Category: Tarot

Beating the Fear Monster

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I’ve been thinking a lot about Fear.   I’m going through some things right now that have me living with a sense of worry, pretty much all the time. That’s what moving forward will do to you.

The wise ones tell us to remember that we are safe at all times, that we are bigger than our worries.  Yeah, OK.  Thanks for that.

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The Attack of the Heebie Jeebies….

Fear shows up in so many ways, doesn’t it?  Worry, anxiety, anger, bitchiness.  All of those stem from a place of not feeling safe.  Example:  look at the downright nasty nature of politics these days.  If you really drill down, it strikes me that all that heat comes from fear of a changing world.  We like things settled, predictable.  When that goes away — or appears that it might– watch out.

So how do we get to that place of feeling serene when all we want to do is dive face down into the biggest martini we can find?  Breathing helps, both on a physical and spiritual level.  The act of consciously breathing releases tension in our body and gives our mind something else to focus on.

I also think that anxiety and worry are the Universe’s way of letting us know that we need to make a change.  Something isn’t working. This particular Tarot card illustrates that awful wide-awake-at-3-in-the-morning feeling…

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Of course, when you discover the answer, making that change brings its own kind of freak-out potential.  Change is not something anyone really likes; look how long the evolutionary process took–  millions of years for us to just stop walking on our knuckles.  But getting up off our knuckles is necessary.

When the Nine of Swords comes up in a reading, I tell my client that worry is counter-productive and that they need to shrink that sense of overwhelm with action.  One small, bite-sized step at a time gives us a sense of control over the situation.  Action is the antidote to Fear– whether its making a plan to get out of a bad situation, or the physical kind that sweats it out of you.

So I’m trying to look at Fear through a different lens, as an indicator that I am making an important change. I’m not thrilled at it riding shotgun on this journey — but with some deep breaths, an action plan and a giant martini, maybe the trip won’t be so bad.

Led Zeppelin and the Tarot

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People who know me will tell you that I luuuuurve Led Zeppelin.  I am convinced that one day, I will somehow, some way, meet and marry Jimmy Page.  But in the meantime, I love how he injects himself into another passion of mine, the Tarot.   Check out this segment from their awesome concert movie, The Song Remains the Same.  Can’t you just smell the reefer???

Anyway, that freaky old dude he’s climbing towards is this guy from the Tarot:

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Like his namesake, the Hermit has retreated from the world.  He’s climbed waaay up high, away from strip malls, drive-thrus, cable news and American Idol, to spend time with inner thoughts and his higher self.  He’s taking a timeout to take a good look inside.    His number is “9” (I know, Roman numerals are a bitch to read).  “Nine” represents one ending of a cycle, so he’s using that opportunity to assess where he’s been and the best direction to go next.

The Hermit also has a neat perspective from that way-high lookout.  He can look down on the rest of us and see all the ridiculousness we get trapped in.  He is the Google Earth of wisdom.  The light he holds doesn’t just help our hero, Jimmy Page, find him in his climb up that psychedelic mountain– it’s light he’s sharing with the rest of us.

That kind of wisdom requires solitude and the willingness to reflect. Now while I am one of those folks who loves alone time, there are plenty of folks who HATE to be by themselves.  I won’t guess at the myriad reasons for this, but all I can say is that taking some time, undistracted by people or things, is enormously helpful.  There needs to be even a little bit of quiet space in your life for spiritual wisdom to seep in.

A meditation practice is helpful here.  Even five minutes a day gives your brain a chance to throttle down and your soul to speak to you. If meditation isn’t your thing, just reading an inspirational book – like A Course In Miracles, Vitamins for Your Soul, any of those “thought-a-day” volumes — for a few minutes will feed your spirit.

Whenever anyone comes to me for a session after a breakup, they’re frequently flailing in all that “space” they’ve just been given.  It can be a scary place, especially after being so used to having someone there.  I remind them that this downtime can be empowering.  It’s the chance to review the relationship, look at the lessons and grow from them.  That investment of time can pay off in huge ways when the next one comes along.  This applies to any kind of loss; you will be so much richer for that time spent alone, high up on the mountain.

At least, that’s what Jimmy tells me (psst!  Call me!)

Extreme Makeover: Life Edition

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There are tons of “do it yourself”-er shows on TV these days, where experts are making over homes, restaurants, relationships, bad hair — whatever.  And this is the Tarot card that sums up all that creative energy.

The Magician is the card of the entrepreneur or, for that matter, anyone who wants to give something in their life a fresh paint job.  Take a closer look:

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On the table are all four of the symbols that show up in the Tarot deck:  the cup, wand, sword and pentacle.  He’s about to use every resource available to him.  The cup are his emotions and intuitive insights; the wand his practical abilities; the sword represents his ideas and intellect; the pentacle, his earthly resources and physical energies.

He’s pointing down towards the energy of the earth and  up towards the power of the unseen worlds above him.   That squiggly figure-eight shape above his head is called a “lemniscate” and represents being tuned in to the universal power during the whole process.  In a word, he’s about to get jiggy wit it.

Speaking of magicians, here’s one of my all time favorites:  Tim, the Enchanter!

Our Magician is not so much about throwing fireballs from his finger (although that could come in handy); he’s about doing something more useful.  I like the idea of engaging ALL of our abilities and talents in pursuit of a goal.

It gives us an opportunity to take stock of the many gifts we have at our disposal. Do this right now- make a list of your gifts, from your amazing smarts and long list of friends, to your ability to juggle. Really dig in, and see all you’ve been given to run your life.  This is the secret of the Magician.

Here’s mah girl, Chrissie Hynde, to sing us out.  She’s running down her own list of tools: “gonna use my arms, gonna use my legs…”  Work it, honey.

Don’t Fear the Reader

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She leaned across the table and said, “I had you come here this afternoon while he’s not here, because he thinks this stuff is like black magic….”

(Sigh) Man, if I had a dime for every time I’ve heard that psychics are spawns of the devil, I’d be writing this from a beach In Turks and Caicos.  With a drink in my hand.  And someone rubbing my feet.

My next office....
My next office….

Here’s the thing:  as a reader, I believe, to the deepest part of my soul, that what I do is in the service of all that’s positive and good.  I believe that I’m working on behalf of a Higher Power, helping my clients find a path to their happiest, most fulfilled life.  And if that doesn’t that fall under the category of “spiritual,” I don’t know what does.

And there’s more: part of my prep work for a session is to say the Lord’s Prayer.  I also ask that all information that I get be for my client’s highest good and the good of all.  Finally, I surround myself and the space with white light, only allowing positive energies in.

OK, so I frequently use the Tarot during a reading, and of all metaphysical tools, the cards probably have the worst rep.  There’s a reason for that — but it’s not what you might expect.

Way, waaaaay back in the day, the Church was the arbiter of everything.  EVERYthing.  People got their direction from the priests, who were considered the one and only link to the Divine.

"Don't question me..."
“Don’t question me…”

Well, the Tarot — along with other esoteric systems — reveals our own link to the Source. The theme that runs through Tarot is that of personal responsibility, and one’s own experience of God.  Naturally, the Big Dawgs of organized religion did not dig this idea.  AT ALL. So they tried to keep the flock in line by scaring them.  It’s that simple.

Despite the fact that we now know the world isn’t flat and dragons don’t exist (at least here in New Jersey), many people still buy into these myths.  I can’t tell you how many discussions I’ve had with several family members of the Evangelical bent that basically end with, “You’re going to Hell.”  Hey, thanks for coming!  Remind me to call in sick to the next family dinner!

And they think what I do is wierd?
And they think what I do is wierd?

While I fully recognize that there are some who dabble in the dark side of things for their own power,  I do not acknowledge them.  I simply don’t.  Natural law will soon show them their mistake (as in, whatever you put out comes back three times). It’s a little like that scene in The Wizard of Oz where Glinda the Good Witch laughs at the Wicked Witch and banishes her from Munchkin Land “before someone drops a house on you, too.”  You just don’t give it any power. (In the end, Natural Law — in the form of a bucket of water — took care of her wrinkly green ass too, didn’t it?)

Do not mess with the power of pink sparklies....
Do not mess with the power of pink sparklies….

So whatever myths, legends, rumors or campfire tales you may have heard about psychics, I urge you to find out the truth for yourself.  Think for yourself.  I consider it part of my job to give you food for thought — and a sense of your own power to direct your life.  So can I get an “amen” up in here?

Sandy — And What She Left Behind

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It was about a week ago that I woke up and realized that my house was still standing after Hurricane Sandy.  The days prior to it were a blur of stocking up on food, batteries, gasoline; taking down all my windchimes (I have a LOT of windchimes) and birdfeeders — and generally gazing at the sky a lot.  Not to mention the many big trees in my yard.

When it started to blow, all I could do was pray.  And when I saw that I had only suffered a ton of branches down in the yard, I was truly grateful.

There are many, many people in my area that were not so lucky.  It’s been hard seeing people who’ve lost literally everything — and it put me in mind of this particular Tarot card:

The Tower shows a King and Queen being knocked out of their supposedly bullet-proof castle and flat onto their ass.  Their wealth and prestige is useless.  They are humbled before the forces of the Universe.  But check out those little yellow “droplets” — they represent the Hebrew word for “wisdom.”

When you are knocked out of your castle — literally or figuratively –you have the option of either sitting in the wreckage, cursing your luck, or trying to learn and grow from the experience.  Each person who has suffered from Sandy (that bitch) will have their own path to follow in the aftermath; but in the overview, I would say we have seen some good come out of this disaster. Communities pull together and grow closer.  Friends with power are letting other friends without it stay in their homes.  One of my neighbors has started a clothing drive.  On the long line for coffee at the one place that has juice, people are good-naturedly chatting instead of politely ignoring each other.  For crying out loud, my governor, Chris Christie, has practically become sleep-over buddies with President Obama (whom he’d just trashed in a speech a week earlier).

I’m also convinced that the hardships of Sandy will lead to innovation.  It was the blizzard of 1884 that led to the creation of the New York City subway system; I betcha five bucks that five years from now, we’ll see some interesting changes in our infrastructure.

So while it was a terrifying 48 hours, Sandy has left something unexpected in her wake: a reminder of our interconnectedness, the fact that we are tribal by nature and do best when we come together.  For all of those still picking up the pieces, know that we have your back.

A Reading for A Real Housewife

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I love the Real Housewives of New Jersey.  It’s like watching 7th grade all over again, only with better clothes, bigger earrings and more cussing. For the life of me, I can’t figure out what they’re all worked up over every week, but I guess that’s the job of reality TV.

It’s Jersey, bitches!

We fans know that this season, Teresa Guidice (“Joo-dice”?  “joo-DEETCH-chay”? She keeps changing the pronunciation – or as she might say, “pronunciamation”) has gone completely off the rails.  The storyline that began with her desire to reconnect with her younger brother and his wife has turned into a pinata of nasty that has spilled all over the viewers: strippers, jealousy, set-ups, lowlife husbands (Juicy Joe — ugh), smartass kids, cookbook insults.  It’s like being at the kids table and watching your drunk uncle try and grope your Mom.

So the reunion show for this past season aired its second part on Sunday (there’s still one more installment.  Sweet Jesus).  The looks on the other castmembers’ faces as Teresa rambled on, indicated that they think she’s about two stops away from CrazyTown.  It’s clear that while she’s enjoying the spotlight, her real, off-camera life is in serious trouble.

Clearly, the meds need to be adjusted.

Out of curiosity, I pulled a few Tarot cards to see what might be coming up for our most deranged Housewife.  The first one was this:

This card means turning your back on your current life and pursuing your heart’s desire.  Now she may talk a good game about how family is tops with her — but considering the bullshit she’s putting them through, it seems that “fame” is really what she wants, at least for now.

The next one up?  This one.

Yeah, it looks pretty nasty.  I call this the “humiliation card” — mainly for the snarky look on the guy’s face.  The others have given up, walked away.  While Mr. Snark thinks he’s won the argument, not so fast –what goes around, comes around.  I think something big is gonna smack Tre in the face.  Hard.  But that smack will provide a much-needed wakeup call.

Finally, this one:

Lovely.  The beginning of new love, rebirth, a refreshed spirit, blessings.  I think Tre will have one of these “come to Jesus” moments that make her see the folly of what she’s been chasing.  Getting to that point may be a little harsh, but sometimes, harsh is necessary.  In the end, she’ll get back to what’s important in her life: her girls, her parents, her cooking.  Somehow, I think Juicy Joe won’t be a part of it — he’s got some seriously negative vibes coming off of him.  I wanted to take a shower after his segment.  And I’d just taken one.

Teresa may have fallen in love with fame, but it cuts both ways:  the spotlight shines a light into the darkest parts of a life, bringing them out of the shadows (where you kinda wish they’d stayed). But perhaps it will be a good thing, forcing her to get really clear about what’s worth having at the end of the day.  The trick is, she has to make the choice to make things better in her life (as do we all).

Despite how flat-out obnoxious and manipulating Teresa has been this season, I’m rooting for this Jersey Girl to get herself together.  Stay tuned to the tabloids to see if I got it right.

Back-To-School….and Fearless

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My great-niece, Ella Ruby, starts 2nd grade today.  She is totally chuffed, excited about her new teacher, backpack and classroom.  She doesn’t care that she knows nothing about 2nd grade math– she just plans to tackle it and get as many gold stars as she can grab.

Ah, for the days of spitballs and forgetting your locker combination….

There’s something wonderful about a 7 year old’s complete lack of fear.  For the most part, everything new is an adventure.  Their little egos are practically non-existent, so they don’t even think about how it will look if they fail.  They just want to try the New Thing.

This is where the 8 of Pentacles comes in.  While I don’t play favorites with the Tarot cards, I admit that I love when this one comes up.  The message is an encouraging one — it means that whatever you’re faced with, even if you know zilch about it, you’re gonna totally dominate.  The card is nicknamed “the talent card,” revealing hidden abilities.

Most of the time when it appears in a spread, my client has a hard time believing that they’ll be able to pull off whatever that hidden ability may be (“I don’t know ‘nuthin’ ’bout Excel spreadsheets…”).  I remind them of one of my favorite quotes from Teddy Roosevelt: “When you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”

Can’t argue with a guy sporting such a fierce ‘stache…

A few months back, I got a call at 4:30 PM inviting me to do some copywriting for a start-up tech firm.  There was a conference call less than an hour later — and in that time, I had to Google the firm, download Skype and learn how to use it, and give myself a crash-course in tweeting. I was able to fake my way through the call, and landed a nice gig.

Second-graders like my niece embrace learning — it’s what they do.  Somewhere after graduating, we grownups decided our days of learning were pretty much over.  New things freak us out, make us feel uncertain.  But taking the challenge posed by the 8 of Pentacles is always a good exercise in reaching a little further towards our full potential.  Whether we succeed or fail at it, we still get a gold star for trying.

Drag Queens and The Devil

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I’m obsessed with drag queens.  I love them.  RuPaul’s Drag Race is my not-so-guilty pleasure, and To Wong Foo is one of my favorite movies.

From To Wong Foo: Wesley Snipes, John Leguizamo and Patrick Swayze embracing their drag selves — and workin it!

Now what could a middle-aged Methodist from a small town who personally prefers Land’s End over Louboutins find in this world of sequins, wigs and general diva-liciousness?  I think it boils down to the flat-out fearlessness of these guys.

Seriously. How can you NOT love someone this fabulous?

Drag Race has showcased some of the backstories on their contestants. Not only have they each had to deal with the challenges of being a gay man, they add another layer by choosing to dress up as women.  Sadly, that’s alienated some of them from their families, gotten them beaten up and frequently made their daily life less than fun.

But  has it stopped them?  Hellllll-to the-no.  These guys embrace their wildly creative visions and put ’em out there in the world with a hip snap and “How ya like me now?” fierceness.  They are role models for overcoming Fear — or at least, not letting it hold them back from being who they want to be.

And this is where The Devil comes in (and no, not in the fundagelical homophobic sense).  Whenever this card comes up in someone’s reading, I remind them that the scary dude pictured is not actually Satan — it’s what he represents, which is fear.  Take a closer look:

He’s huge and scary.  The people beneath him are wearing chains, attached to heavy stones.  They are too terrified to move and think the stones wouldn’t budge anyway.  But wait– check out those chains again.   They’re loose and could easily be taken off.  It’s just that the folks are too freaked out by the Devil’s “ooga booga” hollering above them that they don’t know it.

To me, those stones represent the things that make us feel “stuck” in a bad place.  It frequently comes up with folks dealing with drug, alcohol, gambling, toxic relationships or other unhealthy things, but it also applies to any issue that makes you feel powerless.  The notion of change can be so overwhelming that it’s easier to stay stuck.  That’s the Devil, in your head,  telling you that you’ll fail, its too risky, you’re not good enough, yadda yadda yadda.

One thing I’ve learned is that the IDEA of your worst fear is actually worse than if it actually happens.  I once worried about losing a particular relationship; the thought of him ending it was too painful to even think about.  But when it happened, I had a revelation — I was still alive, it didn’t destroy me after all.  I was still my same bad-assed self –even with mascara running down my face (which a drag queen would never let happen).

So next time you’re facing That Thing That Always Trips You Up, remember the lesson of the drag queens:  put on your sparkly heels, lift off those tacky chains, tell Mr. Satan to kiss your fabulous ass and start walking towards something better.

Chad Michaels — love!

The No-Fear Zone

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I was doing a reading for someone the other day when this card fell out of the deck as I was shuffling (love when that happens…)

The Strength card is about taming those things that seem like they’re out of control:  appetites (whether it be for Thin Mints or a hook-up with that toxic person you can’t resist), emotions, situations.  The Strength lady is calmly closing the lion’s mouth, showing no fear.  She actually looks like she enjoys this.  Even in the face of something that could chomp her hand off, she’s all like, “Nice kitty…”    She’s perfectly aware that animals can smell fear (or when its time to go to the vet) — and she’s worn her extra-strength deodorant.

Fear is so pervasive in our lives, whether it be the kind that freaks you out when you go to the dentist — or the pervasive “dum dum DUM” of the news cycle.  To really overcome it, you need trust: in yourself, your support system, not to mention things bigger than we are (meaning: God, spirit, the Universe …whatever you want to call it).  Trust in our ability to face things that seem overwhelming — and deal with them — is the fundamental message of this card.

I also don’t think its random that the character in the Strength card is female.  Think of some of the badass women of history (fictional or otherwise) like one of my all-time favorites, Scarlett O’Hara.  She didn’t let a little thing like the Civil War get her down.

Wearing her mama's curtains to hustle the tax money for Tara...

….or this one.  Before she took the throne, Elizabeth was locked in the Tower for a time.  When she got wind of her sister, Queen Mary’s plan to have her executed, she wrote a long letter pleading her innocence.  She purposely took so long that the messenger had to wait til the next day to take it back, because the tide on the Thames had gone out.  That gangsta move bought her some time — and ultimately, her life.

…or this one….She walked out of an abusive relationship with something like 5 bucks and a gas credit card, and wound up with a whole bunch of Grammys.

"How ya like me now, Ike?"

….or even my new favorite, Big Ang from Mob Wives!  Just ’cause of her hats!

The point is, women have incredible reserves of intuition and wisdom to call on — even when they don’t think so.  We have put up with  a lot of crap.  And yet, we keep moving.  Even when we’re scared to death, we can make it look like we’re just waiting for our nails to dry.   To me, that’s the essence of the Strength card:  reducing all those things that look they’re a-gonna kill us to a whole bunch of “la la la I can’t hear you.”  That basic truth applies to the men out there, too.  The Strength lady has love for everybody!

BTW, if you need a reminder of your own Strength, just pick out an awesome hat.  Big Ang can help you!