Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Eight of Swords - What Do I Fear?

A card well chosen for me  today, because I've been feeling a little fearful and a little stuck.

The Eight of Swords shows Orestes who is between a rock and a hard place. He feels like he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. In a state of paralysis, with Apollo on his left, who's giving Orestes the evil eyeball and to the left are the three Furies, with their ugly on a ape faces, their bat wings and snake hair. I think we all can  identify with this feeling like we can't move, change our mind or our situation. It's not good.

Fear is something that is present in life, for all of us and manifests itself in so many ways and when we can't make a decision we can feel paralyzed, knowing that whatever we do is going to be problematic for us and might even be perceived as being life threatening us in one way or another. If nothing else it's stressful and anxiety producing.

 At times our fears are natural, realistic, warranted and understandable. Others fears emerge as phobias that we might carry into our adult life from childhood, like fear of the dark, or like me, I had a choking phobia when eating cheese or ice cream, and had a fear of bees when I was a kid. I still have my phobias but have learned to control them.

We can get treatment for phobia and we can choose to avoid situations where they present themselves, or they may lessen with time when we learn strategies to cope. But some problems are more difficult to overcome with out making a decision to do something about it, in spite of our fears. If we choose not to take any action we remain stuck in the quagmire, hobbled by our fear and the situation worsens, effecting almost every aspect of our lives.

 Some of us experience a learned helplessness because we've become dependent or co-dependent on someone else to solve our problems, but this is ineffective in the long term. It's pretty difficult for any one else to help us if we can't help ourselves.

Ultimately we have to make the decision to change what we can for ourselves, face our fears and learn new skills that will help us to cope and hold those fears in check, without letting them control us. Otherwise we are simply spinning our wheels, going nowhere fast.

My experience has been that I had to make friends with my fear. Not to say fear's my new best bud, on no, definitely not but I've learned to make fear work for me. Sometimes this doesn't work, but I know fear is a necessary normal feeling, that will pass and that I need to work with it, instead of against it. I can then hopefully, make a good decision with some discernment in order to make a necessary change. Asking for help from others who have perhaps been through similar circumstance is important because I don't need to solve all my problems in isolation. I've always believed that when I can share a problem with someone else, it lessens my problem by half.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Emperor - The Father Principle

A father figure, The Emperor embodies the mythic All-Father Zeus, the creator of the world. He offers us counsel, guidance, the strength and wisdom of experience. Zeus urges us to rise above the bondage of body and limitations of nature. Both the positive and negative father principle needs to be considered. No one needs a tyrannical father, or mother for that matter. Zeus can be a miserable dude, so safe to say he's not one of my favourite mythic figures.

This Major Arcana card I think is a good reminder to not put all our faith in emperor's new clothes or in any emperor, politicians or human beings. Inspiration comes from truth and creative vision. Creative vision is embodied in the Journey of the Heroine and in our search for wholeness and in re-defining our preconceived  ideas and the principles of both what masculine and feminine means.

The kind of All-Father that I'm drawn to is really an All-Mother but specifically I think of the Sumerian Goddess of the Grape Vine Geshtinanna, who is described by Maureen Murdock author of The Heroine's Journey as being the "new feminine". An ancient mythological story and figure that's so very relevant to the contemporary meaning to our world and our identity as human beings.


Monday, November 21, 2016

The Chariot - Metanoia

I love languages and words. Today I read a great post by a special Rabbi, Brian Meyer, from whom I always learn so much, reading his very insightful and thoughtful blog Religion Outside of The Box. In today's post he explained the meaning of the word Metanoia. There are a number of varying interpretations of the meaning, which is Greek in origin. The meaning I find most appealing is, "a trans-formative change of heart" or "change of mind".

In life we are always facing some kind of decision and but often do need to have a change of mind and heart, asking ourselves questions like, do we go this way or that, is this too much or too little, and sometimes, if not most times it's a real struggle to find our balance.

 I spent the first part of my life out of balance, without enough direction until I came to a crossroads and juncture in the road, where I had to decide which way to go, and to learn how to find balance. The only way I could do this was to make a decision, as a result of a trans-formative change of heart and mind. It didn't happen over night. It was a long process, that wasn't easy.

Driving the chariot is Ares the god of war, embodied in this Major Arcana card. He's, trying to contain the two horses pulling in opposite directions. Ironically Aphrodite, the goddess of love and Ares are very
drawn to one another like ying and yang.

The white and black horses representing the two ends of the spectrum of positive and negative, of good and bad that we all grapple with, and have to find balance in some way, because one cannot exist without the other.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Five of Cups - Attention - The One Cup Left Standing

"Attention, taken to its highest degree, is the same thing as prayer. It presupposes faith and love.
Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer.
If we turn our mind toward the good, it is impossible that little by little the whole soul will not be attracted thereto in spite of itself."

                                                         -Simone Weil
We see here Psyche who is in desperate pursuit of Eros. Their relationship seems to have completely gone off the rails. Psyche has shone the lamp on Eros to reveal what he looked like, after he forbid her to ever do so. However all is not lost. Yes there are four cups knocked over, spilling the contents. However one still remains standing, symbolizing what is left will strengthen and sustain their love for one another, not based on will, but based on attention.

Cups representing emotion, and the Five of Cups being about adversity, loss, regret and bereavement makes this card very poignant in meaning for me today. It's been said , if you don't deal with your emotions, they will deal with you.  But how do we do this?

I've come to an important realization over the past week regarding death, loss and how it's fraught with deep emotion, it effects and how continues to affect me, and knowing what I can and need do about it.

Recently our small rural coastal community lost one of our young people to suicide. It's affected all of us in various ways, and degrees, especially affecting the immediate family and friends.

Our culture doesn't cope well with death, and we keep it at arms length. Most of us have grown up with out the skills of knowing what to do or say to those who are grieving. When we're directly affected by the loss of our loved ones, we're often at a complete loss as to how to cope, experiencing overwhelming fear and trauma resulting in Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, especially if we have had more than our share of tragedy and loss in our lives.

After doing some research on line, I've come to the conclusion my responses to death, are a direct result of my own symptoms of PTSD, having experienced so much loss in my life due to the tragic deaths of loved ones mostly caused by disease. I was really mostly unaware of this, until the past week. I knew my reactions were troubling, disconcerting and probably not normal, but I never consciously attributed them to PTSD. I was mostly left with anxiety, fear and guilt.

I'm relieved to know this, as I can now begin to process and really understand my reactions and feelings that I've been experiencing over the years, and do something about it.

Yesterday I went to see the grandparents of this beautiful young person we lost to suicide. They're both my friends and neighbours. I walked to their house. On the way I became acutely aware of the visceral feelings I was having. Panic, anxiety, pounding heart, all underlined by overall feelings of depression. Regardless and in spite of my feelings, I'd paid close attention to what it was I wanted and needed to do to express my deep sorrow for their loss. Though I was wanting to run away and not go, I continued up the road to see them. I'd made muffins, had a poem in hand and a prayer in my heart, for them, and for myself.
  I felt so much better after our visit and my feelings had dispelled. We cried, talked, laughed and shelled beans from their garden. I know we all felt better.

In 1980 I lost my newly wed young husband at the age of 26 to Brittle Diabetes and drug induced Paranoid Schizophrenia. Bill was two years older than this young person who recently died in our community.

 People might think, that was over thirty years ago when I'd lost my husband, maybe I should be "over" it. It doesn't matter how long it's been. What does matter is how you cope and what other losses happen adding to the complexity of grief and coping skills. My own self-medicating behaviour through the use and abuse of alcohol, only created more confusion and grief. I was lost until I reached out for help and got clean and sober 22 years ago. But just because you've put the cork in the bottle, doesn't mean everything is all better now.

 I remember what a very spiritual man said to me about prayer when Bill died. He talked to me about how prayer is carrying someone in your heart. It's paying attention with faith and love.

 Today I live without the use of alcohol, but cannot live without prayer in my life, both for others and for myself. It's the one cup, left standing, that I paid attention to.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Six of Wands - Creative Growth and Self-Confidence

Six of Wands symbolizes creative growth, self-confidence, progress and some kind of public acclaim. It is seen as the most satisfying of the Minor Arcana cards, because focused action yields results and results yield self-confidence . When we are recognized for our accomplishments it can often come with it's own dilemmas and further challenges, like envy and jealousy from others.

Achieving a creative vision can be a heady moment, and it can be a celebratory occasion, justifiably so, however it's important to remember, this too shall pass and we can look forward to taking on the next challenge.

I can't allow myself to be caught up in what others are thinking, whether it be positive of negative. Growth is progress and process, not a destination of perfection. I know will never graduate from life, but I strive to keep on learning and growing, I learned how to survive my painful and joyful experiences and now am learning how to thrive, through the mystery of creative growth.This is the real journey of life for me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Five of Wands - The Beast

A card about struggle, the Five of Wands reminds us that we can overcome the struggle that exists, but we don't have to, nor do we need to, struggle alone. Everyone needs some kind of help at some point in our lives and it's important we ask for help but there's nothing easy about asking. It's a humbling experience.

Letting false pride get in the way, only results in our egos becoming the beast, and the struggle with depression  and confusion that Leonard Cohen speaks about plagues and overpowers us. It's the dragon we need to fight against and we're not likely to win that battle if we have a lack of trust in our intuition and instinct, causing us further depression and apathy. At this point we loose our way in confusion, we loose sight of our vision and courage.

The Five of Wands is a hopeful, empowering card if we heed the message it conveys.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Ace of Pentacles - Super Moon

This dude Poseidon has shown up twice in a week and a half this month. Here he is again, and it's a good time for the Ace of Pentacles to appear with the Super Moon tonight revealing itself. I'd heard today on the radio it hasn't been this big in 68 years. I did manage to get a photograph.

A very emotional day for me today and goes along with what seems to be a water theme right now. But I feel very blessed and even lucky, though I don't believe in such a thing really. Prayer is what works for me and what I mean is, I don't always get what I want when I pray, but I really do get what I need, even though I might not like the answer, or seemingly lack of an answer.

I've be in great need of water and yesterday I finally got it back completely. Today I had a glorious bath in my bathtub and even finally got completely caught up with my big accumulating pile of laundry and hung it all out to dry in the sunshine on the clothes line. Awww the smell, it was truly divine!

Whew! To say it's a relief to have water again, would be an understatement. It's the miracle of water, the very miracle and prosperity of life it's self, and my answered prayer for water.

The Super Moon November 13th 2016

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Justice - Hillary Rodham Clinton

 Yesterday I went walking for an hour and a half with my smart and socially conscious neighbour. We some good laughs and especially when she proudly stated that she too was a "nasty woman" that Trump called Hillary Clinton, during one of the last debates.

 My good friend became a Canadian citizen many years ago. I asked her if she was feeling upset about the US election. Her immediate answer was " No, not at all, I'm Canadian". I understand why she'd say this, because as Canadians we feel happy and proud to live in our country, though we are far from perfect, but we are grateful.

 We commiserated together about how we felt about the whole campaign and the implications of today's election results, concluding  this was a very disconcerting situation to say the list, when considering someone like Trump could actually come out ahead and become President, not because he's the better candidate but  because of voter apathy among those who choose not to vote. 

When I drew the Justice card this morning I took note. It's the second time I've seen this Major Arcana card in the last seventeen days and wondered why it's come up again. Then it dawned on me. There could be no better card to see on this election day. It'll truly be a great historic moment if we do in fact see the first American President, a woman, who has long committed herself to social justice all of her life, a champion for woman, families and children.

 Hillary's very first run at being president was when she was about 14. She'd offered her name for school president. She was told by one of her male class mates, women can't be president because they're stupid. WRONG!

It will be a grand celebration for women everywhere, if she does become US President, as she follows in the footsteps with the spirit of Athene, the Suffragette Susan B. Anthony , all those who have blazed the trail before and those to come.

Susan B. Anthony - 1820- 1906

"Peace is not the absence of war—peace is the absence of fear, and the presence of justice." – Ursula Franklin in The Ursula Franklin Reader.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Ace of Pentacles - Water On It's Way!

I was happy to see the Ace of Pentacles earlier today that I drew from my deck. It felt like is was a hopeful affirmation to me because my water woes were and are not over yet.

Poseidon being the God of the seas and the one who sustains all of the water ways and the earth itself. The Ace of Pentacles represents the earth and the material plane. Here we the symbolism of potential, manifestation and prosperity.

Although Poseidon might look like a merman, he is definitely not. He was able to live in the water, but also lived very easily on the earth and actually craved land, which caused him to be in conflict with the other gods, as he was always appropriating islands and pieces of the mainland of Greece. Poseidon was a bit of a land hog.

So after having drawn this card I found my water back to full pressure again, after not having water for another day and I'd left the house the other night only to return to hearing a running pump. The stopper on the toilet tank was dislodged and therefore was draining what water was being pumped, once again, hardly present from my spring.

I'm so grateful to live along side of a river, because I am able to access water.
And I am well aware that in spite of getting water pressure back again, it is still low because we've just not had near enough rain, but I am very hopeful the rain will come again before the Winter.
If the Ace of Pentacles is any indication, well there's water on it's way! Weatherman is calling for rain!

Cape Chignecto - Oil Pastel on Canvas - Catherine Meyers

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Nine of Cups -- I Make Prayers My Cup Is Full

The great synchronicity in this card the Nine of Cups, The Wish Card that I've drawn today is truly a beautiful thing. Representing fruition, comfort and satisfaction are just a few adjectives I'd use to describe my feelings. Mostly though, I am so very grateful.

 I went back in my journal to see how long it's been since I haven't had water running from my gravity fed Spring into my taps. It's been since October 21st, ten days.

This morning I plugged in my water pump not expecting any water. I have an open hole in my basement  and  when it rains the water table comes up and I'm able to gather up some water for washing, but only if it's rained. It had been raining over the past week and so as I was getting what water I could. I took quick notice that the sound of my pump was different. I immediately went over to look at the gauge and there I could see the needle gauge that had moved, increasing exponentially! Oh my goodness I was overjoyed and could hardly believe it! I flung my hands  and arms up in the air in praise and thanks!

Prior to this grand event I was beginning to let thoughts of worry creep in, wondering how much longer this drought was going to last, as Winter and freeze up is not far away. I was feeling like I was at the end of my rope and at a complete loss in knowing how this was going to be resolved and conclude.

I haven't seen this kind of drought in the 22 years I've lived here, except twice. The second situation was due to 50 below weather that caused an old underground pipe to freeze and bust. Thankfully I won't have that problem again, having the pipes replaced deep in the ground and won't freeze.

It's common for human beings to take what we have for granted. It's only when we're suddenly without or it's gone, that our attitudes change.

Psyche and Eros have come to the same realization, in that they'd almost lost their deep love for one another. Having now established a firm spiritual foundation, they've made the commitment to build upon their relationship, based on this spiritual foundation. Without this awareness that all life is sacred we will not survive.

Water is sacred. Water represents life itself and without it we will not survive.

Make prayers for the life of the rivers
Make prayers for the creeks and the streams
make prayers to the Holy Myst’ry
Make prayers for Earth Mother’s dreams.
Fall down on your knees by the water
Fall down on the muck, sand or slate
Fall down in humility, hope and love
And pray that it’s not too late.

            - Water Walker, Grandmother Josephine Mandamin

The Red Road - Coloured Pencil, Catherine Meyers