A Natural Response to Joy
     From the Morgan-Greer Tarot, the Ace of Cups:
Morgan-Greer's version of the Ace of Cups is one of the most beautiful to me.  The dove represents my Higher Self, that within me where ego does not exist.  The glow coming from the cup is the compassion that is able to rise when my cup is full and overflowing.  The five streams of water represent the joy of fulfillment - spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically.  The fifth stream is the joy I have to pour out to others.  It does not come from feeling obligated or being needy (as in "I must do for others to feel worthy."), but from a place of gratitude.  When I give from this place of true compassion, it refills rather than depletes my cup.  It is not a struggle (like the lotus trying to reach the light), but a natural response to life.

     From the Goddesses and Sirens Oracle comes "Gaia/Creation:"
The authors suggest a meaning in their booklet about this Earth goddess that seems quite in harmony with today's tarot card: "Allow yourself to create in joy, not because of pressure."  Whether I'm trying to solve a problem, bake a cake, or draw in my nature journal, I enjoy it much more when I don't put time restraints on myself.  Usually when I do this, it's because there is something else on my "to do" list that I think is a priority.  What a way to suck the fun out of things!  Today I'll try to keep in mind that the world has never come to a halt because I didn't accomplish all I set out to do.

Tending to What Matters
     From the Morgan-Greer Tarot, the King of Pentacles:
A successful businessman, this king has lots of practical wisdom to share.  He knows there are no short-cuts, and that competent, hard work will eventually pay off.  But there is one thing I like about the Morgan-Greer version of this king - he's not sitting on some throne surrounded by comforts and pleasures.  He's out in the field checking on his crop of grapes.  I have no doubt that he's aware if they need more water, additional fertilizer, or help with a pest problem.  He may have created a flourishing enterprise, but he wants it to stay that way, so he's there first-hand to keep an eye on things.  He reminds me that even though I might be headed on the right path to meet my goals, I need to avoid complacency.  There'll be no resting on my laurels today.

     From the Gods and Titans Oracle comes "Ra/Power:"
Ra was an Egyptian solar deity, and so the authors have associated him with power, much like that of the sun.  Though I don't have a battery, I do need to recharge on a daily basis.  Just like the grapes growing in the king's field above, I need to tend my "soil" as well.  Getting my basic needs meet - good food, enough rest, and exercise - are a start, but I need more.  Sometimes the joy of being outdoors or laughing with friends infuses me with energy; other times I need quiet, introspective moments to turn within.  These activities will help keep me going when I'm feeling drained.

Warm and Fuzzy vs. Frightening
     From the Morgan-Greer Tarot, the Five of Wands:
There's nothing quite so challenging as bringing people together with multiple opinions about how to get things done.  For a perfect example, just look at all the money and time Congress wastes trying to come to some mutual agreement.  Yet when I look at the staves in the card above, I see that they are all sprouting oak leaves, symbolizing that all these people have creative ideas to bring to the table.  While I don't need to toss out my thoughts altogether, I would do well to listen with an open mind to others too.  Our combined effort might just bring about something much better than any individual might propose.

     From the Gods and Titans Oracle comes "Anubis/Protection:"
Anubis was the patron god of Egyptian embalmers who watched over and protected the dead.  This jackal-headed god doesn't look very warm and fuzzy.  His appearance reminds me of a story I read about a woman who visited India and saw a woman worshipping an image of Kali, with her necklace of severed heads and bloody sword.  The tourist asked why the woman would chose such a frightening image to represent the divine.  The Hindu woman replied, "If you wanted a protector, would you choose one who looked meek or one who looked powerful?"  Anubis teaches me to keep a stone face and stiff upper lip even if my heart is racing and my knees are knocking.  People might not be quite so eager to try to run over or intimidate me, as we try to reach a decision or make a plan.  

Simply Irresistible
     From the Morgan-Greer Tarot, the Six of Cups:
What is the past but what we choose to remember? ~ Amy Tan
For some reason this particular card made me think of looking through a box of old photographs, and all the feelings that come up as a result.  Some I see and think, "Those were some good times," and feel grateful.  Others photos remind me of a pain or hurt, and I experience that same feeling all over again.  Then there are those (like the one of me in a bikini) that make me long for what I had and lost.  Memories can trigger all kinds of emotions; today I choose to focus on those that bring me gratitude rather than regret or anguish.

     From the Goddesses and Sirens Oracle this morning comes "Freya / Irresistibility:"
The keyword for this goddess made me laugh out loud.  At my age, I have a hard time thinking of myself as sexy and irresistible.  But the authors make a point to say that the Norse goddess Freya has something else going for her besides her sensuality that makes her attractive to others - her optimistic confidence.  Combined with the tarot card above, my lesson here is that the past doesn't have to predict the present or the future of my life.  I have the power to make new choices and change my behavior.  My decision to act with Freya's poise and assurance could boost my mood as well as my outlook.

Focusing on My Own Adventure
     From the Morgan-Greer Tarot, the Page of Pentacles:
This young man is often known as "the student," and while most cards show him gazing intently at the coin in his hand, this fellow is gazing off into the horizon.  I have a love of reading and learning, but what I can't tolerate is information packaged for mass consumption designed to be force-fed to the person studying it.  I want to be like this Page; I want information that will make me dream about possibilities, that will make me so curious and full of wonder I want to learn more, and that will allow me to ask questions and express doubts.  I want to be an explorer on an exciting adventure when I seek knowledge.

     From the Gods and Titans Oracle comes "Ull/Focus:"
Ull is the Norse God of Marksmen known for his intense focus, stamina, and skill to hit his target.  I instantly thought of "the Hawk" from the Avengers when I saw him.  As someone who meditates, I know how easy it is to lose my center and become distracted by a multitude of dramas, most of which I have no control over.  I may be able to offer encouragement and suggestions, but that's where my influence ends.  I must not get so sidetracked and preoccupied that I forget to give my life the attention it deserves.

Opportunities and Commitment
     This week I'll be using the Morgan-Greer Tarot, created by Lloyd Morgan and Bill Greer.  Today's draw is the Ace of Pentacles:
Red roses (passion, desire) and white lilies (purity, focus) flank an archway that leads to a mountain in the distance.  The hand with the pentacle is an offering, an opportunity that offers me physical help - finances, energy/time, or health.  The bottom line is I must be willing to do something to take advantage of this option.  There's no taxi or helicopter waiting to take me to the top of the mountain.  I've got to walk the path and make the climb myself.

     The oracle deck I'll be using this week is a combination of two decks: Gods & Titans and Goddesses & Sirens, both created by Stacey Demarco and Jimmy Manton.  This morning's card is "Hera/Commitment:"
Hera was the Greek goddess of women and marriage, and being married to Zeus, the queen of Olympus.  Her husband was know for his infidelity, and Hera for her jealousy, yet she had a job to do as a goddess regardless.  This card encourages me to get off the fence post - either commit to what I say I want to do, or move on to something else.  If something is not worthy of my loyalty, I don't need to complain or get angry about it.  There are plenty more areas where I can focus my attention and effort. 

Different Sources of Gratitude
     From the Tarot of Timeless Truth, the Ten of Pentacles:
On a mountaintop, a woman opens her arms expansively, welcoming the new morning.  There is no castle with servants, only a hut made of hides, her family, and her dog.  Yet the smiles are indicative of a sense of gratefulness for their simple life.  They have all they need - shelter, warm clothes, a fire, and each other.  And what a view they have each day!  I am reminded that beauty, fulfilled basic needs, and people who love me are what make me a wealthy woman, regardless of all the other "stuff" I own.

     From the Rune Cards comes "Yew/Eihwaz:"
The yew is a tree with rough bark,
hard and fast in the earth, supported by its roots,
a guardian of flame and a joy upon an estate.

~ Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem
Yews have been thought to be a gateway to the Underworld, and as such often represent initiation and transformation.  The booklet lists the following as meanings of this rune: "a reassessment of values and the way you wish to live your life, a change of direction."  There's nothing like living in hell for a period of time, then discovering you've been granted a reprieve, even if temporary.  Whether the pain is physical or emotional, it does have the power to change me, and make me grateful with a new outlook.

Seeing and Accepting
     From the Tarot of Timeless Truth, Judgment:
Here the Universe (depicted as a woman) shows a young lady the truth about herself.  Her strengths and her weaknesses, her actions and their consequences, are laid bare.  It is not meant as a moment of shame, but a time to see clearly so she can move forward, using her assets to work on her flaws.  The goal is not perfection, but a willingness to grow.  I also don't need to emulate someone else, to become a carbon copy of them.  I should strive to do as Stephen Gaskin states:  "You have to be true to yourself, but you have to be true to your best self, not to the self that secretly thinks you are better than other people."

     From the Rune Cards comes "Sun/Sowilo:"
Sun ever proves a joy to seamen
when they cross the fish-bath-sea,
till the brine-steed brings them to land.

~Anglo-Saxon Rune poem
In this image, the sun pierces through dark storm clouds, bringing light to the voyagers on the ocean.  I generally get up before the sun rises, and when I venture outside, I'm always surprised when what I think I see turns out to be something else.  For instance this morning, what I thought was a pinecone turned out to be a large toad.  Light shines in the shadows, helping me to see what I need to acknowledge.  Once accepted, it can help me navigate with greater clarity and purpose.



Requirements of Love
     From the Touchstone Tarot, the Two of Cups:
Regardless of how much I think I have in common with someone, there will always be differences.  Here the male and female figures emphasize finding harmony even though there may be divergent opinions and ideas.  Does this partnership bring me joy (as shown by the two dolphins in the background), or does it bring me only sorrow?  Must I compromise my integrity in this relationship, or is there a sense of respect for each other's ethics and boundaries?  I prefer peace and accord, and I can bend and shape my opinions if needed.  But I must make sure I do not make malleable those parts of me that are important.  True love won't require that of me.

     From the Rune Cards comes the "Oak/Ac:"
The oak on earth to the sons of men is food for flesh.
It often fares over the gannet's bath, and there the ocean
tests whether the oak honours the trust we place in it.
What impresses me about this oak is that even though it's dropped a huge limb, it's still producing a crop of acorns.  This rune does not deal with strength as much as it does endurance (think of a charging buffalo as opposed to a mountain).  No relationship is worth hanging onto if it can't persevere through a few stormy seas.  If it's a worthy alliance, weathering such problems will only make it stronger.

Connecting or Dividing
     From the Tarot of Timeless Truth, the Lovers:
Vey created a nontraditional image for the Lovers; instead of two people with an angel overhead, or one person making a choice between two others, she incorporates the universe.  Vey's interpretation of this card involves connections and relationships with everyone and everything.  Sad to say, but most humans could probably find more in common with their pet than their neighbor.  Humans just seem wired to look for differences rather than what is mutally shared among us.  I must actively make a choice to see what connects me rather than divides me from my world.

     From the Rune Cards, "Woden/Ansuz:"
Woden (aka Odin) was the Norse supreme god associated with war, poetry, prophecy, and wisdom.  The rune Ansuz  is linked to the mouth, breath and speech, persuasion and inspiration.  It reminds me of the power of words - they can be used to heal, pass on knowledge, and create partnerships.  Or, they can be used to hurt, deceive, and start wars.  Its so easy to speak, but so much harder to think carefully before those words come out of my mouth...


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