Today’s Tarot: Restraint Outside of the Box

 

Eight of Swords: Restraint Outside of the Box

On my side of the table…today was a good insight into why we Tarot readers (pro and not) tend to collect decks like magpies collect shiny stones. There are subtle differences in messaging that can come through the different styles and artwork. Through quirks of language and the inner workings of intuition, it is very easy to anthropomorphize these things, and give them personalities and moods. Sure, I know. It’s all just projection, but thinking in those terms is sort of freeing. By parking that inspiration aspect of the cards externally, it clears bandwidth for the ‘psychic’ part of this. By letting the cards function as a muse, we can turn our attention inward, to the purely intuitive aspects of a reading.

Elizabeth Gilbert talks about inspiration and the Muses. I find it helpful to think of the cards as the muse in a reading. Blame the whatever-it-is on the cards as muse / source of the inspiration, then you and I can both focus on solutions and creative, outside the box thinking without judgement, without any sort of performance anxiety on either side of the table. If you do any sort of creative work or have any creative hobbies, it is well worth a watch:

 

That in itself is a bit of today’s 8 of swords message. Creative problem solving and outside the box thinking are the usual messages with this card. But today wanted to be outside of outside of the box.

Which gets back to that projected personality and mood thing. Sometimes, when we work with one deck extensively, it can get stale and sort of wrung-out feeling. It seems crazy to describe an ebb in creativity or intuitive inspiration as “the deck is tired” or “it doesn’t want to talk about this” but that sort of expression captures the subjective experience of it. The Witches Tarot that I usually use just wasn’t having it today. Sure it was projection. The feeling was pure “don’t talk to me, I haven’t had coffee yet” first thing in the morning vibe. On the other hand, the Heart of Stars box was close at hand and all “pffft…easy. I got this”

So here you see it…Eight of Swords from Thom Pham’s excellent Heart of Stars Tarot. I’m always grateful for his permission to use the deck here in the blog and on the YouTube channel.

This card is inspired by Love, and Other Drugs. I’ve never seen the movie, and probably never will (in spite of it being filmed in Pittsburgh.) From what I’ve heard, it has a fatal flaw as a movie: an utter lack of spaceships, marvel superheroes or action scenes.

The Heart of Stars deck not only has today’s guidance idea well in hand, it turns it on its head from the usual. Usually card advises to stand in power despite outside restraints, to find a creative, out of the box way forward BUT exercise care in doing so. Even more traditionally it is about restraint or constraints in general. Today, rather than overcoming external restraints, it is about imposing internal ones.

To paraphrase an old proverb…even an idiot can seem intelligent if they keep their mouth shut and their hot takes off of Twitter.

I gotta work on that one….

In any case, the advice here is to hold up. Stop yourself for half a tick. This isn’t the day / energy for instant gratification. Know for sure before you talk. Have your facts straight before you act. Measure twice and cut once. If you have to ask you can’t afford it, and for the love of all that’s holy wash your hands and wear a mask in public.

The Niggles: What’s in a Name?

A lot.

Sometimes, a whole lot.

“Re-branding” seems to be a thing lately. “Ghoulish Delights Bath Shop” is becoming “Balefire Apothocary” (fingers crossed she’ll still carry my very most favorite hand cream) and ” Hearts Peace Healing” is becoming “Hygge Lightwork”.  One personal trainer is becoming a Tarot reader, while a musician is becoming a personal trainer and a martial artist is shifting to being a musician and life coach. Of course, Modern Oracle Tarot is now TaoCraft Tarot.

My sense is this is growth, evolution, and expansion is a very good thing for all of us. The new name isn’t just a marketing ploy. There is no ill will or negative feeling about our old names or identities at all. Shedding our old “brand” is like a snake shedding its skin: It’s necessary for growth. We are re-naming, re-imagining, and re-building in order to embrace more things and to become more fully ourselves. I can’t speak for the other folks, of course, but after brief chats on social media, I get the feeling we are all very much on on the same page.

Expansion and deeper authenticity is certainly my aim in abandoned Modern Oracle and building TaoCraft. As I write this, Modern Oracle feels like something that happened ages ago to someone else. Time passes. I’m not the same person who started Modern Oracle. TaoCraft is me, now.

That doesn’t mean I have to abandon EVERY single little thing. “The Niggles” are still here. Those posts are about ideas that camp out in my head, and niggle there until I write about them. Yeah, I know. That sounds more like a brain parasite than creative inspiration. Some ideas are like that.

Since the very beginning of this re-branding process, I’ve felt pushed to talk about TaoCraft as a name. I have no earthly idea why, or even what to say, so I’ll follow that spirit, inspiration, call of the muses, or brain idea-parasite such as the case may be.

Let’s start with the obvious. “TaoCraft” is a made up word, and I’ve stuck a capital in the middle. Why? I like it. As two words, it is a description. As one word it is a NAME. I threw the capital in because 1. it works as a humpback web address and 2. “Craft” is an integral part of the concept with a dollop of double meaning.

Tao, as many of you know, is from Chinese philosophy; Taoist, Taoism, Tao Te Ching. Just to be pedantic, Tao and Dao are the same thing. Tao is Pinyan westernization of the Mandarin word, while Dao is from the Wade-Giles system. The few minutes I studied Mandarin back in the 90s, I was taught using Pinyan, so there you are. Tao it is. Tao is usually translated as “way” as in a “way of life” or a “way of doing things.”

What does Taoism have to do with Tarot? A surprising lot, actually.  “Magical Tarot, Mystical Tao” by Diane Morgan explains it best. It was an enormous influence in the early days of my Tarot career because it connected two great loves. Time and time and time again, Tao and Tarot were philosophies, a way of looking at the world, that I could rely on. I could lean on them in turbulent times without them crumbling to dust and nothing as religion and other philosophies always, always did. When your life puts your beliefs to the test, they shouldn’t fall apart. Taoism and Tarot never did. No matter what I would learn or explore, I always circled back to them and found them reliable, trustworthy. Tao and Tarot belong here in this new mental and spiritual living place. They are very much authentic me. This re-branding is, as is highly valued within Taoism, an exercise in deep authenticity.

Craft is also a bridge. As Tao and Tarot bridge east and west, craft bridges old and new. When I see the word, “arts and crafts” spring to mind. My grandmother taught me to embroidery when I was 6. Embroidery, cross stitch, knitting, beading have been a part of me since then. I like to create and make. That embraces the meditation mala and assorted stuff I make and put in the TaoCraft Tarot shop on Etsy. Craft connects to a fond memory of a cherished Grandmother – a wise woman whom I swear was magic. Which brings me to the new craft. THAT craft. THE craft. Not the movie, although it is one of my favorites. TaoCraft expands my Tarot cyber-world to include, mala, meditation, Reiki, and my own brand of magical craft. It took half a century to even flirt with the notion of associating with magic or witchcraft, but dammit, I’m claiming it now. And I’m defining it on my own terms. This is my own non-diestic, non-ritualistic, natural, energy reading WAY of engaging with a solitary sort of witchCRAFT. I’ve finally found words for what I’ve been doing all along in Laura Zakroff’s excellent book “Sigil Witchery”. A “modern traditional witch” is one who “does what needs doing when it needs done using whatever is at hand.” That. So that.

There you have it. That is what is in THIS name. Welcome to TaoCraft Tarot.