Saturday, December 31, 2011


The earth spins, the seasons wax and wane, lake beds overflow or dry to crusty earth...change, the constant. Yet, we call it a new year, the good ol' Gregorian overview of how to divide the sun's rays and note the 13 veils of the moon.

1 January: The first official day of the year in the Gregorian calendar used by most countries. Eight of the twelve biggest Eastern Orthodox Churches which have adopted the Revised Julian calendar – Bulgaria, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Romania, Syria, and Turkey – also celebrate 1 January as the New Year. (Wikipedia)

Moss on cedar can tell you the time, as does the muddy belly of a white swan. Celebrate each day. I'm waiting for the dragon.

Happy joyful playful light filled days in 2012

Happy joyful playful light filled days in 2012

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Heartful of Sunshine

The Sun came blasting hard through cedar, seeking out darkness, knowing tomorrow he will win the day by seconds.  Here is a beautiful blessing for this, Solstice, the shortest day of the year, the longest night that follows.

The Heart of Yule

by Cari on 12/21/2011
YULE illuminated letters
An illumination of one of my favorite turns of the wheel, Yuletide, here at the darkest time of the year, when the light shines most brightly deep inside us as hope and faith. This image needed its own prose, and the best words were my own, and after infinite crafting and tweaking, I mustered this evocation of the meaning of Yule in four lines:
The Heart Of Yule greeting
This is the only one of my Yule cards that has a greeting on the inside; all the rest have the greeting either on the front or an explanation on the back, leaving the inside blank for a personal note. To letter this I used one of my favorite hands, a sort of running uncial hand with italic branching and bits of decoration to enhance the words. As is often the case in working for reproduction, I created the calligraphy in a larger size and then reduced it to fit the card. Here is the actual size it was written (click the image for actual writing size):
The Heart Of Yule detail
The illuminated letters on the front were begun with the technique I have shared in my calligraphy instruction books, painting a loose watercolor wash for the background, adding some shimmery golden highlights to the wet paint, and then later painting the letters and greenery with gouache and a tiny Winsor Newton Series 7 brush, size 000. I loved painting the seasonal evergreens and bits of landscape in the letters. The sun, the moon, the stars, the night sky. And then, the dawn!
A blessed Yule to all!
YULE detail

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Doldrums of Winter ?

Sometimes our focus is so external that we miss the sunlight of our inner landscape.  The pressure of obligatory giving can be overwhelming.  We think we might be extinguished by the darkness.

Here is a tarot game that will shift the focus, gather you with family or friends and benefit all.  I look forward to trying it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fiends, Friends, Fools and perception

I am re-posting from Rachel Pollack's blog because I think this may bring up new perceptions.  Can we see only as far as our understanding and how do we expand the understanding.  When can or do we allow ourselves to stand aside and and let go...and in that very moment be more and see more than we imagined.  Enjoy!

And if you haven't read Rachel's books, take a peak...if you can still find one.  I've been looking for two of them that are out of print for some time and while they are available, the price tag is hefty.

The Blog of Rachel Pollack


Recently the wonderful Thalassa, founder of BATS (Bay Area Tarot Symposium), the longest running tarot conference in the world, shared on Facebook that she had to cancel her class on “problem cards” due to laryngitis.
We–the members of her group, Daughters of Divination– started to play with this idea, suggesting that maybe these cards that we all tend to find scary–Death, the Devil, some of the Swords cards–were blocking her from helping people to overcome their fear of what they meant. I suggested placating them by calling them something nice, and billing her workshop as turning fiends into friends.
That got me thinking about the ancient practice, found in so many cultures, of calling frightening forces by pleasant euphemisms. The term “Fairies” is usually said to be derived from “fair folk,” a reference to dark elemental powers that are not evil but certainly not friends of humans.
Possibly the strongest example is “The Kindly Ones,” or Eumenides, a very pleasant term for terrifying beings whose true name, Erinyes, is usually translated as Furies. In Ancient Greece the Furies were seen as creatures of darkness and blood. They came out of the ground to terrorize anyone who broke primal laws, especially the killing of a mother. Calling them Kindly Ones was a way to placate these terrible Furies, in the hope that they would stay away.
But there is more to it than that. In Aeschylus’s great trilogy, the Oresteia, the Furies pursue Orestes, who has killed his mother after she murdered her husband, Orestes’s father. Orestes did this under orders of Apollo, but the Furies couldn’t care less. They hound Orestes into madness until finally he comes to the Goddess Athena, who saves him by holding the first trial by jury, in which Orestes is found not guilty.
Athena then turns to the Furies. Instead of sending them away, or fighting them, she gives them a new home, under Athens, as protectors of the city. They are still frightening–any rites done in their honor were done in silence, without songs, or poems of praise–but their power now goes to a positive purpose. The Erinyes have truly become Eumenides, Kindly Ones in fact and not just as a euphemism.
How can we use this myth in dealing with the cards that scare us in the tarot? First of all, we need to recognize that it doesn’t really address the energy of these cards to simply give them a “nice” interpretation. Take the Death card. It’s too easy to call it simply “Death-of-the-old-self” or jump right to “transformation.” The idea of something dying, of loss, of pain, needs to be addressed. Even if we say it’s probably not physical death, it still has a fearsomeness.
The Five of Cups in the Rider deck is another example. It shows someone cloaked in black looking down at three over-turned Cups, whose liquid has spilled out onto the dirt. Now it happens that two Cups stand upright behind him (some see the figure as a woman, and it’s interesting that the cloak of sadness hides any identification of gender), and many people just want him to turn around, see the unspilled Cups, and pick them up to go on with his life. This may be the goal, but right now the card shows sadness.
So how do we genuinely change these cards?  One thing to do is to identify just what cards they are and what about them scares us.  We can go through the deck and pick out those that cause us to tense up, or we know we’d rather not see in a reading, especially for ourselves.  They might not be the same for everyone.  A card that one person sees as great courage might strike another as overwhelming tension.  A card that many people see as their worst fear might seem reassuring to someone else.  For example, the famous Five of Pentacles in the Rider shows two wretched beggars, sick or inured, making their way barefoot through a snowfall, with a church behind them.  While most fear this card, some appreciate the bond of the two people as they make their way together through hard times.
Once you have identified your Furies you can begin to explore just what it is that scares you about them.  You can write down your understanding of them, perhaps make up stories about them, examine all the details that make up the picture, as well as confront your overall disturbance.  Make sure to really look at what bothers them and not rush to make them safe or comfortable.
Set each one aside and shuffle the rest of the deck to ask such questions as “Where is the energy in this card?”  ”What lies underneath it?”  ”What does it ask of me?”  Eventually you can ask “What will transform it?” but don’t try to go there right away.  Make sure you understand it first, and what hold it has on you.
And when we think of the story we can realize another vital aspect–the need for justice.  Athena does not chase away the Furies, or overpower them, or even cajole them.  She first must address the crime, and the battle for Orestes’s soul being waged by the dark Earth Furies on one side and Apollo, the Sun God, on the other.  Her invention of a jury trial takes it out of the arena of personal power and into the realm of justice.
So, for our own Erinye cards we need to ask, Where is justice in this card?  Or maybe, what justice can transform it?  What justice does the situation demand?  Now, of course there is a card titled “Justice,” and you might want to set this card on the table when you work with any of your own group of fearsome cards.  Or you might prefer to leave it in the deck, to see if it comes up.  Here is another possibility–if one of your Fury cards turns up in a reading, or if you’ve just picked one out to work with it, search through the deck for the card of Justice.  Then look at the cards on either side of it.  Let these tell you what justice is needed to transform Fury into Kindness.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fools, Foolishness & the Sacred

I feel a Fool and thus I examine what I learned.  This week the Fool danced on my heart and smashed it open.  Now, I am wiser.  Wiser and sadder and soon to be more peaceful.

From James Wanless:

Wisdom of the Fool

"Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish" -- Originally said by Stewart Brand, and popularized by Steve Jobs

"We, at Silicon Valley, are successful because we believe in the 'greater fool' concept. Only a fool would do another startup in high-tech today because it's not rational, but nevertheless, successful!" -- Silicon Valley venture capitalist

"Let him become a fool that he may become wise." -- I Corinthians iii, 18-19

"It is only the Fool who becomes anything." -- Fyodor Dostoyevsky

"Our wisdom comes from our experience, and our experience comes from our foolishness." - Sacha Guitry

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mercury Retrograde

Uh oh.  How did this happen?  Mercury retrograde already?!  Again!!!  It crept up on me this time but I certainly can feel it!  It explains a lot.  In case you've had the same thing occur upon occasion, I will include the dates for this transgression (oh, they don't call it that, do they?) or shall I say, illusion?  Plus future dates so you can mark your calendar in case you didn't buy a handy astrological one.

January 21 - February 11
May 18,19 - June 11
September 17 - October 9

February 6 - 28
June 7 - July 1
October 4 - 25.

February 13 - March 17
July 1 - 20
October 21 - November 10 

March 12 April 4
July 14 - August 8
November 6 - November 26 

November 24 - December 13

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tarot of the Masters

From James Ricklef:

Ten of Cups — Spiritual Message of the Day

December 5, 2011
Ten of Cups -- Tarot of the MastersJust as this card can represent an idealized version of a family, it also may indicate “Home” in a spiritual sense. To explore this metaphor, let’s first consider the quote, “Home is where the heart is.” This means that our true home is with the person (or people) we love most. It can also mean that finding what we love (which, besides a person, may refer to something like a career or hobby) gives us that comfortable feeling of returning home. Thus, “home” is a feeling we yearn for more than a place we long to be.
This metaphor goes even deeper, however, since many religious traditions compare death to “going home.” For example, consider the following quotes.
“Life is a dream walking; death is going home.” — Chinese proverb
“I am not going to die; I’m going home like a shooting star.” — Sojourner Truth
“Death is nothing else but going home to God.” — Mother Teresa
Of course, we don’t have to die to return home if we realize that we can do so through traveling along our spiritual path. And perhaps this shows us how we can stay true to that path. If it feels like going home, then we are probably following the guidance of our spiritual compass. So again, “Home is where the heart is,” but in this case, this aphorism means that our soul realizes that divine union is like going home. And perhaps when we feel ill at ease with our lives—such as when we feel stressed, bored, or angry and we don’t know why—we are homesick, yearning to return to that primal, archetypal home: divine reunion.