Friday, September 1, 2017

The Star Card, The Queen of Wands, and The Six of Wands

July 31, 2017: The Star Card by Tania Pryputniewicz July 31, 2017

I love the graceful curves of the embodied Star in the Thoth Deck, her arms, legs and hair radiant with celestial blue lavender. The tiny white star embedded in the pale maroon planet behind Star Woman’s body mirrors a tiny blue star spilling out of the top cup of two she holds in her hands. The path of the light trails coming off the star points escape in concentric angular rings. The Wild Wood Tarot calls this card The Pole Star, that star by which the first human travelers navigated; they write that the star fields “wheel around it in fixed position.” Angles Arrien writes that the card reminds us that each of us “is an opening for light or a gateway through with the Absolute can manifest.”

I piled the kids in the car this month and promised them we’d stop at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas where they could play along the shore break if they first agreed to come with me on a garden/incense run. Not to the formal Meditation Garden where they’d have to observe the rule of silence (according to the floating officer of the Peace on duty) but to a different Peace Garden just up the street. In this second garden, created by an ordinary woman, you are invited to select a palm-sized white rock or two and choose a couple of colored pens from a ribbon suspended on a tree branch.

The kids knew what to do. They dropped down and began to draw, the garden at their feet full of messages left by others, the most recent still readable, the older stones fading under the southern California sun. Since my earlier visit with a friend, a laminated photo of Gandhi had been added with the quote “be the change you want to see” as well as a sign reminding dog walkers to refrain from allowing their dogs to relieve themselves on the art.  We added our rocks, snapped photos in front of the hanging wooden hearts and rainbow pinwheels, and then dashed into the Self Realization Fellowship gift shop for sandalwood incense. I also picked up a tiny free blue book, Cosmic Chants.

After just one night of chanting at dusk along the beach the Star card feeling comes on strong. One of the lines from that night’s chant, “Opal Flame,” opens with, Shining, opening in hall of matter, O Star, I peep through thee into the land of astral light that kindles life in everything.  I walked along watching the few rays of light make it through the cloud cover to shine far out on the sea. All the while, at my feet, was this lovely miniature mirror realm of clouds reflected in the sheen of retreating waves. This shifting landscape washed free every time a new wave broke. I felt as if I could fall through the clouds at my feet.

That night I had a dream that I was walking by the sea. The sun was a deep orange-red and hanging low in the sky. Every time I took a step I floated up off the ground. I was overjoyed at my newfound skill.

I love the way and heaven and earth exist so nested: the incense, the little free blue book from the gift shop, Moonlight Beach, the peace garden, and the chant reminding me I need only put my hand on my heart and I am home again, close, but far, starbound and earthbound at the same time.

July 31, 2017: The Queen of Wands and Six of Wands by Mary Allen

I picked two cards last month: The Queen of Wands and the six of Wands.  Both happy auspicious cards but also cards that feel a little generic to me. The queen, according to Angeles Arrien, represents self-mastery or self-reclamation:  She’s got her hand on the head of a leopard sitting beside her, which is supposed to mean she’s come through many dark places and chooses to remember them; hence, a gold leopard with black spots. The six is the card for victory. In the Rider Waite deck the six shows a prince riding in on a horse with followers beside him; he’s wearing a garland on his head and there’s another one on the wand he holds in his hand.  A great card to have for your card of the month, even if you did pick it as an afterthought after you picked the queen.

The symbol that speaks the most loudly to me right now as I look at these cards is the symbol at the ends of the two upper wands in the Thoth deck six of wands.   As far as I can tell, this symbol is the Winged Eye of Horus, with roots in ancient Egypt, but the colors and imagery look like Pueblo Indian things to me.  It’s turquoise, with red markings and red circles, and has snakes at the base like you find in the desert, all of which reminds me of Taos, New Mexico.
I went to Taos when this was my card of the month (one of them).  I was down there for a week working with a client on her manuscript, and when we weren’t working we went for walks in the clear bright air.  One afternoon we walked to an abandoned monastery and stood beside a tall white cross at the end of a sandy path in the middle of an endless field of scrub brush.  We placed stones at the base of the cross and then stood there looking out at the wide blue sky and the towering blue-tinged clouds, surrounded by the quiet and the wind and the sunlight. 

I got stuck in the Denver airport overnight on my way down there, and before that I taught for a week and a weekend, gave an hour-long speech, and did many other things that made me feel like I was caught up in a tornado, whipped around from one thing to the next.  That was more or less what my whole month was like from beginning to end, with only that one moment of peace and stillness among the scrub brush at the base of a cross.  But I came through it, I wasn’t thrown off the horse of myself at any point, including when I was lying on the hard floor of the airport, hungry and exhausted and feeling flung to the ground by a tornado in the form of the lightning storm that hit the airport during the time my flight was scheduled.  I came through it all and was spit out the other end, I learned something from it all, I managed to be myself, reclaim myself, through it all.  And I suppose that is a kind of victory.

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