12 Second Tarot: 2 of Swords (17 September 19)

Difficult situations require that we look with our heart as much as our with our eyes.

The two of swords is often read as being “of two minds” about something….a choice between two things of such equality that it is almost impossible, or maybe pointless, to decide.

Often, though, there is a little more to it than that.

Diane Morgan gives a unique reading of the card in her book “Magical Tarot, Mystical Tao” which for all the obvious reasons is far and away one of my favorite Tarot book. She reads it as a ‘mystical unity’. Instead of indecision between two things, she saw it as profound, etheric, or sublte connection between two things. That is the energy that is stepping forward today.

Today, the two connected things are nothing less than you and the universe.

Which is just how you can decide between two things and make a difficult choice. See with your heart. Before you can make the compassionate choice, or take the higher road, you have to figure out what that is. The idealistic…or even the ideal choice isn’t always obvious. The two of swords is your permission to follow the energy, follow the spiritual choice even if it isn’t obvious to other people. You may the one seeing with more than your eyes.

no appointment needed = no need for summer hours

Order distance tarot HERE 24/7 no appointment needed to get a Tarot reading by email. Just pick the size of layout that fits your question or your budget, check out with PayPal security, and wait for your guidance to arrive in your inbox…usually within hours.

If your order comes at a busy time where family comes first, it might take a day or two to turn around your order, but that doesn’t happen often at all.

All in-person readings and parties are by appointment only, scheduling at least 24 hours in advance. I have only a set number of appointments per week, so availabilty varies, depending on how many other people are scheduling in a given week or month.

Distance (email, video, handwritten) Tarot is my specialty. You have my promise – the distance readings contain the all of the exact same information I would tell you face to face, maybe more. I use the cards to “read” spirit and energy’s message for you. I don’t read you. Since spirit is everywhere, you and I can be anywhere and the same message gets through.

Q&A: Light Housekeeping

Q: Do you do house cleansing or clearing? I will be moving into a new house, and I was told a man had been murdered there. I want someone to come to the house and take a reading of it and to respectfully help him or anyone move on. To answer your question, no, nothing has happened to make me think he or any other spirits may be stuck there, but there is one area that has a strong feeling of sadness. I did burn some sage, but it didn’t seems to help. Is there anything you can do?

A: That isn’t my area of expertise. I deal with spiritual guidance for living folks, not so much the not living ones. The one person I knew who did do this sort of work has moved away from our area. Since you want someone to come to the location, unfortunately all I can do is suggest that you continue your google search.

In the meantime, I do know some basics that you can do for yourself that might help. I’ve used them in the past for different applications, not this particular kind of clearing, so I can’t make any promises. They worked so well for other energy clearing, since you don’t think you have a full on haunting, it might be all  you need to settle in to a new space and make that new house a home.

That was a great idea to start with sage. It is, in my experience, very calming, soothing, grounding, centering, balancing, comforting and protective. Whether it did anything for the sad feeling energy or not, at the very least it would help you to feel calm and protected as you do your clearing work.

Sage, black salt, ground eggshells and all of that are helpful for protection, yes, but it seems you need something to clear first…then you can move back to the protective measures.

Think of it this way, putting a doormat outside of your door will help keep new mud from being tracked into the house, but it won’t do anything about the footprints already on the floor.

My intuition is that you need something brighter, expansive, clearing and dispelling. My hunch is salt, sound and lemon. In aromatherapy, citrus scents are believe to be clearing, cleansing, energizing and very high vibration. Any residual energy of the sad, tragic kind you describe is low vibration and would need that extra boost in order to clear, to move out. High vibration measures is like mopping the old footprints off the floor after you put the doormat out.

I suggest a three step treatment for the whole house if you can manage it…or the area where you sense the sadness at the very least.

First do normal, ordinary, mundane cleaning. Just like ordinary spring cleaning as anyone would before moving in. Second, mist all the rooms, especially around windows and all doorways, corners too if you feel they need it. Make a lemon salt water mist with filtered or spring water, a pinch of salt, and either some lemon essential oil or a little lemon juice. The scent doesn’t have to be strong and just a pinch of salt will do when you are doing energy-level work like this. After you clean and mist, ring a small bell or chime in each room or use one of those “singing bowls” if you prefer.

Once you have done the energy-raising cleansing, then you can protect with sage or a sprinkle of salt/black salt/ground eggshell powder at the entry doorways to help keep the energy clear.

After all of that, you could really put the frosting on the cake and have someone bless or dedicate the home. A good old fashioned housewarming party might help too…housewarming really is a good name for it. Friends and family having a pleasant time together truly can raise the energy of a space and make it feel like home. f

If you would like to go more in depth, I suggest reading Psychic Protection by Ted Andrews. It is an excellent resource.

Like I said, I’m no expert in this particular topic. If I learn anything new, I’ll post it here in the blog for you. Don’t forget to subscribe by email so you don’t miss new posts or the special offers coming later in the year.

Thanks for the great question! Sorry I couldn’t be more help. I’d be interested to know if you try this and how it works for you. I hope it works as well for you.

All Best Wishes

R.

What to Expect From a Tarot Reading With Me

This is a new page on the website. Nothing puts folks at ease like knowing exactly what to expect. I expect to post this every now and then as new readers come along. If you have any questions about Tarot in general or my style of reading in particular, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email or use the Ask Zombie Cat contact form.

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Tarot readers are all different. This art and spirituality, not science or medicine. Just as there are different genres of music and movies, each Tarot reader has their own unique style and method of reading. Let me give you an overview of my creation, TaoCraft Tarot, in two parts: qualities and mechanics.

Qualities
  • Guidance: I use my intuition to look at energy flows and to listen to [spirit, energy, spirit guides, guardian angels, our higher selves…whatever name you like to use] and translate that intuitive information into usable language for you.
  • Inspiration: By focusing on creative problem solving rather than giving up to fate or destiny, these readings can inspire you to action or spark ideas of your own.
  • Options: I do NOT predict the future. I do NOT tell you what will happen. These readings do NOT tell you what other people think, feel, or will do.  This style of reading does NOT lock you down or give in to fate or destiny. I DO think in terms of energy flows and pathways most energetically open to you at the time of the reading. These readings are all about your choices. Your choices and actions are what creates your future. No reading can predict that. These readings can help you figure out what your choices are and what you want to do.
  • Transparency: What you see is what you get. I give what I get from energy and spirit as I get it. It is up to you to decide what to do with that information. It is up to you to decide if it is “good news” or “bad news.”  The same goes for the business end of things. All of my policies are clearly written on this website. By reading this and the disclaimers on EVERY page of the website, you’ll know EXACTLY what to expect from a session ahead of time. Nothing is hidden. Prices and policies are clearly written. Read on. Then any Tarot session with me can only meet or exceed your expectations because you will know exactly what to expect!
  • Authenticity: My Tarot style is no drama and zero stage tricks. I give what I get from pure intuition, period.  Authentic Tarot is closer to Bob Ross or the cookie-baking Oracle from The Matrix than Psychic Friends or a Vegas stage show.
Mechanics
  • Introduction: We will talk about the questions or concerns that brought you to the reading. For distance readings this happens during the ordering process. You can use the comments to merchant or customize option to let me know your question, if you have one. Questions do not have to be detailed or specific. You can just give a general area of focus, like career, or relationships or what-have-you. It is perfectly fine to leave it open, with no specific question or topic at all. I just need to know that is what you want to do.
  • Card Shuffle and Layout: I will either shuffle until it intuitively feels right (distance) or ask you how many times you want the deck shuffled (live) In live sessions I’ll often cut the cards, then you pick which part of the deck we work with. The cards are placed on the table face up in the pattern you ordered. In private sessions we will use the 7 card layout. Parties vary from 1 card meditations up to the 5 card layout depending on the size and type of party you schedule. In live sessions you’ll obviously be able to see your cards. In a distance reading, I take a photo of your unique layout and include that in the electronic document.
  • General Pattern: We look at the cards as a whole picture. This can include things like number of major vs minor arcana cards, repeating numbers, where cards fall within the layout, or any purely intuitive impressions that may appear.
  • Card by card: We talk about each card individually: its meaning, the meaning of its position within the layout, and the type of message it is giving (advice, caution, validation, thanks, etc.)
  • Summary “psychic reading”: This puts all the cards back together as one summary. In this part we open up to any purely intuitive information that might come through whether it is directly related to your cards/concern/question or not. This is a chance to hear things that are needed, even if they are not requested or expected. Often this part includes colors, aromatherapy and crystal/gemstone suggestions.
  • Sigil Element / Intuitive Doodles: In a live session, I take handwritten notes as we go along for you to take with you. If any mental images come up, I’ll draw shapes to help show you what I’m seeing in my minds eye. If you like, you can use those shapes to create your own sigil…a symbol for the things you want to bring into your life. You can draw your symbol and carry it for luck or any number of things. To learn about Sigil making and other ways to create and use intuitive shapes & symbols, I suggest reading Sigil Witchery by Laura Zarkoff or The First Signs by Genevieve Von Petzinger. In a distance session, I’ll include one “sigil element” shape in the document you receive by e-mail. Sigil elements are not included in phone or video readings.
  • Affirmation: We again summarize and focus the reading’s message for you in the form of a positive affirmation. This part isn’t always obvious. We won’t force it. I don’t want to leave on a contrived, or fake note. We’ll summarize in the most authentic, positive, forward-looking way possible in any reading format.

Sound good? Order your distance reading anytime, 24/7, no appointment needed at www.TaoCraftTarot.com or contact me (TaoCraftTarot@gmail.com) to schedule a Party / Individual session in the South Hills area of Pittsburgh, PA

Related: How do you know if a psychic is ethical? (from the Modern Oracle Tarobytes blog archives)

Varieties of Reiki

Q: Are there different kinds of Reiki sessions for different needs, like one for night to relax if you have trouble sleeping or one for morning if you need more energy?

A: Surprisingly no. It isn’t guided or prescriptive like that. The energy is like a raw material that the body uses where ever and however it is most needed. On of my teachers told the story of a gentleman with tennis elbow. He was very skeptical of Reiki, didn’t think it would help at all, but came to the session to placate his wife. He would’t let the Reiki master touch him anywhere except his left elbow. After a couple of sessions it didn’t do anything for his elbow….but it greatly improved his blood pressure. Nothing else in his life had changed to explain the improvement…no change in his medication or diet or activity or anything else that they could think of except the Reiki sessions. The body puts the energy where it needs it the most. Timing isn’t an issue, either. Reiki can be sent with the intent that it activate at a time when it is most needed as well. Like gravity, Ki is everywhere, all the time, and Reiki simply helps you draw from that energy in a time and a place and a way that is for your best health. For example, if problems sleeping is the main concern, a morning Reiki session might help the underlying reason for the insomnia, and in turn help the sleeping problem when bedtime comes around.  Like the tennis elbow, the blood pressure was a more important issue. We trust the body (in its physical, mental and emotional aspects) to put the energy where it is most needed. Like the morning session that helps bedtime insomnia, the body guides when the effects of the energy are felt. Thanks for the question!

FAQ: A question of your own

Have a quesion? Ask HERE to have your question added to the new FAQ page

So far, I’ve kept these classics….

Q: Will my ex- and I get back together?

A: That depends on what you and your ex decide to do. Tarot can’t read your ex’s mind or how they feel about you, or predict what they will do. The only way to know for sure is to talk to them directly. If you aren’t talking to each other, then there is little or no chance you will get back together. If the two of you haven’t fixed whatever caused the breakup then no, getting back together is very unlikely. That is just common sense. You don’t need a Tarot reading for that. BUT if you want advice about how to heal from the breakup or how to have better relationships in the future, then Tarot can definitely help.

Q: Nothing you said came true. Why not?

A: I. Don’t. Make. Predictions.

I’ve said it a thousand times. Tarot doesn’t predict the future. That is the dark ages, flat earth way of using Tarot. It doesn’t matter if predictions are “true” or not.  I could sit here and make perfect, on-target, 100% accurate predictions all day long, but then you could go out five minutes later and do something that changes everything. (See: Predicting the Future and a Big Cube of Jell-O) Remember Yoda from Star Wars? The future really is fluid and always changing. Life is cause and effect. If you drop an apple, it will fall down. If you strike a match, it will catch on fire. If you pour water on something it will get wet. Cause and effect is the way Nature works. It is science. Your future is created by what you choose and do. Tarot is a way to look at options, then choose the flow of energy that is more likely to take you where you want to go in the long run…not tell you every ripple of everything that will happen along the way.

Q: How can you do readings by e-mail? Don’t you have to be with the person for the reading to work?

A: I read universal energy, not the person themselves, so no, they don’t have to be with me for the reading to happen as it should.  Energy and spirit is everywhere, all of the time. I read that universal energy and listen to spirit on that person’s behalf. It doesn’t matter if someone is across the table or across the world when I connect to that universal energy. It doesn’t matter if I say the words of a reading or type them. It doesn’t matter if you hear the words now or read them later. The same core message still gets through either way. I connect to your specific energy message when we talk about your question vs an open reading. That conversation & connection happens the same way when I read your words as it does when I hear them. The difference between a distance and an in-person is the way you experience getting the message, not in the message itself.

Q: How long have you been doing this?

A: It blows my mind to say it, but a little over 25 years. I started reading oracle cards around 1992 as I began my new spiritual life as an ex-christian (after an evangelical upbringing.) At the same time, I started Taijiquan training which introduced me to Taoist philosophy and meditation.  In 1996, I began Reiki training, certifying as a Reiki Master-practitioner in 2000. In the early 2000s I started working part time as an online Tarot reader while I worked toward a Ph.D. in Natural Health and started a family. That was followed by working for myself locally under my old website Modern Oracle Tarot. In October 2018 I introduced meditation and Reiki to the Tarot website to become the new TaoCraft Tarot. I’ve been at this for a while, and now teach other people to read cards in local workshops.

Q: Do you read for the LGBTQIA community?

A: Of course! Anytime! Consider me an ally. Readings are naturally gender/orientation neutral. I intuitively “see” people as energy signatures, kind of like a silhouette made of light. Intuition doesn’t tell me anything about gender, orientation, identity, race, hair color, height, or any other specific attribute. I don’t mean to use wrong pronouns in your reading. They are all just completely interchangeable on an energetic level. If I get that sort of thing wrong, just clue me in and we’ll move on. It’s all good.

Q: Are there different kinds of Reiki sessions for different needs, like one for night to relax if you have trouble sleeping or one for morning if you need more energy?

A: Surprisingly no. It isn’t guided or prescriptive like that. The energy is like a raw material that the body uses where ever and however it is most needed. On of my teachers told the story of a gentleman with tennis elbow. He was very skeptical of Reiki, didn’t think it would help at all, but came to the session to placate his wife. He would’t let the Reiki master touch him anywhere except his left elbow. After a couple of sessions it didn’t do anything for his elbow….but it greatly improved his blood pressure. Nothing else in his life had changed to explain the improvement…no change in his medication or diet or activity or anything else that they could think of except the Reiki sessions. The body puts the energy where it needs it the most. Timing isn’t an issue, either. Reiki can be sent with the intent that it activate at a time when it is most needed as well. Like gravity, Ki is everywhere, all the time, and Reiki simply helps you draw from that energy in a time and a place and a way that is for your best health. For example, if problems sleeping is the main concern, a morning Reiki session might help the underlying reason for the insomnia, and in turn help the sleeping problem when bedtime comes around.  Like the tennis elbow, the blood pressure was a more important issue. We trust the body (in its physical, mental and emotional aspects) to put the energy where it is most needed. Like the morning session that helps bedtime insomnia, the body guides when the effects of the energy are felt. Thanks for the question!

Bookshelf: Magick of Reiki

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I love a good book and a cup of coffee (or Red Zinger tea as it was when I took the picture)

This past weekend I finished Magick of Reiki: Focused Energy for Healing, Ritual, and Spiritual Development by Christopher Penczak. It is a absolute must-read for Reiki practitioners in America, possibly everywhere else, too.

I originally picked up the book to learn more about the magick piece of it. Full disclosure, I began to study Reiki back in the late 1990s, and was attuned as a Master-practitioner in the Usui style in 2000. Reiki was the topic my Ph.D. thesis in 2011. Reiki is my jam, I use it all the time for myself and my family. For various reasons, it hasn’t been until lately that I’ve started to connect the dots between the Asian culture influences (Taoism, Zen, Meditation, Reiki) and the European cultural influences (Tarot, Magick, aromatherapy, crystals) within my overall energy work.

To put it in a food analogy, I was expecting to try a new dish, but instead got a big old bowl of really delicious and familiar comfort food.

My expectations were backwards. Rather than being a book about a Magickal practice that incorporates Reiki, this is a book about Reiki by a Reiki teacher that points out the ways that Reiki is similar to magick. Instead of a book nudging the limits of my magickal knowledge, I found a book that was, after all, right in my wheelhouse. Delightfully so.

Mr. Penczak’s description of Reiki is right on the mark in my experience. I respect the he way he approaches all the varied schools in Reiki. He deals insightfully and compassionately with some fairly hot button issues between them.

His attitudes toward a wide variety of topics within Reiki very much resonate with my own. His thoughts on extended symbols, individually given symbols, publishing symbols, Reiki guides, the use of intuition within Reiki practice and most of all the giant bugaboos about money and charging for lessons and treatments are all kind, wise and just exactly what the American Reiki landscape needs. For magick topics and learning, I plan to read his other books. Magick of Reiki may not be the best choice for beginner magick reading, but it is perfect for next-step Reiki reading.

This is a book for people who have had a taste of Reiki and are looking for a fuller, more empowered approach to their practice. I cannot recommend it highly enough for anyone who has had any sort of Reiki attunement or training. This is next step elevation of existing Reiki practice through review of the basics and an overview of important advanced concepts.

It seems to me that the best non-fiction writing gives some nugget, some bit of wisdom that transcends its literal topic. The same is true here. Whenever similar ideas come from sources separated in place, time or specialty, it gives that idea a real gravitas. One might shy away from calling anything ultimate ‘truth’ but similar ideas from dissimilar sources makes any notion important to my mind.

Mr. Penczak emphasizes following one’s own intuition and feeling in incorporating different Reiki practices into our own, both generally and session by session as needed. Joanna DeVoe describes herself as a “spiritual magpie” following the same self-direction for her spiritual practices writ large, magick or otherwise. Benebell Wen, in Holistic Tarot, connects the universal life energy (the ‘ki’ in Reiki, the “chi” in Tai Chi) to the ability to do Tarot readings at a distance. Scott Cunningham, in Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner, reminds us that “the feeling is the power.” Adam Savage, writing in Every Tool’s a Hammer hints at the same autonomy and independence of thought within the realm of creativity and making. Mr. Savage captures the core of it when he quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson “To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men – that is genius.”

Genius, as every superhero movies teaches us, can, however, go wrong. To believe your inner heart is genius. To to have an inkling that it can be useful to everyone is generous. To believe that the totality of your path is the one singular right way for everyone is arrogance.

That isn’t to say all singular traditions are arrogant or wrong. The wrongness comes in assuming that one specific tradition is the one true way for everyone be it within Reiki or Magick or making stuff. If there is a particular tradition or path that is right in its totality for you, by all means follow it. You must fo what you know to be right for you be that stick with a particular school or be that follow your inner heart.

There is common ground between the group and the individual.

Tradition is tradition. Method is method. Making your own way is a tradition and a method of its own. Magick of Reiki hints that using the best of what we know gleaned from all the varied schools of Reiki IS the tradition of Reiki just like Cunningham hints that the feeling of power IS the power within magickal practice. This notion seems at diametric odds to adherence to prescribed old ways. Think about trust. Trust runs deeply through both approaches. Trust is the tradition.

In order to follow one particular school of thought within Reiki (or anything else) it require trust of that tradition. It requires trust in the originators and the transmitters of the tradition. If you are on a more inner (read solitary) path, it requires a great deal of trust too….trust in your perceptions and in your ability to adapt as better information comes along. In practice, it is a yin-yang dynamic combination of both. If you follow a tradition, you have to trust your inner knowing to choose the right tradition out of the many that exist. It requires extroidinary trust in your inner heart to change traditions and personal practices if needs be. If you are solitary, you have to trust the outer sources of information that you in turn adopt and adapt.

Usui, Tibetan, Johrei, Karuna, Shamballa; whether you follow one tradition or draw from them all and more, trust is the tradition behind it all.

Other Bookshelf posts:

Sigil Witchery

Blue Dress With Pink Shoes

Carl Jung called it synchronicity.

I call it something worth a little attention.

Intuition, “psychic gifts” in many ways is simply letting yourself see connections and coincidences. Synchronicity is defined as a meaningful coincidence. Even if there is no plausible connection, if something seems meaningful to YOU – it IS. To you. Not every attention-getter is a profound announcement to the world. It might just be a message just for you. A reminder to water the plants, or something. It doesn’t have to change the destiny of the world to be real, to have a meaning impact impact on your way of thinking. A meaningful coincidence isn’t mystical destiny knocking at your door. Well, yeah, it might be….but it doesn’t always have to be.

Listening to coincidences, following such modern day omens, is how we live in a balance between intuition and logic, magic and mundane. We should pay attention when intuition grabs our attention. We shouldn’t go wild with it when logic and common sense urge caution.

In short, let love lead attention, let logic have a hand in deciding action.

Here is an example. A few days ago, I was reading a book when my husband showed me an internet picture of a pink and white sneakers, and asked me what color they are. When he said they looked teal and grey, I had to resist the urge to wrestle him to the ground and administer a colorblindness test. I mean, Teal? Seriously? It is, of course,  the same trick of light that sparked the great blue/black vs white/gold dress controversy of twenty ought fifteen. But, not having any Ishihara plates on hand, we both just shrugged and went back to what we were doing.

A few minutes and a few pages later Christopher Penzak in the Magick of Reiki describes taking an aura reading class and doing an exercise where several people would read a person’s aura and then compare notes afterward. (We did the same thing in an aura reading class I took back in the 90s, so I can verify this is both a good way to learn auras AND the way this exercise always seems to go) He saw bright yellow, another person saw electric blue, another person saw no colors at all but a zigzaggy lightning shape. Just the same, all of them interpreted what they saw as representing “stress” as I recall the story. On the surface, they each saw vastly different things, but at the core, the important message still was still communicated. Just exactly like the internet picture thing a few minutes before. He saw teal, I saw pink, but we both saw shoes. If everyone gets caught up in arguing over the color, we all would have miss the real message: “This person is feeling stressed right now” or “That is a pair of shoes.

Neither of these things are particularly unusual. Neither of these things are the slightest bit supernatural. We show each other internet pictures all the time. That’s the way aura classes go, it seems. BUT when the two very similar things coincidentally happen within a few minutes of each other, it is worth a moment of hmmmm….

Different colors lead to the same shoes. Different colors lead to the same aura energy. What do these two little attention grabbers lead to?

First and foremost, trust your intuition. You might intuitively get “pink” while someone else gets “teal” but as long as you ultimately wind up at the important part of “shoes” both colors are fine. As long as you (or the person you are reading for) gets to the important core message, all the different colors and paths that take you there are valid.

Second, trust your intuition. We all do this differently. Honor your path (no matter what color it may be) Honor your process. Do things so that you feel good and right about it at the end of the day. Do what gets you to the most honest message you can give. It doesn’t matter if you get there by seeing zigzags, blue or yellow, as long as you get to energy of it.

Third, trust your intuition. Your intuition might scream SHOES while you have pink shoes clearly in mind. If your client says nah, they are TEAL, then don’t sweat it. The symbolism of intuition is intensely personal. It might have taken the pink to get you to say the important “shoes” part. If  shoes makes them think teal, that’s perfectly fine. The right message got through. It just took a few daisy-chained steps to get from pink to teal, but as long as your client gets to “teal” it’s ok. It is just part of the process to go from pink to shoes to teal.

Fourth, trust your intuition. It’s an imprecise process. We all have intuition, but communicating it well is a skill and an art. We can all read Tarot and follow our own intuition. Reading for other people is a whole other level of thing. But don’t let that stop you from…did I mention?….trusting your own intuition for you.

Here is a photo of the pink shoes next to ….the pink shoes.

pinkshoes

Eternal Balancing Act

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Diane Morgan’s Magical Tarot, Mystical Tao is for all the obvious reasons, one of my all time favorite Tarot books.

I first read Magical Tarot, Mystical Tao early in the 2000s, at the beginning in my professional Tarot career, just as I began reading for online services like Advice Trader and Allexperts. I’d been reading Tarot and oracle cards (Medicine Cards by Carson and Samms mostly) for nearly 10 years by that point. I’d been interested in Taijiquan (Tai Chi) and Taoism even longer than that.

Of all the cards in the Tarot deck, the two of Pentacles / Coins is arguably the most emblematic of all that Tarot and Taoism share. We short hand the card as balance, but it is more of a juggling act than that. The balance here is large and moving and dynamic. Balance alone can be static, like a stack of zen stones, or a scales showing accurate weight.

balancing-stones

That is balance, but there is also what science calls dynamic equilibrium.  The classic example of dynamic equilibrium is a permeable membrane between two solutions. Think of fresh water and salt water divided by some sort of plastic wrap with tiny holes in it. The molecules on both sides are always vibrating and wiggling around (that is heat, so let’s imagine this is all happening at room temperature, not absolute zero.  Even a polar vortex isn’t that cold.) Over time the water and salt molecules wiggle through the holes in the membrane until there is the same concentration of salt and water on both sides. Once that happens, the molecules don’t stop jiggling and juggling around. It is still room temperature, there is still heat and molecule movement going on. If you follow individual specks of salt, they may be moving the whole time, one side to the other. Same for specks of water. In spite of the little specks dancing around, the total amounts of each stay in balance on both sides. The little buggers move…it’s dynamic. The whole system, the whole tank of water, keeps its balance of salt and water concentrations…it is in equilibrium. That kind of balance is very much a part of the 2 of coins. The artwork in the card on most RWS decks hint at movement, the man walking and juggling , a woman bicycling (Steampunk Tarot) a tightrope walker (Robin Wood Tarot) even someone standing on their head (Quantum Tarot) The two of coins reminds us as much of dynamic equilibrium as a static balance. The sideways figure 8, the infinity symbol, is often used as part of the cards image to indicate that balance. It also shows us just how big the water tank is. The system that is in dynamic equilibrium is nothing less than the whole darn universe. Sure things are going to get very out of balance, if not downright wonky in our individual part of the cosmos, but infinity wide, things unfold as they should, according to their nature.

Which is all a very Taoist like way of looking at it. The Taoist point of view values that kind of big picture dynamic equilibrium. It values balance in general…static and moving…and is more than willing to consider the Tao, the everything and then some, in finding that natural moving balance. Harmony of opposites is another, easier way to put it. The well known yin yang symbol that is emblematic  of the philosophy is actually intended to be in motion. The dots are the seeds that grow into their opposite. If you look just at the yin or yang, the black or white, each part is always growing, shrinking, turning. Yet, within the circle as a whole, even among all that movement, there ends up being balanced, equal amounts of black and white, yin and yang.

3daniyinyang

That is the energy flow the two of coins can help us to find. The two is always about balance. Is it static or dynamic? What kind of balance do we need? Are we looking at one little jiggly speck of salt in the water and feeling out of balance? Would it help to look for larger, moving systems when we look for balance in out lives or would it help to look for the little but very stable balance points like stacking Zen rocks? How do you know? The balance is of opposites, remember? The dots are the clue. In each lies the seed of its opposite. If you have been focusing on static stable balance, but it isn’t working, take a step back and look at the big picture, moving systemic balance. If the system seems chaos and everything is flying apart…look for anchors. Look for the solid, stable, static parts on which to build some balance.

Stones and yin yang images from the public domain. Jimmy Neutron property of Nickelodeon via youtube.com.

 

Spell Your Name

Last name-niggles post, at least for a while.

In “The Niggles: What’s In a Name?” we looked at how names communicate outward. Our “brand” as they say is a shorthand way to communicate who we are. It can be authentic. It can be a disguise. But it, our name,  is something to consider.

Shakespeare’s Roses” looks at how names…words…communicate inwardly. We respond differently to different words. They have an impact on our inner world. Would we feel the same about roses if they were actually named goobers or something? Maybe the thing would change the word, maybe the word would change our inner perception of the thing.  Either way, we are back to the notion that words have power. Power to shape our perceptions of the world and the world’s perception of us.

Names are labels. How does that make you feel?

Those words alone carry connotations and implications that impact us. You are named. That gives you autonomy. If you can be named, that means you are seen, accepted & loved (as in a christening) or made to own your actions (as in naming a suspect). Both of these are empowering things, granting identity and autonomy.

Labels are, on the physical level, practical things. They communicate important things, so you don’t put salt in your coffee, or take the wrong amount of medicine. When applied to people, however, they have no use and may cause harm. Humans are multifaceted, complex, shifting, growing, feeling…so many things that are far beyond the grasp of any one word or label. Labels lessen. Labels condense and summarize. Labeling others is the essence of bigotry. Labeling ourselves makes us less than who we really are.

For people, names are better than labels. Pick a name, any name. Remember Rufus Xavier Sarsparilla from Schoolhouse Rock? That’s a fun name. Rufus was a lot of stuff. If you labeled him  “old guy” that gives us a limited view of who he is. If he labels himself “old guy” then he constricts the energy and potential in his life compared to thinking of himself as adventurer, kangaroo fan, friend or brother.

The names and labels we give ourselves is the overlap between the outward way we communicate to others with names in the “branding” sense and the inner perceptions other names and labels elicit within us. The names and labels we choose for ourselves are like a magic spell of sorts for our inner psychology.  Did you quit something or did you choose something new? Are you a religion or are you a compassionate person? Are you a disease or are you someone fabulous who has some extra things to deal with?

In some Native American traditions, names change as people move through life and change. (Waugman, E.P. 2011, Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/whats-in-name/201107/names-and-identity-the-native-american-naming-tradition) I’ve read in other sources that this new name is self-chosen to reflect accomplishments, and major life changes, and to embrace this new self – identity. I can’t remember or find those other sources at the moment. In Dune, Frank Herbert shows a bit of the same. The Fremen give Paul a tribal name (he is seen, accepted, official, even loved, like we see in christenings and other baby naming ceremonies) but Paul also chooses a public-facing, outside the tribe name for himself. He chooses one that reflects his spiritual purpose, his destiny in the story.

In a way, the Fremen names reflect reality. We have our given names, our tribal, legal, on-the-official-paperwork names, we have nicknames within our circle of friends and family, and we have the ever shifting internal labels we grab and claim.

Take care the names you give yourself. Your inner label, your mental identity, your name  that you give yourself is the magic spell for who you aspire to be and who you allow yourself to become.