Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Hermit

from the Cosmic Tribe Tarot, Stevee Postman/Eric Ganther
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

The Hermit, #9 in the Tarot, guides us as we take the journey inward. We, as the Fool of the Tarot,  have achieved a deeper level of self-understanding and are about to journey outward on a turn on the Wheel of Fortune (card #10).  But first, we stop and go within, shining the light of wisdom for our own enlightenment. Each of us must evaluate and understand our own essence, our own self, contemplating the passage of our own life so far. 

The Hermit explores the underworld of her own nature. She is accompanied by Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guards the entrance.  As Eric Ganther wrote, “two of her heads look forward, keeping distracting thoughts of the future at bay, a third looks behind to keep ghosts from past situations from interfering.”  Discovering the truth of who we are requires us to be focused and present. We all need time out to discover the wisdom that awaits us beyond the walls of daily routine, mindlessness, disruptions, and pre-conceived reality. But within those walls is a dark doorway – the doorway the Hermit must walk through. 

The Hermit carries a light in one hand indicating others might follow close behind, but the real light shines within. This is perhaps my favorite Hermit card of all the decks. While standing in the dark, unable to see very far beyond the small lantern, the Hermit is illuminated with all of life within her. It reminds us that we are the center of life, we are the embodiment of the Divine, we are each a beautiful landscape giving hope, light, and solace to those who still seek their way in the darkness. Truth does not lie in the superficial realms. It is not an easy prize.  It is not “microwave enlightenment.” Truth is a process that takes our whole lifetime. There is always something else to discover, another season to explore in the landscape of our private existence. 

If you are feeling the Hermit in you being called to explore the underworld of your darker realms, take some time out.  Go to your favorite place and spend time alone, just be-ing with yourself. Make time and space for Spirit to reach you. Ask and listen. Dim the lights, turn off the electronics, soak in a soothing bath, take a long walk, spend time with your altars. Enjoy some solitude. (When was the last time you really did that?) There is nothing so dark inside us that the beautiful nature of who we really are cannot shine through and illuminate.

Kathryn Ravenwood – July 14, 2015 (

The Four of Cups - Luxury of a Time Out

From The Black Cats Tarot, by Maria Kurora
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

I haven’t been able to get it together lately. I have a list of projects waiting for me that are both interesting, important to me, and time sensitive. The status of them is unchanged and they are still waiting for me. I have not been sleeping well. I get up in the morning and am determined that I WILL “get something accomplished” today and go off to Yoga and work and put in my usual long day. By the time I get home I am not so much tired as I just can’t seem to shift gears and get to the rest of my life, such as writing, cleaning, cooking, email… I find I just want to go to bed early – but 7:30 pm? Really now, that is a bit much. I go over my “would-a, should-a, could-a” litany in my mind and still don’t get started on anything. 

So what is up with me? I am in a Four of Cups mode. Like the cat in the tarot card I have plenty in front of me, with more coming, all of it good, but I just lay on the couch, inactive, even inattentive. I watch old TV shows, take a nap and then go to bed. I have no passion, no drive, and lots of blah. I am not bored; I am unengaged. I told myself, “you can’t be ON all the time,” but I really didn’t believe it. I don’t feel like that is OK, but I don’t feel like anything else, either.  Sigh. 

The Four of Cups is an emotional time out. Sometimes we need to let the muddied waters of our emotions have a chance to swirl and clear, even if we are not aware of stress or issues. Our emotions can run deep or be flooding over the surface of our lives. I have done a lot of purging lately of habits and items, cleaning out my spiritual and physical houses. It is no wonder some part of me is saying, “enough already. Take a nap.”

The fours in Tarot all relate to structure yet the Four of Cups, being emotions, is sometimes referred to as “luxury.” If we permit ourselves the luxury of waiting, to allow alignment to find its way to us through the murky waters of our emotions, we are able to renew and regroup. Emotional structure is pretty loosey-goosey – like water, it tends to slosh around as it searches for new balance, for a new place to pool up in containment, to settle in, and be reflective and accessible again.

In the Black Cat Tarot, we see the luxurious lay out of a feast before the cat who languishes on her couch, not partaking of what is in front of her, and probably overwhelmed by her three friends coming forward with yet more to offer. And here lies the warning of this card: while it is good to rest and regroup, we must not slip into debauchery or self-indulgence. We might find it tempting to overeat, have too many glasses of wine, or spend time in maudlin reminiscences, letting luxury overstay her welcome. When Spirit offers us our Four of Cups times, it is prudent of us to use the time wisely and graciously. 

This too shall pass.

…Kathryn Ravenwood  11.13.15

The Ten of Swords - Leaving the Story

Featured deck - The Tarot of Transformation by Willow Arlenea and Jasmin Lee Cori
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

Living in the present- in the now - is the place to BE. We all know this. We hear it from every wisdom source there is. Let go of the past and the blame or shame of supposed failures in our lives. Don’t worry about the future. It hasn’t happened yet and most of what we worry about doesn’t happen anyway. Yet, how often do we find ourselves really not in the present? We have slipped backward or forward into some other place of attention.

For those caught in endless rumination of dwelling on mistakes, losses, fears, or devastating events (those which have happened or we fear may yet occur) the Tarot has a card for you: the Ten of Swords. This is the one where a man lies face down in the snow with ten swords stuck in his back, his blood turning the snow red.  

Yikes. Who DID that to the poor guy? 

Well, he did. The Swords are about the mind; no one lives in your head but you and those thoughts that rattle around in there endlessly are all yours. Our thoughts create our story about ourselves. Much of our story is based on actual facts-our birth, where we lived, friends, family, lovers, events. We love to tell our story and we tend to hold it as sacred memory. However, our memory can be very opinionated. It likes to embellish certain situations or conveniently forget that which we really don’t want to think about. As we habituate our thoughts, our stories, they become the hard-wired programming by which we operate and create the path we follow into the future.

It is true that some of our thought patterns were downloaded onto us while we were children or in some very vulnerable state. They might have originated from someone else’s thoughts but if let them “live” in our head we have taken ownership of them. 

The Ten of Swords gives our tortured minds a gift many overlook. When this card shows up in a reading it is usually seen as one of those “oh no” kind of cards. So why is it is a gift? First, the 10’s indicate change. They are the last of the minor arcana suit cards and from there we move into the Court Cards of Mastery. Tens are ruled by the Major Arcana card of the Wheel of Fortune, the card of Change. We all know we do not optimize every opportunity that comes our way. When Change is offered we often shrink away, preferring to stay in the cozy area of the known (even if it is a miserable known) rather than take a chance on something new, allowing those habitual patterns to imbed deeper and deeper into the patterns that have become our lives.

The gift of the Ten of Swords is the opportunity to leave the old stories behind, free yourself of their repeated outcomes, and move forward on the Wheel to new opportunities and happier stories. Pick any situation or story of your life that is holding you down in the bloody snow of your mind. Look at it carefully and objectively. You will discover a repeated pattern that keeps looping through your head. If this story/pattern is causing you to be stuck from moving forward then I suggest you try rewriting it. We cannot change what has already happened but we can most certainly change how we go forward with it.  The most essential element of healing is to create a new image in your mind and hold fast to it. This is the same principal of affirmations and manifesting. We CAN change our minds and bodies, whether we want to lose weight, sell our house, find a new job, or create a beautiful work of art. 

Everyday we are manifesting exactly what we are focusing on. So if what is showing up in your life is more of the same sad story with the same unhappy ending then get to work on writing a new ending to that story and create new stories to carry you forward in a more positive way. Rise up from the bloody snow of the Ten of Swords and release that cold and leaking energy to invite new ideas and thought patterns that bring happiness, success, and peace to your troubled mind. 

...Kathryn Ravenwood

The Devil

Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

From the Mythic Tarot - Liz Greene and Juliet Sharman-Burke

The Devil is the 15th Major Arcanum of the Tarot. It represents an incredibly wide variety of interpretation from Pan, as the embodiment of mirth, to the stereotype horned devil figure holding sad looking humans in chains as the dark spirit of evil, to Coyote, the great Trickster.  When the Devil appears in a reading we are being asked to look at what “bedevils” us - our fears, restrictions, how we hold ourselves back. The chains that bind us are most often our thoughts and how they condition us, become a way of life for us. They are how we have LIVED (DEVIL spelled backwards). 

An old song from the 70’s comes to mind:  
“I pushed my soul in a deep dark hole and then I followed it in
I watched myself crawlin’ out as I was crawlin’ in
I got so uptight I couldn’t unwind
I saw so much it broke my mind
I just dropped in to see what condition my condition is in...” 

When the Devil shows up in a reading it is time to see what condition our condition is in.   We go through the “dark night of the soul” when all our private monsters crawl out from under the bed to surround us. We are faced with our dark side, our fears, negativity, and chains that bind us from reaching our full potential. The Devil is that feeling of being separate, disconnected, and apart from Spirit/God/goodness.

We all have experienced unhealthy situations and people who seem to bring out the worst in us. But, it is critical to remember that only we choose what we think. The Devil is most often our own creation. We are all here to learn. We have to make choices and discover how we process those choices that are good for us and those that are not so good. And, we have to learn how our choices effect others. We can choose to bring as much joy and light as possible into our lives or we can choose to continue to be bound by our devils.

I like to think of the Devil as Pan - playing his pipes out in the moonlight tempting us to come out and play, to dance and be merry; to loosen up, lighten up and explore the hidden realms of possibility. The Devil card is ruled by Saturn the great teacher. So if we over-do it, we will feel the results and have to figure out a balance. Coyote the Trickster likes to trip us so we fall down and have the opportunity to see what is in front of us - what tripped us. We have to learn about our pitfalls so we can learn to transcend them, to choose other paths, or to just take bigger or smaller steps.  We may fall many times before we recognize the lesson.

Whatever it is that bedevils you, when you want to loosen those chains that bind you, when you want to break free, stop guilt tripping yourself, give yourself a big ol’ hug and have a good laugh at it all. Don’t take it all so seriously. Let your body take over for your mind for awhile. Laugh till you cry. The beauty of it all is that those Devils are OURS - not someone else’s - so we can do as we please with them.  Please, let them go and be free.

Kathryn Ravenwood

The Nine of Pentacles - Giving and Receiving

From The Housewives Tarot Cards, by Paul Kepple and Jude Buffum
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

Holidays are upon us. This season exposes the entire gamut of human emotions, expectations and miracles. The media is on a non-stop barrage of shopping frenzy. Family dynamics come to the forefront sometimes as a blessing and sometimes as a dreaded cross to bear. Somehow we are transported from our usual daily lives into some other world of memories, anxieties, dreams, unending To Do Lists, and unexpected joys.  But what is all of this really about? We can look at it all from Pilgrims to the New Star in the East and everything in between but I think it is about generosity.
Not the lavish, extravagant, over-extended hemorrhaging of the bank account, not late night marathons of wrapping packages, not frenzied competition of who can have the gaudiest decorations to disrupt the neighbors’ peace. I am thinking of that basic, innate and mysterious gift that is bestowed within each of us - the generosity of Spirit.  In some great mysterious event, the Universe gives of itself and somehow transforms from the void into the unlimited, wildly creative and fantastically awe inspiring existence we call LIFE and bestows it all upon us to do with as we will.  We only have to breathe and look around us at any moment to be astounded by it - the generosity of flowers in bloom, the purr of a cat curled in your lap or the adoration of your dog when you walk in the door, the sun rising and setting each day, moonlight, starlight, the laughter of a loved one, mountains, water, trees, plants, music, art, it is indeed an endless list.

There is only one little catch - we have to give back to keep life giving to us. Receiving and giving are the two sides of the coin of manifestation. Everything depends on this law. We all know when we hoard a resource or do not properly care for one, that it diminishes.  Hoarded food is never consumed and so it rots and is wasted.  Relationships not fed and sustained with our attention and exchange of energy will fade and fall away. Our spiritual lives suffer when we no longer check in to honor our practices that connect us with God/Goddess/Great Spirit/All-That-Is.  The gifts of our talents and creativity expand in use and fall into dormancy when not used.  A simple smile or kind word, being patient and listening, helping someone in need, offering prayers, growing a garden, sharing our love, are all acts of generosity. 

We receive as we give. We give as we receive. I once read a simple statement, “it is not just that we are nice to the people we like - we like the people we are nice to.” I had occasion to try this out and found a conflicting relationship turned into one of more mutual respect. All I did was be nice to that person that I really did not like.  I encourage you to try this exercise.  Maybe it is a co-worker, a family member or maybe even - GASP - it is yourself.  I don’t know about you but I could certainly spend more time being nice to myself and less critical. 

And that brings me to a final thought - maybe generosity is really about forgiveness: “for-gving-away.” Can we give away a smile to a harried waitress working overtime who just messed up our order? Can we give away our patience when we are challenged in a relationship conflict and just want to insert our ego and control? Can we give away the need to know all the answers? And can we receive all that Life gives to us and give away those gifts with the loving grace of knowing there is always more to come back to us?  
The truth of the Universe is abundance. May this Holiday Season find you all looking at your abundance, your blessings, and may we all keep the cosmic recycling loop of giving and receiving in an open and glorious flow.

...with love and joy, Kathryn Ravenwood, 11-30-13


The Goddess Tarot – Kris Waldherr
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

Has Death come calling for you lately? We all experience death and transformation on a daily basis; some more painful and drastic than others. Maybe it is a physical death of a loved one, or a shamanic death causing deep, personal transformation. Perhaps a fire or other disaster required an unplanned move or renovation. Maybe some old habits finally died or an old flame extinguished and made room for a new and positive relationship. Whatever it is, we can be sure that nothing stays the same.

There is no defined way to deal with death except to allow and honor our grief over what we have lost and eventually be able to embrace the new that follows. For me, death has come in the way of Spirit calling me to dismantle my altar room – my personal temple - and take down layering of altars and objects that have my been my focus of prayer and devotion for almost 20 years. This is not the basic maintenance of cleaning crystals, washing altar cloths, and changing out things here and there. I would regularly take a weekend to do that work which resulted in a fresh and re-energized space. No. This is definitely a death. I have been working on it for a month and can only do a little at a time because it is a grieving process for me to let this go. I cry. I have a pile of things that used to be altars that are now in the “give away” boxes. It is time to change and I am compelled to allow it to happen. Something new is trying to emerge. The old matrix has been blocking it – whatever it is - and needs to transform. The external is reflecting the internal and it is giving me new vision of myself. 

There is no comparison in death. My transition is certainly not the same as my friend’s who just lost her husband of over 35 years; yet, we are both in grief and face an unknown. The death of her husband was out of her control; mine is optional  - I think. 

In the beautiful tarot card pictured above, we see Ukemochi, a Shinto goddess of food, who prepared a feast for a moon god by manifesting food coming out of her mouth. The ungrateful god was offended and killed her. After her death her body continued to produce grains and beans and her eyebrows became silk worms. I like to visualize my altar room death process as spinning the silk for a new creation of beauty to honor Spirit, my guides and their teachings, and the new me that will emerge from this. To emphasize that, Grandmother Spider has been hanging outside the window for a month, spinning her beautiful silken web. A recent storm destroyed her web and I didn’t see her for a couple of days, which made me sad. Then she showed up again, re-spun her web and continues to be a blessing reminder of tearing down and rebuilding. 

Death is one of the greatest ally cards of the tarot. Sometimes we just have to let go, move on, and Death is there to help us. If we can learn to embrace the smaller deaths in our lives, then when the Big Ones come along, we might be better able to understand the process, allow and honor our grief to transform us, and be willing to embrace the new, silken life that may follow. 

If Death has shown up for you lately, I hope you are able to allow yourself the grief it deserves and the compassion for your transformation.  May love and grace be with you.

…Kathryn Ravenwood  9-2-15

The Five of Wands - Conflict

Featured Deck: The Housewives’ Tarot  by Paul Kepple and Jude Buffum
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

After World War II America experienced an expansive surge of growth, creativity, and abundance. The suburbs exploded with new housing. Couples moved in to picket fenced homes to raise families and celebrate the new American Dream. So many daily chores of life that had always been manual became automated. People started to have more time on their hands to do other things. Life was perfect! Really?

In the card above, a housewife finds herself in conflict with a blender, toaster, and an iron; the very things that were supposed to bring her freedom from her chores seem to be her enemies. Now that she has these helpful appliances she is expected to do more, be more, have a perfect house and family. The more free time she has the more she is expected to do, to be, to keep up with society’s expectations. She finds herself overwhelmed, perhaps feeling like a failure or spinning in a vortex of mindless activity. Oh, for the good old days of simplicity. 

Most of us today have similar challenges. We are overwhelmed with choices. The stores are overloaded with merchandise. There are too many events to attend. Too many movies to watch. Too many books to read (so little time!) and certainly too much technology seducing us, enticing us, raising the bar of expectations; every year the latest and greatest in innovations is outdated and new ways to do things come along. That card could easily replace blenders and toasters with iPads and cellphones. There is no end to the possibilities yet somehow we feel we must experience it all, master it all. Bring it on! 

The Fours of the Tarot represent stability, structure, order. We long for that feeling of safety and security. But once that is established human nature always pushes against it, wants to get out of the box, rebels and breaks free into – chaos. The Fives of the Tarot are that chaos. Here in the 5’s everything gets mixed up. By stepping out of structure we have to redefine ourselves, our lives, our expectations and goals, our very identity. Who am I? What am I doing? What do I want? 

We battle over these parts of ourselves, our identities. Which one gets a turn? What part of us is the “real” part? We try to suppress the conflicting voices because it is just too much. We cannot do it all, but we can do what we choose to do. 

When the 5 of Rods finds you overwhelmed, in conflict, living in chaos, take a break. Look at what is happening. Pick your battles. Try to identify the parts of you so involved in this fight. Do you need more time to study and explore your spiritual side? Does your family require more of your attention? Is your body, your health sending out cries for help? Are you getting proper nourishment or are you in the “grab and go” mindless act of eating? Do you find yourself spinning all day but not getting anything done? 

The traditional 5 of Rods shows 5 people, who all look identical, fighting each other with battle staffs. Those 5 people are the different aspects of the self fighting for control. Stop beating yourself up over it all. Try to realize that this breaking out of order and stability has a purpose. Killing yourself with conflict will not help you learn or grow. If chaos is on overwhelm in your life, take charge. Limit the stimulation – the input. You don’t have to deny yourself, but you can refine your choices. You don’t have to fall back into the old box of your life; this is an opportunity to go forward in new ways. 

There is a certain feeling of magic here; to be able grab the tools we need from the swirling chaos and manifest our desires in the midst of the confusion. As we spin and swirl, new ideas form, new possibilities pop in and out. We can taste and sample limitless options. Try a few. If you find something you like it, pursue it and be willing to let go of that, too. 

Learning how to, well, dance with the energy helps us to learn to maneuver it, to use it, to allow ourselves to expand. It really is a dance. The music exploding, the drums beating, we give ourselves to the energy, moving and finding our own rhythm. And at some sweet spot, we realize we have learned to move with it, to ride it, to feel our own identity emerging out of chaos and into the beauty of who we are.  We don’t have to divide and conquer. We discover how to allow the different parts of ourselves to support our dance of eternal becoming. 

Love and embrace all the parts of yourself.  The Wands of the Tarot are Fire… maybe you could ignite those battle staffs, step into the circle and dance with them.

...Kathryn Ravenwood

The Tower of Destruction

Featured Deck - The Cosmic Tribe Tarot by Stevee Postman and Eric Ganher
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood 

The Tower of Destruction is one of the Tarot cards that, when thrown in a reading, evokes groans of “Oh No” or other expressions of fear and dread.  You can see why.  As an image, it is the epitome of doom and destruction.  A large tower rises out of what appears to be a firm foundation.  Lightening bolts have hit the top of the tower. Fire explodes out around it.  Two beings are falling upside down to the rocks below. 

It looks pretty hopeless.

The Tower is definitely about change.  When it shows up in a reading, you can expect that things are not going to be the same.  

The card before the Tower is the Devil.  The Archetypal Fool on his Journey through the lessons of the Tarot just had all his monsters and demons, fears and phobias crawl out from under the bed, so to speak, and scream in his face.  He had to be consumed by them or triumph over them.  It was a real dark night of the soul.  Having survived the Devil, the Fool has proceeded on the Journey with some hope and renewed confidence.  

Then, the Tower happens.  It hardly seems fair.  

And yet, the Tower falls.  Absolutely.  This is not the kind of change that comes from picking up the reigns in the Chariot and thundering down the road in glory.  Nope. You just had the rug pulled out from underneath you.  Question: maybe you got a little bit of a warning about this?  Didn’t you just dance with the Devil?  Did you think things would stay the same once you dragged those demons out of the closet and had a few go-rounds with them?  Do you really want to do that again?

Or maybe you didn’t meet your Devils recently  - or don’t think you did.  The Tower represents those rock hard places in our lives that we think are permanent, protected, perennial.  We worked hard to create this place that glorifies our accomplishments.  Who would dare to dash it all away from us, casting us out to fall from these glorious heights like Dante dropping into hell?

Well, life happens.  We get our little warnings.  We ignore them, hoping they will just go away.  Yes, we know our spouse is acting strangely and telling lies.  But we don’t really think they are cheating on us - not till the big announcement “I found someone else. I want a divorce.” is made.  We are shocked.  “It just happened like a bolt out of the blue” we say.  Uh-huh. That “bolt” is a Tower experience.  Now what?  Life as we know it just came crashing down around us.   We are afraid, angry.  We panic. We fall down and feel helpless. Perhaps it is the day you get the pink slip at your job and find yourself packing your personal items into a banker’s box and going home in the middle of the morning.  Maybe your best friend just double crossed you.  Maybe you got rear-ended on your way out of town for a vacation.  You get the idea. 

Can we survive? Yes.  We do.

In one Tarot deck, the Tower is depicted by a cat who has jumped up onto a beautiful dining room chair to avoid the vacuum cleaner going by.  Glaring at the vacuum cleaner, the cat doesn’t realize the chair is tipping over and will fall.  No sanctuary.  Will the cat land on its feet?  Where will it run to?  Safely under the bed?  Or will it get outside and bolt off into new dangers?

In another deck the Tower has a large crown on top that is now tilted precariously on the block of stone dislodged by the lightening bolt.  Perhaps that crown represents the ego?  Or a current level of consciousness being pushed aside so a new one can enter?  In the Osha Zen deck the Tower is the outlined figure of a person sitting in a half-lotus position with lightening bolts emitting out of the crown chakra igniting the individual chakras like bonfires as two small humans fall away.  Might this represent the fall of our human duality to jolt us into a place of feeling our total being?

Perhaps my favorite Tower card is from the Cosmic Tribe Tarot.  The Tower is made of televisions that are all on fire.  As the man falls from the Tower the expression on his face is pure bliss.  Ah! At last!  Free of the old re-runs of his life that kept him trapped in late night talk shows of the monkey mind.  When one show is axed, new programming can take a turn on the airwaves.

Other images of the Tower include the Goddess Pele as the Purifier.  The Goddess Kali for shattering the structure.  Even the Grail Knight who finally found the Holy Grail at the altar of the Temple of Solomon is picking up the Grail just as lightening hits the temple and it falls around him.  

Gee, is nothing sacred?  

I have been dealing with my own Devils lately.  Lethargy.  Depression.  Fear of getting older.  Being in denial of a shoulder injury and extra pounds.  I finally got to the point of “oh enough is enough. Just DO something about it.”  And so, at the beginning of the Labor Day weekend I made a commitment to get back into my exercise routine, spend a good amount of time in my kitchen doing food prep that would encourage me to eat better meals.  Give the house a good cleaning.  Get the energy moving again!  I was really psyched up about it.  “YES!  I am DOING this!”  So I went out Saturday morning, walked just short of two miles, fell down and sprained my ankle.  I was Towered.  I thought a lot about it as I laid on the couch with my ankle on pillows and ice.  What happened?  I made the best of it.  I wrote another chapter in my book, read half of the current novel I am indulging in, petted the cat.  I did not fall back into that negative mind set I had been wallowing in for weeks.   It wasn’t until Monday night that I realized what had happened: I just had a classic Tarot lesson!  I fought with my Devil and overcame the current challenge.  I was Towered to give me the opportunity to move all of these experiences out of my patterned life and move up into a higher consciousness.  I laughed at myself.  All these years reading the Tarot and it took me this long to figure it out?

Whatever events in your life make you realize you have “been Towered,” have faith in the process.  Yes, it will probably be difficult.  No, it is not the last card in the deck (#16 out of 22) so you will recover and go on.  It may be a great trial or another of those 
“*#-ing growth opportunities.”  Big or small, a Tower event can be embraced as a process that, while not of your choosing, is really helping you along your journey.   We will experience the Tower many times in our lives.  The Tower is about the fall of our dependence on the material world and the rising light of our spiritual life, as shown by The Star.

The Star follows the Tower in the deck. It is your Guiding Light, your ability to see where you are going.  Once the smoke and debris from the Tower clears away, you find yourself bathed in this pure Light of Spirit to lead you as you get up, brush yourself off, salvage what you can, and go on.  At this point, you probably have a lot less baggage.  You might miss it, and wonder how you will get by without it, but oh, that Light!  The Star is so beautiful and you follow it.  

Spirit is always there to guide us, to lead us, to give us hope. And, thankfully, we have the Tarot to help us figure it out.

...Kathryn Ravenwood

The Two of Pentacles - Duality in the Physical Realm

From the Cosmic Tribe Tarot by Stevee Postman and Eric Ganther
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

We are all busy. Our lives are full of friends, family, work, career, spiritual practices and pursuits, hobbies, entertainment, exercise, sleeping, eating, and lots of books to read. The challenge is in the balance of it all. No matter what we choose to do, the list of what is left can be frustrating and even overwhelming. 

In the above card we see the ouroboris, the cosmic snake that is forever consuming its own tail, at the base of a beautiful butterfly. The ouroboris reminds us of the eternal, unlimited source of all possibility. A column of energy surges up from within the circle of the snake, creating a beautiful body  - from the unlimited arises the one. The energy continues up and out of her crown, returning to the sky above. Each wing manifests as a separate color from the energy field moving around it: balance arises out of the field of chaos; this is Spirit and Matter co-creating in the realms of duality reminding us we are eternal beings, temporarily existing in a plane of duality.

The Two of Pentacles teaches us of duality in the physical realm. The eyes on the butterfly wings remind us to keep watch, stay open, because change is always occurring in the unlimited field of life. How we manage it, allow it, resist it, or create with it is up to us. There is no hurry; in fact, the lesson of this card is in keeping our focus, mastering a juggling act rather than a frenzied pursuit of a completely crossed out “to do” list. 

At times we might find ourselves in a rut; stuck with no apparent progress or change. This is when we need to re-examine our routine, making adjustments to get us moving again. Or perhaps we have experienced a great epiphany and want only to stay in that elated place of feeling connected to the whole, of seeing the big picture. Then life’s dualities pull us back to Earth where we must chop wood, carry water, buy groceries, and balance the checkbook. 

Duality gets us back into the routine, giving us another opportunity to watch, see, and access what is useful to us from the great source of one-ness, of all possibilities. We keep things circulating, stay in the flow, so as not to become stagnant and that circulation eventually moves us into new areas.

Without duality everything/everyone would be the same. Duality brings definition, change, options, and opportunities for exploration and growth. “Dualtiy tools” include choices, decisions, learning our preferences and how to recognize patterns. If we look again at the cosmic butterfly in the card, we see two antennae reaching out on either side to listen to the fine-tuned messages arriving from both sides of the situation to keep us further informed, reminding us that if we keep Spirit involved in our process, we can access help outside our own limited experience. 

 So remember, focus – not frenzy. Watch, listen, and apply conscious choice to access the transformation the ouroboris and butterfly show us is possible. And enjoy the journey.

  Kathryn Ravenwood…10-9-15

The Hanged Man- Surrender

From Unknown Tarot Deck
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

John Lennon was a great advocate of freedom.  He reminded us of a basic truth when said, “Yes is’ve got to, you’ve got to let it go.” (from Mind Games).  Surrender and Yes in the same context?  Surrender brings up images of waving the white flag in defeat, giving up, giving in.  We tend to think of those images as restraint, not freedom, “no”, not “yes”.   What did you mean, John?

In the Tarot the Hanged Man has surrendered.  The card depicts a man suspended from a horizontal branch over an abyss, held by only by one foot tied securely to the limb, the rest of his body hanging upside down.  One leg is crossed over the other, his hands are behind his back.  Clearly this guy is not in control of the situation - or is he?  Was he kidnapped and tied to that branch or did he get his friends to do it for him?  “No, really, dude - I WANT you to tie me here, dump me over the edge and then just leave me hanging...”  

For many of us, the very nature of our lives is based around structures that reek of control.  We have deeply engrained patterns of how we expect things to be and how we react when things don’t happen according to those expectations. When we don’t get our way, when things don’t turn out the way we planned, when the relationship isn’t working, we want to be in control - to get the outcome we desire. We engage in an endless conflict of pushing to get what we want and the other person or situation pushing back. If we don’t push hard enough or at the right time, if we lose the game, we end up desiring control even more, banging our heads against the wall (sometimes literally), repeating the same patterns, looking for the same wrong answers.

The Hanged Man is the Tarot’s answer to this cycle - the surrender of the ego to the higher wisdom, the Divine within us. In the Book of the Runes, Ralph Blum gives a beautiful depiction of Odin, who for nine nights hung upside down from Yggdrasil, the World Tree, “wounded by his own blade, (his ego? His need to control?), tormented, unaided and alone.”  From this place Odin spied the Runes in a pool below him.  “With one last great effort he seized them, and fell.”  He fell into Divine Wisdom.  This is the sacrifice of the Hanged Man. The horizontal limb he is tied to is the ego, controlling mind and the patterns it creates and binds us to.  It takes a radical shift, a surrendering, to drop out of that known, prescribed thought process into the void of possibility, new wisdom, and ultimately rise up to cosmic consciousness.

It is like playing a music or movie CD that has become scratched or otherwise damaged. When the laser hits that spot it can’t go forward, and gets stuck, skipping back and forth over the flaw, preventing the song or movie from playing out.  Seems like it always happens to our favorite CD, too.  Dang!  We try to fix it but nothing works.  Eventually we just have to accept that the CD is defective.  We can’t watch it or listen to it anymore.  We move on to something else.

Where is your life stuck?  Where are you pushing and getting the same negative responses or repeated failures?  Are you tired of it?  Ready to give it up? Contemplating surrender can be terrifying - if we let go of the patterns or expectations into which we have invested so much of our effort, our ego, our personal energy, then what will happen?  Who are we without this struggle?  We sometimes cannot imagine a different future than the one we keep insisting on that is not happening!  Yet, the Tarot says to Surrender, to Sacrifice the part of us that keeps us from realizing that there are answers out there - maybe just not the ones we wanted to hear.  

Oh, and by the way, that Hanged Man is alone - he didn’t get to drag his uncooperative partner or co-worker along with him.  The only person you can change is - yeah, you know..... YOU.  

We don’t have to tie ourselves to a tree and hang upside down for days on end.  But, we do need to let go.  Just stop.  Stop demanding, stop pushing, stop trying to control it all.  Relieve yourself of the burden of trying to hold it all, do it all, fix it all.  Let go of the hang-ups, let it all hang out.  “Let go and let God.”  Odin was “at the end of his rope” when he realized he was not alone...The Divine was right there to help him. 

Surrender to the God-knowing within you. It might be uncomfortable or scary, but let go.  Get off the fence, look at things from a different angle, see what is staring you in the face that you never wanted to acknowledge or never could notice before.  And rise up to a new day, a new view, a new you. 

Kathryn Ravenwood, July 3, 2011

The Hierophant - The Grand Pooh-Bah!

Featured Deck: Tarot of the Dead, by Monica Knighton
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

In the Tarot, card #5, or The Hierophant, is the high priest, the Pope, or, as Marie White of the Mary-El Tarot, says, the “revealer of the sacred.”  You get the idea. He is the Grand Pooh-bah, the guy who is supposedly the know-all of the mysteries, protocol, dogma, rituals, and other serious religious stuff.  He is the representation of what society and religion expect of us.  On her Journey, The Fool of the Tarot experiences the Mother (#3, Empress) then Father (#4, Emperor) and then moves out into the world where she meets this dude and the expectations and corresponding conforming of behavior begin. If we don’t do as The Hierophant demands we are met with adversity, seen as the “black sheep,” the rebel or non-conformist and often suffer penalties because of it; penalties inflicted upon us, of course by the very Hierophant who is supposedly high priest and teacher of the great mysteries. 

Society rules do have their place and we all have lessons to learn. I am not an anarchist by any means, but I do not advocate blind faith of those in charge, either.  We need to abide by certain rules but then discern if those rules are necessary to define, regulate, protect, or hold us hostage. Sometimes the teacher has no new information to share and just regurgitates the same old litany of outdated doctrine. But sometimes the teacher is fresh, exciting and full of ideas and view-points that lead us to new discoveries. I know which teacher I prefer. 

I love this rendition of The Hierophant! He is a cool looking guy hanging out in tropical Florida or some other vacation spot.  He is holding the staff of Osiris, claiming his authority as “god on earth.” All we have to do is get his approval and we can pass on into paradise, right? But what exactly is that behind him? Doesn’t look very defined, does it? In fact, it is non-descript and vague looking.  For a guy who is supposed to stand for all knowledge, he doesn’t offer much of a promise.
The fives in the Tarot are a half-way point. In the minor arcana it is half-way between the beginning and the end of each suit. In the major arcana it is half-way between the Magician and the Wheel of Fortune, the first of the two great cycles in the Fool’s Journey. Have you ever been on a trip and encountered terrible weather and didn’t know whether to go forward or turn around and go back? The fives are like that – full of fear. We don’t want to go back but we are afraid of what is ahead.  And sitting at the middle of that road is the Hierophant… “listen to me… I know the way…I will guide you… trust me…”

The lesson of the Hierophant is to seek within to examine the mysteries and how we are able to live in whatever truth we can define for ourselves. I am a staunch believer in Cosmic Law; but I don’t need a Guru to be the know-all of my life.  As a friend told me one time, spell Guru: Gee-U-Are-U.  Yup.  Just because someone holds a title and a degree doesn’t mean they deserve to live on a pedestal over everyone else.

We have to be the truth of our own lives. How we accomplish that takes a life-time, an eternal becoming. The Hierophant can be helpful in exploring various flavors of Cosmic Truth whether they be religion, higher education, rituals, traditions, legal systems, or other organizations. We will always question leadership, overthrow leadership, and go through it all over again. As The Who sang in the 60’s, “Meet the new boss –it’s the same as the old boss.”

As you pursue your search of the sacred, the Divine, the truth, remember that the real Hierophant is within you, calling you to own and be responsible to the truth that you know. We are each unique, but we all must someday answer to Cosmic Truth. How we find that is a huge part of how our individual lives evolve and form into wiser and more beautiful beings. We can each be a Hierophant, a “revealer of the sacred,” by how we carry ourselves, share our experiences and wisdom, and how we learn to respect others for their paths as well.  

And then, perhaps, we have truly found paradise. 

...Kathryn Ravenwood

The Three of Cups - Celebration

The Three of Cups - Celebration
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood
From The Rider Waite Tarot

Quick - think of three things you have loved celebrating........  now, were your friends by your side? Yup, I thought so. We can count on our friends to join us for most any reason to have a good time. Life is rich and abundant and so much more fun when shared with our friends. I know that all of you who are reading this have friends - great friends - whom you love, cherish and that you lavish each other with love, acceptance, silliness, honesty, care and spontaneity. This is one of the most self-explanatory cards in the Tarot. No one has a problem understanding it. I chose this card for this week’s newsletter simply to honor all the friendships.

While the Tarot does show us a path of wisdom, the Fool’s Journey, we rarely experience this path in a linear manner. But when learning about the cards it is good to see what precedes and follows a card we want to understand better. Let’s look at the progression of the Cups. First the Ace brings us fresh love, joy, creative urges. Then the Two brings a couple together in love and joined partnership. Then the Three: this is where the creativity comes in. In some partnerships a child is conceived and new life is brought into the world as a child. This conception and birth are representative of the Empress - the Mother card which is Major Arcana 3 and rules all the threes of the Minors. 

But the children of the Empress are not restricted to human babies. Collaborations of partners create all kinds things from art to delicious desserts. Yes, we can do it alone but it just is more fun with someone else and we usually need some other input to help us figure out the details or just to keep us enthused. Cups are about emotions. The three friends in the card are emotionally connected, sharing love and a very special quality - Grace.

Grace is that abundant energy that is always flowing to us from Spirit. We do not have to earn it - just experience it. We connect with Grace alone, yes, in spiritual revelations. But it is the celebration of that Grace that helps it to expand throughout the world and touch people who are not able to feel or receive that blessing. Friends celebrating each other, celebrating life, celebrating in ritual or cooking, or out on adventures together spread Grace. Friends who show up in hard and sad times when all seems lost bring Grace with their gift to love and support no matter what. 

Our friends are humans, family, non-family, animals, and for some, the rarer forms of fairies, angels, or Spirit Guides. Whoever your friends are, continue to love them, celebrate with them, create with them, and receive the Grace of Spirit with them.

...Kathryn Ravenwood

The Prairie Dog Incident

Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

 I came home from work the other night, opened the garage door, drove my car in, and heard loud, high pitched barking. I thought my neighbor's dog had somehow gotten into my garage and become trapped. I backed the car out and walked back in to even louder vocalizations. Then I saw a brown furry critter scurry from behind the freezer and around my cabinets; it was a prairie dog!  

WHAT? How did a prairie dog get in my garage!? I called the city and was told to hire a pest control company. I walked around the corner to a neighbor who has a Critter Control truck in his driveway, knocked on the door and asked if he would please help me. He declined to do so.

I had a phone appointment in a short time so I could not deal with this most surprising guest until later. I opted to leave the garage door partway open, hoping the little guy would find his way out. After the phone session was over I checked on him. Not only was he still there, he was all curled up and asleep, tucked away in the back corner of the garage. I figured he was settled in for the night. 
I started thinking about why this unlikely animal had showed up. Prairie dogs are all about community. Here I have a stranded and frightened loner, isolated from his family and way out of his neighborhood. There are three nearby colonies but they are certainly not in proximity. I live in a normal city block with streets and sidewalks and houses close together. How in the world did this guy get to me? What did this say about my own state of community? The city and my neighbor declined to help me. Have I isolated myself? Do I feel alone and lost? Am I hiding out, afraid to move?
I started calling friends for help. It was getting late and the next day was a work day. I felt badly about bothering people but I needed someone to help herd this guy out of the garage without him running behind the water heater or washer/dryer making it impossible to get at him. One of my dear friends agreed to help. She showed up wearing her boots, broom in hand. We both started laughing at the total absurdity of it all. 

We tied towels over our faces (in case of mysterious airborne diseases!) and wielded our brooms. I shone a flashlight on my little guest who was curled up as tightly as it could, probably trying to be invisible. I pulled out the freezer, then started to move the cabinets which were so old and rickety they immediately began to fall apart. Oh- that woke up our little friend! Now he was hiding between the wall and the cabinets. I finally got an opening and started shoving him with my broom. My friend cried out, "don't kill it, Raven, or we will have to do ceremony for it!"  We were screaming and laughing while we herded it out into the open. Finally it broke free and ran as fast as it could out the door and into the night. 

After gales of laughter my friend went home and I was left to clean up the mess. Droppings had to be swept up, the broom and floor bleached, the collapsed cabinets hauled outside. I kept saying, “Spirit, what does this visitation mean?” Within four days I had multiple and unexpected answers to that question – all about community, all about how I relate to people and how they relate to me. Some positive, some not so much. 

What does Prairie Dog tell you about your own community? Are you hiding out, invisible, frightened and isolated? Have you showed up for a friend lately who needing some support? What barricades do you hide behind? Is it time to break free and run like crazy into the night?  Whatever it is, I hope you remember to laugh as you explore the teachings of Prairie Dog. Sometimes a sense of humor is all that keeps us sane. 

..Kathryn Ravenwood 7/21/15

The Page of Pentacles - A New Lesson From Your Body, Perhaps?

From the Crystal Visions Tarot, Jennifer Galasso

A week ago I decided to give up coffee, which is a big addiction to me both physically and emotionally. I did it for health reasons and I am discovering a lot about myself in the process.  I mention this because I am feeling like the Page of Pentacles….beginning to take on mastery of my physical world, in this case, my health – again.  Not like I haven’t done it before and then slipped back into old habits!

Pages are the Messengers of the Tarot and I certainly have been getting a lot of information about my body lately. Pages also represent new beginnings. In the Earthy suit of Pentacles this can be about a new career, a new relationship with Mother Earth, or as I am experiencing, a new start on health. Pages are the first of the Court Cards, following the Ace – Ten of the Minor Arcana.  Pages have already gone through a lot of lessons and experience but now are at the mastery stage. In the picture above we see the Page has already accomplished much by the crystals at the base of the tree below her solid perch in the branches. 

We experience the Page many times throughout our lives.  We may seem to be repeating the same lesson but the Page helps us get back on track with less distraction. Pentacles are the most enduring of the Tarot suits; we can look forward to a steady, disciplined course. Keep on target, do a little every day, keep learning. 

Is the Page of Pentacles showing up for you lately? Or maybe it is a good time to invoke your Page and get back on track of your goals so they can be manifested into reality. Take a look at what you have accomplished, re-evaluate your goals and pay attention to the new information coming in to help you. Then, keep on course, and enjoy the journey! 

...Kathryn Ravenwood

The Three of Swords - Destructive Though Patterns

Deck unknown
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

The other night I had zero energy so I turned on the classic movies channel to watch an old John Wayne movie. I grew up in Wyoming; we watched westerns all the time. This seemed like a good choice to veg out. It started out fine. John Wayne was looking very handsome and his co-star so beautiful. All was great -  until the shooting and killing started.

As I said, I grew up in Wyoming where the slogan, “The West wasn’t won with a registered gun” was on all trucks equipped with gun racks loaded with rifles. It was also a place of prejudice against anyone who wasn’t white, male and not afraid to use their power to preserve that place at the top of the society heap.  The Old West lore was still alive. Ranchers shot Golden Eagles from helicopters (yes they did), cattlemen and sheepmen still fought it out, thankfully without the old gun battles (at least most of the time).  There was a prominent attitude of “I fought for this (land, ranch, truck, gun, fill in the blank) and it is MINE and no one is taking it away from me.  “Whiskey and fresh horses!” was still called out when some drunk guy at the bar wanted attention.  (I was a bartender – one of the first women to be so employed as such in the city I lived in so I know this.) Are you getting the image?

Back to the movie.  John Wayne and the other “good guys” were getting away from the “bad guys” who were chasing them on horseback. As soon as the “bad guys” got within range, The Duke let loose with his rifle shooting and killing, never missing a shot, but every bullet miraculously missing him.  I had to turn off the TV.

I grew up with this. Watched a bazillion movies like this.  So did everyone else. It was the accepted culture that represented the “winning of the West” when white people arrived from Europe and then proceeded to say MINE and committed genocide from “sea to shining sea.”

 I chose the 3 of Swords to depict this cultural pattern. This card is about holding on to old thought patterns that continue to bring destructive results. We see this reflected all over our country. The battle over gun control. Killings happening  because someone is interfering with what someone else wants or acting in a way that threatens what someone wants.  Thinking there is entitlement and no punishment because “I am the good guy.” Prejudice and limited points of view poisoning our world.  I could go on all day but you get the point.

In the card depicted above, we see a decimated land with three swords sticking out from dead vegetation.  Two owls and a raven sit on the swords while a flock of birds, looking like ravens, fly off. The moon is full. What was begun has come to fruition. However bleak as this is, the owls give hope of a wisdom that is higher than the results and the raven offering a place of going between this land of sorrow and the land of wisdom beyond. 

We know we are making progress. Attitudes are changing. But we have so very, very far to go. If the 3 of Swords is plaguing you, take heart and try to locate the origins of old thought patterns that hold you in sorrow, cruelty and that pierce your heart and perpetuate the madness.  Call upon your higher wisdom to help over-ride the old stories and traditions with more loving, supportive, and inclusive ones. 

We all carry the scars of heartbreaking devastation. It is up to us to turn our thoughts around and make the changes we want to see in the world. 

…Kathryn Ravenwood  July 8, 2015

The Ace of Swords

Featured deck: DruidCraft Tarot
By Phillip Carr-Gomm, Stephanie Carr-Gomm, and Will Worthington
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

In this card we see an arm raising a sword out of the water. This is a depiction of the Arthurian legend of the Lady of the Lake delivering Excalibur to Arthur. I am not an Arthurian expert but I chose this example because it speaks to me of the essence of the card. 

The lake is the element of water.  Water is the primeval, unmanifested, and formless element from which creation began. It is the Nun of ancient Egypt, the waters of chaos, which came before the land and from which arose the god Amun when he created himself. It is the subconscious, the unseen and unknown potential of all that is possible.

In Tarot the suit of Swords represents the mind, thought, ideas. The Ace is that place where we receive a conscious thought from the unconscious realm; when an idea rises from the depths and has its first chance to become a reality. From the chaos and unseen depths of our unconscious we give birth to an idea, an inspiration, a thought. It rises up and grabs us. Many times if we don’t write it down or take action we can forget that brilliant moment; the sword sinks back into the lake. But if we grab on to the sword, as Arthur did with Excalibur, we can wield it to create or destroy. 
Swords have a hilt, two sides to the blade, and a point. The blade may be sharp or dull. When we learn to master the sword we learn to use it precisely and carefully. We can defend with it, kill or maim with it, use it to threaten or even to plunge it into the dirt and “draw a line in the sand” of marking a boundary. It is the same with our words and thoughts. There are two sides to a conversation. We try to make our point when we have a discussion.  We deliberate ideas to sort out confusion, coming to that, hopefully brilliant, conclusion. 

All the Aces of Tarot indicate a new beginning of some kind. The Ace of Swords is that great idea that leads to writing a book, making a movie, starting a new course of study, or what just precedes inserting foot into mouth!  We can take that Sword and heft it, measuring its weight and setting an intention for a good outcome or we can drop it and lose the opportunity. 

Intention is the arm that controls the Sword. 

The Ace of Swords is also pure cosmic truth. In the Tarot the figures of the Sword Court Cards all wield swords, showing the progressive mastery of and fealty to truth. The Justice figure also holds the Sword reminding us that Justice hears both sides of the story but sticks to the point of truth. 
The Ace of Swords is not in its sheath. It is out, exposed, vulnerable to attack. It can be seen as a show of strength, a challenge, or an act of defense. It is grasped in the hand, at the ready. How do you wield your Sword? Do you parry about with words? Do you miss the point; enjoy the double entrendre, like to make a show of your swordplay?  Do you use your intention and words to control others? Are you constantly jabbing your sword into people causing harm? Or are you a Sword Master, honing your mind into precise and well executed thoughts and articulate skill, speaking and defending the truth? 

The next time that Ace of Swords rises up from the lake of your subconscious, grasp onto it, hold it, wield it.  Use it wisely to start the sequence of thoughts, intentions, and actions to manifest your Camelot.

…Kathryn Ravenwood:  June 25, 2014

The Six of Pentacles


From The Rider Waite Tarot
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

This card is showing up in a lot of readings lately which suggests that is  “up”for many of us. I know it certainly is for me. We see a rich man holding the Scales of Justice as he doles out coins to the beggars on their knees in front of him. What is going on here? 

In the Sixes of the Minor Arcana we move from the chaos, fear, and loss of the Fives into a place of balance and harmony. What a relief! In the Six of Pentacles we are given the opportunity to take stock of where we are spending our energy, to re-think our goals and assess where we are and what we want to accomplish. Balance is a changeable quality; the smallest shift in our attention and action can tilt the scales one way or the other. What is wanted here is a sense of reciprocity, where what we give is balanced with what we receive. 

How are you spending your energy, your attention? Each day we have more opportunities than we can possibly experience. Relationships, work/career, health, exercise, leisure, study, money, entertainment, and the mundane aspects of life, such as maintaining our home, paying bills, all take “coins” from our “purse” of energy. Our spiritual practice, even the words we speak and the thoughts we think all require an expenditure of our energy. We can’t pay out what we don’t have. Eventually promises have to be kept, debts of all kinds (monetary, emotional, relationship, physical) get called in. 

When we know what we want, have set goals, worked at them, and finally obtain them, we achieve a sense of personal power, of worth and value. It doesn’t matter if our goals are small and short term or grand and long term, the process is the same. We learn to evaluate and make appropriate decisions. We learn how not all decisions were the best choice (hindsight is a bitch, as I always say), accept the temporary loss as a learning opportunity, and shift back into balance with a new approach. As we are more able to manage and succeed in our own lives, it offers us the ability to better serve others, to be leaders and bring positive change in the world.  

Sometimes we have to let go of people, stuff, old engrained habits, even deep core beliefs of spiritual, family and personal attachments. This is no less than setting ourselves in order to help restore the cosmic order. Our lives are affected by one another. As we come more into the great Age of Aquarius, we are starting to feel more strongly the need to be harmonious in community with more cooperation and less ego driven “hot shots.” Not a lot separates that rich man in the card from the beggars who supplicate him. A run of bad decisions, a loss of attention, focus on what does not give positive reinforcement, and he could end up being the beggar. 

And wouldn’t it be nice if equality helped reduce the gap between the rich and the beggars? And I do mean within ourselves…. where are you rich? Where you are begging? Where is your balance? 

Peace and blessings to you on your journeys….

Kathryn Ravenwood  9.21.15

The Knight of Swords

From the Rider Waite Tarot deck
Original writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

Here comes the Knight of Swords galloping in at full speed to let you know his opinion. He claims to know what is true about any situation, the world in general and even you! He is not shy; he is articulate and comes packing with words, words, words. He might even be right. After all he is a Knight on a Quest for The Truth. He is constantly searching and exploring for those cosmic clues that will satisfy his incredibly agile mind. 

Although this Knight might be annoying and a bit of a know-it-all, I have to admit he is a favorite of mine. I love the quick thinking, the articulation, the originality of thought - even if he doesn’t have all the facts together yet. He gets those flashes of understanding – the AHA! moments when everything coalesces in that brilliant mind and he sees the truth. Then if he was wrong, he will make a sharp veer in his course and set out on the new path. He is constantly seeking to satisfy the insatiable drive to know, to understand, to speak or write and share his discoveries. He might be a brilliant songwriter and poet or that politician with the tongue of gold and iffy ethics. But he will never be boring.
How can the Knight of Swords help you with your quest for truth? Maybe he can energize you to explore new pursuits, write the next chapter, break through the barriers of your own thinking. This Knight is a rebel and detests limits. The truth is always out there and it is always more than we know. If anyone can honestly say they know the full truth of who they are, then I say it is high time they took off with the Knight of Swords and had an awakening! 

Go for it. Get on the great horse of your own mind and ride off in directions never before explored. Share your tales of mental adventures and in that speaking or writing you just might discover a whole new level of truth. After all, each of us is connected to that unlimited, vast universal source of energy. Before we manifest what we want we have to think it, see it in our mind, and be the champion of our quest. 

...Kathryn Ravenwood

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Two of Swords - Creative Differences

Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

Featured Deck - the Tarot of Transformation
by Willow Arelenea and Jasmin Lee Cori

The Two of Swords teaches us that in our world of duality there is never just one possibility, option, or solution. Everyone sees the world from a unique viewpoint. When our way of thinking agrees with another’s we find it easy to get along and enjoy further association with them. We are able to figure it out; we relinquish conflict through willing compromise.  We work it out, don’t keep score, and enjoy one other.  We are at peace even though the flux of duality continues.

However, we all know people with whom we just can’t seem to get along. When viewpoints clash we often to try to manipulate or control the other person to conform to our way of thinking. The result is a push-back creating more conflict, a battle to be the winner, or a meek surrender leaving someone feeling belittled, a loser. Peace cannot exist in such situations. We cannot expect to agree with everyone (or them with us!). Sometimes conflicts are best walked away from, leaving a temporary peace of non-action.  And, sometimes it just isn’t safe to stick around; we opt for the peace of self-preservation.  

Today’s featured Two of Swords is called Creative Differences. The circles in front of each figure represent their unique projection into the world. Where those circles overlap is a place of intersection, a portal of entry to explore the landscape of opportunities that might exist when conflict and control are approached through creative thinking. When we enter that portal we discover that my way or your way can morph into a different way that offers peace through listening, compassion, and understanding that did not exist before the growth opportunity of duality presented itself.  When we are able to explore those portals of possibility that exist between each of us, we bring forth creative solutions; we have found peace not just in resolution, but in expressing something new that is the best of both worlds. 

The Swords of the Tarot are about the mind. Conflict exists within our thoughts. Destructive duality can run rampant in our heads. Should I choose this or that? What if I had done that instead of this? “Woulda, shoulda, coulda” holds us prisoners of war in our own minds. The same portal of possibility exists within us. We can use the same compassionate listening to our own conflicting voices to find a creative difference to bring us peace of mind. If we can’t find peace of mind, how can we find peace on Earth?

Duality is ever with us. Change is the only constant. We will be given the opportunity to find creative differences as long as we live. Peace is not the absence of conflict; it is the transformation of it. 

...Kathryn Ravenwood