Friday, December 10, 2010

Happiness

The Sun card is often seen as one of the most positive cards in the Tarot deck. It often signifies clarity, honesty and optimism. it suggests a bright outlook, not necessarily that everything is entirely problem free, but that everything is out in the light of day. Nothing is hidden in the shadows here and we can bask in the light of reason.

It's a curious thing that so often difficulties and worries are accepted as facts of life and negativity seems to need little justification. Happiness is sought and sold to us as elusive. I don't buy into that.

There is never a moment when the sun stops shining on the earth. True at night we turn our backsides to it and things like clouds and pollution obscure it momentarily. Some would be quick to mention that the sun, as a physical entity, has a life span. Like other stars it will eventually burn out. But the very light of the stars goes on shining and ever moving outward long after their demise. Some stars that are visible to us burnt out long ago, the light continues to move forward.

Even what we see as a lower life form knows this. Plants evolve to capture light. Sunflowers (which are depicted more than once in the Rider Tarot as a symbol of self -honesty) adjust daily to follow and soak up the sun's rays. Dandelions manage to root into concrete and stretch to absorb light. Happiness is our connection to that sort of life force. When we are happy we radiate a kind of energy that is positively infectious and it continues to move forward. This is our natural state. We forget it and get preoccupied. We often buy into the lie that we need to have things or the right conditions or the right relationship in order to be happy, but there are moments where we get to forget that (probably what St. Francis of Assisi meant in "self forgetting") and experience this. It is what C.S. Lewis meant in the business of being "Surprised By Joy". Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with wanting things, it's when the wanting hurts that we are out of line. Relationships are a prime example of this, when we want a relationship in order to be happy our odds aren't as good as when we want to share the happiness we do have with someone.

Some many years ago I was in a group that was trying to do some conscious inner work. We were working very hard at trying to be HAPPY people and there was a lot of focus on what our problems were. Some felt that they had repressed issues they needed to get in touch with and while in some areas this is a valid thing, it was also a bit of a blame game. I found myself questioning my childhood. Was there something I was blocking? Something I needed to "get in touch with"? I wondered, and at the time as I was distant from my father (and had blamed him for some things) it was a question of what did I maybe have bottled up that I needed to see. I talked to some people and fortunately someone very wise said "maybe you're so focused on the negative that you're blocking the positive". Well at first I found that annoying, (frankly I was in such a state that I found A LOT annoying those days), but it stayed with me. A few days later I was out with a friend and he asked me to pass him something on the table and as an off the cuff remark he called me sunshine..."could you pass me that sunshine". It hit me like a bolt from the blue...when I was very young my dad called me sunshine. I had forgotten that, along with a lot of other very positive little things he had done or said. It was at that time I began to re-connect with my father and came to have a happy relationship with him, he passed away peacefully in 2005 and  I was with him when he did.

Another thing this reminds me of; a friend was going through a really tough time, a genuinely hard, tough time. Her partner had left her, had taken everything (even the dog), she was living in a hotel room, she was faced with so much uncertainty and had every justifiable reason to feel low. We were sitting in her car (which she was on the verge of losing) and she was talking about how tough things were. I didn't have any platitudes to offer (I'm bad for that - sorry). Something told me to just shut up and listen (and thankfully I did). She eventually just fell silent and we were staring ahead down the street. We were parked near my work on College street. Some grubby little kids (about 4 to 6 years old) were playing with an old tire they'd found. They found it uproariously funny to roll that old tire down the street. We just found ourselves watching and after a while when they laughed, we did too. My friend was very okay after that (maybe she just needed to see she was okay all along) still she had rough times but she came through them. I believe happiness is what children know and what we misplace (but I believe we never really lose).

This sort of thing has happened for me again and again, not on demand, not instantly, but often enough for me to know (but still need reminders), that happiness is a natural state. It does not distract us from grief, it does not solve everything, but it's there. We allow ourselves moments, we need reminders, we get preoccupied, some of us get very lost, there are dark states that can be quite lethal, but in those instances especially I believe that spiritually we all eventually find our way into the light.
Let the sunshine in.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Cheer

December in Winnipeg. The shortness of the days. The crisp mornings and long twilight of the afternoons. It's a season of extremes. The holidays are a time I look forward to. For me this is a time of year where the focus is more about just getting together with people, renewing connections and catching up. Professionally it's my month of greatest extremes. December is usually quiet through the early part of the month and then a scurry of people wanting to get in while they are off work. It's also very nice to see people who visit from out of town. Some people make coming for a reading part of their holiday tradition!

In my own family the kids are grown, there's not a lot of presents to buy (other than for my Mother) and, thankfully, most of us have what we need. A few years ago we started putting the emphasis more on just getting together. I don't much relish the craziness of shopping. I also volunteer a bit around different community areas. I usually help decorate a community centre and other stuff.

For a lot of people this season is challenging. Maybe because there's so much thrown at us about how it OUGHT to be and it's easy to feel we have fallen short if we aren't living some sort of Hallmark card version of the season. Also we often see a lot of old patterns arise as we go "home for the holidays". I see a lot of struggle 'round this time of year, but I also see a lot of progress and hope.

One of the symbols of the season that I have come to have a different appreciation of is the little nativity scene my mother puts out every year. She often threatens to give it away and I always get antsy when she does. It's one of our little struggles but it means something to me. She bought it when she worked at Eaton's back when I was very little. Eaton's was an amazing big old department store in it's day. The toy land at Christmas was (in my memory) a huge otherworldly adventure. It didn't have the same feel as the big box stores of today. Amid all the over the top stuff that our family went through at Christmas time, the little nativity scene or "creche" as my mom calls it, is one of the few things still around.  The papier mache figures that have survived many moves and jostling. I think we lost a barnyard animal or two and St. Joseph has a chip on him. The year our basement flooded we found the box waterlogged. Mom very carefully unwrapped each figure and let them dry, they could have crumbled at the touch.

My mom always did her best to make Christmas special for us ( I have three older brothers). In the years when she was a single parent, working secretarial jobs and, for the last while as an inspector on an assembly line in a computer plant, she  did her best to keep things together. By the time I was about 13, my older brothers had moved out and it was just her and I for a few years. I remember one afternoon about this time in December, I was home alone after school and there was a knock at the door. A guy from the Christmas Cheer board was there with a hamper. I thought he must have the wrong address and told him so. He had our names and suggested I call my mom and check before going away. I called my mom at work and when she heard why there was a long pause and she said "it's not a mistake". I had not known at the time how hard some things were. Someone had submitted our name for that turkey.

What that little Nativity scene represents to me more than anything now, is endurance, survival and hope in times of challenge. I'm looking forward to spending time with my mother this holiday season, like the little creche, we've come through a lot.
I'm including a link, for those who may be interested, for the Christmas Cheer Board's website, it gives information on how you can donate and the good things they do;
Winnipeg's Christmas Cheer Board

In a few weeks the days get longer again. Whatever our individual spiritual beliefs and traditions, it is a time for renewal and appreciation of what we have, what we can share and what we are here to do. To all my friends and clients, best wishes of peace, comfort and joy and to a good new year, cheers!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Abundance" From A Friend

I have a really good friend that I have posted about before. Dann is the kind of friend where we might not talk for a while but we pick up where we let off immediately. I have always admired his spirit and pluck - along with a sense of humor we have in common. A side note in the story that follows is that a lot of people think he resembles the actor Will Farrell (I think Will Farrell is lucky to resemble Dann)
 He is going to be opening his own yoga studio in Oakville Ontario soon and has been updating me and some other good friends on his progress. there's always adventures along the way. I asked his permission to share his most recent post as well as a link to his own site (http://www.bikramyogaoakville.com/ ), where I hope he continues to share his perspectives on things:
Here is the post:

Abundance comes in many forms.....

Hi Everyone,

Abundance and prosperity can come in many forms. It is interesting how something that most of us would look at as a inconvenience such as a bird pooping on our arm as a bad thing, in other cultures that same occurrence can be looked upon as a sign of good luck. I am not sure if Drive through yoga will ever catch on, but who knows. Yesterday when a person was parking their car in front of the studio instead of pressing the brake they hit the gas and below are pictures of the resulting damage. No one was hurt, the driver of the car is OK.
When I arrived this morning to check things out I met two police officers. They were so friendly and the friendliness seemed odd. Then one said “Has anyone ever told you…” and I interrupted and said “That I look like Will Ferrell.” I said yes almost every day. I was told yesterday that the damage was minimal and the frame of the door was slightly bent. Lucky that there are two more doors inside of the vestibule that are locked to make the space secure. No one was hurt, not even the driver of the car, the building will be repaired and this will not hinder the opening of the studio.

I am so lucky, that as a result of this incident I got to meet some very nice people and perhaps make a couple of new friends. I have enclosed the pictures with the police officers they said that their families had to see that they met Will Ferrell’s look alike and I said I wanted pictures too then. Insurance for all parties concerned have been contacted and the couple who own Subway down from our studio location said that I need to look at this as though it is a blessing and good omen. So that is exactly what I am doing. Wouldn’t be a good ad for the studio if I pitched a fit anyway.

Have a good week and in one way or another there are blessings in all of our lives and I am sending this note to everyone who is a blessing to me.

Dann

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Elemental Book and Curiosity Shop - Now Open!

A good friend's home based business, formerly known as Cloaked Realm  has moved to it's own full business location at 355 Langside (just off Portage across from the newly built U of W's Mcfeeter's hall) in the old Club Morocco building.

From the store's Facebook page: "Elemental Book and Curiosity Shop is a rising star within the Winnipeg community. With humble roots as a home based business formerly known as Cloaked Realm ~ Pagan Emporium our shop will offer a diverse range of spiritual related products for those seeking enlightenment and self awareness".

Dominique has a beautiful selection of crystals, pendulums, jewellry, incence, imported stock and some things from local people as well. Candles, beautiful artwork and different books and implements for various traditions and practices...too much for me to try and describe here.

The space will also be available for classes and various community functions and lectures.

The soon to be up and running web page will be found at;
/http://www.elementalbooks.ca/
the phone number is
(204).779.8900
and to email:
elementalbooks@gmail.com

Further on the Eight Of Swords; the lessons of compassion,detachment and acceptance

In the comments on the previous article about the Eight Of Swords, I mentioned the business of detachment and how that doesn't necessarily mean physical detachment or leaving a situation but rather not being defined by it - being "in it but not of it". This is a tricky business for some.

I've started this post with Van Gogh's Starry Night. I was looking for images that could depict a person's attempt to break through isolation and convey a unique and at the same time relatable feeling. This image speaks to millions of people both in it's beauty and in it's poignancy. Although Van Gogh's life held a lot of suffering, his work ultimately has been a legacy of the vision he needed to share. Some experiences of suffering, like Vincent's, seem inescapable and sadly not all have happy outcomes.

The key thing to (hopefully) overcome in what the Eight Of Swords describes is isolation. Whether it is our own difficulty or that of someone we care about, the tools we can work with are compassion, detachment and acceptance. We can hear, we can try to listen and out of that to understand. At the same time we can never know entirely what another person's experience is and we have to be rooted in some degree of well being if we are to be of any good.

Many of us grow up believing that to be compassionate we must feel what the other person is feeling. How often in a caring situation do we feel compelled to say "oh I feel badly for you". We are often taught that this is compassion, but what good does it do? True we need understanding and the ability to relate and empathize to a degree, but this needs to be balanced with our own healthy well being.

A lesson I have often seen with the Eight Of Swords is that sacrifice for others must be balanced with our own demonstration of responsible self care. The alternative is suffering for others, a kind of martyrdom. When we do this we actually are making others responsible for our state and we are not living our own potential. The other side of the coin is not selfishness but rather a sense of sharing what we can, and what others can receive. Being responsive to, not responsible for others while being whole and responsible and accountable for ourselves. This is a life lesson that I'm not great at. It's a learning we move through many times. I can say it get's easier and along the way there is a lot of beauty, even in the hard stuff.

I will only give brief mention here of those (happily few) that often want to make others feel responsible for the state they are in, or in some way apologetic for not being in their suffering with them. But these people are rarely and only momentarily satisfied. All I can say in regards to them is a big thank you to whoever invented call display. I usually don't avoid the call altogether but that brief pause gives me fair warning where my boundaries can be in place. That's a swords lesson in itself!

Detachment is not being aloof or uncaring, far from it. It is about being responsible for one's self so that you are in good shape to be of service to others and to be a healthy demonstration. A healthy nurse can better look after people. A good teacher doesn't necessarily have all the answers but rather the tools that they are willing to share to find answers. If a good friend has the flu we don't say "here, sneeze on me, we'll both be miserable", but rather we avoid the sneeze, bring them soup and wash our hands and take our vitamins while doing so.

This is a challenging lesson, especially with those nearest and dearest when trauma is going on. Being caring means that of course we are affected, but it's also the recognition that we can't be in the same place as those directly suffering, nor would it be constructive to try. I learned this in some of the deepest grief situations my friends have gone through, both in loss and in facing their own passages. I learned that it is sometimes better to say "I have no idea what this must be like for you", because it was the truth. At the same time it is important to try to relate and understand.

Compassion is about knowing that others move through these situations and we can learn from those experiences. The circumstances are often not that unique (if they were there'd be no such thing as country western music, or Shakespeare or any form of art) but our individual experiences are.

There is comfort in knowing others move through similar situations. That's a big part of creativity. Music is a great example of people relating over heartache, joy and hope and most forms of art are about people expressing their individual experience and perceptions in a way that others can identify with, each in their own unique way. It is one of the things that makes the symbolism of Tarot useful. It is a way of relating these common themes with a degree of intuitive understanding from the reader and in what the person being read can relate to.

The painting at right is called "Old Man In Sorrow (On The Threshold of Eternity) - by Vincent Van Gogh".

Being in the Eight of Swords state also means having compassion with one's self. This is not narcissistic victim-hood or self pity, rather it is being a friend to ourselves, being able to drop the ego's expectations, the false armor of pride that isolates us. Being open to the experience of others is often an important start. It means giving up the familiar identification with pain, though what have we really got to lose?

This also has another word running through it all, acceptance. Acceptance is not a resigned giving up or (as I said in the comments section before) playing "possum" to a tyrannical force. It is also not about trying to run from or deny the circumstances.It's about seeing it as part of the journey, useful in our understanding and compassion to others and yet not the entire definition of ourselves.

All of the Eights are our relationships with circumstances. They are not the totality of ourselves, simply where we are momentarily on our journey. We might get stuck in them for a while (or choose to stay stuck). Swords are about conflict but they are also about our responsibilities in working with boundaries, making decisions, articulating ourselves, dropping the unnecessary baggage and protecting what is important.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Eight Of Swords

There's trends I sometimes notice, where certain cards are more prevalent. It sometimes seems that there's lessons we all are moving through and symbols become more evident during these times. Lately I have noticed a stronger than usual emphasis on the Eight of Swords.

The suit of swords itself is where we often are having to work with issues around conflict, stress and the part of consciousness that makes decisions, sometimes a more dualistic (good or bad, right or wrong) decisive focus.

None of the suits are good or bad in themselves but swords do seem to indicate more trouble on the surface than the others, yet they are necessary and when we work with what they represent we grow.

Not many people can say they like conflict, but conflict resolution is a very good thing. Any relationship that doesn't have a degree of conflict (internally or externally) isn't much of a relationship. How we work through these issues and identify problems is an essential part of our life experience.

Eights as a number are often about how we are identifying with our experiences. They are a sort of "you are here" indicator. We have to remember that our circumstances don't define us entirely, we have to be in them but not of them. When we define ourselves by conflict, when our main subject matter is our battles and conflicts there is a self victimization that the eight of swords can illustrate.

Sometimes that victimization is from an external source, an abusive relationship whether it is with a partner or one's environment can be shown by this card. Feeling powerless in our circumstances is also a big part of what this represents.

Looking at the illustration in the Rider deck there are some useful clues and insights. The figure is bound and blindfolded, surrounded by swords and abandoned on a beach, a castle is seen high on a cliff. Small puddles surround the figure, it is also significant that she is wearing red. What this seems to be is an execution by drowning. The tide will come in and this figure will be washed away. It's almost as if the executioners didnt have the guts to do the job themselves but rather have left it up to a force of nature to do the dirty work for them.

In some cultures a woman in red represents a dangerous figure, a "fallen woman". In the Tarot deck however she represents a resourceful woman of experience, the crone aspect of the female trinity (Mother, Maiden and Crone). In a happier aspect she is present in that trinity in the three of cups and also the Queen of Pentacles herself wears red (again symbolic of resourcefulness and the ability to see many sides of a situation).
So our figure in the eight of swords has fallen into a bad situation. The manner and style of execution suggests she is a powerful woman, again so much so that no one wants to directly do her in, nor do they wish to be identified hence the blindfold. In some cases so much as a look from this person would be enough for her to either do damage or to influence her escape.

The water is significant too. In many instances in the Rider deck, the ocean represents the vast unknown of our life experience, to venture out, to risk going beyond our comfort zones. This is different symbolically than just water as an element (cups). I always have felt though that the very thing meant to do our lady in red in, will be the very thing that sets her free. We have to sometimes "surrender to win", let go of the defining circumstances and sink or swim but in doing so we reclaim the freedom we have lost.

In practical application this card comes up a lot for caring people who have lost their way in taking on the worries of others. I sometimes call it the "Achilles's Heel of Empaths". When our feeling for others has taken over our lives, we are in this state. Sometimes to take on our own feelings can be overwhelming at first (like the great ocean tide) but when we surrender to these things rather than run from them, we find our way out.

The term "Empath" has come up more in the last few years to refer to a person who has the ability to pick up on the feelings of others. I didnt hear the term so much until one of the Star Trek Shows ( I think it was Next generation) had a character who identified herself as one. Sometimes this seems to be an involuntary condition, a person who is an involuntary empath has not yet learned to set boundaries and is strongly affected by the vibes in their environment. Also there is the danger of projection, or ascribing to others the very dark emotions we do not want to own up to in ourselves. When we lack these boundaries or the accountability to see that the dark emotions we are "picking up" are sometimes our own, we have fallen into this trap. For some who are addicted to feeding off the emotional turmoil of crisis situations, boundaries can be frightening. To feel seperated from or cut off from others is harsh, but this is where the illustration of the card takes on new meaning. Sometimes we need the boundaries that the swords represent and the blindfold makes us look inward, we can begin to rescue ourselves (we often need help though in opening these things up) rather than using crisis as a way of avoiding.

I also sometimes call this "the flannel nightie card". In relationships this can be an indication of a lack of safety or security, a need to withdraw from intimacy. We cannot truly share ourselves with another if we are feeling hurt or threatened. So like putting on a red flannel nightie that would look good on grandma and getting a good night's sleep, we have to stand back, take back our space and be whole before we can share.

Sometimes this card can indicate physical problems. I don't diagnose health, but the physical aspects of stress come up here. Some people don't know they are on fire til they smell the smoke. This is not a good card around issues of pregnancy or fertility issues. It usually suggests a strong need for self care before any new undertaking can be accomplished.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Winnipeg stories, a unique Winnipeg tarot deck, AND readings for charity

Some local Winnipeg Artists and entertainers have come up with an interesting way to collect stories about Winnipeg, combining Tarot iconography with quirky Winnipeg symbolism, they're donning turbans and will be visiting locations throughout the city exchanging readings for people to tell their stories. The original deck is worth checking out and will be available for sale. More on this to be found here:
http://winnipegtarotco.ca/

One of the things I like about Winnipeg is that we have a rich history of readings being both a fun and at the same time useful resource. Many people have readers in their family history, people that didn't necessarily do this as a profession but still either worked with this gift or appreciate those who do. I think most people view it as something fairly down to earth. There are some great local resources for Tarot and intuitive study that don't charge unreasonable amounts and rank among some of the best in the world. Most Winnipeg readers are pretty ordinary folk who read constructively. Many of us who do work professionally also do some free (pro-bono) work and will also donate our time free of charge for charities etc. I frequently do shorter "psychic fair" style readings at events put on by Gio's Cares, a charity that helps people living  with HIV / AIDS. I usually post to this site when these are upcoming.

Part of doing what I do for as long as I have is having the ability to laugh at myself. I take what I do seriously, but I have to take me with a grain of salt and good friends help with that too, - (thanks Charley, particularly for your insights lately :).

And no, I don't own a turban ;)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Knights and sixes and position six in the Celtic Cross

Years ago, when I was bumbling through an understanding of Tarot's relationship with the Qabbala (it's spelt a number of different ways before you correct me). I found a curious relationship between the Knights and the Sixes, particularly relevant in the illustrations found in the Rider deck.

All of the sixes show a modified force, a kind of conscious adjustment and responsibility of guardianship, things we would associate with the duties of a knight. Also position six in the Celtic cross, in my interpretation, is our first interaction of inner experience to the outer world. This position is where we often get our marching orders in terms of the evolution of our life path.

So the sixes in the Rider deck give us a clue as to the responsibilities the knights have and their optimal function in each suit. If fives are disruption, sixes are a sense of working things out, not simply putting things back to where they were but with better understanding, helping things to evolve.

The knight of wands has a challenging bucking bronco of energy that we see brought under close rein. The blanket covering the horse's lower body suggests a great underlying force. The figure has laurel wreaths of attainment and is moving in parade through a crowd. No one is being trampled. Ambitious force is being used constructively.

We can almost overlook the knight symbolism in the 6 of cups but he is there, doing sentry duty in the background as the childlike figures work to establish trust. He can be called upon if need be. Our sense of trust is brought into being through compassion and communication.

The six of swords is perhaps the most poignant in it's representation, the knight of swords who was so intense is like the guardian figure watching over the grieving hooded figure and the child who looks ahead to the future. Again undercurrents are suggested by the figure poling the boat (rather than rowing). This is done when we have to cross a current. The pole extends down to the very bottom of the river. By plumbing the depths of our reactions and undercurrents, we can safely work through extreme situations. The swords provide protection and the knight keeps balance through a time of great peril.

The knight of pentacles is epitomized like the charitable figure who measures carefully how much to give.This is not blind charity but a conscious sense of response to those in need. Rather than just keeping the beggars in poverty there is a sense of moving things along.

I love congruence, the idea that a number or symbol has a unifying relevance. Some of the recent posts have been about the struggles of growth in using our gifts and strengths. Perhaps there is an aspect of all of us that is on a quest, finding it's way. I like to use the symbolism of the sixes, especially when there's upheaval (as seen in the fives) and I'm looking for that next right thing to do. I think these images are pretty good marching orders.



Friday, August 13, 2010

Q and A: (or a key to giving freely, or better yet, insightful and happy)

In a comment to my last post, Anonymous asked "your interpretation begs the question, how is it possible to "give" freely, and if it is not possible, how to get as close to it as you can"? Also a Comment from "Catspajamas" that sort of kiddingly referred to the challenge of being insightful and happy. I know of quite a few happy insightful people, I also know a few miserable idiots.

This is a question that I don't have an easy answer to, simple yes, easy no, It's been asked of far far more learned people for millenea and there are some very different answers. The one thing in most of those answers that seems to work for most people is of the same essence.

By "work for" I dont mean you get a smug little credo that takes care of that, but rather an answer that helps us go on working on the question more constructively and comfortably.

It's one of those things that seems terribly simple (because it is) but it's not altogether easy (because it's not).
The answer is to drop the self opinion, the egoic drive and to begin to see development of what most would call humility.The word comes from the Latin "Humus" and it's not what you get from the deli,. humus means "of the earth". It is in the word humor. I think all three mean to be of the earth,  be a work of creation and remember that the creating aint done yet and have a sense of humor about ourselves.

Some of us are quite proud of our (percieved) humility, I'm sure that there are designer hair shirts out there. I've heard people say that humility is thinking less of self and more of others, but the very character trait of the last post is the sort of martyrdom that can creep in with that. "Living for others" can be a kind of tyranny. So how do we get "good" at it?

I'll point out that the question contains an insight. Getting good at something, having it down pat, "no flies on me" is as much an egoic desire, however altruistically it is intended. Is it impossible then? I'd say yes. So do we just give up? Yes (well we surrender) and of course not we keep on.The Dalai Lama says the key to enlightenment is to have an undefended heart, He has great insight, has known great loss and is also a happy person.

You'll find this answer in everything from the Upanishads to Brer Rabbit (remember the tar baby?). It's no secret (but people love to think it's very mysterious and therefore elusive and exclusive and worthy of Oprah's couch). I also need to learn things many ways, over and over and then realize it was there all along.

From a Christian perspective (ooh I can hear the shrieks, here's this card reader talking about a Christian perspective, oh well) but I Don't mean MY perspective, but rather a man whose writings have helped me a lot; C.S. Lewis. I have mentioned him before and any friend of J. R. R. Tolkien's is a friend of mine. Lewis was a person of great intelligence and insight and yes, he knew grief, but he also was "Surprised By Joy".
The following is from "The Screwtape Letters":

(God) wants to bring the man to a state of mind in which he could design the best cathedral in the world, and know it to be the best, and rejoice in the, fact, without being any more (or less) or otherwise glad at having done it than he would be if it had been done by another. (God) wants him, in the end, to be so free from any bias in his own favour that he can rejoice in his own talents as frankly and gratefully as in his neighbour's talents—or in a sunrise, an elephant, or a waterfall. He wants each man, in the long run, to be able to recognise all creatures (even himself) as glorious and excellent things". -There's more, which I went back and trimmed, there is an e-text of the book online but it really is one that deserves to be read in a comfy armchair, there is also an audio book version read by John Cleese (who is perfect for the narration).

This is also what Eckhart Tolle is reffering to in "A New Earth" and "The Power Of Now", recognizing the voice of the ego. Much as Tolle claims to have vanquished his ego completely (I'm not sure I'd like that entirely), he went through some grief to get there. Much as what he says is certainly not new (he says so himself) there is a lot of value in how he writes about simply recognizing that self opinion is there. That in itself is important. Sometimes I have to just see that what I'm usually struggling with is my big fat idea of me and drop it, then carry on anyway (the alternative is pouting and that isn't fun). So we keep on keeping on. Integrity is how we play, win or lose.

It also means being present, (Yes Tolle says this too, in a regurgitation of what's been said a zillion times over, but maybe we need a Tolle right now to tell it, there have I appeased the Tolle fans?). It means in our doing with others we don't presume to know whats best for others so much, maybe we have to ask, to check. To be kind and gentle, not ham fisted. There is a great value in being a little unsure. A very good rule is sharing more than giving and letting others share back. "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him to fish and he eats forever" but you cant teach a starving person much, so maybe do both.

I really should go back and read Tolle again. Lewis is a lot more fun though. Either that or "The Myth Of Freedom" by Chogyam Trungpa (which is so good every time I start to read it I have to go back to the beginning, so I have never finished it, I'll shut up about it till I have). 
Another good book I REALLY love (and have mentioned before) is by Pema Chodrun and it's called, quite appropriately; "Start where You Are".

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Further Thoughts On Reversals of Elements - Reversed Queen Of Cups (when nurture goes awry)

Anyone who has ever remotely worked on a committee or in a group effort, often will see certain human traits that surface in themselves and others. Archetypes that show up again and again and human frailties and booby traps we can all fall into.

There is the very self sacrificing person who perpetually saves the day, does too much and is often teetering on the brink of burnout. They often hear "we don't know how we'd get by without you", but the flip side (which can be detrimental) is the organization then is one person away from falling apart.

Martyrs aren't great role models. It is a great truth that healthy compassion is not about needlessly suffering along with others, but rather being in a place of well being and caring from there. This is not easy (at least it hasn't been for me, I don't know, but if it's been a walk in the park for you from the get go then I'd love to read YOUR blog, send me the link). 

I often remember a quote from Dorothy Parker -one of my favorite authors (see left), -she was very ironic and a lightning wit.

Someone once commented that Claire Booth Luce (see right) - who Dorothy didn't like - just "lived for others", to which Dorothy replied "Yup and you can tell the "others" by their hunted look".

In another instance, someone said "Claire is so kind to her inferiors" and Dorothy responded "wherever does she find them?"

I'd probably put Dot's take on Claire as Queen of Cups reversed. Important to note though that Dorothy was at times a suicidally romantic alcoholic, (rather Queen of Cups reversed-ish herself). Maybe that's why Claire rankled her so, there is an ancient saying; "who smelt it dealt it".

Righting The Reversal

Personally I've had to go through bumps and discomforts (and no doubt still will from time to time) before I've seen my own patterns and baggage and been able to find release from them. I sometimes have cycles where I find I'm doing way too much in some areas and am off track in others. 

I have found that whenever I am living under the threat of an "or else", that in some way I am already in it. The first times I had to recognize this were the hardest. Many of the people who were around playing into that pattern DID leave, they found another person to play into that pattern with, some got fed up and moved on in their growth. The crisis of letting go of that addictive behavior of rescuing was frightening but moving through that "or else" turned out to be one of the most positive things I could do. I had a lot of help (we usually do when we are honestly trying to move beyond this).

I listened to what some good people had been trying to tell me all along. I spent time alone and found it wasn't bad, as a matter of fact it was nourishing. I sought (and still seek) the counsel of others with experience. I know I haven't seen the last of these lessons, in truth I think we always are moving through them in some way. I can tell you it does get easier, and the neat thing is, it's very very ok. We can see it more readily and move through it more gently. When the poop hits the fan and that "or else" plays out, there's a lot more that comes into view, a lot of it very good possibilities and potentials that are hard to see when you're busy turning yourself into a pretzel. It's usually been there all along waiting to be discovered.

After a while, we start to see too, that the universe never gave us a gift by mistake. It didn't get the name tags mixed up on the presents. If we have been abusing gifts, they sustain damage, but the human spirit is very resilient. When we recognize that we're in that trap, when we release the "or else", there's an opportunity to come back and work with our gifts. They come into more graceful use, they evolve. We are given the chance to see something more than acceptance. Acceptance is important but there is something greater, recognition is seeing the genuine potential that has always been there and the use of the gift starts coming from that place instead. We start being kind for kindness sake (instead of a gritted teeth kind of NICE), we can give more freely with less of a drain or a price tag. People find us more comfortable to be with as we are more on a level playing field. Reciprocation goes on and we start to experience the intimacy of sharing ourselves and being shared with.

On that perky note -I have a good friend who closes most of his messages with "LIFD": Life Is Fabulous Dahling!

Reversals Of Fortune, Or When Your Gift Owns You

One of the things that Tarot can help us identify is where our strengths are working, where they may be blocked or, often with the best intentions, are being misused. This is often shown in the reversal of an element. I should stress from the start that I am not necessarily just referring to a card being upside down. Reversals of cards are not as simple as the opposite meaning of it right way up. I should also mention that I don't always pay attention to a physical reversal, it can sometimes be more the muting of the card's potential (a little like the two pedals on a piano, sustain and mute). This is where the "reading" of the cards is different from simply memorizing what a book says they mean. The messages of a card have a consistency but the inflection changes everything. Sometimes a reversal may be indicating a potential not yet realized or working on a more unconscious level. This can be a warning depending on what is present in the bigger picture.

When other people are described in a reading (through the court cards), I try to remember that it is not an absolute definition of the person. It is the aspects of that person in relation to the person being read. We might have a difficult conflict with someone who may or may not have those difficulties with others. This is where I always have to remember that a reading is subjective and also that the main focus has to be in identifying what the client can work with. If the other signals (both the cards as well as what I am receiving intuitively) indicate problems resting with someone else, we can only go so far in terms of identifying that other person's stuff. We cant drink medicine and make someone else get well. A very big part of what a reading SHOULD do is show us where our own elements are on track and where they are not.



It is also often, (but not always), the case that when a quality in someone else rankles us, it can be a good opportunity to look at something in our own character that is being triggered. When someone sticks their big oar in our plans, when someone has the audacity to ask "just who do you think you are", these are opportunities to see where our gifts or strengths might be getting the better of us. Same goes with those times when we find ourselves saying " I try and try and I keep getting the same result". These are the moments where we can wake up and recognize we are sometimes in that reversal ourselves. Usually something our ego thinks is terribly necessary needs to be let go of. We need to pause and see where we may be running up the down escalator.


One of the very big signs that an element is reversed is the lack of satisfaction. There is never enough. Classic examples of this are when our compassion becomes tragic martyrdom, constructiveness becomes negative competitiveness, protection becomes domineering tyranny and our values become manipulative greed. However people are rarely as simple as comic characters. What we often view as heroes or villains are usually people with mixed qualities (and motives). There are truly very few absolute "good guys" and "bad guys" out there.

Most recently the situation of Conrad Black could be easily described as King Of Pentacles reversed. This is someone who obviously has had an enormous amount of talent and charisma to have accomplished so much, but there aren't many who have sympathy for this guy right now.

In the instances of dealing with other people's reversals, we can learn from their mistakes, not play into their game and sometimes ask the question; "what is it I need to recognize and learn from this"? We can't always choose what life puts on our path, but a reading can show us what kind of place we are giving these things in our consciousness, what we are giving up our own worth to and where we often have the choice to engage or detach  and move on.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Upcoming Art Exhibit by Charles McDougall

The show is called
"The Mystery and Magic of the Manitoba Legislature."
7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 2  
at the Cr8ery Gallery.
2nd floor – 125 Adelaide St.   
(in the Winnipeg Exchange district) 


For more about Charles' work visit Foxtower Photography

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Keeping Readings A Healthy Resource (Not Unhealthy Dependence)




Some thoughts around how a majority of practitioners (that I know) and myself work ethically in not taking advantage of vulnerability or encouraging dependence on reading. Readings are an occasional resource and not meant to take the place of other areas of help and support. Most of the readers we have here in Winnipeg follow a good, down to earth and trustworthy approach but, as in any profession, there are sometimes the (fortunately rare) bad apples. Always trust your OWN instincts when it comes to readings.  Also watching out for scams or "up selling". For more on how to avoid these, see my article from 2010 on how to avoid scams, along with information on how to report these things if you encounter them, at:
Curses! Foiled Again!! (avoiding scams)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Curses! Foiled Again!

I have had some feedback lately from clients that have been to another reader in the city (Winnipeg, but this goes on elsewhere) that I will not name. They report that after a reading that seemed fairly accurate the reader went on to tell them that the cause of their problems or difficulties is a curse, a curse that the reader could remove for them but it is strenuous (of course) and that it is a costly procedure - $700.00 to be exact. When the client told the reader they do not have that kind of money the reader said (ominously) "come back when you have it".

I have heard of this before, it hasn't surfaced ( to me anyway) for a good many years. Back in the late 80's a local newspaper did an expose on this and the reader said "you can believe or not, I believe they have a curse". They were not shut down and their licence (at the time there was a city licence that required a background check, there isn't now) was not revoked. Back then the cost of curse removal was $500.00 and (get this) a pork roast - because the curse would get transferred into the pork, much like the biblical casting out of demons into pigs.

This type of scam, (you can believe it's not a scam, I choose to believe it is) manifests in many forms.  Sometimes they wait until they have read for the person more than once, building a degree of trust. I also have noticed that they seem to generally target certain ethnic groups, and always it is people that are carrying a degree of worry when they come in. They seem to be quite good at picking a mark.

Whenever people come to me with this sort of issue I point out that it is not in my area of expertise. I do not deal in curses, spells or energetic issues outside of what is within the persons own ability to identify in their own patterns and work with themselves. I NEVER bring up a cost outside of the reading they have booked and I don't tell them they have to come back. In my practice (and that of others in my field that I respect) a reading is meant to work in compliment to the person's own judgment. A good reader does not try to make the client dependent on them.  It's nice when people come back (I usually encourage waiting at least a season) and usually when I give a recommendation (counselling etc.) it is a referral to a resource that is free (see the area to the right  titled "Useful Links" for some resources around the Internet and here in Winnipeg).

I should mention too that there are resources to energetic work that can be helpful, such as practitioners of Reiki, alternative healing and various forms of work. Part of learning to work with intuitive awareness is about identifying what is baggage we are carrying and also how to have a healthy defense system in dealing with energy that is unhealthy for us. Like any profession there are those with abilities that are worthy of their hire and you can shop around, check their reputations and in most cases,if these people are working conscientiously they will be above board in what they do.

If you ask around there are a good many people in various fields that can be helpful. many of the local resources that I respect in energetic work (energetic clearing) are responsible practitioners, they will offer suggestions in a way that is self empowering and not about creating dependency. They usually will tell you that this (energetic work) IS in their area of experience, you know this is what you are going for when you go in - fair enough. These people charge reasonably and  to each their own.

At the same time there are things to watch out for - ANY time a person brings this sort of thing up in an intimidating or threatening way and tells you not to breathe a word of it to anyone that's a huge red flag. Also if you have a belief system, faith or religion that follows this sort of belief, there are usually people whose job it is to take care of this for you (elders, priests, ministers etc.) and they often are operating either on a not for profit basis where perhaps a token offering is made or their services are offered for a reasonable rate that should not have surprise costs.

My advice is always to take what a reader says (myself included) with a grain of salt. Your life, health, well being (physically, emotionally and spiritually) are ultimately your own responsibility. Anytime a reader makes you uncomfortable, scares you or encourages dependency on them as the only solution to your problems, walk away.

Also, if you don't want to be responsible for yourself, instead choosing to believe that all your life's ills are caused by fate or curses, then I am definitely NOT the reader for you. By all mean go to the sort of person that supports that. I should mention though that you might need a second job, in the cases I have heard of the 700 will not be enough, part of the scam is that once they know they've got you they can say the curse was heavier than they thought, (apparently like lice, more than one treatment may be necessary) and subsequent treatments go up considerably in price.

Additional note: If you or someone you care about has fallen victim to or has encountered a scam or fraud, one of the important things to do is contact your local law enforcement, the Better Business Bureau and also whatever federal agency that may cover your jurisdiction, here in Canada that would be Service Canada and their toll free number is 1(800)OCANADA

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Just Around The Corner

We certainly seem to be moving through a time of great change. Some would say when are we not? There's so much going on in the world that has our usual patterns going haywire, from weather and other environmental concerns, to economic shifts that have had everyone feeling apprehensive.


My area of intuitive work is more on a "one on one" basis in working with people's life energies. I see a lot of issues working through in vastly different ways. Many who are approaching retirement for instance, are looking at a different set of potentials than they had envisioned just as little as three or four years ago. The impact works through, directly and indirectly on a number of levels. People aren't as quick to get divorced in some situations as the necessities of staying together are different. Issues around how we care for our elderly and our children and communities are more at the forefront.


I'll leave the astrological predictions of the time to people much more qualified on those levels. It is interesting that the later part of this month does have some big transits going on, Saturn into Libra, Mars, Uranus all moving into different signs. There's some big alignments taking place, but again, some would say when isn't there? Many of these things point to the later part of this month through October as a time of some very big bumps and shifts. Most of the resources I find useful though also stress that we have to grow through this, not just go through it.

On a personal level, I've had to, like so many, look at priorities and security in the last few years. When I made the decision to have my business and much of my life settled in Winnipeg's North End, some people found that odd. It is an area that does have poverty and struggle, but it also has endurance, character, some very good people who care about community and a sense of loyalty in the support of neighbors. I don't think we would be still operating had we gone with a more expensive or "trendy" location. Our area is often in the news, but I can also say that I have a sense of safety here. I get panhandled less in the north end than I do downtown. A friend asked me recently how is business, my running joke is some days it's Kraft Dinner and some days No-Name Mac and Cheese. I have had to make some transformational, not just circumstantial changes in my life.

The picture (above left) is from Charlie Chaplin's silent film "The kid" with Jackie Coogan (who went on to play Uncle Fester in the Addams Family TV show- how's that for trivia). The film was made in the time of the great depression. It was in that time that the home I live in was built. It's a place that has what they now call a "granny flat", in other words it's an old duplex, but with the ability to convert easily into a single dwelling. Back in the time it was built a lot of families lived - by necessity- cooperatively. I've been blessed to have, in addition to my biological family, an extended family that tries to live that way. I've been part of adult kids moving back home (building bunk beds requires a DEFINITE sense of humor). What some would have seen as inconvenience has always turned out to be something incredibly important, a privilege to be part of  and there's a lot through it all that has helped me grow.

As a reader, I find I am picking up more and more, not just on the circumstantial changes people are moving through, but more importantly the transformational changes we have to come to terms with. Things aren't going to get back to "normal" folks. This is normal, this is it. We have had a 60 to 70 year detour, time to get back to what has helped us survive. That's just my opinion. I said in an interview about two years ago that we need to look at the experience of people in the earlier part of the last century, take back the wisdom we have stuck in nursing homes and disowned. Listen to our elders and be prepared to share that experience. Sorry if this seems heavy, but at the same time, I am not the sort to just placate where we sometimes need to wake up. It is a heavy time, but it is also a time of great positivity.

Transformational change is where we find tools and muscles we haven't used before. I believe the Creator gave us these things when we set out on our journeys, but it isn't until we get to these inconveniences sometimes that they really wake up. True there are some that actually go looking for transformational change, but real awakening isn't just a weekend retreat at Mount Shasta (don't get me wrong a weekend retreat can be a great thing and for some very helpful, but real transformation is not something we can usually schedule). We are moving into the real acid test of a lot of the new age learning and discovery that came in during the 60's. We have a generation approaching retirement that could be the greatest benefactors of mentorship in the history of the world. We might not get to loll for half the year on a pristine beach, we might have to go for a holiday then come home and work part time in our communities, but low and behold we MIGHT just be better off and richer in other ways than we would be otherwise.

So that being said, (I know, I have to stop saying "that being said"), I think we are in for a LOT of positive change. Fasten your seat belts! I always come back to the Desiderata, the part about "look after your career, it is a real possession" is not just about looking after your job, it's about doing what you do in a way that expresses who you are, and especially; "whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should".

Friday, July 2, 2010

A funny little interview

I try to keep a sense of humor when dealing with the random calls that come through from the press. Often around Friday the 13th or New years they go through the phone book and ask for predictions. I also find that (like a lot of people's perceptions) there is the immediate assumption that I am a fortune teller, a clairvoyant, a person who would be able to explain the ancient Mayans or any number of things. I try to be good natured with these assumptions, it goes with the turf, but I also am pretty clear about my own limitations and boundaries. The following is a good example of that. I should mention too that I was slightly misquoted on two things; I dont run Blackletter Books, I work co-operatively within that business and I don't implicitly trust Environment Canada, I use it as a resource that I take with a grain of salt (just as I'm sure a lot of the people I see make use of what I offer)
Interview about the weather - Winnipeg free Press

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Prairie Flower - The Crocus

The Crocus is the official flower of Manitoba. They symbolize beauty and endurance.
Some while back I wrote a little poem that had these elements in it and I came across it today in some files.
I feel like putting it up on the blog because this is also grad season; a lot of students starting a new chapter in their lives and for a lot of teachers, some much earned rest before going back to the grind.
When I wrote this, I thought of the teachers I know that love what they do.
This is for them:

The Crocus

She stands and looks at the row of desks
Like the furrows on her father’s farm
That she left nearly 40 years ago
Moved to Brandon
Got her teaching degree
And for the last 4 decades
She’s planted in these furrows
Some years it was a hard crop
The year Randy Benson
The terror of the middle school
Landed in her back row
She understood though
That he sometimes slept because he worked nights
He reminded her of her brother Frank
All feet and calloused hands
She knew better than to read aloud to the whole class the poetry
That came in like a late harvest in November
She had a way with the roughhousers
“If it’s under my classroom door when I get here on Monday, I’ll grade it as Friday”
No one ever thought Randy would be one of the ones to go on to brighter things.
Yet there he was off to Winnipeg and then Toronto.
She’d rarely taken a day off sick
Farmer’s daughter that she was
Crops and cows don’t know the word “burnout”
There had been the years she’d thought of giving up
Usually round about February
But always by the end of spring she’d renew her contract.
The new principle just might stick,
Fresh ideas but a good respect for “if it aint broke don’t fix it”.
She moves through the classroom now straightening desks
Preparing her furrows for another year.
Mr. Hoglund the caretaker will  be repainting this summer.
There’s rumors about computers but the board has to approve the budget.
She notices on her desk what she had not seen before
A little clay pot and in it
Gently taken from the prairie earth and living still
A treasure for her garden
A crocus
The little flower that comes every year
Small and sturdy
Roots running  into the prairie earth
All the sweeter having come through winter
Delicate and yet enduring
Back for another year

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Three Of Wands

Once again, time has gone by since my last post. Lots of activity around community events and such. Things that have taken me away from blogging, but good just the same to get out of my usual routines and participate in areas where I can be useful in other ways. I am following the suggestion of a friend who read my post on the three of pentacles and asked about my take on the three of wands. In some ways, my busy-ness has been a kind of three of wands experience.

I generally approach interpretation in a reading on not just the card itself, but what it is saying in relation to the other cards and also what it fits with in what I am receiving intuitively. Sometimes I find that the overall reading is summed up in a particular card and will go into that more in-depth. I always find a richness in Pamela Coleman Smith's illustrative skill (she was the artist who created the Rider Deck, under the guidance of Arthur Edward Waite).

When we look at the details of the card somethings become quickly apparent. The figure wears a circlet and a tartan. This lets us see that he is a ruler of a particular domain. He has climbed to a vantage point, with the aid of the staves, to look out beyond his known world at a vast sea, which has three ships sailing upon it.

In the Rider Imagery, the "great sea" is often representative of life beyond our comfort zone. The realm of the future, full of risk and potential. Lets remember that in the medieval period that is used in illustration, going to sea was a great life risk. Entire fortunes could be made or lost on just a single voyage. So for our little clan chieftain this is an area of great concern. It means going beyond the idea of  being a big fish in a little pond. risking commerce and trade with the wider world. No matter how big we think we've become, there's always an experience that's greater. A truly great person is someone who is willing to acknowledge what is greater than themselves and learn from it.

So my usual take on the three is to see it as an opportunity, a doorway into that experience. If what we have attained thus far has given us useful tools we will be able to negotiate through the challenges. It's a reminder too that success is an ongoing process, we don't stay fit on yesterday's exercise. Our growth involves ongoing challenge. Sometimes too we have to let go and let a process work itself through, once we have begun to venture forward it is very hard to just go back to our old ideas of limitations.

A big part of all of the threes is interaction and the emergence of patterns, putting our concepts into action and relating our internal consciousness to the outside world. In the Celtic cross spread the third position is often seen as a start or the first emergence of an idea into actuality, often the basis of a question.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Paranormal / Energetic Disturbances

*Please note resources specializing beyond what I presently offer professionally in this area are mentioned at the bottom of this article. I will add to this as I become familiar with, or have further contact with other resources. I base these mentions on good feedback from others I trust, or my own firsthand connection with them. There are many approaches and beliefs that practitioners work with and I hope those in need find what works for them. I value feedback on these or other local resources and hope this is helpful. - Trev

Occasionally I am contacted by people who are having energetic disturbances in their homes (and lives). It seems a natural assumption that as I am a reader of energy I might be able to help. Although I am not what you could classify as a clairvoyant or medium (I'm more of an extra large), I have some sensitivity to these things and an objectivity to other possible causes that are more often the case. I only recommend treating the possibility of something being "paranormal" once all other causes of disturbance are ruled out. Sometimes I am able to be helpful in identifying these causes that are more a result of our own issues. Where these things might be more the result of something beyond our own explanation I encourage people to carefully seek out those who might specialize in that field (more on that later). Even then I would suggest that inner work is paramount to re-establishing our own well being. What my work is more tied into is the stuff we can change within ourselves. Often when we take care of that the rest falls into place. If you don't want to explore the possibility of inner work as a solution  and would rather just automatically blame an external "entity", or "bad luck", I'm not the reader for you.

I often come across some things in these areas of disturbance that can prove helpful and I will share a little of that here. I should mention that there are many different types of disturbance or activity that people can be experiencing. What people often assume to be a ghost or "entity" can, in many instances, be a projection of their own energies or trace energies left behind from other people. This is a lot like when you get squirrels in your attic and it can get dramatic and harder to clear if it is left uncared for or made worse if it starts playing off other conflicts in the environment. In the instances of something elemental or atmospheric being the cause, this often draws off these issues. The more we don't take responsibility for ourselves in these situations and let fear play out, the more the situation can escalate.

In many of theses instances, people are dealing with issues that are repressed BEFORE the odd activity starts. There are sometimes relationship issues, trauma, grief or conflicts around beliefs that contribute to the disturbance. Sometimes treating these things is all it takes to clear up the problem, a lot like if you leave crackers laying around you get mice, clean up the crumbs and the pests move on. Having your own healthy energy is like having a cat that scares off the mice. If you clean up the unresolved conflicts the energy patterns often clear themselves.

Sometimes what I call  a "stuck" energy pattern is playing off our own stuck stuff and it starts going back and forth. For some who are religious, by all means I'd say seek help from your particular faith path.  If however you aren't of a particular faith or have conflicts about it, then using these resources could just create more tension. A person who has had negative experiences in a particular faith path, reading aloud scripture or dogma they disagree with or feel intimidated by is sometimes only going to get further conflicted. Frankly you'd be better reading Winnie The Pooh (again just my experience).

If you have others in the home that seem to be dramatic about the problem, they may be (in all fairness unconsciously) holding on to whats going on. I have encountered a number of situations where the person this is centering on is, in a way, actually holding others hostage by being a victim to the situation. I'm certainly NOT saying this is always the case, but I've come across this as an explanation many times over the years.

If children are involved in the environment, it is highly important to not play into drama around them, likewise with people who are otherwise impressionable. The more people react to this, the more it feeds the negative pattern of things. For some emphasizing that we all have our own guardian energy and  being conscious of that creates a positive current. Sometimes this can be a great turning point for a person to get on track with positive things. If you watch a lot of scary movies or read murder mysteries and the like all the time you might want to refocus your attention. Are there things in the home that are positive and inspiring? Trying to treat energetic disturbance when anyone in the home is hanging on to unhealthy distraction (or addiction) or is dealing with any form of imbalance is only going to treat the surface of things (like spraying air freshener on a backed up sewer).

Again, I am not discounting what others experience as their truth about manifestations of energy. There are a lot of varying experiences out there. This is the realm of the living though and we DO have the right to our space. You wouldn't let a stranger walk into your home and throw things around or cause a fuss. Just because something seems to manifest in spirit doesn't give it the right to disrupt your life.

Unfortunately there are some who react to these situations with an immediate response that has a vested interest in finding something where there's nothing or very little. Ever notice that you never see the "Rescue Mediums" say "I don't think there's anything here". I will say that I LIKE that show, I'm not knocking it, in all fairness maybe they don't bother making a TV show out of those instances. But I also find "Paranormal State" and a lot of other TV shows frustrating in that they have people on them that seem to mean well, but my impression is they often make way more of things than they need to. Adding scary music and "dramatization" doesn't help and (in my opinion) only discredits those who DO energetic clearing and work conscientiously.

If you DO feel the need to call in a resource, as with any professional service, check around. Just as there are mechanics you'd take your car to when you hear a noise, there are some who have a great reputation for taking care of a small problem and not overcharging, (this is generally what I hear of in terms of good resources here in Winnipeg). There are others that will give you a whopping bill for stuff that really wasn't needed ( see the post on avoiding scams: "Curses, Foiled Again!"). Also I should mention that just because a person doesn't charge doesn't necessarily make them genuine. They could (again I'm trying to be fair) with good intention, be playing into their own need for things to be there that aren't or in some instances, their own aggrandizement. Be cautious. Straighten out as much as you can on a practical level. You just might find you're not as haunted as you think.

All this being said, I do respect that there are good resources out there - Again, Winnipeg seems to have quite a few that I have heard good things about, but not having had direct contact with some of them I cannot mention them here. These are people that I respect in that they seem to have helped a lot of people and deserve the good reputation they have. I have only offered here my experience on my own perceptional level.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Conferring on the Three Of Pentacles

I was talking with my friend Charley (Foxtower Photography - check him out on the left if you haven't already) a while ago about experiences around the Three of Pentacles. This is interesting as the Three of Pentacles itself is about sharing experience!

As I have mentioned before, I often study the relationship of numbers as well as elements. I look at what the threes all have in common. I also look at what "threeness" means to me (this is covered very nicely as a concept in Gail Fairfield's book "Choice Centered Tarot", it's in the "books on Tarot" link, under "Useful Resources" on the left of this page).

Threes overall to me are the first evidence of a pattern. I refer often to folk tales and the stories we hear as children, as these are an indicator of our patterns of awareness that are passed along. Often in a story we are given three examples, three lessons or, as in baseball, three strikes and your out! Threes are where we see connections and associations. These patterns continue and are arrived at again in the sixes ( a second cycle of three) and visited again in a very powerful, often imprinting way in the nines (the third three cycle).

The three of Pentacles is fascinating in how a concept is illustrated in more than one way. I often associate Pentacles with the inner business of ownership and accountability. The most mundane aspect is our material possessions and resources, but inwardly it is what has worth to us, what we truly "own".

This card shows three figures, a monk, an artisan and a merchant (his robe is an indication of his class). Each has his own sense of ownership in the work going on. For the Merchant, it may be his financial contribution, the limits of what he can spend or the recognition he may want in contributing. For the monk the building represents a physical manifestation of his faith and also the place he would be working in on a day to day basis. The artisan, is concerned with his own take on the process, perhaps the resources he has to work with.

In order for the work to go on, each of these elements has to have a point of agreeing. None can tell the other how to do his job exactly but they can have a common ground. This may be challenging, what looks good on paper (the blue print they are holding) may be more than they thought in the actual carrying out of the task, but if they can remain centred they each will grow from the experience and that's part of the inner building that goes on.

All of this is illustrated again in the structure itself. Notice the three concentric rings that have the pentacles themselves in them. They are within what looks like a delicate arch, but is in fact holding up a great deal of weight. they don't intrude on one another, if they did the structure would collapse, but they do have a tiny ring in the centre of them. This is the unifying concept that holds it all together.

In a reading this card can be an indicator of interactive work, sometimes a job that opens up new experience, or a ground floor opportunity that allows someone to share in an entirely new way. We can't get too "uppity" in our experience, an artisan can't tell a monk how to do his job. There has to be mutual respect of differing ideals but common principles. I always like to remember that one of the first words they teach kids in school or on Sesame Street is CO-OPERATE!

I've noticed some of my greatest growth experiences aren't necessarily where Ive been with people who entirely agree with my ideas or my take on things, but rather in a spirit of fellowship, different perspectives come together around a concept. There is a Fraternal or brotherly feeling to this card, (this is interesting as there is a Sororal or sisterly energy to the Three of Cups, which I will talk about anon). I often find this energy around collaborations, say a group getting together to work on a community concept. Someone has a vision, someone has a practical outlook and someone has some experience with the carrying out of things. Maybe it's like some charitable stuff I've been involved in where someone wants to do some work to serve a need, someone has connections and someone just wants to write off a surplus they have. If these things can come together, not necessarily in complete agreement but in a tenuous vision, then we have something to work with.

This is a lot like how some systems of government have to work. Here in Canada we have a parliamentary system where different parties have to have a majority on an issue in order to get things done, or work issue by issue to work out agreements.

Maybe it's unintentionally timely that I am posting this on the eve of Britain's elections where their  parties are in a precarious balance. What we call in Canada a "minority government",  they call a "hung parliament" as the winning party does not have Carte Blanche to do what it pleases, but rather must work out and negotiate on an issue by issue basis.

Let's hope that they, like the rings on the card I am talking about, can remember how much rests on their agreement.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Catching up with this...

It's been a busy month. April flew by and with one thing and another I've been remiss in posting. Not a single thing since March! Probably the latest news is that CBC Information radio did a series on "Urban Myths -psychic neighborhoods" and profiled a number of people in the city and I was honored to have been contacted. There was a lot of discussion about various forms of reading and some things about paranormal activity that are outside my realm of work. I can only comment on my own experience and am not familiar with some of the other things that were under discussion.

For my own part it went well, I found the reporter open and comfortable to talk to. I was asked at one point about people being skeptical and I think that goes with the job. I have to be open to skepticism, I also dont encourage blind faith. I think it's always best to approach reading as "food for thought" and as something that works in compliment to a person's own intuitive awareness. I'm glad that came across.

In other areas, I was pretty busy helping with some community things. Did some backstage work for some events that friends were involved in. I serve on the board for a community group and volunteer around a social club, occasionally doing readings for charity that I mention here when they are coming up. Between all that and an early start on my garden (Lola helped of course) I've been fairly busy, but I hope to catch up on some tarot  and inspirational posts soon.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Smidgens Of Serenity

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference". -Reinhold Niebuhr

Most people don't know who wrote the serenity prayer, or think it is entire in the form above (it's not, theres more to it which you can find in the link above ) and consider it non denominational (when you see the entire form you see it's not). Some think it is a magic mantra to be riding above it all, then think they've failed somehow or that it doesn't work. It's universal popularity though points to a great value in it.

I love this prayer, I have been saying it most of my life but I have come to understand it in my own way. I like to read the fine print before I sign a contract and I'm careful what I ask the universe for, cuz it just might be listening.I am by no means an authority on prayer. This is just my own take, please take it constructively, if you care to at all.

If you've been saying the serenity prayer and are feeling you just arent getting it because you aren't serene, courageous or wise, stop and read the thing again.I don't know anyone who can entirely claim to be serene, courageous or wise.When I say the serenity prayer, the idea is that I am asking for and may be granted (granted, as in LOANED) just enough serenity (maybe a smidgen) to have the sense to accept what isn't in my power to change (like the weather, or where others are at in their lessons), enough courage to be self accountable enough to stop seeing myself as stuck and maybe see that others are going through similar things and then to be interested in how and ultimately to be motivated to do something about what I can (which usually proves to be rather satisfying, even fun) and finally just non stupid enough to not bang my head against a brick wall about it all.
Bear in mind that the alternative to acceptance is denial, the alternative to change (however scary) is stagnation and the rest is really a no brainer.

So if you aren't in too much denial, are willing to work with what might be growing out of an experience and not wasting too much energy feeling like you have to have it all figured out immediately, just seeing the next few right things to do, then you're getting it.

No doubt there are others who are better and worse at it, but we make our own prizes every day. I try to see the things that make me reach for the desire in this prayer as opportunities for compassion, things that wake me up and say "what's really important" and as the cornerstones of some of the best friendships in my life.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Random thoughts on "The Star"

When our expectations have been rattled, when our status-quos fall short, what then? In the previous post on The Tower, I mentioned the Star. This is a beautiful and inspiring symbol. We think of a star on a dressing room door, "when you wish upon a star", "thank your lucky stars", when you do well in elementary school you get a gold star on your work.

All of these associations are bits of what the star card can refer to on a superficial level. They're nice things we don't need to dismiss, but there's something deeper that I often see to it. As I mentioned before, the stars from ancient times have been used for navigation. They are a reference point beyond our worldly conditions that tell us where we are at and a reminder of things. Science tells us that the light from the stars we see may have long since burned out at it's point of origin, but who can say how far that light will travel before it is ever unsee-able? Ok I might be getting a bit too deep here, but in the context of a reading the Star card is like a flash of insight, a higher "nudge" that helps us move forward.

The saying that "we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but rather spiritual beings having a human experience" comes to mind. When we can, however briefly, put aside our egocentric ideas of what we are and what's important, the star symbolizes that recognition of not just what we can become but what we truly are. For most of us this is a fleeting insight. C.S. Lewis (who I have blogged about before and respect) tells us that most vision is usually followed by a sort of trough period. From his own experience and that of many others who have known both the preceding trials that led to a vision as well as the struggles afterward he concluded that living with a vision didn't always necessarily have the luxury of a certainty in it, but rather that we have to live "as if it might be true".

In William James "Varieties Of Religious Experience", the theory is that a spiritual experience is not measured in it's drama or sensationalism. It's validity is in what it motivates us to do. Sometimes this can be an earth shattering vision, more often it is those little glimpses that move us to be part of great things that need to be done. In the film "Schindler's List" the title character does not initially set out to be heroic, he starts out as a capitalist who sees an opportunity in using concentration camp inmates in his factories. Along the way though, something in him wakes up and what some see as a miracle goes on, a bit at a time. Later near the end of the story he laments that he could not see it sooner, "how many more could I have saved" he asks. But remember what he was up against. Would it have worked had he known? I believe Creation  can work though our foibles. We are often best just given the little glimpses.

 Another way to look at it; have you ever tried to look directly at a star? Sometimes we need to see it out of the corner of our eye. Even when you can focus on it clearly, how well do you think you could walk through a dark forest while looking at a star? You would trip over every root and branch. What we often have to do is glimpse and travel, glimpse and travel. The saying "be in this world, but not of it" comes to mind. We are here for an important experience, we need to at times get caught up in things, go to the fair, eat too many corn dogs, go on all the rides, but not get so caught up that we get lost in it. Sometimes we have to go through the Tower's upheaval, like falling off the Ferris wheel before we come back to this awareness. Hmm a Wheel Of Fortune reference? Perhaps, but that will have to wait til another post!