Category Archives: Tarot

The Tarot of Now

In my previous post I spoke about doing card readings with no sense of past or future, using the cards to get advice on a subject while staying as much in the present as possible.  This was inspired in me after reading Eckhart Tolle’s “Power of Now.”  If you are new to this, I recommend checking out that post to get my full thoughts.  This concept took me several weeks to get my brain around due to habit and good, old-fashioned stubbornness of wanting a timeline.  I simply had the hardest time letting go of concepts of Past and Future when doing a reading!

For this post I’m going to talk about a simple one card reading with no talk of “spreads” or placements.  A lot of it could be considered pretty basic, simple steps to a reading.  It’s funny how we always come back to the simple things, isn’t it?  If you’re a more advanced reader I imagine the next few paragraphs may be boring…

Let’s get started.

The first thing necessary is to quiet your mind and gain a sense of Being.  Isn’t that what is recommended before every single kind of divination and energy practice in all of existence?  Gosh, I wonder why that is?   Regardless, it is not as difficult as it sounds.  Remember what I said about returning to simple things?  We seem to think that getting connected to that sense of Being needs to be complicated.  This is simply the Ego trying to make something more complicated because by doing so it makes it more important, right?  It is, in actuality, not complicated at all.  I often use one or two of the practices offered in Tolle’s book and I’ll cover my favorites very briefly.

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The Then, There and Now of Divination

As it should be obvious by now, I’ve been interested in  oracles and divination systems for a long time.  I’ve worked with them for so long they have become a central part of my daily life.  One of the first concepts anyone who studies divination learns to work with is the basic, 3 card Past, Present and Future spread.  Matter of fact, it becomes a foundation of any reading from there on out.  It takes different forms.

“What I need to know from the past?”
“What experience from the past is influencing the issue now?”
“What can I expect of the issue in the future?”
“What should I know a month from now?”

It is, after all, what oracles are for, right?  They are there so you can learn about things in advance, so you can prepare for them, right?  Right?

You take those three ideas, Past, Present and Future and, as you become skilled, you build a reading around them with other questions or ideas in order to get a clearer “image” of the issue.  Those three questions became a tripod of support for nearly all the work I’ve done with divination in all it’s myriad forms.  I’ve done it this way since I picked up my first rune stones.

You can imagine the upset to things in my sandbox when Eckhart Tolle came along with new wisdom and kicked over the Past and the Present and informed me they carried no weight! No matter what the cards might say those sections of past and future simply did not exist.  The cards and the moments of Past and Future were simply illusions, curtains of the Ego.

I might have dismissed his information simply out of habit or out of a deep set sense of Ego, of not wanting to, in effect, “start over” or “be wrong.”  Matter of fact, I know I would have done all of this if not for the fact that almost immediately it was proven to me he was right.  The Present is all we have AND all we will EVER have.  It is hard, simple, elegant, and sacred Truth.

So, what is someone like me to do when they’ve built up a skill set with tools based around the principles of Past and, more importantly, Future?  The cards still exist.  I still have a connection to them.  I cannot ignore the experiences I have had with them, the deep conversations and insights gained.  Yet, if one is going to stay in the Present what is the point of divination?  Trust me, I came around to the answer but first, an example.

10swordsHow many times has the following occurred to you as a reader or as someone who has had a reading?  Let’s say it’s the weekend and you are doing a reading to see ahead to an upcoming week.  You are using the Tarot.  The deck you are using is very good or perhaps the reader you’ve been consulting is very accurate.  You feel connected and in sync and you shuffle.  You draw a card for the past and it seems very spot on.  Your card for the Present is something pleasant like, say, 4 of Wands.  You’re starting to get psyched up for the week, right?  Then, for the future card, you draw the Tower or, perhaps, the 10 of Swords.  Uh-Oh!

Quick, damage control!  red Alert!  Maybe you draw a card or two to get a better angle on what might happen?  What will help me?  How can I alleviate things?  How can I avoid the lightning blast of the Tower?  Oh, sure, the first of the week looks good with that 4 of Wands but what is going to happen at the end of the week?  As the week progresses you walk on eggshells. You’re constantly on guard and alert for the results of that card.

In the meantime, what has happened to being connected and, more importantly, the faith of that connection?  The minute you see the negative card in relationship to the Future what happens to your energy? To being in a receptive state?

Maybe you get to the end of the week and nothing happens or if something does it’s minor like an argument with a co-worker that makes you rethink your job?  Well, that wasn’t too bad, was it?  Or, maybe, the Tower does happen.  Now what?  Did it help to know in advance? Possibly.  Did it help to waste all that energy looking for it to happen?  Did it help prove anything?  Were you REALLY any better off to handle the situation while worked up to a fever pitch of anxiety?  Perhaps you over-reacted to the situation because you were on edge in the first place?

A similar scenario can be played out when looking at a Past card to a present issue.  Does a Past card bring up those memories of being hurt?  Of betrayal?  Does it trigger an emotional response that perhaps give you focus but more often than not brings up anxiety and possibly even a sense of pain or vengeance?  Not necessarily healthy, right?

With this example I’m pointing out the crux of the problem I have been working on.  As I said previously, the Past and the Future are illusions and, honestly, they have a way of causing trouble.  Is it possible to even continue working with an oracle if one removes the Past and the Future from the equation?

The short answer is, of course, “Yes.”

The idea of this is new to me (and I’m still proceeding slowly through it) but it comes down to this for me.   Prognostication needs to be cautioned against, observed and, if possible, removed from any layout.   The other curveball?  Oracles should be used as a conversation on the present issue in the present tense.  Everything else needs to be carefully watched for too much connection to either past or future issues.

DocBrownTime

Due to the numerous habits I’ve built while working with oracles, this is both easy and difficult to do.  For instance, my Questing Path Spread breaks down as it relies heavily on what is going to transpire as you move forward in time.  On the other hand, my Triskelion spread does not use any sense of time and, instead, talks about and interconnects three related subjects with no sense of past or present. (A spread I think I will be going back and revisiting soon.)

Needless to say, this has been a large turning point for my work with oracles.  One of the reasons why I was not posting here is because I was trying to work through this very issue over the past month or so.  As I did, I worked on using the cards from the single vantage point of the Present.  The oracles were used as conversations but with no sense of “how will things work out” or “What thing from the past is causing problems now.”  All of that has been removed.  The result?  A reduction in stress when a negative card pops up and an amazing amount of clarity in the readings.

There are two components to this style of reading.  The obvious one is no placements in the spread for Past or Future.  The less obvious one is the question being asked!  I no longer ask, “What do I need to know about Issue X in a month?”, “How will the project idea work out?” or “What does my upcoming Summer look like.”  I avoid those questions all together.

The Future, I am finding, will take care of itself.

The idea is to have a conversation with the cards while, at the same time, being very aware and careful of the trickiness of your Ego who, by the way, absolutely adores the Past and the Future and essentially cannot function without it.  They are, in effect, the Ego’s playground.

In my next post, I’ll be going through a full reading with these new ideas fully in play and hopefully illustrate what I am talking about further.  In the meantime, I would like to hear your thoughts on the ideas presented. Can oracles function without using any sort of time stamp?  Also, give it a go yourself.  Do a reading with no placement for Past or Future, just what “is” and let me know your results!


Questing Path Spread

As Solstice finished I began to look ahead to Lammas.  I wanted to do a reading which would help me understand what I was to work on during this time period, what was to come next?  I felt very strongly about having a “quest” or an assignment for me to pursue which would also be in conjunction with the energies of Lammas.

I looked over the internet and through a few of my tarot books.  None of the spreads I found felt right and I knew I was going to need to design my own spread.  The first thing I do when designing a spread is to get a blank piece of paper and write out aspects of what I want to cover in the reading.  Not all of them make it and many get combined into a single position.  I also like to keep the number of position totals to either 5 or 7 for manageability.

I liked what I read about the Camelot Oracle and it’s pathway cards and I decided to use it as inspiration.  I wanted a card to represent the “type” of path before me as I headed towards Lammas.  A descriptor card that would show more with it’s images and feelings evoked then the actual meaning from the book.  I also wanted to know who or what my allies would be along the way and what challenges or experiences stood before me.  I also wanted to know where the path led.  What was the destination?  Again, like the path card, I wanted it to be more of a descriptor-style of card.

I wanted a reading that felt “different” from the standard past, present, future set-up.  I fiddled with things for around an hour before I came up with the simple spread below.

QuestngPathSpread

I used the pendulum to dowse the sequencing of the card pulls.  I do believe that it will need a bit of tweaking here or there and so I fully expect a Questing Path 2.0 version soon enough.

Here is the description of each position.

1. The Path – This is a descriptor card and you should look at the overall image of the card to help describe your path.  You can also find a keyword for the card and use it to fill in the blank on the phrase “The Path of _____ .” (See below for an example of this.)

2. Mid-Point Navigation – This card points to a midway marker or event between the beginning of the path and the destination. This is not a descriptor card.  This could be a direct challenge or it could be an experience I was to look for along the way.

3. The Destination – Again, another descriptor card.  Look at the image on the card and where the scene is that is taking place.  Given that this spread is for Lammas, I’m looking for not only the feel of the card but a location where I might want to acknowledge Lammas when it arrives.

4 and 5.  Allies Along the Way – This card would point to energies and entities along the way that I could call on for clarity, support and assistance.  They would remind me of my strengths and my experience and might also be individuals, physical or non-physical, that I might encounter.

6 and 7. Challenges – These two cards would show me not only where the sticky points were going to be but also how to identify my greatest teachers on the path from here to there.

QuestingPathLlamas

Let’s take a look at what they say.

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Solstice and Return to the Fey – Part One

After coming back from my Spirit Quest I wanted to take a look at what I should be doing for the upcoming Summer Solstice.  I had already felt that the coming holiday would be a sort of an “official” launching day for all that I had learned on the quest, for moving forward in accordance with the Wheel.

A few days out,  I drew a single card to get an idea of the overall theme of the coming day and what sort of work I would be doing?  What would be the best focus for me?  As usual, I used my Wildwood tarot and my pendulum.

The card that came up? The Stag.

thestagIn the Wildwood Tarot this is the card for Justice in the Major Arcana of a traditional tarot.  Universal Law and Lore.  Reaping what has been sown.  “Some level of readjustment or interaction has occurred.”  The keyword being Responsibility.  Yikes!  It sounded serious.  I was very aware of the importance of what it was trying to say.  However, I wasn’t sure of specifics and so I opted to wait a day, open myself up and see what communication might occur.  I’ve found that sometimes you have to give yourself distance to the information.  I believe that simply seeing the card, without delving too deeply into the meaning, can have enough impact to begin the information flow.  The problem is that it takes a bit of patience which, on occasion can be a bit frustrating.  Within minutes of deciding I would give myself 24 hours,  I knew that I needed to draw two more cards the following day to attach to the Stag card and this would give me helpful information.

More information came along at a steady pace.  With the impact of the Quest still fresh it would be time to go back over my past and look at past actions, at past habits.  It would be a time of Judgement but not in a harsh way but in an internal reset and renew.  I also began to feel very strongly that the Fey would be involved.  It was a no brainer, actually.  It was Midsummer we were talking about here!  The involvement with the Fey was confirmed that evening with a small session with the dowsing rods.

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Daily Draw – September 30, 2012

Missed getting the update yesterday so let me at least post what cards I received.  For the 29th I received Bear (again!) and Stars.  This combination is nutty because I just received it earlier in the week!  At that time it pointed towards some employment information/navigation.  Yesterday it was something much different.

Oddly enough, I think it pointed to the inspiration I received from going to see Loopers.  As a writer, the movie blew me away and deeply inspired me to get me back to my writing on a daily level.  As an aside, if you’ve not seen the movie yet do go.  (It’s definitely worth it on the big screen!)

And with that caught up, here is today’s draw!

Key + Dog

Key + Dog = Key stands for access, a solution, insight, unlocking a puzzle, mastery over a puzzle, etc.   Dog can stand for a loyal friend, loyalty, friendship, or an advisor.  So, something is happening today with a loyal friend and from it I will gain some insight or a solution to an issue.

A sidenote – These are both two cards I am thinking about re-working.  The Key is a bit too long and too close to it’s number.  The Dog just looks a bit TOO goofy and not quite what I was hoping for.  What do you think?

Onward!

Update – 


A Powerful Gift

I’ve spent a chunk of my morning updating the past two days of my Lenormand daily draws.  Both days had very particular lessons for me.  The one in particular I want to point back to is the one for Sept. 25.   Feel free to go back and read the Update section for the full story.  I’d like to chat about it briefly not to wave my own flag about a good deed done but, instead, about the lesson it taught me regarding oracles and cartomancy.

So often when we read the cards and oracles for ourselves we fall into a passive role.  We read the cards about what is going to happen to us and how we should respond to them.  When we read for others we tell them what might be coming towards them.  For instance, in my daily reading for the 25th, it seemed the cards indicated a powerful gift would be occurring during the day.  I immediately thought that I, or my family, would be receiving this gift.  I won’t lie.   It brightened my day and put me in a good mood.  I think something similar might occur to any of us.  However, throughout the day, no overt gift appeared.  No mysterious benefactors arrived handing us deeds to large tracts of woodlands and no leprechauns arrived with a smile and a pot of gold.  A beginner to oracles might have taken a negative view of the day at this point.

Instead, what did happen is that I ended up taking an active role in the world around me and I became the mysterious benefactor who handed someone else a powerful gift.  By doing it, I received a powerful gift in return because it showed me how an oracle can do a 180 degree turn on you.  It showed me how my own proactive actions can change the world around you, how you can send ripples out from you instead of just taking the mindset of things always coming towards you.

I think this might be one of the dangers of constantly doing readings for just yourself and why some warn against it.  It is easy to guide someone else on how to handle a situation but it might be something very different to help ourselves with similar advice.  We can also become to familiar with our own voice, our own advice and get stuck in a rut which leads us to becoming less effective and less truthful with ourselves.

The next time you do a reading for yourself remember to turn the table around.  How might the cards be showing you how YOU can effect the world around you instead of assuming a passive role?


Daily Draw – September 5th 2012

I had to miss a few days there. Life seems to be coming at me pretty hard and fast. Most of it has to do with the full moon we’re currently coming out and hardcore change occurring.  Hopefully, I can get back in the swing of things as the week levels out a bit.

I’ve also decided to go back to posting up my Wildwood tarot draws for my magical path and switching it out with the Faeries Oracle as Spirit guides.  Even when not posting it here, I still take the time to draw the cards and when drawing the Faeries Oracle card I still drew a Wildwood tarot card because a.) I’m so fond of it and b.) It didn’t feel right to NOT draw a Wildwood tarot card.  So, it’s back to the Wildwood for me.

Another thought I’ve had is to make my Lenormand daily draws a separate post.  Not sure how I feel about it.  It’s an idea born more out of my organizational head than anything else and the extra post would take up a bit more time in the morning.  Let me know what you think about it and I’ll go from there.

As a brief catch-up, yesterday’s cards were Spiritual Path – Hooded Man (The Hermit) // Physical Day – Knight of Pentacles.  Although I did the Moon Phase reading yesterday morning most of my day was spent being very withdrawn energetically and spirtually while being very active with work and physical to-do’s.  It worked and it gave me a sense of renewal when I woke up this morning after several VERY hard days.

Thanks for sticking with me and here is today’s draw.

Spiritual Path – Seven of Vessels, Mourning – Not a very happy looking card but this is about the very important process of respecting and mourning for something that is now moving onward.  This synchs up perfectly with what I have been going through lately.  Change and transition.   It’s time to pay very dear respects to the Past and to those events and people that have had their effect and are now gone.  This is a very important for things to move forward.  As you can see, I drew another card to back up what at first could be a very bummer card.  The Faery Godmother is all about gifts, good news and blessings.  “When you least expect something good, expect it!” is what I hear her say most often.  So, with that all in mind, I will wait for the end of the day to update and see how things play out.

Physical Day – Two of Swords.  Mental decision time.  You can sit there all day weighing one or the other but ultimately, if one wants to move forward then a choice has to be made.  I’ll leave that as it is for now and see what happens during the day.

Update – Today was a really bad day.  Really rough and it’s only after several days am I able to go back and do this update.  The 7 of Vessels makes absolutely perfect sense in that the news we received today turned this day into a crux point, a spot that will allow me to go back, point my finger and say, “It all changed here.”   The news really rocked me at some pretty deep spiritual levels.   The 7 of Vessels reminds me now, looking back, that it REALLY is time to properly mourn not only the past but the future that was not meant to be.    More importantly, it reminded me to give it proper thanks and move on.  What is really odd about this is the Faery Godmother card.  I have to take this to mean that the news and the shake up was actually a good thing, even if I couldn’t really see it.  It was what I needed and it’s actually a blessing.  Still working through that one!

The Two of Swords was about a decision in the physical.  More importantly, it was about the confusion that can happen as you decide on which decision to make.  It’s about the blindness that can come about.  This fit perfectly as well even though I was not willing to accept it until now.

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Lenormand Draws for the day

Bear + Birds

Bear + Birds —  Again, I’m still learning the Lenormand… The bear stands for power or a powerful person.  It can mean your personal power.  Birds can mean communication, emails, stress and business.  Powerful news?  Communications from an Older powerful man?  Powerful Stress?  We’ll just see how the day goes along and I will report back when I can.

ONWARD!

Update – I originally took these cards to possibly mean Powerful news or communication with older, powerful men.  Earlier in the day I had a few of these in the way of phone calls.  I consider it a hit.  However, if you’ve read the update above, later in the day we received some very powerful news that really, really shook my wife and I down.  So, there’s a hit there.  Powerful communications, indeed, and not all of them very good.  Makes me start to dislike the Birds card!