really isn’t necessary to achieve satisfaction.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day: 3 of Observation

The Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day is:
3 of Swords

In The Sherlock Holmes Tarot by John Matthews and Wil Kinghan (Sterling Ethos), the suit of Observation (represented by an eye) is comparable to the suit of Swords. The quotation chosen to represent the entire suit of Observation is from The Red-Headed League: “This is a time for observation, not for talk.”

The Three of Observation depicts Holmes stares out a window into the streets of London. A newspaper in which he is accused of a blunder falls from his grasp. Here we see him during one of his struggles with moodiness and depression. The creators of this deck note that Holmes could be deeply affected by events, and he was keenly aware that there were times when his judgment could go astray. He remarked to Watson, “Once or twice in my career I feel that I have done more real harm by my discovery of the criminal than ever he had done by his crime.” (The Adventure of the Abbey Grange)

I find this to be a highly appropriate representation of the Three of Swords, which refers so often to a state of mind or perception that we have that might need to be explored or brought into perspective.

The Holmesian Wisdom for this card is a quote from The Naval Treaty: “The most difficult crime to track is the one which is purposeless.”

Keys for this card, upright, are: “sorrow, separation, loss, deep disappointment, possession of thoughts by jealousy, analysis of your receptivity to events.” Reversed, the card can suggest “alienation, quarrel, disorderliness, mistakes.”

The book that accompanies this deck also provides interpretations for each card under the headings “The Game” and “The Fog.” The former elaborates on the upright keys, while the latter expands on reversed meanings.

Examples from “The Game” for the Three of Observation: “personal troubles. . . brooding upon personal slights. . . bereavement following the loss of a partner or friend.”  Examples from “The Fog”: “denial that anything is wrong. Enjoying melancholia and letting it feed your creativity… Painful truths are revealed… A disaster is narrowly averted.”

Monday, July 18, 2016

Listen to the Animals: Opossum

For this Tarot Notes feature, I pull one card from an animal-themed deck to represent an important message from that animal.

If you are interested in finding out who your own Animal Guides are, you can get an Animal Guides Reading through my _Etsy shop_ or my _Web Site_.

Today I am consulting the _Power Animal Oracle Cards_ by Steven D. Farmer, Ph.D., with illustrations by Eric Nesmith.

Our animal for today is the OPOSSUM
Keyword: Strategy
Message: Have a back-up Plan.
Additional Associations
Grasping; Agility; Maternal Instinct; Stability

The opossum is such an interesting creature, reviled by many due to its rat-like tail, beady eyes, and propensity for eating trash. I can tell you from personal experience that when you catch one by surprise and it hisses at you, showing its teeth, you want to remove yourself from its presence immediately!

In spite of all this, one of my friends who is involved in animal rescue has taken in baby opossums on more than one occasion, even letting them sleep with her in her bed. (They are kind of cute as babies…)

I was amazed to learn that there are more than 60 different species of opossum, the most notable being the Virginia opossum or common opossum, the only marsupial (pouched mammal) found in the United States and Canada.

photo by Gary Owens

A popular expression, “Playing Possum,” comes from the behavior of the Virginia opossum, who can appear to be dead when threatened. This is not something it consciously chooses to do. Rather, because of the stress of an imminent threat, the opossum instinctively goes into shock and enters a comatose state that can last from 40 minutes to four hours. (Opossums are not the only animal to do this. The ploy may put a predator off its guard and allow the prey animal to make its escape.)

Dr. Farmer chooses to relate the opossum to having a “Plan B, or at least a few other approaches to the subject of your inquiry.” He notes that it is important to listen to your inner promptings in order to become aware of options that were not obvious at first.

I will go with that, but I also think when the opossum is your “power animal” it may bring you the ability to know when to “play dumb” or “play dead.” The best response to a threat is NOT always to fight back, talk your way out, or immediately try to escape. I can see a certain advantage, in some situations, to simply remaining silent and waiting for your moment to make a move.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Facing the Gap: A Reading

I had a very Tarot-ful morning yesterday in which I:

  • Did a reading for a paying client using the Crystal Visions Tarot by Jennifer Galasso (U.S. Games, Inc.) 
  • Did a free 3-card reading through the American Tarot Association using Tarot Draconis by Davide Corsi (Lo Scarabeo)
  • Graded papers written by a student in my Basic Tarot class at the Magical Circle School, for which the student is using the Dragons Tarot by Manfredi Toraldo, with artwork by Geverino Baraldi (Lo Scarabeo)

It seemed only fitting that I spend at least part of the afternoon on a reading for Tarot Notes!

I am using a spread from the Complete Book of Tarot Spreads by Evelin Burger and Johannes Fiebig (Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.) The spread is called “Facing the Gap.”

The Fantastic Menagerie Tarot (Karen Mahony, Alexandr Ukolov, Magic Realist Press) gets to play this time.

(1) This is possible. JUSTICE

Responsibility and Accountability

Well, I certainly hope Justice is possible. I can’t help thinking about all that is going on the world these days, and after all, Justice is from the Major Arcana – so perhaps is referring to something larger than my own personal world. The Justice card can represent the law, courts, and police (as shown on the card), but can also represent “true justice” rather than formal law. I confess that when I see the shootings and death all around this country, I feel a sense of despair, a fear that we, as mere humans, can never hope for that. The cards are telling me otherwise.

(2) This is important. TWO OF SWORDS

A Tale of Two Minds

As Sophie Nusslé writes in the book that accompanies The Fantastic Menagerie Tarot: The sword “is an instrument for fighting… a symbol of idealism and justice” with an “ability to cut, to refine, to distinguish, to make distinctions – and to perceive… what others might miss.” The Two of Swords can represent a divided mind or a stalemate, within ourselves or with another. It can also suggest peace or a “rest” in the midst of conflict – taking a break from the struggle to allow for real exchange and compromise.

(3) This is courageous. TEN OF CUPS

Family Bliss

One of the key phrases Nusslé assigns to this card in this deck is “culmination of the open heart.” Indeed, keeping our heart open is courageous and difficult in many situations. Accepting other human beings – especially those we feel at odds with -- as part of our larger family is possibly one of the most difficult and courageous things we can do. Nusslé writes: “You are changed forever when your heart opens, when you love and are loved and have realised all that love can bring.”

(4) This is futile. THE EMPEROR

The Boss

Any effort made by myself or any other individual to exert absolute control is futile. Although the motive may be “world peace,” the result is more likely to be “autocratic rule, oppression, unjust law.” (Nusslé) Those who insist that we need to “lay down the law” or “come down hard” on anyone who doesn’t fit in are doomed to failure. That approach is simply not going to address or solve the problem(s) that lead to disaster in this world. I am not saying we do not need structure, protection, and stability. I am saying that this card in this position seems to suggest that a heavy-handed, “I am the boss” approach just isn’t going to work. (I really don’t want to engage in political debate, but I’m looking at you, Donald Trump.)

(5) This is necessary. NINE OF COINS

Peaceful Enjoyment of Prosperity

“Security… enjoyment of the fruits of one’s work… return on investment… self-discipline balanced with appreciation of pleasure.” (Nusslé) The cards are saying that it would not only be “nice” is everyone could have this, it is NECESSARY if we are to overcome the ills of our world. As long as people do not have a sense of security and a feeling that their labors reap just rewards, we cannot have peace. Make no mistake, this card is typically about material prosperity, but I also see it as representing whatever makes us feel secure, stable, and successful. By the time we get to the Nine of any suit, we have traveled a certain distance and experienced quite a lot. There is no room here for laziness or lack of self-discipline. Neither is there room for oppression.

(6) This is joyful. KING OF COINS

Being joyful when you “have it all” seems like it would be easy. However, that is not true. Wealth, accomplishments, possessions, and power to not automatically lead to joy. At the same time, a lack of those things isn’t likely to bring joy either. What brings joy is having what we feel we need and want, the comforts and relationships that sustain and enrich us. There is no joy in the dark side of the King of Coins: “stubborn, stuffy, boss person, domestic tyrant, laziness and irresponsibility” (Nusslé) I think the potential for being joyful increases with the degree of autonomy, the extent to which we feel we are the “king” (ruler) of our world and our life, free to pursue what we need or want to pursue.

(7) This is funny. TEN OF COINS

The Gate to New Experiences

It is funny that once we reach a certain level of success, peace, security, prosperity, and comfort, we often immediately ask, “What’s next?” Perhaps some of us are content to sit in place, to become complacent, stagnant, or stuck in a rut. However, as Nusslé points out, “Paradoxically, it is the Ten of Coins, that most material card in the most material of suits, that invites you to cross the threshold.” Strive. Strive. Strive. Arrive. Only to start striving again. Yes, it is funny.

(8) This helps you to get ahead. EIGHT OF SWORDS

A Mind Hemmed In

At first blush, it is hard to see how being stuck, mentally or physically, can help us get ahead. Frustration, emotional constraints, and feeling “tied up” or “boxed in” seems negative. However, this is exactly the type of energy that can propel us forward. As Nusslé so wisely writes: “Very often, the mind can free us – either by finding ways to break out, or by liberating itself so any physical constraint does not feel so bad… The mind overcomes the constraint, the walls give way…” If you do not feel resistance or limitations, you cannot feel a need or desire to “break free” and you will not get ahead.