Rant: Pro-tip to WIC users

I like WIC.

I’ve never been on it myself, or known anybody who needed it, but the thought of my tax dollars going to help people in need rather than some fat cat’s wallet just gives me the warm ‘n’ fuzzies.

But WIC users, for the love of all that’s good and holy, understand what the program covers and don’t get pissy if the cashier tells you that apple-raspberry juice isn’t covered. No, it’s only the apple. And OF COURSE you pull this shit on the busiest time of the day in a ghetto Wal-Mart (you know it’s ghetto when they pen your 20s) when there aren’t enough cashiers, and you have the gall to get pissy at the cashier and the annoyed people in line behind you.

Oh, and now you’ve gotten the wrong cereal. Brilliant. The line is wrapping around one of the aisle displays.

Posted in Spirituality

The Ambient Arc

I’m holding onto what I haven’t got.

In my quest to learn more about my decks and how they approach problems, I decided to ask them what my goals for the new year should be. Sure, it’s early to do that, but given that it takes time to decipher what a deck is saying and it takes time to formulate plans to reach a goal, mid-November is a perfectly serviceable time to do such a reading.

Anyway, I did the readings one after the other, which I will never do again. It’s quite exhausting! Especially with the BoDO. Remember how I said you should set aside at least 30 – 45 minutes for a tetractys reading? Try more like 60 minutes minimum. If you’re the type who sits there and fully interprets a reading right when you’ve laid it out (instead of lightly interpreting it, then sleeping on the rest), you’ll need at least 120 minutes. I shit you not. This deck does not fuck around.

The BoDO reading made me feel a bit dizzy as I went. The AO reading felt cold for awhile, though maybe that was just the room.

For the BoDO, I pulled a tetractys like:

                              Meskhenet
Geb                       Ptah
Bennu         Heru          Mafdet
Imhotep     Kemet         Khnum     Nun

First of all, there were a lot of 1s in this reading, which suggests the beginning of something.

Meskhenet is seated in the Sirius position, meaning her power is the guiding principle of the reading. Meskhenet is the birthing brick, the beginning of life and new growth. She asks you to consider any astrological influences. I think her power is amplified given that I did this reading very close to the heliacal rising of Sopdet.

Meskhenet is also the embodiment of destiny. My being here, and whatever my goals are. . . I’m supposed to be here. That will be some solace, I suppose, when I’m floundering just a few weeks into the process.

Geb is seated in a past position, and he indicates past thought patterns and their influence on my current state of mind. Geb is a reminder that staying grounded is important. He is the one who recommends keeping a connection with earth and reality–so don’t get your head stuck in the clouds. At the same time, Geb is utter devotion. After all, he reaches out for Nut, not anyone else. In that same vein, he is also an embodiment of loyalty. That’s really beautiful. I never thought about that with Geb.

At the same time, Geb is also a necessary separation. If he was able to reach his goal, his ambition–Nut–then nothing could exist. So I think as I go on, I should remember that perhaps it’s the journey toward the goal that’s important, not its fulfillment.

I also think there could be a negative connotation to Geb’s role as the great Honker. That is, sometimes you can honk a bit too much for your ego. . . .

Ptah is seated is a future position, where he indicates a guideline for future actions. Ptah is one who created everything through his heart’s desire and therefore he asks us to know our hearts deeply in order to understand him. The master craftsman, he is an expert at balancing and ordering. He asks us to become master craftsmen like himself. In the future, I think I need to use my heart as much as my brain, and go slowly so I learn what I need to do.

Geb and Ptah together in these positions represent the totality of the Eye, which suggests that my goals for the coming year should incorporate the physical and spiritual, but not at the expense of either.

Bennu is seated in the position that indicates the compulsion that drove me to ask the question in the first place. The Bennu is the soul of Ra, the ever effective one (Akh), who burns away the dross of the soul and then takes his place in heaven. The Bennu tells us to shed the old, the worn out, and the non-functional. The interpretation here is so obvious I won’t belabor on it.

Heru is seated in the position that indicates how the different energies of all these cards are to relate to one another, so in a sense, he’s the lynchpin of the entire reading. Heru is all about victory over adversity, perseverance, and righteousness. This suggests that my goals for the year require me to face adversity with perseverance, and act in a righteous way. Not that I know what’s righteous in the context of what I believe. I mean. . . I don’t know what I believe. I’ll just make sure I don’t kick any puppies or anything.

Mafdet is seated in the position that represents the flow of wishes, emotions, and expectations. This is a card pointing toward the future, too, so this is what’s coming. . . To be honest, I’m a little afraid of Mafdet. She is the punisher, the adjudicator, the one who holds the unrighteous accountable. She demands we pay for our wrongs, and she can indicate the need for an imposed discipline of a spiritual or earthly nature.

What’s interesting is to see her seated in this position. Should I expect to be punished or self-punished this year? Or perhaps do I need to take on some discipline/sadhana and hold to it tight as I can? In a way, I kind of see her tied in with Heru, which suggests to me that if I’m too careless with my goals, I’m going to feel the boom.

Imhotep is seated in the position that indicates the past and how it’s still carrying forward. Imhotep is an excellent healer and I am still working on healing, so my goals should incorporate that somehow.

Kemet is seated in the position that suggests how I’ll advance in my goals, or how I’ll react to things, or what’s influencing my ideals and expectations.What fascinates me about this card is its imagery compared to the Ap-p card I pulled in this exact position the last time I read the BoDO. Kemet prominently features a serpent, but it is one of a more positive, creative nature. At the same time, it comes forth from the abyss.

Kemet is a card of fertility, wisdom, spiritual growth, mystery, darkness, chaos, dissolution, material for a new beginning, confusion, and structure breaking down. I don’t think it’s directly related to what my goals are. Instead, I think this card suggests whatever happens is going to be a little less tumultuous and unpleasant. There will still be difficulties, just not of the Ap-pian nature (funny how I insist on slicing through its name that way).

Khnum is seated in the position that indicates the implementation of decisions, the power to do things, and personal action. Khnum, like Ptah, is a master craftsman, but while Ptah’s crafts issue from the heart, Khnum is much more hands on, which means that my goals are going to require me to jump in and do more than think. Khnum strikes me as much more pragmatic, so I’ll need to take solid, concrete steps toward whatever. He also represents successful execution of plans, meaning that the chance of reaching my goals is pretty good.

Nun, the last card, is seated in the position that suggests what to do to implement decisions and reach a goal. Or a card in this position can be an answer to the specific question. In the context of what I asked, I think it’s the last interpretation that’s most relevant, though the other interpretations are nothing to scoff at.

Nun is Start Over. Wipe the slate clean, insert a quarter, burn and salt the earth and start again much more wisely this time around. Nun is about making some new and better from beginning to end. He represents a potent beginning with many, many possibilities.

This card gives me hope.

So then, what goal, exactly, do I get out of this reading?

I think the goal is to start over. Start without any ego, without any assumption of anything. Start with my hands, but listen to my heart. Take on some sort of discipline, like meditation, or reading cards regularly, or juggling chainsaws, or volunteering at an anial shelter, or praying, or whatever. Something. Anything is better than nothing at this point. Remember when things are worst, Meskhenet–destiny, birth–has a hand in everything that’s happening. This also means that, at some point, it’s not my decision anymore, whatever happens.

It’ll take some time to get to the start over point. It’s going to involve acting with integrity, working through the tough parts, further healing, and being disciplined.

I think the second, perhaps less important, goal is to remember. Remember what got me here in the first place. Remember what I wanted to do before I got off track.

That’s the BoDO.


The AO was vastly faster to read because I only did a three card spread. Once I know the deck better, I’ll try some of the more complicated spreads the book suggests.

So, again, the question is what my goals should be for the coming year.

                           Sekhmet
Djehuty                 Sopdet

Sekhmet is in the Nekhbet-Mother-Mut position, meaning it’s her energies that are overseeing this year’s goals, as well as protecting me as I approach them. Here, she is extended the olive branch from the dove, who is the initiate/Fool of this deck. This is the card at whose feet you lay your ego.

The AO has an interpretation of Sekhmet that’s a little saccharine for me and doesn’t ring true throughout. She’s seen as the super compassionate guide whose main focus is healing. No mention of the blood, guts, and plagues. I guess there’s some truth to it. After all, she has a softer edge in Bast and Het-heru.

Anyway, Sekhmet’s card imagery indicates she’s related to the tarot Chariot card, meaning Sekhmet in the context of the AO is about self control, discipline, courage, and level-headedness (odd for a goddess of rage, but it makes sense!)  She represents a seed that’s starting to grow and a transformation.

With this reading, you read right to left, so the second card is Sopdet.

Sopdet is seated in the Nebet-Het position, which means I can rely on her for the more intuitive parts of my goals. And that’s a great thing. Sopdet is the one who helps us find times and places for renewal or resurgance. She reminds us that it’s always darkest before dawn.

Djehuty is seated in the Aset position, which means he’s the bridge between the spiritual and earthly for me. I can look to him for encouragement and guidance.

Okay, so what kind of goal can I get out of this? I think from the perspective of the AO, my goal for this year to grow as a little seed into something new. I think there’s going to be a close link between my mundane stuff and my sadhana stuff, evidenced by the appearance of Djehuty. As Djehuty in the context of the AO is a sort of Hermit, I think a lot of my growing should be done alone, like a monk in his cell.

There are parallels between the two readings. What I’m ultimately getting is that I need to start over again in parts of my life more intelligently. After learning many sad lessons, I’m a lot wiser. I can go back over my tracks and make a few better decisions.

Posted in Spirituality

Oracle Intros

We shape our tools, and then our tools shape us.

I have no idea why I didn’t do intros before. From now on, I will. They will always be the first reading I do from any new deck. The intro with the Anubis Oracle went so nicely I decided to do a sort of “re-intro” with the Book of Doors Oracle and now I’m here to write about my impressions so I can have them in some place I’m not likely to lose them, will be able to come back to revise as needed, and because this is my damn blog and I wanna.

My approach was to ask the deck to please tell me the three most important things about themselves that I ought to know. Below is what I found out. In the case of the BoDO, some of it is based off previous experience I had with the deck. Overall, though, you shouldn’t take this as an unbiased review; just my own personal observations done from a reading.

First, the BoDO because it’s the most recent.

I pulled three cards: Peret-em-Heru, Kek/Kerh, Sekhmet.

Those of you familiar with Kemetic mythology will know that Peret-em-Heru means “Coming Forth by Day”, a reference to making it through the trials of the Duat to rise as an Akh, an effective one.

In the BoDO, Peret-em-Heru is about regeneration, rebirth, coming out into the light, and help you see your own mental projections (especially negative ones). Peret-em-Heru is completion, a spiritual awakening, the last stage of a cycle.

Kek/Kerh is an enigmatic figure, a frog-headed god of the Ogdoad. His card is as difficult to interpret as he is to understand. Kek is the night, the mystery. He is what comes Before. At the same time, he also represents the transmission of energies (like in creation) and realized plans (like, again, in creation).

Sekhmet, in the BoDO is a card about finding your power, destroying evil, and protection. In the BoDO, her job is to clear the darkness and protect from danger. She also represents magic power, passion, fire, and strength.

Based off these three cards and my own personal experience with this deck, the Book of Doors Oracle is not a deck to be taken likely. It does not compromise and is not afraid to tell you all the ways and places you fucked up. It is a mysterious deck that never reveals all of its secrets. Looking over all of this, and recalling my experiences, I think it’s a very passionate deck, brimming with personality once you get to know it. The BoDO is especially concerned with spiritual awakening.

This deck, as I’ve said before, is a heavy hitter. This is just not the deck you want if you’re looking for some guidance on, say, what to get your mother for her birthday (she’s so hard to shop for!) The BoDO is best suited for heavy questions about magic and spirituality, but it definitely has enough firepower for tough questions of a more mundane nature. It’s also a bit verbose. The main way of reading it, with the sacred tetractys, relies heavily on identifying and interpreting relationships amongst the various cards as well as how the positions they’re placed in affect the reading. Make sure you have a good 30 – 45 minutes if you do a tetractys reading.

If you get a reading from this deck, you will probably find that it’s not just concerned with one aspect of your journey. The BoDO tends to look at things as a whole and in context, so if you aren’t prepared for that, then don’t bring the question to the oracle. It will not sugarcoat anything for you. It’s one of the few divinatory items I’ve heard of that has a wholly negative component in it (the Ap-p card). It also has Sekhmet and Mafdet, who can have elements of punishment and making amends attached to them. There’s also Shesmu 42, Judgment–and not your sweet tarot Judgment either!

I cannot stress how much personality this deck has once you get familiar with it. I touch the deck and its energies just jump out at me!

Now, onto the Anubis Oracle. Outside of my introductory reading, I don’t have a lot of experience with the AO, so a lot of this is going to go off my intuition and may change in the future. Actually, knowing me, it probably will!

So, first of all, with the AO, the Anubis key card is always in play in every reading. Anubis in this context is a sort of “shaman guide” and the reader is on a journey. In the AO his fiercer sides are pretty much non-existent. The AO’s stress is on Anubis as a kind, protective guide who sympathizes with us because he knows what the Duat is like. But with me, I also have to remember that even the friendliest canine has teeth. This indicates that while the guidance received from the AO is going to be softer than from the BoDO, it’s important to remember that there’s always an edge to it should you get too far off track!

So I pulled Sothis, Amun-Ra, and Sobek and Horus

Sothis, or Sopdet, is the Sirius star that would rise just before the return of the Nile. Sopdet asks two things of us. One, to identify places or times for renewal or resurgence in your life. Two, to look up in the sky for your personal Sopdet just when things seem to be at their worst. Even if it seems Sopdet is gone, Ausir is dead, and chaos reigns, the star comes and the Nile follows soon after.

Amun-Ra is the hidden and visible powers of the sun rolled up into one to reveal something. In the AO, Amun-Ra brings mysteries to life and light. At the same time, he is an arcane card, asking us to know the unknowable.

The Sobek and Horus card is honestly very strange to me. It depicts something similar to the reconciliation between Heru and Set. But if we imagine that Heru stands for knowledge and taming of the “lower”, so to speak, senses, and Sobek represents the more primordial, “reptilian” aspects of ourselves, the card makes sense. This card is asking us to reconcile two opposites within ourselves, but especially logic and emotion. Heru and Sobek also ask us to encourage healing and forgiveness within ourselves and our community. This is an excellent card to see when you’re hoping for harmony.

The moment I grabbed the Sopdet card, I felt I was dealing with a deck that wants to be more loving in its wisdom than uncompromising. A very different personality from what I’m used to! It’ll take a few readings for us to gel.

This is a deck of loving wisdom interested in journeys that feature or include healing, forgiveness, discovery, and illumination. The AO is concerned with having the hidden come to light, but as embodied by Amun-Ra, it can be a bit arcane. Just because the AO is going to be easier on you doesn’t mean you get to be spoonfed. You’ve got to respect that in a deck.

I felt like this deck wants to challenge hidebound assumptions the reader or querent may hold. This seems right for a deck that’s interested in the aforementioned topics. I think the AO is similar to the BoDO in that it wants you to really think about who you are, what you’re doing, and where you’re going, but the AO doesn’t want to be too forward about it. Almost like the deck is a little coy.

Definitely a softer deck with some “white light” vibes that I’m really starting to like. Overall, I’ll always have a weak spot for the BoDO’s uncompromising honesty and willingness to cut through the bullshit, but it’s also nice to have a deck that’s less high octane. I feel like I can come to the AO with simpler, more mundane problems and still get an answer.

I think you see the difference because the BoDO is often elbows-deep in the more painful aspects of becoming.

Posted in Spirituality

Divination

I love divination. I love one type of divination in particular: oracles. Anything that has arcane symbolism that can easily be interpreted differently really speaks to me. I don’t like things like tarot, which reads more like a list of stuff against stiff, coded imagery to me. My favorite will always be the Book of Doors Oracle, but I would call the BoDO a high octane oracle. You consult it with the Big Questions: where am I going in my spiritual life? What do I need to do if I want to be married? What direction is my career headed in and do I need to change it to keep in step with my life’s purpose?

The BoDO also has no problem telling you that you flat out fucked up, or that you’re being judged, or punished. It’s pretty uncompromising. Great deck for cutting through bullshit, but sometimes I want myself messages delivered more gently, yanno?

So for my next oracle, I wanted to be sure to get something that was a step or two down, but was still a fairly heavy hitter. I wanted something that wasn’t too sweet and fluffy, yet wasn’t as willing to nail you in the face. And since I love hurting myself, I got myself the Anubis Oracle. My favorite cards in it so far are of course the Bast cards because again, for some reason I enjoy hurting myself

Haven’t tried it yet–going to do an “introduce yourself” reading later tonight–just leafed through the cards. They don’t seem as serious and hard-hitting as the BoDO. At the same time, there are some very interesting cards that I think will be educational to see as I use the deck.

The other deck I have my eye on is the Ganesha Oracle. Seems pretty saccharin. While Ganesha isn’t a fluffy angel a la Doreen Virtue, he’s not the guy who sends you scurrying under a rock to hide. Unless you don’t want to face truth, of course.

I’ve also considered the Isis Oracle. Unfortunately, I’ve never gelled with her story and symbolism.

Anyway, I guess the reason I’m babbling about divination tonight is because I’ve gotten back into it. I do this periodically: get super into my deck, then leave it for a bit. This time around I’m hoping to read at least once or twice a week for no other reason it’s good for personal growth. You can’t deny that a good reading gets you thinking.

Posted in Spirituality

Scans

Will you watch your step?
Boring stories left.
“You’re feeling lost? In here,” she said.
“Come in here. The pain won’t last.”

Ah, have you ever done a full body scan? Last night I downloaded a guided meditation app whose free option was a full body scan. The first time around I just did the three-minute meditation. How exquisite! The difference between my before and after was so stunning that I did the five-minute version of the meditation while lying in bed. For the first time in ages I fell right asleep. Which is good. My job is high-stress right now as I struggle to get up to speed and punch Git in the face.

On the bright side, I had a call with my manager today who said he thought I was a quick study. It’s less I’m a quick study and more I’m willing to initially put in 14-hour days to make sure I’m not a complete burden to my coworkers.

Anyway, back to those scans. They’ve made me sort of addicted to meditating. It’s the first time I have ever grokked any sort of meditation. In the future, I suppose I’ll find myself some nice guided meditations on CD. If a body scan is fun, imagine what else is out there.

For some reason, today I just feel like writing. I can be quite loquacious like that. But I don’t feel like talking to others much. That’s why I have such a strict comment policy at There was a Little Hope. It’s so much more relaxing and instructive when you can just natter away at yourself. In any case, I’ve never been in anyone’s limelight and wouldn’t do well if put there.

The common wisdom is your employer doesn’t care about you finding yourself and will actively work against you if you aren’t benefiting the business. . . but when your office is your home, how can they stop you?

Take this weight off my shoulders
and move it to my brain.

I’m looking forward to Christmas. I want to buy my grandparents a handful of nice things. My cousins, aunt, and uncle. . . well, they’re each getting a 50 USD gift card. I don’t know enough about them to give them anything. Cash, I’ve found, is much appreciated pretty much everywhere you go.

Posted in Spirituality

O, Polestar

I am marching through the branches
in a fit of wanderlust
to see you in a black hole
reaching out for something just
silhouettes of neighbors dancing in disgust.

I’m sure you recognize my noise,
and you’ve heard about the pit,
been told to be afraid of everything that lives within.
But you’re much worse where you are,
so will you go for it?

I have a feeling you might.

I am one of those people who rarely starts anything anymore because there’s no light or joy in it. There is only joy in starting because I can pretend, for a short period of time, that there’s some hope to be had. At the same time, I am filled with wanderlust and compelled to move forward. Deep inside, there is an inner calling toward all sorts of life and death. Some of it is, of course, growing up. Unlike others, I had a late start and so have found myself not maturing properly until I’m nearly thirty.

Some of it is the same compulsion–you might even say, sometimes inspiration–to keep moving forward, to keep putting one foot in front of the other. You could call it a little flame, a little shine, a little beloved echo hiding underneath the footstool of the master. It started many, many years ago, when I was just a child. A determined impulse to hang on no matter how hard life tried to shake me off.

For awhile, it was my polestar. If I was able to navigate the darkest night, forge through the densest forests, sail the angriest seas, thread through the narrowest caverns, it’s because I had a strong conviction that as long as I kept going forward, as long as I kept learning, I would be okay. And, to a great degree, I still believe that. For all my bluster about killing myself, the drive to go on searching for whatever it is I’m searching for continues. It could be sheer boredom, but it’s more than that. It is a deep yearning that will end when it meets its objects.

Now we tumble down the hill
to a fire with a crowd.
The flicker becomes thicker as we bottom out.
The residents don’t even notice the sudden shouts.

When your eyes can adjust
and you see what’s in view:
discolored and distempered smiles that seem new.
Do you realize they were all once like you?

I have a feeling you might.

Like all polestars, mine never really went anywhere; I did. Should I look up in the sky in just the right place, there I’ll find it. It’s easier to find in the day–but at the same time much harder to see–while at night it seems like it’d be harder to find, yet look! There it is. In the darkness my polestar seems so much quieter, so much more feeble, so much more restrained. So much colder. But it’s not a polestar’s job to be warm. Their job is to point, or to occasionally leash you and yank you the right direction. For the most part, though, a polestar is an impassive, impressive gesture for the soul that feels compelled to go on.

Sometimes the dark is better. You can see your polestar, and you can think about who you are, what you stand for, what you believe. No doubt the darkness holds dangers. I’m fighting them every day. How many of us lose? We all lose eventually.

We can talk about it later,
but I think you’ve given in.

Right now, I wonder if I ought to change polestars or if the one I’m looking toward is the right one. For ages, I’ve wondered this, and thus I’ve wandered, gotten lost, gotten frustrated.

There is a certain tradition that warns its practitioners from being too easily changeable. Just as the unmovable is brittle, the flexible gets tied up in knots. There comes a time where you have to decide what your principles are. You need to declare your allegiances, put your foot down, waggle your finger at the naysayers. Find your polestar. Find two polestars. Find a hundred. But once you find them, decide if you’re sure. Decide if you want to hang on.

Don’t wander from star to star for too long. If you do anyway, it’s at your own peril.

Posted in Spirituality

Sang Real Goodbyes

That moment when you realize you don’t feel anything at all toward anybody, and you were just hearing sounds bouncing off the echo chamber inside.

That moment when you realize that you haven’t gone anywhere after all.

That moment when it all comes pouring in like a river that’s burst its dam.

That moment when the roar of the world hushes itself and you realize you’re who you always were.

That moment when a wild wheeling sun rolls through your head on its spokes and you realize it’s only the monuments that have gathered dust.

That moment when you realize your empty shame is the pain the gong feels after being struck.

That moment when you realize there are a thousand-million blades of grass unrolling in your mind, and shooting horizon-ward, toward the sky.

That moment when you realize your bookshop melancholy came from the fact you failed to keep the shelves dusted.

That moment when you realize the pain in your eyes came from polishing the mirror and finally–finally–the sun struck hard.

That moment when you realize there was a little hope, but now there’s no hope at all, and you accept that.

That moment when you realize there’s no need to hurry, because the road meanders forever.

That moment when you realize the rope you were hanging onto was actually a noose.

That moment when you realize pressure makes dust–or diamonds.

That moment when you realize you don’t have to make people see, you don’t have to be anything at all.

That moment of holy moments when you realize that the path is long, but there are gates that are open, and people for you to meet, and a thousand-thousand faces for you to try on.

Posted in Spirituality