Ahhh, my sitting room at Christmas………………………is nothing like this, but its nice to dream. Mine is somewhat more ‘live in’.
My decorations and tree are usually a spur of the moment decision, no set date to have the place done by, it just happens.
This year, however, I am planning ahead. I have the date picked out, I have placement almost sorted and a list of odd jobs that need doing before even one Christmas light gets lit.
This is not usually how I operate, I’m more of a ‘lets just wing it’ kinda person, but lately, I seem to be getting my shit together.
So the cards I pulled for day 6 and 7 of my advent challenge seems to reflect this quite well.
Day 6 asked, where I am currently skating on thin ice?
I’m very used to looking at where I’m in deep water or have my head in the clouds, so thin ice is a serving as a warning to me, that if I keep going I’m going to get in to difficulty…. And tarot being what it is served me The Fool. A tasty little reminder that I’m not watching where I’m heading, if I’m too busy being distracted by everything else going on around me. Being naive in trusting that there is a safety net under me, to catch me if I stumble and that maybe I need to be more aware of where I am actually going and take some precautionary action.
Day 7 asks, where am I dancing through life?
This is when everything flows in graceful fluidity, moving rhythmically, looking effortless. And up pops Prince of Swords (definitely a tango man).Well…..here’s the contradiction that sums up the Pisces fish. On one level I may play ‘chicken’ with areas of my life, taking risks and going any way the wind blows, however, this Christmas the stakes are high, and it needs to be just right. Damn, if I’m not actually getting my shit together and planning it to the max.
I have a to-do list as long as my arm and it may not makes sense to someone else but I don’t think like someone else. I think like me, off on tangents that may not always seem logical, but the are to me. Thinking outside of the box keeps me going and the energy flowing anc the end result is the same. Bullet pointing my list doesn’t work for me, I find mind mapping far more conducive to my rationale and I can move with the flow of the day.
It’s all there, daily tasks, priority tasks and the added extras, I’m on target and on schedule, but whatever you do, don’t tell me I’m organised.
This is blog response to Mindful Tarot’s video on YouTube about the decks that have bust us open,
The video for which is here and part two is here (in case you’re wondering what I’m rambling about).
I really wanted to respond to the video, alas, no YouTube channel and no intention of starting one. I could sit and write my musings all day, but in front of a camera, I become tongue tied, forgetful and end up stuttering an stumbling over my words, so I thought I’d use here to share my thoughts
The deck that bust me open has got to be Osho Zen Tarot, I know, I know, a lot of readers say ‘ugh, that’s more of an oracle than a tarot deck’, but that particular issue is not what this post is about. What I do want to discuss is the effect the deck has had on me.
I remember getting this deck, quite a long way back, I thought it would be a deck for guiding me through the strange new landscape of spirituality that had been shown to me.
Oooh, I thought, it has Zen in the title, it should be a nice gentle deck that can help me connect to some inner peace. It’s based on spiritual teachings, I may learn some ancient wisdom from the deck, I told myself.
‘Mwahahahaha!!!’, replied the deck, rolling one end of its waxed moustache between its cardboard fingers. Like the evil villain in an old silent movie, these cards stared back at me with total contempt on their faces, smirking, knowing what it’s intent was.
Honestly, I feel a lot of people believe that when someone says ‘spiritual’ that it is all fluffy bunny, group hugging, om chanting, unicorn glitter filled woo woo. That we light the occasional incense stick, say namaste to everyone and that life is all love and light.
What people on any spiritual journey will tell you, is that before there is any true love and light (or unicorn glitter) there is time spent looking at the darkness, facing our own personal demons, those parts of us that we hide from ourselves and others. We need to acknowledge these parts of ourselves and deal with them accordingly. We need to discover them, work them back to their inception. We try and find what brought about the belief that they were shameful behaviours and we should not exhibit them, and why our programming took certain issues filed them in archive and locked them away in a metaphorical vault.
We also say ‘Fuck’…..a lot!!!
The Osho Zen was the key to that vault, however I didn’t think I was ready to deal with all of that and I certainly wasn’t expecting it from this deck.
Where I’d believed it would shine love and light on me, it called out my bullshit. Where I wanted some nugget of wisdom, it would question my beliefs and motives. It tore into me like a crazed sabre toothed tiger. It broke down the places that badly needed rebuilding, it made me take a long hard look at myself, in harsh lighting, with no filters and a 360 degree mirror. Yet, like Gok Wan, it showed me the beauty of my imperfections.
The Osho Zen showed me my worst parts but it would also show me the little nuggets of gold that had come from them. It showed me how to access those little bits of solid gold and use them positively, to not view them as ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’, they just are. It made me look at the scary parts, without hiding behind a cushion with my eyes shut. But at the same time it kept telling me, it’s not real, don’t be frightened it’s just your perception.
Later on in my journey, I began working with the Mary-El Tarot. It’s like looking through a different filter, and yes, it’s deep and opens you up, but the energy is different. Its more primal, raw even and it will take me some time to reach further into the depths of myself. I appreciate the deck for what it is, however, the Osho Zen will always be the pin that pops my balloon.
Summer in the UK is in its final throes and as usual, I feel bittersweet nostalgia creeping up on me. As a child, I loved summer, I was always at my best in the sunshine, like a fully charged battery.
My life, like the season is at the end of its summer, I’m at the age now where the battery drains a bit quicker, doesn’t hold its charge as long as it did. Sometimes turning off the extras and using the energy for the necessities is the only way of making sure that energy lasts.
Still, in summer though, I feel that surge, the need to fill the daylight hours with enough ‘photos’ in my memory to look through as the longer nights creep in.
This is the time of year when my inner child comes out to play, wild and unashamed, she’s between the age of 8 and 10. She’s the me who enjoyed every moment of summer. She filled her days playing, going to the beach, to riversides, on imaginary adventures that were so real to her.
I was, what was known as a ‘latch key kid’, someone whose parents both worked, thus, I was left to my own devices pretty much, my older brother supposedly being responsible for us both. He was off with his friends for most of the day though, and so I had freedom beyond belief.
As September rolled around with the inevitable return to school I would feel as though my wings had been broken. I hated the routine of school, I preferred filling my days moment to moment. I despised the thinking, I preferred imagination but that was frowned upon instead I had to learn the etiquette of French verbs, follow the rules of math, dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. I resisted, I rebelled, I was not made for their left brained environment.
It wasn’t that I didn’t have the intelligence, I had a high IQ and was considered ‘academically bright’. What I lacked was understanding, how all of this fit into life. History was just that, I couldn’t change the outcome of the Battle of Hastings. Geography bored me, the North Pole couldn’t be moved, the weather couldn’t be changed and mountains had been there for aeons, they weren’t going to fall down.
I wanted to express myself, in my own way and summer was my time to do it.
Even now, when summer is here, I still turn into that girl of 8. I’ll climb the steps to whizz down a slide, shout wheeeeee as I whip through the air on a swing. Even better now is that I have a 3 and a half year old playmate who is happy to join me in hiding from dinosaurs, chasing dragons, looking for faeries and best of all being a pirate Ah-haaaaaar.
Hiding from dinosaurs
We dance for cookies (he calls them tooties, it’s so cute), we spin round until we’re dizzy and fall in a heap giggling. We jump out at each other roaring like lions and play hide and seek among the trees in the woods. Best of all is high fiving when we’ve accomplished our mission and I don’t care who is watching.
I do believe that saying ‘You don’t stop having fun when you grow old. You grow old when you stop having fun.’ My body may show wear and tear, I’ll probably never be able to do a cartwheel again (the wrists won’t take it) but when my inner 8 year old wants to comes out to play I refuse to deny her. She had freedom then and she’s allowed it now.
It’s Self love September time and it’s my 3rd year of participating. Yep 3 years on this joyous, painful and enlightening journey, but self love is still a daily struggle at times.
Without writing my entire life story, let’s just say being made to feel ‘not worthy’ at a crucial point in my formative years left deep scars. It left me with a feeling that what I felt, thought or had to say was of no significance. I just wasn’t important enough to matter.
Because of this,I built a wall around myself, developed ‘attitude’ of not caring and thus created a persona. Even still, parts of the real me still came through, for example, wanting to always see the good in people. And this led me into some bad relationships. Abusive, controlling, manipulative and destructive.
In late 2012 repurcussions from my last relationship had serious consequences for myself and my family. It took us to places we’d never believed possible. It tore me in two, it made my head burst, my emotions stuck to everything like raw septic wounds. And the whole time I kept being told by people (who didn’t even know me), that I was all these awful things…….I was untrustworthy, a liar with no integrity and far, far worse. Yet the small part inside me, that had always broken through my self built walls, kept whispering to me ‘That’s not true’. However I was shouted at by these people so much louder until I could no longer hear that little whisper.
To say I was staring into the abyss was an understatement. I eventually could not take any more and threw myself into that dark place. I didn’t care anymore I just didn’t want to live. I did though, but still my detractors kept up their campaign. But when I’d stepped off into that abyss, it spat me back out for a reason.
That reason didn’t become clear to me until 2013 when I had to face my ‘Tower’ moment (although moment is just a figure of speech, as it took so much longer). Attached to my tower was all the mud that had been thrown at me and it stuck, clinging to the outer walls. Everything I had built around myself had to come down by my own hand. I had to push that detonator. If I had to rid myself of the clinging mud then that meant parts of my tower would be pulled away with it. Everything that had felt real, everything I’d built my life on was gone. All that was left was the inner voice.
Even so, whenever I tried to voice what my inner whisper was telling me, I was told I was wrong. But I started to listen harder and trusting it more.
It took until mid 2014 to eventually see The Star, as there was so much debris and dust clouding my view. But I saw it, I followed it. As cheesy as this sounds this is when a random video on youtube by somebody called The Four Queens (found here under her new user name Kelly-Ann Maddox) popped up in my recommendations.
I watched it half arsed at first (sorry Kelly, nothing personal, everything was done half arsed back then), but this lovely young woman’s voice held a soothing, understanding tone to it I clicked on the rest of her channel’s videos and subscribed to her blog (found here). The rest is history.
Later that month, there appeared something called Self Love September in her online appearances. This was what I was looking for, this is where that tiny star had navigated me to. I re-cycled my diary. I ripped out all the previous ramblings of self loathing, the entries where I called myself the most awful names and binned them. I painted the cover and wrote down all the journal prompts
I also dug out my art journal, what I couldn’t express in words I could express in art. I didn’t journal what was in my head, my monkey mind still didn’t like me, so I listened to the quiet whisper. I don’t know what that voice is, the higher self, the subconscious, the spirit……..but it’s the authentic part of me, no walls, no masks, no dressing up.
I have discovered that compassionate part of me that always existed, however these days I do not allow it to be exploited. I will offer you what you need, if you meet me part of the way. Let me down, take advantage and I now have too much respect for myself to let you do it again. I will take time for you, however, I require time to pursue what makes me smile, I can’t function on empty.
Of course there are still days when I hate on myself, when I wonder if I’m fooling myself or something happens and I’m right back to 2012 but those days are so few now and I have a collection of tools that allow me to sit with that feeling and examine it, then put it right back in the jar labelled misconceptions.
That September helped me start my transformation, my true path. My kids love me unconditionally (although they probably think I’ve lost the plot sometimes) they allow me to be who I am and for that I am so thankful However , loving myself unconditionally means that I have to work on it
I know I have so much further to go and so much more to explore, to learn, but I’m getting there.
I love my tarot community, it’s a place where teachers and students are one and the same. Everybody has something to offer, be it reading from an academic approach or intuitively .Finding how different people incorporate tarot into their spiritual practice is intriguing and inspiring. People’s beliefs about tarot and understanding of it are vast, the predictive, the self analysis and the spiritual style all blend into a beautiful tapestry of richness all derived from 78 pieces of card. It’s an age old system that works, it is a system that follows real life, the good and the shitty bits, the ecstasy and the despair. Nobody’s approach is deemed as wrong, only different. And this is what I love.
Spiritually I have learned so much since joining various groups and forums. I have a very eclectic practice myself, as HH the Dalai Lama says about his beliefs (and I’m totally paraphrasing here) take what feels right, if it doesn’t feel right, you can reject it. This has always been my approach. And I have the right to reject whatever I desire, it makes me no less spiritual. No, I’m not closed off because Im not ready to accept it, no I’m don’t have a blockage. It doesn’t make you right and me wrong.
Everybody’s relationship to their source of divinity is right for them. But that doesn’t mean that I need to agree with you.
One forum that I used to often frequent has recently begun to descend into new age woo woo that doesn’t sit right with me. I don’t think it’s because I didn’t allow it to affect me before, I usually just read the posts, shrug and move on but recently it’s become so full on with new age clap trap and an attitude of, ‘I’m waaaaaay more spiritual than you’ that it attracts a lot of vulnerable people open to suggestion. People who come looking for meaning or guidance through their crisis, whether it be a spiritual or real world one. As a spiritual community it should offer compassion, understanding and sound advice but the utter bollocks spouted by a large number of them really doesn’t sit right with me.
Over the next few weeks I will occasionally be blogging, addressing my issues with some of this, please understand these are MY issues. I’m not having a dig at any particular person or group. If what I say doesn’t feel right to you, that’s fine (I practice what I preach), feel free to reject it.
Life sometimes has a funny way of making you realise that things aren’t quite going the way you had anticipated . Suddenly you find that all the plans and ideas you made have been pushed on the back burner and you’ve become so stuck in the rut that it feels like you can’t get out.
I found myself in that exact place, always putting off my plans until a specific situation would arise, only to find myself cartwheeling straight into another situation. ‘I can’t help it I’m a nurterer’ I’d tell myself, I needed to feel needed.
Recently a situation arose that felt like a slap in the face with a wet fish, I’m not ‘needed’ I’m an enabler. Those around me, who I spent my time helping could help themselves, but because I would deal with their issues for them, they sat back and let me. And so they appeared helpless, when they were, in fact, becoming lazy.
Having a tarot reading from someone I don’t know, who didn’t know my situation, brought up some serious questions I need to ask myself. It was like my inner voice telling me to take a look a myself, saying to me ‘we really need a talk’. It was one of those moments when you know it’s not going to be positive.
Recent events, in which I have had to seperate myself from, have shown me that I am not vital to these people’s lives, they are functioning perfectly well without me, it’s me who is struggling with the changes. I came to realise, I have allowed my fear of stepping out on my path of potential, to be used as the excuse of not being able to follow the plans I had made I constantly told myself it was because others close to me needed me. Making myself available to them all day every day served me as much as them. It served me in respect that I did not have to stand alone in this world and seek what I needed, that I, in fact was fearful of doing so.
Being an introvert and sensitive to the moods of those around me, made stepping out of the security of being with people who know me is scary, it will always feel scary. Some attempt at finding my true potential has to happen so the time has come to feel the fear and do it anyway.
My illusory deadlines have now been met. My self imposed projects are complete. I still feel the need to nurture, but to nurture myself. Maybe I need targets to reach to give my life some structure, but now those targets will be personal ones for me.
I’m working through my need to nurture, I’m working through how the recent changes will change the trajectory of my path and I’ve found a place that offers what I always put off doing. I’m coming out of my shell and I refuse to climb back in it.
Well after a nightmare few weeks things tend to be settling back down.
My little Honey is now well on her road to recovery and I’m eternally grateful to the kindness of strangers for their donations for her medical costs. They were going to be in excess of £4000 just for her surgeries. The reason for the escalation in fees was due to the first operation being bungled slightly, but enough to become life threatening.
Luckily the referrals hospital took over her care and did repair surgery as soon as the possibly could, and charged the surgery bill to the first vet due to their refusal to operates, denying the first surgery hadn’t been performed correctly.
Honey is now on a special diet for life due to the long term implications for her kidneys but is home and well, for which I am truly thankful.
Ah, the forgotten treasures that can be uncovered when having a total de-clutter. As I forge ahead on my boxing and bagging spree from my daughter’s old room, I have come across so many, long forgotten, items. When I first moved here, she, K, had already been away at university for a year. Her room was only truly a base between semesters, so had been a bit of a storage space for many things (my other daughter, E, being the guilty party). Hidden among the treasures was an item from E’s long ago ‘teen witch’ phase, something that I now recollect buying as a present for her. The box is slightly marked (probably black eyeliner) but it’s contents totally intact. Titania’s Spell Cards for Love and Success are a delightful little set of 64 cards each with a simple spell intended for a specific outcome. But that is not what drew me to them. On the other side of each card is a delightful image, very simplistic and all different. You know what I’m thinking, right?
This would make a great little oracle deck, a totally personal deck, one that could be ‘just for fun’ or something more specific, some specific theme, but great for just reading intuitively.
Looking through the images it does seem to be more capable of being a general themed little deck as there are images that involve plants, animals, earth elements and even general items like the umbrella and handbag.
So my downtime creative project this next few weeks is getting to know these cards and seeing just how they work (and searching for the other deck that I remember purchasing for E). Totally transforming their original purpose to one that is more useful to me, oh and telling E to take her badly hidden clutter over to her house instead of cluttering up mine.
Fairy Tarot by Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine
It’s funny how you sometimes hear the voice of another through the cards. I felt like today I had my hand slapped from my mother when I did my daily draw. I took the weekend for some quiet time (and by quiet time I mean a Netflix binge), I even had it marked in my planner that this was my intention. Clearly marked for today though was my plan of action for making a start on transforming my daughter’s now unused bedroom into a calm and soothing meditation and yoga room. I picture it in my head, all warm neutrals with accents of soothing colour. A dark walnut unit dressed with some carefully chosen items and plants, a light crisp voile window covering to filter the sunlight and ambient lighting for the evening. It’s so real I can feel it’s peaceful atmosphere soothing me already. Then comes The Empress and 10 of Winter. I ponder it for a few minutes but decide if I just get on with my day it would become clear. I just didn’t realise how clear it would be. Full of my vision and fired up to make this real, I set off with gusto, excited at the idea of making this special place where I can close off from the noise and activity of the outside world. Envisioning the end result, like a protective cocoon, where I can retreat to the unconditional love of the cosmos. BLAM!!!!! Reality check time. Those 2 cards were telling me quite clearly, yes it’s time to start to develop this plan, now that I have exactly what is needed it’s time to build it, to grow it and make this haven, but maybe finishing the half started jobs would make the going so much easier in the long run. As that delightful little fairy looks up at the sun, focusing on its beauty, she’s not considering the steep mountainside and the forest of trees she needs to manoeuvre through. She’s only seeing the sun. Yep, that moment of realising that this longed for space was only ever half cleared out, my daughter only taking what she had room for and leaving things behind. My bad, I admit, I couldn’t bring myself to empty the room completely, as if doing so would eliminate part of the past. It’s a silly notion but I think every parent feels a touch redundant when a child moves out, especially the youngest, the ‘baby’ of the family. I can see now though, that an empty bedroom makes me no less her mum, having more physical distance between us is actually a very bonding experience as we treasure the time we do spend together. So those cards today seemed to have my mother’s voice as they told me, just as she would, ‘you want this space? you’re willing to put the effort in? Well finish what you originally started before you go any further young lady! Get this sorted out before you take one more step’. It’s great to see the bigger picture, to be able to visualise the end result, but if we aren’t dealing with the loose ends that need sorting then we may as well quit before we start. As with everything in life, to get something, you have to be prepared to let go of something. So I am armed with boxes and rubbish bags, a ‘keep’ pile and a ‘charity store’ pile because a room for tranquility really can’t be that when I’m stepping over books, Playstation games and CDs from 1998 that no self respecting 22 year old would admit to ever owning.