Oh my. Has it really been months? Whew...my apologies. I moved and while I love my place, I have taken my time getting settled.
Things are going well and I wanted to share that I have lots of new listings in my etsy shop and while most of the listings are crystal and gemstone healing related...the handmade will be moving in big-time in June.
Tomorrow I will be listing some tiny fairy journals!
My place is tiny, but it is home and while my studio area is still not fit for public viewing, I think you will like my living room "area" below. I've since added art and more record albums, but this picture is a favorite. Notice my little Jake curled up on the couch. Grandma would be happy that I am spoiling him even more than she did. He's quite demanding.
Next time will be soon, I promise, but in the meantime...how about a little color love. Seriously...I want to make one of these books for myself.
p.s. My website store is still under construction, so if you need to place an order, please do it from here.
One of the nice things about having talented and creative friends is that not only do you have many opportunities to learn from them, but you also reap the benefits of their talents in very in your hand tangible ways.
One such artist friend is Linda Stuelke from Willow Rock Designs. Linda and I met a few years ago at a workshop and have been fast friends (I love that old fashioned phrase!) ever since we started talking and realized that I was living in an apartment she had lived in years before!
We don't see one another enough, but we do manage to get together for coffee or chai once in awhile. These visits are usually long (as in many hours) and we cover personal news, art talk, our projects and bounce ideas off of one another.
Linda is one of my most technically skilled friends, but she is self-taught and her studio (particularly) the metal area knocks me out. Her work has featured in many shops and even in Better Homes & Gardens magazine. She's one of the most generous artists I know.
On one of our recent visits Linda presented me another of her hand forged metal Word for the Year pins. Choosing a word for the year is an important ritual for me. I never consciously choose, the word just comes. Last year's word was Purge and this year's word is Practice.
This year she hand stamped the back with the year! What a great way to honor the timeline of our words and to preserve them. Of course, she had to stamp last year's word too! I am not a big pin wearer, so I was thrilled to realize that I can display them by hanging them on little tacks on a small section of wall between rooms!
I like seeing my words lined up! You could also pin yours to a gorgeous length of ribbon and eventually you'd have a wonderful heirloom...imagine an adult child or grandchild holding the ribbon and looking at the progression of words that were important to you...maybe seeing what your word was the year they turned ten, twelve or seventeen? Sigh. Love it.
I wanted to share these because I know many of you have words for the year too and if you don't...well, it is not too late. Plus, she can also do children's names, initials, anniversary hearts and so much more. All of her metal is upcycled and hand forged.
I love how she thinks and I love her generosity and willingness to share her talents with me. I'm already thrilled with my burgeoning collection and cannot wait to see what word comes to me next year!
These are nice gifts to friends you want to honor because of an achievement or strength....words like survivor, sister, 5k, healer and so many more come to mind.
I hope you will check out her shop and also start pondering what your might be...or, if you had a word in January and need a little reminder of how important it was to you....this is a nice way to put it on the front burner again!
This has been such a nutty week. Best laid plans and all that jazz. A lot of good things on the horizon, but I feel so busy and rushed.
I hope to return soon with one of my "Invitation to. . .posts", but in the meantime I hope you take a look at the shop.
So many good things including 1/2 pound batches of quartz crystals anointed with essential oils. The perfect combination of two of the most potent subtle/vibrational healing methods. I've got a blend for sexual awakening, for dream diving and for upbeat and sunny yoga mornings.
And here are some words to steer the ship by:
The Queen by Pablo Neruda
The Queen I have named you queen.
There are taller than you, taller.
There are purer than you, purer.
There are lovelier than you, lovelier.
But you are the queen.
When you go through the streets
No one recognizes you.
No one sees your crystal crown, no one looks
At the carpet of red gold
That you tread as you pass,
The nonexistent carpet.
And when you appear
All the rivers sound
In my body, bells
Shake the sky,
And a hymn fills the world.
Only you and I,
Only you and I, my love,
Listen to me.
I'm sorry your invitation is late my friends, things have been crazy and yesterday our furnace died. . . when it was -12 degrees. I still have not posted another Tarot Card Tuesdays. I'm going to have to do this soon or accept losing all credibility!
Today's invitation to pray is simple, but I'll admit it took me awhile to call what I do prayer. I was raised secular and for some reason it got into my mind that prayer was something only people who identified as religious did. I identified as spiritual, so I didn't know my talks with spirit were prayers, I just called them thoughts and affirmations.
Many years ago I was working at a bank and stressed out in a major way. I was tired of the job, tired of my co-workers and in fact was being harassed by a male co-worker who was eventually suspended and transferred to another city. It was during this time when I noticed that I kept falling. I fell in the grocery store, on the street, in the parking lot, in my kitchen and even getting out of the car.
It was odd because it wasn't slippery and I always fell the same way and always landed on my knees. It is if my legs buckled underneath me and dropped me down to the ground.
One morning I fell as I was walking in a crowded area on State Street in Madison, WI. If you're familiar with Madison's State Street, you know this was in front of a lot of people. I was mortified, but for some reason, even though I wasn't injured, I couldn't get up.
It was as if I was glued by my knees to the ground. For most people, falling can be embarrassing, but for me, walking alone, being heavy and stuck kneeling there on the sidewalk was a nightmare from hell (or so I thought).
I panicked when I remembered that I hadn't done my toes, so if paramedics came and for some reason they had to take my shoes off, the whole entire world would see my chipped polish and basically, my life would be over!
I expected and dreaded the people who might come running over to help me, but no one did. In fact, they walked by me as if they didn't even see me, which made me feel at once relieved and angry. I remember having the thought, "Well, I'm down on my knees again." And, while this is not funny I started laughing because I had a reputation as slut when I was in grammar school and there were jokes made about me always being down on my knees. It isn't funny and in fact was hurtful, but at that moment is just struck me as hilarious.
Now, I really felt like a crazy person. . . on my knees, unable to get up and laughing! The whole thing was ridiculous and since most people who read this blog know me, you can imagine how insane I felt!!! Still, no one seemed to notice a laughing woman kneeling on the ground.
Then a line from the Christmas carol Holy NIght popped into my head.
"Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices." Holy Night is one of my favorite winter songs despite the fact I'm not Christian.
I was suddenly overcome with emotion. I knew that in order to get up, I was going to have to pray. Whew, now I felt really weird, but my legs were not moving. So, I did. Tentatively at first.
I don't remember what I said or if I addressed anyone in particular, but I do remember feeling an incredible sense of peace. The more peaceful I became, the less self-conscious I became. It was just a matter of minutes before I clasped my hands and bowed my head.
Suddenly I felt "done" and the awareness that I could get up. I did and walked somewhere for tea. I was calm and felt peaceful. . . for the first time in months.
I realized I'd been given a gift many would say was a religious experience, but for me it wasn't about God or even a Goddess. It was more like tapping into an energetic river of tranquility that flows through the world I'd never felt before.
I began to experiment with prayer. Sometimes I just talked and poured my heart out, sometimes I addressed God or a Goddess (Kwan Yin, Mary or Isis) and sometimes I recited formal prayers I found or made up.
To me, praying is like meditating and I connect to the earth as well as spirit. I feel and hear sounds from all over the world. I hear chanting, singing, the Muslim call to prayer, bells, things in languages I don't understand and even hear the the earth breathe.
I invite you to take a few minutes to ask yourself what prayer is to you. Prayer forces me to be still and while I don't always drop to my knees, I do pause whatever I am doing. I have a close friend who prays while she runs and another who prays every night while he eats his meal. There is no right or wrong and it isn't a mandate of connection. . . you don't have to pray to be spiritually connected, but for some reason I must.
I want to share this prayer I wrote years ago. It is to a mother goddess. I wrote it as part of an Artist's Way exercise and while it may not win awards, it comforts me and perhaps it will strike a chord within you too.
Our Mother, in whose womb we are carried…
Whose breast feeds the world.
Give us this day, our daily bread
And forgive us our judgments,
For we know not your master plan.
Our Mother, who shines her light on our shadows…
Whose love dissolves our fears.
Give us the courage to lead with our hearts
And forgive us when we stumble,
For we are becoming conscious of your master plan.
Our Mother, whose guidance we have accepted…
Whose wisdom we now know is our own.
Give us the opportunity to be present for others
And forgive us if we show impatience,
For once, it was we who did not know your master plan.
Amen/Aho/So be it
Forests and oceans feel like my church and temple. Imagine my absolute delight when I spotted the rock pictured above!
This is week three of my "An Invitation To. . ." series and I'll admit going into it that I almost changed the invite to something else.
Feeling the truth isn't as simple as telling the truth or being honest or factual about an event.
There are many aspects of truth-telling/feeling and sometimes the hardest person to admit the truth to is yourself.
I'm going share a recent incident in my marriage which affected me deeply and while it may seem small (or not) it's a significant realization for me and one I suspect will help me in more areas than just my marriage.
Before I share, I'd like to offer a disclaimer.
This isn't about whether or not I have a good or bad husband or if chores and household tasks should be shared or divided up by inside/outside or he/she. I won't share my husband's side of this because it isn't mine to share...this isn't about right or wrong, it is about how I felt. I can't control what you think, but I can hope no one makes any assumptions about the quality of our marriage based on this one story.
I live in the mid-west and we've recently been hit with a lot of snow. The large house we rent sits on a corner and believe me, the walks are long.
When the first snowfall came we realized the snow blower provided by our landlord wasn't working. It was unlikely he'd replace it because he isn't very attentive, so I eagerly embraced shoveling.
I felt proud of myself because I'm certainly not in the best shape of my life and yet I was out there working hard. I noticed my husband wasn't overly complimentary and didn't seem appreciative of my hard work the first week of shoveling, but I didn't get stuck on it and instead focused on the positives; exercise, chatting with neighbors outside, being impressed with myself and even finding it rewarding (We're talking about a lot of shoveling here, folks). My neighbor and I discussed about how shoveling is satisfying because it's a task that has an end. You can finish it and move on.
The second week of snowfall I was feeling a little less enthusiastic about shoveling and noticed that because I'd been the one doing it, it had become my job.
One day, during heavy snow, a neighbor asked me why Mark wasn't helping. I didn't have an answer, so I just laughed and said, "Oh, he's a natural born renter and besides, I like to shovel." My neighbor was kind enough to drop it and we continued our work.
Later, I realized her question was nagging me and it even embarrassed me a little. At first I even felt defensive and thought, "Doesn't she realize how hard he works and how I have the luxury of having freedom to make art and have a fairly open schedule? Big deal if I shovel and he doesn't!"
But then, I realized that actually, I do want some help on occasion.
I casually mentioned to my husband that winter was really setting in, I could use his help and with two of us, the chore would be finished a lot faster. He wasn't receptive and brushed me off. I made an excuse to myself about how he was busy and it wasn't a big deal.
A few more days of snow later, I was sick of doing it all myself and sick of pretending to be cheerful when neighbors pitched in.
I worried they didn't want to help, but did because they felt sorry for me out there by myself with more to shovel than any house on the block. I was angry and embarrassed.
I didn't want people to think poorly of my husband because it seemed like a reflection of me. I was also confident that if I clearly said I needed help he would give it. So, one morning I woke up, peeked out of the window and knew it was an eight inch, heavy, wet and icy snow with huge drifts and it was too much for me alone.
I woke my husband and said, "It's deep out there, but we need to get out because they didn't cancel schools today and the kids of the neighborhood are going to trudge through it. It may be slippery under the snow so lets go do it to make sure it's clear and ready quickly."
He turned over and said, "I'm tired and I will shovel, but not until later." I persisted and explained that we needed to do it soon, we are on a busy corner, I didn't want to do it by myself and he could go back to bed when we were done. I now realized that if I was honest with myself I would have acknowledged that I didn't think he'd help later either. He was immovable and said if I wanted it done at that moment, to just do it myself.
I was seething and said a few words I'd rather not put into print, but I got my boots and coat, put on a happy mask and went outside determined to get it done so our sidewalks were safe and also, to be honest, to avoid feeling judged by the neighbors for not getting it done. Everyone here tends to shovel and clear sidewalks early and it makes sense to me.
As soon as I got outside I saw my neighbor had already cleared her sidewalk and was headed over to ours with her shovel. I knew she would help me , but I felt embarrassed because of what was now clear to me.
If my husband wasn't helping to shovel, even now, after a blizzard, then he probably wouldn't ever help and I'm sure she knew it.
I insisted she go inside. I preferred to process my anger alone, but she said it was no big deal to help and dug right in.
I scooped up a few heavy shovelfuls and turned to her to thank her again, but to my surprise the words didn't come out.
Instead, I unexpectedly burst into tears and said, "I so appreciate your help, but I feel embarrassed he isn't helping because if he did, we'd be done so fast you wouldn't feel you had to come over. I feel humiliated." She reached out, gave me a hug and said, "Don't worry about this. It takes too much energy to worry about what people think. I'm happy to be here. Don't think a thing!"
I cried for a minute and we resumed shoveling moving through the snow quickly. I felt a little lighter having shared my true thoughts, but was still angry.
Just before she left, I was preparing to put out salt (I take my salting seriously! We've already gone through 140 pounds of pet safe salt!) and thanked her for her help. I was so grateful.
"Oh Laura, you are such a good person, who wouldn't want to help you?"
The minute she said it, I could tell she regretted her words and I looked at her sadly, but not pathetically and said, "Jeez, I wonder . . . ?"
I salted the walks, went inside, had some tea and processed my feelings. I realized whether my husband's refusal to help was defensible or not, had nothing to do with what I was feeling. The fact was, he didn't help and it made me angry and highlighted the fact that even if it isn't evolved, I care about what people think. I felt ashamed that somehow I might be perceived as a doormat and my own husband a jerk.
At first, I went into "pep talk" mode. "Who cares what people think? She's right, it takes too much energy. " Then, I asked myself what I was really upset about. I discovered I was angry and resentful because not only was I doing hard physical work, but also because I didn't feel appreciated. I was hurt.
Apparently it takes too much energy to pretend I don't care what people think, but more importantly, it takes too much energy to deny what I'm feeling. I was angry at my husband.
The truth is that over the past week I'd had many flashes of thinking my husband was being an ass and feeling angry, but didn't want to go there so I made excuses.
The real deal is that it doesn't matter if he is or isn't an ass, I was angry and this was important. Hiding it was depleting me.
I hesitated to write this because I didn't think it would go over well. I assumed you'd either think I was making a big deal out of nothing or that my husband is a huge jerk. However, I hope you understand. . . the point is . . .I was disappointed by him and wasn't acknowledging the truth of my feelings.
The interesting thing is that after crying in front of my neighbor and saying how I felt. A burden was lifted. I wasn't putting up a fake happy front. I was feeling. It was a relief.
I talked to an insightful friend later and when I told her about the whole thing, also said, "Hey, I'm becoming really efficient at shoveling!" because I haven't really done much shoveling in my life due to apartment or condo living and now I have a new skill.
She reminded me that since symbolically water represents emotion and snow and ice represent frozen emotions and I had cried in front of my neighbor, that perhaps I was becoming more efficient at handling my emotions. Thawing out some frozen feeling I didn't want to deal with. It made sense.
I have an extremely high physical pain threshold and have pushed my body dangerously beyond the pain and right into torn tendons, and it dawned on me that over the years I've done the same thing with my emotions. I've not allowed myself to "feel" for fear the feeling will force me to examine the issue and make choices that upset the equilibrium of my life and this is true for not only for my relationships, but for career choices as well.
Last week I invited you to change your mind, this week I invite you to take a look at a situation in your life and determine if you're being honest in how you really feel about it.
Even if only to yourself.
I thought the illustration above represented this invitation well. We do not know if the bear represents a friend, a totem, a secret or even a reflection of the girl in the boat. We do know she she looks settled in and comfortable as she floats through water (emotion) and isn't afraid to look at whoever is in the boat with her in the eye. I also see that maybe it's the bear who represents where you are and maybe the girl has offered you some tea and invited you to talk about it.
I hope you'll ponder this post and evaluate a situation in your life without judgement to see if there is aspect of it you're avoiding looking at directly. If you'd like to share in the comments, please do.
I expect everyone visiting here to be respectful and while we can offer insights and support a sister if she shares here, let's not offer advice unless she asks for it.
And guess what? There really will be a Tarot Card Tuesday post up tomorrow night!
I hope you will accept my invitation to join me in the second week of my 52 Invitations series of posts. This week I invite you to join me in changing your mind. . . or your heart.
I recently had a big change of heart on some lifestyle choices. I had been thinking about what would help me feel truly content with most areas of my life. I was surprised to realize I don't want to do even a third of what I've been planning to do. I don't want to learn another language at this point, I don't want to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, I don't want a huge vegetable garden, I don't want to live in the country, I don't want to start a charity and I don't want to live in a Tiny House.
As I pondered my ideal situation, I discovered that while I want to travel and get-by with what little I may know of French or Italian, I do not want to commit the time to being fluent. In the past I might have felt like a, "dumb American" for not making a huge effort. I now accept that when I go back to France, some may think just that and I'm OK with it. I may not get the best item on the menu in a restaurant because I didn't understand enough French to say yes and stuck with something familiar, but I'm OK with that too.
I don't need a lot of possessions, but I must have space. I am sensitive and need breathing room. I do not need a luxurious space or an expensive space that will impress people. I need a space that feels open and clear. I can stay in a Tiny House or even live in one short-term, but given a choice. . . I want a bedroom separate from the rest of the place. Oh, and not living near the ocean is no longer an option.
I also came to the conclusion that while I love hiking, camping and nature, I want to live in a city with twenty-four hour delivery, bookstores, cafes, theaters that get limited release movies and grocery stores that carry organic non-gmo foods. I no longer want to grow my own vegetables. I want to support those who are doing it and enjoying it. I do not want to start a charity, instead I want to fund charitable projects that other people have the dream of starting.
As far as the ocean, I need it. It is no longer a choice. I need salty ocean water, to see waves breaking on rocks and if seals are around, even better. Pine woods nearby? Yes, please.
These sound like simple things, but it took me a long time to realize that I want a large comfortable living space in a city. My husband and I tried minimalist living with a dog in a 430 sq. foot apartment in a small town. It wasn't so hot. Now we are in the same small town, but in a large house and I'm working on the move to a city!
I know our word is supposed to be golden and we want to keep all of the promises we've made to others and ourselves, but sometimes it's OK to simply decide you don't want to be, do or think what you once did.
This goes for the heavy duty things like life changes (engagement, marriage, divorce, jobs . . .) as well the little ones (ice cream flavors, how you dress, where you park. . .) or the ones in-between (who you vote for, which child gets the larger bedroom, renter's insurance or savings. . .).
The important thing to remember is that no matter what the level of change is, you get to make it if you want to. It doesn't mean everyone is going to be happy about it and support you, but you get to make it.
I was revolted when I read about a couple who went through expensive infertility treatments and got pregnant only to give their baby up for adoption when she was born with Down's Syndrome. However, it was their right. They knew it would cost them friends, they'd be harshly judged and they did it anyway because they felt it was best. I haven't changed my mind how I feel about it, but it has made me ponder my own reasons for making certain decisions and choices.
I hate to say that some of my decisions have been made based on what people think or how I think they will view me. I don't want to appear to be rude or wishy-washy if I cancel a lunch date at the last minute or if I suddenly realized a project my employees had been working on for weeks was no longer relevant.
I now understand that I have the right to change my mind and when I make the decision to say no or change my view, I also accept that there may be consequences. Some friends may be annoyed with me, some employees or bosses may not respect my shift in priorities, but if I'm OK with it, I'm OK with it.
Sometimes I'm not.
Sometimes I dread a commitment, but keep it because I know I'm counted on or do not want to let down a friend who needs some support. That's a choice and maybe there are consequences for that too. Maybe I keep the date with the friend and miss a deadline at work, but if I can live with it. . .I can live with it.
There are some commitments you may feel you can't possibly go back on. How many times have you heard about women who knew the minute they were saying, "I do." they were making a big mistake ("We'd paid for everything and all of our friends were there.") ?
Yet, you can go back on your commitment to get married. You may hurt people, you may lose money. However, it is your choice.
There are some things that seem unchangeable. Having or not having children. And they may be, but you can always revisit your expectations and make changes accordingly. Are you wishing you didn't have kids so you could travel and explore the world (Yes, there are women who secretly wish this and its OK) ? Well, perhaps you need to think about how you can travel and explore with your kids even if it means giving up ideas that until now have felt like, "best for your child" decisions. Maybe your in-laws will judge you if you take your kids out of school for a year and home-school while you travel across the country, but you as a parent get to make that choice. Or you could do something less drastic and find other ways to make the summer fun for your kids, but use vacation money to send the kids to grandma's and go to Prague for two weeks on your own.
Perhaps you never had children and now it is too late biologically. Acknowledge the regret and consider other ways you can grow with and nurture a child. Foster parents are in demand in almost every city.
I never said changing your mind is simple, but it is yours to change.
Much of what I have offered as examples may sound like middle-class problems and seem frivolous to someone trying to decide which child gets a new pair of shoes and which gets the new coat. I get that, believe me. However, even if your decision is much more agonizing, you still get to decide . . . and it doesn't always feel like a privilege.
I invite you to think about your life (or tomorrow) and if you realize you've had a change of heart about something and feel like you need to change your mind because of it, please follow your instincts and do what you know is best for you. A note to parents; you'd be surprised at how what is best for you is really good for your kids.
There are experts who could break this whole thing down to a process and make a mind-change seem simple by asking yourself questions and while that is helpful, I'm not an expert so I'm just going to ask you to consider how your plans or ideas feel. Not so hot? Sit with them awhile and see if you can live with them. Pretty good? Go ahead on!
If you have any thoughts or want to share your decision making process, please feel free to share your words in the comments. Your comments are my gold!
Oh, and here is an interesting link for my writer readers!
p.s. The image of the woman thinking is available here.
p.s. double s. This is my latest piece.
This new feature on the blog has me jumping with excitement! Each week I will select a card from one of my tarot or divination card decks and we'll explore the meaning and pull apart the symbols as commonly (or not) understood.
What the cards mean to me may not mean the same thing to you as a reader. It is important we respect our intuition regarding the meaning of a card or how we choose to interpret it for ourselves, our friends or our clients.
I'd love for us all to open up and read the symbols because often they can be helpful when explaining what we're sensing or feeling when reading for another. Likewise, when reading for ourselves it can be nice to focus on the symbols if we know we may be too attached to the issue to accurately intuit.
If you are asking for yourself you might pay close attention to the symbols rather than the defined meaning of the card and save yourself the trouble of putting the card back and pulling another and yet another until you get the card you want. Ahem.
Also, this isn't a lesson or a "How to read the cards" tutorial, but a fun way to get used to paying attention to all aspects of the cards. The symbols hit us unconsciously, but some knowledge just makes it even better to get a true and accurate reading.
DECK: Motherpeace Tarot by Vicki Noble & Karen Vogel
This is a deck with mostly female or androgynous images, however it is not anti-male. Though, for the sake of consistency I will refer to the questioner as she.
It's fun and appropriate that I randomly selected, "The Fool" to start with as this card symbolizes the period just before manifestation or the actual start of a new beginning or perspective. Typically represented in tarot decks by the number 0, the phrase I often associate with the fool is, "The possibilities are endless."
The Fool is generally an optimistic card. Fresh starts, adventure, innocence, child-like, faith and trust are words many people associate with the card. However, it also symbolizes endings or the feeling of lightness one might have after breaking off a relationship, job or even a way of thinking. The Fool is ready to go and while many readers see the Fool as embarking on a new journey, I see the Fool as someone who is basking in the afterglow of a finished task or someone who is ready to forge ahead, but not clear or concerned about where to go. The Fool is shown just about to step off a cliff or in this case diving into the water (or flipping across it, depending on your perspective). The goal is unclear and undefined, but the person is ready to do something.
The Fool can appear in a reading when someone wants to make a job change or a move, but isn't doing it because they do not know exactly what the plan is. The Fool is a good indicator that it's time to make a move. Take a step knowing it will be in the right direction and if it isn't, you'll still be OK.
Someday, when we're discussing the Hanged One, we'll remember this because while the Hanged One waits, the fool dances ahead.
The appearance of the Fool can be a sign that someone has been stuck in an outmoded way of thinking or bad behavior and a new way of being is on the horizon. The Fool trusts the light will come on when it needs to.
A funny thing about the Fool is that she often appears in readings where my client or friend is challenging everything I am intuiting for them. The classic Fool is thought to be someone who excitedly sits down for a reading and says,"I don't have questions, just tell me what you see!" However, while that may be the Fool, the person she often shows up for isn't quite there yet. She's there as a guide along a new path...a little burst of energy and confidence that shows up to help you out of where you are. People who need her often seem angry or even hostile to the card. They are the ones who ask, "When exactly, will I get the call about the job or find out I'm pregnant? How can I move to Brazil, I don't even have a job? What about insurance?"
It is tempting, when the Fool appears, to tell a person that they need to relax and enjoy the process, but I don't. The key in is to ask questions...why are they not enjoying the process? Why do they think the card appeared? Maybe there are some real fears they need to address first and the childlike wonder will come later.
Your job as a reader is to try to speak their language the best you can. When giving readings it is nice to suggest a task....a little homework to follow up on aspects of the reading. You cannot control what person does when they leave your table or sacred space, but you can ask them to consider (journal about) some questions to help understand why you see what you see and why you're saying what you're saying.
I think it is irresponsible to give a hesitant or unsure person a generic, "Follow your bliss with the innocence of a child!" without posing a few questions. As tarot card readers, we are not fortune tellers. We connect with our clients on a more "present time" level and we need to help them see ahead.
Some people see the, "I don't want to grow up or have things change!" aspect of the Fool...Peter Pan. While this applies, I usually don't see this in the person asking the question, but instead in someone they may be asking about.
If the Fool appears as a love interest or is drawn when thinking of a love interest, I tell the person a little about the Fool and ask how that makes them feel? If they need a rock; someone stable with a clear focus and a lot of ambition, the Fool may not be the way to go. Yet, someone like Steve Jobs was definitely a Fool in the sense that before he had clear vision about what he wanted, he spent a lot of time hopping around India, experimenting with drugs and even after he was fired, from Apple, he said it was the best thing that ever happened to him:
"The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life."
Like him or not, most wouldn't argue that he was a innovative and creative guy.
You might ask a client if she is comfortable staying with someone who may take awhile to find a life groove, but who will get there and is likely to wind up happy and content. If she is, the Fool is perfect because the Fool is going somewhere, we just don't know where.
If she's the kind of person who needs a datebook, a wall calendar and must save a specific amount of money every month, a relationship with the Fool may be stressful.
I'm not much into reversed aspects of cards, but it is important every now and then to consider how negative aspects may apply to the reading. In the case of the Fool, one could say the negative (or reversed) aspect indicates someone who is flighty, unpredictable, reckless and well, foolish. That may be true, but it is up to your client to determine whether or not that's a bad thing. She may need a shake-up.
Though, If you get a strong intuitive hit that she needs to be careful and she's not quite ready to make a leap, by all means, ask some clarifying questions.
The Fool may be unaware of potential dangers on an upcoming journey, but so what? It doesn't mean she isn't smart or resourceful enough to cope if something goes wrong. It may be foolish of me to step out on the ice in heels and think, "It's only a block. I can make it." However, if I fall and break my ankle I'll know better next time and maybe I'll get a few weeks off of work!
Learning the hard way is still learning.
Sometimes people come to a reading determined not to say anything for fear you'll analyze what they say and use it to tell them what they want to hear. That is ridiculous, but as readers we often feel pressure to be "right on". While it is fun when it happens, the expectation from a client that when it does it is "proof" you are legit limits the scope of information she'll receive because the more you understand her inquiry, the better you can apply intuition and the cards.
My favorite part! I love signs and symbols. The Fool in every deck is rich with symbols, but in the Motherpeace she is especially rich!
Let's just accept that these symbols may mean something different depending on the circumstances, but enjoy learning more about traditional meanings.
I had hoped to insert more pictures, but the editing elf isn't cooperating with me today, so I put a close-up of the card at the bottom of the post for reference.
Mushrooms: They are red and white and of the hallucinogenic variety. Mushrooms grow in damp places symbolizing finding ones unique comfort zone, they may also be dangerous if misidentified, symbolizing discernment and caution. They can be used both as powerful tools or deadly poison. There are five in this card and fives symbolize social connections (meeting someone on the journey?) and good communication.
Vulture: Vulture is the familiar of the Goddess Maat and gifts us with a sense of justice, divine order and balance. Vultures are resourceful scavengers who gain nourishment by cleaning up after others. People see vultures as takers, but they are helpers and sometimes at their own expense. This is especially true if they pick up things that are tainted or rotten. Would your energy would be better channeled towards things fresh and new rather than stagnant? Do you need to put something negative to rest? Vultures are loyal, generous and they never hoard food selfishly. They share freely and openly.
Crocodile: Reptilian and representing the "lizard brain" which is survival, deeply rooted instinct and certainly not over thinking! Some feel crocodiles are dangerous and therefore represent an upcoming hurdle, they aren't wrong, but I also see (on this particular card) the crocodile as a bridge. The Fool is going her own way, but she has another option and it is her prerogative to change her mind at any time. Crocodiles prefer fresh water, but they adapt to salt water if they must. This could signal an opportunity before you and while it may not be your first choice, you can do it until something better comes along...however, be sure this doesn't apply to relationships. It's usually better to wait it out, unless this person is on a similar journey and isn't expecting long-term commitment. Crocodiles cannot tolerate cold, so sometimes a person with a crocodile totem may have poor circulation or be pondering a move to a warmer place, but before suggesting a move, back this up with your intuition!
The Sun: In this card, the sun is peeking over the horizon...light, renewal and joy are on the way, but not fully manifested. Solar energy is powerful and can be a strong force for change, but this rising sun can also symbolize the carefree and trustful essence of the Fool. The sun isn't all the way up, but the Fool has already planned a picnic because she expects the best and if not, oh well!
The White Lotus: In many decks the Fool is depicted with a rose and it represents many of the same qualities as the lotus; purity, faith in feelings and the crown chakra. Accessing divine guidance can mean connecting to spirit through meditation, but it can also mean simply connecting with people who are of a like mind and have developed some gifts/tools that you have not. My first teacher was my White Lotus. She taught me so much and I will be forever grateful. I was only nineteen when she took me under her wing and taught me how to meditate, read cards, understand herbs and most of all. . .the importance of timing. These are the kinds of people Lotus wants to pull into your life. Lotus also appears when you need to let go of people who cloud up your world. You can still be connected to the cousin who annoys you, but you also know that some people are best in small doses. A lotus is clean in spite of the mud she grows in. She is above the mud, but not better than and she retains her own essence.
The Fool's Bag: In almost every deck the Fool carries a bag or pack of some sort. Usually it has an eye on it. This pack is my favorite aspect of the card. I call it the bag of tricks, but not tricks as in deception, tricks as in resources. We all have our own bag of tricks, it is bottomless and we never know for sure what's in it. This goes back to what I wrote earlier about the Fool being OK even if she makes mistakes. The open eye symbolizes foresight, planning and psychic awareness as well as the awakening of ones soul. . .kind of like the sunrise. A new life is on the horizon. I love a little mystery and always get a kick out of discovering some new tool I never knew I was carrying around.
The Cane, staff, wand or rod: This represents power and growth. In many decks the Fool's wand is shown with little leaves sprouting out of it. It can also represent past lives or relatives. . . carrying a branch of our former self with us. I usually see it as another resource. The Fool most definitely does not walk softly, but she carries a big stick. It's a tool and a gauge for growth.
The Peacock Feather: The Fool card often has feathers on it, usually in a cap that rests on his (most of the cards show the Fool as a male) head. In this case, the feather is another tool and the placement of it with the cane and bag on the Fool's foot represents guidance. When Peacock makes an appearance you can bet that you are fiercely protected and guided. Peacocks represent integrity and loyalty. Peacocks are also associated with both Lakshmi and Kwan Yin. Both of these goddess offer kindness and compassion. The appearance of a Lakshmi symbol can sometimes indicate a change of diet is in order and the appearance of a Kwan Yin symbol can sometime indicate protection during a pregnancy.
The Cat: At least one animal familiar is almost always shown with the Fool. Usually it is a small dog, in this case it is a striped cat. The appearance of the familiar is symbolic of connection, guidance and companionship...also a connection to the voice of our intuition. It also symbolizes loyalty to ones self as well as to others. The cat symbolizes the mystery and magic of what lies ahead. Someone once told me the animal on the Fool card can also represent a child in spirit who chooses to come along on a human journey. Because the Fool is about what hasn't quite manifested yet, the familiar can also be a sign of a literal child coming into the life of whoever is receiving the reading.
Snow Tipped Mountains: There are usually snowy mountains in the background of Fool cards. These mountains represent the past and what has brought a person to this freer lighter stage of life. The snowy mountains are present even when the rest of the card seems like spring. This is a gentle reminder that the past is present even when we have moved on from it. We carry seeds of memory we may have dropped in our "bag" and they can serve us later. The active Fool is unconcerned with the past, but she unknowingly carries the wisdom gained from old experiences even if painful. Mountains in the background also symbolize obstacles overcome. Fools symbolize endings and beginnings, so it is natural that even a new Fool carries wisdom from past lives or experiences.
Stones: There are eight stones on this card and most Fool cards have at least a few rocks if not an entire cliff! Again, the stones represent tools...stepping stones to something new. In some cases they can be interpreted as little obstacles to overcome while on the journey. When a cliff is present it is simply an invitation to step off into the unknown and have faith that you will land safely. Eights represent patterns and I interpret the eight stones as a reminder not to get weighed down by my past and the idea that what I've been taught by others is always right. The Fool accepts that she has no clue what is right, but knows what feels right and that's all that matters. Eights also represent change and if you are reading this line and have gotten through this entire post, you certainly know that change is the essence of the Fool.
I would be thrilled if you offered your own experience with the Fool. It is my hope that we will meet here to exchange insights and offer support to anyone open to knowing more. Please share this post with any friends you think may be interested.
I also offer detailed one card readings in my shop, so if you are ever stuck and need a little help, I'm here! As you can see, a lot can be gleaned from a single card.
Come back tomorrow to see what I've been up to in the studio and to learn about a book that will blow your mind!
There's so much blogging buzz about choosing a word for the year I hesitate to post mine for fear you will groan and throw your coffee cup across the room! However, while I'm not a traditionalist, I do choose a word every year and this year it is Practice. It seems fitting to try a new way of applying my word. After all, practice isn't about being perfect, it is about learning and for me, about finding my rhythm.
And this year is different because I invite you to join me.
See what you think. . .
Last week I put time into understanding why I wasn't particularly focused in 2013 and how my creativity was affected by the world around me and not in an inspiring way. I realized the main reason I don't make time to create is because not only do I not have a creative practice, I don't have a practice for anything.
If I developed some basic self-care practices, I'd have more time to create and even better, I'd have the energy to do instead of just plan.
This year, I'm going to put some time into developing various practices....yoga, eating, breathing, meditation, spiritual, housekeeping, writing and business. These are things I say I want to to do and yet I don't prioritize as if I mean it.
This year will be different.
I am not making hard and fast rules, there are no rewards or penalties. I am practicing developing Practices. There is a learning curve and I'm going to be gentle on myself if I miss a few days of meditation or eat some crappy food. I'm taking it one day at a time.
Lately I've been experimenting with watercolors (see above) and while I love playing with color, I recognize that to get what is in my imagination on to the paper, I need to learn some basic techniques. I'm not a master right out of the gate and I didn't expect to be. I'm willing to make some not so hot attempts in my sketchbook without giving up. So why the leeway with watercolors and not yoga? Or meditation? Or getting enough greens? Seriously, doing a back bend is as hard for me as painting a perfect heart at this point, so why not approach all of these things with the expectation that learning is part of the process...in fact, learning is the process!
It occurred to me that like with watercolors, I have to practice my Practice.
Whew, what a burden lifted. I don't have to be perfect and I don't have to even want to shoot for perfection. All I'm committing to is practice.
There is no recital in two months, no Olympics in the spring. Why treat this learning experience as if there's a date on my calender when I'll need to prove I've been applying myself. I don't need the pressure.
I'd like for you to ponder your own practices and invite you to explore the approach I'm taking and see how it feels to you.
If you feel like sharing, all the better. I can't express in words how I love hearing from you.
Now, in other news. I'm making some changes to the way I blog and I'm hoping the end result is more frequent posts! I'm also introducing some regular features.
Every Monday, I'll share a word and some thoughts along with the invitation to join me in applying the word to your week. No pressure, it's just an invitation...no R.S.V.P. required.
And I'm truly excited about starting Tarot Card Tuesdays! Each week I will pull a card and share with you my understanding of the card and we'll examine the symbols. I believe most people who read cards use them as tools added to a channel of divine information. However, it is important to understand the basic meanings of card symbols because they often trigger something in the reader's intuition and can help a reader put into words what she is feeling intuitively. Fun, yes?
And this leads me to my latest shop offering. I feel so ready for this and don't let the one card fool you...my one card readings are thorough and detailed.
I made these salts with the heart chakra in mind. I used ground roses from my garden and scented Himalayan Pink, Celtic Gray and California White sea salts with bergamot and rose. I put them in vintage glass cigar tubes. I'll be placing these in tiny gift packages for Yule this year.
There is scene in an episode of Being Erica where her heart chakra pops open and she begins sobbing because she knows everything has to change. She must follow her heart even if it means losing what she thought she wanted only hours before. It is a shattering moment.
I've had some of these myself lately.
Sometimes, even though your head insists it could do a better job running the joint, you have to hold strong and let your heart be the boss.
I wish I could show you...
when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.