Wednesday, August 15, 2012

bit of a break, end of a break

I have been sadly lax in updating here the last week or so. Mostly, this is due to the fact that I haven't been working very much with tarot in general. I've not stepped away from the cards completely, but I suppose you could say I have been taking a bit of a break.

Why? Well, as this (part of a larger) draw from yesterday highlights, this adventure in Tunisia has been, in very many ways a break, a temporary escape, a time to take a deep breath and step away for a bit from many things. And now that time is fast ending - I shall be on a plane before the end of the week  - and all of those things are rapidly popping up again, in my face, clamoring to be dealt with.

A lot of things to be dealt with, and I don't exactly feel as well-rested and recuperated and ready to take them on as one might expect...

But so it goes, I suppose. That nice comfortable safe room, the lie-down on the blanket, separated from the real only lasts so long. Eventually you have to go back, get into the regular swing of things again.

In the meantime, I'm also trying to make the best of my remaining time here. Had a lovely day trip to the North-East on Saturday, visited some amazing roman ruins, had dinner with my teacher's family. Monday night I attended (and marched in, for a bit!) a Women's Day women's rights demonstration which was... a really worthwhile experience.

So yeah, hopefully back to more regular updating once things settle down a bit.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

death, change, musing

I am reminded here, of that well known fact of life - all things come to an end, eventually, a kind of death. All things appear, come to life, and then, sometimes quite quickly, die off as well. That is simply the way things are, unchangeable.

Life is full of little endings. My week working with a particular deck. I put the thing aside, grab another. A good book; I sigh and close it, remember a bit, move onto something else.

And larger - this time in feels like so short now, with only a week left before I must go back; it doesn't feel like enough time. People you know, have met, who wonder into your life suddenly and then exit it again, perhaps never to be seen, existing only in memory.

And so it goes, the wheel spinning and spinning as it were. Change and death, so very much tied into each other. Nothing can stay the same for very long, unmoving, and yet to accept new developments is to necessarily allow some of the old to wither, fall away. Let the vultures feast on the remains.

So it goes. Climb out of the water and onto the rocks - or is the other way around? Yesterday we visited some more ruins - funny how close I live, here, to the remains of an ancient, burned out city, Carthage. We visited what was once the port of that place - in ancient times they considered it strategic, able to fit two hundred ships of war or trade.

Now it looks more like any lake in the countryside - filled with little boats with funny names. A old man wearing a straw hat sits across from us at the other side, fishing line in hand. Trash in the shallow parts of the water, cigarette cartons and plastic bags.

All things must and will die, change. Nothing to do but move forward, ready to see what the next stage has in store for us.

A mind like a feather perhaps, ready to float from one place to the next, light and unburdened and free to see. A mind like a feather, always ready to be picked up by a stray breeze. Ready to learn and to see.

Death comes from the sky and a wheel spins somewhere and a single feather blows away, in search of a new adventure...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

comforting little deck, draws

So I haven't been updating here as much this week - haven't had much energy and too many other things to do, and the return of really really hot weather has not helped matters. Have been working a bit, since Saturday, with a fun deck little deck I bought from a member from AT, the Penguin Parade Tarot by Robyn Tisch Hollister. I got the limited, non-mini edition, and while the cardstock is...nothing to write home about/very delicate, shall we say, the size and especially the art is just lovely. There's something wonderful about playing with penguin images when your apartment is so hot you feel lightheaded...

Anyway, a few tidbits from the week so far. I haven't been doing any proper readings, just little draws here and there, and due to the fact that I think I left the booklet that goes with it in the US, it's been just intuitive takes completely. I find the messages have been a combination of quite truthful and nicely comforting...

Got this in a quick draw this morning, and what a lovely take on the 10 of cups in is. We have the two penguins leaning on each other, comfortable together, supporting each other. At their feet they have a whole pile of shells, material prosperity - not in excess, but just enough to ensure their comfort, happiness.

A reminder, I think, to keep things in perspective. As my time in Tunisia starts to draw to a close I find myself more and more stressed out by all the things I have to do when I get back, and about how much more I could have/should have gotten done while here, and all the like. Perspective - all those things are doable, none likely to really lead to disaster, and remember all the good I have, have had - remember to appreciate. A constant exercise that, positivity, appreciation even as you strive, keep working on things. Also a reminder about my outlook on returning...mostly I have been dreading it, and all the things I have to do but, on the other will be a chance to re-connect with my friends and family, at least for a bit, and that can be quite nice in and of itself.

Yesterday I had the 3 of Stones, or coins, show up. Must say, love the naturalism and the watercolor work on these cards. Anyway, yeah. Three stones for three birds. Each one can focus on it, become a specialist, yes? Or is it one bird with three stones and the others just to look on, learn? Is it better to be specialist, to focus on one thing at a time and really do the most with it, or to broaden your focus even at the cost of depth?

There are so many things  I need to, and want to, do, learn, see, engage with. It's hard for me to stay focused on any one thing for an extended length of time. And yet, without can I really get what I want out of any given things. Sometimes I try to do it all and get frustrated. Is it better to let something go, and if so what, and when, and in what way? Questions and decisions. What to nurture, then?

Perspective though - there are far worse dilemmas one could have, in life. Lovely little penguins would surely agree. And I look longingly at the ice at their feet...

Saturday, August 4, 2012

harmony and discipline

So decided to do one more draw before switching back to a regular 78 card tarot deck, a bit experimental in taking one card from my Mix Deck and one card from the Oracle of the Radiant Sun and reading them together.

We have here the Emperor, in rather classic form, sitting in profile on a throne, with a scepter of power in hand, a shield at his foot engraved with the emblem of a majestic bird. I like the color palette on this card, I must say - primary, essentially, and yet with just enough tone and shade to be interesting. A bit of a stark image here, but it gets across the essentially message - this is a man who is powerful, authoritative, organized, disciplined.

In contrast, the man in the Harmony card is naked, laying about casually in a bush of flowers, playing with a flock or birds which flies through the sky between the man and the bright sun above. Sun and Libra makes perfect sense for the concept of Harmony, for how best to get it if not through balanced, measured, moderate approach combined with a positive and optimistic attitude and the energy to follow through?

Sometimes, when situations challenge us, that kind of balanced, positive attitude requires self-discipline, strength of will. And so we see that these cards are not, in fact, all that opposed to each other at all. Harmony, nice as it is to be able to experience, doesn't just *happen* on its own. We can make it or we can break it, as it were, depending on our own attitudes and approach to things. I've been a close witness to several incidents this week that illustrate this especially. Sometimes the people around us take liberties, or push our buttons, or fly off the handle for no good reason; sometimes we may be tempted to quibble about little things, to insist on getting our way, to refuse to compromise even a bit on pride or principle.

Of course that option is always there; to me, the question is more - but is it worth it? Is it worth it to get your way in one particular situation if it means making your relationship with someone more conflicted in the long term? Is it worth the negative feelings it will engender? If someone screams at you or otherwise fails to act like a mature and reasonable adult, it may be tempting to scream right back - but is it worth it to escalate the situation, when remaining calm might, instead, diffuse it that much faster? Is it worth it to hold onto so much negative feeling when you could instead take that deep breath and see how much of that you can just...let go of?

A lot of these things aren't necessarily anyone's first instinct, and that is where the Emperor comes in handy. The self-discipline to think before you speak, react. The self-discipline to look at the bigger picture - not just how am I interacting with X today but how much will I have to interact with X in the future and what kind of relationship do I want that to be? The discipline to do the mature, balanced, fair thing even if you have to be the first (or only) person doing so.

Those birds that connect the naked man to the bright, warm sun didn't come to him out of nowhere. He had to build up that trust, that connection, bit by bit. The discipline needed to create your own little bubble of harmony, regardless of what is going on around you or what other people do.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Favorite Majors: The Sun

So finally we get to the Sun card - the most clearly, unquestionably positive card in the Major Arcana. Its hard not to like this card, seeing as how in readings it pops up to tell us good things - reassurance, success and the like...

I find that there is a nice variation in how the card is presented in various decks, particularly since - unlike some of the other majors - there is a significant difference in how it is represented in the 'big three' - TdM, RWS and Thoth. Subsequent decks tend to do their own take derivative of one of those takes and...yeah, lots to choose from, among my decks. My final selections, as we can see, are a bit more on the 'out there' and of the spectrum.

XIX. Sun

I've written about this card before, and yeah, it is most definitely my favorite Sun card. I love the Magical Forest deck in general; it is a lovely, quirky, endearing take on the traditional RWS imagery. I think that having kangaroos represent the figures in the Sun card is brilliant. Having a joey in a pouch as the traditional child, with the flag of victory and everything, really works here and leaves lots of room for reading, as I kind of went into in more detail in the previous post on this card. I love the coloring - very sunny and yellow, but not in an overwhelming way, with just a bit of a suggestion of too hot, too much of a good thing, for that kind of potential reading into it too. Love the way the field of sunflowers is drawn. Everything, basically, about this card very much appeals.

Runner Up:
So it's a bit funny that this is my second choice because, as a rule, I tend to very much dislike the TdM tradition's take on the Sun...the whole children frolicking under the sun image doesn't really evoke for me the kind of happy success meaning this card is supposed to express, particularly when combined with the art style of most TdM decks. However, in the de la Rea, this image is abstracted to the point where I do not see children in the figures, rather just the concept of individuals - ageless, genderless - celebrating or enjoying themselves. In some ways - that ribbon - they are tied to each other, and in other ways they are distanced, disjointed, masked, apart: that great gap that always, even in the best of times, separates each one of us from everyone else. The deck also abstracts the actual sun in the image, makes that a mask too, which I appreciate on an aesthetic level - the gentle gold and silver paint on the cards in real life really makes this just lovely to look at. Love the colors on this card in general actually, the balancing of red, gold, blue, and the hint of minimalism - that broad swath of white background - really brings this together for me. I find it reads awesomely.