Moonlight Tarot’s Question Corner: Mystical Answers to Mundane Inquiries

By Angela Kaufman, Moonlight Tarot LLC

It’s graduation season, a time of high hopes and high anxieties. This month’s Querent, whom we will call Veronica, asks if she will be likely to get full time employment after graduation. In conducting her reading, the initial impression before drawing any cards is that of success, having a job offer through an agency she is currently connected to through internship or temporary work that becomes long term, especially with the help or mentorship of a friendly professional woman within the organization. I also sense an initial compromise, a feeling that time with this job shows is to not be as Veronica was expecting. Either not being recognized for her skill level or not being compensated at the rate she was expecting initially, but that it is a valuable starting point nonetheless. I feel like this job will be a foot in the door that will bring Veronica valuable experience, yet in 1-2 years she will make a significant move and will seek new employment at that time. The sense I have is this is a move to an area in the midatlantic, connected to a change in relationship status.

The cards drawn are positive indicators for career. Right away the Ace of Pentacles appears. This is a positive beacon of a new job being handed down unexpectedly. Veronica may still need to send out applications, network and interview, but this opportunity seems closer at hand than she may expect and appears to fall into place. This is a new beginning and as a starting point may not have the status, pay, or level of credibility from peers that she is expecting, but she will come to earn the recognition she deserves with time. The impression that goes with this job is that of a city area and a fast paced environment where it feels as if Veronica is part of a large structure that involves some excitement as it is a very action oriented workplace. It feels like being part of a race- at times exciting, at times high pressure, but that she has the energy and talent to keep up. I also feel like at first she will be restrained from fully getting engrossed in the work- either prolonged training or orientation sessions, a slow start but this will not be for long and once the action starts she will be quite busy.

The following cards are the 9 of Wands and the Devil. This suggests that Veronica will receive much in the way of training and at times may feel like she is spinning her wheels and not progressing. I feel like there is potential for frustration with a colleague or with the organization itself, this frustration stems from perceived criticism or miscommunication. If communication blocks are caught early and addressed assertively with an open mind, this can perhaps be avoided. The key is to take feedback seriously but not personally. I feel like it will also be important for Veronica to have an outlet for her stress to keep balance in her life. This is especially true with the appearance of the Devil card as it is likely that Veronica will become so enmeshed with work responsibilities and stress that it could trigger headaches, exhaustion and compulsive escape behaviors to “turn off” work on the off hours such as drinking or over indulging in other escapes. Veronica will do well to find healthy ways to leave work at work and take the valuable lessons from this job without allowing criticism or work stress to impact her self esteem and identity. I also feel like this job varies from the initial job description or expectations in some ways and knowing this in advance, Veronica can keep an open mind to reading between the lines and discerning what is promised from what is delivered. Observe early on how things- especially interpersonal dynamics in the office- are, and avoid expecting things or people in this organization to be as they “should” be rather than as they are. It seems like later in the year the demands of the job will increase and it will be important for Veronica to strive for balance. This brings a valuable lesson as well, in boundaries and fostering balance in spite of high demands from work.

My sense is that in spite of the demands and mental stress load that accompanies this job it will be endured for at least a year motivated by reasonable pay, and will provide the opportunity to make a good financial start. I feel like Veronica will start to feel stuck at this job but will find it profitable and in under 2 years will have the opportunity she needs to move to the next stage in her career.

This reading was completed using the Girlfriend’s Tarot. This is a delightful deck full of modern, sassy illustrations. It was also a gift from my boyfriend several years ago making it particularly special to me. The Girlfriend’s Tarot is smart, modern, and sassy. Gabrielle Tolliver is the creator and the deck was produced in 2005. The cards are not your typical Tarot or even Oracle type card sizes. They are mini-squares measuring 3.4 x 2.9 x 1.8 inches. They are easily handled by even the daintiest hands and are an ideal deck for younger people (or people of any age whose shuffling ease has been affected by arthritis). The deck contains 78 cards. Ok, I won’t lie, my deck has 79- there are two Hermits but I find this ironic and hysterical, adding to the deck’s charm. The interpretation of the major and minor arcana are different from traditional decks.

They are given a modern feminine spin on the “girl’s night” side of feminism. They radiate girl power while reclaiming everything delicate, curvy, intuitive and light. It is the energy equivalent of estrogen appreciation, rather than estrogen overthrowing testosterone and having an androgenous party. Some examples of its modern spin include the Chariot. I love the interpretation of the Chariot not as a traditional wagon commandeered by a robed figure and pulled by two Sphinx. Rather Tolliver gives us a modern gal balancing on one leg as she propels herself on a razor scooter. It is also balanced both in representation of gender and ethnicity as the figures come in many skin tones and ages. Kings and Queens are expressed as traditional gender connected roles but may be wearing sun shades or dressed as if for a party. Another favorite is the Devil, of all things, a business man with a contract held behind his back. Very clever. The minor cards are also updated. While the Swords are called Swords, they are drawn as pens (which I am told is mightier than the classic weapon) and since Cups or Chalices are rather Medieval, Tolliver gives us cute little coffee-house style mugs which could also pass for large tea-cups. Pentacles keep their name but are drawn as Pentacles inside flower blossoms. The Wands are likewise called Wands but illustrated as Umbrellas. The bohemian style of this deck is also illustrated in the Lovers- a couple standing in a yogic tree pose and supporting each other this way.

The backgrounds are all earthy solid colors, green, yellow orange, burnt sienna, and a neutral grey-sandy color which is much more attractive than the words I am using to describe it *see the picture of the Ace of Pentacles) and the illustrations are simple yet powerful. The point is clearly expressed in each card and a novice can easily learn on this deck. It is just as impressive symbolically in spite of the lighter take on the images. No flaming Tower here, the Tower is a birdcage sprung open from which free birds fly….in escape of some rather small and unintimidating flames. The message is the same- a challenge creating the need to spread your wings and fly, and much more tolerable than suggesting that all of one’s structure has just taken a nose dive…have a nice day. The Girlfriend’s Tarot deck comes with an equally cute instruction booklet, and the deck and book are packaged in a sweet little box with magnetic flap. The box has held up quite nicely.

This deck is very inspiring for me and the images connect me to the energy of milestones, especially those achieved related to youth and the promise of young adulthood. It was also published around the time I graduated from college so I gravitate toward it as a young person’s/college grad deck making it ideal for this reading. Perhaps some day in the future I will look on its symbolism the way people growing up in the 60s look back on the symbolism and trends portrayed in pop culture depicting this time and make enjoy the nostalgic moments. This however brings me to my only complaint about this deck. In order to ensure that it lasts long enough to bring my nostalgic moments, I have had to discontinue using it in one on one readings. After about a year the edges of the cards have begun to fray, not a good track record in my opinion. The quality of the cards do not seem to withstand repeated heavy duty usage and this is quite sad as I would love to make this my ideal on-the-road deck. It would fit in well at Café NOLA, or in graduation parties or gatherings for young adults or trendy people of any age, but I do not trust that it would hold up to rough handling over a long period of time so I have been reluctant to bring it out in order to preserve it. This may just be my deck being special, however. It does, after all have two Hermits!

If you are a beginning reader looking for a modern connection to the archetypes or an intermediate or advanced reader looking for a fresh interpretation, check this deck out just handle it with care. Best of luck to Veronica in her pursuit of post graduation success and happiness! Remember no matter where you are reading this, all readings are intended for entertainment only in accordance with NYS law.

More about this deck as well as purchasing information can be found here:
http://www.amazon.com/Girlfriends-Tarot-Gabrielle-Tolliver/dp/B005Q8NL0CCopyright 2005

Interested in being the Querent in next month’s column? Contact Angela at Trionfi78@gmail.com.

About Angela Kaufman:
Angela Kaufman has been exploring divination through Tarot cards for over a decade. She is a Certified Professional Tarot Reader and uses the Tarot and intuition to assist clients in exploring personal growth and development, and in accordance with New York State Law offers readings for entertainment purposes. Angela began providing readings on a professional, “Moonlighting” basis in order to provide affordable readings to those seeking guidance, inspiration and fun. Angela is also co-author of the new book “Wicca, What’s the Real Deal? Breaking Through the Misconceptions.” (Schiffer Publishing, 2011) and Sacred Objects, Sacred Space; Everyday Tools for the Modern Day Witch (Schiffer Publishing 2013).

For more information on services offered by Moonlight Tarot LLC, visit http://www.moonlighttarotllc.com.

Moonlight Tarot is now part of The Psychic Connection! Check out the profile at: http://thepsychicconnection.net/moonlight-tarot-psychictarot-reader/
New callers register at: https://prodca.click4talk.com/c4a/usignup_page.php?c4a=30236
to receive your first five minutes FREE!

If you prefer a live reading, check out www.cafenolany.com for listing of Tarot events at Café Nola in Schenectady NY

Operation Meditation

By Brian Leaf

It’s 5:00 AM. I have to pee very badly. And I’d like to go meditate.

Someone else would simply get out of bed, pee, and blithely head off to their cushion.

Not me.

To do this, I must pull off a CIA operation.

I must remove the covers, inch by inch — in the dead of night our comforter sounds like a crinkly bag of potato chips. I must crawl to the edge of the bed (our bed is pinned against the wall to make room for Benji’s changing table). I must step off, and in the pitch-black, follow the border of the bed frame.

I must round the corner of the bed, where someone who designed our bed has very cruelly placed a jutting protuberance at exactly shin height. At five in the morning I forget this every time. I must stifle my cries. Power through the pain. Eyes tearing, I round the corner and toe the balance-beam width between Benji’s changing table and our bed, ever careful, ninja-like, to step lightly.

I am almost out. But now I face my greatest challenge. The small distance between me and the door, maybe five feet, is a minefield of creaky floorboards. Gwen has them memorized. For some reason I do not. At first I pause to consider my options, and then I panic, sprinting the short distance to the door. My feet land extra heavy, and the floorboards creak like mad…yet no one awakens. Hashtag grateful.

On the way out, I shut the door in one motion, careful that it does not squeak, promising to myself that today is the day I will remember to oil the hinges.

Failure in this operation is not an option. Benji is not sleeping more than two hours at a stretch. Neither, therefore, is Gwen. She is grumpy. I must not wake her or Benji.

If stage one of OPERATION MEDITATION goes well, I can leave the room with Benji and Gwen still asleep. Now I’m in the hallway. I must pass Noah’s doorway without him stirring. He can sense me. I must cloak my scent, my very energy signature. Any stirrings, and he will roll over and groggily say something like, “Dad, lie with me.” Which is lovely. Truly. But it’s not why I am out of bed. I am heading to my cushion to meditate. Plus, Noah’s bed is two inches too short for me. So I cannot stretch out my legs and I won’t fall asleep. I will lie there listening to him sleep. Content, but wishing I were meditating or asleep in my own bed.

Alternatively, he could wake up and be alert for the day. Unacceptable. Waking at five to cuddle or meditate is one thing. But art projects and Monopoly are another.

Before I can meditate I must pee. Meditation cannot happen otherwise. The bathroom is opposite Noah’s room. I shut his door. Do I also shut the bathroom door and risk a squeak? This one is a judgment call. More art than science. Today I leave it open.

I lift the toilet seat. I pee. To minimize noise, I aim just above the border of the water and the porcelain. Thirty-eight years of standing pees have trained me for this moment. I execute it flawlessly and lower the seat without a clank.

At this point I consider heading back to the lion’s den, back to my cozy flannel sheets. This is madness. Gwen and Benji are certain to stir.

Don’t do it, I thought-scream at myself as I turn left out of the bathroom. Past Noah’s room. Down the hallway. Into my bedroom. Over the creaky floorboards. Around the bed frame. I climb in. Under the crinkly comforter. Ahh. I close my eyes.

Benji stirs.

I am in big trouble.

About Brian Leaf:
Brian Leaf is the author of “Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi” and “Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi”, as well as the owner and director of the holistic New Leaf Learning Center in western Massachusetts. He has studied, practiced, and taught yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda for twenty-three years. Visit him online at http://www.misadventures-of-a-yogi.com.

Excerpted from the new book “Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi” ©2014 by Brian Leaf. Published with permission of New World Library http://www.newworldlibrary.com

Geek Month in Review: May 2014

By J.B. Sanders

May flowers!

Robo-snakes
Nothing else to add: robot snakes. With video and explanations. Creep factor 5!

How to Flood-proof Manhattan
Anyone else remember when this kind of thing seemed like science fiction? Yeah, me too. This time, especially after Hurricane Sandy, people are seriously talking about it.

Shipping Container Houses
Normally, when you hear that phrase, you picture stuff that is one step up from “shack” and many steps away from cool homes. Not so with the ones in this article. They look like something you see in Architectural Digest.

Concrete-Eating Robot
I know, it sounds like a bad scifi movie, or the name of a pulp novel from the ‘60s. Nope! It’s a robot, still in the design phase, which will disassemble a concrete building, breaking up the concrete into cement, sand and aggregate. All this is done right on the construction site, and it leaves the rebar naked and ready for re-use (or recycling). Pretty nifty!

Shell Grotto — Made by Who?
There’s a grotto in Kent, England, that is decorated with millions of seashells, 4.6 million to be precise. It was discovered in 1835 by some explorers, and when I say “discovered”, I mean it. No one knows who created the grotto, why the decorated it that way, or really much of anything else. It’s pretty snazzy, though.

Billion-User MMO Using VR? Yes, please!
So VR reviving tech company Oculus was recently purchased by Facebook. What are they going to do with all that money and computing power? Build an MMO that a billion simultaneous users can play, and since it’s Oculus, it’s going to be in VR. Sound like a scifi book you’ve read?

Self-Healing Plastic
Yup, it’s another step towards androids dreaming of electric sheep. Scientists have developed a polymer that has cappilaries, much like our own tissue, so that healing plastic will flow into and fill cracks.

Robot Hand and Arm Prosthetic Approved for Use
Cyber-enthusiasts rejoice! The FDA has approved the prosthetic for general use, after it was developed by DARPA. It’s capable of doing very fine manipulation, such as picking up an egg or zipping up a jacket.

Solar Roads
Sounds like a scifi novel, does’t it? This little company has devised hexagonal tiles that could be used instead of pavement, and the suckers are solar panels, generating power. They also have heating elements, so they can keep roads clear of snow and ice. And they have lights, so they can be used to create lines of light on the road, instead of paint. Going “holy crap!” yet? How about the designers estimate that if all 31,000 square miles of currently paved road was instead paved with their tiles, it would produce three times the electricity the entire country uses.

Better, much better video:

Largest Dinosaur Ever
Imagine something as big as 14 elephants. Or larger than several buses. HUGE.

Hover Bikes!
For real, even. There’s a company taking pre-orders for them. Not quite the flying cars of the 1950’s future, but close. So close!

The Sand Chart
In case you need a reference showing the approximate size of all the different kinds of grains of sand, here you are.

Oldest Living Things on Earth
It’s a photo book, travelogue, and text book, all in one. Photographer Rachel Sussman explores organisms, such as trees, lichen, fungi, and others, that surpass 2,000 years old. In fact, one of the organisms, a tree-root structure in Idaho, is over 80,000 years old.

About John:
John’s a geek from way back. He’s been floating between various computer-related jobs for years, until he settled into doing tech support in higher ed. Now he rules the Macs on campus with an iron hand (really, it’s on his desk).

Geek Credentials:
RPG: Blue box D&D, lead minis, been to GenCon in Milwaukee.
Computer: TRS-80 Color Computer, Amiga 1000, UNIX system w/reel-to-reel backup tape
Card games: bought Magic cards at GenCon in 1993
Science: Met Phil Plait, got time on a mainframe for astronomy project in 1983
His Blog:http://www.glenandtyler.com/

Father is the First Teacher

By Sara Wiseman

My bathing cap is too tight; it doesn’t hold the cascade of hair that someone’s piled on my head in order to squash it on, pull it tight until it covers my ears. When I take it off later, my hair will be sodden, snarled, and the long strands will catch in the cap, causing me to yelp in pain.

I wear it, because I want to pretend I am immune from the water: that even when I am submerged, my body will be safe from all that scary wetness.

If we wore goggles back then, I’d have put them on, too. But goggles haven’t been invented yet—at least not for child swimmers like me. I squint my eyes tightly against the sun, against the stinging chlorine, against the very large dollop of zinc oxide that has been applied to my nose in precaution against sunburn, and allow myself to descend into the whorling wet that awaits.

It’s summer, I’m at the pool, I’m maybe 4 or 5, and I’m learning to swim.

It’s not an easy surrender.

I gasp, my heart pounds, and I catch sign of myself in reflection: I’m a green-capped alien, the water is dangerously blue, every ripple like a flash of light along the pool’s floor, and I’m hang on to the only safety I know: my father’s arms, my father’s chest, my fathers’ neck, everything sturdy and comforting, covered with blond curling hair.

If he lets go, I’m sure I’ll die.

If I let go, I’m sure I’ll drown.

I’m learning to swim, he thinks.

I’m trying to survive, I’m sure.

My body is rigid with panic, my arms clamped tight around him, and yet we don’t stop. We go deeper: past my knees, past my waist, until I’m up to my neck in water.

And even as we submerge deeper, I hear his voice in my ear: relax, you’re doing fine, it’s okay to let go.

Relax. You’re doing fine. It’s okay to let go.

Which I realize now, many decades later and 12 years after his passing, were the only real lessons I ever needed to learn from him.

The father is also a part of our soul circle; of our primary circle. Many souls are lucky to know our fathers well and long; in this loving relationship, our fathers bestow upon us a trust in the world that cannot be taken away. When our father is here, when our father is in the house, all is right with the world.

Others recall different teachings from their fathers. There may be grave difficulties in the relationship: karmic wounds that are beyond forgiving.

Still others don’t know of their fathers, or their fathers flit in and out of their lives, undependable at best, heart- breaking at worst.

Sinking back into those long time ago memories, I can see other fathers at the pool now, encouraging, berating, training, teaching, ignoring, punishing, present, authentic, cruel, real, loving, gentle.

All those fathers, teaching lessons.

My own father took me continually to deeper depths, letting go of me even as I held on.

Relax. You’re doing fine. It’s okay to let go.

These are the soul lessons I’ve been working on, lately, with nary a swim cap in sight, feet fully on dry land.

You, as daughters and sons of other fathers, will have your own lessons to learn.

We all receive what we need, even on summer day in the pool.

What have you learned, in accepting or rejecting your own father’s teachings? The male energy moves in all of us, whether we are male or female.

It is a part of us, just as everything is a part of us. Take a moment now, and be grateful for what you’ve learned—the lessons your father taught you, and also those lessons he failed to teach. Allow yourself to open your heart to all of it. (Excerpted from “Living a Life of Gratitude”).

About Sara Wiseman:
Sara Wiseman is a spiritual teacher, intuitive and author of six insightful books on spirituality and intuition, including “Living a Life of Gratitude”. She is the founder of Intuition University, hosts the popular radio show Ask Sara, and is a top contributor to DailyOM, InspireMeToday, Aspire and more. Visit her at www.sarawiseman.com

Paradise in Plain Sight: Lessons from a Zen Garden

by Karen Maezen Miller

In the early summer of 1997, my husband and I found ourselves in the backyard of an empty house on a quiet street in Sierra Madre, a suburb of Los Angeles. The backyard was Southern California’s oldest private Japanese garden, an oasis of ponds and pines that had stood mostly intact since 1916. It seemed like paradise with our name written all over it. We knew in our bones that the place could only be ours, and with it, the little house alongside it. The next day we put money down and a month later, moved in.

Once we arrived, we hit the bookstores and local nurseries. We studied up on Japanese gardens: their esoteric architecture, history and symbolism; and the very special way to rake, weed, prune, plant and water. We sought opinions, called in experts, and asked for conservative estimates — ha! — to redo this or that. The more we learned, the more we doubted. It was too much work. We were fools, without the right tools, training, or time. No wonder no one wanted to buy this place but us. It wasn’t paradise, but a colossal pain in the neck.

One day I ran across a single line in a thick book that made it all simple. It told the original meaning of the word “paradise” before it became a mythical ideal, imaginary and unattainable. Before it pointed somewhere else.

The word “paradise” originally meant simply an enclosed area.

Inside the word are its old Persian roots: pairi-, meaning “around,” and -diz “to create (a wall).” The word was first given to carefully tended pleasure parks and menageries, the sporting ground of kings. Later, storytellers used the word in creation myths, and it came to mean the Eden of peace and plenty.

But looking at it straight on, I could plainly see. Paradise is a backyard. Not just my backyard, but everyone’s backyard: the entire world we live in, bounded only by how far we can see.

There was only one thing to do. I began to garden. I got scratched, tired, and dirty. I pouted and wept, cursing the enormity of the task. I was resentful and unappreciative. But when I ventured afield, sidelined by things that seemed much more entertaining or important, I always came back to this patch of patient earth. Time after time I realized that the living truth of life is taught to me right here, no farther than the ground beneath my feet.

Sixteen years later, I do not know the chemistry of soils or the biology of compost. I have not mastered the nomenclature; I do not know the right time or way to prune. What I have learned instead is this: paradise is a patch of weeds.

What loyal friends, these undesirables that infiltrate the lawn, insinuate between cracks, and luxuriate in the deep shade of my neglect. Weeds are everywhere, showing up every day, my most reliable underlings. Weeds keep me going.

The most common weeds in the yard are crabgrass, dandelion, and chickweed. The most common weeds in the world are greed, anger, and ignorance.

Here are ten things to do to spare your garden from stubborn entanglements:

1. Blame no one. Blame is a powerful barrier: like prickly thistle, it spreads pain and disaffection. Blame turns the garden into a menace.

2. Take no offense. Consider the energy we expend to prolong fictional injuries. How hard is it to get over what’s already over? I know: it’s hard. But there’s a way.

3. Forgive. Forgiveness reconciles the rift between self and other. Forgive someone today—forgive yourself today— and feel the rift recede. Suddenly, it’s much easier to move on.

4. Do not compare. Satisfy yourself with what you have in hand. It may not look like much, but this right here is everything.

5. Take off your gloves. A nurseryman once told me, “A real gardener doesn’t wear gloves.” Native intelligence flows through your fingertips, wisdom received in direct connection with the world, telling you know how deep to dig and how hard to pull, when to gather and when to release. Self-defenses make you timid and clumsy.

6. Forget yourself. The world needs a few less people to own their own greatness and few more to own their own humility. When you can face reality without camouflage, yours is the face of compassion.

7. Grow old. It isn’t easy, it’s effortless.

8. Have no answers. In Zen, we don’t find the answers; we lose the questions. It’s impossible to comprehend the marvel of what we are, or to understand the mystery of life’s impeccable genius. Weed out the confusion that comes from trying to understand.

9. Seek nothing. Just for one moment take my word that you lack nothing. Have faith in yourself and the ground where you stand.

10. Go back to 1. The gardener’s job is always just beginning.

See more of Karen Maezen Miller’s beautiful garden and learn more about “Paradise in Plain Sight: Lessons from a Zen Garden” in this four and a half minute video.

About Karen Maezen Miller:
Karen Maezen Miller is a Zen Buddhist priest and teacher at the Hazy Moon Zen Center in Los Angeles. She’s the author of Hand Wash Cold, Momma Zen, and most recently Paradise in Plain Sight. Visit her online at www.karenmaezenmiller.com.

Adapted from the book Paradise in Plain Sight ©2014 by Karen Maezen Miller. Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA.