Jul
5
2024

New Moon Gateway: The Pool of Abundance

For Seekers – Moonthly Renewal – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Sanctuary

This new moon (arriving on Friday, the 5th, exact at 6:57 pm ET, time zone converter) puts us on The Chariot path of movement through the passage of abundance offered to us by the Three of Cups.

It is easy to make the connection to abundance looking at the images offered by artists for the Three of Cups. In the iconic Rider Waite Smith deck, Pamela Coleman Smith shows three women with cups seemingly of celebration lifted as they dance in a field filled with flowers, fruits, and vegetables.

Tarot author and artisan T.Susan Chang in her wonderful 36 Secrets muses on this image and makes an interesting connection between abundance and scarcity. Writing about a “scarcity mindset,” Chang recounts her understanding of this term she first encountered in the 1990s:

[It] had to do with thinking life is a zero-sum game, a competition of scarce resources. You can’t afford to be generous when the stakes are your own survival! The attitude needless to say is a recipe for human misery. But what is the antidote. Perhaps it is the “abundance mindset”—the sense that there is more than enough for everyone.

And the Three of Cups—titled the Lord of Abundance by the esotericists—is the perfect illustration of that mindset.

a 1909 card scanned by Holly Voley and retrieved from Sacred Texts. Deck available from US Games

As I worked with 36 Secrets and pondered the Three of CupsI also was reading policy expert Heather McGhee’s The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together. With data and compelling stories, the book demonstrates how policies of the long past, very recent past, and still present harm not just people of color but also white people in economic, social/psychological, health, and moral arenas.

An actual event—a Three of Cups reversed story—becomes an organizing metaphor for the book: the draining and destruction of the Oak Park Pool in Montgomery, Alabama in 1959. McGhee describes:

The [city] council decided to drain the pool rather than share it with their Black neighbors. Of course, the decision meant that white families lost a public resource as well. … Uncomprehending white children cried as city contractors poured cement into the pool, paved it over, seeded it with grass that was green by the time summer came along again. To defy desegregation, Montgomery would go on to close every single public park and padlock the doors of the community center. … The entire public park system would stay closed for over a decade. Even after they reopened, they never rebuilt the pool.

As evocative as a Tarot image, this story vividly illustrates racism’s blanketing harm. In the book, McGhee takes us through cases drawn from public education, housing, health care, voting rights, and environmental policy to show how racism degrades quality of life for all. But McGhee does not just leave us “high and dry” in that drained pool. She invites everyone to be part of creating what she calls the Solidarity Dividend through participating in campaigns like the Fight for $15 (as a minimum wage for all workers), union drives, working for voting rights, or welcoming immigrants to communities needing revitalization.

In a now upright Three of Cups story, McGhee brings us to Lewiston, a struggling former mill town, in Maine, the whitest state in the country. Starting in the 1990s African refugees began finding their way to this quiet small city with low rents and starting their own small businesses to revitalize the downtown.

Cecile Thornton, a white Mainer from a Franco-American family who had all moved away, encountered her African neighbors when she sought to break through isolation by reclaiming her ancestral language. When she couldn’t find anyone interested in practicing their French at the Franco Center, she was pointed toward the French Club in Hillview, a subsidized housing complex.

She was surprised to find herself the only white person there, but gratefully began a conversation with Edho, a French speaking refugee from the Congo. Over the next year, Cecile studied and improved her French under the tutelage of her African neighbors. They became her community. Today she volunteers to help asylum seekers. Each brings their skills to help the other and the lives of all are improved.

This story makes me think of a particular Three of Cups: the one from the Numinous Tarot where the three celebrants are actually pouring out their cups of different colors into a well or maybe it’s a magical cauldron. As they do, their mixing liquids take on a new hue and are filled with stars. An illuminating flame seems to rise from the shared waters. The sharing of their abundance is creating something even greater. The pool is full to overflowing!


From the Numinous Tarot 
The Solidarity Dividend and the Numinous Three of Cups give us visions to move toward, an inspiring destination for our Chariot journey.

In the Rider Waite Smith version of the Chariot, the Charioteer is looking toward that destination, but we, the viewers, see only what is being left behind: a walled city.

a 1909 card scanned by Holly Voley and retrieved from Sacred Texts. Deck available from US Games
This is a powerful metaphor for what racism has done to us in the United States: divided us from each other, kept us from working together for the common good, trapped us in the institutions and policies made from a scarcity, zero-sum mentality. But the call of the Chariot is clear: leave behind that city and take off toward a more abundant life.

McGhee ends her book with:

Since our country’s founding, we have not allowed our diversity to be our superpower, and the result is that the United States is not more than the sum of its disparate parts. But it could be. And if it were, all of us would prosper. In short, we must emerge from this crisis in our republic with a new birth of freedom, rooted in the knowledge that we are so much more when the “We” in “We the People” is not some of us, but all of us. We are greater than, and greater for, the sum of us.

Yes, this is what we could be if we would get in our Chariots and ride toward that vision.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS / READING FOR THE MOONTH

These questions are offered for reflection and to spark practice throughout the moonth. Pulling Tarot and oracle cards in connection to these questions is appropriate, but not absolutely necessary. You might carry a question with you on a walk for example and observe what is happening in the natural world as a way to find insight into the answer to the question.

ABUNDANCE: What is abundant in my life that it would be beneficial to share?

PATH: How to move forward with sharing this abundance?

VISION: What can become real when my abundance is shared? 

I do offer this as an e-reading in my collaborative initiative format for $32.  Sign up with Pay Pal or email me about sending a check. When I receive notification, I’ll be in touch to let you know about when to expect to receive your reading by email. I generally have openings to do these readings on Mondays and Saturdays

Jun
19
2024

Full Moon Revelations: The Devil is a Different Kind of Angel

For Seekers – Moonthly Renewal – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Sanctuary

The height of this moonth’s cycle comes with the full moon arriving that day after the Solstice on Friday, June 21 (exact at 9:08 pm ET, time zone converter), and offers a revelation about how the lunar energies initiated on the June 6th new moon are developing. The new moon, guided by its association with The Lovers, invited us to have the courage to love. Out of the full moon revelation about this developing energy, we are issued an invitation to return a gift to the world in the final weeks of the lunar cycle.  

The exact moment of the moon’s fullness comes in the sign of Capricorn associated with the Tarot’s Devil. Along with Death and the Tower, the Devil is a most feared card in the Tarot pack.

But the Devil is really just a different kind of angel. 

Although the Devil has been imbued with great powers and saddled with all the evil in the Christian worldview, the Devil’s qualities vary across cultures. There is no parallel figure in the Celtic tradition, for example. Though the horned god Cernunnos may have inspired some of the Devil’s iconography, his significance as a god of fertility, life, animals, wealth, and the underworld is vastly different from the Christian Devil.

Neither is there a Devil figure in most traditional African religions rather, as Courtney Alexander writes in the DustIIOnyx guidebook, “humans and deities alike choose whether to navigate the world from a negative or positive disposition.”

The Jewish tradition offers yet another face of the Devil we can see in the Raziel Tarot created by Rachel Pollack and Robert Place. The Devil here is more akin to a trickster and can be tricked himself. In Judaism, Rachel writes, “No great Devil holds the soul of all humanity in its grip.”

 So, what happens when the Lovers encounter these various aspects of the Devil?

They may be tricked in some way or invited to examine their motivations. They may be led more deeply into the animal part of themselves, those earthy, physical, sensual aspects of their being. Their most shadowy, hungry, broken parts of themselves may surface, perhaps even be active in addictions, compulsions, or inertia.

If the Lovers meet and move through—rather than ignore or stay stuck in— what the Devil is leading them toward, there may be difficulty along the way but a reward is waiting: a renewing love that like the moon is born, grows, dies, but then returns. 

The Devil is a collaborator not an opponent on the path of renewing love. Because this wisdom figure shakes up our love and tosses it back to us in a different form. Our hearts may even break during an encounter with the Devil, but the breaking has the potential to expand us, to make us even more loving.

Nature writer Gretel Ehrlich, in her meditation on how the heating up of our climate is eliminating cultures of cold, speaks to this healing possibility of the broken open heart; “We don’t look because heartbreak might imply failure.  But the opposite is true.  A broken heart is an open heart, like a flower unfolding from its calyx, the one nourishing the other.”  When we take a long, loving look at our broken hearts, we open ourselves to both what is unsettling and what is most needed.

And this is how devils can be our angels. They are not sweet beings of light, but powers of shadow and the dark of the earth, our home of limits and of breaking.

I have found that turning over an intense card can sometimes be a relief because it mirrors back what I am experiencing. I see it and think, “I am not crazy. Things are bad.” I also feel a little less alone, “Well at least the Devil is with me in this!” In these times when the rights of women and LGBTQ+ people are being chipped—sometimes gouged—away; when US tax dollars pay for bombs killing so many people—so many children—in Gaza; and when climate change brings us raging forest fires, heat domes, and food-drowning floods it is right to say things are bad and let our hearts break.

Our hearts may be what breaks but this actually allows the love to flow out even more. It can flow to people we know and those that we don’t. It can flow to the trees and the air. It can flow into our hands to pick up the work of repair.

After an encounter with The Devil we don’t take love for granted. When we go all the way through the experience, we grow, and in this way the Devil guides us in tending not just our own souls but the soul of the Whole that we share with so many others.

To encourage a revelation on these themes as we continue through this moonthly cycle, you are invited to one, some, or all of these practices:

Moon bathe by sitting or lying under a window or outside on the ground. Let go of your thoughts and soak in the light.

~ Take out any reading or your reflections from the new moon and look at them in a new light. How does your understanding of the cards shift now that time has passed and light has shifted? (If you haven’t done a reading yet, no problem, just do it now under the light of the full moon. You can try the one from the new moon.)

Bring out your Lovers and your Devil cards from your Tarot deck and connect them to your new moon reading / reflections. You could place/imagine these cards on either side of your reading or above and below, and then look at how they add meaning into the story your original cards offered you.

Reflect on questions such as: What aspect of the Devil is active in my life (trickery, shadow, addictive behavior, etc.)? What is this Devil trying to teach me about love? Where in my life am I complacent about love? How can I break out of that complacency? What does my sensual self want me to know about love? How to embrace this part of myself? You could, of course, pull cards as responses to any of these questions. You may want to engage in Visio Divina to find the layers of wisdom within the cards.

When you are done, remember to offer gratitude for what you have received. Consider what gift you now want to return to the world. Pulling a card for guidance on the gift is always a fine thing to do. In the coming weeks and before the moon returns to dark around July 4th offer your gift to the world.

To note, this is the first of two full moons in a row associated with the Devil in a year that began and will end with Devil new moons. The Devil calls our attention! You may want to find some supports for checking in on what the Devil as a trickster teachers wants to offer you by attending to these moons, bringing out the Devil card in your deck regularly for check ins, and or have a periodic (weekly, monthly, here at Summer Solstice and then at Winter Solstice) reflection/journaling on what is bedeviling you and what lesson might it be trying to offer you as another kind of angel.

Jun
6
2024

New Moon Gateway: The Courage to Love

For Seekers – Moonthly Renewal – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Sanctuary

This moonth we are invited to walk the path of The Lovers, the card associated with this new moon’s arrival on Thursday, June 6 at 8:37 am ET (time zone converter) in the astrological sign of Gemini.

When we fall in love our heart becomes the blooming rose. A profusion of petals opening wider and wider under the kiss of the sun. We feel the rose in our chest expanding from the inside out to meet our beloveds.


From Ellen Lorenzi-Prince’s Greek Goddess Tarot
The suit of Cups focuses on Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love
We don’t fall forever. We have to land. Once on earth we grow and change so our love must, too. When we flow with this shifting love, the heart becomes a snake.The snake is a shapeshifter, moves forward with sinuous motion, sometimes curving its body entirely into nested circles. To grow it sheds its skin, leaves its no longer needed layers behind. Across time and cultures, this behavior has imbued the snake with symbolic meanings of healing, renewal, transformation, and even eternal life.


From Ellen Lorenzi-Prince’s The Minoan Tarot
When our hearts are snakes, we are blessed with renewing love. This is a love that changes. A love that has both times of dark and light, but that renews itself over and over again. In renewing love, the beloveds grow and change, letting each expand as they need.But even as our snake hearts sustain our love, they challenge us as along the Lovers’ path. Because, for many of us, snakes are scary!

They are my own phobia creature. As a little girl I could not even look at a picture of a snake, and they still appear in nightmares. My snake phobia was surely influenced by the snake’s other meanings through time: evil, darkness, deception.

Snakes can be death bringers; many are venomous, others could squeeze us to death. But growing up in the suburban Northeast of the US, I rarely encountered snakes at all and certainly not deadly ones. My feelings about snakes were a 9 of Swords experience. I didn’t face any immediate real threat, but my fears were still powerful.

a 1909 card scanned by Holly Voley and retrieved from Sacred Texts. Deck available from US Games
I now practice to be more accepting of snakes. Garter snakes visit my porch to sun themselves and I welcome them. I know they are good for the garden, eating up pesky critters. I’ve found beauty in the yellow strips along their backs swirling. They still startle, but in my relationships to snakes, I am  working on“feeling the fear and doing it anyway.” Here I am mirroring the Knight of Swords: committed to the quest and ready to move through any fears and negative thoughts.

Witch = Knight in Ellen Lorenzi-Prince’s Tarot of the Crone
My story about snakes could also be applied to love. Love is scary!When we risk love, we make ourselves vulnerable to others. Like a snake sheds its skin, we must take off our defenses and show our true selves: the beauty at our center, but also the shadows we’ve been trying to hide.

In mutually loving relationships, we open to the fullness of the other person and also to the fullness of ourselves. All become more Whole. And once we’ve lived and loved in this way, we can’t go back. Even if the relationship ends – by mutual decision, one-sided break up, or death – the skin we had to shed to love no longer fits. Love changes us. And to live, we must change.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS / READING FOR THE MOONTH

These questions are offered for reflection and to spark practice throughout the moonth. Pulling Tarot and oracle cards in connection to these questions is appropriate, but not absolutely necessary. You might carry a question with you on a walk for example and observe what is happening in the natural world as a way to find insight into the answer to the question.

LOVE: How is love calling me to live this moonth?

FEAR: What fears or obstacles might I encounter as I answer love’s call?

FORWARD: How can I “face my fears and do it anyway” to meet love’s call?

I do offer this as an e-reading in my collaborative initiative format for $32.  Sign up with Pay Pal or email me about sending a check. When I receive notification, I’ll be in touch to let you know about when to expect to receive your reading by email. I generally have openings to do these readings on Mondays and Saturdays

May
11
2024

Sneak Peak at Wisdom of the Tarot

Tarot

FREE virtual session on Sunday, June 9 at 6pm ET / 3pm PT (time zone converter). 

Benebell Wen interviews Mary Greer, Carolyn Cushing, and Terry Iacuzzo about the ingredients they are bringing to mix into this year’s creative cauldron that is the Omega Institute’s Wisdom of the Tarot week held August 5 – 9 in Rhinebeck, NY. 

We’ll also do a Wisdom Reading—Rachel Pollack’s technique for reading cards for the collective/soul-level topics—to discover the essential gift the Wisdom of the Tarot week offers. To conclude, participants will be led through a reading to uncover the next step in their Tarot learning journey.

As at Omega, everyone is welcome from absolute beginners to seasoned practitioners. 

Session will be recorded for sharing with those who can’t join live on June 9 at 6pm ET (time zone converter). 

Click Here to Register for June 9th Zoom

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