The Rowdy Goddess

An Ecstatic Vision of the Goddess, dancing in harmony with the Universe.

Archive for the tag “Tarot”

Yoga, Equanimity, Tarot and more!

easy-pose-color-2A lot of threads came together in a lovely pattern this weekend, and I thought I’d share it with you.  Be patient, the weaving takes some storytelling.  This is one of the many things I experienced Friday through Sunday!  Before this weekend, I was spiraling into a mild sense of “lackawanna;” forgive the pun on Lackawanna, NY, and not wanting to do all the things I have or want to do.  There was nothing specific going on, no big tragedies and no big frustrations or challenges; it was all just a sense of dull, grayness.  I even skipped my two weekday yoga practices last week.

Then came the weekend.  I signed up for the Lumberjill weekend retreat and it was a big renewal.  The yoga studio where I practice, Pure and Simple Yoga teaches a variety of yoga styles including Svaroopa,  Kripalu, Kundalini, and Bowspring.  I practice Kundalini and Bowspring on a regular basis.  Peg Engasser, the Bowspring teacher is also a LumberJill, competing on the U.S. team.  She wanted to get together with her Lumberjill friends in the winter time, teach yoga, learn a few things, and have fun.  The weekend included delicious food, all the weekend yoga practices, a hike, a painting party at Uncorked Creations Cortland  It all worked and each woman had a profound, beautiful, and unique-to-her experience.

Pure and Simple Yoga has a theme for this year, 2017 is the year for experiencing Universal Love.  For the first(ish) ten weeks the studio is guiding a Ten Weeks of Yoga to Open Your Heart.  Each week, newsletter recipients receive an email with a write up, a pose, and a truly beautiful mandala incorporating it all.  Each teacher incorporates the theme into their practice as their tradition and hearts lead.   This weekend was the beginning of the sixth week and the theme is Equanimity:  Being Peace.  The write-up is beautiful so I’ve excerpted a portion below (no author given).

Equanimity is defined as a state of mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temperament.  Equanimity is not a state of indifference or not caring but instead a practice of caring about all outcomes equally without adding judgement.  Keeping an open mind and a balanced perspective allows us to feel pleasure without grasping on to it and to feel without trying to push it away.

Equanimity, then, allows us to experience all events and emotions from that state of welcoming calm.  Sounds impossible, doesn’t it.  Fortunately, none of us has to be perfect all the time, but rather to practice the emotion as best we can.  Today, for instance, I got an email from someone sharply criticizing something I did using background and data that is to put it, elegantly and appropriately mature, absolute bull ka-ka.  Instead of doing my omigods and verbal expletives, my reaction was ‘well that’s no surprise.’ and proceeded to discuss this with my colleague with a calm and matter of fact demeanor.  We are able to fashion a neutral and appropriate response.  That probably won’t stop me from satirizing my own response, but I’m not doing damage, just amusing myself.  Here again, equanimity becomes a practice and something to be aware of and welcome rather than something to strive for and achieve.

2_swords_2_pentacles-rwsThe weekend turned out to be an exploration of equanimity.  On Friday, we had a session of Tarot, with most people never having exposure.  As part of the party, I had each person draw a card and then I read them all.  As usual, I don’t remember it all, but I do remember the card I drew, the Two of Pentacles because it came up for me all weekend and into the week.  In our discussion, I pointed out that the figure in the Pentacles card on the right was in constant motion, indeed everything is in motion, and yet the figure is able to keep hold of the two objects and even weave them into a pattern.  I describe the Two of Swords to them as another card of balance where every muscle is focused on using stillness to balance the objects and even the background is still.  If there was movement, the balance may be impossible to achieve or, at the very least look very different.  The movement of the Two of Pentacles corresponds with the yoga postures of balance (especially in Bowspring) where adjustments, wobbling, weaving, and even falling are all part of the ways to greet and embrace balance.

Twos and the number twos are, to me, about the integration of what you’ve learned thus far.  You may not know everything and you may not even know what you don’t know, but what you have learned has been embraced if full and equal measure.  The lessons, be they challenging or joyful, have been integrated and understood.  There is more to come but for now, the peace of however you define where you are is in the being.  See what I did there?  I brought us back to the theme:  Equanimity:  Being Peace.

Just a little more to add to this post:  I couldn’t participate in all the events and at first I was a little resentful of what pulled me away but I felt better about doing it than not doing it.  The Kripalu yoga practice on Saturday morning was a release of some sort, all the angst and bitchiness of the weeks before released.  I’m not even sure what it all was but I thanked it for teaching me and let it go.  Then the Kundalini practice on Sunday morning filled me the peace of balance.

May you find the peace and equanimity in being present to it all.

Year of the Green Sheep

I see that it’s been more than a year since I’ve blogged or posted anything.  The past year has been full.  Full of change, full of sound and fury, and full of good things, too.  It has been very absorbing and it’s been hard to find anything to write about.  Perhaps that has changed.  The Year of the Sheep seems to be a nice transition from the rapidity of the Year of the Horse to a more soothing and gentle pace.  The Year of the Sheep may well help us reflect as we graze quietly by the still waters of tranquility.

The year 2015 marks the Year of the Green Sheep in the Chinese lunar calendar.   Green because the element marking this year is Wood.  In the Chinese cosmology, wood is associated with trees and nature with the color assigned is wood.  Is it sheep, ram, or goat?  The answer to all of these is yes, based on the translation of the Chinese word used.

The Sheep person is calm and gentle; well-liked by everyone.  The creature and people associated with this sign are considered very cute and remind people of beautiful things.  Sheep people are smart and kind-hearted, showing compassion and sensitivity to others.  They prefer a life of quiet action.  They are thrifty and cautious in business and financial matters.  At their worst, sheep people are vain, timid, pessimistic, and moody.

The Year of the Sheep is considered a time of good luck, peace, and calm after the tumult of the Year of the Horse.   Sheep tend not to be confrontational so the year tends to be more about smoothing out the edges rather than confronting all that is wrong.

For my part, the previous years have been ones of change, both good and sad, and not so great luck.  I hope for a year of beauty and peace.  At least I hope that whatever life brings, I can greet it with compassion, sensitivity, and intelligence.  In that hope, here is a card reading to reflect on how to envision life’s moments through the eyes of Sheep.

Year of the Green Sheep Tarot spread

Year of the Green Sheep Tarot spread

 

Card 1:  What dilemmas are you facing; how is your luck faring?

Card 2:  What skills do you need to face your situation with sensitivity?

Card 3:  What must you leave behind?

Card 4:  What actions will propel you forward?

Card 5:  What will keep you going strong and firm?

Card 6:  What brings a smile to your face and joy to your heart?

May the Year of the Green Sheep bring forth beauty, calm, peace, luck, and opportunity for you.

The Gifts of Durga

A little more than a week ago, I wrote a post on the Goddess Durga and finding fierce compassion for myself.  I must admit that one of the people I find hardest to treat with compassion is myself.  I seem to be especially harsh on myself.  I also noted that Durga holds items in each of her hands and each of these might become tools for me to use in finding compassion within and using it in a loving and supportive manner.  I think, also, that this cold and brutal winter has a lot to do with the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness I feel on this first day of spring.

Sorry to be such a buzzkill!  I’ve always been called a “Little Miss Fix-it” and I certainly have that in my personality.  I haven’t fixed this.  But I am making a start by finding what the gifts Durga holds out to us.  A little bit of rather cursory research nets me a wealth of information to think about, journey on, meditate on, and to breathe in.

Durga has three eyes!  The left is desire or the moon, accessing the vision of the sacred feminine; and the right is action or the sun, accessing the vision of the sacred masculine.  The third and center eye is knowledge and fire.  I think the third eye takes these two opposites and melds them together in an alchemical blend of power and love.

She sits on a lion or tiger, both of which mean power, will, determination and ferocity.  Like my favorite Major Arcana card, Strength, Durga acts according to her nature and respects the nature of the powerful animal she rides.  They have formed a partnership of mutual respect and determination.  They ride forward in unison and harmony fulfilling their mutual purpose as well as their individual desires.

In her hands she holds a number of items, important in symbolic ways;  the conch shell is assigned the sound “om” and Durga is holding onto god in the form of sound;  the bow and arrow is control over both forms of energy, the kinetic and potential; the thunderbolt is about firmness of convictions and firmness in general; The lotus is not fully in bloom and talks of the certainty of success but not the final outcome; the discus spins above her index finger without touching, indicating that the entire world bows to her will; the sword if freedom from doubt; and  the trident indicates three qualities of action, inactivity, non-activity, activity and the remover of the three miseries, physical, mental and spiritual.

This is what my research tells me.  Over the next few weeks I will be journeying to Durga to ask her what wisdom she has for me about each of these tools.  Her stance tells us “fear not,” and already I feel more hopeful than I did when I started writing.  Perhaps like the lotus not fully in bloom, the turning of the wheel is opening up a little window of hope and happiness.  lotus 08 001 (Small)

Here Comes the Susie Snowflake

Suzy Snowflake sheet music

Suzy Snowflake sheet music

There is another snow storm predicted for our area later this week.  This is no news for the people to the west of this area since they will be getting it first.  The forecasters warn us that predicting springtime storms is difficult so we may get freezing rain and sleet mixed in.  I’d rather have snow.  I’m tired of my own kvetching about the snow so I’m trying to be peppy about it.  I’m of the generation of Captain Kangaroo with all his stories, songs, skits, and laughter.  “I learned that from Mr. Greenjeans,” or “I heard that on Captain Kangaroo” was something often said by me and others of my generation.  One of the songs is Susie Snowflake tap, tap, tapping at my window pane.

Not many people seem to remember the cartoon  from the show.  I don’t remember the cartoon but I remember the song vividly.   Still less remember that it was sung by Rosemary Clooney, one of the sisters in the movie White Christmas.  Danny Kaye was in that movie, a very clever and talented performer.  One of his best movie skits was in the movie Court Jesterwhere he did a spectacular tongue twister about the Chalice with the Palace.

I’m cheered up.  Nothing like a song and a laugh along with a trip to memory lane to make me more cheerful.  Another thing that helps is a tarot reading.  Below is a tarot spread based on the expression that no two snowflakes are alike to remind us that not only are no two snowflakes alike but no two snowstorms are identical.

 

Each One Unique Spread

Use this spread to ask a question about your situation when you are confused or certain things are not as they appear.  It’s a good way to help you keep on the path to reach your goal(s).

Each One Unique Spread

Each One Unique Spread

  

Card One:       What is nearest and dearest to your heart in this matter?

Card Two:      What does your intuition tell you about the situation?

Card Three:    What does your imagination tell you about the situation?

Card Four:     What is hidden beneath the surface?

Card Five:      What is out of reach at this time?

Card Six:        What does logic say about this situation?

Card Seven:    What is the possible outcome?

May your day be filled with cheerful song, funny word-play, and a little wisdom!

 

Howling at the Moon Tarot Spread

Last week I wrote about Howling in Winter and the power of the Wolf.  Today, by tapping into that power, I’m posting a Tarot spread based on the Wolf’s Howl.  A-Whhhhooooooooo!

This spread can  be used to help clarify situations; to help you see things that you are not seeing and to provide guidance for avoiding pitfalls as well as what is needed to move forward.

Tarot spread

 

 Card One:       The Heart of the Matter

Card Two:      How does the situation express itself?

Card Three:    Inner wisdom needed

Card Four:     Fears or what is to be avoided.

Card Five:      What are the next steps to move forward?

  May your journey follow your voice of freedom and release!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Guess We Don’t Have To Do That Again

Einstein-on-insanityI’ve been talking to several people in different parts of my life about this statement:  “I guess we won’t have to do that again.”  It’s from my mother and it is considered another “Gailism.”  It is one of my mother’s classic phrases.   I first remember her using it when we went to this sub shop that we had heard about for years.  The food was supposed to be fabulous and wonderful.  It was some distance from our house and when we finally got to go there to eat, it was clear they were getting ready to close permanently.

It was a weird atmosphere and the food was lackluster and tasteless.  At the end of our meal, my mother said deadpan:  I guess we don’t have to do that again.”  Such dry humor, layered irony, and ruefulness.  We didn’t get to eat out much so a special treat really fell flat.  In so many ways.

And, of course, there is great wisdom in that statement.  We do not have to repeat bad experiences, we can move on, and we can live through disappointment.  And in my family, we move through disappointment into laughter as quickly as possible.  The statement is reminiscent of the definition of insanity attributed to Albert Einstein:  Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  As human beings, we do that so often.  We choose the same path, the same type of significant other, the same diet and so forth.  Then we wonder why there’s not better or different results.

In our wisdom, we do learn from our errors, our wrong choices, or even choices that were right at the time but wrong now.  Hooray for us!  We can move on to make new mistakes and new choices and to expereience more neSix of Wandsw [insert rude adjective] growth opportunities.  It’s our ability to learn from the past and embrace new choices that make us stronger and wiser.

Sometimes those old issues and errors fool us.  As one friend puts it, the mistakes get dressed up in new party clothes and seduce us again.  If we are smart and if we are lucky, we recognize the old thing in the new duds and catch ourselves before we fall.  Sometimes we learn that there are issues that repeat for us and we need to go deeper to learn the meaning of that for us.  The human experience is rich in texture and scars.

When we triumph over our old errors, the phrase “I guess I don’t have to do that again,” becomes an anthem of victory and accomplishment.  We can move from the irony of that statement into a celebration of the richness of our own experiential lives.

The Six of Wands in the Tarot is a victory card.  It depicts the celebration and triumph of a fight well fought and fairly won.  The funny thing is, the figure in the card is looking to the future and for more things to overcome.  But in this moment, he is taking the time to dress up and celebrate his scars and his resilience.

February is Full Snow Moon: A Meditation and Tarot Spread

The heaviest times for snow are during February.  Sometimes the harsh weather conditions led native peoples to call this the Full Hunger Moon since hunting was very difficult.  Our hearts and souls often hunger for warmth and comfort during this time.               

Snow is water made solid.  We work with water when we do soul work and emotional healing.  Water washes over us and cleanses us and sometimes we drown in the profundity of it all.  In its solid form we can feel remote and cut off from our emotional and soul selves and at the same time its solid form is a reminder that our emotions and souls can be manifested in the material world.  The beauty and uniqueness of a snowflake reminds us of our matchless selves, unique in our joy and our suffering.

Take three long cleansing breaths. Close your eyes and breathe again, letting go of any anxieties or concerns.  Continue to breathe deeply and connect with Mother Earth, slumbering soundly beneath the surface.  Your breathing matches hers as you breathe in peace and quiet.  You find yourself outdoors at night.  The sky is full of stars and the full moon glows brightly, illuminating the snow covered ground around you.  As you stand there in the quiet, deep in snow, flakes gently begin to fall.  You are not afraid, cold, or concerned but filled with the wonder and beauty of this snowfall.  The flakes remind you of the many blessings in your life as you watch the beauty fall from the night sky.  The illuminating rays of the moon cause some snowflakes to stand out and capture attention.  As you focus on individual snowflakes, what do they remind you of?  What is in your life that is evoked by the beautiful snowflake?  Is it a reminder of love, or grief?  Is it a memory or habit you can’t seem to shake?  Keep watching the snowflakes until you feel that you have learned enough.  Thank them for their wisdom.  With a long deep breath, you are back in the here and now.  With a second deep breath, you open your eyes. With a third deep breath, you reconnect with your centeredness and reconnect with Mother Earth.  As you return to your everyday place and time, record your journey in your journal and draw the snowflakes that you saw and what the snowflake evoked in you.   

Each One Unique Spread

Use this spread to ask a question about your situation when you are confused or certain things are not as they appear.  It’s a good way to help you keep on the path to reach your goal(s).

 

February Tarot Spread (Full Moon)   

Card One:       What is nearest and dearest to your heart in this matter?

Card Two:      What does your intuition tell you about the situation?

Card Three:    What does your imagination tell you about the situation?

Card Four:     What is hidden beneath the surface?

Card Five:      What is out of reach at this time?

Card Six:        What does logic say about this situation?

Card Seven:    What is the possible outcome?

 

Majors Monday: The Magician

I am continuing to look at the majors for inspiration and for designing spreads. My desire is to make spreads as simple and clear as possible. Sometimes I feel that a lot of cards confuses the querent and the reader. Readers know the cards better and can probably absorb a lot of information, but sometimes the querent will shut down before they hear all the cards read because there’s just too much information.
The Magician is good at sorting out information and presenting it in a coherent and cohesive format. It’s not that he or she is simplistic in the power of thought, it’s just that the Magician can develop focus.
The arm pointed above and the arm pointed below indicates a firm grounding in earthly matters while understanding there is a celestial connection to things. He becomes a channel or conduit. Shamanic teaching tells us below or underworld is the source of information for earthly, bodily, and health matters while the above teaches us the wisdom of teachers and celestial energies. Neither above nor below is better than the other.
It can sometimes be a heady experiences to channel all that information and arrogance in his own opinion can be a danger for the magician. He has the tools on the table before him and he can use them anyway he chooses. The infinity symbol above his head helps him keep things in the perspective that he is a finite being working with huge infinite energies.
In shamanic thinking, the shaman is one who journeys between the worlds to gain wisdom and power to benefit the community; it is an act of service. A sorcerer may do the same journeywork and discover the same power and wisdom. The difference is the sorcerer uses that information in service only to himself or herself. The sorcerer’s hands are not connected to above and below in the stance of the magician, but rather directs it into his/her own being.
With this anchoring and the greater perspective, he can use his tools to gain wisdom and power to benefit himself in the service of others.
Wisdom and Knowledge
Use this spread to understand the purpose behind the querent’s quests and questions and to determine a future plan

Card One: Your view of the infinite, the long view, long-term idea
Card Two: Where your head is at, what your thinking, imagining, or dreaming
Card Three: Information from the infinite, your teachers, or celestial wisdom
Card Four: Information from the underworld about body, health, earthly matters
Card Five: What are you channeling, accessing; are there blockages?
Card Six, Seven, Eight and Nine can be read together as the tools you have access to; or seperately as Cups, Pentacles, Swords, and Wands.
Let me know how this works for you since it’s brand new!
May the wisdom of all your teachers from all the worlds be clear and delightful to you.

Friendships, Transitions, and the Death Card


I’ve been thinking about transitions and friendships lately. On three occasions, recently, a name or a picture of someone who was a good friend in the past has popped into my life. I was recalling with some fondness and nostalgia my memories of this person, this person, and that person as their name or picture popped up.

I remembered, though without any force, the pain I had experienced when they left my life. The transition and change was rugged, sorrowful, and full of anger in some of these cases. In one case, I had changed in way unacceptable to my then friend and so the relationship was ended. In another case, the person had to make a transition of her own and did not carry our friendship forward into this new life of hers, and the other was a misunderstanding that on the surface was minor but was really an indicator of a dying friendship. In a couple of cases, there was a modicum of betrayal or desertion felt by me and in another, an acceptance of what was to be.
It made me think of the Death card. In this 21st century, we read the death card as transformation and change rather than the death of the body, though when I read it that way, I hear Rachel Pollack’s voice say that sometimes death is about death. In these three cases, it is about death. At one point, I had become a different person and the person that was a good friend to my friend, died in her eyes. She couldn’t accept my transition. In another case, my friend was changing and she couldn’t envision her life with our friendship viable within it. And in the other, the period of denial and bargaining was over and the death of a friendship was accepted.
None of these were easy. Inevitably, transformation means that something will not make it through to the new life or vision. Transformation means that what was before no longer exists. Sometimes it means death. So I look back at the past and even the recent past to think I’m content with who I am. In some cases I do miss what was and in others I do not. The pain and anger is gone and the sweet memories remain.
And is that not the lesson of Death in all its manifestations?

Come as You Aren’t

Part of what I teach is “how to lie at Tarot,” and someday I’m going to put it together as a workshop. Sometimes in teaching and in reading tarot, you need to adopt a persona so you can make your point. I did that several years ago and, voila, Madame Zelda was born.
I was teaching beginning Tarot with a friend and we wanted to do a session on how not to read Tarot. “We should role-play it,” I said. She agreed as long as I would take the lead. I chose to be the reader. I chose the cards for the reading, choosing some of the most challenging cards in the deck. You know the ones: nine of swords, ten of swords and the like. I chose some provocative ones like the Devil and the Lovers, too.

By that time in my tarot life, I had developed my authentic reader self to be compassionate, listening, intuitive and collaborative. I had to figure out a way to move out of that mindset. So I gave myself pep talks about what a “not reading” would feel and look like.
So we sat down to do our role play. I opened my mouth and a deep, faux-mid-European accent emerged. I asked for money upfront, bargaining and quibbling about the amount. I introduced myself as Madame Zelda who proceeded to deliver this reading. Madame Zelda always refers to herself as “Madame Zelda” and is supremely confident and complimentary of her own wisdom, power, and pyschic ability. That day, Madame Zelda actually gave a good reading in terms of the cards and delivering a message. However, she took center stage and the querent was over-run with information delivered with majestic condescension. I’m sure one of her antecedents is Lady Catherine from Pride and Prejudice.
Over the years, I have become very fond of Madame Zelda and so have many of my friends. She is flamboyant, gaudy, arrogant, honest to the point of rudeness, and very, very funny. I do know that when I sit down to read for people for real, Madame Zelda must fall away. She complains about that at all. It’s hard, she says, to get her message out when she has to go through all that caring and listening.
A few years ago, a friend mentioned that she took Mary Greer and Rachel Pollack’s workshop at the Omega Center in Rhinebeck, NY. These two wonderful, knowledgeable teachers had asked people to adopt another persona as a Reader. To think about costume, character, accent and such. What a genius I am. Just kidding.
Madame Zelda has taught me a lot. She helps me shake up my “business as usual” reading style. She is astute when it comes to the business side and the less than pleasant side of life. Everyone I read for knows I like to put a “pretty face” on things while Madame Zelda reminds me that sometimes you need to tell the hard truths.
Speaking of pretty faces, I think Madame Zelda really looks like this.

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