Tarot in a Time of Turbulence

Four of Swords Rider Smith Deck
As many of you know, I teach Tarot and give reading in person (when social distancing is not in effect) and online. Email Sessarego1@gmail.com to set up a session. This month, I want to talk about what we can learn from Tarot during a time of uncertainty.

 

Tarot is not for the weak at heart. The cards don’t reveal anything that you, the querent, don’t already know, but they do encourage you to look at your own behavior, emotional state, and patterns honestly. Happily, even with the toughest of readings and the toughest of times, tarot is eternally hopefully for these reasons:

The tarot does not determine your future.

You determine your future (within limits, which I’ll address below). That is not to say that that we aren’t all influenced and constrained by a million different factors. However, it does say that you have at least some autonomy in your life, if only in how you deal emotionally with challenges. You certainly shouldn’t feel bossed around by a deck of cards!

The future is not set.

Don’t like your reading? Change your behavior. Change your mindset. Change your patterns. Tarot is a great tool for helping you work through what to tackle and what to let go of.

There is no endpoint.

The Fool is numbered zero or not numbered at all because he/she/they is on a never-ending journey. Get to the World card? Pass through and start a new journey. There’s always another challenge and always another thing to learn.

The tarot values community and self-care.

Lean on your family and friends. Value your accomplishments. Rest when you need it.

 

There’s a kind of philosophy of positivism that can be deeply victim blaming and oblivious to societal factors. Things will happen that are beyond our control. We live with various levels of racial, economic, sexual, and gender privilege. When I say that you determine your future, I say that with many caveats.

However, during this time in history when we feel so little control over what is happening in our lives, it’s worthwhile to take stock of what we can control. We can take certain steps to manage stress. We can take certain steps to reduce health risk. We can write letters and emails and make phone calls to our elected officials to advocate for the well-being of others. Also, as the Four of Swords points out, it’s never a bad idea to take a nap!

Between the Lines Book Club: Discussion Questions for The Ocean at the End of the Lane

between the lines book club logoThe Sacramento Public Library will be closed until at least May 1, but that can’t stop us from reading! Be sure to check out some of their online events and services. More are being added every day.

I hope some of you are reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane even though we can’t meet in person. Here are the discussion questions from the publisher. Leave your thoughts here!

1. It would be easy to think of the Hempstocks as the “triple goddess” (the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone) of popular mythology. In what ways do they conform to those roles? In what ways are they different?

2. The narrator has returned to his hometown for a funeral (we never learn whose). Do you think that framing his childhood story with a funeral gives this story a pessimistic outlook, rather than an optimistic one?

3. Because the narrator is male and most of the other characters are female, this story has the potential to become a stereotypical narrative where a male character saves the day. How does the story avoid that pitfall?

4. The story juxtaposes the memories of childhood with the present of adulthood. In what ways do children perceive things differently than adults? Do you think there are situations in which a child’s perspective can be more “truthful” than an adult’s?

5. One of Ursula Monkton’s main attributes is that she always tries to give people what they want. Why is this not always a good thing? What does Ursula want? How does Ursula use people’s desires against them to get what she wants?

6. Water has many roles in this story — it can give and take life, reveal and hide. How does it play these different roles?

7. One of the many motivators for the characters in this story is loneliness. What characters seem to suffer from loneliness? How do adults and children respond to loneliness in different ways? In the same ways?

8. On page 18, the narrator tells us that his father often burnt their toast and always ate it with apparent relish. He also tells us that later in life, his father admitted that he had never actually liked burnt toast, but ate it to avoid waste, and that his father’s confession made the narrator’s entire childhood feel like a lie: “it was as if one of the pillars of belief that my world had been built upon had crumbled into dry sand.” What other “pillars of belief” from childhood does he discover to be false? How do these discoveries affect him? Are there any beliefs from your own childhood that you discovered to be false?

9. When the narrative returns to the present, Old Mrs. Hempstock tells our narrator, “You stand two of you lot next to each other, and you could be continents away for all it means anything” (p. 173). What does she mean by this? Why is it “easier” for people, our narrator especially, to forget certain things that are difficult to reconcile?

10. Though the narrator has a sister, he doesn’t seem to be particularly close to her. Why do you think it is that he has trouble relating to other children? Why do you think his sister is not an ally for him?

 

 

April Poem: Monadnock in Early Spring, by Amy Lowell

Mount Monadnock
Today’s poem comes to you from poet Amy Lowell, who is writing about Monadnock Mountain in New Hampshire.

Monadnock in Early Spring

Amy Lowell – 1874-1925

Cloud-topped and splendid, dominating all
The little lesser hills which compass thee,
Thou standest, bright with April’s buoyancy,
Yet holding Winter in some shaded wall
Of stern, steep rock; and startled by the call
Of Spring, thy trees flush with expectancy
And cast a cloud of crimson, silently,
Above thy snowy crevices where fall
Pale shrivelled oak leaves, while the snow beneath
Melts at their phantom touch. Another year
Is quick with import. Such each year has been.
Unmoved thou watchest all, and all bequeath
Some jewel to thy diadem of power,
Thou pledge of greater majesty unseen.

Between the Lines Book Club: The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman

between the lines book club logoHello Book Clubbers! As you all know, the Sacramento Public Library is closed at least through May 1. I’ll keep you updated as I learn new information.

However, I hope some of you read Neil Gaiman’s book The Ocean at the End of the Lane anyway, because it’s a fascinating book that it easy to read but deals with some serious themes. The book won several awards, including the British National Book of the Year Award.

Here’s a book trailer:

Meanwhile, if you want to try other Gaiman works but are having a hard time reading (my concentration is shot, personally), Amazon Prime is streaming the series Good Omens, based on the book co-written by Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, and STARZ has American Gods, based on the excellent novel of the same name by Gaiman. Trailers:

 

 

Got Requests?

hands making a heart with sun shining through the middleI am stymied, people. I have no upcoming presentations to announce in the space, obviously. So much entertaining content is online right now from people other than I that I’m at a loss as to what I could add other than my very best wishes for all of you to stay safe and healthy!

So tell me – what kind of content would you like to see in April and May? Poems? Links to funny videos? I’m going to keep posting Between the Lines Book Club entries as I work with the library to see if we can meet online – meanwhile, leave comments!

Love to all of you,

Carrie