Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Consent


I was talking with a friend yesterday who mentioned that she was tempted to go on a media "blackout" just to get a break from the negativity in the world. Even well-meaning friends who are working to make things better by tackling a difficult issue and trying to drum up support can be overwhelming sometimes. Sensitive/empathic/receptive people need a break from so much input.

Off-Center Lenormand (out of print)
(c) Copyright 2012 Marcia McCord
When you make that empathic knack one of your means of income, you need to protect yourself from working full time, just like any other occupation. Being "out there" in a community doesn't mean "The Reader Is In" sign is always up.

Back in April, someone contacted me privately, initiating the conversation for a reading, a free reading as it turns out. We had never spoken privately before.

The Querent: Hi, do you might just pulling Some cards for me please
Me: Hi actually I read cards as a business. Did you want a reading?
The Querent: I just wanted to ask a question (smile emoticon)
Me: That's often what a reading is.
The Querent: Okey im sorry
Me: No problem. You might see if one of the FB groups has someone doing free readings or exchanges.
The Querent: Where can i find it
Me: You can search for groups with tarot in the title

I had hoped the person had found good advice and learned more about reading cards.

Interestingly the topic from the same person cropped up again in a more public way this week.

The Querant: I don't understand how some people can be full of sh** and fake and bitter and disgusting all the time !! AROUND THE CLOCK go **** yourselves
The Querant:  some people here are so disgusting, they realy are.. allways beeing negative, if you ask them something they bite ur nose off !!! no seprect, you ask them if they can pull some cards for you and they say no bcause they are proffesionals, yet they are on learning grouops all the time, i dunno but don't they have clients to keep themselves busy with?? if ur a pro like you claim you are *** off from the groups then we can see who the real students are.. i hate people like that !! so disgusting !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Me: A girl walks into a restaurant with kind intentions and asks for a free meal. She is turned away because the restaurant is a business. She is given directions to the free Soup Kitchen where volunteers help people who need a meal get a good one. She sees the owner of the restaurant helping at the Soup Kitchen. She is angry because she does not like having been turned away only to see the owner volunteer. What is the difference?
  The owner volunteered their time and resources for walk-ins at the Soup Kitchen for a certain amount of time and a certain amount of food. But the owner still runs a business and in the restaurant must charge money to pay expenses, even the "expense" of volunteering at the Soup Kitchen. 
  Is the food better at the restaurant? Maybe or maybe not. But everyone at the Soup Kitchen understands the meal is free there for those in need, just like the people who go to the restaurant expect to pay. 
  Is the owner a mean person?
Another FB Member: If a professional reader joins a group of beginner readers, then turns someone down because they're "professional" and don't want to read for free, that's the same as the restaurant owner volunteering at the soup kitchen, and then turning the girl away because he's an owner and too good to serve others. If they don't want to help people then get out. I think that's what she's saying, if I understood her correctly.
Me: The difference is the venue. The client approaches the professional reader in a venue other than the learning group and asks for a free reading. Instead they might have done better to state the question in a posting in that group, pull cards, offer their interpretation, then request that others in the group assist. That's how learning groups work.
The Querent: Thats bullshit
The Querent:  I asked paris [Australian reader Paris Debono] plenty of times for a Reading and he did it And posted in the groupe without bitchig About it.
Me: Here is your reading. Ship+Whip+Man. It looks like you prefer the readings from the man from far away that you've talked to before. That's the energy you seek. Best wishes.

I kept looking at the cards I drew for The Querent and more and more I connected to what my experience of this person is and my advice from the cards.

One of the big topics in the news today has to do with consent. Just because a woman wears a dress or makeup or visits a public place like a bar or a mall or a movie, it doesn't mean she is giving consent to strangers to approach her for her favors. Even if she is single, even if she is looking for a special person or even just a friend, she isn't saying her favors are free to take without her consent.

Similarly, even professional readers learn from the efforts of beginners, get refreshed by stimulating conversations about reading cards and like to contribute. I'm always so encouraged to see people starting out and growing in their understanding of Tarot and Lenormand. I think of myself as a perennial student. I also read cards professionally by appointment only. And, I even do free readings sometimes when I'm up for that. For instance, normally on Halloween, I set my tent up in my driveway and give free readings to the parents of the children who come by for candy.

A Tarot or Lenormand learning forum is a place where newbies need to at least make an attempt at reading for themselves (even if they are certain they lack insight in their own readings) and then ask for help. The help may be in a better-formed question or the help may be with insight to the cards themselves or something more mechanical.

The insight I gained from this exchange was that this person actually just wants free readings and apparently has tapped well-known readers for this service in the past. I don't say that's necessarily a bad thing if the reader consents.

But if the reader doesn't consent, it's a lot like disappointed unsuccessful sexual assaulters who complain that their unwilling partner is "frigid" or "a bitch" because they won't comply. Ship+Whip+Man can actually be the "sexually predatory foreigner"  or the "repeat-offending traveller" or even a simple "Go On With Your Bad Self."

Readings must be consensual, by both the reader and the person being read. That's why we have ethics like not reading to spy on a third person, not reading for children--who cannot legally give consent--without a parent's permission, and not revealing very personal details outside the boundaries of the reading. The truth, which may shock some, is that readers are not obligated to give a reading if they don't consent. If they are kind, they will show The Querent where they might find such a free service and wish them well.

Best wishes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hot Night Cool Dinner

Some summers here are a steady high of 67 degrees F all summer. Not this summer though. Right now the remnant of a hurricane is soaking southern California. Why, even a baseball game was rained out! Unheard of! Here in northern California, which often seems like a completely different state from southern California, we’re getting heat and humidity. This is also almost unheard of.

I even got a case of the heat-related “woozies” today which have at least worn off now that the heat of the day has passed. It did inspire me to follow The Hubs’ suggestions for dinner.

Our friend had given us her roast chicken after having eaten a dainty quarter of it and that became the foundation for a cool dinner on a hot night.

My inner Queen of Pentacles has stirred lately and I have wanted to cook more, get out my Lenormand Grand Tableau embroidery project, pay attention to girly facial products and—gasp!—even clean a little. This feeling passes all too soon but with Venus retrograde, I’m feeling the love in the more traditional domestic arts. Naturally, I’ve got to share, so here are my Hot Night/Cool Dinner recipes, slight variations on old-fashioned favorites.

Curried Chicken Salad
Most of a leftover roasted chicken, cubed
1 stalk of celery, chopped
2 green onions, sliced
20 seedless green grapes, cut in halves
½ C. chopped cashews
½ tsp. sweet pickle relish
1 tsp. Jack Daniels No. 7 horseradish stone-ground mustard
½ tsp. (or more) curry powder (I used Curry-ency I got from The Kitchen Witch)
½ C. Low-fat Miracle Whip (because that’s what I had)

Mix it up. Let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. I didn’t have any fresh parsley but I really recommend it on the side with this. Makes great sandwiches too.

Fresh Macaroni Salad
One small or ½ large bag of elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
6 eggs, boiled, cooled, and sliced or chopped
1 red pepper, chopped fine
2 stalks of celery, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
½ C. canned sliced black olives
¼ C. sweet pickle relish
¼ C. Jack Daniels No. 7 horseradish stone-ground mustard
1 C. Regular Miracle Whip
1 T. celery seed
1 T. ground white pepper

Mix all together and cool in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. All amounts approximate!

Serve with ice water, sliced fresh peaches in season, as few clothes as legally possible in the circumstances and a decent baseball game.

Best wishes!


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Courting

The Page of Cups learns of love in all its joys and sorrows.

The Knight of Cups seeks his love with hope for all tomorrows.

The Queen of Cups embraces love, delights and mourns the most.

The King of Cups shares his love, from infant unto ghost.



The Ace of Cups says, “There is no I, not here nor above”


The Ace of Swords says, “That is truth. There is no I in love.”















Best wishes!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Hold the Phone

There was a sudden noise this afternoon. No, actually it was a sudden lack of noise. I was on my work computer fussing over a problem with a document that stubbornly would not display where it was told to display. I had chased the problem down and frustratingly concluded that I had to try again tomorrow. I paused and my computer screen dimmed. That was odd too. I picked up my house phone and realized it wasn't working. In fact the internet was down. I was about to dial my internet provider and realized with a laugh that it was really the power that was off. A quick check on my cell phone confirmed it might be a couple of hours or so. While I still had batteries on my cell phone I sent a note to my boss.
Picture Postcard Tarot
(c) Copyright 2010 Marcia McCord

And for a moment I realized I was out of touch with my workaday world. What little battery life I had left was running out. How odd, I thought, after being so very connected with so many little machines, machines I might have barely missed 20 years ago, I am momentarily "out of touch." What a funny, free feeling. But I was delighted that I had cats, dogs, books, cards, needlework and that spider in the bathroom to occupy me. That's hours of entertainment for my over-active Mercury Mind.

My friend Chea, an astrologer, marveled recently (politely, I might add) at my need for what would likely be entirely too much input for someone else. I agreed with her. Too much was almost enough. I once was faced with an assignment to do just one thing; I couldn't imagine a worse job.

Tracking several things at once feels right to me. I had been keeping an eye on a couple of Tarot threads in Facebook. One of the discussions touched on whether cards could be predictive.

This might astound people who aren't part of my regular crowd of Tarot buddies. How could people who read cards professionally question whether cards could actually be used to look into the future? After all, isn't what what card readers do, tell fortunes, foretell the future?

Seriously, many pro Tarot readers don't believe in predicting the future. What do they read about in the cards? The answer is lots of things. A good interactive session of Tarot can help clarify choices for someone who is struggling with what to do. A deeply spiritual Tarot session can assist a person with dealing with grief or change or just a higher level of consciousness like being present in the moment instead of distracted by past or future anxieties.

One perspective on the future holds that free will and often blind chance muddy the waters of the future so much that those umpteen zillion alternate universes that split off with every decision we make are just too many to pick a future outcome. I respect the people who hold this view. Some of them are my best Tarot friends and good readers. I also hold the other view and do predictive readings. I even agree with the currently-held physics-based concept of the alternate universes at each juncture. Where I disagree with my non-predictive friends is that the ability to sense an outcome is not always so close to a zero percent chance of picking the probable future. True, sometimes it is complete mud.

And then there are those other times.

Another Facebook thread, one from a more famous paranormal investigator/psychic/actor named Chris Fleming asked people if they had ever had a moment of ESP. He went on to specify, Did you ever know something in advance that you had no real way to know?

I thought, Sure. Lots of times. And I flashed back to the 1970s.

No, no, not THAT kind of flashback! I never experimented with hallucinogenics even though they seemed fairly readily available. I always figured my best asset was between my ears with my extreme vanity for my feet coming in a distant second. But flash back, I did.

It was August in the mid-70s when the dream started. It happened over and over. I would pull cards about it, but it was still a mystery to me. The experience in my dream was actually being in the car during the accident. I heard myself scream. Crumbles of glass flew at me as I turned my head over my left shoulder in the direction of impact. The dog jumped in my lap. The car that hit our car was in some way locked in its front end to our driver's side back fender...where the gas cap was. The other car was spinning counter-clockwise in the fog, heavy fog and forcing us off the road, into the ditch. Was it deep? And my ex-husband was fighting to keep the car from rolling, from flipping, from doing anything but stopping just off the road.

And then, there was the quiet. We looked at the car that hit us. In the fog, I could not tell if it was blue or green; I just knew it was big, bigger than the little yellow sportscar my ex drove. We had come to a stop, not flipped, not rolled, at the margin of a cornfield. And my ex walked to the corner of "Cornfield and Cornfield" to call in the accident from the pay phone there.

I had this over and over again all winter. It was always the same. I heard myself scream, I watched the glass fly, the fog, the spinning car, the cornfield and the pay phone. I told my ex about it, assuring him that the car was a bit messed up but we were OK and that that was the message. Don't freak out. We're OK.

He shrugged it off like he did most of my interest in metaphysical studies. He listened, but he shrugged it off.

Winter was over and it was St. Patrick's Day. We had traveled with our little dog Stoney in my ex's treasured yellow sportscar to his parents' home in Wood River, Illinois, partied with his friends and decided it was better to get up early Monday morning on March 17 and get back to Carbondale in time for the ex to go to work.

It was foggy, really foggy near the intersection when we turned South on Highway 4.

"I'm getting that weird feeling again," I said to my ex. "It's like that dream only I'm awake."

"Shut up," he said. "Just shut up" He chewed his fingers, his easy tell that he was nervous, that he had heard me all along.

And just south of Lebanon, Illinois, it happened. We slowed in the fog to let someone turn right when the impact came. The nurse driving the car had just gotten off a long shift at the hospital, we found out later. She had looked up, saw us unexpectedly stopped, slammed on the brakes in the fog-wet pavement and started spinning. I heard myself scream. The dog jumped in my lap. The crumbling glass flew in slow motion towards me as my neck wrenched around to see the big car. We landed in the cornfield. I picked up Stoney's leash and stepped out of the car, knowing he would need to piddle after all that. My ex started screaming.

"My legs are trapped! My legs are trapped!"

I ducked my head back into the open car and smiled at him.

"Unbuckle your seat belt."

As I watched him direct the nurse to move her vehicle out of the road so the accident wouldn't be compounded, then head for the phone booth which was, of course, on the corner behind us, surrounded by cornfields, I thought, We're fine. At least I know how this goes.

Sometimes, like the 8 of Wands, the message just has to get through because transmission started a while back.

Best wishes.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Rainbows

Just a brief mention of the Supreme Court ruling that supports marriage for both gay and straight people. It may seem like this represents the end of a long journey and for the decision’s supporters, a happy ending like the 10 of Cups.

In fact, while a tremendous milestone, like all social change, there is still much to do. I realize I may have friends and family who may “unfriend” me because of my belief that joy and love are gifts that are not limited to just a few defined by religions.

Many of those same people want government to stay out of the other rooms of their houses, like the room they keep guns in, the room they keep money in, and the room they express their faith in. They do not want intrusion by strangers into their private lives, yet are keen to intrude on the private lives, the bedrooms of others.

Today I celebrate that I have the freedom to marry the person I love even though some churches or other places of worship may disagree, the freedom to choose my religion even if it is not exactly what someone else would choose for me, the freedom to pursue quiet enjoyment of my life as long as it does no harm to others.

I am an optimist. I recognize that approximately half the population of the world are pessimists. I find pessimism a self-fulfilling prophecy for me. When I expect the worst, the outcome is seldom good. 

But I would no more tell pessimists that they must be optimists because it works for me. It presumes I am 100% right not only for myself but for everyone else. That’s ridiculous. There is evidence that traits like optimism and pessimism are ones people are born with and unless there is significant personality or brain function disruption, people can’t and don’t change. In fact, this polarity of optimism and pessimism isn’t an either-or choice. You might land somewhere in a continuum in the middle.

This is much like sexual orientation.

If a group of people told you that you could not exist the way you are, as a pessimist or a realist or an optimist, you would think they were out of their minds for suggesting you can’t be yourself, even if they cited a religious reason for it that they firmly believed with all sincerity. After all, there are boundaries.

But first people need to recognize the humanity and divinity in each other and the equality that free will gives each person dominion over themselves and no one else. The first boundary to respect is the end of your own scope of control.

Make someone else’s day better as they define it, not as you define it. And if you can’t do that, just quietly leave them alone and feel the kindness in your heart that respecting your fellow human being brings to you, even if you don’t agree. Rainbows really don't come in black and white.

Best wishes.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

High Summer

High summer holds the earth. 
Hearts all whole.
Sure on this shining night I weep for wonder wand'ring far
alone
Of shadows on the stars.
                               
     --James Agee, Sure On This Shining Night

It was warm today, warm, not hot. I got up early, not meaning to, but the sunlight would not let me sleep further. I had some plans for the day, a couple of readings and a rare trip shopping. Before then, however, I had to verify some software changes really worked.

It was too early for the software changes. My part of the working weekend was small and I was glad for that. As soon as they called me, I could make sure they worked, make sure the data looked good, make sure the changes didn’t break something else.

I checked up on Alice, a little close inspection just to be sure she was doing better. She is doing much better and seems better than she has in a long time. I think now that the antibiotics she took for her kitty-cat pancreatitis had an overall “sunshine” effect of clearing up just about anything that was ailing her. Further, I think she may have had some kind of low-grade infection for a while. I posted something funny on Facebook because people had been asking how she was doing, imagining that she, like some famous-for-being-famous-for-five-minutes person in too deep and too much in the public eye, woke up from anesthesia certain that she was drugged and given a Brazilian wax. Horrors by light of day!

The Sun in the Tarot is sometimes thought to be good no matter what. Even reversed, for those who read with reversals, the Sun’s positive light shines through just about everything. There’s no dark side of the Sun. Or is there?

The Sun is not welcomed by everyone. One of my classmates in high school had a skin condition that gave her an allergic hives-like reaction when exposed to the sun. That was a tough problem to manage in New Mexico, where sunlight was obscured more often by dust storms than rain storms. If the Sun came up in a reading for her, would it be good? Would it mean hide? Cover up? Set her life by the opposite of most of society and become safely nocturnal?

The Sun is good news and bad news for amateur photographers too. When the Sun is high in the sky, the breath-taking views of the Grand Canyon from the South Rim are washed out glare, dust and rocks and a reminder to stay at least your own height in distance from the edge of the cliff. White clouds sail across a light blue sky with little definition. It is hot in the summer there. There are stories of the numbers of people who go over the edge. The dry trees, some dead, some alive gnarl towards the edge of the irregular canyon, and provide one of my favorite experiences, the smell of pinon pine sap.

As the Sun falls low in the sky toward the end of the day, no longer glaring down on all it rules, the canyon’s colors come alive in reds, purples, oranges, blues and yellows with a last hurrah of the coraling curtains of clouds before it rests, and lets all others rest, for another cooling evening. Colors and creatures come out then. Do they flee the Sun, the Sun that brings life and cooks it to dust and ashes?

That evening at the Grand Canyon, the angle of light at Monterey Bay, California, the brilliant sunsets in New Mexico are all made possible by the Sun, the Sun in the right position.

The Sun can expose the truth, bring realization. It can also dazzle and blind, create mirages in the desert or a lonely stretch of blacktop road. It can warm; it can burn. A happy day can turn into a sleepless night of pain.

Is the Sun always good?

A reading like this, the 10 of Swords, The Sun, the 9 of Swords seldom makes a “sunny” message. A betrayal has come to light and is exposed, known, perhaps known to all, and the realization that all illusions are gone, dreams are over and nothing but the real world faces the person betrayed. It’s hard to call this a positive reading. The shadows on the Sun may be the darkest of all.

In a larger sense, though, while a betrayal never feels good, perhaps it may be best to know, to know for certain finally and to wake to a new day even in sorrow so that the Soul may progress on its journey. It may seem like the longest day, but we and the Sun rest and begin again tomorrow.


Happy Summer Solstice!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Public Offering

I’m so glad I’m not a celebrity. I have an inkling every once in a while of what it’s like to be pursued by the wrong person.

In my Tarot life, I originally set up my Facebook account to the settings that make everything public. 

My background in technology has taught me that no matter how personal a conversation you thinking you’re having, if it’s electronic, it’s recorded somewhere and accessible by people other than the one you think you’re talking to. So I originally figured my Tarot life was open, out loud, ordinary, unremarkable or at least amusing.

Recently, some strange things have been showing up in my electronic world so I took advantage of the Facebook settings to limit access somewhat. It’s helped a little but there are still stories to tell.

When I was younger and svelte, I got used to catcalls from construction workers. I thought they were disgusting and stupid but also threatening, that implied threat that men stronger and faster than I am could overpower me if they dared. Oh, I would have put up a fight, no doubt. But the fear, just the fear, that made what should sound like a compliment turn into something menacing was bullying on a level that terrified me, revolted me and basically made all men seem like coarse slime. I hated that feeling. I liked men, still do, so why would they do something so mean? I realized I was an object, not a person in that instance. I didn’t want to be an object.

Then one day while I was in the public library in my unremarkable town in southern Illinois, the police swarmed in and surrounded the young man on the other side of the stacks from me. I had not noticed. The policeman and librarians told me later. He was stalking me. As I hummed happily to myself, savoring books on antique glass and china, looking up marks and dates and manufacturers, researching patterns and processes, then popping over to Agatha Christie, remembering my mother saying she could write a better mystery (she never did), I noticed the Army green jacket through the stacks and thought idly how odd it was that the guy was interested in the books on the other side of the shelves. When the police came and took him away, I was stunned, then shaken, then scared, then reassured. I’d dodged some awful situation and was grateful for others looking out for me.

Cyber-stalking can be much more subtle. Someone can have the account of someone you know or they can friend a bunch of your friends. Then they send you a friend request and you check—briefly—and think even if you don’t recognize the name, the folks in your home town or your Tarot community must be real friends with this person and you might accept their offer.

Most of the time people are just people, not stalkers or creeps. They have good days and bad. They have political opinions you agree with or don’t, take subjects too seriously or not seriously enough, have pet causes that resonate with yours—or not. Most of the time, people are OK.

Then there are people who presume to be innocuous enthusiasts who are actually advanced hackers who are looking for something valuable to them in your world. I don’t “get” why people would do this, but then again I’m too nice. I don’t get why people will threaten each other or feel threatened by someone, why people will hurt animals or feel little regard for nature or other people, why people will persist in sharing negativity and spurn any ideas on how to resolve it. I don’t “get” that. That’s me.

And some people just feed off others’ energy. My friend Fortune says there is a word in Danish, superlomsk. It’s the “creeptastic” feeling you get when being menaced by a vampire only perhaps moreso. Sometimes it’s just love. Sometimes, it’s like the Devil.

Reading in public venues opens me to a wide variety of people and their problems. I’m glad to be able to help in some small way and always emphasize to my clients in public or private readings that they have free will. They can choose their next actions. But I get surprised sometimes, of course.

Recently I had my table up at a public venue. Happily in the shade on a warm midday, I welcomed the brave souls who had never, ever had a Tarot reading before. A few of the readings were upbeat. A few were heavy and deep. As the sun rose high in the weekend sky, I stood to stretch my legs, knocked my cards off my table, laughed and bent to pick them up. I looked up to see a middle-aged man in a polo shirt and khakis walking towards the table, smiling. I quickly scooped up the rest of the fallen cards, then looked up.

He stood in front of my table smiling, looking at me with shark’s eyes, blue irises thin around suddenly wide chasms of pupils. He was an unremarkable man, clean, clean-shaven, medium everything except his close-cropped light-brown hair around his balding hairline.

“Hiiiiiiiii, Marrrrrrrciaaaaaaa.” He looked me up and down and scanned my table. He paused too long. Something wasn’t right.

“Did you want a reading?” I asked, still standing, not wanting to make myself smaller in front of a predator. I smiled too. It was self-defense. I faced him square on.

“I just have one question,” he said, shark eyes never leaving mine as he spoke. “Is there anyone here as pretty as you are?”

A thousand things filled my mind, all the alternate realities based on my response. I assessed the effectiveness and lung capacity should I determine screaming bloody murder at a Farmers Market was the right response. My matching alternate personalities appeared in my mind, only. I reviewed the possibilities:

SmartAss: Still live with your mom, huh?

BabyBoomer: That line didn’t work 30 years ago either.

CompletelySarcastic: Eeek. It’s a man.

PublicOfficial: Move along, sir. There’s nothing to see here.

And a lingering favorite, NinjaPsychic: Back up slowly or I will kill you with my mind.

I resisted all those temptations, understanding that any engagement, positive or negative, was the response he wanted. Whether he was a socially awkward sincere admirer or serial killer or anything in between, the answer was still, No. No way. What part of no…? No, thank you.

I gestured broadly with both arms wide, again increasing apparent size, some lizard-brain reaction from some non-human ancestor.

“Why, look around you! Everyone is pretty here!”

He stepped back, shark-eyes back to blue, hands in pockets and turned away.

I offer my services reading cards for a small fee. I have boundaries. And I like this work. If you want to meet me, strike up a real conversation with me. Leave the lines and the shark-eyes at home.


Best wishes.