the Hermit

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As the cold chill of winter blankets the Earth, I feel my desire to draw inward and under cover. I have finally succumbed to the seasons, embracing their distinct energies. Between the two great orbs in the sky, the moon will be faithful in her ever changing phases. The sun taunts me in its game of hide and seek.  Raised in Texas, where I used to spread baby oil instead of sunscreen on, and where I would make a little meal of raw egg, lemon and beer for my hair to get natural “highlights”, I never really experienced “seasons”.

I have now lived in upstate New York for over the past decade. God bless my husband ! With such little sun in comparison to my youth: my leg hairs have grown for longer stretches of time, showers are less frequent, and my wardrobe consist of putting on as many layers as I can find. That is right: pants over pants, socks over socks, and big coats over small coats. THE UPSIDE being that I also get to luxuriate in naps and well, on myself. The cold forces me to slow down and take stock.Besides keeping the wood stove stoked, the cat hairs vacuumed, the children fed, etc, the outdoor chores are limited and free up much of my time. Rather than resist the urge to be angry with Mother Nature for holding me prisoner inside of my house, I cave.

There is also much beauty to be found in the twinkling of the frost at morning, a magical snow fall, and the wonderful feeling of the wind while skiing. And I make a point to dig again every winter and search for my own inner beauty. The other seasons have more urgency to doll up, but for me, winter not as much. The inner beauty regime has me take stock of my health and do an annual fast. And speaking of fast, or not so fast in my case, I have started training for my annual half marathon to raise cancer research funding. Last year my goal was to finish the race, and I did, in second place. Second to last in my early start time group, but I DID finish. This year instead of the early start time, I am doing the early early start time, and walking the marathon. I don’t think I can take another butt cramp like last year.

This blog helps with my mental and creative cleanse. My annual poetry gathering next weekend fills my soul.

A wonderful way of tuning into that deeper knowing of where we should be on our paths is through tarot cards. I usually only do a layout for myself during each season or if I am going in to a meditative ceremony. They help me keep a more singular focus. While I feel that tarot have become much more accepted , many people still hold the idea that either they are only related to the occult or that they can only be read by psychics.

Indeed many intuitive people use tarot as an aid. They are adept at reading the images and adopting their meaning into a current situation.

While I have a few tarot packs, traditional and untraditional. I use my medicine cards the most. I love the role of archetypes. The ideal man or woman gives us something to aspire towards. But I have found that living in the country I see particular animals a lot, and often at times when I am in the meditative zone of driving. I sometimes use the medicine cards in the reverse way, where I look up the card of the actual animal that I saw.

They are kind of like a confirmation of my feelings. Of course, every once in awhile I cheat, though technically it is impossible since you get to make the rules and decide whether or not to accept the message of the cards. If I choose say …..the mouse… (ewww) I’ll pick another card. They are kind of cute, but I just don’t like them. Even though, like me, they prepare for winter by storing their food away. I store mine in my belly fat.

A few weeks ago, we had a sweat lodge here run by my uncle Jake. He is gifted healer. Before going into the sweat I chose the butterfly card. A beautifully grounded woman named Emily came to the sweat through a mutual friend of ours. Jake specializes with healing cancer. When I spoke to Emily about her experience she mentioned that she felt like hundreds of butterflies were flying out of the stones and  she later wrote to thank me and say how transformative the experience was.So sometimes the cards might speak about people that will show up. What Emily reminded me was that beauty truly comes from within.

If you love horses, I highly recommend the Way of the Horse. The author manages to get inside the head and heart of a horse and translate into our human language. They are exquisite.

If you aren’t quite ready to buy your own deck of cards and start interacting with them, another fun project is to make your own.There is no wrong or right way. You can paint a pre-existing card like my friend Karen and my sister did..

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Uh yeah, they both have art degrees so, yeah.

You can make a collage like Homeys or mine.

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(So yeah, I um, do NOT have a degree in fine art.)

I made this particular tarot years ago, but it is interesting to think of it now. This is what is so wonderful about tarot as they tend to unleash the subconscious.The yellow triangle reminds me of a tipi or fire, the swords remind me of icicles, and the photo of me is a time where I was at peace. As long as I can hold onto love, nothing can pierce me. The truce is that I often fail at holding onto the love and the peace , like all of yesterday when I heard bad news of a friend. But I can always ask for it to come back to me and it will.

Another idea that would be cool, would be to pose for a tarot photograph (like below photo taken from internet). Instead of making a collage, the background would have to be well thought out. SO many of us seem to keep all of our energies focused outward as if we may find some dark creature inside of us. And perhaps there is. But the more we shed the light and look, we will begin to love what is inside of us. The dark creature that we were so scared of may just end up being a good friend. Tarot have an uncanny knack of mirroring what is going on inside of these cavernous places in our heart. Don’t be afraid to allow them to help guide you. There may just be some hidden jewels waiting to be discovered.

And last but not least, give yourself permission to sometimes take short cuts in life. The hard way has its merit. Ad so does the easy way. There is an awesome tarot reader, (again on ETSY!), ReadingsbyM. I guess the only disclaimer I would throw in, is that while tarot seem magical, truly what is magical is that we can all learn how to be still and listen to our inner knowing. At the end of the day, we must follow our own hearts. Think of the tarot as more of a jump starter.

Blessed be.

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