The Queen of Cups

queen of cups

I think we can all relate to our beautiful Queen of Cups. She is holding an elaborate lidded cup in her hands but she is afraid of opening it. She doesn’t know if she wants to deal with what is inside. Since cups are feelings and emotions, she’s not sure she is ready to face the emotions that are released when she opens the lid

Maybe it is a problem that seems just too difficult. Maybe this is a project you need to start but are procrastinating. We all have a long list of things we are avoiding. My list looks like this; bank statements, bathroom scales, messy basements, annoying relatives. You could also add things like books you want to write, wills that need updating, relationships that need mending etc. Eventually you have to face everything if you plan on being a fully functioning adult.

Our sweet Queen needs to open the lid and do something. The issue won’t go away by worry or ignoring it. The worry and procrastination usually makes things more difficult than they need to be. So do something! Face and embrace life head on, it won’t go away by ignoring it.

The Cherubs signal the guardianship of the Divine. If the problem or task is overwhelming ask for guidance from our ever-present unseen helpers. Use the Queen’s introspection to see what is the true underlying block or fear. Often when the block is identified the situation can be released.

The Buddha says we always have 83 problems. When one goes away a new one comes to replace it. He says the 84th problem is that we think we should have no problems.

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Justice

justice

During our visit to Manhattan last December, Hamilton and I enjoyed authentic New York bagels for breakfast every morning at a shop just around the corner from my sister’s apartment. The final morning I heard one of the workers snicker under his breath about “the Hatfields and the McCoys”. I told Hamilton about it and he thought it was funny since his kinfolk from Eastern Kentucky had dealings with these infamous feuding clans. I on the other hand was incensed that just because I was a Southerner that I would be stereotyped as a lawless criminal willing to kill over a pig.

The Justice card isn’t about such vengeful personal justice or even the blind justice of our earthly courts. This is divine justice to balance karma so we can come into harmony with Universal Law. Justice is depicted as a woman without a blindfold because she can see through illusion. She holds a scale in her left hand to weigh and measure the facts correctly. In her right hand she has a sword ready to enforce the decision. The sword cuts away that in us that restricts our freedom and interferes with the harmony of the Universe. Her foot is forward, ready to take action on her decision.

This card is about taking responsibility, make adjustments and regaining equilibrium when your life has become out of balance, thrown off course by the Wheel of Fortune and the whims of ego. Sometimes our first reaction is to over-compensate and swing too far the other way but that just puts us more out of balance and causes new problems.

How can we find this balance? Maintain calm and compassion and look for an expanded view of the problem. Wait to form an opinion and judgment until you weigh the pros and cons of a situation. Remember: there are three sides to every story—mine, yours and the truth.

If there are painful memories, we need to look for the helpful lessons to balance the wound. How did this wound act as a teacher and help you grow spiritually? Enemies illuminate places needing balance more often than our supportive friends. Conflicts have helped me find my strength to stand up for myself. This is about living in balance not just wishing for it. So shed the victim role and take responsibility for the next step of your life. Our immature justice says everything is unfair, but as we grow we face our shortcomings and ultimate accept responsibility for our mistakes and choices.

A beautiful lesson in the Egyptian Book of the Dead is the “Weighing of the Heart Ceremony”. The deceased’s heart is place on one side of the scale and a feather of the goddess of Truth, Ma’at is place on the other side. If the departed has lived a good, honest and kind life his heart will be light as a feather. This will then be recorded by the powerful Thoth and the soul will be allowed to return to the stars. If the heart is heavier than a feather than the heart will be consumed by a waiting beast to be recycled back to Earth until the soul learns the lessons of LOVE.

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Wheel of Fortune

wheeloffortune

It was a very warm summer afternoon when I made my first pact with God. Here are my exact words “If I get off this damn roller coaster alive, as God as my witness I’m never getting on another one again.” Believe me I would never break this pact. The pain and suffering from something that was supposed to be fun was horrible. I now happily wait at the exit for my companions to thrash their bodies about for an adrenaline fix.

The Wheel of Fortune is the roller coaster ride of life that we all know too well. This is the Buddhist wheel of life, the continuous karmic birth/death cycle. But, what if we don’t like it and want to get off? Well the answers are on the card.

In the corners are the fixed signs, Aquarius, Taurus, Leo, and Scorpio, sometimes seen as the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They also symbolize the two equinoxes and solstices. These fixed signs tell us that the laws of our world are fixed and we know them as our Universal Laws laid out in the Kybalion: Mentalism, Correspondence, Vibration, Polarity, Rhythm, Caustation and Gender. Note there isn’t a Law of Attraction. There, instead, is the Law of Vibration and all of these laws must act in harmony.

The snake reminds you to shed your skin and grow with every turn of the wheel. Anubis, the jackal-headed god of the underworld, is there to guide us even in our darkest hour. The Sphinx has learned to navigate the maze of life and rise above the spinning wheel and become the observer, “in the world but not of it”. He holds the sword of decimation.

On the Wheel are four letters that can be arranged many ways as the wheel turns: Rota (wheel), Tora (ancient scripture), Orat (oracle), Tao (the Way), Tar (Thoth) and Ator (Hathor). We can interpret the Tarot as an oracle or messenger of the gods, communicating the divine laws.

Below each letter are the alchemical symbols for mercury, sulfur, water and salt, ordinary elements that can be turned into gold by the Magician. Just as our ordinary lives turn us into Gold if we will learn and grow from life’s experience, and if we rise above our immature reactions, emotions and attachments to become the Eternal Sphinx.

So how do we get off this ever-spinning wheel that throws us around? We can develop a new perspective or insight into a problem. If you get this card, it is a sign to come in at a different point, work with the same concept in a different way. Instead of having a tantrum or being a victim, step back from the situation and see the bigger picture. Always keep close to your heart the mantra “this too will pass”.

Ok, I will confess that I have been on a ride since the pact but this time there was no pain and suffering just silence and bliss. I happily rode the London Eye, a gentle giant Ferris wheel in the heart of London. Slowly and quietly I rose high above the London skyline to get a new perspective on this beautiful city. The lights of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben were shining brightly in the pink glow of the sunset. From this perspective the world was peaceful and beautiful and I felt a little closer to God.

londoneye

Ace of Cups

ace of cups

When my children were young I spent many happy years going to the local Episcopal church, but after a few years I found I had a hard time saying the Confession, then I had a hard time saying the Creed, then I started having a hard time taking Holy Communion.   I took it as a sign that I needed to go down a different path.   Now when l go occasionally to church, I see the Creed, Confession and Communion in a totally different way, the longing of our humanness to reach and be more.

The Ace of Cups is the Communion cup held by a left hand coming out of a cloud.   There is the Dove of Peace holding a communion wafer ready to dip it into the living waters.   Five streams of water representing the five senses flow from the cup.  There are many droplets of water in the shape of the Hebrew letter “yod” which are blessings falling from this triumphal cup.   The water streams into a pond of water lilies or lotus which means the awakening of the human spirit.   The little bells on the side of the cup are a call to service.

This cup is the Holy Grail bringing new life and blessing to develop new spiritual insights and sensitivities with which we can create an unending supply of love.   This card is often interpreted as a beginning of a new relationship.  It is time to keep an open heart and hand with your relationships and let them come and go as they please without control

I see the Holy Grail as the mythic longing for something more.  The Grail Quest is our Western mystic path for Christ Consciousness or Enlightenment.   When we take Holy Communion on a mystical level we are creating a dynamic flow between us and Divinity.   We are asking to elevate our consciousness to anchor more love and light in the world.

 

The third card for February’s Tarot class is the King of Wands.   I wrote about him last year and you can read that post here.

Ten of Wands

wands10

In February I drew another three cards to see what the Tarot wanted to talk about at the next Tarot study class.   When doing a three card draw, I often use a Past/Present/Future interpretation.   The Past is represented by the first card drawn and placed on the left.   This time I drew the Ten of Wands.

The hero in the Ten of Wands is trying to hold 10 wands all going in different directions.  They are about to fall to the ground and he can’t even see where he is going.  In such a precarious position he is about to lose everything or fall down and definitely needs to do something different to avoid a disaster.

I was the Ten of Wands last year, holding too many responsibilities at once.   I really didn’t have a choice but because of it I lost my joy for many months.    With one week’s notice, I had to move to take care of my mother-in-law in her home for 60 years. I had to unmove and renovate before I could move all while running a nursing home in the kitchen with 24/7 caregivers.   Most days I didn’t know what to do first.   There was always someone in the kitchen talking to me, piles of old belongings and books to sort and plenty of emotions to process.    The house hadn’t been updated since 1968 and I had a short time to make it liveable.   I then renovated my old house, had 6 weeks of company and took 3 big trips.   How I did it all I’m not sure.  I was definitely about to drop all the wands and then trip over them.

Over time I was able to finish the projects and close the nursing home in the kitchen but it has taken awhile to recover from the overwhelm and restore my joy.   I’m happy now and have far fewer wands which are nicely nestled across my arms.

Taking on too much and overwhelming ourselves is honored in this society and that makes for unbalanced lives.    So what burdens, projects, emotions, and obligations can you lay down?   How can you reorder what is left?   It is time to look at what has taken your joy and find a way to lighten your load.

plaid carpet

Very groovy 1968 Plaid Carpet

The Hermit

hermit

Since moving back to the old home place, Hamilton says he is living his dream of being a hermit.   His commute to work has been shortened from 14 miles to about 14 steps to the back yard into his shop.   Every Saturday he starts his brand new 1999 red Chevy pick-up and goes to town for important things like a haircut, a visit to his mother or to take his favorite wife out for dinner.   Other than that, he is content with his books and paper, the company of same wife and the silence of the country.

The Hermit is also content in his place of silence.   He has reached the first plateau of awareness and spiritual growth.  Now above the tree line he can see where he has come from and where he is going but he prefers to concentrate on where he is now.

He is the number 9, higher understanding and completion of a cycle.  His body is even in the shape of a 9.

He holds a lantern with a six pointed star, the symbol for the hermetic axiom “As above So Below”.   The lantern is an extension of his inner light.   He uses this beacon of light to shine the way for those behind him.    The Hermit doesn’t have a spotlight or search light but a gentle soft glowing lantern.   He controls his light using it for those who are ready to see.

The Hermit’s staff is knowledge which he uses as support to make progress.  Combining this knowledge with love it becomes wisdom which he uses for the highest good.   No longer part of the mass mind of fear and control, he now feels a bit separated from the world for this is an internal journey that he can’t show the world.   He still participates in life but isn’t part of it, alone but not lonely.

Ok, let’s look at a couple of things.   The Hermit is holding a gentle light he is not screaming from the mountain top his new found religion or insights.   He is not hitting people over the head with his staff.  This staff is not a wand for magic or a scepter for power or a sword for stabbing his enemies.  The Hermit knows when to keep silent and gives no advice.  He keeps his truth to himself.  Living life in his wise and quiet way he influences the people and situations that need and want his light.

Immature Hermits won’t take on the responsibilities of independence.  More mature Hermits know when to seek wise help.  Grown hermits know when to help and when to let a situation alone.   They know that they can shine the way but can’t carry others up the mountain.   Everyone has to walk the steep and rugged path themselves in order to be worthy of wisdom.

 

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Hamilton’s commute

The Empress

empress

I’m definitely a minimalist, I like white walls and empty spaces, kind of an early-Convent look.  On the other hand, my In-Laws, after great childhood deprivations, were maximalists preferring a high grand Baroque style with lots of mahogany and silk.  So when I was redecorating I moved their large, ornate furniture and silk drapes to Hamilton’s childhood bedroom, I figured I could change a few things after 45 years.   Since we call Princess Alexandra’s pink floral room the Princess room, I started calling the lavish Asian inspired bedroom the Empress room.   Queen Caroline loves to sleep there when she is home.  She says it makes her feel fancy.   Our guest either can’t wait to sleep like royalty in a bed so tall it requires steps or are terrified of falling out of bed in the middle of the night.  I’m sure the Empress in the Tarot would be totally at home in this room, she loves lavish.

The Empress card is about abundance and beauty.  She sits on her lavish throne complete with silk cushions.  She has a long beautifully embroidered robe and a spectacular crown of stars   As the mother archetype she embodies the beauty of Venus, the harvest of Ceres, the devotion of Demeter, the unconditional love of The Madonna and the compassion of Quan Yin.    The Empress sits in her Earthly garden surrounded by the fruits of her work in the material world.    She joins the spiritual and the material world taking action rather than just holding it in her mind.

The Empress is so abundant and good at manifesting that the Emperor sometimes needs to rein her in, he checks her credit card statements and closets and lets her know when she has plenty.  She loves to nurture and wants everyone to be safe and warm with plenty of cookies and milk. What do you want to manifest or nurture in yourself?

She is Mother Nature and her color is green.  Her number is 3, the triangle, the first geometric shape making the material world and movement.   The Empress says take action and plant your garden.  Use your imagination to make your life abundant and joyful.  Then go show her when you’re done and she will make you tea and scones.

She is the Native-American corn goddess Selu and asks “Does your spirituality grow corn?”  Do you take what you have learned and put it to action and live with love and compassion or is it just ideas that don’t make you happier and just annoy those around you?

When the Empress is fully developed she is the very compassionate and wise mother.   When she is less developed she is the Dark Mother, Kali, perfectionistic, enabling, controlling, demanding or even cruel.    What relationship do you have with your own mother?  Do you need to forgive or ask for forgiveness?

Invite the Empress into your life and embrace your abundance on all levels, mental, physical, emotional and spiritual.  Use your imagination to see that abundance is more than a fat bank account but a way of experiencing the world.  Have something lavish in your life, a silk pillow, a walk in the woods, bowl of cherries, kitten/puppy snuggles or hot bubble bath.  The Empress brings joy and love to your life so you can give joy and nurture everyone around you.

empress room

Empress Room

Knight of Cups

knigh tof cups

But what if…?   What if nobody shows up?  What if I’m terrible at teaching?   What if I run out of things to say in the first 30 minutes?   What if no one ever wants to come back?   Can you tell I’m good at second guessing myself.     It was time to start a Tarot class.   My teacher Rachael taught Tarot in my house last November and she wanted me to continue her work.    So in January several of her students braved the 7 degree temperatures to sit by the fire and talk Tarot.

I drew three cards, I wanted the Tarot to choose what I was to teach.   Rachael teaches the cards in order but I want to teach the cards in relationships so I asked the Tarot where to start.    The Knight of Cups was the answer.

The Knight of Cups is sitting stiffly on his horse tightly holding his cup, even the wings on his helmet are stiff.   What if I spill some?   What if I don’t make it in time?  What if the King doesn’t like me?  What if…?   This Knight is over thinking things and afraid of taking risks.  It all sounded very familiar to me.

This card says don’t be afraid to take a risk and challenge yourself.    There is water in the stream if you spill your cup,  the ground is flat if the horse takes off running.   If you make a mistake you can do it again.   If you don’t challenge yourself the Universe is going to find a challenge for you.

His cup is imagination and he needs to drink from it.   Do you have ideas and plans but never follow through?  Do you talk big but take no action?   You have to do something with your dreams or your life becomes stiff and barren like the landscape of this card.

The Knight’s robe has the Divine fish, he is dedicated to Divine service.   He is spiritual but just a bit afraid to live it because he doesn’t want to fail.    But really, what is the worst thing that can happen?   His failure is really in his mind.  Is it just in your mind too?

So Knight of Cups, it is time to take some action and take some baby steps to your goal.   Give yourself a 30 day challenge toward your goal and actually stick with it.   Don’t accept failure.   Here are some 30 day challenge ideas—you can do anything for 30 days—-writing, reading healthy eating, exercise, organizing, meditation, compassion.  Show the Knight of Cups how it is done.

I just finished my 30 day challenge, believe me, if I can go 30 days without bread I can do just about anything.    Let me know your 30 day challenge and I will cheer you on to the finish line.

King of Swords

King of Swords

Last week I had a big house party for my friends who were with me during the Egyptian Revolution in Giza (read my experience here).    We have gotten together three times this year and are already making plans for next year.   The morning everyone said goodbye we did a commemorative Tarot reading.   During the Revolution, we were not allowed to leave the hotel so we watched the Army in the streets, the stars above the Pyramids and read Tarot.

We each pulled two cards and my first card was King of Swords.    Self-Expression is the key of this card.   The King says “this is how it’s going to be” then he brings down the sword.   He is the authority of his worldly kingdom.   With his sword tilted to the side, he is ready for action in the world and he is the Emperor in everyday life.

He doesn’t just bring down his sword on a whim but uses is it wisely when he needs to.   The King balances the material world with the spiritual world and he takes responsibility for holding the  balance, ruling what is rightfully his.

Ok, big lessons for me.   It is against my nature to be forceful and authoritarian.   I want to make everyone happy and spend time with unicorns and glittery fairies,  but I have a mini-kingdom to rule so I have to take on the role of the Knight of Swords to protect my domain and rule as I see fit.   I need to say “this is how it is” and mean it.

But that doesn’t mean I make everyone do my bidding rather that I don’t roll over and take it when my toes are being stepped on.     I need my King by my side showing me how to keep my boundaries for myself and my kingdom.     He will occasionally be disappointed with me as I try to unlearn my old habits, but with his help I will succeed most of the time.   Maybe if I put glitter on the blade and with some rhinestones on the handle people will be too blinded by the sight to make me use it.

The King of Wands

King of Wands

Here we go again. Yet another wand card which of course perfectly reflects the current experiences of my life. These cards may be pieces of paper but the story they tell magically reflects our world.

The King of Wands is the fire king and represents our skills and talents. He sits on his throne, living wand of power in hand, flaming crown on his head and salamander at his feet. The King now has command over his skills and is ready to use them. He has learned the lessons of the 13 other wand cards and feels comfortable with his power. He isn’t threatened by other people’s talents and power; he is secure in his own accomplishments.

The salamander beside the King and on the tapestry behind his throne represents the element of fire that he has learned to control in himself. He is claiming his spiritual power and authority and no longer misuses his power to control others.

Spiritual power is not well understood because unlike worldly power it is subtle. It is an interior power and knowledge rather than an exterior force. David Hawkins wrote a ground breaking book, Power vs. Force, that is a must read for all spiritual seekers. He describes how seekers gain spiritual power as they raise their level of consciousness. Spiritual power is about mastery over mind and emotions to grow and raise the level of joy and love in the world.

The rules of spiritual power are totally different from worldly power. No one can steal it from you but you can give it away if you aren’t careful. When you have true spiritual power it can never be lost unless you start to use in for ego purposes. You are also not threatened by other people’s spiritual power because you know that their power only raises the love vibration of the earth and therefore supports your power.

This last weekend Amaru Li, a Peruvian Shaman, led a local drumming circle in a journey to meet the Golden Jaguar of the East to claim our spiritual power. It was a full moon in the fire sign of Leo; we asked our inner golden jaguar for guidance. After we shared our experiences in small groups and many people had very profound experience of healing with this powerful archetype.

This last month I’ve been reading Spiritual Power; How It Works by Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee. I’ve read it slowly, savoring every page of profound spiritual wisdom. Funny enough it has a picture of a wand on the cover. After you read Power vs. Force, I would definitely add this book to your list. This spiritual master knows true power and teaches how to combine the inner and outer worlds to live a fully integrated life so the magic of our everyday life keeps us in Joy.