Wear The Tarot Final Post?

I have come to the end of the personalized cards! Well, almost…and Tuesday Tarot may continue as I now actually USE this highly personal deck for a while.  Wednesday’s draw was a much loved favorite – what I once would have called a “dime store find” to which I added a personal accouterment.

I found the blackened chain with sparkly ball and faux pearl on sale at a local chain, some years back.  To that I added a lovely, tiny sterling silver funnel that was a gift to me.  It came to me with a tiny silver bottle from a pagan friend who hailed me as a “potion mistress” for my making of several kinds of tinctures and experimental magical liquids.  For a few seconds there, I felt completely Harry Potterized, haha!  But then, of course, I’d prefer to fight Dark Arts than make potions!

The Princess of Cups – a reflective artistic sort – assuredly not me!  But I do love this jewelry piece.  With Cups being the watery emotional suit – I wanted to reflect the pearl theme I used.  But that silver funnel for guiding liquids appealed to me as well for my selection.  The tiny size (1 1/2 inches) made me think of funnels to ears somewhat like one might find in Hamlet!  What poison is being poured emotionally?

The Princess card is often called a Page and is emblematic of messages.  This piece, with my distrust of things merely emotional?  Warns me to notice messages of emotive content – both received and sent!

Thursday – today, my card is the 8 of Swords.  Lovely necklace I made, if I do say so myself.  Why would such a pretty thing be stuck with the title “Lord of Shortened Force”?  Because the source of those pretty turquoise beads, like some others before in other, cheaper necklaces, was a turquoise rosary.  Anything that needs its force shortened, in my opinion, is the dominant patriarchal monotheistic religion – like the Catholic Church.

Mind you, I like the Catholics better than the Protestants and their utter mania for acting all Handmaid’s Tale about women.  But still — this piece reminds me to ask myself how I am fighting the Religious Right.  Those fat silver earrings are the teardrops of women victimized by the very  religion they uphold.  I’d like to tell them, loving the idea of a caring divinity does not mean loving controlling MEN.  Even if that deity is perceived as male, it doesn’t mean only men get to make the commands of life!  Which is why I like Catholics better — Mary was my first goddess, some mediation of nigh divine feminine was better than none.

The eights, in cards, often have meanings associated with movement or the lack thereof.  This card signifies restriction, censure – possibly corrosive jealousy from those nearest and dearest.  When I see this card in a layout it means it is time to kick down some barriers!

The last card, which I will wear tomorrow?  Well, it seems almost synchronistically perfect.  This lovely spiral of silver and its matching earrings came to me as a surprise gift from someone I greatly admire and hold in constant affection.  I was in Mexico, taking care of my father’s widow as she had a mastectomy after a year of chemo.  My father, before he died, had befriended a Mexican family of several sisters and a couple brothers.  They all celebrated notable events and holidays together and bonded closely in times of trouble.  The matriarch of the family was being treated for breast cancer at the same time as my dad’s widow.

The oldest sister brought me this beautiful piece one night late; she saw it and was reminded of me, she said, because she knew I had a Labyrinth.  It was an incredible kindness at a difficult time.   In the years ahead, through more intense difficulties, this family kept me sane and supported me with such friendship and functionality as to revise my entire life!

Thus, since they were the epitome of the good counsel, advice, and teaching that is the best connotation of this card (sometimes called “The Pope” – but not by me!), I assigned this wonderful memory piece.  Since M. also gave it the connotation of my Labyrinth – the Walk of the Fallen, it ties me to my own priestess-hood there upon the stones.  The card is said to mean “strict adherence to religion” and the family in Mexico that I adore were Catholics of the most ideal kind.  They were humane and loving, they were human “gods of redemption” to me.

Every ideal of religious belief and practice does not have to be stained with stupidity or cruelty.  It is the love in the hearts of the practitioner that makes the truth of it – not what is in any book or on lips of any priest.  And so I remain, a solitary priestess serving the dead of war, and this final card/jewel is my badge of office.


Tuesday Tarot – Poignant Poverty

There are things we all do to make our lives bearable that are still sometimes unbearable.  Monday’s draw card reminded me of this unpleasant fact, and it is generally an unpleasant card.  The 5 of Pentacles is sometimes called the “bankruptcy card” because it is interpreted with such dire financial connotations.  And unlike some other similarly direly read cards, if it is in reversed position it is not neutralized, but made worse!

Now, some flightier readers might say that even with a limited draw-pile left, getting this card and having seen it in card readings would mean I need to check my finances.  But as I pointed out before, Pentacles, as a suit, is not just about money.  It is about ALL material concerns.  Thus it can be about health, weather, necessary repairs – almost anything affecting one’s material circumstances.

This card reminds me of something verging on every other suit/element only because of the source of the black kyanite piece from which it is made.  It was a gift from a friend.  A friend I don’t correspond with these days – not since Hurricane Harvey devastated Florida.  We had a serious difference of philosophy, you see?  Her daughter, living in Florida, was taking the enforced time off to go to Disneyworld with her child while the “lines were shorter.”  I was scandalized as likely only a bitchy goodie-two-shoes is capable of being.

But it wasn’t just goodie-two-shoeing.  Empathy is taught in childhood, you see?  What does it teach a child to drive past devastated areas full of people with destroyed homes to go to the Magic Fucking Kingdom if not “Hey, sucks to be YOU!”  I was scaldingly angry.  I was heartlessly brutal to a woman who generally tries to be loving, even if she often ignores the world in self-defense.  The most poignant poverty this card could ever speak of is the loss of a friend – a poverty I inflicted upon myself in service of my rather cast-in-iron ethical standards.  This does not make me noble, alas; but it renders my life consistent with my ideals.    Still, each time I am trying not to wear the same ten favorite jewelry bits and draw this card, it will consistently remind me of what I lose in service of what some consider an abstract idea.

Tuesday’s card is not one that I view with much more merriment, to be honest.  But just as some folks distrust and fear the suit of Pentacles, I feel that way about the suit of Cups.  The emotional world it represents makes me leery; it is the water element indeed for me, a poor and hesitant swimmer in every sense.  I’m not going to lie, in a reading, every Cup makes me go “Oh, shit – here we go!”

Women are allegedly good at “living in the heart not the head”?  But not me, I stay in my head in the suit of Wands, thank you very much.  I focus on marriage even, not as a romantic ideal, but a socio-economic unit.  So here I am with the beautiful dyed cultured pearls made to look like impossibly costly Tahitian pearls – a gift from the other side of my socio-economic unit!

Pearls as black, as I too tritely say, as my heart (and my coffee).  I fear the things this card connotes – a friendly dreamer too easily discouraged to stand the test of time and trial.  Do I fear dreaming of things that may never be?  Yes.  Am I easily discouraged?

That is hard to say, for you see, I am that most terrible kind of person — the sort who lives (by dint of past experience) in a constant state of discouragement; I never truly expect anything to succeed.  But I fight for it anyway with every bit of my vigor and fury.  You’d think I’d be a punk rock fan with my immersion in anger and frustration.  That is what/who the Knight of Cups is for me.  So, if I say I’m now cueing the Misfits, you know I don’t mean an old Marilyn Monroe movie, right?


Earth Day Tarot Fix

Nearing the end of this Wear the Tarot Project. But oddly, I have learned a lot about myself in this process. Originally, the idea of making my jewelry into a home-made tarot deck was just an attempt to avoid listening to people say “How come you never wear that thing I gave you?”  But taking the time to assign each piece to a tarot value told me what each item meant to me – it deeply internalized the symbolic values of the cards for me.  It made wearing each jewelry piece a default meditation throughout the day.  Peculiarly, it taught me which decks of my small collection are actually my favorite — because it let me call to mind the images most evocative to me.

Friday’s pick was the Queen of Pentacles.  You would think that for this, I’d pick something lavish and costly.  Even if I had a lot of costly sparkly bits, which I really do not – I’m not sure that would be my choice.  I think of the Queen of Pentacles as a woman who knows about value and being down-to-earth.  She might like to put on a good display of her favorite things, but she likes getting them at a reasonable price!

I made this piece, using very cheap (nope, not economical — actually cheap) pre-strung silvery beads.  I think the big bright bubbly looking silver ones may not even be metal.  But since Pentacles is the suit for Earth — the colored beads are real minerals – all off the sale table at Shipwreck Beads, ten for less than $4.  When I first made it, I almost put all reds on it to wear as a Solstice necklace — but I was seduced by the pretty blues, greens and other natural stone tones!

It was a strangely festive thing to wear out weeding on Friday and as I planted a few color spot flowers to wake up my yard.  But it moves intriguingly, reminding you it is there.  So it calls you back to remember it — and wouldn’t the Queen of Pentacles garden, after all?

Saturday did feel like the draw of the day: The Wheel of Fortune. This jewelry piece began as a inexpensive costume brooch with glass stones.  As often is the case, I couldn’t leave well enough alone.  I took it to a place called Jerry’s Rock Shop in Auburn, Washington – they installed real semi-precious stones for me and did a splendid job working with cheap metal as if it were something precious.  The pin on the back was not up to the task and kept breaking, so I had a couple holes drilled to attach a chain.

The bright stones were picked to represent family members.  All five of us have a stone.  Originally, the other three represented dear friends – some of those people are now dead, some merely alienated or gone missing in the way of military far, far awayness.  That shifting list of people is why this was picked to represent the Wheel.  Because life changes.

Our change here?  Soon someone who was represented by the white stone will leave the household.  Military marriages are often long distance perforce, but all of us are civilians now.  So why a preference for a pen pal relationship?  I can’t speak to the marital expectations of Millennials – but it seems a terrible mistake to me.

But it is a change of fortune, and begins a new different cycle – whether it is progress depends upon one’s definition perhaps?  That is what this card means; and when reversed it can also mean a refusal to change.  That is more what it felt like this time around – phobias and old stomping grounds trumped a new place with a husband barely lived with face to face.  It saddens me for both of them.

Today feels a bit more joyful; the sun is out and the draw is the 6 of Cups.  This card has a happy necklace because I like to focus on the meaning of happy memories and wishes fulfilled.  I have always loved pearls and this string of very slightly pink freshwater pearls are the first ones my Minotaur husband gave to me.  Later of course, I bought and strung many for myself.  But this strand feels warm and sweet around my throat and whispers the card’s nicest meaning to me: “Past work equals present success; past associations bring present relationships.”

It works for today, too.  Earth Day – when, each year, I plan to cut another thing out of my life that damages my planet.  Small steps as I face the quandary of having so few choices in some aspects of modern life.  Also, today,  we welcome a couple to cook and eat with us, outdoors in the spring sunshine.  They are immigrants and our adopted Marine son met the man at his college gymnasium – he has been here two years and never been invited to an American home as a guest!

I found that shocking and xenophobic.  So, this “lady’s” pleasure will be a pleasant meal on the fresh swept patio with wind chimes sounding and flowers in bloom around us!

Thursday Tarot – Moving Right Along

Yesterday was a long day, so my Wear the Tarot choice seemed odd to me as the day began.  The High Priestess?  Really?  Well, yes, every card drawn from a declining stack will eventually come up.  I’d have to say I didn’t feel very priestessy myself getting ready to spend a good deal of the day on the road to and from a VA hospital.  I might have looked the part — all in black and with this glowing piece at my throat.

This is one of my older pieces of jewelry – like many boughten gifts from the Minotaur, it represented a meaningful moment.  It came from a lovely shop in Leavenworth, Washington that doesn’t exist anymore.  It is made of “opalized” moonstone and was purchased in lieu of my birthstone – which is the opal.  I find most opals rather boring and don’t like them.

The card itself?  It bespeaks hidden actions, hidden influences from the subconscious.  It premiers the action of females, as well.  I admit, it certainly has felt like there are hidden currents moving in my household of late.  I find it regretful that the unhappy “princess of wands” stays in her room avoiding the house and conversation entirely.  It feels as if she refuses us all because she cannot convince us and desires no conversation she cannot dominate unopposed.  I have the feeling she labels us violent and abusive merely because we do not agree with her.

I envy a counselor who derailed a client’s self-delusion and self-sabotaging statements by shooting them with a Nerf gun.  There is no similar “in” here — although she uses psychology against us all the time, as if she thinks she is qualified by dint of her own therapy in the past.  We can’t make her examine her own behaviors and statements and she has the idea that no therapy works, thus she will NOT seek it.  Not helpful.  Nor acceptable.  The priestess, unlike the counselor, can only observe and see things she may not be able to change even if she should choose to attempt it!

Today?  Home from all of that and intent on staying here.  My card draw is the 2 of Pentacles.  I’d like to pat myself on the back and say “Yay, yes, “lady of harmonious change”!”  But I don’t really feel it.  This card doesn’t work that way — it is about so much fluctuation and change going on that you cannot launch anything with real effect.

People commonly read Pentacles as being all about money.  And it often IS about money.  But it is the material suit.  it is about the material world and all its aspects.  It can be about health.  It can be about home.  It can be about weather, for pity’s sake!

This is the premier card for “Don’t take on too much debt!”  That is one reason I picked this very old pendant for my Wear the Tarot deck.  That blue-white oval?  It is my birthstone, the opal — the stone I never am fond of in general.  This is a card about material polarities that can be in conflict.  The green stone is one of my absolute favorites – fluorite.  It is the exact shade of the water I saw dripping off a fallen cedar tree on the Olympic Peninsula on my first visit there.

So the magic of a favorite place and the caution sign of my birthstone to remind me of opposites that I must keep in balance.  Likewise the chaos and sorrow in my house – I stay out of it, not trying to explain to that princess how out of focus her view of us is.  She does not want to hear it.  She wants to return to her East Coast home and will do what she must to make that case and no other.  I wish her joy in her decision, but if wishes were horses we could all go for a ride, right?


Tuesday Tarot – The Queen Will Rule

Only a small stack of unworn Wear the Tarot remain; maybe it is being sickly for the most of the last several weeks – but I’ve been too worn out to do card spreads lately.  Also, as seems nigh impossible to avoid in a PTSD afflicted household – there has been a bit of somewhat exhausting drama/conflict in the house.  I AM still taking psychological cues and comfort from my jewelry-as-tarot project, however.

Yesterday’s card was #6, The Lovers.  This labradorite pendant was a gift from my husband a couple years ago.  He has a matching jewel in a rectangular shape with a silver “X” shape across it’s face – like the rune “Gyfu” that does signify a gift.  We exchanged these sometimes dull, sometimes brilliant stones as anniversary gifts as we entered the true rehabilitation of our marriage stage.  So it is usually a happy necklace to wear; but not always – if we are re-engaging in an old conflict as gray as the unlit gemstone, it is not happy.

Thus this jewel for this card.  The Lovers is not an unmitigated happiness of a card for me.  It is a card that can be rife with conflict – taking on meaning of everything from a young lover’s need to choose mate over mother, to the mere meeting of opposites as lovers.  That last bit has always rang as a true interp on this card.  This card, to me, connotes conflict as often as not.

There are many kinds of opposites.  Not the obvious polarities alone – male/female.  City dweller/country lover?  Easterner/Westerner?  Northerner/Southerner?  There is the presumption that “love is enough” and it is presumptuous.  Some of the household conflict here has been in another marriage…another set of “lovers.”  Some of the origins of that are in one of those polarities that have blossomed into phobic behavior, avoidant behavior, and self-defeating behaviors.  And I, as female-head-of-household, lost my temper at a bit of passive-aggressive posturing and shouted at the promulgator of said action.  This got me accused of being “technically abusive.”  Wow.

I don’t “do” passive aggressive, myself.  I’m more likely to buy a suit of armor, borrow its gauntlet and smack the person pissing me off right in the chops with it and then meet them at dawn with pistols.  I don’t do “technically” abusive — if merely raising your voice to question a bit of bullshit is abusive?  Well then, fuck me for a villain, I am not politically correct enough to avoid being abusive.  Said accuser has raised her voice at all in sundry — her stock in trade is “verbal grenades” dropped while stomping angrily through the house.  So it is really rich that I am accused by her.  I’ve always been quite direct about how I will handle conflicts between ALL housemates.  So the day after I chewed someone’s ass, I draw this card — labeled “Children of the Voice.”  The raised voice, apparently?  My house, my rules.  Period.  I am sympathetic, but I have boundaries and there ARE rules, which will be obeyed by ALL.

Today, as I struggle with feelings about the weekend, and wonder if I can exercise without coughing up a lung, I drew the Princess of Wands.  That tiny little carved amber rose with silver leaves was a gift, too.  Roses have thorns, like the emblematic wand I am considering re-creating later this year.

The page/princess of wands is a young person willing to bring “the fire” so to speak to attain their will.  It can be a domineering person using any means, including manipulation and other negative means to get their way.  Doesn’t that sound harsh and unpleasant?

Well, it is.  I remind myself that I am a humanist – yes, first and foremost, ahead of my feminism and all other aspects of myself.  That young person, untried in certain circumstances could also be reacting out of uncertainty and fear, trying desperately to control a situation that seems to be threatening.  I do my best not to assume the worst about a person immediately.  I operate a bit like baseball — it takes three strikes before someone is officially “out” with me.  Sometimes many more strikes, depending on the circumstances.  Sometimes, it takes a lot to not consider two strikes sufficient.  I keep my own rules, however difficult.

So, I maintain my lines, my standards, the household rules of behavior.  I amthe queen here, not a princess.  I was never a princess and fuck you Disney – I fought my way to my crown, thank you very much.  This is a democratic household until someone is subconsciously or consciously subverting the rules and not listening to calmly offered advice.  Then I, as a one-time pal used to put it, “straighten that crown, locking it between the horns” and rule from the immovable throne.  An astrologer friend agreed with what my many decks of tarot cards all seemed to say — I am the Queen of Wands, the one with the throne of Flame in spite of my watery Scorpio sunsign, she said.  Because my “rising sign” IS fiery Aries, she said.

Do I believe in astrology?  Does it predict my life, my behavior, my day?  No.  It is a sometimes amusing, sometimes useful metaphor and does have connections in tarot — another useful, less often amusing metaphor!  Princesses almost always dislike Queens.  In stories, in movies…and yes, in beehives, too.  Often, those princesses are just inexperienced and untrusting.  Sadly, sometimes they are gulled fools giving their voices away for nothing.  Sometimes they act badly and are a bit embarrassed by themselves and hide from those they offended rather than apologizing and moving forward.  There are lots of princesses out there that don’t make the best choice, don’t see where they really are at and feel victimized by being told to stop being so damned princess-like and entertain reality over phobias.  They assume, because they are angry, that everyone else is still angry and that they must fight instead of merely learning not to be a brat.

Is this a nice post?  No.  But it is a truthful and honest one.  Youth is….well, yes, very wasted upon the young.  They fight the wrong battles for the wrong reasons against the wrong people.  They won’t talk it out and demonize the ones they are angry at out of all proportion.  They alienate those trying to help them.  Hurt feelings are just that — feelings, NOT facts.

Sunday Are We Still/Again/More at War Tarot

How do you write of small ordinary things like tarot navel gazing, when you lie awake at night wondering just how far afield ego and mania might take your country while your eyes are closed?  I am not one who can comfort herself with a prayer, of course.  So Friday the 13th – a day began in a tizzy over personal discomforts and public bureaucracy – I lay in my bed wondering if the war I’ve feared since childhood was about to begin.  After all, our President was bombing someone to primarily take minds off his affairs and the investigations into his crooked ways.  And Putin, as if forgetting what “proxy war” meant, was threatening Paris, London, and Washington D.C with retribution from his side.

It made me wish my wear the tarot pick for Friday “made it so” for me…for the card was the one commonly called The Magician.  Oh yes, on Friday night I so wished I was a “master of power” because I had seldom felt more helpless!  I finally fell asleep and slept well because I acknowledged aloud that there was fuck nothing I could do if Putin nuked London and Trump set the silos of North Dakota a-singing in response.  IF that had happened, I might not have awakened at all on Saturday.  I am surrounded by military bases — targets too alluring to ignore or miss.

This necklace is a favorite of my home made pieces.  One would think I made it especially for this tarot project, but I did not.  But it perfectly encapsulates the four elements and how I used them – pearls for watery Cups, amber for fiery Wands, turquoise for airy Swords, and last and solidly earthy for Pentacles?  Lava — three spheres of lava.  My other suits of cards used these stones as well, only Pentacles swept up ALL the various mineral loves I have had in jewelry. Since the Mage/Juggler/Magician typically illustrates signs of the four elements this was the perfect piece!

The card speaks to being willing to step up to the plate with mastery and skill and Will.  I went to sleep Friday night calling the archetypal elements by their esoteric titles – the Gnomes, the Sylphs, the Undines, the Salamanders.  It is an old magical bargain we have; at the end of my life they get all the elements of me in return for being my allies in the dispersal of my Will, the answering to my call and need.  The tears of my mourners, the smoke of my burning, the dust of my very bones…for any comfort to sanity and peace!

Of course, I woke Saturday to subdued news, as if war is the normal course to which we should accustom ourselves.  Is that where we are, the new normal is not ever expected to again be peace?  Perhaps my resultant mood made my choice of the burnished and burning amber sphere that I named to be the King of Wands?

In a person it means a conscientious mediator, a lover of traditions and family.  But, in the element of Fire; I’d say not the one to piss off!

The jewel was a gift to me for my birthday.  I initially strung it on those blood colored garnets to boost the “fire” feeling.  But though amber is not very heavy, the silver mounting on this is massive and weighty; when I wear it I put it on a heavy silver necklet because those garnets threatened to chew up my neck from the weight.

Today, I signed petitions.  I wrote a couple letters.  I bought juice for sick family members and made muffins.  I mediated between the crazy world outside my doors and the family I was nurturing within my home.

I stopped at an estate sale and brought home a hand made woolen rug that just happened to be in the colors we first molded into our room off the kitchen and a copy of The Joy of Cooking as I first owned it from the early ’70’s.  A piece of some other family’s life is now incorporated into our own – a continuance in the face of dissolution.  If that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is.

So, perhaps because that made me feel enriched and multiplying of love against the diminishment of time, on Sunday, the card of the day was the 10 of Pentacles.  A riot of color displaying a wealth of hope and intentions, this necklace was purchased for me at the Seymour Conservatory in Wright Park in downtown Tacoma to help support this beautiful place.

The beads are not of especial worth – no precious metals, no gemstones.  But it feels like joy and dancing around your neck.  No gray day and dull mood can stand against it!  It is the real wealth of the Pentacles suit – the wealth of living fully, joyfully as often as you can in spite of whatever is happening.

It is the wealth of raising your head, not dropping to your knees.

It is the wealth of color when the world is turning black and white.

It is the wealth of memory of a perfect day, scented in flowers.

Sheba or Cleopatra would have raised a proud throat in this necklace.

I wear it with a purple dress and red shoes.

And in it?  I dance even when sitting still!


Thursday Tarot Royals

Another rainy day. After five days of being sick enough I barely rose from bed, but did no tarot layouts, yesterday I resumed the effort in addition to my usual Wear the Tarot draw card.  I admit, the card layouts are making no sense at all to me.  This is likely because I still feel rather rotten and my brain is telling me to take a hike!

Yesterday’s draw card is a huge favorite of mine. It was a gift and the thick woven silver band it hangs upon was a junk store find at an amazingly low price because the catch was busted.  The Empress card always make me think of the color green – perhaps I equate this card with Mother Earth figures?  The translucent beauty is a big flat piece of moldavite – a piece of glass, basically, created by the fall of a meteor.  I love the color!

This card connotes fertility and abundance, creativity and domestic stability.  Drawing this card on the first full day our much-needed, hard-fought for new well was operative seems a good thing.  Personally?  I always read this card as emblematic of female political power, as well.  To me, it says “Step up, take charge, BE the Queen!”

Today, we have less fun things to do and the nasty cough/cold symptoms are spreading in the household, damn it all!  We have to price out repairs for the well house roof and plan reversing and repairing the door instead of leaving sheets of plywood screwed up in place of door!  So perhaps it is right that I drew another card of Major Arcanum royalty?

This is another favorite, another piece bought from now defunct Ajmer Trading.  It reminded me a bit of Egyptian “Eye of Ra” designs.  Representing the Emperor, as I simplified the card titles I gave it half the title, as I did with most of the old school names.  “Son of the Morning” sounds faintly demonic, does it not?  I’m not sure whether adding “Chief Among the Mighty” makes it better or worse, hah!

Old school definitions grant governmental and political power to this card.  Being the feminist I am, I also grant all that to the Empress – but even old primers say this card is associated with Athena as protectress of the state.  But it also gives attributes to other mythic and male figures as gods of war.

So, in a truly modern deck?  Maybe only one card would exist and the gender of said figure would be moot?  If I delineate facilities of rulers, I wonder myself, do I subconsciously grant more physicality and force to the male gendered?  If I do, it is something primal that seems less than a necessary bit of ruling these days.  After all, kings no longer lead their troops over the wall themselves, do they?  So a queen would be just as able to launch rockets, ships, planes and all the modern panoply of military might.

I was in the military, and mostly in a place where I would not really have had the option of standing back and saying “Go get ’em, BOYS!”  So I never minded learning how to use a weapon; I wanted to be able to defend myself and others.  Cards heavily bearing Christian symbolism seem most intent on granting force to the Emperor and fertility to the Empress.

I find this crass to say the least.  The Emperor can order the young to their deaths and the Empress can keep pumping out new troops?  Fuck that trope, say I.  My Empress would knock that dude on his ass and tell him to STFU!




Dry Tarot Tuesday

We have no running water today, as it was yesterday and may be tomorrow. Finally, after almost a year of various difficulties – the new well is being connected to a well house that will pump it to the houses.  I admit, as the process began yesterday, my Wear the Tarot card draw felt about right – the Sun!

It was a surprisingly boring day for one that should have been filled with wishes come true, good health and energy.  But that is likely because I didn’t sleep last night due to (1) excitement over the decommissioning of the old well and (2) worried over husband going to have eye surgery.  So I was very weary all day and unable to do anything very active.  Nobody wants to do muddy yard work, sweaty work-outs or any other energetic bits with no possibility of a shower awaiting!

I admit, when I was selecting jewelry for some of the card images – I was torn between one or two.  This little craft faire find was not expensive and I love it – but that long chain?  Some days, if I picked this card and WAS going to be wrangling in the gardens, that dangly “goodness” would be a pain in the tail!  But this card has a “stand-in” like a Broadway star!

It is a little necklet I made after a lovely thing made by a friend was irrevocably damaged.  I once had a hand beaded chain with a big bead of amber for the sun — but it secured to my neck by a ribbon tie, which let go one hectic day.  I found it when I retraced my steps, but the amber bead had been broken.  I waited a while, bitter over my clumsy loss – but finally remade it with a little square “slice” of some sunny unknown stone looking bright.

It will never equal the artistry of the original piece, but every time it hugs my neck, it still connects me to the buddy from the one time AntiCraft site where so many crafty, clever people had so much fun!

Today’s draw card was not so sunny.  I’m rather glad I did get some excellent sleep last night or I might have felt like emulating one of this card’s more common depictions from a steampunk tarot deck I own – a man pinned down by swords!  My morning began with the news that one of our neighbors, although having been notified of the water outage by mail, by email, by phone call AND in person, apparently did not tell any of her housemates at all. So they were standing outside last evening LOUDLY decrying the “fucking neighbors who turned off the water.”  While SHE proclaimed that she “didn’t know a thing about it.”

Well, then.  If that was all it was, why didn’t they go in the well house and turn it back the fuck on?  So clearly these morons just want to bitch loudly and bitterly?  This kind of nonsense, folks, is why we can’t have nice things.  It makes me wonder if I should add “attack of spleen” to my personal “tarot meanings” crib-book for this card?

Yes the card of the day is the 10 of Swords – the “Lord of Ruin”.  The skull bracelet and accompanying silvery one is a banal subtle image to what this card usually connotes in a reading.  It means sudden misfortune, accidents of dire types – even crimes befalling.  I’d much rather see the cards that scare non-readers – the Tower or Death than this card.

Usually, if I choose to wear this set, it means it is Samhain season or I am mourning something.  It was not a welcome sight this morning.

But of course, I had to draw and reveal it sometimes, didn’t I?  And my mood was certainly like to put skulls on fence posts like Baba Yaga this morning.  I will feel much better when the well crew arrives to tear out old tanks and pipes and put new ones in before connecting the new well so water again flows to the houses!  And when my husband gets home from the Seattle VA Hospital later this morning.

Til then, I admit, I will be on pins and needles of both irritation and nervousness.  Because until all that is accomplished – it may mean there is a battle yet ahead and necessity for kicking asses and cleaning up a mess made!

Tarot on a Sunday – With Boiling Butter and Chocolate Muffins

A rainy three days it has been. The sound of water is everywhere outdoors. I was still sick Friday and Saturday, although clearly improving.  Friday, drawing my card, I wondered what “went” with pajamas.  Ah…Justice – in a miniature from India portraying the Goddess Durga.

Durga, unlike possibly silly English ladies, can ride a tiger and NOT be eaten.  I bought this tiny painted portrait set in a silver backing from Ajmer Trading Co. although I do not particularly follow any Hindu pretentions.  But just about 36 hours before, I had dreamt I was dancing in my living room with a fire blazing in the fireplace behind me.  I was observing my own shadow upon the wall, when my shadow was joined by another more massive one.  It was slow moving and graceful and had four arms!  I spun around to see a tiger before my fire, and upon its back, a lovely four armed lady “dancing” in her saddle!  I woke up because I was so surprised.

So, if a lady on a tiger can’t bring Justice to a situation, as Durga allegedly can do — what hope is there.  I took it as a good portent for my improving health to see this card for Friday.  Perhaps I had a legal contract with my sauna to kill all the germs?  For this card usually has to do with actual matters brought to some form of adjudication.

On Saturday, I felt somewhat better and ventured out of the house for a couple hours to pick up a few groceries before the main run of the month.  I selected my card – the elegant King of Swords!  It was strange to see yet another card that has to do with law and court — this is the card that means a lawyer, or perhaps some officer of the court.

I rescued a tiny very tarnished, very tangled “liquid silver” necklace from a little junk store several years ago.  I took it apart, restrung every strand, then added some black strands of hematite and bright beads of Kingman turquoise to enliven it.  It is such an elegant piece of work, even in my messed-about version.  I like to think I set it right and did it proud after years of neglect.

Stringing those tiny silver tubular beads about drove me out of my mind…

I did my task, and got back home to continue recuperating, honoring the spirit of the card, with logic, caution and a bit of old-fashioned bedrest!

Today, I had proclaimed I WOULD be better.  The month’s grocery shopping had not been done.  This meant Costco, the Commissary, and two or three smaller shops.  It sounded exhausting to me!  I drew my card – the 9 of Cups.

The “Lady of Material Happiness” eh?  This card is sentimental.  It reminds me of where I am in my life by taking me to a where I was in my life.  This necklace is a replacement for something lost.  It is nothing like what was lost, really.

When I was 18 and had left home, I still visited a little old lady who had been my next door neighbor when I was in high school.  I adored her and her tiny sister who spent most of her time in bed.  They grew African violets and had a yard full of wild columbine flowers.  Ida, for that was her name, was a Christian widow.  She came from a huge family in Arkansas and in her youth had been hired as a child’s maid or governess by well to do families upon the Eastern Seaboard.  She worked hard.

She told me, as I embarked on my working life as a young woman, to save 25%, spend 25% on housing, 25% on necessities like food, insurance, auto, etc, and IF I had 25% left?  To spend it on myself.  I was touched by her telling me to spend on ME, nobody ever told me that before.  She had married at age 45 and never had children.  She gave me a glass pearl necklace her husband had given to her.  It was five strands of graduated glass pearls – not expensive, but terribly elegant.  It was the absolute treasure of my young life.

By the time I married some years later, this treasure was down to three strands.  One had broken.  I had disassembled and restrung to others to take away pearls with the artificial nacre worn away.  My husband only ever saw three strands.  When we moved here, it was still a favorite thing and so was out on my dresser when we were robbed.  It wasn’t worth anything to anyone but me, but they took it.

My husband bought me a vintage glass pearl necklace at a little antique boutique to replace it.  No, not quite the one you see there.  The catch and the reversible earrings ARE the ones he bought.  But the glass pearls were flaking to bits, it was about 30 years old already.  So I restrung this necklace, too.  I used glass pearls again, but updated a bit with a funkier shape and the closest color to the earrings.  It still reminds me of Ida and her one-time gift.  It connotes, like the 9 of cups, a contentment and satisfaction and material well being.

I am now the little old lady, only about 10 years younger than Ida was when I first met her.  I shopped, seeing looks at those old fashioned glass pearls saying “Oh, yes, a little old lady.”  I am good with that.  I came home, cut up meat, ground meat, put it all away.  I boiled and peeled the old eggs, egg salad tomorrow!  I made ghee – a slightly browned nuttier flavored clarified butter that I fry with all month.  My house smells of boiled butter and everyone walking in salivates at the scent.  I used the skimmed off frothy bits to bake chocolate chip muffins to satisfy the hunger.  My husband sliced up cheese, I washed dishes.  My African violets are blossoming.  I’m not a Christian widow, but a married humanist pagan lady.  I’m going to take a hot bath, read in bed, and contemplate my contentment.  May it be so for you!


Tarot Catch-Up

So, let’s just get this awkward public posting of the Wear the Tarot Project’s missing posts done, shall we!  Let’s just hit them all by date in one fell swoop – some will be three on a day, others done by single fast day posts.

Without further ado: March 17th: 

I was mistaken about the idea that a Wear the Tarot “draw” couldn’t reflect reversal.  Thursday’s draw card was the lovely Ace of Cups.  It was a romantic spontaneous gift the Minotaur bought for me years ago, in a pretty kitschy little shop in Tacoma.   A single dark pearl on a silver chain.  I love it dearly.

But putting it around my neck on Thursday made me burst into very unaccustomed tears.  Yes, the “recurring” issue mentioned last Thursday was again marital discord.  I moved the Minotaur’s possessions out of our shared bedroom that week, you see, due to such distress and feelings of betrayal over his again accommodating the disruptive neighbor who has blocked new well progress.  I quoted the marriage counselor’s dictum to us both: “Feelings are not facts.”  In other words, my husband’s desperate conflict avoidance was not meant as a betrayal no matter how much it felt that way.

But I couldn’t cope.  The entire family was upset — the well would have been done and running by now if not for this obstructive obtuse man, and my husband’s efforts to placate and “place nice” with him has only made it worse and he won’t stop acting as if this man will negotiate and act in good faith.  So yes, it was the reverse meaning: Loss of faith, unhappiness, and dissatisfaction.

Friday’s draw card seemed to put on spotlight on the continued issue of my husband acting as if he was still in a reasonable workplace situation: #20 Judgement.  It, too, feels like a reversal.  “Fear of change, refusal to make decisions, delay in events.”

And then, of course, it hit me like a hammer.  Of course, if the first card was talking about my devastation and loss of faith in my husband, why would this card be about HIS decisions.  It was MY decision that needed made.

This silver dragon is a treasure, a one-of-a-kind find at a shop now closed, made by a person, damaged by the shop and sold to me at a pittance ($13) on a cheap chain.  I repaired it and replaced the chain with something dignified.

I looked at that dragon round my neck on Friday and brought the fire to my husband, quite calmly over lunch.  His decisions for the last seven years have largely been based on unacknowledged emotional distress and chaos brought on by untreated or insufficiently treated PTSD and the change of life that has been retirement.  My decision now is to preserve the safe home from myself and him and our returned sons.  That means I will decide to refuse anymore untenable choices made by my husband; I won’t divorce or abandon him – but I will stop him when he is doing something that damages the family as a whole.

This will not be consequence free for me.  Saturday’s draw card pretty much said it all.  That wee silver ingot?  The gift of one of my sons, it says “What fresh hell is this?”

I don’t know whether to read this as reversed.  In the regular “dignified” configuration – this card still predicts sacrifice of something to obtain something (hopefully) better.  Still suggests misery – even martyrdom.  That triggers my inner voice to ask if I am being a drama queen — a woman in my position with a roof over her head, regular meals, etc. is scarcely martyred!

So perhaps it should be read reversed – an inability to see opportunities that exist because I am so holding onto what is right in front of me?  Mythology attributes the ancient sea gods to this card – like the Welsh Mannawyddan, who seriously pissed off his wife once by not handling a crisis as she expected him to do.

We have a replica of an ancient statuary bust on our wall, and we’ve always called it Mannawyddan.  Old Manny pulled it out and saved his situation; I think my Minotaur has done the same when his son stood beside him to confront the neighborhood asshat.  I don’t have to feel martyred at all, and neither does my husband.  We are grown up people and can face the problems of his decades-long stifling of emotions with  analysis and cooperation.  It won’t be easy, it won’t be fast.  But with time, perhaps like Rhiannon, I will eventually trust my husband again to not betray family interest.

March 22: On Thursday, my “light” duty day this week, I have only errands to run and cookies (jar is empty) to bake and a birthday cake to create.  But I feel very weary, so seeing the 5 of Swords as my draw card did NOT brighten my morning.  The “Lord of Defeat” certainly matched my rather negative thinking on waking from peculiar dreams.  Reading the news made my anxiety more pronounced.  Yes, I am going to politically rant again.  You DO know me, right?

I think our current head of state should be called the Lord of Defeat.  He is about the big show, but doesn’t seem to care if all the gilded glory is utterly false.  He boasts employment figures, for instance.

I know a lot of people working full time at allegedly good jobs who still cannot even afford to have a house or apartment to live in, ok?  What sort of fucking country have we become if people work twelve hour shifts and still rent a single room to fall down asleep at night?  Married couples that can’t even live in the same town due to exhausting long shifts and too long a drive. Or they cannot even afford a car, and there is no public transport.

Women my age or older are homeless – because the safety net isn’t so safe.  And the GOP still lies about Social Security being a budgetary issue, when it pays for itself.  While it is ALL a lot of Americans have, it is insufficient to live upon these days.

Victories Americans once thought won are turning into pyrrhic clouds of smoke and ash.  Look around America, before it is too late.

March 25:

 Last Friday, preparing to do the Tacoma “March for Our Lives”, I put on the piece I drew from my Wear the Tarot deck – the Fool!  I took it as a sign not to be foolish.  I never took the “high road” much on this card; sure it might mean a fresh “innocent” start at some endeavor.  But it might also mean “Don’t be a freaking idiot!”  Older books DO interpret it that way, and most of the time, I take that track myself.  We also had a guest arriving from England on Friday.  I had a family dinner and birthday cake to present that evening.

I went through the day by the numbers and got it all done.  I made signs for the march, the Minotaur making the best one of all for himself: “Graduates NOT Graves!”  So Saturday morning, we coffee’d up on a snowy morning and headed out the house!  I put on the 3 of Wands – and smiled about the “Lord of Established Strength” – a card connoting success from collaboration and being in the right place at the right time!  We dressed in warm boots and jackets and that was good because we had an hour of speeches to hear.  

The ones made from the students who organized the local march in a blue-collar city that is in a red county where Starbucks “I love guns and coffee!” stickers are very common were the BEST.  It shakes you to hear an 8th grader describe the same hyper-vigilance you know from your own PTSD!  The raw anger in the voice of an older teen asking why she has to worry about where to hide in her classroom should give pause to the GOP locals who talk about seeing the “big picture” from the safety of their Olympia offices.

The day went great, only one idiot yelling at us from the side-lines; apparently telling us we should leave guns alone and stop “killing babies.”  Because right, it is so much better to KEEP those babies, raise them to school age and see them die in the school room because some other “Fool” gets to have an AR-15 to make him feel better about having a little dick?

This necklace is a beautiful amber intaglio piece from a small gallery in Yachats, Oregon.  It was a wedding anniversary gift from the Minotaur.  It felt right to wear it as we went together to march to help the brave teens asking for practical solutions to war zone weaponry killing them in classrooms.  We both have PTSD, we don’t want every student in America growing up with a pre-existing condition due to living in constant fear!

Saturday night was rougher – I had carried both our signs on the march, arms up over my head.  Hours later, some stabilizing muscles in my back screamed at me for this indiscretion!  I took muscle relaxants, had a pain-killing patch applied.  The pain still left me on my knees vomiting; getting old is pretty sucky sometimes – specially with a compromised and tetchy spine!  But I drifted off to sleep at last and on Sunday morning, drew the next card.

The 2 of Swords is the card of “relief” and YES, my back felt much better after a night replete with nightmares of pain and being bedridden was behind me!  I like this necklace that I made of recycled cheap magnesite “turquoise” beads and super inexpensive agate disks.

It is one of those pieces that makes me feel merry just to look at it!

We took our family and our guest out for Italian food for lunch.  My back is a bit weary now, so I am going to lie back and rest and watch “60 Minutes” — maybe I will see something to bring me relief from another annoyance in my life?!

March 28th:

Today we drove across the Cascade Mtns to show a guest some of the other half of the state.  My Wear the Tarot Project pick was the Queen of Cups – that lady in charge of emotion, too often described as open hearted, warm, loving, and none-to0-bright.  I used to wonder if that was a way of saying she was also “no better than she needs to be” – or promiscuous?  Easy to dismiss an emotional woman as a bit too slutty, too, eh?

Most of this suit of cards is represented by pearls of one sort or another.  These “Zuni pearls” are silver — hollow and strung on a fine chain.  They were a gift I bought myself many years ago and wearing them always seems to do a bit of healing on my somewhat battered heart.  Much better than a bit of hair color to make me feel I am “worth it” in my opinion.

I don’t see this card often in my personal layouts unless I am asking about my marriage.  Then I think it pops up just to tell me I want to know if I am really the queen of his heart!

Just a note – I rarely interpret face cards as limited by things like horoscope sign or hair/eye color traditionally attributed.  It simply is too limiting, not to mention inaccurate.

March 29:  

A day in need of rest. The up and down the relatively low mountain passes had my silly valve-damaged heart doing cartwheels of some sort ever since return home on Wednesday night! So what a lovely restful Wear the Tarot Project pick today – a favorite mineral necklace I strung ages ago — fluorite heart and beads in such soothing soft colors!

In spite of feeling like climbing under my feather duvet for the day, I WAS the Princess of Pentacles indeed – conscientious and thrifty.  I paid bills, I made cookies with granola nobody was eating so it wouldn’t be thrown away, and I continued reading some good non-fiction to get my “studious” well on.

For the suit of Pentacles, that one dedicated to the element earth, I picked a mixture of jewelry pieces.  There is no one theme like pearls and silver for Cups, or Amber for fiery Wands, or sky toned lapis and turquoise for Air’s Swords.  Instead I focused on the varied minerals and gems of the Earth and used several favorite and often home-made pieces.

(P.S. “Echoing Hills”, indeed!  My ears like to never have cleared after even the low mountain passes — everything sounded like it was in an echo chamber!)

March 30: 

The Wear the Tarot Project draw today was from the Major Arcanum: #15 usually called The Devil.  My Minoan Tarot deck calls this card The Minotaur – which is pretty crazy inducing since that has long been my nickname for my husband!

This card often scares people being “read” to – one more reason why I prefer modern decks that dump the Christian imagery and symbolism and the whole load of judgmental crap.  To me, this card means to be “bedeviled” so to speak — whether by ordinary annoyances or major addiction sorts of issues.  It can signify an overwhelming desire for something that makes all else in live out of balance – workaholic behaviors, greed, drinking, drugging, over-eating.  It can be about abuse of material goods to control others.  Reversed, the card means even worse versions of all of these and indicate a tremendous self-involvement quite often: every “want” of said person becomes an “I must HAVE at any cost.”

You might think I’d pick a jewelry piece I didn’t much like – but this a one I treasure dearly.  It is made of black jade beads marvelously silver-wire “rosary beaded” for me by a dear friend.  I kept breaking and losing beads before; she fixed THAT!  I chose a necklace that makes me feel grounded and secure to symbolize the 15th Major Arcanum because self-mastery is what this nature of threat requires.  When I see it in a reading, I must examine my standing in all elements of my life to (as a southern mother I knew once used to say) “You better Check yourself!”  This “Devil” is one that demands I own my issues and be a good existentialist!

There you go, all caught up on once-hidden posts.  Sorry for any possible duplication, I’m still feverish and under the weather and not quite up to it.