Sunday, August 23, 2015

Hubris

Today, my friends, I am struck by the desire to talk about hubris. I've always been fascinated by hubris, religious and societal. I find it hilarious. Honestly, I giggle every time my dog becomes incensed, stops right in front of me, and poops on the carpet. I know this does nothing to prevent him from doing it again in future, however, the fact that he knows he's being bad, he knows he'll be punished, and he goes ahead and does it anyway is one of the funniest things I've ever experienced.

Hubris makes me laugh. Not nervous, oh-my-God-I'd-better-step-away-so-I-don't-get-caught-in-the-lightning-smiting laughter. No, I have real, from the belly, shakes the whole body peals of delighted guffaws. I find it wildly entertaining that people know they will be smote, by karma, God, or society, and still go ahead and do some things anyway. It's rather like watching someone pee on an electric fence. Others may throw stones, but I grab the popcorn, sit back, and wait to be entertained by the hand of Fate. It's better than HBO.

In our community, we are well versed in the Rule of Three, whether we are practicing pagans or Christian church-going folk. Everyone knows this rule. Every religion has some version of the Golden Rule, the most important of all teachings. the pagan/Wiccan version being "harm none," the Christian version be "whatsoever you do unto the least of my brothers, you do unto me" or "love thy neighbor." Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, everybody has this rule.

Still, hubris abounds, providing hours of entertainment with a simple Google search (I regularly watch the kicked cat drop a flowerpot on its owner's head) or phone call to grandma to hear the latest poop about yea olde hometown. What goes around comes around and all that.

It still surprises - nay, delights - me that some hubris is so overt. Those "how dumb can you be" moments that give one pause to just stare and hope that social Darwinism will weed out the gene pool (no worries, I've already been weeded - there will be no little Mels laughing at the hubris of others). One such moment happened this week when my grandma came to visit the dog and me. I grew up in one of those towns where everyone knows everyone's business. In this town, one black mark against your reputation could follow you until the day you die. It's a town with its own rules, customs, and hostility towards those who "don't understand how things work around here."

A common custom in this town is an unspoken accord between neighbors, gentlemen's agreements about property lines dating back decades, if not hundreds of years, for which there has never been any need for something so official as an "easement." Some of the old gentlemen's agreements are going down on paper now, but most neighbors still care little if this neighbor's shed is one foot over their property line. The shed is there. It's always been there. If it is still standing a hundred years from now, nobody's going to say boo about it.

Everyone's property overlaps everyone's property, sometimes in the weirdest, most illogical ways, as only a town that has been settled since the 1800s can be. There are perhaps 20 large families to which everyone is related by birth or through marriage. Everyone knows what your grandfather did for a living, whether you distinguished yourself in school, and especially if you made trouble.

My uncle (the deacon) and my aunt (the popular Catholic school principal - do keep in mind the Catholic church is the largest in town, serving at least half the 20,000 population) had a legacy gentlemen's agreement with an old Victorian house cum law office, with which they share a driveway entrance. It has always been this way. They are the third owners of their home, and for nearly 100 years, no one who has owned their home has had any problems with the family-owned law office next door, with which they share a driveway entrance. The old Victorian law office's drive entrance actually serves as the entrance to the drives of 2 residential homes.

Recently, the owner of the old Victorian, a second-generation lawyer who had taken over his father's practice, retired and sold his business to a woman who "doesn't understand how things work." That isn't to say she isn't perfectly justified and in her legal right to demand that my aunt and uncle lay down their own driveway and stop using the aforementioned entrance they'd shared for a century. She is perfectly in her right. However, the hubris of it, knowing my hometown as I do, makes me giggle.

Even though I am loathe to leave my Fortress of Solitude in Burnsville, the imp in me wants to drive home to Hastings and park myself on the facing sidewalk, just to see the commotion when a backhoe suddenly shows up on my uncle's lawn. My uncle, who is part-manager of THE local charity foundation, a deacon, and a regular Habitat for Humanity contributor and worker, is needless to say just as well-known as his wife. Since my mother and her siblings never left Hastings, everyone knows that Dr. Mick is the son of Dr. Mel (yes, I was named after him), and used to practice dentistry at my grandfather's practice, now run by Dr. Steve, which serves at least a fourth of the community. Seeing Dr. Mick tearing up his yard is, as you can imagine, cause for a great big stir. People will stop. These are not people who will just look. These are people who have a vested interest in the community, are part of its inner workings, serve on God knows how many boards for banks and the hospital and the church. These are people who ask questions, and will be incensed to the point of righteous indignation to see the gentlemen's agreement broken, and Dr. Mick burdened so.

Remember, the Victorian is a law office. It is my understanding that a law office thrives on the business it receives. I want to sit on a lawn chair, crack open a Coke, and see the new lawyer get exactly what she wanted - an empty parking lot. As I said, she is absolutely in her right to deny my aunt and uncle an easement. I simply question her sanity.

I become downright flummoxed as to her survival skills when other factors are considered. My aunt and uncle do not entertain more than one friend at a time. Being part of my mother's side, even their large gatherings do not get louder than the conversation at a funeral brunch, and end by 8 pm. My cousins are both grown and out of the house, so there are no small children running around. Even the dog is very well-behaved, because Dr. Mick would not have it any other way. The Victorian, and all of Hastings, knows that Dr. Mick has had his home on the market, so that he and his wife can retire to their lake home in Wisconsin. In deference to their respect for the Victorian's previous owner, they likely turned down offers on their beautiful home from prospective buyers who would have upset the tranquility of the neighborhood. I doubt they will honor such an unspoken accord now, and anticipate a group of loud, largely-unsupervised hellions will be gallivanting through the Victorian's prim bushes in a matter of months. I want to sit on the sidewalk, sip my Coke, and indulge in a little schadenfreude as I watch all this unfold.

I want to wave to the new lawyer as she realizes, with no small amount of horror, that one or two cars from the family once or twice a month in her otherwise desolate parking lot, is the very least of her worries, as her law office is parked RIGHT across the street from Todd Field, and football season is about to dawn. Football is a big deal in Hastings, and everyone goes out to support the team. Her parking lot will be overrun by loud, screaming teenagers and pop-dumping strangers trying to park as close to the field as they can.

The imp in me wants to copy all the Space for Rent advertisements in the "Star Gazette" in not one, but at least three different business villages within Hastings, and leave them next to empty beer cans, hot dog wrappers, pom-pom fluff, and blue-and-gold grease paint streaks that are about to adorn her blacktop wasteland.

Alas, I will likely only hear about it from my grandmother who, through the hospital auxiliary and all her friends from her many years of volunteer work, will have eyes and ears on the situation for decades to come, long after Dr. Mick and his wife have moved away. Three generations after you die, there are still some things for which the community has no forgiveness.

It is best to know such things before setting up shop there. As I said, I marvel at her lack of survival skills, and almost feel sorry for the wrath that is about to be visited upon her. Not an overt wrath. It is a quiet, slow, cold wrath that only this community can conjure, that one may not even be aware of until they have been completely frozen out.

In short, my friends, don't crap where you eat.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Harvest

 
Welcome friends.  Once again, I am on the hop, this one for Lammas.  We last left our intrepid writer/claims adjuster/Tarot reader/friendly neurotic, things looked rather bleak.  Luckily, I have had a very good month, reintegrated some of my healthier life habits of old, and am feeling much better.

This is one of my favorite disk cards from my first and still favorite deck, the Tarot of Transformation.  I think this one best embodies (pun intended) this last turn of the wheel for me. 



I know the usual Five of Disks pictures two people left out in the cold outside a church.  The card to the left was actually my first introduction to the Five of Disks - that of joyful release and celebration of form.

Ironically, it was my refusal to seek help, which I clearly needed - a need exemplified in a traditional Five of Pentacles card - that kept me stuck.  I learned from Nancy Antenucci that there are two religions - Love and Fear, and that you cannot serve both.  It's one of those concepts that's easy on paper but surprisingly hard in practice.  How do you know when you are serving Fear?  When does self-preservation turn into self-sabotage?  Can you even pinpoint the moment you lost your balance?  And is finding something to blame for it really that important, or is it possible to just accept you've stumbled and move on?

In all, I have reaped much wisdom these last months.  My hope is that your Lammas is offering an equally bountiful harvest to all of you.

If you did not come from there, please visit the blog before mine:

Christiana Gaudet - http://tarottrends.com/content/pentacles-fruits-harvest

Otherwise, next on the hop is:

Sandie Worthy - http://wp.me/pIIBV-kg

If there is a break in the chain, the Master List can be found at:

http://kareenatarot.blogspot.in/2012/07/tarot-blog-hop-master-list-for-aug-1.html

(And do drop a special thanks to Kareena Narwani for herding the cats this time around.)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Celebrate the Sunrise

Hi all!  Welcome back to the Tarot Blog Hop arranged, this time, by Chloë McCracken (http://www.innerwhisperscouk.blogspot.com/).  This month's topic is "Celebrate the Sunrise" and centered around Litha, the longest day of the year. 

This is also probably the shortest blog I've ever done.  I thought of doing a spread or waxing poetic about the many sunrises and sunsets I've seen, but then this has found me at least five times over the last month, and considering I'd never seen it before, I've decided the Litha message that wishes to speak through me is simply this:


Keep looking

at the bandaged place.

That's where

the Light enters you.


-- Rumi

Be grateful for your wounds, my friends.

If the chain is broken, please visit:


For the master list.

Hopefully, you arrived here via Donna L. Faber:


To continue the hop, please visit Teresa Deak:


Until next time, be strong, and embrace the light that comes in through your cracks.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Piracy is the Highest Form of Flattery?

The other day Nance e-mailed me to let me know something disturbing had happened with regard to Psychic Tarot.  Apparently, we've been pirated!

As the author of nine other books (all of them nonfiction educational books for children), this is definitely a first for me.  On  the one hand, I am very hopeful that our wonderful publisher, Llewellyn, grabs these people by the throat and shakes them until their necks snap.  Or perhaps something less violent, more in line with the spirit of the Rule of Three, but nonetheless equally effective.

On the other hand, that the book is popular enough to have drawn pirates is no small matter.  I don't encourage, endorse, or otherwise condone someone going out now and posting .PDF versions of Black Mambas all over the internet, but I am continually proud and grateful to have involved with the Psychic Tarot book and am inspired by the comments we receive back about it.  So far, the book has done more than reach that one poor soul in Montana without access to other Tarot resources that we hoped it would help.

That said, if you're thinking it doesn't hurt us to pirate the book, let me draw you a picture.  I currently work 50 hours a week as a claims adjuster, produce 3-4 other books a year, and still can't afford my own apartment.  Going in, I've always known that for the vast majority of authors, it will always be a labor of love.  The percentage of writers who actually make a living from the trade is very small.  So yes, it does hurt very much when your book gets pirated.  Though, I have to say, it was a rite of authorship passage I'd never expected.

Thank you all for your continued support.  We love that you love Psychic Tarot.  Keep the comments coming, but please, do buy the book (new, used, electronic, Christmas wish list).

We never tire of hearing from you, and wish you great success with your Psychic Tarot journey.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Fire Tends to All

From the moment this topic was posted on the Tarot Blog Hop to this past Sunday, I have been trying to puzzle out my aversion to it.  As always, I watched the trend of my life, asked for guidance, sought synchronicity, and still my brain resisted "The Fire Tends to All."

It's a beautiful sentiment, and desperately I wanted to feel the quiet joy its messenger Andrew McGregor (http://www.thehermitslamp.com/2012/04/beltane-2012-bloghop/) found in it when he chose it for our topic.  (Do go along and thank him for herding the cats this time!)

I stopped at the Facebook page at least three times a week, gritting my teeth and wracking my brain every time I saw it.  The more I saw it, the more by back went up and my teeth gnashed together.  If you can believe it, over this same time, I managed to miss a few important parallels that would have explained my frustration if I hadn't had my nose pressed right up against the tree.  I'd go to work, where it turns out I am so good at my job I will be "laterally" moving into a position with ten times the responsibility and stress.  I'm excited, but I'm sure most of you understand the definition of "lateral" on the pay scale.  Then I'd come home and look at this topic, scowl, and go to bed.

Upon waking, I would return the texts from my cousin wondering if I knew if I had any book deals in the pipeline, as this will basically define whether or not we can move out together, as I will be absorbing 80-90% of the rent and utilities responsibilities.  Then I would fire up ye olde laptop, surf Craigslist for a part-time job I might be able to take on to get me closer to "our" goal, go to Facebook, glower at the blog topic, and wander off to work.

After returning from work, I would listen patiently as my mother tried to convince me the cure for all my ills is a trip with her to Spain.  For which I would not have to pay a cent.  Except that there must be something I can contribute.  And while I tried to tune out the roar in my ears, I went to Facebook, played Bubble Witch, and skated through the Blog Hop topic again, rolling my eyes and kicking myself for it being so difficult for me to figure out.

Lather, rinse, repeat.  For over a month.  And still, the lightbulb did not so much as flicker.

Then Sunday came, and I went out for coffee with a friend I haven't really spoken to for a decade.  She was talking about how she was between jobs, but had used the time to rekindle old passions.

"What are you reading?" she asked, knowing of old that I'd always been an avid reader.

I blinked at her.  "I'm... between genres at the moment.  I don't think I've read anything in...."  I shrugged.  It's been months.

"Oh," she said.  "Well, I'm also getting back into music.  I remember you did music."

When she knew me, I sang and played piano.  "No," I reluctantly admitted.  "I haven't done anything with music in... well...."  It's been over a year since I've touched the piano and I rarely sing, even for my own enjoyment, anymore.

"I'm also biking... and playing pool... and dancing...."  To my abject horror, the list went on and on.

I said the only thing I could.  "Wow."

"What are you doing?" she finally asked, truly curious.

"Uh," I said, "basically I eat, sleep, and work."

It was a stomach-wrenching moment of truth.  The lightbulb in my head fairly exploded, and I could vividly recall several conversations over the past month where I couldn't figure out how people could get so caught up in tending to other people that they completely neglected the basic necessities of self care.

I hated this topic because I knew I'd been tending everyone's fires - except my own.

And I know I'm not the only one.  So if you're reading this and you can feel the niggle of your own "aha" moment, for the love of God go get a massage.  Walk through a park, hug a dog, dance in your livingroom or go have a fancy dinner for absolutely no reason at all.  You deserve it, you're worth it, and above all else, you need it.

Tend the flame, my friends.

************

If you didn't come from there, the blog before mine is:

http://www.donnaleigh.com/apps/blog/show/13682627-tending-to-your-fire-tarot-blog-hop

To continue the hop, please go ahead to:

http://www.lavonneparker.com/apps/blog/

If the chain has been broken, the list in order can be found at:

http://www.thehermitslamp.com/2012/05/beltane-bloghop-masterlist-2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ostara

I'm back on the hop! And just in time for an Easter-themed post.

This time the theme for the Tarot Blog Hop is Ostara: Paint a Journey with New Life.

As I am mostly a Tower girl and a Tower reader (I rarely get people who are curious about a career change or home improvement. As Kali's sometimes willing minion, I mostly read for people who are one more bit of bad news shy of coming undone). So first I had to have a little giggle over the theme.

However, undaunted by current life circumstance, the Tarot reader rides forth to meet the challenge of Paint a Journey with a New Life. This time, I have chosen to do a spread.



I'm calling this the Ostara spread and am adding it to the Little Golden Book of Spreads. For those of you new to this blog, I'm a bit of a create-your-own-spread nut. Today is no different.

Also, I'm a bit of an organic reader. I let the vision dictate the spread, then work out the message later. (I just heard the screams of a hard core traditionalist in the background. Please refer to the "Psychic Tarot" book in the upper lefthand corner and make a hasty exit at this time if you were hoping I was going to solemnly intone the Rider-Waite meanings or even read out the Tarot of Transformation meanings of any of these cards. Love you all, bow to your superior accumulated knowledge, am actually in awe of it. But we don't serve that here.)

The intent of the above spread was Painting a Journey with New Life.

Lay the above spread starting at the lower left (the cards should slightly overlap). When you've laid three cards up the left side, continue back down (cards 3 & 4 are touching each other, 5 & 6 continue down the other side to mirror cards 1 & 2 opposite). Card 7 is drawn last and placed at the top.

Cards 1 & 6 (and 2 & 5) represent needs (1 & 2) and resulting actions (5 & 6) that were attempted in the past to bring about life change that did not pan out. In the second attempt (2 & 5), you can see you were brought closer to your goal, even if the action itself did not result in the life journey you were looking for.

Cards 3 & 4 represent an open path that would get you onto the life path you wish to be on. Card 3 is the need (as Cards 1 & 2 were past needs) and Card 4 is the action (as Cards 5 & 6 were actions taken based on past needs).

Card 7 is a message from the Divine regarding your life path.

I like this spread because it honors past actions as necessary in having gotten one to this point (even though they didn't pan out at the time), as well as offers advice on which of the many paths open to you on this point you should concentrate on. We all have a multitude of spokes that keep our wheel balanced and rolling. From the big issues: Do I need to concentrate on my career? My love life? My family? My health? To the more precise issues: Should I get a hobby? If I take on another hobby, how will that affect my social life? My time with my husband? My time to make healthy food that nourishes my body rather than running through the nearest drive-thru to conserve my time and energy?

It's often difficult to decide, or sometimes even notice, in the hectic whirr of it all which spoke might have weakened and needs the most immediate attention.

In order to create new life, move forward, and strengthen your path, this spread or any healthy dose of Tarot will help you see what needs doing and envision a healthy, balanced road ahead.

***

If you haven't already, please visit Kareena who came before me:

http://kareenatarot.blogspot.com/2012/03/tarot-blog-hop-ostara-paint-journey.html

Or continue the hop by visiting October:

http://readingsbyoctober.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/tarot-blog-hop-ostara-paint-a-journey-with-new-life-26-2/

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What Would You Attempt to Do if You Knew You Could Not Fail?

One of these days, I am going to look up the astrology of this year (Tarot reader = yes. Astrologer = no.) and figure out why it has been systematically kicking my behind. I feel like I'm getting completely re-organized from the inside-out, and as a person who's already done that a time or two over the last 30 years (heck, over the last decade!) I would kindly like to ask the universe to knock it the heck off!

When I headed off to college in the last waning months of the year 2000 (little suspecting what a terrible, terrible choice in colleges I had made), my mother gave me a very solid, rectangular, metal paperweight engraved with the saying, "What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?"

My mother and I both thought the answer was obvious. She said, "Everything!"

I said, "Nothing."

Which, to this day, perplexes my mother. I understood her answer - knowing you could always succeed, what wouldn't you try? Trapeze artist, hula dancer, astronaut, hot air balloon guide. Guaranteed success, why not?

I, on the other hand, could not imagine what was to be gained without risk. If I knew everything I undertook was going to be successful, why expend the effort? Knowing the outcome robs life of its mystery and guaranteed success removes that refinement that only comes from failure.

By far the most worthwhile undertakings of my life have had in them the most risk. Tarot was a risk of faith. Guatemala was a risk of safety. Writing was a risk of security. The Center was a risk of community. Spain was a risk of sanity. Finance was a risk of purpose. I have learned more in attempting these than simple success could give me.

I have been blessed with the ability to succeed at many things, but not at everything, and I have to say I'm rather grateful for that. Without failure, why would we strive? Without risk, how would we value gain?

Here's an exercise. Draw a card with the intent of exploring how failure has enriched your life. It can be a specific failure or failure in general. You may just find what you see as failure was simply risk taken in pursuit of greater gain.

Keep striving, my friends!