Sunday, April 29, 2012

new deck, on action

Working with the Golden Tarot of Klimt this week. The deck is a lovely one...sadly, due to the nature of the gold gilt, scans can never quite do it justice... :[

"Life is very short and what we have to do must be done in the now."
- Audre Lorde

“In each age men of genius undertake the ascent. From below, the world follows them with their eyes. These men go up the mountain, enter the clouds, disappear, reappear, People watch them, mark them. They walk by the side of precipices. They daringly pursue their road. See them aloft, see them in the distance; they are but black specks. On they go. The road is uneven, its difficulties constant. At each step a wall, at each step a trap. As they rise the cold increases. They must make their ladder, cut the ice and walk on it., hewing the steps in haste. A storm is raging. Nevertheless they go forward in their madness. The air becomes difficult to breath. The abyss yawns below them. Some fall. Others stop and retrace their steps; there is a sad weariness. The bold ones continue. They are eyed by the eagles; the lightning plays about them: the hurricane is furious. No matter, they persevere.”
- Victor Hugo

“There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.” 
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

Saturday, April 28, 2012

moving forward with the wheel....

many things spinning and moving, on the precipice of change...a definitely appropriate draw, here...

Yes, changing indeed. A school year is drawing to an end. If I can just get this one last THING done, a period of serious difficulty will mostly be drawing to a conclusion. My current living situation is going to be changing soon. The seasons are changing. My plans for the summer, for next much flux, spin, uncertainty...

The concrete wheel at the forefront, the one made of gold, of things that you can shape, influence, perceive clearly...and behind it, in violent, the wider spinning, the cosmic wheel over which you have no power...the things, positive or negative, deserved or undeserved, that will simply happen... The rise and the fall, some things improving, and others deteriorating...always the spinning of wheels... Nothing can remain as it has been, static, for very long...

Still have those decisions to make, many of them. Have been moving forward and yet...slow-walking it, still uncertain, unable to concretely commit. It's the opportunity cost issue, really. WANTING something so badly and yet, uncertain that in going after it, I'm not giving up the chance to do something I might necessarily want, but which I perhaps NEED. And yet, feeling the chances of getting those needed things are so low anyway...

Jupiter and the Air. A time to fly into the wild, the unknown, the amazing. Perhaps...

You cannot dawdle forever, cannot try to stop the inevitable spinning. The fool, with his green garb, with his power of optimism, of faith in the new, says...just do it. Stop with the questions that have no real answers. Go with the flow of the forward movement. Make it yours, this unstoppable change; shape it. Make it what you want, and not what you would regret. Yes there is danger, of wrong decisions, of things blowing up in your face but...there is always danger, isn't there? Circular, oval rings here too, not a circle but more a never quite get back to the same place that you were in, once you leave it and will return to a similar position, and perhaps the experiences that you gain as the fool will help you proceed forward in other ways as well, eventually, in ways that you cannot see currently...

Yes, a time to leap more enthusiastically. A time to commit, to stop second-guessing, to make my choice and just go with doing the things I need to do to make it happen. A time for prudence, pragmatism right now too. I MUST finish the things I still need to wrap up - that very late paper that has been murdering my brain, exam - and start on all the logistics of moving and packing and cleaning and trying to get things for myself much to do in a short time, if I want commit to this possibility. So many flowers to gently enfold in leaves. Sun in Virgo...optimistic energy directed in pragmatic, material ways. Everyday matters that must be taken care of. Responsibilities and obligations to fulfill, roots to care for...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

pondering opportunity costs

You may try to tell yourself differently sometimes, convince yourself that you can have it all, do it all, that you can hold onto all the strings and still accomplish everything you want..but the truth is, everything has opportunity costs. Everything involves trade-offs, even if they are only implicit ones, theoretical . Taking on something necessitates sacrifice - if not of something you are already committed to, then of the energy needed for more.

That's the thing, you see. You tell yourself you can keep on going with all of it, that you don't need to put down the old sword to pick up the new. Another class? A new job? Another set of burdens when you already have so many others on your plate? A new project? Sure, sure why not. And stubbornly you insist that you can hold onto all of it, that you won't have to set anything aside...and maybe you won't, technically. Maybe you really do have the upper body strength, or the masochistic pure force of will to keep holding both of those swords high above your head through the night... But the extra toll it takes, to keep those swords raised? That exquisite kind of tired-muscle pain? All the concentration it requires, to keep that perfect careful balance, that precarious sense of equilibrium? That is a COST too. That takes something from you, out of you...

An economic concept really, opportunity costs, the idea that nothing is really free. An hour spent at a public park - free, right? It costs you nothing but time. And yet...if you spent that hour working, you would make however much your hourly wage is, right? So really, the cost is there: that wage you choose to give up to enjoy the sun, the fresh air...

You become more aware of it the more frequently you find yourself in situations of...difficulty, too much starting of new things, too much refusing to let go of the old... And yet, what can you do, if those old burdens are just things you cannot give up - too dear to you, tied too deeply into the person you are, or just so ingrained you have no idea of how to even go about leaving them behind? What if the cost of NOT taking up that new adventure, that new possibility, is even higher than the cost of having to learn to balance even more?

You accept it. You accept the cost of what you might take on and what you will not be able to do as a result. Accept that you will have to find a way to somehow balance even more, hold up even heavier swords, make an even more precarious situation work...and so you do, and so it goes. At every new possibility the question: is it worth it, the cost of going this way? Is it worth it, the cost of letting the chance pass by?

What would be heavier in the end - the burden of the effort, or the burden of regret? Sometimes you do not know for sure, cannot see ahead of you. Choice and faith. Balance, balance. How heavy a set of swords are you willing and able to hold up? How long can you keep at it?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

looking for a bright spot

I feel like as much as I try to maintain a bit of a cordon-sanitaire between the tarot blog and other aspects of my life...a lot of posts recently have had the theme of I Am Overwhelmed. What can I say? I am indeed quite overwhelmed by so many things...

Well. Decided to step away from the thoth and my deck of the week(s) and favorite, my comfort deck. A quick one card draw: show me I bright spot, in all of this muck. Show me something to focus on when I just want to give up, give in, stop.

The fish in the cup. That little, silly fish popping out the place you would least expect it to be - that is, if you are all serious minded, no nonsense type...

Flights of fancy. Wishes and dreams and little acts of creativity. Small things that perhaps amuse no one but me...

Trying to maybe plan a trip to the Library of Congress with a friend on Saturday. That would certainly be a place to find inspiration, imagination...

Little things. Perhaps I shall wear my Ravenclaw shirt to class tonight. Lots of blue in this card. The Ravenclaw shirt is blue too. It makes me smile, every time I put in on, even if most people around me wouldn't get why.

Imagination, creativity, the little poems, ideas...I feel very uninspired in writing this paper I have to get done by tomorrow...far too tired and stressed to be inspired to do that arabic presentation I'm supposed to have done by tomorrow too...another night of no sleep, no dreams at all and yet...

The fish is still there, waiting. Maybe you are tired to really see it right now. But it is still there. If you can get through, this last big, seemingly impossible challenge...The fish that you will chat it, the way you sometimes talk aloud to yourself, in funny accents, just because. The way you sometimes amuse yourself while walking to wherever you need to go by trying to say the same thing in english, polish, arabic, french...

New things, interesting things, inspiring entire ereader to fill with books, to read, so many things, fishies, wild ideas, possibilities, things...if you can only get through, hold it together a little bit longer, yes.

(Randomly written at work yesterday. Seems appropriate to this, come to think of it...)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

a time for self-discipline

The Emperor has come up several times in the last few days as part of the little quick draws I do for myself. I can't say that I don't see why, considering all that is going on...

I like this take on the Emperor. The style of this deck is very...compelling and at times, quite open to interpretation. He stands holding a rams-head wand at that maltese cross thing, pure thoth-influence there, the symbols of his power, authority, the astrological influence of Aries...but look, that emblem with the symbols of the fourth that a robe he is wearing, a part of him? Is it a podum he is standing in front of? Hard to tell, exactly... Behind him we see houses, buildings, the tangible, physical world but all of it is a jumble, a mess of chaos, a lack of clarity...and he stands before it, steady, cloaked in a balance of black and white, the laurel coming out of his crown. Ready to take command, to exert his will on what is around him, to delineate, organize, take control...

Yes, I do understand why this particular message is repeating itself for me, in different variations. I have been constantly working at it, trying to get things done. To boot, there seem to be a growing number of things outside my schoolwork that I need to deal with too. I am not, in fact, the most super organized, attention-to-detail person naturally. So many things on my plate makes me feel overwhelmed. I try to work on it, make to do lists galore to keep myself accountable, try to work out precise schedules for what/where/when I am going to do...

I have made progress. About half of the school things I needed to do have been done. If I can get through what I need to finish by Thursday, I can pretty much relax for the rest of the semester. The little bit after that will be no problem at all...Progress, yes, forward movement. I got the 8 of wands alongside the Emperor sometime during the weekend - Saturday, I think. Mercury in Sagittarius, a card of deliberate, empowered, optimistic forward movement indeed. Here instead of flying, the wands are growing upwards, growing strong under the auspices of that rainbow, the bands of light, energy. With determination, organization, and self-discipline you WILL get through this, will make the progress you need to make, and do it well. Just go. Self-discipline to keep on going. It was a message I rather needed to hear...I spent most of the weekend trying not to cry because of intense nerve type tooth pain. And yet, nonetheless, I did get two presentations done, both of which went well. I forced myself to go to the library and work and read and meet with my group and do what I needed to do anyway, and it led to good things.

Today the Emperor showed up again, this time with the 10 of pentacles. Mercury in Virgo, this time. Taking that Magus-intellect-empowerment energy and focusing it on the pragmatic, the earth-realm, the obligatory. The 10 of pentacles is such a dual card really...on the one hand, it speaks of material success, of wealth, of accomplishment. On the other, of duty, of obligation, of the strings that bind you to others. Responsibility that comes with having what you have. The man sits, around him all that he has gathered, achieved. He is at once satisfied and utterly exhausted by his efforts. And yet, around the corner, beyond that arch, there is a child, young, giddy, ready to play. There is a castle waiting to be explored, a new adventure, if only he can satisfy the duties, the obligations he has inside...
The home stretch, this. Don't drop the ball now. Keep on with the efforts to organize what you need to do, to plan your time exactly and follow through as best you can, to work and work and work until the work is over. It will be worth it. You will have time to catch your breath. And the rest will perhaps, seem less overwhelming and more exciting once these current obligations are satisfied.

So yes, take control. Force everything else away from your mind. Bring order to that messy jumble of thoughts and ideas. Self-discipline to move foward and keep moving forward until everything you must do has been dealt with.

Friday, April 20, 2012

the freedom that comes from constraint

(so this started off with me trying to do the memory exercise again and turned into a bit of a free association ramble/pondering thing as well...)

I remember, a couple of years ago, some day during the summer...meeting up with a few friends and going skating on Governor's Island in NYC. It's a really nice place to skate and bike, a large loop around the island, smoothly paved, no cars to have to avoid... We were joking around, beeing silly. I found some kind of rope type thing, and kept turning it into restraints, a pseudo-noose, or leash, horsing around until I made them nervous enough to take the thing away from me. It was silly, all of it, but a very nice day.

For a while after that I wanted to go back, go skating there again, but all of us coordinating schedules around work and other never seemed to happen. The next summer, again, hey lets go skating sometime, and we'd agree, and then it wouldn't happen. I spent days stuck in my house, gripped  by a kind of ennui, paralysis, a certain lack of energy or motivation to do much of anything. I kept wishing that someone would please drag me out to do something fun. Finally, one day I just put my rollerblades in my bag and made the commute, took the two ferries needed to get from where I was to there, and spent hours and hours just going around the island by myself, enjoying it, enjoying that I could go on as long as I liked, until my body physically refused to go any further. I didn't have to stop, to wait around for someone else to catch their breathe, to leave before I wanted because everyone else had had enough.

Having done it once, enjoyably, there was the freedom of the realization, backed up now by experience: I can do this whenever I like. I don't need to sit around, waiting for anyone else. Being alone is not, in fact, a constraint.

And so it is, that fact about the situations that bog you down, that get you stuck. The fact about difficulties, and constraints, and limitations and obstacles, whether without or within: without them, life would be easier, more pleasant. By overcoming them, we grow. Academia is this card for me to a large part, it feels like, right now. Every time I finish something, drive myself to the very edge of physical and mental exhaustion to get something done....I turn and there is more, more still to be done. Stuck in the school library, in front of computer screen night after night...and yet, I wanted all this. I knowingly chose to go back to school, to go back to this reality.

You can learn a lot from simply reading books. I could have stayed at my unchallenging dead end, but relatively comfortable job longer, going to the bookstore up the street after work to read, read, and been satisfied with that. doesn't challenge you the same way. It is pleasant, and certainly educational to read a book about a subject you do not know much about...but it just doesn't force those mental cogs to spin at their full potential, not the way that reading several different sources, and having to critically think and apply larger concepts, and create a well reasoned thesis, and argue it efficiently in a set number of pages to be done by a certain time does.

When I feel tired, sick, so stressed I cannot really eat for days, when my tooth still hurts and I have all these other things I need to deal with, and I must still show up for work...and when I have to do those academic  things...the feeling of being pushed to the very edge of capabilities...the swords, closing in around you, the binding voice that says you cannot, cannot handle it all...when you in fact do...the feeling of accomplishment, is something that just reading a book on your own in free time, and saying yay, now I know about this...just doesn't match.

It makes me think of the much larger 8 of swords kind of situations/issues in my life...the question of who I could be, what I could do if I somehow managed to extricate myself from all of THAT...

And yes, the freedom of learning that doing things alone does not have to be a limitation. That is also a big one for me, being a solitary sort much of the time. I the process of...potentially arranging something that, if it worked out...I would be off by myself in a certain North African country for ten weeks, quite soon actually. In a way that is pretty intimidating...especially since there is so much societal messages around 'women shouldn't do ____ alone" which pretty much includes travel to foreign, developing, muslim countries....and yet, it's such a silly thing to be limited by because...where would that leave me? If I have no friends or partner that share my interests or ambitions I should simply never go anywhere interesting, when in fact I do enjoy adventures on my own? No, I don't thinks so...

So yes, the 8 of Swords scenario...perhaps never pleasant in the moment, but in the larger scheme of things, not necessarily a bad thing at all. Having spent all that time tied up, stuck in one much more amazing will it feel afterwards, to be able to run?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

hierophant in a more positive light

So I thought this was interesting tidbit. See, I'm not usually such a big fan of the Hierophant card, conceptually. Funny enough, but I don't have much trouble with the Emperor, perhaps because often as not I see myself in that card, directions for what I need to do, rather than an outside authority. With the Hierophant though, I definitely do perceive that as external, and it has kind of blah religious authority associations for me much of the time on some level, and yeah...

Anyway, in spite of my best efforts, I wasn't quite able to finish my Cyber paper in time for the class, given that I had to simultaneously work on a presentation for the same class, and...yeah. Not meeting deadlines is a *thing* that I really try to avoid because it gets me so annoyed with myself when it happens. I don't like the idea of making excuses, giving explanations. I knew when the deadline was, I should have made sure that I met it, and the fact that I didn't, regardless of circumstances...

In any case, it is what it is, and in this case it left me in the position of needing to ask my professor for an extra day to get it in to him. So I was sitting on a bus on my way to the class, shuffling my deck, asking for some guidance on how best to approach that conversation. This was one of a three card draw, but it was really the crux of the reading. It was interesting too in that I didn't have my usual keyword book that I like to consult when reading with the Thoth to better familiarize myself with the esoteric symbolism aspects, so it was all just intuitive.

But yeah, seeing this card, I immediately saw it as representing my professor. He's the authority figure, the one with the knowledge, and a guide for us...and yes, he is operating under certain set constraints, given his position, given the circumstances of the classroom, certain set immovable boundaries - the taurus influence - but fundamentally...he is there to teach, to guide, to direct, to impart knowledge, to make these obscure concepts clear. Assignments are assigned to teach you something, to challenge and motivate you to do the work you need to do to learn. It's not to make you miserable, and he's not teaching with the intention of being some mean unreasonable person. There to guide us, to impart the expertise garnered from his own career, experiences. And so, as long as its clear that I am doing the work, and taking things seriously...asking him for that extra day would be ok, would not challenge or contradict his fundamental motives and approach in the class.

So I did. Apologized, took responsibility for not having it done, politely asked if it would be alright if I emailed it the next day instead. He was fine with with my request, perfectly nice about it. And so here I am, finishing up  what needs to still be done and yeah. I liked the reassuring feeling of this card in that's not really one that comes up very often for me, but the insight was both helpful in getting a better perspective on that particular situation and in being able to see the idea of the Hierophant in general from a more positive viewpoint.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

and on and on we go...

Nothing too long, deep, or insightful to write today. Perhaps not the most coherent...haven't really slept in like a day. Still at it, type type, read read, trying to get it all done before this evening.

Pulled this card this morning. Had a very encouraging little quick draw from my Thoth last night right when I really needed it, and this too, seems to me along the same lines. I love how very, very dynamic the princess is here. Love the goats in Thoth-influenced decks, I must say. Goats are one of my favorite animals. But yes, love how she is running with it, slingshot read, bold, ready to learn and explore by doing, out there with nature, out in the world, challenging herself. On the one hand, the metaphorical student-me I see, in this card. I always kind of associate the more studious parts of my life with this court, actually. On the other hand, with all the movement in the card, a very apt additional message indeed:

Yes, sure, you can succeed and handle this challenge. If you get to DOING it. Why are you pulling cards instead of writing now? Act act, run run, go go. Intellectual athletics this is, yes.

The details in this deck really are great, though, if you take the time to really look at the cards...

Anyway, before I go back to my goat, er, work...following up on this reading from last new shiny, in a pretty case from Etsy, named Logos Tehuti (I name all my electronic devices, ha. My ipod is Aleister...)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

keep on keeping on

Once again we have two cards here that are quite appropriate to my life right now. First of all the Ace of Swords - again a definite Thothy influence here. It stands pointing upwards, piercing a crown of light, while the hilt is in the shape of a bird. Freedom, flight forward, towards the new, above the world with old clouds receding and creation, cutting off the old and plunging into the new, illuminating everything. Paired with that we have the three of pentacles, Mars in Capricorn: a certain kind of active, stubborn determination. You are doing, and you will KEEP doing until you get it all DONE, no matter how much effort and energy it takes from your part. Fire in earth indeed. It is more than that, though. The artisan, the stained glass window painter...he is enjoying his work, in that image. He has the knowledge, and the tools ready in his belt, and he is going at it, creating something wonderful, something that he can be proud of. He's been preparing for this task, and now that it's here in front of him, he plunges right into it, ready.

I'm really not unlike this craftsman right now, though my efforts, as the Ace indicates, are more intellectual endeavors. One of my major research papers is due tomorrow evening, for my cyber war class. I already have the outline written out, detailed notes of the paper, this new task, that I want to create. It's been difficult though, to get myself to actually sit down and do the hard work of getting a rough draft typed out, then revising, then revising again, then adding proper footnote/endnote citations, then reviewing one last time, etc. I suppose, as always, I get apprehensive, nervous when it comes time to do it. Hard to focus and concentrate. But I must, and I can, and as the 3 of pentacles points out, I really do want to. I really like my idea and want to argue it well, make a good point. In a way...well, I am in this heavily male dominated class in a somewhat male dominated program/field, studying a topic that I pretty much had no prior knowledge of, and one that combines two fields ladies aren't normally associated with excelling in...and if I can do this, prove to both my inner feminist and my inner individualist that I can do this, and WELL, that yes, regardless of what topic you throw at me, I can learn it and then can critically engage with the material? I will feel proud, accomplished.

And as the Ace points out, once I write this I am done with this class and can focus on finishing other things, getting done with everything and started on the new, excited possibilities in front of me for the near future...which...birds, air, there is a growing possibility I may be flying somewhere exciting...

Monday, April 16, 2012

My Favorite Majors: The Hanged Man

So this is most definitely one of the more conceptually complex majors, to me. Its meaning in a reading can really range from kind of positive/promising - the whole, self-sacrifice needed to level up/gain needed knowledge/insight/etc - to quite negative - being stuck in a rut, tied down, unable to move forward... With some majors, when they come up in a reading, I pretty much KNOW what they mean most of the time. With this one, I usually have to...consider it a bit more.

Visually, it's one of the more hit and miss ones. Rarely does a deck have a take on this card that REALLY impresses me, and often, even my favorite decks have a representation that leaves me with a 'meh' feeling... That in mind, it wasn't too hard to figure out which among my decks had ones I liked most. Both of these just...really allow me to get INTO the card, in a way that in many other decks I just...cannot.

XII. Hanged Man

I really like it, here, how the Nusantara at once sticks to and reworks the classic RWS image...the Indonesian art style really works to the benefit of the major, I find. For me at least, it highlights the concept of the major a lot more...clicks in my mind in a way that the image in the ACTUAL RWS deck just...doesn't do, for me. I just love, love the garments on the figures in this clone, and here...for the mystical self-sacrifice aspects of the card, I find it perfect in both style and color palette, and likewise, for the more desperate/stuck meanings...the works for me. Love the little details, the rope he is tied up with... The palette of this card as a whole, actually, and the contrasts in really creates the right mood for me.

Runner Up:
Amusingly enough, the color palette in the Magical Forest's Hanged Man is utterly different, and yet also really works for me. The cool blue, and the starkness of the background really create an appropriately somber feeling for the card. The choice of animal for this was wonderfully clever. Hanging indeed! Hanging, bug-eyed staring at you it paws, is that why it is hanging there, to learn? Or is that why it cannot fly off to better places, because to fly would mean to let go, and until it can let go it is stuck here, between those two trees, in this cold, bare place....that lovely detail of the moon and all that it can symbolize... this is what I mean...this card, which could so easily be taken as frilly, silly ISN'T really, and it just opens up the meaning so much and...clever, cleverly done.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Questions and Quotes

Just a quick draw to familiarize with the new deck I shall be working with alongside of the Thoth for a while...pleasantly surprised tor realize that Light & Shadow tarot has definite Thothy influence, including astrology symbols on the minors. Shall be interesting to work with.

This pair of cards is very much...apropos to a lot of what's going on with me right now, as referenced in the previous post. Decisions that need to be made, possibilities in front of me, which in some moments are madly exciting and in other moments leave me feeling...afraid, lonely, deeply uncertain. Everything has opportunity costs, trade-offs, different proportions and weights of benefits and costs and how do you decide, how can you be sure of anything, really? How do you figure out what is reckless and what is amazing, and whether what you need is to take time to re-build your strength or to dig deeper, find what's already there? What happens when the different options each require a different kind of optimism, faith, a different kind of courage? When you are so very much exhausted by the things you must accomplish right now, and must somehow still try to make sense of all this? How do you decide?

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
- T.S. Eliot

“Come to the edge.”
“We can't. We're afraid.”
“Come to the edge.”
“We can't. We will fall!”
“Come to the edge.” 
And they came.
And he pushed them. 
And they flew.
- Guillaume Apollinaire   

"The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become."
- Charles DuBois

Friday, April 13, 2012

Judgement-Call Time

I quite like this take on Judgement. Instead of the very traditional RWS "Last Judgement" image of the angel calling folks out of their graves we simply have a cloaked figure blowing the trumpet boldly. There is a lot of orange in this card - the sun, rising up from behind the clouds. Dawn colors here. We see a new day about to begin. In front of the figure, also, we see flowers blossoming, blooming, showing that new things aren't always huge big picture changes but also the more pedestrian details, sitting there in front of you.

Judgement asks that you make that call. Take the action, make the decision about what is right, what you will do, which way to go. It asks that you take the future into your own hands.

I have trouble with this kind of thing, with making decisions of any sort, be they large or small. For example, this is my last reading with the Aquarian for now. Planning on switching to another deck for a week or two, tomorrow. But which one? I cannot decide. Go back and forth over it. I know it doesn't really matter, and for me, this kind of indecision is almost never really about being afraid of choosing wrong. I simply just cannot...pick, sometimes.

On bigger issues too, this is relevant, especially now. I have a lot of decisions to make in the near future, judgement calls. Do I try to stay in the same apartment for another year and deal with the issues I have with it, or go through all the trouble of finding somewhere new? Which of the two major options, both of which have serious opportunity costs, drawbacks as well as benefits, do I go with for my summer plans? What do I do next fall? Small decisions and very large ones abound.

With some things, I really wish I could talk to someone about things. For the indecisive person, having external input, validation, or even letting someone else make a decision for you can be so NICE...and yet, sometimes there isn't anyone knowledgeable and/or interested enough to talk to. Sometimes you've already gotten what input or advice the people that care have for you, and ultimately the rest is in your hands. You want facts and figures and exact research and instead you just have...a vague gut feeling, your own logic, reason and judgement to go by. Only that.

This card, I think, is a reminder of the fact that the time for making those choices, for figuring out which options and opportunities to pursue, is fast approaching. Many of these decisions of mine, especially the larger ones, are time-sensitive. I simply cannot go on dallying, weighing pros and cons and thinking in circles for very much longer. Sometimes you just need to be brave, be bold. Go on a limb. Choose what seems best, swallow your doubts, and let your breath become sound, become momentum, that rising sun...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

focus on the exterior vs. focus within

What strikes me here, with these two cards, is that in both you have the image of a powerful woman, a woman with strong spiritual, divine type power. But what a contrast in how! The Priestess sits still as stone, unmoving, steeped in tradition. She hides behind veils of light, behind illusions and dreams and so much facade. She is surrounded by all the symbols, the fruits, flowes, minerals, animals of the material world, but she does not engage with them. She sits apart, beyond all of it. In contrast, the Universe dances with with the world around her, the good and the bad, the beautiful and the terrible. She dances with a serpent, bathed in golden light. She is dynamic, fluid, fully involved. She finds joy, pleasure in everything and around her, behind her, the cosmos opens up in the most intimate of ways and she, of course, knows what that means, can take advantage. She basks in her natural state, in freedom, fully a part of all that is around her.

(I must, at some point, write about how one of the things I so like about this deck is how encompassing and woman-positive it seems to me. It really, really pleases my inner feminist in ways I can't yet perfectly articulate...)

This pair of cards really strikes a chord for me right know because...well, I have been having this kind of dichotomy in my focus in inner world, right now, does not feel so very positive at all. Long-standing issues, things that happened more recently, physical/health issues, a lot of things piling up and when I let myself just sit alone with my tends to be some negative thinking/mood that results. Really, if I look within too much, there isn't all that much that makes me happy. I do think there is much merit in introspection, sure, but....I just have trouble, right now, finding much joy, motivation, anything like that from my inner self.

On the other hand, the world around me, external things...there is so much to appreciate. The spring is beautiful. I am living in what to me is still a relatively new city/part of the country, with so much to explore. So many free things to see, if I can find the time. There are people in my life who have been so nice, supportive, patient with me, all of which I really, really appreciate. There are so many things to learn, to see, and all of that I really enjoy doing. And I have my studies, which despite the massive stress, I do very much enjoy. And even the stress, the huge pile of things I need to get gives my life much-needed structure, to have to organize my time, go out, get those things done. I do much better when I have structured, external committments of that sort. Even if, internally, some days I don't even feel like I have the energy to get out of bed...knowing I must do those external things, I do get up, and get out, and when despite all the difficulty I do get them done...that sense of accomplishment, success, pride in a task well done...that is pleasure too. And for my logical mind, external is much more quantifiable. I can write to do lists, cross things off as I get them done, put stickers on my calander according to a logical, set scheme, and have a visual representation of my productivity to encouraged by. That is all, for me, NICE.

So yes, had a bit of a moment of decision the other day, that in the short-term at least, I will be better off if I just really shift my focus on the external - the things I have much more of a direct influence over, the things I can shape and effect right now, the things I can see and feel and touch and quantify. Focus on doing what I must get done. Try to fine things to smile about in the world around me. Let the inner be what it is for now, instead of focusing on it and going over and over all that I cannot see a way to change and getting frustrated by that. Time to be dynamic, externally focused. Perhaps even dance with some (metaphorical!) snakes ;]

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Inconsequential little reading

So I realize I don't actually post proper 'readings' here all that often...decided to type up a small one I just did for myself about a rather a rather inconsequential (in the grand scheme of things) question:

"Should I just go ahead and purchase that eReader I've been considering, now?"

Using a simple Why Yes | Why No | Answer/Advice Spread:

Why Yes

I have, as of late, become a bit infatuated with the idea of getting an eReader. For YEARS I was very resistant, because I really LIKE paper books. But recently I realized that hey, I already have a bunch of eBooks that I read on PC Kindle program anyway, some for school and some books that were cheap on amazon, seemed kind of interesting, but not enough so to get in paper form, and yeah. These days, eReaders have become inexpensive, and getting one does not actually mean I have to give up getting paper books. What it does mean is that when I travel, I can bring one or two paper books with me, and another 4, 5, 6 or so on my eReader, and thus have plenty of options with less of a physical burden. So yes, I've been seeing more of a "partnership" for me with an eReader, and because I tend to get obsessive researchy when I know I want something, been spending/wasting too much time reading up on options, deciding what I'd like, reading up on THAT some more, putting the one I want in and out of my Amazon cart, etc. The fact that my parents were nice enough to give me some money when I visited them for Easter makes it even more tempting....

Why No

This actually perfectly sums up my hesitation. See, any way you look at it, this device is not something I NEED. And, other than my two money-wasting indulgences of tarot card decks and Starbucks, I actually have a bit of a problem convincing myself to make purchases, especially larger ones, that I cannot justify with necessity. I've gone this long without one, why spend the money when I can go on doing without? What if I don't end up using it as much as I think I will? My financial situation isn't exactly stellar - I should be more conservative here.

I'm also a bit concerned that if I go ahead and order it NOW, it might interfere with/distract me from things I need to get done for school in the next few weeks. There is, in fact, several ways that it could help - books for one of my classes that I have in ebook form, plus some research for my presentations/papers that might end up being easier to procure in that form also -  but there is also the chance that I might not have the self control to dive into pleasure reading at a time when I really need to focus on academic reading/research...

(with clarifier)

Ok, so what I'm pretty sure this is telling me is that I am essentially turning this fairly small issue into that great ol' trap of OVERTHINKING. I tend to do this a lot, cause myself all kinds of grief and stress by thinking and thinking about things that really don't necessitate all that much thought. I do feel trapped in that....until I decide one way or the other - yes, I'm getting the damned thing, or no, I am going to refrain - the possibility keeps coming to mind. I keep considering it, going back to those websites, going over the same pro and con list over and over again as if weighing those for the fifth time is going to lead to some kind of magical epiphany...

Like the lady in that card, I am keeping myself stuck in a situation that really doesn't need to be a trap at all. Make a choice, use one of those EIGHT swords to cut off the binding, and be on your merry way, already. The world is not going to end, and I am not going to be either miserable or bankrupt, regardless of which option I go with.

That said, the clarifier, the 9 of cups, seems to suggest I go for it. As long as I don't overdo it, as long as I keep the Temperance card in mind and don't go on FANTASY BOOK BINGE when I know I have serious things to get done, what's the harm? My parents gave me some money because they were feeling generous and wanted me to get or do something to enjoy myself. These devices are HARDLY super expensive these days (I've er, spent more on one or two of the decks in my collection >.>) and it will bring some small increase of pleasure to my life. What's the point of living, really, if you deny yourself so many things that might make you happier, even if they are in fact, not strictly necessary? Both extremes of rampant materialism and severe asceticism are less than ideal. Buying the most expensive model of every shiny new thing that comes out? Not the best way to go, no doubt. Taking advantage of the fact that you are fortunate enough to be in a position to allow yourself some small luxury? Pretty sure that's okay :]

Monday, April 9, 2012

what possibility is

Possibility. That moment: you stand at the edge of something new, feel the wind on your face, a taste of so much more out there, waiting. Possibility is standing on the rooftop of an unfamiliar city, with so much in front of you, everything so close and yet so small. It is the moment that the plane you are on takes off into the sky, and you can see everything below, the ground you were just standing on, get smaller and smaller until finally there is nothing but clouds and you know that you are really going somewhere else and this excites you.

It is at once wildly exciting and desperately frustrating. There is so much that you want to see, that you want to do, that you want to learn. Looking out at the world, at the future, at what exists beyond the horizon, still out of view...there is so much that captures your imagination, your curiosity. And at the same time you know that it is an impossibility that you will ever get to do ALL of those things, SEE all of those places, LEARN all that you would like to know. Even if you were perfectly healthy, perfectly motivated and energetic, and even if money was no problem, even then it would be impossible to do all of it in one lifetime. And when reality is more constraining still?

You want to travel to dozens of different countries on so many different continents. You want to see with your own eyes the wonders man has created and the places where the atrocities he committed occurred. You wish that you could learn enough to really be fluent in five or six different languages, three different alphabets. You want to do work that would challenge you, that would force you to research and write and write and more hands on than that too, to directly help. You want to go skydiving again. You want to go para-sailing. You have a list of dozens and dozens of books you want to read, to absorb. You want to try painting again. You want to try ceramics again. You want to write some interesting stories, some more poems. You want to take more pictures, pretty ones. You want to see and touch and stand inside building and monuments constructed in all the styles of architecture that so fascinate you. You want to experiment with vegan cooking; you want to actually be capable of enjoying it. You want to get more tattoos and sail on a submarine and volunteer.

There is so much to want, to see, staring out into that distance between the three rods. Dreams and possibilities that a blur into each other until all you can see is a great expanse of shining white light. Sometimes it inspires you. Sometimes you stare into it and cannot help but want to cry. So little, and so much, there, in front of you.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

the importance of small victories

Enjoying a nice, quiet day. Once again taking advantage of scanner access to get a deck digital for future blogging purposes. This card kind of...jumped out at me while I was doing that...

Got an email from my professor, earlier, with the grade and feedback for that memorandum I spent so much of last weekend driving myself nuts trying to get done. I did Well, and improved from my first memo, which itself I did not do badly on. Given how much stress and difficulty came with trying to get done, I was a bit surprised. Pleasantly so, of course.

So there's that. A useful reminder here, about small victories, about what is possible if you insist on trying no matter what. No matter how difficult things are - do not give up. Try, try, keep working at it. I love this little deck and look forward to working with it in the future. There isn't any of the traditional symbolism here: not the square shaped chariot, not the horses or the sphinxes, black and white, held tightly under the control of the charioteer's reigns. Instead we simply have the wild energy, the motion of the penguin. Is he swimming? Is he trying, despite all odds and laws of anatomy and physics, to fly? Does it even matter, when push comes to shove? I am reminded, by this card, of the importance of celebrating small victories, of taking pleasure in little accomplishments. It's too easy to discount them, to say 'well, what's the big deal,' but sometimes, the best thing for yourself is to really just say...yes, I did it, I succeeded in this one thing, and it feels nice.

Then keep moving forward. Keep swimming, or flying, or whatever it is you want to do, need to do, must do. Don't let those obstacles, no matter how big they may seem, discourage you. If you give up, the result is a certainty. If you keep trying, no matter how difficult, impossible it may feel at may just surprise yourself with what you manage to achieve.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Relaxation & Worry

So, first of all...this is my 101st post! I didn't quite realize last time that I'd hit 100, but now that I have, I think it's pretty cool. It feels like I just started this blog, back in December, unsure if I'd be able to keep this one active we are, so far, so good. :]

Anyway, I drew these cards this morning and again, I think they really speak quite clearly/aptly about this weekend especially. First we have the four of wands. I really love how the suit of wands is handled in the Aquarian deck - the detail on the wands is just really nice, and the color palette of this suit especially really pleases me. But anyway, we have the traditional RWS image, and the meaning of...accomplishment, comfort, home, safety. Which, I ended up going back to NYC to visit my parents, and though I wasn't super enthusiastic about the trip, it is nice in a way to be here. It's a bit of space, some distance, and a sense of having a bit of a break and relaxation. I had a nice morning of playing with my cat, who I really do miss, and my mother is making me some tofurkey for holiday dinner, which is nice of her, and yes. A nice 'home' type feeling, to some degree.

On the other hand, we also have the nine of swords, which...that kind of anxiety has kind of been the story of my week. Stress and anxiety. It kind of really hit me the other day that I have two research papers, a third memo, two group presentations, and one individual presentation that I have to all get done by the end of the month and just...combined with reading, arabic study,'s a lot. I cannot help but worry if I will be able to get it done, and well enough. And the fact that I haven't solidified/made any real plans for the summer after all that is done...worry about that too. So yes, a combination of relaxing and worrying is very much how I feel right now. Balance I suppose - a bit of the good, a bit of the bad. You muddle your way through as best you can.

And I really do like the colors and the art deco style of this deck...

Friday, April 6, 2012

a jumper and a shadow card

So one interesting this I've noticed...well, I make it a point to only keep decks that I 'connect' with and can read pretty easily, and with most of my decks I can shuffle, do whatever spread or exercise strikes my fancy, interpret, usually use reversals and voila. But with some, often the ones I have a deeper liking for and connection with...well, they are 'special snowflakes'. They refuse to be read reversed. In the de la Rea's case, one and only one spread. And, I am noticing, with the doesn't like to be read in spreads at all. For exchanges fine, it will comply, but when I am working with it personally...I have tried numerous times to read with it in a spread and just...oh, it will give me a message, sure enough, and a GOOD one, but it will have nothing to do with the spread in mind. I know instinctively if I have to draw one or two or three cards, and really I get the best results by just shuffling, drawing, and letting it 'speak' to me as it may.

Tonight was interesting in that, in addition to the core reading (which speaks to a personal problem I'd rather not get into detail on here) of two cards, I also had a 'jumper' card that fell out not once but twice while I was shuffling, and felt obliged to use a 'shadow' card, from the bottom of the shuffled deck...both of which are concepts I generally don't hold with/do much, but which made perfect sense here, and, taken together, came to a sort of reading within a reading of their own...

So this card was the insistent jumper, and in the context of the whole reading it was rather appropriate. Kind of saw it in the 'high' position above the two main cards. Those basically referred to a Devil type issue interfering with my Science striving, an issue I was thinking about earlier in the evening (this is what I mean by random draws from Thoth tend to be SO ON POINT), and its a card that came up a few days ago, when I was feeling particularly fatalistic minded and needed a good kick in the right direction, ha.

Basically, the message here as I see it, in this queen, is that you can overcome those problems, the obstacles to your success and fulfillment. This queen actually mirrors the RWS version of Strength in some ways, with her hand on the leopard - normally a rather wild, dangerous animal but here perfectly tamed, obedient. She sits on a throne of fire, again in control of the heat, emboldened by it rather than burned. The orange and red and yellow energy in this card both focuses towards her, rising up through her from within, and radiates out from her, a crown of light illuminating her path. She holds that pine-cone staff, ready to make things grow, to create. To me, the message here is to have more confidence in your own inner passions and ambitions, in your own creativity and drive. Instead of focusing on shortcomings, on things you could have done better or areas where others handle things better than you, focus on YOURSELF. What you want, what you are capable of, how much you have accomplished in spite of some rather serious problems and obstacles. Its that creative passion that drives you, burning from the inside out. You want more from life, you want to DO something, have a positive impact, go places and see things, write something of value, and not just in small everyday ways. There are minors that have a similar message but no, here, with the queen, the bigger picture. Self-assurance, self-confident drive...and especially the image of a self-assured, confident WOMAN asserting herself, acting, striving for what she wants when so much of societal messages still have so many negative correlations and obstacles to THAT...

Below, as the shadow card, we have the Tower. A card that's been all over my life and reading this year. In truth, because it needs to be, because I still haven't really done the hard work of knocking down things that need it, of making true, major, difficult, painful, and very necessary change. A shadow card, in the background, thematic - because yes, in the short term if I harness the energy of the Queen I can mitigate some of that issue, but really...that feeling that I could be getting so much MORE out of those Science aspects of my life I so love if there wasn't that big Devil problem coloring everything, draining so much of my energy,'s a logical assessment. Even the the current circumstances, channeling that means finding the energy to stay afloat. Stay afloat with difficulty, with stress and frustration, because of those IDEAS that float around in my head, because no matter how difficult other things are reading and studying and discussion still sets my mind ablaze...but if there was that Tower change, that could mean more. Those rays of light from her crown could extend so much further...

The eye of Shiva watches the destruction in this tower, knowing through the lens of eternity that it is necessary, illuminating it. Flames, like those of the Queen, from below and within but here, under the influence of Mars, they are not burning with positive passion but more aggressive than that, stronger, they cause that old stone structure, with the bars on the window, with the misery inside, to fall. Crystal-like figure are falling out, the painful tumble downward, so fraught that it is tempting to stay within that tower, but to listen to the dove, the reassurance, the glimpse of the next arcana to come if you can just hold and get through this...

It strikes me, the similarities between these: the flames from below driving the action in the whole card, the crown or the eye above radiating light, the color palette of fire, white-themed in the Queen for the positive energy and black-themed in the Tower for the necessary destruction, the darkness that must be faced, fought, dispelled. Fire for action, Mars for engagement, the Queen for accountability...yes, these two together added a very necessary layer/message in regards to the core issue described by the other two cards...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

some progress!

So this morning I finally managed to find the time/get my shite together enough to go to the first come first serve emergency clinic at the dental school of one of the local universities. After, you know, ignoring constant, sometimes intense tooth pain/headache for WEEKS...

It went surprisingly well. Not all taken care of - I need a root canal, which they are supposed to call me to schedule, but they did to a procedure to 'stabilize' the pain for now. Dunno, it still hurts a lot, but I'm going to give it a few days since these kinds of things tend to take a bit for body to adjust to the new status quo...

In any case though, this is PROGRESS. I actually made some real concrete movement in the right direction. I went across town, found the clinic, sat my turn, got into the system...things have been set in motion. That's really quite often the biggest problem for me...setting things in motion. And, being logical-minded, this turns into cycles of frustration because I KNOW exactly what I ought to be doing, and see how I am failing to do it, and yet...

But I went, swiftness, moving forward, moving onto better things. This card was at the center of a larger three card spread, and I feel in and of itself it really encompasses the crux of the day. Also, must say, artistically I really like it. The color palette of the Aquarian tarot is just lovely, and I really like the detail on the heads of those moving rods. A very nice RWS clone indeed.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Favorite Majors: Justice

Like The Wheel, Justice/Adjustment is a rather flexible major in terms of meanings in a reading, and similar to what I wrote for that one, it, too, has rather changed/broadened in meaning for me over the years. It;s a major I had trouble connecting with when I first started reading tarot, but one that makes perfect sense to me now. It's my year card this year, too!

It's interesting that this is one of the majors that seems to be most consistently portrayed across decks - regardless of deck theme, art style, system, whatever...almost always we have the scales, the sword. There are quite a few takes on this major I really like, and likewise quite a few that I find singularly unimpressive. I seriously debated choosing Thoth's just because I like it, conceptually, so very much...the title Adjustment REALLY meshes with my take on this card...but in the end, aesthetics informed my decision more, ha.

XI. Justice

There's really a lot I like about this card. The Swedish Witch deck in general is just...the majors are SO symbol-packed, and yet it looks very natural, and perfect for the art. Here we have a feather crown, the whole Maat/justice connection, and the scales and sword, pyramids showing historical connection, the thread throughout time, and the vulture which is not the bird normally associated with justice, in my experience, but which makes me pause and really think about this card in a different way; I like that. I like the balance of the sun and moon (or full and crescent moon, I guess) at her sides, the almost-nakedness combined with the wings, human and divine...a lot of things balanced in this card, which makes sense since it IS a card about balance, equilibrium. Use of color, the white and the red throughout, that dichotomy and all it can be made to represent...peace and war, passion and calm, body and soul...

SO much you can delve into in this card, and it all comes together into this kind of quirky and unique image that I really quite like aesthetically and yes. I really like this take on Justice.

Runner Up:
I debated quite a bit between this and another deck's Justice, but ultimately...I like this one a lot too. It isn't so intellectually engaging or striking to me, as it is comfortable. You take a look at this Justice and just GET it. Her position, her posture speaks of higher authority, which I know the companion book gets into but I honestly only vaguely remember at this point the story behind the major. The colors of her clothes set this off too, the deep indigo and almost-black violet, and there's an almost-classical look to how the folds of the clothes fall around her which reminds be of sculptures in courthouses and monuments. She has the sword, and the scales of course, and there is an owl next to her, which is a more ordinary/appropriate bird for the concept, I guess. I really like that she is sitting in nature, the stone and the sky above her. A comfortable card, as I said. Encompasses everything it needs to quite well.

Who Do I Want To Be?

A simple draw to try to answer a question that randomly popped into my head...

(The first card was reversed; posting in normally because I don't like posting cards upside-down on the blog, for some reason.)

I want to be the person who does not fail at things, regardless of circumstances. I want to be the person who multi-tasks the hell out of everything, the person who juggles, compartmentalizes and makes it all work, somehow. I do, in fact, have a certain tendency to commit myself to more things than I know I will be able to handle without difficulty, and then go through great lengths and stress to get it all done because the idea that I might not get something done, may have to admit defeat in that way...terrifies me. Even admitting that no, I cannot take that on at this time, it is too much for me, is difficult. I want to be the person who can juggle many commitments, and when it turns out sometimes that I cannot, that I did in fact drop that ball on something...that, already, I cannot help but perceive as a defeat.

When defeat or failure is inevitable, I want to be a person who can handle it gracefully. The person that doesn't mope or complain or hold it against the person, if there is one, who got the best of me. I want to be the person who can take it in stride, without unnecessary negative emotion. I want to to be kind of person who can smile, say "well, you win some, you lose some," and really mean it. I want to learn from my mistakes while also being able to keep it all in perspective. I want to be the kind of person who can pick it all up and try again, and again if need be. If I must fail, I would rather it be because I tried to do too much, and not because I did not have enough ability.

I want to be able to move on from failures and defeats easily, to just let those things go and not dwell. I want to be able to glimpse infinity, to really see how each end is in its own way a new beginning, to see not closed doors in front of me but possibilities for something new, something different. I want to have many options, ideas before me, so that if one doesn't work out I have several more things in the air I can turn to instead. If I am winning, I want to similarly be able to do so without causing someone else unnecessary difficulties.

This isn't, any of it, about others, about how I am perceived. I just want to be able to juggle the many things I am interested in, the many things I would love to do, and succeed at them enough to satisfy my own expectations and dreams.

Monday, April 2, 2012

keeping a grasp on perspective

Just quickly typing up a small but relevant reading I did for myself... relating to how busy and stressed and tired I am about so many things, how much difficulty I've been having getting a particular assignment done...

Look inside of yourself, these cards say. Remember the crux of everything. Do not lose perspective on that, the big picture, the over-arching theme. Do not let yourself get so overwhelmed that you lose sight of that: what makes you happy, what drives you? What do you love, without question, deep down to your very bones? It is learning, learning as much as you possibly can in any way. You love reading and you love exploring, adventure, taking stupid risks because something is just so interesting and a chance to experience something new. Remember that you went back to school because you wanted to be challenged. In the end, this isn't about papers or grades but about reading, absorbing, THINKING, having a place to share those thoughts with people who are on the same page.

The Sun in Scorpio - what lights you up with that kind of intensity, focus? Mercury in Aquarius - curiosity, intellectual action, learning learning. There is so much you want to learn about in life. All your academic program stuff, and so much more: higher level economics, statistics, geology, more history, linguistics, more Arabic, more French, Russian, philosophy, so many things...classes, auto-didacticism, whatever.

Do not lose sight of that. Even as you struggle, papers scattered around you, books, three hour power naps and not lose sight of what gives you pleasure in the most instinctual of ways, always - science, science. Keep it all in perspective.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

starting off a new deck with some quotes

(It's kind of interesting to do this with two cards taken together instead of the one...)

"A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams."
- John Barrymore

“I wished the dream were real, and this reality a dream. But that wasn't the case. And that was why, whenever I woke up, I'd be crying. It wasn't because I was sad. When you return from a happy dream to sad reality, there's a chasm you have to step across, and you can't cross it without shedding tears. It doesn't matter how many times you do it.” 
- Kyoichi Katayama

“Don't be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson