Today’s Short Sip, but even shorter

Alan Watts quote with the nine of swords tarot card

Or, as I see it, opening to life in all of its emotions risks experiencing the greatest heartaches, but to do otherwise is to risk missing life’s greatest joys.

The Whole of It

TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your morning coffee. Today: Nine of Swords

Apologies to podcast listeners. Due to a technical glitch, yesterday’s “You Choose Interactive Tarot” didn’t go out through the podcast after all. It is available on the blog for anyone who is interested. Link is in the episode description.

Today’s card is the nine of swords.

Like most cards, it has several threads of meaning. Today two threads are stepping forward, universality and direct proportion.

Experiencing some degree of worry and anxiety is never easy, but it is ubiquitous. It is pretty much a universal experience. There is an adage attributed to everyone from Abraham Lincoln to Alexander Graham Bell to the Positive Mom blog and back again. It has long been said that “if you’ve never failed, you’ve never lived.” Just look at babies learning to walk. The greatest among us took a few plops on the old diaper at that stage of life. Or as Thomas Edison actually said, “I never failed at making a light bulb. I just discovered 99 ways NOT to make one.” It is just the human experience. There is no walking without a few falls and there are no light bulbs without a hundred not-lightbulbs. In the words of the R.E.M. song, “everybody hurts, sometimes.”

Alan Watts gives us a hint at the other thread of meaning. He reminds us that “we cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain.” That shouldn’t deter us from experiencing life any more than a small sit-down should deter us from walking or a blown light bulb should deter us from finding a light.

If we experience life through a pinhole then worry comes as pinpricks. But pleasure can be unsatisfyingly small in proportion. Worry and anxiety can be artificially large sometimes. The hopeful side of the nine of swords is that on the other side of worry, relief can come in equal measure.

Thank you for watching, reading and listening to TaoCraft Short Sip: Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. If you enjoy these blog posts and nano episodes, please like, subscribe, follow and share.

Thanks again….see you at the next Sip!

Old Is New Again

Every day can be new year’s day. These cards show the energy around to help your fresh start happen.

Today doesn’t feel like the day for the annual tongue in cheek New Year’s reading with a bunch of rubbish predictions.

While rummaging around for easy throwback content this week, I found this old post from August 2021. Weirdly, it feels like as good of a New Year’s reading for the new calendar year in January as it did for the new school year in August.

August cards aside, I think this year is going to be palpably different from the past half dozen or so. I get the feeling it is going to be a year of…OK.

It’s OK to be ok. There is a real risk of slipping into seeing ourselves as victims and falling into a lava-pit of blame or continuing the acid-bile anger and hatred that has been so stoked over years…no, decades. It is OK if you don’t feel euphoric or joyous about 2022 considering what the world has been through and still endures. OK is OK. We could all do with a little luke warm, middle of the road cozy goldilocks zone, I think.

In 2017 it felt like a zombie apocalypse with a feeling of impending doom considering who was about to be sworn in as president. Then, after a swirl of disaster and destruction on a political level came 2020 where every intuitive’s bell was ringing red alert for one reason or another. The reading for that year gave a mental image I still clearly remember. I can still see that U.S. map with tiny tornadoes all over it followed by the mental image a hurricane on the horizon. 2021’s reading brought the mental image of peeking our head out of a mental and emotional storm cellar to survey the damage.

This year continues the narrative…but with a whole different feel. In my mind’s eye it is the same disaster scene, but the sun is brighter this time and we are all fully climbing out of the shelter, not just taking a cautious peek to see if the coast is clear. The mourning and cleaning and binding of wounds is beginning. It all hasn’t ended, but we may well be at the beginning of end instead of the end of the beginning like we were a year ago.

Mourn. Heal. Sweep up. Abide with this precious moment we have now. This isn’t a time to be paralyzed in terror of an uncertain future. This isn’t the time to dwell in resenting the past. This isn’t the time for trying to recreate a past that will never be again. This is our time to lay the foundation for a future that is right for for us, right for the times that are the here and now, not for the forces that created the disaster that has so profoundly changed us over the past 5 or 50 years. When Ghandi said to BE the change you want to see in the world, I think he meant BE as a very active verb. It is time to protect the important things that were almost lost, and time to create the important things that were neglected before. It is time to live and do and be.

It doesn’t start on New Years Day. It starts every day. Every minute. Each new breath can be a fresh start. Inhale deeply.

My New Years wish for you is that the first thing you can be is at peace with the moment we are in, even just for the moment we are in it. One moment strings into the next. The colors and surroundings and circumstances of that moment constantly changes. Any tiny moment of inner peace we can capture within all of the changes need not transform along with everything else. If we are a little careful and a little mindful, a moment of peace is a moment we can keep and revisit.

This is the post from August 2021: “Every Year Has a New One In It”

A bunch of new ones, actually.

When something is a circle, it doesn’t particularly start or stop at any one place. That is true of a year. Not only is it a circle, it is kind of an arbitrary way to chunk up time into manageable pieces. People invented the year as a way to describe time. Naturally, one of the best ways to do that is, well, nature. Seasons turn in the great circle of a year (yes, I know seasons are caused by planetary tilt and orbit which is actually an elipse, but I’m in no mood for pedantics)

Either way, when and how you mark the new year is pretty arbitrary. Celebrate it any time you like…or multiple times. Perception and emotions change in a blink. Each new moment can be a fresh start. Any day can be New Year’s Day.

This is that new school year time of year. We parents, I suspect, are a bit sentimental at the passage of time. Students, I suspect, are a mix depending on how they feel about school. I’m not sure what anyone is feeling or doing with the pandemic sized wrenches that have been thrown in everyone’s schedules.

I’m a fan of Fall, so I always look to this part of the year with a fairly high degree of anticipation. Even now that I’m no longer connected to the school year per se, I still feel a sort of anticipation. It brings the hope of cooler weather, back to business and a more predictable work flow, and of course, pumpkin spice everything. Harvest and Halloween as the mark of a new year resonates with me as much as confetti and champagne in January, maybe more so.

It felt right to do a Year Ahead reading today.

I’m still trying to think of a better name for this layout. If you have a suggestion, please, feel free to drop it in the comments. By any name – any day is a good day for a new year. All you need to do is choose your moment and begin. Two “nine” cards is particularly draws my attention to September. Whether you are connected to the American school year or not, it feels like September might be an opportune energy environment for productivity. The song “Danger Zone” comes to mind, especially the part about “overdrive” In all fairness and full disclosure, that is when I’m planning to let some schemes out into the wild, so this bit might be projection on my part…take all of that with whatever size grain of salt you’d like.

Like the year ahead layout says, let’s begin with right now.

OK – back to New Year’ Eve, in December 2021. I’m going to follow an intuitive impulse right now and re-read and re-frame these cards for the actual New Year tonight. You are welcome to watch the original reading on YouTube, on the blog, or through the link in this podcast episode description

I would say the Nine of Cups still applies right now. We are finishing up the Fall holidays and that energy still resonates as much at the end of the season where we are now as it did at the beginning when I first pulled the card. Keep it up, in other words. This seemed to be a subdued year as far as the holidays were concerned. Warm, cozy, intimate small circle gatherings, connecting with your closest of close relationships is the thing for the winter too. That’s the part to keep up more than any indulgence or raucous celebration. Even though the Fall season has ended, its energy lingers a bit.

Cups is often the suit of romance. The winter card, the Two of Cups from the August reading is still a perfect fit, even as we begin the winter instead of looking ahead to it from the early days of Fall. (If you are wondering, I’m mentally doing the arms up for-the-win, stuck-the-landing gesture. I love a good intuitive hit.) This is a season where little things means even more than usual and this is a season to lavish warmth and TLC on those you love. The Two of Cups is the card of committed, intimate relationships. It often goes with weddings, and marriage. As every jewelry commercial on television will tell you, this is a good time of year for that sort of thing too. No matter what the relationship is, by any definition, give it as much warmth, appreciation, attention and tender care as you can muster this season

For Spring, The High Priest, I ‘hear’ “Teach them anew.”

I’m glad that for whatever reason I picked up this deck for the reading back in August. This deck is my favorite for the High Priest. Right now it definitely has that shamanistic, keeper of the mythology sort of feel to it much more than the social convention, pope-ish rules and regulations energy that so often comes with the Pamela Smith and Marseilles artwork for the card. It make me feel that it might just be a mild winter and will let us turn to spring quickly and easily. It has a heady, philosophical feel about it. It has a “teach the children” feel about it. Care for the little ones. It is a time of gentleness and appreciation for nature. and following the flow of things in the process.

Full disclosure, this might be a private issue popping in, so please forgive this break from my usual rules about this kind of topic…but I feel pushed that someone else out there might benefit. My recovering fundamentalist brothers and sisters….if Easter is toxic for you, don’t do it. Consider this a cosmic permission slip to reject, avoid or run away. This isn’t a rear for spiritual law and order. This is the year for spiritual diversity and inclusion. If a particular tradition speaks to you, then yes, by all means follow it fully. If not, by all means follow whatever spiritual path that allows you to live a life of compassion and contentment and be at peace with yourself. In my mind’s eye, I see the High Priest as the Dali Lama who said “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” The spring energy pulls us to kindness and teaching it by example if nothing else.

The Nine of Swords is another card where I love Ellen Dugans interpretation and Mark Evans’ representation. Calling it a “drama queen” sort of card is just the energy for summer. Here I’m reminded of the Disney TV show “Wizards of Waverly Place” where the mom is made into a local internet celebrity with a montage of her telling her kids to “knock it off!” This card is playing the “knock it off lady” for us. There are enough real world crap to deal with without adding psychological drama on top of it all. This is a call to “knock it off” and get over ourselves and get to whatever work is at hand. It will really be time for storm clean-up during the sunny days of summer, metaphorically speaking.

The Page of Wands still fits as the year card, too. Pages are symbolic of learning. Wands are symbolic of our inner world, our inner passions. Wands are related to the element of fire.

The word “crucible” just stepped forward.

The heat and pressure of the past several years may have changed us on a deeper, more molecular level than we realized. 2022 might be a year of getting re-acquainted with ourselves. May we all find more strength and peace and health and happiness and love and kindness than we expected.

Thank you again for watching, reading and listening. I hope you will join me in 2022 for more short sip daily readings, you choose interactive readings, the new membership tier on ko-fi plus a few exciting new things that will unfold probably over the winter season. Of course, private email readings are always available with no appointment needed. Your attention and support for all of this means so much. I appreciate each of you. Thank you and Happy New Year to all.

The card deck pictured is Witches Tarot with artwork by Mark Evans, used under the permissions granted on the Llwellyn publishing website.

Short Sip Tarot: Easy is OK

Hello everyone

Thanks for watching, reading and listening to TaoCraft Short Sip: Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee.

Today’s card is the Nine of Swords.

Nine cards strike an interesting balance. Cups and coins are often associated with completion, satisfaction or a job well done while wands and swords are more somber and challenging. The nine of swords, as portrayed by Pamela Smith in the 1909 Waite Smith deck, is often interpreted as restlessness, insomnia, worry and useless regrets.

Today, the energy is a little different.

The Witches Tarot by Ellen Dugan and Mark Evans is one of my favorite decks for a few different reasons. First and foremost is Mark Evans’ gorgeous artwork. The color palette has richness, depth and substance without being overly dark. To my eye, his color choices have just the right mix of warm and cool, reds and blues in any given card. The colors enhance the underlying tone and message of the card. My other favorite part is the composition of the images in general. While it generally follows the Rider Waite Smith model, it has less of the religious imagery that can be frankly toxic to many of us in the modern era. As I understand it, Dugan and Evans deliberately made it more culturally and religiously neutral than the RWS deck. Ellen Dugan’s writing about the cards definitely resonates with my own views about Tarot much more than Waite’s writing.

That’s not main reason why the Witches Tarot came to mind today. In this case, Evans’ portrayal of the nine of swords emphasizes a different thread of energy: The drama queen. The Smith artwork is very sympathetic, even empathetic in the way it reminds us of sadness, worry, and upset. Evans’ image reminds us of the unnecessary aspect of the suffering. Earlier card interpretations write about that unnecessary aspect, but this image shows it visually, too.

The older card is gentler, more kindly, almost grandmotherly about the message, something akin to “I understand how much this hurts, but take care not to dwell on it over long.”

Today’s energy has a very modern, blunt, to the point message. It is closer to a “Suck it up buttercup and stop blowing things out of proportion” vibe.

We’ve all had big worries. We’ve all had big things happen. Sometimes those things keep us up at night or wake us up in the middle of it. And at times we’ve probably all made things out to be harder than they really are.

So many of us are work-ethic oriented. Things and activity and experiences have a so-called sweat equity. Easy things somehow seem less valuable or less satisfying.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Something that is easy and no-drama can be just as important and valuable as something that is difficult. The other half of yang, is yin. The other half of pushing the envelope is hauling it in. The other half of wakeful worry is being at easy peace.

Quite a few years ago, I consulted with editor and “professional muse” Gina Mazza. She said something that was an epiphany for me at the time and still resonates with the nine of swords today. Even though it was the early days of self-published e-books, she told me of author who had just published his first book. In three weeks. After describing the process, she wrapped up the conversation with “I can be just exactly that easy. Why not?”

Why not, indeed. Suffering for your art (or work or whatever) doesn’t necessarily make it inherently better. NOT suffering for your art doesn’t necessarily diminish it. Enjoying your creative process and life experience just might make the end result better. Ease and enjoyment of what you are doing has its own value.

That is a lesson I intend to take to heart here in my own work.

This combined blog post and podcast episode wraps the podcast for season 2. In January, the podcast will morph from Clairvoyant Confessional into TaoCraft Tarot Podcast. It will functionally be the audio version of the blog. The podcast won’t have 100% of everything. There will still be some print-only features like the Sunday Turnover intuition building exercises. At the same time that the podcast name changes, the content will expand too. It will have Short Sip episodes most weekdays but will add weekly “YouChoose” interactive readings, Q&A, behind the scenes and other blog content. If you get the podcast through Spotify, the YouChoose episodes are in video format. On other platforms YouChoose will be audio only.

Clairvoyant Confessional will drop back to be a rare episode title. The pirate radio evil villain monologue didn’t turn out to be quite the way I’d hoped. I’m happy to hand over most of the vocal performances to Siri’s cousin Remy. It’s easier that way. Dang it, I’m a writer not a media presenter. The text to speech technology makes the whole podcast thing more enjoyable for me. In turn, I’m hoping it will all make the podcast more enjoyable for you, too.

Thank you again for watching, reading and listening. I appreciate each and every one of you. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. May we all enjoy the time, and let our easy and happy light shine. See you at the first sip of 2022. Happy New Year!

*Witches Tarot by Ellen Dugan and Mark Evans used with permissions granted by Llwellynpublishing.com

YouChoose Interactive Tarot: Stand, Act, Think

YOU choose how this video / reading is to be used. A look at the week ahead, guidance for your day, or guidance about a particular question or topic….you choose. 

BUT it works best if you have your purpose clearly in mind when you choose your card. 

Take a minute, or choose on impulse. If you want more time to think, pause the video and restart when you are ready to see your card revealed and hear the interpretation.

If you would like additional clarity, private readings are available by email HERE, no appointment needed – order anytime! I’m open for the holidays, but delivery may take longer than usual.

Thank you so much for reading and watching! I really appreciate your support.

your tips to the virtual coffee mug support this free blog and the podcast

YouChoose Interactive Tarot: Making Online Tarot Personal

Well, isn’t this opposite day?!

This time, if you want to hear the more detailed card interpretation, it’s in the video. I’m not telling you which meaning is which card, so I hope you’ll watch at least the first bit of the video to choose your card and see the reveal. If you want to spend a little time and feel it out, just pause the video then restart to see which one you picked.

Nothing in Tarot is 100%. The card might not feel right. That’s OK. Claim one of the others if it feels more helpful. Or find another video / blog post and try again to find guidance that resonates with YOU – here, now, today. It doesn’t matter when the video was made or the post was written. The right message has a way of finding you sooner or later.

I hope you’ll follow the blog if you haven’t already – that way you get ALL the new content, video and print-only, right in your inbox or WordPress reader.

The Heirophant: How are you being too much (or not enough) of a people pleasing rule follower. Thank you to all activists who speak for us whenever we’re not sure what to say.

Nine of Swords: Is the thing that’s keeping you up at night really worth losing sleep over? What are you making bigger than it is? Let go what needs to go and get some real sleep.

Eight of Pentacles: Just do it. Set aside any high minded spirituality or over-intellectualizing and peel the potatoes, chop the wood and carry the water.

******

The Equinox announcement list so far:

  • Zombie Cat yes/no Tarot readings by email are $5 off until Halloween. Get yours HERE
  • the ko-fi shop is open with ebooks available for purchase and instant download
  • The virtual tip mug is open, which supports the production of this blog, podcasts and YouTube videos
  • Clairvoyant Confessional season 2 begins soon, such as it is. Evil villian monolog style still applies. Send your questions for a free on-air Tarot reading to ClairvoyantConfessional@gmail.com

Every Year Has a New One In It

A bunch of new ones, actually.

When something is a circle, it doesn’t particularly start or stop at any one place. That is true of a year. Not only is it a circle, it is kind of an arbitrary way to chunk up time into manageable pieces. People invented the year as a way to describe time. Naturally, one of the best ways to do that is, well, nature. Seasons turn in the great circle of a year (yes, I know seasons are caused by planetary tilt and orbit which is actually an elipse, but I’m in no mood for pedantics)

Either way, when and how you mark the new year is pretty arbitrary. Celebrate it any time you like…or multiple times. Perception and emotions change in a blink. Each new moment can be a fresh start. Any day can be New Year’s Day.

This is that new school year time of year. We parents, I suspect, are a bit sentimental at the passage of time. Students, I suspect, are a mix depending on how they feel about school. I’m not sure what anyone is feeling or doing with the pandemic sized wrenches that have been thrown in everyone’s schedules.

I’m a fan of Fall, so I always look to this part of the year with a fairly high degree of anticipation. Even now that I’m no longer connected to the school year per se, I still feel a sort of anticipation. It brings the hope of cooler weather, back to business and a more predictable work flow, and of course, pumpkin spice everything. Harvest and Halloween as the mark of a new year resonates with me as much as confetti and champagne in January, maybe more so.

It felt right to do a Year Ahead reading today.

(I’m still trying to think of a better name for the layout. If you have any suggestions, please drop it in the comments. I’ll do a ‘year ahead’ email reading for you if I pick your name for the layout.)

By any name – any day is a good day for a new year. All you need to do is choose your moment and begin. Two “nine” cards is particularly draws my attention to September. Whether you are connected to the American school year or not, it feels like September might be an opportune energy environment for productivity. The song “Danger Zone” comes to mind, especially the part about “overdrive” In all fairness and full disclosure, that is when I’m planning to let some schemes out into the wild, so this bit might be projection on my part…take all of that with whatever size grain of salt you’d like.

Like the year ahead layout says, let’s begin with right now.

********

Speaking of seasons and the equinox – That’s when the $10 off special price (website only) for the 7 card email Tarot reading disappears. Until then, you can get a full 7 card reading (the same layout used for in-person sessions) by email for only $1 for each year I’ve been reading Tarot cards.

Whisper to the Ethers

Worry, anxiety and fear comes to us all, some more than others. It isn’t an emotion to be ignored or belittled. If the risk and problems match the emotions, plan and act to ease them. If the emotions far outweigh the actual situation, that too is a call to action. The action is to understand and when needed to reach out, to speak. Share the weight of it. Even in the alone times, whisper to the ethers, and the web of the world will hear.