Monday, November 13, 2017

November is a sad kind of month

Or so it seems to me, anyway.

There is Remembrance Day on the 11th, where we honour the war-fallen dead and surviving veterans.
It is the month of the poppy lapel pin...

...and of this poem by John McCrae of Guelph, Ontario, who died in 1917, serving in WWI.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
May 1915

It's the month when the remaining leaves let go their hold on the trees,
When the gardens seem woebegone, bedraggled, has-been, lost.
Where the landscape changes from blooms and greens to taupe-y grey.
When we move out of Daylight Savings Time, and are plunged into an earlier sunset and longer darker evenings.

The fanciful drama of Halloween festivities has passed; pumpkins, ghosts, witches are packed away.
The cobwebs festooning the lampshades aren't cute and whimsical anymore; dusting will be required.
And although the stores would have me think otherwise, I'm not quite ready for all-out Christmas.

To which deck shall I turn for November thoughts?
The Raven's Prophecy, with its bright spots in the midst of darkness.

Eight of Swords
Well, the people around you haven't dropped their leaves or lost their bloom, have they?
Then I suggest you bring your focus 'round to them, and revel in all those colourful personalities and gifts.
The landscape is having a much-needed nap. Surely you don't begrudge it that?

Ten of Coins
Got a bit of spare cash? Buy some roses to perk up the house.

Eight of Cups
Another eight. Invite seven friends to dinner. 
Do something that floats your boat.
Take up watercolour. Paint amazing sugar cookies.
Buy a feather boa or a black velvet jacket.
The lakes are cold and dark, it's true. But you needn't be.

3 The Empress
Oh the colours...I want to ingest them, breathe them in. They make me happy.
Well, Empress, I guess your job here is done; I'm smiling.

In neighbourhood news

Would you trust your hair to THE FEROCIOUS BARBER? Me neither.
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Friday, November 03, 2017

Leading a double life

Sounds exciting, exotic, mysterious, doesn't it?

Perhaps it would be if one were a double agent, a spy, an undercover cop (or maybe not, since I have no personal experience with those lifestyles). But I'm not. I'm just plain old me whose regular life as most people know me doesn't include tarot, or an interest in the fae, or shamanic journeying, or magic, or any of that kind of stuff.
It's been like this for almost a decade now, one side rubbing alongside the other reasonably comfortably, without making me feel like I had multiple personalities.

However, that has changed. Here's why.
My 'regular' life became smaller when I retired from teaching. I see fewer people. That track, or rut in the road of life, or whatever you'd like to call it, has become narrower and shallower. Less of me is working there. Less of my time and creative spark is spent in that space.

My other life, the 'woo-woo' side as some would say, is growing. Reading, mentoring, blogging. Yet hardly anyone in my day-to-day choir-singing, grandmothering life knows (or wants to know) anything about it. So NOW what?

I have a new job with the Tarot Association of the British Isles, aka TABI, as their Free Reading Monitor. It is just beginning, so there will be more time spent while I'm in the learning-how phase. Yet when someone asks what I plan to do with all that extra time now that I'm retired, what do I tell them? Only a piece of the truth. I hedge, and smile, and gloss over it. I say "Whatever I want!" and leave it at that. Or talk about travel. Or family. It's feeling more and more vexacious, less and less truthful.

At some point, the WHOLE of me is going to have to exist in my real world. But how? And when?
I know not.

Today I'm going to the Tarot of the Sidhe, which was featured a while back in a post about trimming borders. They (the Sidhe) were also the main topic of a recent online event called Faery Allies Telesummit.

OK, Sidhe. I would really appreciate some suggestions, please.
How can I ease the rest of me into my everyday life?

The Elder V (aka The Hierophant, the Teacher)
It seems to me that you are mistaking the fact that you are in the Elder-phase of your life, and thus experienced in many things, with the fact that THIS particular project, becoming one within yourself and in your world, is new. You have no experience at all with what you are trying to do, and yet you bemoan the fact that it isn't happening.
Look at the riches in this image - are they not wonderful to behold?
So many things have been given to you: family and friends, knowledge, teaching, music, health, a beautiful safe environment. Colours, creatures, nature, magic. Experiences, travel.
Surely with all that, you are able to map a path. Use your knowledge. Ask for guidance. Go slowly.
Now is not the time for discomfort. It is the time for blossoming!

In other words, stop feeling sorry for myself and get going on this.


Maker of Earth (aka Ace of Pentacles)
The Elder speaks wisely. I bid you to cultivate the patience of the Earth. I am the slow-moving element. And I, the Maker, the Ace, am just the beginning. I see you as I sit on this green bed of growing things, and offer you the light of my star. You will know what to do.

In neighbourhood news

Seen, last Tuesday night, in the byways and alleys,
clutching chocolate:

🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Thought you might like these...

Some links to a few things I enjoy:

The New York Times mini-crossword
A tiny little thing ~ just enough to wake up your brain first thing.

Duolingo, where you can mess around learning new languages at your own pace, for free.

Ukulele School, also free, with a tuning app in case you forget how the strings are supposed to sound.

And some deck review posts from the past that you might not have seen:

Dreams of Gaia deck review

Animal Totem deck review

Raven's Prophecy deck review

In neighbourhood news
A friend has kindly lent me her old phone to use as a small, light travel camera. I've been practising with it. The button you push to take a picture doesn't require much force, compared to my 'real' camera.
Somehow or other, while attempting a clear night shot of a mysterious red window one street over, I managed to take one-hundred and fifty-one of these, most of them sideways. I don't know how that happened.

The 152nd is a bit better. I don't know how it happened, either. 

I wish for you a few little mysteries in your life.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

CONFESSION at Blog #201

I had planned to have a YouTube presence by my 200th blog post. It seemed such a loooooong way away at post #159. Tons of time, right?

On the to-do list:
  1. get a YouTube something-or-other
  2. figure out a camera something-or-other
  3. try out the tripod that was a 2015 Christmas gift
  4. figure out how to edit the video from the camera something-or-other
  5. find a place in the house that would look decent in the video
  6. make my hands look less old and wrinkled close up

Well, none of that happened. So this post, instead of being the first blog after the YouTube-grand-unveiling, is about procrastination. I might not be very good at deadlines or to-do lists, but I'm an EXPERT at procrastination. (Unless it's about eating brownies; I never stall at that.)

In an effort to get this YouTube thing off the ground, I signed up for the delightful Michael Nobbs' Resurrecting a Creative Project course. That I'm behind is not his fault! (He lives in Wales and has DONKEYS for neighbours - have you ever...?)

What would be a good spread for studying the ins & outs of procrastination? Let me think...

1. What character flaw is responsible for this pervasive dodging of doing?
2. Is some incident in your childhood at the root?
3. How can you outwit this stubborn disinclination?
4. Miscellaneous thoughts on the subject  

Now a deck. A no-nonsense, let's-get-this-show-on-the-road one. Like the Tarot of the Sidhe (side borders trimmed) for some spiritual/emotional butt-kicking and maybe the Bright Idea deck for plain old practical advice.

1. What character flaw is responsible for this pervasive dodging of doing?
Sidhe ~ Wheel of Fortune

Whew! This is not a flaw - it's the luck of the draw! Some people are born to put things off and some aren't.

This particular Wheel shows us Maiden, Mother, Crone - the three stages of life as we go round our turn of life's wheel. Maybe, just maybe, by the time I get to the Crone stage (oops, too late, already there!)... Make that, by the time I get to the late Crone stage, I'll have a better handle on diving right into a task. 

The Maiden is offering gorgeous fruits, which will not wait. Get your task done and reward yourself with the fruit before it starts to rot.

Bright Idea ~ 10 Luck

The Earth's gears keep it turning, the Moon runs through its phases, seasons change, time moves on whether you're keeping up with things or not.

Being a staller, a procrastinator, has nothing to do with being lucky or unlucky. It, unlike time, is within your wheelhouse. And that, luckily, is something you can control!

2. Is some incident in your childhood at the root?
Sidhe ~ The Chariot

Well, I never stole a horse and ran off with it. Nor a bike, a car, a wagon, a grocery cart. So that's not it.

Did I, at some point in grade school, think I was invincible, unstoppable, not subject to the deadlines that applied to lesser folk? Not that I know of.

Did I rely on some external force (Mum, the nuns) to blast in and make me do stuff on time, so that I never learned to make my own deadlines? (This is definitely a cop-out. Blaming this on the warping influences of childhood!)

Bright Idea ~ VII Advancement

Did I wreak some havoc as an impetuous teen because I failed to WAIT and TAKE MORE TIME to think about the possible consequences?

Was I hell-bent on doing something despite parental warnings?

Truth be told, this seems like something my brother would've pulled off.
Maybe that's it! Watching his quasi-legal antics was enough to put me off!
(That's right...blame your brother for this...)

3. How can you outwit this stubborn disinclination?
Sidhe ~ Dreamer Princess (aka Page of Swords/Air)

One of the things I cherish about this Sidhe deck is that all the Courts arrive as 'gifts'.
This Princess is offering the Gift of Telling.
Telling about what? How to outwit my long-standing proclivity to procrastinate? That would be nice.

The Dreamers in this deck are the Air suit, You can see all the breezes flowing around her as she sends leaves to me.
Leave off thinking you are stuck with the way things are.
Leave old habits that don't serve you.
Have you taken leave of your senses? Of course you can outwit this silliness! And I'm here to tell you so!

Bright Idea ~ Yellow Suit - Learning, Information (aka Page of Swords)

In these days of the internet, there's no excuse for not finding out stuff.
You want to know more about why you stall? Look it up! Find a source!

I'm here to tell you that the information is out there waiting for you, if you're not too busy whining about not doing anything to do anything!

4. Miscellaneous thoughts on the subject 
Sidhe ~ Warrior Ten (aka Ten of Wands/Fire)

Well, as you can see, this is hard work.
This Sidhe is supporting many others with sheer willpower. They are relying on his strength, yet don't appear to realize it or even notice him. That is, indeed, a great task.

As for you, Teawoman, I suspect that the job of putting off the job is sometimes a greater task than just getting down to it. Those who are waiting for you - possibly nagging, yakking about deadlines gone by, urging you to hurry up, etc. - will simply walk away and no longer be a burden.

Imagine the relief!

Bright Idea ~ Red Suit 10 - Exhaustion

Here's my thought, lady.
If you didn't put off working on the paperwork that came in on Monday, and Tuesday, and... you get the idea...then you wouldn't still be chained to your desk at 7:45 on a beautiful Sunday morning.

See that little key? The key to your freedom?
Well, guess what? It's yours for the taking! Clear the mess, grab the key, ditch the chains.

How's that for a Bright Idea?
You're welcome.

In neighbourhood news

Monday was Thanksgiving Day here in Ontario. I'm thankful for the creativity of Emily.


Sunday, October 01, 2017

From the Bard to the Big Apple

From Romeo and Juliet to Guys and Dolls - that was my Tuesday in Stratford, Ontario. Between shows I dodged Canada Goose poop on the walkways by the Avon River, and witnessed a Mallard duck take a bite out of a swan's butt for no apparent reason other than that the huge white posterior presented itself.

Butt I digress...(sorry, couldn't resist)
Romeo and Juliet1590s London (set in Verona, Italy)
Guys and Dolls ~ 1950 New York (note the neat transposition of 5 and 9!)

What does The Shakespeare Oracle have to say about these two tales of love's tribulations
separated by almost four centuries?

Plays were performed at the pleasure of Queen Elizabeth I. She loved them and so they were tolerated by those who wanted to close down the theatres. All that debauchery! All those lowlifes acting the parts! But if the Queen was pleased, the play ran for a full week, and the players got to eat and pay their rent.

The queen is no longer a regular in the audience, and even without her patronage its first run on Broadway racks up an impressive 1200 performances.
The lowlifes have moved into the plot, and sometimes the actors themselves are almost like royalty. (Another neat transposition!)

All the world's a stage - well, that hasn't changed.
Verona, London, New York - they're all fair game for the pens of the playwrights.

Full frontal nudity? That wouldn't come along for a few centuries after Romeo and Juliet, but mere decades after the chaste Guys and Dolls. Did you have to be XXI to see it? I don't know!

Yes! magic happens on those stages!

Oh, we know the blood is fake and the swords aren't sharp and the punches don't actually land and everybody is just pretending to hate each other or love each other and nobody in real life talks so much while they're dying or breaks into mind-boggling dances without impeccable choreography and tons of rehearsal but...if the actors are convincing and whole-hearted in their roles, we are puppets in their hands.

Love messy, love a folly,
love dangerous, love deadly,
love with the wrong person,
love forgiving, love blind,
love silly, love serious -
we love them all!

In neighbourhood news

And speaking of love...what gramma's heart is not pierced with sheer joy when her 6-year-old granddaughter says, out of the blue, "I love you, Gramma."


Monday, September 25, 2017

Testing, Testing: The Everyday Witch Tarot

You can blame this on The Witches of New York.

After reading this book, I'm entranced by all things witchy and New Yorky, and with grimoires. I want one like Adelaide keeps under the counter in her store Tea and Sympathy. Of course I had to dig out the deck, The Dark Grimoire, which features a lovely fat grimoire on each of its Aces (and 11 other cards!).

And then there's the search through the house for an empty, appropriately fat notebook which fits the bill. One's too cutesy, another too drab; this one has the wrong size lines and that one - junky paper which isn't fountain-pen-friendly.
Or maybe I could make one? Put some of those bookbinding 101 skills to work?

Many of my posts this summer featured cards from the Everyday Witch Tarot, but I'm still loving it and decided that it deserves an actual review.

1. Why do I like you so much?
The World 21

What's not to like? I'm cheerful (most of the time), and an optimist. I love life and the world around me.
I let you visit with my cats but don't make you change their litter, and I take you to the beach for picnics with fancy drinks!

2. You're a light-hearted deck. Does that make light of the craft?
Eight of Swords

Absolutely not! I merely try to show the accessible, non-creepy, unscary, earth-loving, do-no-harm aspect of witchcraft. And here we see that a witch can get stuck - in her head, with her problems, in life, just like everybody else. You're going to have to think it through. There's no way to magic yourself out of a dilemma!

3. I'm a serious tarotist; I look to it for fresh ideas and layered thoughts.
Are you too flimsy for that?
The High Priestess 2

Flimsy? You see anything flimsy in here, woman? No way! I can match you, serious for serious!
I may have a few more tools that the average person, like a crystal scrying ball and a bag of runes, but my well-thumbed library is extensive, and I study the cards looking for new thoughts and ideas just like you do. I imagine that your cat is a big help too?

4. Your turn, Deck! You get the last word.
Four of Wands

JOY! That's what I wish for you in your life! Celebrate the small stuff, let go of anything that's outside your hula hoop, light sparklers when it's not even a holiday, get dressed up just for fun, go outside whenever it's nice (and maybe even when it's not), buy something colourful and wave it around, enjoy your friends to the max, dance on the grass!

Time to watch Practical Magic, and then maybe The Witches of Eastwick.
(Now coveting the Owen's house in Practical Magic...)

In neighbourhood news

This perennial (name ?) has the most delightful elusive scent ~ I wish I could bring it to you here.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Retired and...disoriented

What the heck? This happens to other newly-retired people...not to me!

I've given simply MAGNIFICENT advice to friends who are unable to manage their new non-schedules. I see CRYSTAL CLEARLY what they need to fix in their lives. I'm BRILLIANT at it, as a matter of fact. 

What do you mean - every Tuesday isn't exactly the same as every other Tuesday?
What do you mean - I can sit on your board and go to your Tupperware party and attend an extra rehearsal, because I'm not teaching on Thursday nights?

I need advice on what to expect from here on in.

The deck I'm calling in for commentary is the often mystifying, occasionally gross and gory, always interesting Bruegel Tarot. What say you, Bruegel?

On matters of sex and babies:
You're not having any...of either.

It's probably because your feet are too big and you wear ice skates in the house.

Engineering some sort of mammary wardrobe malfunction isn't the solution.

On losing your marbles:
Yes, you are. Quit cooking the kids.

General advice:
Don't run with scissors while wearing tights - you never know who might be watching.

Remember the five-second rule for fallen food.

Never mind that yodeling over there. Keep your lambs away from lions.

There will always be someone whose money is bigger.

It's important for you to rest, even it it means letting a thief make off with someone's feet.
Some people are just complainers. 

The top of your head is what keeps your brains from floating away. Don't slice it off.

Excellent life advice. Thank you, Bruegel, I can take it from here.

In neighbourhood news

Prism on tea.