Connections in the Horseshoe Spread

I haven’t really used the 7-card Horseshoe Spread often, but I decided to use it today and I’ve suddenly become a lot more fond of this spread!! Let me show you what I found…

The key observation that suddenly “lit the bulb” in my mind was that of horizontal connections between the cards. (Cards are numbered in order, from left to right.)

  • Cards 3 & 5: Influences, Inner and Outer respectively
    • In this case, inside my emotions are ruling and influencing my emotions further; outside, others’ thoughts are affecting me. Water and Air are both fluid elements and easily affect each other. Thus, my current state is like a permeable membrane, where the inner forces of Emotion and the outer forces of Thought easily influence one another.
    • The Obstacles (Card 4, at the top) are a result of Thought influencing my Action– So, the recommendation here is that I should allow the fluid elements to rage as they will, inside and outside, BUT not be too hasty to let the Thoughts of Others influence my Actions!!!
  • Cards 2 & 6: my Present Self meets the Action I should take
    • We often forget– Action can only physically occur in the Present!! Past and Future have no direct bearing on the Action itself, though they do create influences for an Action’s trajectory…
    • In this case, my cards were fascinating in the sense that the Hermit and Justice are direct mirror images of each other in the Triangle of Interpersonal Intent!!
    • I am currently in a place of withdrawing from the Constructive sense of Community to find Balance in my interactions with others. But the presence of Justice implies that I tend to overcompensate and jump to a complete, Deconstructive sense of rejection of others (which I do). Instead, Justice reminds me that I need to reign that tendency in and come back to Balance.
  • Cards 1 & 7: the Past meets Future Opportunities or Outcomes.
    • The elemental forces that led me here are a striving of the Earth (Reality) to find grounding in the midst of Emotion. The presence of the ten of pentacles across from the Page suggests that, of the Page’s two influences, I should lean toward those opportunities that bring a fulfillment of the Earth part.

So, in general, let Thoughts and Emotions fluctuate as they do, but don’t let others’ thoughts rashly influence my actions. Seek the Mildness of balance in my interactions with others. And when facing the future, lean toward that which promotes a fulfillment of Material Wealth, not to be influenced by the ever-present sea of Emotion that brought me here.

Enjoy exploring the deeper relationships in the cards of your favorite spreads! I’ve found that the extra time and effort is well-spent! 😉

Water and Fire, and the Mind

I got a very interesting and intense spread this morning, that I was eager to share…


Immediately I was struck by the presence of so many inter-related and conflicting Court Cards!

Here’s a breakdown:

  • Higher Power (that which guides and supports me today): King of Fire or, Fire influencing further Fire
  • Where I am right now: Ace of Cups– Emotional beginnings, without judgement, expectation, or fear, etc
  • Situation that crosses me today: King of Cups or, Fire surrounded by Water (an uneasy alliance, where Fire moves to influence Water, but Water reacts in its own way)
    • Note: Add Fire to the Current Situation and you get the Fire Queen
  • Past Influences: Air guiding Water
  • Opportunities: Create Mental Peace
    • Note the relationship between 2 of Air and the Knight of Water!! Both share Air (Thought) in common… Thought is what guides and shapes the Knight’s Emotions.

In short, I am in a place of new Emotion today, but the burning energy of my ambitions is strong in my influences. Therefore, that Fire turns my Ace of Cups nature into a King of Cups (Fire influencing Emotion) Situation. Ergo, my near future consists of the furthering of that situation into the Queen (Water and Emotion) of (surrounded/influenced by) Fire. 

Apparently my Thoughts carried my Emotions to this place not too long ago (Knight of Cups, who, by the way, tends to be like a “patron saint” of artists and creative types). So the Opportunity I have in this situation (or, what I can/should focus on controlling) is the mental Peace in my own mind (2 of Swords), by way of simply reflecting the original inspiration of Thought that comes from my Source at this time– in other words, I can generate peace in my mind by not overthinking things and just acknowledging inspiration as it comes….

Pretty straightforward, right? 😆 

Want to know more about the Elemental aspect of the Court Cards? Check out this page… 

Awesome New Meditation Track for You!

I recently finished a 15-minute long meditation track for someone in the community, and I’ve absolutely fallen in love with this track — all thanks to the gorgeous Native American flute work of Alissa Skorik which I just couldn’t resist infusing into this meditative texture (definitely check out her debut album Eluna!).

Anyway, this particular single, Spirit Walk, is just a little something I assembled for meditation purposes, for creating a feeling of calming love and bliss. I’ve been using it (with various other meditation tracks, of course) when executing my new daily routine of Taichi Quigong Shibachi… more on that later… 😉

Hope you enjoy this lovely, soothing track as well! 🙂

Elemental Guidance

I love exploring the power and wisdom of the tarot’s court cards!

To begin understanding their complexity and potential guidance, let’s break down each element and its corresponding suit…

Fire (Wands): Energy, Ambition, Passion

Air (Swords): Thought, Mental Activity

Water (Cups): Emotion, Feelings

Earth (Pentacles, Disks, Coins): The Material World (including career, or any other physical surroundings)

It helps one to recall that “We can’t know anything outside our mind. Everything we see is contained within our mind. Thus, I am not in the world. The world is in me.” (— Haemin Sunim [@haeminsunim] March 8, 2017)

Thus, 3 out of the 4 elements are found originating within ourselves, and the material world is the recipient of whatever way we act out in response to these inner elements.

Continue reading “Elemental Guidance”

Sharing the Heart of Tarot

I figured it was high-time I officially post my offerings to you as a tarot interpreter. 🙂


The tarot deck has long fascinated me, but it wasn’t until the Spring of 2015 that I finally got up the courage (or perhaps was finally hungry enough for its Gnosis) to purchase my first deck and begin studying. These initial studies and personal readings helped me get through an intense period of spiritual transition and self-discovery, not to mention clinical therapy. 😉

What I discovered is that the tarot deck represents the potential of all that a person is. We are all things at various times, in the physical, mental, emotional, and ambitious aspects of our lives. Evolutionarily and habitually, we each tend toward certain responses (knee-jerk reactions) when faced with obstacles. But when we can see clearly what aspect of ourselves is ruling at a given time and why, we are better able to decide whether to allow our initial instincts full reign, or perhaps to seek out “better angels”.

This is what a “psychological” tarot interpretation offers — a glimpse into the depths of our subconscious and motivations, and the chance to ask ourselves if there is not perhaps a better response to what we face.

  • What can I expect from a tarot reading with you?
    I can offer a range of spreads (number of cards), depending on the depth of your questions. I will gladly read as few as a “Daily Oracle,” 3- or 6-card spread with you, or anything beyond the scope of a basic 6-card spread. We can also do a Sabbat Spread together, illuminating your present journey during one of the 8 important phases of the Earth throughout the year and offering suggestions on how you might better prepare as the year unfolds toward the next Sabbat.

    I will provide your personalized interpretation as a detailed pdf with a photo of your spread, emailed to the address you specify. Get your reading today!

  • What about fortune-telling, or love and career advice?
    You are in charge of your own destiny, and there is nothing “mysterious” or “metaphysical” about a card spread save for whatever meaning you give to that spread. All a tarot reading does is to point you in the direction of where your innermost thoughts and tendencies are currently leading you with respect to a given circumstance.A tarot reading will offer insight and clarity into your own patterns of thinking as well as suggest alternate ways of thinking you might choose to explore. Armed with this knowledge, you are free to chart your own future and enrich your own relationships.
    In this manner, I only serve as a knowledgeable interpreter of the in-depth symbolism the cards hold as they are laid out in front of you, and I can act as a guide to your application of this knowledge in your own personal situation.
  • What Tradition do you base your interpretations on?
    I rely on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life as a map of understanding the journey from a spark of Inspiration, filtered through Intention, and resulting in Action. The cards form both the Sephirot (Minor Arcana) and the branches (Major Arcana) of the Tree, offering a picture of where your current mind and heart currently lie — according to what your own subconscious says about the matter.When I do a reading, I am not at all “psychic” and much more “logical” or “studious” in my approach (what can I say? I’m a Sun and Moon Aquarius with Virgo Rising!) :p  So don’t expect magic and goosebumps, but do expect detailed accuracy and careful thoughtfulness. 🙂

Have any more questions? Drop me a line!

Be well.

How Easy…

How easy it is for us to slip into our emotional skin and become utterly entrenched in the passions of our current opinions and viewpoints, angered with those who disagree with us. A Culture War may be more dangerous than any other in the way it consumes the inside of its very host.

May we call to mind Big Brother Mountain and Father Sky, who simply look on from beyond, observing, unattached, the goings-on below. If we can slip into the mentality of the Observer we can see more clearly the reality of the things around us and will be capable of extending the respect to others that All deserve.

Let us wake from our virtual reality and ceaseless running today.

Beauty of Soul-lessness

…Till recently scientists believed in an indivisible and indestructible atom. “For sufficient reasons physicists have reduced this atom to a series of events. For equally good reasons psychologists find that mind has not the identity of a single continuing thing but is a series of occurrences bound together by certain intimate relations. The question of immortality, therefore, has become the question whether these intimate relations exist between occurrences connected with a living body and other occurrence which take place after that body is dead.”…

“There are some philosophers,” he says, “who imagine we are every moment conscious of what we call ‘ourself,’ that we feel its existence and its continuance in existence and so we are certain, both of its perfect identity and simplicity. For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call ‘myself’ I always stumble on some particular perception or other — of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I never catch myself… and never can observe anything but the perception… nor do I conceive what is further requisite to make me a perfect non-entity.” Bergson says, “All consciousness is time existence; and a conscious state is not a state that endures without changing. It is a change without ceasing, when change ceases it ceases; it is itself nothing but change.” …

When life ceases the kammic energy re-materializes itself in another form. As Bhikkhu Silacara says: “Unseen it passes whithersoever the conditions appropriate to its visible manifestation are present. Here showing itself as a tiny gnat or worm, there making its presence known in the dazzling magnificence of a Deva or an Archangel’s existence. When one mode of its manifestation ceases it merely passes on, and where suitable circumstances offer, reveals itself afresh in another name or form.”…

Buddhism does not totally deny the existence of a personality in an empirical sense. It only attempts to show that it does not exist in an ultimate sense. The Buddhist philosophical term for an individual is santana, i.e., a flux or a continuity. It includes the mental and physical elements as well. The kammic force of each individual binds the elements together. This uninterrupted flux or continuity of psycho-physical phenomenon, which is conditioned by kamma, and not limited only to the present life, but having its source in the beginningless past and its continuation in the future — is the Buddhist substitute for the permanent ego or the immortal soul of other religions.

Highlights from a lovely passage on the fluidity and freedom of anatta… By Narada Thera. Enjoy the entire article here!

Emotional Attachment

Why must there be so much hatred? Why do we run so quickly to judgement fueled by emotion, rather than objective understanding, leading to peace and harmony? It makes me very sad when I encounter it and cannot break through….

Memorial "the Holodomor" 1932-1933 (death by hunger) in Kyiv, UkraineAlas, these too, are all Attachment and Aversion… They float in and out like clouds across the Spaciousness Within. We need not claim any as our own… Still, as a regular human being, how I wish I could talk sense into others around me regarding these truths!!

To straighten the crooked you must first do a harder thing — straighten yourself.

The Dhammapada of Guatama.

 

When they kept on questioning him [Jesus], he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

John 8:7

 

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Jesus, Matthew 7:1-5

 

How easy it is to immediately say: Well! In this particular instance I know what I am talking about; therefore I will close my ears to you and what you have to say and tell you what’s what!

But the wise men of ages past knew and have told us what it is to be wise — to judge not, to embrace The Shadow in all of us, and realize we are all exactly the same; we are connected to each other. We are all of The One. It is not our place to judge the actions of another, especially not solely based on our initial emotional reactions to it! But we must seek to understand, and above all, Love. And Perfect Love is not judgmental or conditional, it simply Is… Mother Earth, indeed the cosmos around us, from which we ultimately came, exhibits a perfect love for us in that the Universe does not judge us for our constant pettiness and smallness and arrogance; the sun still circles around us, the earth still rotates, It does not speak, It does not complain…

Unconditional love feels like nothing… emotions, feelings, judgements — these are all conditions. (Visit this page for more on the Witness State of Unconditional Love.)

Indeed – if we rather turned our attention inward and only sought to straighten ourselves and not others, what a marvelously beautiful world this could become! To attain a state of simply Being, and allowing others that same respect, is a path toward Peace.

Ultimately, however sorrowful I may feel from time to time, it is all up to me and the straightening of myself within, and not the pressure or conditions I feel like placing on others.

May Namaste  — I, the Divine in me, bow to the Divine Spark within you — be the sincere word among us all, to tie us together.

namaste

 

Open Focus, as a Convincing Alternative

There is a wonderful article I’ve stumbled upon: An Essay about Attentional Style and Philosophy – Open Focus, by Kurt Keefner. It is highly enlightening, and clearly presents an overview of the basic styles of attentions, thought and the reinforcing cycle these styles create when it comes to developing belief, philosophy, and personal and world views.

In this article, using the studies of Princeton neuroscientist Les Fehmi as his groundwork, Mr. Keefner discusses the concepts of:

  • Cartesian Dualism
  • Spiritualism
  • Animalism
  • The Big Picture-ists
  • Holism and the Open-Focus Brain

Do read the entire article here!

And in the meantime, enjoy these select quotes below, from Mr. Keefner’s insightful article:

In my view philosophy and psychology exist in a system of reciprocal relations. By way of an analogy: if you get a good education you are more likely to make money and if you (or your parents) have money you are more likely to get a good education. There is a connection here, but it is not one of strict necessity, only an ongoing positive tendency. Just so, certain philosophical positions make certain psychological states more likely and vice versa by a process of predisposition, the same way in which the dry wood does not cause the fire but is a ground for it. I believe that by seeing these connections more clearly, we can gain insight into why we cling to a position, often against reason, and we might be able to feel our way, through reason and introspection, to better beliefs.
….I would place the human organism in a natural context: we are evolved beings living in a material world, but I would not go for a reductionistic account of human faculties: we are not driven by instinct but by reason…a robust reason where one develops one’s intuitions and where one is part of one’s environment rather than removed from it.
…one can be objective and immersed at the same time by realizing that reality, including you, has an objective nature, but that you are immersed in it.
….As far as achieving both narrow and diffuse focus goes, what Fehmi proposes sounds like a having a structured field of awareness with a center and a periphery known at the same time. Transcending narrow vs. diffuse and objective vs. immersed would allow one to form a more individuated and autonomous version of the self than spiritualism and animalism, but one that did not cut off either feelings, the body or principles, like dualism and the détente theory. This would allow for the perception of the self as a whole in its entirety and its environment. And this could represent the escape from all the vicious circles of the cardinal attentional styles and theories into a virtuous circle of wholeness.

I think the subtext of the theory of Open Focus is that reality cannot be fully known by any of the cardinal styles of attention alone. They’re all too partial. They fragment reality just as the four cardinal theories of mind fragment the self. But wholeness is possible both in theory and in practice. To achieve it one must be not only philosophically but also psychologically self-conscious.

Mind-Body Holism, Consciousness, and Reality

…Because this core dual structuring of the self was retained, many of the conundrums of Descartes’ philosophy have been retained as well, albeit recast in terms of the brain: Does the brain have direct contact with, and therefore reliable knowledge of, reality, or is our knowledge a ‘user illusion’? … [Noë] claims that neuroscience isn’t getting anywhere in explaining consciousness because it views consciousness of reality as a representation of the world created and manipulated by the brain. Noë attacks brain-body dualism in part by attacking this representationalism.

I believe this is one of the key points in the discussion of dualism versus mind-body holism. Dualism and representationalism share the idea of the true self being at one remove from physical reality, with the sensing body as both intermediary and barrier. Noë doesn’t examine this relationship in great detail, but he’s clearly aware of it. …brain activity is just part of an extended process that starts with the environment, involves the whole body and includes the brain. In this, the environment isn’t merely a source of stimulation, nor is it a model or representation built by and viewed by the brain. In Noë’s words, “the world is its own model.” To put it another way, the real object of perception is the physical environment, not some artifact of the brain/mind.

….I believe that Noë’s fundamental error is that he wants to hang on to the concept of mind. But what is mind except the thing that is conscious and initiates action? If you eliminate the notion of the little self inside the big self in favor of the person as a whole, the concept of mind doesn’t do any extra work, because we could just say that the person is aware and initiates action. All that would be left for the concept of mind to do would be to support useful metaphors (i.e. fictions), such as ‘I’ll keep it in mind’. Yet if you take the concept of mind more seriously than that, as Noë wants to, then it will begin to work its mischief anew. This is because it is a fuzzy concept. … Noë wants to break down mind-body/brain-body dualism, which is commendable. But in so doing, he verges on breaking down subject-object dualism: he wants to project mind out into the environment so our bodily-external tools become a part of us….

Still, I wouldn’t want to dismiss Noë’s extension of the mind completely. Perhaps without using the pernicious concept of mind, we could speak of different senses or extensions of the self. The core sense of self would be the living organism; in its environment, but distinct from it. The next sense of self would incorporate non-living parts of the self, such as the hair and nails. Here the cat’s whiskers serve as a biological analogy to the blind man’s cane. The third level of self would include our clothing and jewelery, which form part of our ‘person’. Fourth might be the tools we use naturally, such as a fork or a pencil and paper. One could take this further and include the things one identifies with, such as family and country – although such identifications are often problematic. Although there would be a solid notion of the person (conscious and bodily) as the primary sense of the self, we could be flexible about the boundaries for different uses of the word. I think this way of speaking would be more intuitive than super-sizing the mind. A framework along these lines would be flexible enough to handle tough cases: the amputee’s prosthetic limb is intimately part of his self insofar as it is strapped securely to him and responds to electrical stimulation from within him, unlike any other tool currently in use. At the same time, if the artificial limb were to be crushed, the amputee would not himself be hurt. The definition of self along these lines would be a fascinating thing to explore. I would not want to dismiss the idea that some sense of the self can be larger than the bare organism, especially given the way technology will surely extend the self in decades to come. But I believe it is essential to preserve the idea of the natural person, especially in the face of a Cartesian materialism which would divide and destroy it.

—© Kurt Keefner 2010, from “Out Of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain by Alva Noë; Kurt Keefner tells you why you can’t be only your brain.” at Philosophy Now Magazine

 

Vision science has for a few centuries now taken its start from the idea that what we see far exceeds what we receive in the form of sensory stimulation… The brain’s job, it is supposed, is to make up for this discrepancy…to compensate…

The question of vision science boils down to explaining how we can enjoy uniformly detailed, high resolution, brilliantly colored images of the world when, really, we see so very little…

Alva Noë, “Out of Our Heads” page 136.

 

As we contemplate the “Miracle of Sight” and the wonder with which our physical mechanisms make sense of the world around us, I was struck with Alva Noë’s words, appearing above — that sight is “affected,” or derives from the following examples of brain-altered discrepancies:

  • The inverted retinal image and the cyclopean character of vision
  • The uneven resolution of the eye
  • The unstable retinal image (i.e., saccades)
  • The blind spot
  • Obstructions, such as veins criss-crossing the eyeball; “bits of organic material float[ing] freely in the eye itself”; “Strangest of all, the retina itself is positioned backward; that is, the sensitive receptor itself is positioned behind the web of nerve fibers that ultimately join to form the optic nerve.” (Ibid. pg 134)
  • “A small object nearby can project the same pattern of retinal stimulation as a large object at a distance. All we are given, when we see, is the two-dimensional image… if we do in fact see spatial relations…we don’t do so directly. That information just isn’t there in what is given to us.”
  • Color (refer to my previous bare-bones understanding of Color Weirdness…) 🙂
  • Time — The nature of the established fact that what we are actually seeing is the past existence of the object in our vision, due to the nature of light carrying the information to our eyes and then the time it takes for the eye to make sense of the stimuli reaching it. At the extreme, think of the nature of the stars we observe in the night sky. We are seeing the stars as they were, not as they are now. The same is true on a much smaller scale in regard to everything we encounter around us.

It is due to these natural, biological elements “conspiring” against our seemingly flawless vision, that it is thought of our minds to be responsible for “filling in the gaps,” as it were; making up for the deficiencies and “fixing” our flawed input of information, making for perfected output of understanding. And that’s where we all wonder, how do our brains do it? Is what we see, then, a Grand Illusion, constructed by our brains filling in the gaps of what’s missing sensorily? Are we all just being deceived by our eyes? Is Believing, Seeing?

I had a most interesting inspiration while contemplating these thoughts… I fully accept that there is Reality within which we are fully integrated. We are All. We are Star-Stuff, birthed via eons of generations from the crudest life forms in the earth… We are a part of our environment, and it is us, as well. We all affect each other. And, I am absolutely fascinated with the nature of Perception, that we interpret and influence what we see and experience via our senses, based on, well, what our senses tell us, AND how we interpret those signals as they pass through the Ego-Filter! Then… based on those interpreted signals, we make choices and react… It is All, we are All, entirely cyclical and thoroughly integrated!

So, then, what of the concept that our brains must fill in missing information, as is considered with the Miracle of Sight? Consider this:

When did our brains ever decide there was anything missing that needed filling in, in the first place?

In other words, I posit that what we see as steady, for example, perhaps may not be steady at all, but because we all share the same experience, and it is all we know growing up, we interpret our “unstable retinal image” as steadiness and stability! Likewise, what if the world really is seen as “upside-down”? But we know not any differently, because to us, down would be up, and up would be down. We’ve grown up seeing and perceiving as we do, and this is our shared experience. Again… “It’s difficult to say how someone else sees color, because it’s so subjective. How do I know that what I see as red is what you see as red?” (from this article). Perhaps the stimuli creating the sensation of blue in my vision is creating a sensation of mauve in yours! As an extreme example, if the mauve-seer had grown up being told what he sees is called blue then how easy it is for us to agree, yes, we are both seeing this object as blue… when, oddly enough, perhaps it is not… But for each of our perceived Realities, both colors are called blue, and therefore, they are indeed Blue. But… what is Blue to you, may not be Blue to me… Yet, we could not possibly know this…

Spatial relations and three dimensions?… We call our experience three-dimensional… but at the heart of it all, this is a human contrivance, a way of labeling what we experience around us and comparing it to other experiences of lesser dimensional relations. We see, we experience, we feel, we touch and examine, and we say… three dimensions. I’ve read that it is the nature of our three-coned eye system that gives us the sensation of seeing in three dimensions…. Perhaps our reality in which we find ourselves is truly in multiple dimensions, but our biological systems can only perceive it as three, and with only certain color implications… But, again, this is all we know, this is our shared experience, this is our reality. This notion, too, however, doesn’t make our Reality any less Real!

It all comes down to the fact that we can only experience what we can experience. And we label it and study it, rightly so, trying to understand our environment and the greater universe around us. We are still very much intertwined with our environmental Reality, and we affect each other profoundly.