Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dream A Little Dream

I’ve always had an active dream-life. Most of the time they just seem to be the day tossed into a bag and like my Junk Oracle, rearranged in a different order or odd combinations.

My scary dreams were the Big Dark Monster chasing me. I never turned around to see its face. I only ran.

Another bad one recurred until my mid-20s. The interesting thing about this one is that, as I grew older, the dream changed slightly, which was a key to solving the puzzle of the dream. The basics were always the same. A tornado was headed towards our house, which, by the way, wasn’t really my house but was a farmhouse on a broad plain, dusty and dry. The idea was that I had to get away before the tornado hit. Then there were more tornadoes, three, then five or six. The wind is howling and the dust is swirling and I’m trying to convince my family to go now, leave in the big, old 1940’s-era long-nosed Buick or Pontiac sedan parked between the house and the barn. My mother instead continues to take the dried laundry flapping horizontally from the clotheslines.

My earliest versions of this dream have the terrified me in the car but unable to reach the pedals. As I grew older, I could reach the pedals, but I couldn’t drive the car because it was a manual transmission. As I grew more skilled, I got past one hurdle only to find another. Finally, and I mean seriously this dream chased me well into my 20’s, the last hurdle was that I could not get my family into the car. Led by my mother, as the storm approached they all turned into paper dolls.

I solved the problem by just letting the tornado take them away. I mean, seriously, folks, I had worked night after night to figure out how to rescue them, overcoming every obstacle. When I waved goodbye to my paper-doll family and let the tornado take them away, I was relieved of the dream and I never had it again.

I still have trouble watching the Wizard of Oz but at least it’s only a movie. And my feet reach the pedals. Whew!

Other dreams followed me year after year, flying at night above the power poles and trees, finding cats and kittens in sparkly turquoise, green, purple and red, and one of my favorites: Out on that same dusty plain there’s been a little rain and there’s a bit of green grass. It is night-time and there is a full moon. As I look for stars and planets, I realize that there are messages written in the stars, silly messages and intriguing messages. I realize there is not just one full moon, but it has suddenly turned into 2, then 4, then 8, then 16. I do cartwheels in my delight in the grassy field under the many moons. It is a lucky night.

These dreams, of course, are not the dream of future events that seem to have a more coherent narrative about them. Typically synesthetic, those dreams “smell” different from the colorful cats and multiple moons.

It’s pretty easy for me to figure out what’s going on with the tornado dream and the advice I gave myself—and followed—about my family drama, freeing myself from a co-dependent nightmare.

I look forward to the skywriting stars and multiple moons and perhaps, one night, the sparkly turquoise cats will come to do cartwheels with me.

The Moon in Tarot is a great card to signify dreams: In moonlight, things look real, almost. Some things are brought into high relief in moonlight and other things nearly invisible. You might not recognize the same landscape by light of day. In that way, the Moon sometimes signifies deception but I prefer to think of it as altered perception. After all, at high noon in the Grand Canyon, you can barely see the glorious colors of the canyon walls which, at sunset blaze in beauty and contrast. The danger in moonlight is that it comes and goes, that it hides things you may really need to see so you don’t step in a hole or stumble across the thing that was chasing you and wake it.

In one of my cute little antique books, Zadkiel’s Dream Book and Fortune Teller, there are some charming dream interpretations that I thought I would share. In no particular order, but using elements from the RWS Tarot deck:

Lamps (from the Hermit): If you dream that you are carrying a bright lamp, it foretells that in your particular calling you will succeed, and be highly esteemed…To dream of seeing many bright lamps denotes a coming festivity. If you appear to be exultant on the occasion it denotes your marriage.

Laurel (as the wreath on the head of the celebrant on the 6 of Wands): To dream of Laurel betokens victory and pleasure. If you marry it foretells possessions by your wife. It foreshadows great prosperity. If a woman dreams of it and smells it, it denotes that she will bear children [laurel is bay leaf, ed.]; to a maid, it shows speedy marriage.

Miser (from the 4 of Pentacles): This is an unfavourable dream. It foretells bad success through life and great troubles. You will never rise above your present circumstances, but probably become poorer and more wretched. In love it foretells marriage with a person who will make you miserable by low despicable ways and that you will have many bad children. [Well! Cross that one off the list, ed.]

Moon (from the Moon): To dream of the moon foretells unexpected joy and success in love. If it be a new moon it is a good dream for the tradesman and farmer and lover. The full moon denotes marriage; it is good for a widow. [OK, I’m not getting married 16 times. Not, ed.]

Crown (many Tarot cards have a crown, such as the Ace of Swords): To dream of a monarch’s crown denotes favour with the great and elevation in your state. To dream that you will wear a royal crown is a dream of contrary; it denotes your degradation. To dream that you give a crown shows that you will rise to independence. [Mixed blessing, that crown thing, ed.]

Snails (from the 9 of Pentacles): To dream of snails is not a very good dream. It foretells that you will be annoyed with very low evil-designing persons. Be watchful, lest you suffer through their designs. [Have always preferred my snails in butter and garlic anyway, ed.]

River (from the Empress, 5 of Cups, etc.): To dream that you see a broad, rapid and  muddy river and tempestuous [sic] it denotes troubles and difficulties in love and business; but if the river appears calm, with a glassy surface, it foretells great happiness in love, happy wedlock, beautiful children and commercial prosperity.

And last, two of the most enduring symbols from the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot, the lily and the rose:

Lily: To dream you see this lovely flower, it is a sign that by your virtuous and industrious career you will be very happy and prosperous. To the lover it denotes the virtue of the object beloved. The lily is the emblem of purity; therefore it augurs well. If you marry, you will be happy and have lovely children. If in your dream you see the lily wither, then your most ardent expectations will be nullified…portends failure….

Rose: To dream of roses in their season is the omen of happiness, prosperity and long life. If the roses are full and fragrant, it foretells to a young man who dreams it that his mistress will be fair and beautiful, intelligent and amiable, and that their union will follow in due time and be honourable and happy. It is a good dream for the tradesman and for all, prognosticating great success. If the roses are decayed, it indicates trouble and poverty.

So may your roses and lilies be full and fragrant and may moonlight and bright lamps shine on your calm river so that it sparkles like glass! See you in my dreams!

Best wishes.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Marriage Soup

I was working on a couple of things at the same time during working hours, testing some changes that should go live for my customers at the Day Job in July (yay! They work!), nervously checking data that got rearranged like an enormous bag of runes, stirred, shaken, tweaked, oops-ed and fixed from the weekend (holding my breath because that seems to have worked too), debating the pros and cons to adjusting that success, and—the phone rang.

It was my husband at the grocery story.

“What should I get for that Italian Wedding Soup you make?”

I don’t like to tell him to call me back when I’m not busy, especially since he’s seen fit to go grocery shopping. It’s just that he’s taken me by surprise, again. I thought he was going to help an elderly friend of ours understand some paperwork. In the back of my mind, I expected he would be home in time to watch the baseball game tonight, whenever that was. I didn’t have time to look.

“Italian Wedding Soup, huh?”

Lately in the late afternoons when nearly everyone at work leaves me alone, all those east coast people having gone home at a reasonable hour so I can concentrate on more tedious or analytical work, I’ve been listening to some of my CD’s. I have indulged in some purely selfish choices in that they are selections that the HUBS does not savor the way I do: country, folksongs, colonial “fiddle” tunes, Irish and Gipsy music, Alison Krauss, Garth Brooks, The Gipsy Kings and more obscure stuff. There was one very interesting meditation collection but that ended up being unsuitable for working on spreadsheets. The one thing I learned to do really well in my college Yoga class was how to make myself fall asleep; as it turns out, working on spreadsheets has the same effect accidentally. Adding meditation music makes the problem worse, so I’d rather hear howling blues or a lively tarantella to keep the eyeballs open.

Today, I had put on a CD of Virginia work songs, taken from chain gangs and slave traditions. Something about that seemed right for the afternoon. I was at least accomplishing something, or was until the HUBS called. I turned off the music.

I probably don’t take enough breaks, really. Most people at least get up and get their lunch out of the coffee room refrigerator or look with irrational hope at the snack bar at the office to see if something inspiring has graced the menu. Get up, stretch, take care of what’s necessary, focus your eyes on something more than 17” to 20” away or whatever that measurement is from your nose to your computer screen. I don’t usually. I get on a roll and lose track of time, writing what I’ve done down in a notebook in case I need to remember later that my friend Jill is on vacation this week so I can’t show her the changes until next week or whatever.

I’m not sure if this is just a quirk or a symptom of something, but I get flustered when I hear too many things at the same time. There’s no way I can listen to talk radio, for instance, and work. Even Binket bringing me her beanie-baby toy stuffed kitten for my expert care and leaving “Puff Baby” outside my office door throws me for a loop. I’ve marveled at a former boss who could actually keep track of at least three spoken conversations at once. I can’t. I can multi-task just fine with visual stuff, multiple Instant Messages at the same time, plus editing a document, but while I have two ears, I have just one channel for sound. I can listen to music, especially instrumental music and work. That's it for the sound channel for me.

I found this out when I had my second “real” job working for a major telephone company in the Midwest. I had a data entry job that consisted of typing all numbers and the letter F. And I happened to be the fastest one in the state at this particular mind-numbing task. The keyboard and transmission set up I had were so noisy that they disturbed the customer service representatives, so they put me in the closest thing to my own office: They stacked up soft-sided, high-walled dividers in a corner and plugged me in there. It was stark and ugly and a weird job, but I was, after all, the fastest in the state. One of the secrets to the speed of that job was that I could type the numbers from eyeballs to fingertips and somehow seemingly bypass my conscious mind; after all, the numbers and letter F were nonsense for the most part. So I sang to myself while I typed. And I went like the wind. I was in the zone.

That was a long time ago. What I found over the years is that I reach zero-to-60 in about 2 seconds of shrieking flake-out if someone tries to talk to me in the room while I’m trying to talk on the phone. I don’t know what that is, but audible input must take a number for me, one at a time.

A little interruption from my Sweetums is greeted with just enough choochie-coo to let him know I don’t hate him but also with clear instructions about what I can handle at the moment.

“Just a second, slow down now, I have to write this down to be able to tell if I have everything,” I snarl, well, is it snarling really, just to be clear?

The dog howls, deaf as he is and believing we must all be deaf also, to alert me that he must come into the house right NOW.

“I am setting the phone down, Darling,” I say through my teeth. “Your dog,” for Quincy becomes his dog when I’m at my wits’ end, “must come inside now.”

Dog happily sacked out on the living room rug, I return to the phone. We finish the ingredients list. The HUBS assures me we have half a bag of frozen meatballs. We end the grocery list and phone call and I try to reassemble my focus.

The 7 of Cups is about as foggy a card as I can find in the Tarot. All of the choices swirling around the character that represents you or someone else, depending on context of the reading, make the ability to choose confusing at best. Oh, sure, the cups are different but how do you know that the part below the rim isn’t something you definitely do not want? Everything seems like the same priority. What to choose? What to choose?

Thank goodness my 7 of Cups moment was brief and allowed me to move on so I wasn’t stuck in a swirl of confusion, anxiety, or even a “spoiled for choice” moment. I finished work, ran my own errands, and made soup, which is pretty good, I have to say. So here’s my soup recipe, good for what ails you, especially if you’re spoiled for choice!

Marcia’s Italian Wedding Soup

Frozen meatballs (or make your own if you have time)

2-3 Large carrots or a handful of baby carrots

Half a big red onion or one whole smaller red onion

Fresh baby spinach

Fresh parsley (I like the regular curly kind)

6 oz. dry tiny shell pasta

4 boxes of chicken broth or 2 big cans of chicken broth

Olive oil

Shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese (powdered is OK too, but fresh is better)

Dried basil if you don’t have fresh, 5 or so leaves of chopped fresh if you have it

Dried Italian Seasoning or fresh oregano is better

1 tsp. Powdered ginger (this is the SECRET INGREDIENT)

1 tsp. Pepper

In your favorite soup pot on medium heat, sauté the onions and carrots in the olive oil (1-2 tablespoons should do it). If you bought the big bag of frozen meatballs, just use half the bag which should be 25-30 little meatballs or so. Who counts? Pour those into the sauté (yep, frozen and no, don’t get the kind with sauce…that would be weird). Just swish them around for a little with your wooden spoon. (I mean, you have to have a wooden spoon, right?)
Pour in the chicken broth (seriously the low sodium no MSG kind is better but you do what you can do, right), all 4 boxes or 2 cans or whatever. Turn up the heat so the broth will boil and before it’s gotten to the boil, add the pepper, ginger and basil and most, not all of the chopped parsley. Save some for topping the soup.
When your soup is boiling, add the shell pasta and some of the cheese (save some of that for topping, too). When the pasta is cooked, add two big fistfuls (I cook like this, what can I say?) of the fresh baby spinach and the Italian Seasoning or fresh oregano. Set your timer for 5-8 minutes and have a Mike’s Hard Lemonade; check to see what time the ballgame is on. Sit down a minute.

When the timer goes off, don’t spill the Mike’s but get the bowls out and that soup ladle you thought you lost and dish it out. Sprinkle some of the chopped fresh parsley and cheese on top. Turn the heat down in case he wants a second bowl. When he gets up for that second bowl, have him turn the heat off so it doesn’t scorch. Makes enough for tonight and probably tomorrow, too.

Good with bread. The Mike’s wasn’t half bad either.

Best wishes!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Reading for Myself

So many tarot readers say they cannot read for themselves. In fact, in the many Tarot “myths” abounding, one of the more popular ones especially about 40 years ago and persisting today is that a Tarot reader “shouldn’t” or “can’t” read for themselves.

In an effort to bust myths about Tarot, Mary K. Greer wrote a classic called Tarot for Yourself, published in 1984. It’s still available and a good workbook for Tarot readers who want to do the work, the real work of The Hermit’s introspection. There are exercises, meditations; we’re talking homework here. But like some of the other best Tarot exercises, when you can feel those muscles at the end of the workout, you know you’ve learned something. And you probably can read for yourself.

I’ve taken a trip through older books lately, so I can’t really classify Mary’s book with the oldies from the 19th century, but in the 1980’s, Mary’s book was trailblazing as part of the modern Tarot movement. We give “props” to Mary for this and her many other books and contributions, perhaps not enough props!

I thought I’d draw a few cards for myself about my Tarot experiences over the years.  I drew three cards.

Before we get to those, I should say that I started out first reading regular playing cards as a child to amuse myself. I particularly liked the Queen of Clubs. When I bought my first Tarot decks, like most other people I stuck pretty closely to the little white book that came with the Rider Waite Smith deck and David Palladini’s Aquarian Tarot. It took a while for me to let go of the training wheels. One of the features of most of those earlier Tarot instructions was a large spread called the Celtic Cross.

Even the name sounded like mystical powers! Ten cards in a spread started out, “This card covers you,” signaling the topic of the reading and perhaps noting the quality of the card that could help you; then, “This card crosses you” went on to represent the challenges and hurdles to be overcome.  The Celtic Cross proceeds card-by-card with each position of the spread representing a unique aspect of your situation.

I probably used the Celtic Cross spread for the last time about 30 years ago, maybe more. The items covered in that spread can be a pretty good comprehensive reading but I quickly found that, reading for myself, I may not care to go through each position and ponder, say, the past influences on the current situation, or what other people think about it all in my reading. For instance, if the topic were my cat’s health, I really didn’t care if people thought I was an insane Cat Lady. Bless them all, each and every one, but the topic was what are the best things I can do all around while my cat is ill. Peer pressure had very little to do with that.

I think it’s this comfort zone readers come to when they realize they probably don’t need a 10-card spread to tell them what they need to know. Many professional readers will use 2- to 7-card spreads for just about everything.

There are exceptions of course. My friend Kristine Gorman (catch her weekly radio show Visionary Woman Tarot with Kristie Gorman on Mondays, streaming live on KSVY FM uses variations of the Celtic Cross and 3-card spreads, dealing cards on top of cards as the reading unfolds. She’s a great intuitive reader and someone I go to for readings when I want a second opinion.

Robert Place showed the Readers Studio attendees a mind-blowing spread of three cards per chakra, so do that math there and you’ve got a bunch of cards on the table. While listening to Bob’s explanation and instruction, I realized that this reading could take a good two hours done properly. I wondered if I had the attention span to last through it, let alone one of my clients. But, remember, we can use the Tarot for multiple reasons and a long meditation on chakras and blocks could be just the ticket.

Still, I’m more inclined to use fewer cards now and go more deeply into those fewer cards. One of the temptations of using more cards or a large spread is to ignore the cards that aren’t making sense to you at the time. To me, that’s the Big Signal that I need to Pay Attention in a reading. Glossing over a message is so often what we do in everyday life. I don’t do a reading to get the same perspective that ordinary observation gives me. If it doesn’t make sense right away, it’s like the thing I need to know.

So I pulled three cards: Page of Cups, 3 of Swords, The Emperor.
From David Palladini's Aquarian Tarot

The first two cards made me think of all the experiences I’ve had as an intuitive reader. My earliest experiences so often brought the sense that something bad or difficult was going to happen. The Page of Cups receives messages and learns from the realm of spirit and emotion, the essence of the intuitive reader. The 3 of Swords signals sorrow, actually just one of its interpretations.

I’ve been thinking lately about the way intuitive readers or psychics in the news almost always make the sensational headlines with predictions of big, scary events. I remember a Tuesday night when I was restless and could not settle down. Finally, I drew three cards with the question (poorly worded and certainly not recommended for a good reading), “WHAT???” The cards I drew were eye-poppingly terrible and I realized something really awful was going to happen. I followed up with a question about who is affected and finally got the sense that it was no one I knew personally; a few days later the tsunami hit Japan. Now, this would, of course be a much better story if I had put that reading out in some public forum with a clear date/timestamp. I didn’t. It was, after all, a reading to help me figure out why I was restless.

One of the things I maintain is that Big Bad News is one of the easier things to predict because if you sense the news coming, getting the message that something Big and Bad is going to happen is a lot like saying you could hear someone screaming in your face.

Another thing about sensing difficult events as a professional reader means I feel an obligation to help people through some difficult times. And sometimes some of the reasons just defy logic which actually is another aspect of the 3 of Swords. Logic sometimes fails and must come home to the heart.

Finally, here’s the kicker: The Emperor. So I spent a lot of this talking about the easy part, the intuitive reader senses sorrowful subjects. But what’s the Emperor doing here?

There are plenty of possibilities, but one of them is that I need to remember that while I’m walking other people through difficulties, I’m also one of the resources in my own empire that I need to defend with the setting of boundaries. The Emperor is in charge.

I can take a hint. I was blue today, so I took a luxurious bath with bath salts and lavender. That and some enthusiastic adjustment from my chiropractor made a huge difference. Because no matter what the news is, I’m in charge of the choices I make next.

Best wishes.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June Weddings

We traditionally associate June with weddings and while now it seems tied to college graduations or good vacation weather, there is of course some history behind getting married in June.

A cousin’s son is set to marry next weekend and the family is all in a dither about the joyous occasion. The groom is handsome; the bride, beautiful. We have found the perfect gift within their wedding registry, a handy way to make sure the happy couple does not begin their new life together with seven toasters and no sheets. Lately, I think the trend is to buy the youngsters gasoline credits or contribute towards the perfect honeymoon. No matter. It takes away the sleepless nights wondering if the green salad set you found for them would be donated immediately to Goodwill.

In Tarot, several cards can point to love and marriage. The Hierophant can signal a traditional wedding ceremony performed by the officiator who understands the spiritual bonding special to marriage. The 2 of Cups can mean the shared intimacy between the bride and groom, the bond they have with each other and no one else, the honeymoon. The 4 of Wands can signal marriage and the marriage ceremony, but my sense of it usually is the wedding reception and not the ceremony itself; peace between two houses who come together to create something more, with friends! And, of course, in this year of The Lovers, the joining of two separate individuals, the selection of what completes and complements.

I found a fun collection of wedding “tips” in one of the old books in my collection, Madame Fabia’s The Book of Fortune Telling to share with brides, brides-to-be and brides-averse. These are meant in fun and curiosity and are traditions from a time gone by.

The Luck of Weddings.

We have heard this one most often:

“Something old, something new,

Something borrowed, and something blue.”


But of course there is more. For instance, of particular interest to cousin Patti and all those who sew:  “The little sempstress, working on the wonderful wedding dress, takes care to sew a little cutting of her hair into the hem of the dazzling white gown, so that she, too, may soon wear her bridal toilette.” I love the term sempstress. It somehow sounds like the dress is less likely to fall apart; there’s no proverb about avoiding wardrobe accidents on one’s Big Day but I know that was high on my own list of anxieties at the time.

Color, from the familiar saying, makes a difference and not just in celebrity fanzines:

“Married in white, you have chosen all right.

Married in green, ashamed to be seen.

Married in grey, you will go far away.

Married in red, you will wish yourself dead. [a bit extreme, ed.]

Married in blue, he will ever be true.

Married in yellow, ashamed of the fellow.

Married in black, comforts you’ll lack.

Married in pink, your spirits will sink.

Married in brown, you’ll live out of town.

Married in pearl, you’ll live in a whirl.”


I rather like the whirl one although it’s not for the faint of heart. You can see the clear preference for white here. You can make some of your own up for new traditions. Married in salmon, you’ll ne’er live in famine. That rather works, I think. Married in off-white, your in-laws will fight. Well, it isn’t always good news, the color thing. I note here that tradition avoided the inevitable issue with finding something to rhyme with orange, although what comes to mind is a prison jumpsuit so perhaps that’s best left alone.

And here’s some advice for family: “If a bride has elder sisters, they should wear something green at her wedding—preferably stockings—or they will never be married themselves.” I’m just waiting to see if older sisters start showing up in green stockings. The book doesn’t specify whether the stockings are lime green, or spider-web fishnet, so there is at least some room for creativity here.

The day of the wedding itself provides extra hazards to watch out for:

·         A bride should never break anything on her wedding day, as it foretells strife.

·         She should not try on her wedding dress or veil on her wedding morn [no consequences provided, however, ed.]

·         She should not forget to feed the cat, as it may spite her by bringing down rain [or perhaps puddling in the bed or throwing up in her shoes, ed.]

·         She must not lose the heel of her shoe, or she will be unable to get on with her husband’s relatives

·         She must not keep back her tears, as it is said she will have wept them all away, and she must not touch rags

·         It is a bad omen if a bride encounters a hare, a dog, a cat, a lizard, a pig or a funeral when going to church, but spiders or frogs foretell happiness and prosperity, and a lamb or a dove are good omens also. A bird singing on the window on the wedding morn is most luck.

·         On driving to church, the bride must sit with her back to the driver. [This would seem to require special transport or violate safety standards, ed.] If she sits on the back seat, she will always occupy second place in her husband’s affections.

·         A bride should not stumble or fall on the threshold [wow! This actually happened to me at my first wedding! Well, I have to say from personal experience, this might actually be good advice, ed.], and she should enter the church with the right foot foremost. She should come out of the church by the same door as she entered by.

·         A bride should not see a pin on the ground as she leaves the church.

·         It is very bad luck to lose the wedding ring. [Nice they include a bit of advice for the groom, who would never hear the end of this one, ed.]

·         For the green stocking set: A piece of wedding cake, drawn three times through a wedding ring, and laid under the pillow, and dreamt on for three nights is sure to induce one to dream prophetic things of one’s future husband or wife. Sometimes three names are written on three slips of paper, and one removed (without peeping) each day. The last is the future husband’s name. [I think the Tooth Fairy got bored with giving money to children and decided on a new business model, ed.]

·         The clergyman should be paid with an odd sum of money.


Finally, there is a rhyme for best days of the week to marry:


“Monday for wealth,

Tuesday for health,

Wednesday the best day of all.

Thursday for crosses,

Friday for losses,

Saturday no luck at all.”


Since most weddings these days occur on Saturdays for the convenience of the workaday world, it is no wonder we wish the happy couple good luck!

And for the parents of the groom this Saturday, we wish all love and good fortune as they shoo their youngest birdie from the nest onto his next Great Adventure! And perhaps we also may wish them something to calm their jangled nerves.

Best wishes to the bride and groom and all of the rest of you!