THE TWO OF SWORDS – PEACE Featured Deck: The Tarot of Transformation by Willow Arlenea and Jasmine Cori

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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   www.KathrynRavenwood.com

THE TEN OF SWORDS – REWRITING THE STORY Featured Deck: Rider Waite

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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   www.KathrynRavenwood.com

THE THREE OF PENTACLES – From the Spiral Tarot

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I recently shared that I had quit coffee and was invoking my Inner Page of Pentacles to help me get me back on track of better health habits. I am happy to say I am still off coffee and, after the first three days, am not really suffering (nor are my friends and co-workers!).  But the habit is there nagging at me. I noticed I have a lot of habits nagging at me. The good ones continue to help me but those bad ones…

I need a new way to approach my goals.  The old ways don’t seem to motivate me. I thought about which card might be inspiring and came up with the 3 of Pentacles. The Threes in the Deck (ruled by the Empress) are all about creativity. The Three of Pentacles is applied creativity in the physical realm. Angeles Arrien says it is about getting the mind, heart and action working together and being aware of intention, priorities, and commitments.

This card tells us that achieving our goals can be more play than work and yet still be productive. We need to love to do what we do; if for no other reason because we want that outcome! The three of Pentacles is the time when we start a new project that is going to bring long term achievement. When approaching a task or goal in the same old way isn’t working, then it is time to create a new plan; one that inspires and motivates us to get started and stay with it. Remember, Pentacles are long term. We don’t have to accomplish everything overnight!

The picture above shows a ballerina in the spotlight receiving accolades. She is the star, the ultimate in her art form. It probably didn’t start out that way. She might have hated going to class and had to be prodded to practice. But after awhile, she found she liked it, was good at it, and applied herself to become the Prima Ballerina. She became what she envisioned and worked for. Now she shares her accomplishments with others who appreciate her gifts and talents.

If you feel stuck, unmotivated or just plain bored with your routine, call on the 3 of Pentacles to help you re-draft your plans in a more fun and creative way. What the heck – the old way isn’t working… might as well try something new!

And, you might just find that you put yourself in your own spotlight, feeling self-assured and confident in your accomplishments.

…Kathryn Ravenwood  5.20.15   www.KathrynRavenwood.com

THE KNIGHT OF SWORDS

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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   www.kathrynravenwood.com

THE EIGHT OF CUPS – MOVING ON

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      The Buckland Romani Tarot           Rider Waite Tarot

Featured image                                         Featured image

I love seeing trends when I do readings for people.  Lately the 8 of Cups has been showing up so I decided to take a closer look at it.

I confess that, being a Cancer and easily overwhelmed by my emotions (duh), this card carries a lot of sorrow and regret for me.  Oh gosh, how did I get into this situation?  I was so stupid, bad, thoughtless, vulnerable, gullible, fill in the blank….  But here I am and I am miserable. 

I have been shortchanging this card.  Yes, it is a very emotional place and yes, we have hit an emotional bottom.  But this card is really about hope and movement forward.  It is a place where we come to grips with reality and cut our losses so we can move on.  The past is just that – the past, over, done, never to return.  We can’t change what happened and we can only remain frozen in the pain so long.  There comes a time we just need to get to a better place.  I am never amused when people say, “oh just get over it.”  You know – we might not really ever get over it but we can certainly go on.  This takes not only will power and courage but a sense of surrender.  We just can’t do any more about it.  We come to realize what is done is done and we must cut our losses, turn our backs on that low place and move on.

I am showing two examples of the 8 of Cups – the traditional Rider Waite based image and the Buckland Romani Tarot.  Both express the meaning of the card but in entirely different ways.  The Buckland Romani card spoke to me as I think no other Tarot card ever has.  It absolutely sent a gasp of new understanding through my entire being.  I will tell you why.  My father’s side of the family came to this country from Sweden, landed in New York, and continued their journey west as Mormon Hand-Cart pioneers.  I cannot even imagine how hard that must be – HAND CARTS.  No horses or oxen or mules pulling their belongings – they walked and pushed, pulled and wrangled those carts across mountains and rivers and miles of open prairie in all kinds of weather.  I am sure they started out with those carts loaded with every treasure they owned, thinking they could transport their past into their future.  Then along the way they were forced to leave things behind.  I grew up in Wyoming and heard stories about how in the old days people still found remnants of the pioneers’ leavings as they had to lighten the load – dishes, musical instruments, furniture, all left on the prairie along old wagon ruts carved into the earth like the indelible ink of forgotten stories.

I have thought a lot about this – the road became so hard and going forward must have seemed impossible.  Imagine the conversations  “why did we ever leave Sweden? What were we thinking?  I miss the people back home. I want a real meal. I want to sleep in a real bed. How much farther do we have to do this?  We will never get there.  I am too tired. We will never get this cart out of that mud.  It is too hot, too cold, too far…..” In despair, bitterness, fear, overwhelmed to the max, these people had to face reality.  They are here – now – in this predicament.  They have to lighten the load or they cannot go forward.  That means something has got to go and it is going to have to be the heaviest part of the burden.  So out goes the rocking chair where all the babies were rocked,  or mother’s tea set, or the chest of family treasures.  Dump it.  Leave it.  Cry and wring your hands but it has got to go.  And then, yes, the cart wheels finally move, with one last heroic effort it is pushed out of the mud and headed west.  West.  The place of transitions, where the trees, feeling the coming winter, drop their leaves to preserve their strength and lessen the burden to support and keep alive the core of the tree during the cold months.  Where the Shadows lurk and we go between a place of light and dark – into the unknown.

What are the heaviest and oldest burdens you carry?  Are you ready to finally sacrifice them to lighten your load so you can go forward?  I offer this question to you with great love and understanding and encourage you to leave behind that which is so hard for you to bear.  You are moving forward into an unknown future.  My pioneer ancestors did indeed make it and settled in beautiful lands, raised families and created a new heritage.  They built new furniture, acquired new dishes and looked forward more than behind.  They had to.

I hope the 8 of Cups helps you to take the time to evaluate your emotional distress and feel what you are ready to leave behind.  Our lives are indeed vast landscapes filled with mountains and valleys, oceans and rivers to cross.  And we have wide open spaces where we can leave behind what we must let go of.  We move into a new day with each morning and we begin again with each breath.

Here’s to a lighter load, the cutting of losses, the grieving and the moving on. And may peace be with you on your journey.

…Kathryn Ravenwood   http://www.kathrynravenwood.com

THE HERMIT

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The Hermit – from the Cosmic Tribe Tarot, Stevee Postman/Eric Ganther

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 (www.kathrynravenwood.com)

The Three of Swords – Tarot by Kathryn Ravenwood

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The Three of Swords

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

Dance your Prayers this Summer Solstice!

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sunrise_bosquedelapache3Sunday June 21st is Mid-Summer, the Summer Solstice. As penned by Shakespeare in his famous play, this is a time of high spirits, magic, and love. It is a time to surrender to the bright energy of the sun.

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are living in the moments of the most light of the year. At the Solstice the sun stills, rising and setting at its northernmost position on the horizon the few days before and after Mid-summer, drenching us in almost unrelenting light.

Take this moment of stillness in the sun put down your work and turn up the music, pour a libation, and dance your prayers. This is a time for renewal, a time to open yourself to be filled with light, love, and passion. Laugh. Dance with the fairies. Drink in the light of summer.

Blessings of the Light to you this Mid-Summer’s Day!

Note on Dates: Astrologically, Mid-Summer may be calculated as the date the Sun is at 0 degree cancer. Summer Solstice (Latin: “sun ceases”) is known as Mid-Summer or Litha (from the Anglo-Saxon name for the month of June) and St. John’s Day (the feast day of St. John the Baptist).

Scorpio Full Moon!

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I drew the Moon card this morning and now this powerful piece about the Scorpio full moon from Chani Nicholas:”Scorpio teaches us about death and dying, about letting go and giving in to the transformation and healing that occurs in the dark. Taurus is the stabilization of our outer and inner resources while Scorpio details how we use the power we gain from them. In order for us to experience life we must face death. In order for us to celebrate life we must be able to bear witness to the entirety of it. ” Spend a moment to bask in this moon and accept the totality of life.

http://www.chaninicholas.com/renaming-blame-full-moon-in-scorpio/