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.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Rat Lay Dead--A Love Story

I was all set for a quiet weekend and unaccountably I woke up earlier than I expected. A member of the British Royal Family said something about never passing up the opportunity to go to the loo. This applies to young dogs too, so I got Louie up and we walked outside.

It wasn’t really that early. It was just earlier than I meant to get up. But the 3-footed squirrel who resides in my yard was making a real racket. She’s usually pretty quiet and actually rather friendly, considering somewhere along the way she suffered a terrible accident and lost her right front paw. In spite of this injury, she gets around well, leaps from the oak tree to the fence and back, follows the circuit of squirrel path from the oak tree to the magnolia, to the roof, to the magnolia on the side yard to the crepe myrtle, to the side fencing, to the Fuji apple, to the plum tree and back to home base, the oak. The apples, plums and acorns keep her well fed and the birdfeeders invite the Little Creatures of the Yard also.

So that was actually what the racket was about. She pointed out to me and then also to Louie that there was, alas, an issue that I needed to deal with. First, was the matter of Alice the cat who apparently had made a break for it sometime during the nightly trips to the backyard that The Hubs makes with both dogs. He carries the elder statesman Quincy down the stairs since he’s not much on stairs nowadays in either direction. Nobody is as sharp as they might wish at 2:30 or 3:00 am except of course Alice who takes advantage of the boys on their wobbly pegs and inattention, and she easily slipped out the door.

I used to be utterly horrified when Alice would slip out. I’ve had cats killed in the streets because my parents would not allow indoor cats. I’m a staunch indoor cat person. Over time I realize that at least Alice has no intention of leaving the yard and, much better than either of the dogs, comes when she is called.

Alice sat on the low brick wall, the remains of an old summerhouse, under the plum tree. She was entirely too close to Mother Squirrel. And I was instructed to do something about this. Now. 

Neighborhood outdoor cats are much more inclined to climb trees than Alice. Alice prefers her prey to come to her and enjoy taking her heart’s ease in the morning air, with an occasional glance at the squirrel. But she had no intention of climbing a tree.

Second, and as it turned out more inspiring, on Mother Squirrel’s list was, and she did in fact point it out to me, the small dead rat near the patio of the former summerhouse.

“Oh,” sharp as ever in the morning, I mutter, “a rat. Dead, huh?”

Louie nosed the rat and, since I was interested in it, picked it up in his mouth and took a few gamboling dance steps sideways, offering a rousing game of Get the Dead Rat.

“Louie!” I tried to use my Stern Voice. I’m told I’m spectacularly unsuccessful at sounding stern. “Drop it right now!”

Unaccountably, he did.  Without a second thought, I stepped over, picked the unfortunate up by the end of his now cool tail and set him out of doggy range.  This started a chain of creative events that lasted the weekend.

In the quiet of the morning, I began the story with the obituary of one Rat, struck down mysteriously in the prime of rodent life and shared it on Facebook.

It wasn’t clear that Alice was the culprit although she was seen near the deceased when he was found. The Hubs, in defense of Alice, made a good case that it could not have been her since Rat was found in his entirety with just a bit of saliva at his neck and shoulders. After all, Louie had moved the body, and if you’ve ever watched a whodunit you’ll know that will always get suspicions aimed at That Guy.

Fictional CROX NEWS, a station known for making a mountain out of a molehill with the neighborhood fauna, got the exclusive with shots of the major characters in the dramatic investigation. My Facebook friends joined in the investigation with many theories of the crime.
Who killed Rat? His wife, always treated like a princess, or so she claims? As it unfolded, PerpPetual Life, the animal life insurance company wouldn’t confirm that there was a life insurance policy on Rat, but moved quickly to make an appearance at the scene. Was there a drug connection with the New York Sewer Rats who were fast to send their “condolences” on the loss, although Rat himself had made every effort to distinguish himself as a backyard resident of honest, if modest, means. Were Alice and Louie in on it together or was Louie an unwitting dupe? And finally, before charges were filed, Judge Quincy came out of retirement to oversee the moving of the body to the morgue. And what about Baby, a kitten of uncertain loyalties who spoke up early as a character reference, but apparently a reference for the highest bidder?

Alice and Louie were held on suspicion of murder and interrogated relentlessly by cynical local police. A team of special investigators from PerpLife was called in and by the next day the yard was crawling with S. Nail and his teammates. Mr. Nail, who declined to give any particulars about their investigation, gave a brief interview with CROX NEWS but spoke only about his company’s procedures and the Serious Undertaking and Crime Control Specialists (SUCCS) team searching for the facts on behalf of PerpLife. The District Attorney, a shady politician if I ever saw one (thanks to artist Debra Klopp Kersey) came out in support of law and order and justice for Rat and his family.

There was even a break in the broadcast for an ad from the local undertaker, Kelly’s Happy Endings.
In the end, the Coroner, another seeming member of the Good Old Cats Club (thanks to ceramics artist Sharon Boom) pronounced the death a “raticide by person or persons unknown”. The suspects were released and no charges were filed because of insufficient evidence.

Alice was seen reading the tabloids in disgust and is rumored to be considering a cosmetics modeling offer or two. When asked if she is opposed to animal testing, she replied she was not if free samples were available.

Louie was seen with a blunt object that turned out to be a paper towel roll. While it’s unclear whether this is the actual murder weapon, one of the many unknowns in the case, Louie looked very worried when his photo was snapped.

And the investigation continues. But, I have to say, sad as it is that somehow in my very own backyard a small furry creature met his 10 of Swords end, this has to be the most fun I’ve ever had with a dead rat.


Best wishes!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Recount

So one of the things they say you’ll probably be able to get away with during a Mercury retrograde is reviewing what you already have rather than getting more or making concrete plans to change.

Now I know. You friends and family are going to ask me, “Seriously, Marcia. You mean you actually let something like the apparent, not even REAL backwards motion of an itty bitty little planet too close to the sun to have an atmosphere determine what you are going to do for something like weeks out of the year??”

Well, no, not exactly. See, I have free will. I can start a trip on an empty tank of gas if I want to. I can hang out under a tall tree in a thunderstorm. I can wear white before Memorial Day. I can, if I want to. But for someone like me, someone who probably packs a little too much into the schedule, having certain times of the year where it’s recommended that you hold back on new things and perhaps take stock of current stuff, maybe let go of technology a little, maybe build in some quiet time or maybe, with gasps from the crowd, throw some things away that no longer serve—great pause for breath—maybe it’s nice to have a reminder a few times a year to pause and reflect.

So I have. For instance, one of my tarot buddies Arwen Lynch Poe said something about finally getting a handle on her collection of decks using a certain app. I used to have a list of my decks. That was years ago, I reflected (see? It’s working already). I miss having that list. People ask me, do you have THIS deck and lately I can’t rightly say. I might. I might have two or three of them especially if I liked it. I might have wanted to buy it and didn’t. It’s good to know what you have.

For instance, one of the things staring at me every time I walked past one of my bookcases was the POMO Tarot Deck by Brian Williams. In fact, I had accidentally gotten two copies of it. Brian’s work was pretty special in Tarot and others ought to enjoy it. So I grabbed one of them and put it on the swap table at Readers Studio in April. Usually you don’t see decks that have collectible value on those swap tables but I actually found a deck I was truly interested in to swap for my offering.

I started to wonder if I have other candidates. Arwen’s idea about inventory sounded good to me, especially with this app that reads barcodes. That should help speed along some of the data entry, at least for the newer decks. Most of my collection is older, self-published, weird and not bar-coded, but something that helps speed the process along is an attractive feature.

So I downloaded it, sprung for the no-ads version that wasn’t free. Sometimes I don’t mind the ads that help pay for free features, but sometimes getting interrupted by someone else’s really good idea of how I could spend more money gets irritating.

Using an app on an iPhone is probably one of those things that Mercury Retrograders would say I should avoid. I deal with software in my Day Job, so naturally the first thing I did was to run into the bugs and “obvious” enhancements to the app and shot off an email to the people who created it. They said they’d get back to me within 48 hours. But it’s Mercury Retrograde. I’m just hoping that they take the suggestions to heart. Heck, I think I’m just happy they got the email and sent an automated reply.

I started slogging through my collection. One thing about making a list of your favorite things is that you get to play with all your toys. I know, I know. Nerd alert. But there are some truly fascinating Tarot, Lenormand, Oracle, antique kids’ games, and other decks out there. I collect because I like them, not because I’m trying to invest for a profit. 

The last time a couple of the bookcases were tickled was perhaps four years ago. Just getting the real dust bunnies out was a good thing. And in the process, I repacked the bookcases so that there’s a better use of space, a very 4 of Pentacles concept. In fact, the whole inventory thing is a sort of 4 of Pentacles thing if you can get past the fairy tale image of King Midas counting his gold. Sometimes it’s a matter of conserving physical resources rather than being miserly, a matter of stability in corporeal space.

As I was sitting on the floor with a hundred decks stacked around me, shelf after shelf, day after day, I thought at least I’m doing something I meant to do for a while now that will help me during some head-spinning shopping spree later. Plus, I’m not spending money while I’m doing this counting and recounting. This project cost me less than $5.00 and could save me a lot more.

This being Mercury Retrograde, I’m not taking chances on software though. Two features I like about the app, bugs notwithstanding, are that it can back your collection up offline and you can send yourself a spreadsheet. You just never know when something electrical can ruin your efforts, right? 

The current count is 658 but I have more to go. I sure don’t want to start this project over due to some silly glitch.


Best wishes!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Oh, Zolar

The summer after my 6th grade year, my Nerd Self went into full bloom. While happy children played baseball and bicycled in the outside air, I went to the library. In fact, I went to the library so much that my mother became worried.

You have to understand the irony of this. She was a bookish person herself, a journalist, a reader, a writer and that year an antique dealer. I had consumed everything in her shop except a book entitled Strange Fruit that she wouldn't let me read, presumably for its hot and steamy content and not for the violence against oppressed people. I had just shrugged and walked the three blocks to the city library, which in my small town in New Mexico took up some of the space in the court house.

That summer I read anything I could get my hands on, often up to four books a day. I read so many back issues of the Reader's Digest that I was on a first name basis with Joe's Liver, could quote Humor in Uniform, had aced all of the word games and read all the condensed books. I joked that I had graduated from the Reader's Digest School of Medicine.

I also tore through the metaphysical section and read everything: Palmistry, cartomancy, astrology, hypnotism (which I considered to be misidentified as metaphysical), UFO's, ghost stories, the whole magilla. You name it Woo and I read it. I wanted to know about what had happened to me all my life, astral projections, whistling up the wind, knowing things about people just by touching the things they had owned. Some of the fun things I found were the Zolar books, especially Zolar's It's All in the Stars.

I didn't get much past sun sign astrology in the meager pickings of a Bible Belt county library, but many years and many books later, I have come to view the Zolar books with affection. So, in honor of those first moments of studying esoteric subjects, and in honor of those who seek help and consolation from unusual sources, I have written a poem called "Oh, Zolar", a reflection worthy of Mercury in Retrograde, I hope.



Oh Zolar – by Marcia McCord, 2015

Oh Zolar, shall I tell you my heart?
Or is it already too plain in my chart?
My path full of fears,
My lovelife in tears,
And Fortune, where is thy part?

Oh, Zolar, shall I be married?
In libraries too long I have tarried,
Ignoring the looks
In favor of books,
And now I am nigh to be buried!

Oh, Zolar, does Sun ever-bright
Sift through the stars of the night
And down past the trees,
Rain clouds and breeze?
Oh, Zolar, tell me my plight!

Oh, Zolar, was ever a Moon
In the right spot for more than a noon?
Too hot or too cold,
To young or too old,
My feelings always slightly off-tune.

Oh, Zolar, I have Mercury rising.
A chatterbox? I’m just surmising.
It controls all my egress,
Transgress, progress and regress
In Pisces, a seabreeze surprising.

Oh, Zolar, tell me, between us,
Can there be an aspect of Venus
To make me a cutie
With the slightest of beauty
Like the glittering jewels a queen has?

Oh, Zolar, look at my stars
And find me some strapping young Mars,
With all of his powers
Not dimmed by the hours
Nor shrunken with blight or catarrh.

By Jupiter! Shall increase be mine
With other than rich foods and wine?
The nights all alone
With but an ice cream cone
Are pushing me over the line.

Oh, Zolar, is Saturn gentle,
Its effects on me just elemental?
Is my short height dependent
On well-aspected Ascendant,
And my eighth house merely a rental?

Oh, Zolar, can you see Neptune clearly
Opposing my Sun? Can it merely
Be the Avalon mists
That keep hiding my lists,
Synesthesia I cherish so dearly?

Oh, Zolar, to Uranus now turn,
The Tau of a t-square, I learn
Means explosive creativity
And peculiar nativity,
My lightning-struck Tower of churn.

And dear Zolar, my karma defend
From a Pluto I hardly call friend.
Inconjunct in a Yod
With fogged Neptune is odd.
Beg Mercury' s mercy! The end.



Best wishes!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Clown Child

“Be a clown! Be a clown! All the world loves a clown.

************* 

The mother tucked her child more tightly in bed, so tight the sheets were nearly smooth.


“There, there, dear,” she cooed. “Don't cry. Nobody loves a little girl with a red nose.” 

Her eyes grew dark and sharp.

“Mommy,” asked the child, her little chin trembling, her eyes shut tight like stars, like scars, “Are those teeth for me?”

Her mother smiled broadly.

“No, of course not, darling. Not today.”

************** 

8 of Swords. Not all the monsters are under the bed.

Best wishes!