Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gospel of the Grass

I don't post much about the BBC (Blessings and Breathing Center) in my various blogs or on Facebook because, much as we as a group are devoted to creating a welcoming spiritual environment for women to come discover & explore their sacred selves with other women, we are also devoted to keeping it a safe and sacred space. For the co-founders, this has meant we have needed to do our work perhaps a little more quietly than we hoped, given that we are based out of a rather conservative community that has, thus far, been equal parts enthusiastic and denigrating of our enterprise. We have a small, strong core group of women that we serve, and survive, for the most part, on word of mouth.

The launch of Psychic Tarot has created a unique situation for us. I have never hidden what I do, but neither have I advertised it, and I think the other co-founders can say the same. Well, as of last Friday (and the Thursday before that), I've been well and truly "out." I suppose technically I've been "out" since February 8th, when the book launched. But now I've been in the local paper as a "local author" proudly holding Psychic Tarot in a picture maybe five inches high. I've also taken out an ad in our local Coffee News as a Tarot reader.

Today, I've sent out e-notices about a study group based on the book that I will run through the Center. And now, I think we're all holding our breath. The response to Psychic Tarot on a global scale has been such that I don't think it will be possible to quietly exist much longer, as a reader or as a Center. I think we worry about losing the quiet, but are also excited to see where this leads. What is this going to mean? What will public response be? So many things to worry about, so many hopes barely formed.

But, what it finally came down to for me was that, at its core, the Center is about many of the ideas that you find within Psychic Tarot. And those ideas are just too beautiful, and precious, and important to not share. I don't proselytize. You won't find me at your door with a Tarot deck in one hand and The Watchtower in the other. I believe, and we as a Center believe, in all paths to God. We especially believe in finding and celebrating your unique Divine connection, whatever that looks like or feels like to you.

I think that's something worth celebrating and sharing.

To that end, though I have not been the teacher Nancy has been training me to be to this point, and though I will not go knocking door to door, I will open my heart and begin teaching the Gospel of the Grass (as Nance calls it) to those who are interested, and be a more open advocate of the Center. What will be will be.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Oh Captain, My Captain!

To the organizers of Paganicon - this totally rocked! I very much enjoyed this weekend, and John Michael Greer was a fabulous guest speaker. Never has my brain been so fed by so many after such a long, dry summer. I don't think I have ever enjoyed the people at a convention this much.

Honestly, as a 28-year-old late X-gen, almost early Y-gen gal, having someone speak from the center, not the far left or the far right, was mind-blowing in itself. That Greer did it intelligently without making me feel like an idiot was like sipping ambrosia from Cinderella's slipper. There was no happy "if we all hold hands and pray, the world will be wishes and fairydust, don't worry about the future," and no catastrophic "oh my God, oh my God, buy everything you can, screw everything you can, eat everything you can, we're all going to die, consume, consume, CONSUME!" When Greer talked about the energy crisis, he talked about it the way I wish people would talk about it: it's coming, there's things we can do, life won't cease to be fun, there will be life after TiVo.

I seriously had some kind of braingasm. My thought, since the first time I visited Guatemala (a thought which only deepened after living there a year), has always been that people don't change until they're forced to. Not only do I believe, I expect that we will not do anything about the energy crisis until we are clawing each other over the last drop of oil pumped from the last well they drill. It's just the way of people not to change something until it's broken. And not just a little broken. Well and truly smashed to pieces, which is exactly where our CONSUME, CONSUME, CONSUME culture is going.

Now, ask me if I am afraid?

Not the tiniest, slightest, most miniscule bit.

The Mayan civilization fell. The Roman Empire fell. When they say that in history books, it makes it sound like the people spontaneously combusted or something. Like they dried up and blew away or were all killed in some terrible sickness. Go to Italy. Go to Guatemala. I assure you, there are still people there. The people didn't die out because they weren't top dog anymore. They just found a way of living that served them better, that was more suited to their time and circumstances. And I encourage you to spend time, and lots of it, in the poorer regions of Guatemala. Tell me you've seen one SUV-driving, 6 TVs in every room, house the size of a small palace American that happy. I say it, but so many people just kind of stare at me like I'm nuts because they haven't seen it. We consume more than anybody, more than any other people on this planet, and by and large we are some of the most depressed, disillusioned, dissatisfied, and downright unhappy people you will ever run into. Anywhere.

So if suddenly getting off the oil teat is going to do for us what losing the Empire did for the Italians, I say I can't wait.

To Greer, thank you so much for the inspiring information you shared simply by speaking plainly without spin. I seriously wanted to get up on my chair and shout, "Oh Captain, My Captain!"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Weight of The Crone

I have The Crone deck now. I am excited. And intimidated. I guess my hesitation in getting the deck was... well... I'm 28. I don't know if I'm *allowed* to have The Crone deck.

Then we worked with it more in small group and I decided to suck it up and get over it. I like the deck. It speaks to me. If it is not yet time for me to be able to absorb all its wisdom, well, then, that makes it no more or less weighty than any other Tarot deck in my cabinet. So I might not be able to unravel all the wisdom of The Crone. If I live to be 100, I know the Tarot of Transformation still will not have revealed all its secrets. Heck, the Rider Waite won't have revealed all its secrets! Everyone and everything is allowed its mystery. And as I grow and change, how I view my cards and my relationship with them will change, too.

Still, it is a meaty, meaty deck, and the only deck I've ever actually used the companion guide for. For me, the Companion Guide to The Crone deck is almost better than the deck itself. What fine, feminine, deep wisdom those pages hold!

I'm excited to see what happens with this deck. And nervous. But mostly excited. Maybe I'm not a Crone, but that doesn't mean one can't teach me! :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What is This Pull to the Moon?

What is this pull to the Moon?

Why does every cycle in my life seem to revolve around it?

Weren't most civilizations Sun worshippers?

Is it because I'm an American that the natural surprises me and the unnatural doesn't even make me blink? Should I be asking instead, what is this pull to the halogen office light? The television? The computer screen?

It confuses me. And I'm not sure it should.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Crone Deck

My Crone Deck came today! I'm so excited. We've been using it in small group, and it's just so rich... and meaty... and rich....

I've had total Crone Deck envy and now it is mine! Mwahahahaha!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How Do You Know the Difference?

I think something people want to ask me, but are afraid to, is this:

Melanie, if you're a Tarot reader and a writer, how do you know you're not just making up what you "see"?

I can hear it in the little pause after I tell people what I do.

Most writers will tell you they're not quite sure where their ideas come from. Others will talk about their Muse or the Divine or a dream they had. Something they won't tell you is that ideas come from almost exactly the same place that energy comes from. I say almost because when you're a writer getting an idea, the idea is yours. It's like that moment in Clash of the Titans when Perseus discovers all the gifts from the gods laid out against the statues. You get to use the idea however you want, alter it whatever way seems necessary, drop it if and when it doesn't serve you anymore. The act of writing is very much like channeling, especially in the first draft stage when you're writing just as fast as the sentences will come to you. The craft part has very little to do with channeling and more to do with experience. This is the part where you go in with a needle, a thread, and a pair of scissors and make your rough idea ready to go out visiting.

Reading for others, or even for myself, requires the same quiet of mind that writing does. But it's very much like walking into Physics class instead of English. Both are subjects I am meant to absorb with my brain, but they have a much different feel. Also, to a certain extent, when I am reading, information doesn't necessarily come to me. I go to it. I do not own it. I cannot call it. And when the reading is over, I do not get to keep it. How do I know a reading was real? Well, one, because they've come true. Two, because the energy flow feels different. But mostly because I can remember plot lines from stories that came to me twenty years ago as clearly as if they'd arrived today - they are a gift. But if a month, or sometimes even just a week passes from the time I did a reading to the time I see a person again, I usually don't remember it, or remember it very fuzzy. Often, if more than a month passes, and I do not know a person outside my reading table... I won't recognize the person. I'm sure that has something to do with grounding or what intention I'm setting and may or may not get better with time, but it has led to some awkwardness, believe me.

How do I know when the voices in my head are characters and when the voices in my head are entities? Characters live in my head. They are little pieces of me, of imagination, and of the Divine. They pay rent, so to speak. Or are at the very least still living in their mother's basement. Entities, guides, the Other, even my own, don't live in my head. Mine hover pretty close, everyone's own "peeps" stay pretty close, but they feed me, I don't feed them. If I had to "locate" them, I'd say the angel was at my back, the Sleeping Goddess was around or in my heart chakra, and Kali was hanging out around my solar plexus. And they don't "talk" so much as "indicate," something like the Ghost of Christmas Future, except I'm not so sure they point. If I have "visitors," and unless I am doing a reading, I don't entertain guests, they usually feel like a tingle against my right cheek or a whisper in my left ear. I think entities have figured out that I'm not so much about the being approached from behind, so usually they face me at one side or the other, though one notable couple did hover behind me like they were trying to look over my shoulder to see what I was doing. (They had a lot invested in the reading - it was their daughter, after all.) I can't direct entities, like I can my characters. I do not choose their form. I can't summon them any more than I can summon information - I can ask politely, but they'll come or they won't. My characters, like my plot lines, are mine. If they're not being cooperative, I can just go in their room and drag them out by their ear. I'm the landlord.

I guess the most notable difference is control. When I am writing, I am god of the microverse. My will be done. When I am reading, I am a servant of the Universe. Thy will be done.

Though, as with information from the Divine, you should always be thankful for the gift of a good plot. Gratitude is good for any situation.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tarot Cards and Fairytales

A popular writing exercise is to have students wander out of the classroom, take a look around, find one intriguing person, and write their life story. A complete stranger. You don't talk to this person, you simply pick them out by what they are wearing, what they are doing, and create a snapshot of their life. What has brought them to this moment? What has motivated them to do what they are doing now, dress how they dress now, react in the way they are reacting in this moment?

I love this exercise. I think we, as people, do it all the time. We read people. We speculate in groups, often unkindly, about what has created the obnoxious people who blunder across our lives. In every person, I believe there is a cautionary tale. And in every person, I believe there is the potential for miraculous transformation.

These two elements draw me to both Tarot cards and fairytales. I believe that stories are how we teach our children about life, and values. Fairytales were probably my first Tarot cards - the cautionary tale along with the bright hope. Perseverance. Courage. I favored Rapunzel, because that girl saved herself (and raised two kids in the wilderness while the prince was wallowing in self-pity, thank you very much). Was never as big a fan of the waiting princesses. Snow White and Sleeping Beauty are total snore-fests to me. Cinderella was barely a "meh" until Ever After came out.

I like the stories in Tarot cards, and especially how reflective they are of the stories going on in our lives. Fairytales may change with the values of the time (Rapunzel got a good cleaning up for the kids' books - what? Pregnant out of wedlock?!), but a Tarot card carries so many more subtleties that shift even from reading to reading. It has to be my most favorite thing about Tarot cards - their ability to constantly surprise you.

I guess I was thinking about Tarot cards and fairytales because I just did a double-movie marathon and saw Beastly and Red Riding Hood back-to-back. I enjoyed both retellings very much (a Tarot card appears in Red Riding Hood, but Gary Oldman pulled it away so fast I couldn't tell you which one it was). That and I've been poking around Aeclectic for the traditional meanings and they have lovely stories on there, especially for the Major Arcana.

Never lose your whimsy.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It...

I was at True Colors today (wonderful store! Wonderful space! A great big thanks to Ruta!), and made the decision to start getting serious. I keep saying I'm going to start studying traditional meanings (I kept up my card a day for a week and a half. Kept getting the same three cards. Decided to give it up), but I have had some real snooze-fests for reading about Numerology and Astrology and simply have not been able to bring myself to dip my toe in the water again.

Well, no more. I marched into the Spirituality section, picked out a different book on Numerology and a different book on Astrology (my motto is, if at first you don't succeed, try a different teacher) and I am going to read those suckers like they have never been read before.

It's a little intimidating to go to Readers Studio and MATS and the like and feel like you're the only one there who just heard an airplane whoosh over your head when they start talking about the "as you know, Bob" of Tarot. Not that I would have chosen any other path, if I hadn't met Nance, Tarot would never have drawn my attention. I simply don't like to be told what to think.

But, when Ciro Marchetti does Tarot Jeopardy (or 20 questions - essentially we looked at a bunch of Tarot imagery from well-known decks... you see where this is going...) and I can't get one answer right, not one, it's a bit humbling. Yes, I am that annoying girl who is used to being a walking human encyclopedia. But I have reasonable expectations of myself. Fool me once, shame on you.

Fool me all the time, and it's time to get crackin'. Surely not all Astrology and Numerology (and, God help me, Kaballah) texts can make me feel like Sisyphus.

*cue Eye of the Tiger* Let's do this!

Go team!

Friday, March 4, 2011


As you can well imagine, with all the balls I have in the air these days (go, Magician, go!) I sometimes forget a thing or two.

No, I did not forget to wear clothes to work.

I have, however, forgotten food. Or a water bottle. Or my cell phone.

The other day, it was my jewelry.

For about two years now, I have worn a simple Mobius bangle around my right wrist with the St. Francis Prayer on it. To that, over the last year and a half, I have slowly added a Mobius bangle with the Major Arcana and a Swarovski silver bangle on the right wrist, a hematite & amethyst magnetic bracelet on my left wrist, and finally, on a tarnished chain around my neck, a polished shard of Guatemalan jade.

I always wear these things. Always. I wake up, shower, brush my hair, put on my clothes, put on the jewelry, then eat. My bangles jangle when I type at work, my amethyst bracelet gets stuck to the metal strip on the hanging files when I'm pulling papers, and three or four times a day I'm straightening the chain around my neck because the clasp has slid down to the pendant again.

I'm a believer in healing stones. I like having some on me. When I got to work, groggy and yet still strangely so stressed out that my hair could have stood on end, I set down my water bottles with nary a jingle... and realized my bracelets weren't there.

I felt naked.

Sure, I've gone the majority of my life wearing no jewelry. It took me 25 years to be willing to wear it on a daily basis. I was always afraid that something like jewelry - something you wore every day - defined you somehow. I necklace. A bracelet. A wedding ring. I thought if you were going to wear something every day, it should mean something.

When I saw the St. Francis Prayer Mobius bangle, I knew I'd found that one thing I'd be willing to wear all the time. It defines my life philosophy - a mission statement, if you will. Everything that came after was chosen with the same care. Every time I look down and see those things, it reminds me a little of who I am, and who I want to be.

Not having them on for a whole day was the oddest sensation. But I think it was also an important lesson. It raised an important question, at least.

Who am I when I am not what I put on?

This is bigger than jewelry. I, for one, "put on" a lot, and I think a lot of other people do, too. Today I'm going to be super worker. Today I'm going to be the charming author. Today I'm going to be the dutiful daughter. Heck, a lot of these even come with costume changes. I dress very differently for a book signing than I do for my Clark Kent job.

But when I'm just me, in my pyjamas, or even naked, who is that girl? What defines her?

Does she need to be defined?