Good Monday, everyone! This card may not look terribly positive, but remember this is a Green Woman being pierced by the arrows and bound by vines. She (and we) have the ability to grow past the wounds and weaknesses that are holding us back and making us doubt. Get back out and try again for whatever you’re trying to do. Yes, we might fail, but that’s how we learn and do better the next time.

Blessings!

Thistle

Seven of Arrows – Insecurity

MEANING: Ungrounded fears and confusion lead to instability and panic, self-torture through guilt or delusion and the need to deal with fragmented or rejected aspects of personality. 

DESCRIPTION: At the center stands a Green Woman clad in leaves and with hair that seems to grow from her head like vines. Her arms are raised in blessing, but arrows pierce her flesh and fly towards her. 

READING POINTS: Some of our greatest fears and self-destructive drives are born of emotional insecurity or lack of self-discipline, crippling an individual’s ability to make timely decisions or responsible action. Sometimes, these dark, ungrounded fears are the product of panic or guilt planted by inappropriate parenting or the lack of ethical education. Unreasonable emotional expectations and feelings of abandonment can also fuel a lack of emotional stability and stable grounding in practical life. Finding one’s feet in this environment takes serious inner work and real self-appraisal to reveal the true nature of the undermining issue at the heart of your fear. We may not be able to change the past, but we can learn to evolve strategies from the lessons of life and apply them to future scenarios. 

This process may also involve forgiveness for past failures, either of other individuals, belief systems or, more importantly, oneself. Forgiveness of oneself is a vital healing mechanism to deal with self-inflicted wounds associated with the burdens of guilt and self-recrimination. Understanding and acknowledging the motivations behind past mistakes stimulates the process of establishing a secure and healthy emotional foundation from which new beginning can arise. 

The Wildwood Tarot by authors Mark Ryan and John Matthews and artist Will Worthington

OK, sorry if I get that song stuck in your head, but truly the Death card here and in many Tarot decks is not the literal death that many fear. Yes, we should become more comfortable with death as a society – after all, none of us are escaping it – but we may simply need a restart or to let something go that is holding back a whole new you!

Blessings and have a lovely weekend,

Thistle

DEATH – The eternal cycle begins here

’Tis not the end
though I may pass in the night
I get to do my time over
Although you may get a fright!

Many Pagans believed that death was the beginning of the cycle of life. When you think about it, most people consider the act of “birth” to be the beginning of the life cycle – we are born, we live, and we die and, depending on your beliefs, you may get to go round again. Instead, Pagan cultures see death as the beginning of a whole new adventure – the place where your soul gets to choose where it incarnates, why and what it wants to experience. Then and only then, does it get born into a body that lives and eventually dies, before returning to ride a new cycle.

Halloween is a celebration of death as a part of life. As humans are conscious beings, we know about death and many are afraid and uncomfortable about it. Halloween illuminates the universal truth that all of us will die, just as all of us were born, so to be fearful of that end process is fairly pointless. Halloween asks us instead to make friends with death (just as we seem friendly with birth) and to not allow our fears and grief to bring us unnecessary pain.

Do not be afraid if you pull the Death card as it simply means that something is falling away, or will do so, so you can begin strongly afresh. There is a great power in this clearing. If you pull this card at Halloween particularly, the message is stronger still and you should actively celebrate this new beginning.

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

OK, so the Sixes in this deck represent bounty, community, and magic – and I’ve seen that magic in action the last few months and the results in recent news. This card in particular is a celebratory one – and let’s not forget that Borage stands for courage. Celebrate – but keep standing strong and with courage for what you believe.

Blessings!

Thistle

Six of Water – Borage

Celebrate milestones old and new; freely give, freely receive; and let your heart be comforted by the company of friends.

A table covered in borage flowers is set on the beach to welcome friends. The little girls in the Three of Water now gather for a celebration of maturity. Bouquets of purple and white flowers adorn the table. A clay goddess dressed I a long white gown raises a toast tot he women and their lasting friendship.

Meaning: Gathering with beloveds lifts the spirits. Treasure friendship and celebrate community. Honor your connection by expressing how much your friends mean to you. Offer what you can to support them on their life paths. Sharing nourishes the soul Borage is a continuously flowering plant that encourages a long-lasting relationship with our pollinating friends, teaching us to give freely without expecting anything in return. Drinks made with more borage flowers lighten the mood and inspire a courageous heart. Let old tensions be dissolved and replaced with love. Embrace a carefree attitude and watch your joy expand.

Crafting with the Six of Water

• Bring joy to drinks at festive summer parties with borage flower ice cubes.
• Float borage flowers in your bath water to bring buoyancy to your spirit.
• Place borage flower on your tongue and savor the sweetness of a warm summer day.

The Herbcrafter’s Tarot by author Latisha Guthrie and artist Joanna Powell Colbert

Truly, every Leo I’ve met with a healthy mindset were so very generous of spirit. It’s a good thing to understand that ego isn’t the bad word that people make it out to be – as long as it is the servant and not the master.

Blessings!

Lion Spirit – Be Generous of Spirit

Message: A healthy ego means you ease the Creation’s order instead of edging Creation out. Lion Spirit’s appearance is a reminder that you have been given the gift of pride and a healthy sense of your worth to express your divine, authentic self in a unique way. You are both the king and the queen, secure in your prosperity and wisdom and generous of spirit as you help others. Take pride in your ability to serve from the heart. Contentment with what you have, right now, allow you to use your resources wisely as you give to others in ways that educate, heal, inspire, and delight.

Be proud yet humble. Practice gratitude, and you will find that the accolades that come to you are no match for the joy of knowing what you have been able to do for others by expressing your generosity. All your relationships flourish as you express your worth and generosity of spirit with humility and kindness.

Protection Message: Do you doubt you can do much good? Are you stuck in a state of scarcity, thinking, who am I to lead? or Who am I to step in to my dream? Who am I to think I can help?

Lion Spirit is here to tell you that the antidote for low self-esteem is stepping into health pride. Of course you can do all that you desire! The spark of Great Spirit lives inside you, and you are here to steward that amazing energy into the world. Lion knows that Great Spirit invested in your so that you might be a channel for Spirit’s love and generosity. Take pride in your role, seeking to bring and abundance of love into the world.

Spirit Animal Oracle by author Colette Baron-Reid and artist Jena DellaGrottaglia

This morning, we were discussing yesterday’s death of James Lovelock, the creator of the Gaia Theory and whose other work helped us understand the effect of manmade pollutants on our world. Then I drew this card. Whoa.

Pachamama – The World

Weave a rainbow that makes the world whole. Share your Sacred Work. Love wins.

An elaborate altar lies on the grass. In the center is a handwoven basket filled with a colorful rainbow mandala made of flowers: red poppy, California poppy, dandelion, motherwort, borage, alfalfa, red clover, and yarrow. Four sets of stones mark the cardinal directions. The herbs from the Ace cards in this deck anchor the corners, joined by objects representing each of the elements: feathers for air, shells for water, a candle for fire, and crystals for earth. A monarch butterfly lands on the basket.

Meaning: Fulfillment and satisfaction come after great achievement. You have accomplished so much. There garden is much and thriving. Life is in full bloom. Pachamama (world mother) is a sovereign deity of Inca mythology who represents all that is whole, beloved, and complete. Like you, she is a being of great power who has the ability to create life through joy and pain. The lessons you have integrated on your life journey may present themselves as if new, but honor them as the herbs of Aces are honored – as old friend who come bringing new gifts. As a new monarch butterfly returns, completing the journey of migration, the cycle of life goes on.

Crafting with The World & Pachamama

• Spread joy and peace by decorating, making and wearing art with colorful rainbows.
• Promote and share your work. Sign up to teach, vend at a fair, submit an article for publication.
• Make a mandala to mark a significant moment in your life or in your community.

The Herbcrafter’s Tarot by author Latisha Guthrie and artist Joanna Powell Colbert

Thank you for the continued patience with my inconsistent posting. Yesterday was a treatment day, and they had moved up the time from the normal 10 a.m., so I didn’t get to the card in time.

But TODAY we have this lovely card that reminds us to have gratitude for what we have and what we are. We are enough, even if we aren’t quite where we want to be. Remember that while we can give offerings in many ways, we also might be a gift to someone in ways we don’t realize. Like attracts like, so think about what you are putting out there.

Blessings!

Thistle

Meaning: The Universe is grateful for you! You are a gift to the world. Feel gratitude for everything in your life, even the things that don’t seem perfect. Appreciation for everything flows through you in a great bounty. Cherish the preciousness of life and everyone and everything around you, and thus you will be cherished.

Native Spirit Guide: Every native culture throughout history has made offerings, often on a daily basis. Offerings were made to the Sun, the Earth, the plants and animals, and to everything in Creation. The offerings varied culture to culture, but they were always made with a feeling of extreme appreciation for the bounty of life. Gratitude was the secret to a joy-filled life. True thankfulness can work like modern-day alchemy in your life, yielding happiness and peace beyond imagination. And it’s simple: Find what’s good and wonderful in every moment. No matter what’s happening around you, there’s always something to be grateful for. Whatever you appreciate in life will grow, so discover what you’re thankful for – even the people and situations you’ve found challenging – and watch miracles unfold.

The Journey: As a suggestion, make an offering to whatever nurtures your soul. If you’re nurtured by a particular place in nature, for example, you might consider leaving fruit at the base of a tree for the animals in that area to give thanks for beauty that is there.

OK, it is HOT here in southeast Kansas. Our temps this week have mostly been over 100 and will continue to be so for almost a week more. It’s hard to plan activity and to have energy when we aren’t acclimated to this heat, but don’t forget there are ways indoors to stay active and energetic (or to get up earlier as we have to walk/exercise and do yard work).

It’s interesting that I haven’t pulled from this deck in ages and then we get something so timely – Lughnassadh is just 9 days away! I hope The Sun card embodied by Lleu/Lugh encourages you to tap into the energy you have to finish a project, plan a fun day for you and yours, or maybe even something more seasonally typical (I plan to do some jamming tomorrow).

Blessings!

Thistle

Lleu – The Sun

Meaning: Joy, light, and energy. Clarity of vision. Optimism and success. An understanding of the heart’s true desires. An appreciation of the beauty and simplicity of life. Knowledge, wholeness, and strength. A feeling of value and purpose.

Artistic achievement or the completion of an unusual project. Good health, friendship, and activity. Safety and security, allowing us to enjoy the pleasures of time in the sun.

Commitment; a happy marriage. A breakthrough. Well-deserved acclaim enthusiastically celebrated with friends.

On the flip side, this could mean confusion and suspicion preventing one from enjoying the warmth of the sun. Entertaining fantasies of success unsupported by a realistic plan for achievement. Broken promises; the crumbling of an alliance. The possibility of partial happiness if one makes an effort to a predate what rays of sun break through the clouds.

About LLeu: The name Lleu means “bright” or “fair.” Like the Irish god Lugh, he was believed to be a solar deity and the model of a divine king. He was the master of many skills – a talented carpenter, poet, musician, healer, and magician. As a High Celtic God concerned with the land’s fertility and welfare, it was Lleu’s responsibility to oversee the sacred marriage between land and king. Building on the tradition established by Lleu, it is supposed that the coronation ritual of a king involved a druid-seer who prophesied the coming succession of kings. In this context, the words of the soothsayer were thought to be the words of Lleu and it is clear how Lleu’s poetry and prophecy were held to bring peace and harmony out of chaos.

The festival of Lleu or Lugh is known as Lughnasadh or Lughnasa, and occurs on the first day of August. This celebration would take place amidst standing stones. Aside from the relevant rituals, there would be horse races, plays, dancing, and games, all of which took on a religious significance. the design of prehistoric Avebury Ring is a magic circle on the grandest scale, representing the energizing and protective qualities of the Sun card.

Legend: The Arthurian Tarot by Anna-Marie Ferguson

While looking soft and warmly colored, the Lady’s Mantle card is a bit more complex than it seems on the surface. Notice the stormy skies in the background and the Sheila na Gig carved in the stone. These all point to the different potentials of the card.

Blessings,

Thistle

Lady’s Mantle – The Feminine, Detail, and Miracles

Meaning: A dewdrop is a tiny thing but, when you gaze into it, it acts like a crystal ball, revealing the whole world within it; it is reminiscent of William Blake’s famous lines:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an Hour.

This card may be reminding you to treasure the small things in life because it is in the details that a life grows rich, and every person, every subject, every event, grows richer the more we focus upon it.

The card may also urge you to connect more deeply with the Goddess in your spiritual practice or with the Feminine principle in your emotional and psychological life. It may be that you have been used to approaching the world and relationship in an analytical or objective way that is no longer serving you. Now may be the time to open to that less predictable, sometimes wilder, way of relating to and looking at things that could bring miracles into your life.

On the flip side, this card reminds us the most people are quite naturally dismayed when the going gets tough. But if you have chosen this card reverse, it may indicate that you have the good fortune of being able to see opportunities for growth even in the most despairing of situations. The alchemists of old believed that gold could be made out of “base matter” and that this, though dismissed as worthless by many, provided them with their working material. 

In the same way, the challenges and trials of life are seen by the Druid and spiritual alchemist as ideal opportunities for learning and development. Although to some extent this involves reframing a situation in its most positive light, to “make the best of a bad job,” a deeper process is at work. Character, qualities of soul, wisdom, maturity, and compassion come not from a life of ease and tranquility, but from a life in which our hearts, mind, and sometimes even our bodies are pitted against forces we may not understand.

Druid Plant Oracle by authors Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm and artist Will Worthington

These dramatic and long-lasting flowers may sometimes be shadowed by the Black Dahlia murder case, but they are anything but deadly. Originally from Mexico and other parts of South America where it grows in valleys, this flower represents inner strength and grace. I’ve been drawn to these flowers in recent years, though I’ve yet to put them in my garden – maybe next year!

Dahlia – Elegance & Dignity

Guidance: Plant flowers that provide a habit for the many. Work in harmony with Nature.

Traditional Uses: Dahlia has been used as a medicine since ancient times. The petals and tubers were used by the Aztecs to treat skin ailments and epilepsy. Prior to the discovery of insulin, in American and Europe in the 20th century, diabetics were often given a substance called Atlantic starch, or diabetic sugar, derived from inulin obtained from Dahlia tubers.

Victorians would gift Dahlias to their partners to signify commitment and enduring love.

Channeled Message: She hands me something small – a pouch, seeds, crystal? She flings her arm outward and as she does a veil lifts. I see and feel the Dahlias;I see birds making their homes inside their protective leaves. I see bees and pollinators busy and feeding, and earwigs too. I see all of the life that the Dahlias sustain. They are part of the ecosystem. I see ancient people – Aztec?- honoring the Dahlias, they are thanking them, praying to them. The Dahlia Beings feel and accept their offerings. They are working together. The Dahlia prolongs the life of the Dahlia species and allows it to spread through trade. There may not be Dahlias if they had not had this early encounter with the temple of flowers during the Aztec time. Our Dahlia today owe their existence to these people.

Name Origins: Many believe that Dahlia was named for the Swedish botanist Anders Dahl, whose last name means “valley” in Swedish. The exact origin of the name, however, cannot be proven.

Alchemy Flower Oracle by Ingrid Koivukangas

It’s been a while since I’ve shared the cancer journey here as it seemed that things were on a good track, especially considering the prognosis for Stage 4 ovarian cancer. The thing I’ve learned this year is that sometimes you need to let yourself feel anger instead of suppressing it. 

A little catchup: last year, the local oncologist switched me from the second chemo treatment we tried (which was having mixed results) and I was put on a simple and inexpensive estrogen-blocking pill. Things seemed to be going well and I felt good. Because of that, the oncology center at the specialist hospital two hours away didn’t see the need to reassign me to a specialist when mine left their hospital. 

Ten months later I was scheduled for some corrective surgeries, which we knew was going to be difficult due to a lot of scar tissue that showed up in scans. When the surgeons opened me up, they discovered it wasn’t scar tissue – it was the spread of the cancer in a thin layer over my abdomen. The good doctors immediately shut me back up and called one of the gynecological oncologists to get me on her patient list. Upon talking to her while I recovered in the hospital, she told me she never would have put me on the estrogen blocker as a treatment (as a maintenance drug when the cancer is gone, yes). 

I was frustrated, to say the least.

For ten months I took a drug that only slowed the growth but did not actively fight it – because things “seemed” OK and it was deemed I didn’t need a specialist. 

Despite frustration with the medical world, I’ve been blessed with supportive friends and family!

Throughout my journey with cancer, I’ve tried to focus on the positive and to just do whatever I can to help myself, physically and mentally. I refused to become fixated on the statistics, which aren’t good. That’s not how I work. But in the weeks after my non-surgery, anger came to the fore. I tried not to let it rule me, but I was pissed off at being handed around by the medical system in a way that could have set me back. I was upset that getting scans from one hospital to another was an uphill battle and that even when they got them, they weren’t read correctly (that, or the scans weren’t that good to begin with). 

I finally realized that much like when I did shadow work focused on my family, I needed to honor my anger in order to let it go. Holding onto it and suppressing it was not helping my body fight this battle. Even the poets tell us this is true, from Whitman’s “barbaric yawps over the roofs of the world” to Dylan Thomas’ “rage, rage against the dying of the light.” 

So, off I went into the backyard and looked around for a way to get out my angry energy. In the past, I might take a shovel and dug up a new flower bed or dug out a stubborn stump. But my abdominal staples had just been taken out and physical exertion was off limits. Frustrated and feeling a bit silly, I literally bellowed my anger into the air. It was midmorning on a weekday, so luckily there weren’t any neighbors at home that felt the need to report strange yelling to the police department. With a weakened core, of course, I may not have yelled as loudly as I think, but it was cathartic, nonetheless. Thanks for that, Walt. 

It might seem silly or simple, but this act really did help me move on and focus on what was needed – healing.

Statue of Guanyin (Kuan Yin) at the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum.

Not long after this yawp in the backyard, Allen and I visited the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum in Kansas City. While strolling through the Chinese exhibit, there was a room dedicated to bodhisattvas, or enlightened souls who put off entering paradise in order to help others achieve enlightenment. The central figure was a large statue of Guanyin (this was a masculine version of Kuan Yin, beloved goddess of compassion). Standing in his/her presence, I could feel peace radiating all around and through me. I’m not sure I would have appreciated this special room and felt the intention of it if I hadn’t dealt with my anger.

I try to carry that peace with me and to deal with my anger when it bubbles up. I have no idea how long I get on this earth, but I want to be present with my all my lovelies and loved ones – from distant family and amazing friends and our many fur critters – until the end.

Blessings,

Thistle

Thistle and fur baby Maddie.

Note: The poems mentioned here have more complex meanings than what is shared here. Sometimes, focusing on a line or two has helped me with my own fight, though that fight is completely different than the poet’s. 

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