Boundaries, Death + Poor Me

I often let my mouth write checks my ass couldn’t cash. That got me into a lot of hot water. I played the “poor me” card to lovers. I felt as if the world were out to get me.

deathToday’s card is my reminder that the harder the change, the greater the reward. I’ve been learning about boundaries and personal spaces this week. I’ve been learning when to keep my pie hole shut and when to speak up for myself and my values.

I have changed so much from that woman I used to be. I often let my mouth write checks my ass couldn’t cash. That got me into a lot of hot water. I played the “poor me” card to lovers. I felt as if the world were out to get me.

It took honest self-evaluation and hard freaking work to get to where I am now. I’m not perfect but I have forgiven myself (yes, I meant to do that. ;D ) I’ve moved down the path and followed the journey to myself.

And along the way? Change. Hard, personal as well as impersonal change.

It ain’t easy, kids. But I am committed to this path–this seeking joy–this avoiding the kerfufflers of life.

Journal prompt is, “What must change in order for me to grow?”

Death, Gaian Tarot, Joanna Powell Colbert

Tarot In 9 Words: Death

RWS_13DeathThis is part of my ongoing 9Words Poetry project. I take a Major Arcana (I’m working through them in order). I pull nine words from that card then create a poem.

The poem isn’t meant to be an interpretation so much as an experience for me. This one was.. well, today marks the eleventh year since my beloved Mama left for her own journey with Death. So when I decided I would “just write a poem and get the post over with,” you can imagine the gobsmacked look on my face when I saw what card I was at in the list.

Yes, Universe, I hear You. Loud and Clear

The 9Words: King Child horse forward uncaring Gold Blue White Armor

Death’s Armor

They say you come riding a pale horse.
That you are uncaring, unspeaking, cold.
They say you are unavoidable in passing.
They say a lot but do they know?

You come for the king.
You come for the child.
You come for the mother.
You come for them all.

They say a lot but do they know?
Gold can’t buy you.
Black or white doesn’t sway you.
Blue doesn’t soothe you.

And I have to wonder if they know?
You wear the armor.
You ride the horse.
You carry the banner.

Not, as they say, because you conquer all,
But because you must protect your own heart.
That you wear the armor because you must.

Death rides a pale horse.
Not uncaring.
Not unseeing.

Death rides a pale horse.
Collecting debts owed.
For lives spent, well or not.

In your wake you leave change.
How those left, spend it?
That’s up to them.

Stephanie Arwen Lynch
For Marilu 11/18/39-06/19/2002

See the full list of poems so far.

Crazed Monkey Sex & May Tarotscopes

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If you are here for your May Tarotscope, it’s at the bottom of this post.

On May 1, in many cultures, there are traditions. These range from secret flower baskets to washing your face in dew to crazed monkey sex. I’ll let you guess which gets my vote. Hint: My face doesn’t need to be that clean.

The question for this hop is simply this.

What traditions are important to you in how you read Tarot?

When I first offered that question for my fellow bloggers, I thought, “Wow, that’s going to be such an easy question.”

Then I sat here thinking about it. Okay, to be honest, I thought about it while I walked the dogs, washed my hair, cleaned my kitchen. It was a bit consuming if the truth be known.

Here’s an Arwen secret. I do not like the rules that I can’t understand. To that end, I never liked all the do’s and don’t’s of Tarot that I kept hearing.

Do wrap your cards in black silk ONLY.

Don’t buy your own cards.

In fact, I wrote up thirteen Tarot myths and busted them. This is an updated version of that previous writing.

MYTH #1: The Age of Tarot

Tarot has been rumored to be as old as the pyramids and connected to Egypt but there is no solid fact for that. This rumor seems to have begun along with the first mention of Tarot as a mystical tool by Antoine Court de Gebelin. De Gebelin was a French occultist who linked Tarot to ancient Egypt in his book published in 1781. Many other major influences in Tarot also followed de Gebelin. This included names like Eliphas Levi, Arthur Edward Waite and even Aleister Crowley. There simply is no factual basis to this thought. There is evidence of cards being used for divination as early as 1540 in a book called The Oracles of Francesco Marcolino da Forli. And Casanova noted in his infamous diary that his Russian mistress often did divination with a deck of playing cards.

What we do know is that the first deck can be traced to Italy in the 15th century. Between 1410 and 1430 in Milan, Ferrera or Bologna. This first deck was when an artist added trump cards, “carte de trionfi” or “triumph cards” featuring faces of the Visconti and Sforza families as a wedding gift.

MYTH #2: The Gypsies invented Tarot

Historical evidence and Gypsy tradition indicates that their point of origin was somewhere in India which precludes them from inventing Tarot. However the nomadic nature of the Romany did help spread the Tarot. An interesting Romany timeline can be found here.

MYTH #3: Church banned Tarot cards

This is somewhat the truth. The Catholic Church actually banned Tarot cards, along with playing cards (known as the “Devil’s Picturebook”), dice and board games in the 16th century primarily because they could all be used for gambling and not because of some magical secrets. The Christian Bible has passages against divination of any type. A much used passage is Deuteronomy 18:10-12.

MYTH #4: You must be psychic to be a Tarot reader.

Patently false. I happen to be a psychic reader but I know plenty who are not who are fine readers. I believe that everyone has some psychic abilities but most of us close ourselves off to them early in life due to the popular but oppressive thought that it is of the occult.

MYTH #5: You are doomed by what the Tarot cards say.

Again a falsehood and a very very dangerous one in my opinion. If you go to a Tarot consultant who tells you something the cards say is set in stone, I want you to do two things. One, laugh in his or her face. Two get up and walk away and never go back. The cards are a way of looking at patterns in our lives and tendencies. Think of them as a map for the journey of life. If you were in your car and the roadmap said “Bridge out ahead” would you keep driving?

I didn’t think so.

It is the same for the cards. If something dire is in the future, you have all the tools to make changes now to redirect that energy. Certainly if a Tower event is in front of you, you may not be able to completely alleviate that eventual collapse, but you can certainly start climbing down so you don’t have quite as far to fall.

MYTH #6: Only you can touch your cards.

This is not true, but some consultants prefer to be the only ones to handle their cards. This is due to the energies a person has. It can also be due to the fact that some people are very hard on the cards physically. I normally let others handle my cards. I also cleanse and clear my cards on a regular basis.

MYTH #7: You must wrap your cards in black silk and keep them hidden away.

This myth probably comes from a practical teaching from the Dark Ages when you could be burned at the stake for being a heretic and a witch. There is no basis in fact for this. I have over 75 decks [EDIT: Oops! I now have over 250 decks.] and none of them are wrapped in black silk. Some of them are hidden away but that is because I can’t figure out which box they are currently packed in!

MYTH #8 You must receive the cards as a gift.

This one makes me laugh. I’d be a sad Tarot collector if this were true. This, I think, ties into the Wiccan tenet of not haggling for your tools. However, I have bought the majority of my decks (although I am always open to receiving gifts hint hint wink wink) and have not had any problems other than when I bought a deck I simply didn’t like.

MYTH #9: You should not read your own cards.

This has basis in truth but not because it is bad luck. Truthfully, reading for yourself is difficult because it is hard to remove yourself from what you want the cards to say. I often have others read for me because of this.

However I can and do read for myself! I would recommend using the cards for self-introspection rather than divination. I have spreads specifically designed for that use.

MYTH #10: The Tarot is always right.

Wouldn’t this be fabulous if it were true! Sadly, it is not true. As I said before, the Tarot predicts possibilities and points out tendencies. Free will comes into play as does informed choice. The minute you lay the cards out, you are changing your future because you are looking ahead. Go back to that driving analogy. When you look at a map, you are changing your path because you are making informed decisions about which way to go.

MYTH #11: You must have set rituals to read properly.

I actually do have a few set rituals but that is for my own benefit not the cards. I have a set way I shuffle and cut as well as a set way I read. The only need for this is my own need to do things a certain way.

MYTH #12: There is only one way to interpret the cards.

And it would be so nice if this were true! Everyone would have one meaning. Then again, that’s not such a good thing. It takes away diversity. Luckily for us, the Tarot cards are tools that help you access your intuition or, perhaps, the collective unconscious. Each card’s meaning comes into play with the card next to it which can alter the interpretation. I can read the same card for six different people and depending on what is around that card, the meaning will change.

One thing I teach my students is that symbols don’t mean the same to everyone. A dog may mean companionship and unconditional love to you while someone who was attacked by a dog could see it as a danger sign.

MYTH #13: The Death card means someone is going to die!

Absolutely not. It *can* mean physical death, but in my thirty plus years of reading, Death usually means painful change in the querent’s life. This is actually one of the few cards that I consider unavoidable because when change is necessary, you have to do it or suffer the consequences.

So what are some of the traditions of Tarot that you wonder about? Feel free to ask in the comments. I’d love to hear what your own thoughts are.

While you are here, I hope you will avail yourself of my free monthly Tarotscopes for May 2013 podcast.

This month’s podcast is 18 minutes and 18 seconds. We had a run on one suit which was interesting to me. I love it when that happens because it just proves to me that the Universe is at play. The deck I am using this month is the Efflorescent Tarot (Black and White version). I own two copies of this intriguing deck. You can see it here.


Are you a lover of Fairy Tales? I hope you will get your copy of my Fairy Tale Tarot Spreads. It was a labor of love.

If you are interested in taking an online workshop with me, let me know. I’ll add you to the notification list so you can join with other Tarot lovers to deepen your knowledge and reading skills.

I really appreciate your sharing these podcasts. Thank you so very much!

Seek joy, y’all! Pass it on.

Visit Tarot By Arwen to book your private Tarot conversation today.

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What’s Been Left Unsaid?

SunMoonDeathToday’s card reminds me of a quote by Christopher Crowfield aka Harriet Beecher Stowe. It is inevitable that we must all face death. No matter who you are, you have suffered loss. Some of believe our loved ones will move on to another place or another life. But this isn’t about their dying or even our dying. It’s about missed chances.

“The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.” Little Foxes, 1865

For me, the death of an animal companion can bite as sharply and as deeply as the death of a human companion. I know this is not so for others. There is no discernible difference for me when I grieve. What makes it harder or easier is my own feeling of “wrapping things up.” Have I had time to tell them what they mean to me? Have I had time to make sure they know that I love them. When I can say yes to those, then I can eventually find my own peace.

Last night, I happened to notice my voice memos from my iPhone had been synced to iTunes. Curious, I opened it and listened to them. One brought me tears, but they were happy, memory tears. It was a thirty second clip of my darling girl Carmen purring. She had a VERY distinctive purr. She also often slept with her nose close to my ear so I heard it a lot. Hearing her that way made me smile. When I helped Carmen cross the Rainbow Bridge, I chose to do it on a day two very dear friends married. I knew I would be at a celebration of life that day. As hard as it was to let Carmen go, I intentionally chose a day of joy to do that.

Did I grieve her? Yes, I did. And, truth be known, I still do. She was with me for over eighteen years. There were a lot of memories in her sable fur. But I knew it was time for her so I spent a lot of those last moments loving her and talking to her. That was healing for me.

So, your 180 second challenge is a hard one today. Is there anyone in your life that you would shed bitter tears over for leaving anything unsaid? How can you address that?

NOTE: Sometimes there are people we NEED to speak to but for whatever reason can’t/won’t. Write a letter instead. Then burn it to release that energy.

Seek joy, y’all!

Death, Sun And Moon Tarot, US Games Systems Inc.

Is There Evil In This World?

RWS_13DeathToday’s card is not so much a reminder as it is a memorial. In the divination system I know as Tarot, Death doesn’t always mean physical death. Sometimes, though? Sometimes it does.

I just shared a thought on my personal page. I posted an image of Dr. Martin Luther King addressing a large crowd. His arm is outstretched as he waves to the thousands who have gathered to hear him speak. The words on the graphic read,

“When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love.”

Death rides a pale horse. In front are a king, a bishop, a mother and a child. None are excluded from Death’s reach. All must go at the call. Whether that call is from Jehovah, Mohammed, Goddess, Great Spirit or whatever/whomever you name that Higher Power (nod to the atheists who don’t), all must answer it.

Yesterday, heinous mother fuckers destroyed lives. One of the lives they destroyed was that of an eight year old boy. Eight. Years. Old. His sister, 6, lost her leg. Their mother underwent surgery for an injury to her brain.

Mother fucking

There is no reason anyone can give me for an eight year old to lose their life this way. By an act of such cowardly proportions that I wonder how the perpetrators can look at themselves in the mirror without cringing away.

Is there evil in this world?

Yes. Yes there is. It’s in the hearts of men and women who would do this.

And, it’s a seed in the hearts of many who can say with no compunction that someone of another race, creed, religion of love is wrong.

Yeah, I went there. I’m so angry I could spit right now. I’m going to tell you that I think evil is a seed that lives in most of us–me included. It is how we choose to live that waters it and feeds it or forces it to wither and die within us.

It’s a fine line for me between mean humor and hating those not like me.

Harsh words from a professional joy seeker? You betcha. I work hard at being authentic. I can’t tell you to seek joy today when, in my heart, I am so angry that I could feed that seed of evil with hatred.

I won’t though. I won’t allow others’ evil hearts to turn my own. Mother fucking won’t. Do you hear me?

I will continue to be a woman of love.
I will continue to be a human of joy.
I will continue BECAUSE OF THESE MOTHER FUCKERS to be a peaceful, joy seeking being.

I will not let them engage me in their grotesque evil. I will not allow my anger to feed evil. My anger will feed love. It will feed joy. It will destroy hate in the end.

I will win.

I won’t challenge you to do anything today other than love yourself and one another. That’s all. Just love.

Death, Rider Waite Smith Tarot, U.S. Games

Placeholders, Contests + Favors

deathToday’s a card is a reminder that it is okay to skip a day. I had a death in my family yesterday and also did a late night radio show so I’m just whipped. I have to be at work at 7am today (I’m typing this at 12:09am). Soooo.. whine whine whine…here’s today’s post which is actually from a few years ago.

And please? Do me a favor? Stop by Susan Mallery’s Sisters of the Heart Contest! and vote for Cai and I. We are the two with the story that says “It started with a Three Musketeer bar..” I’d really appreciate it.

Take care of each other, okay? I love you. I’ll be back tomorrow with your Sunday Tarotscopes. Speaking of tarotscopes, have you heard this month’s podcast?

Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on.

Death, Gaian Tarot, Joanna Powell Colbert

Laughing, Death + Eeyore

OshoZen_13TransformationToday’s card made me laugh. It shouldn’t have given what card it is, but it did. So why am I laughing at the Osho Zen Transformation aka Death card?

It goes like this. Yesterday I was walking back from lunch. In my head I was griping about the weather. It was colder and greyer than when I left for work in the morning. Then it hit me.

I could be whiny about something I couldn’t change–the weather.


I could be happy that I had warm, blue sky, 70 degree days to compare it to.


Attitude adjusted. 😀

The weather is one of those things that is SO not in my hula hoop, right? I can’t control it. Even if I could, a good Wiccan won’t because it mucks with other people’s weather.

But I can control what is in my hula hoop–namely, me.

Then I pull the Transformation card and there it is…Kali herself (I think) sitting on a grey cloud.

I know, right? The Universe via the Tarot smacking me upside the head again.

I can only control what’s in my hula hoop.

Not sure what that means?

1. Stand up.
2. Hold out your hands as if you are holding a hula hoop.
3. Anything that fits in that imaginary circumference is what you can control.
4. Anything that doesn’t fit is out of your hands. It’s out of your hula hoop.

So why fret over what you can’t control? Do you fret because you can’t make it stop raining? Don’t waste your valuable energy, darling. Instead, go splash in a puddle or three. Too cold? Have a Pooh party!

Seriously…the Girl Scout camp I worked at would take rainy hikes so we could end with graham crackers and honey and hot chocolate. That’s a Winnie-the-Pooh party.

So… you gonna be an Eeyore or what?

Transformation, Osho Zen Tarot, St. Martins Press

Seek Joy, y’all! Pass it on.

Learn some other ways to get rid of the suckies by working through this workbook+planner with me.

Grief, Alarms & Him

I set myself an alarm last night for this morning. That alarm was to call the hospital this morning at 8am sharp.

mandala3mikeToday’s card was incredibly hard to write. I learned that a friend had been in a car wreck about a week or so ago. I knew he was in ICU. I knew his fiance, who had also been injured) was seeing to him. I didn’t call. I didn’t text. I didn’t reach out to him to tell him that I was thinking of him. I did tell him that through his love but not from my own fingers, my own voice, my own heart.

I set myself an alarm last night for this morning. That alarm was to call the hospital this morning at 8am sharp. At 7:45am I learned that he had passed away. At 7:50 my phone beeped to remind me I had to call the hospital.

I missed my chance to tell him how much I loved him. I know he knew/knows that I love him. He was an amazing Scorpio man. He made an impression on those that knew him.

But I was so angry. He’d lost one love to cancer only to find another one on the other side of the country. He was happy. He was ready to start this new love off. Instead a car hit them. He didn’t survive the hospitalization.

And I didn’t call him. I’ve been struggling with that all morning. I didn’t call. Oh I can say it was because he was in ICU…that I didn’t want to disturb him. But the bottom line is I didn’t call him. And I’m angry about that. And I’m angry that the Universe would take him away like this.

Gods. I’m so angry about it.

So I’ve taken some time this morning to call and text and email people. This is a fairly tightly knit group of friends who are family. I wanted some of them to not see the news online. I wanted them to hear it from someone who loved them. Those calls were hard but they did bring me joy.


When I was sobbing snotty tears, I found joy.

It wasn’t huge.
It didn’t replace the sorrow.

It was a momentary laugh with a friend who knew him. We laughed about that the old man might say if he knew we were carrying on like this. We laughed about broken headboards and maids coming into hotel rooms. We laughed about his love of a dive BBQ place.

I’m going to hold on to those seconds right now because I truly need them. I’m going to miss this man. I’m going to miss him a lot.

I’m also going to make sure that my friends know that I love them. I’m going to make sure that we stay close.

This mandala? Oh well. I made it last night while I focused on sending love and light to my dear friend. I saw his face, heard his wry laugh and knew he knew I was there.

His Mandala, Arwen Lynch, 12/26/2012. R.I.P. honey.

Seek Joy, y’all. Pass it on.

Death, Fear & Joy

Today’s card is a grim one. It’s from one of Llwelleyn’s new decks. Here we learn about facing the dark things in our lives. We must understand that some things cannot be turned away from so easily. Even if we run, we cannot escape this specter.

Is it Death? No, it isn’t. Even though this card is the Major Arcana position, it is called the Shadow Side. While Death, aka the Grim Reaper, is present, the two in the foreground seem to cower in fear as if that will stop the inevitable progress of their lives. It’s a fact. We will all die.

What these two young people should be doing is living rather than fearing what will come. They should be standing up to look at the light behind the Reaper. If they did, they would see the welcome waiting for them.

But their time is not now. They are wasting time living in fear.

How much time do we waste? I recently had a chat with a loved one about some major changes in our lives. We both talked about the fear we had around them rather than the joy that could come. Instead of focusing on the good, we both scurried down the path of “OH MY GOD WHAT IF WE FAIL AT THIS?”

What if we had talked about the outcome if we succeeded?

It’s a good thing to talk about potential pitfalls and problems. But I don’t think it is the best thing to focus on them so much that you ignore the good. So the next time you have to have one of “those” talks, allow time for the bad but then focus on the good. Let the good carry you forward while the bad serves as boundaries and reminders of what you don’t want to cross.

Seek joy, y’all. Even when you have to face your own Shadow Side.

Shadow Side (Death), Witches Tarot, Llewellyn Publishing, 2012

Dragging, Dreams & Letting Go

And it hit me. I need to stop trying to make dreams come true. I need to let go of the idea that I have a dream.

Sounds harsh, right?

Not really.

In my six week workshop, one exercise is about creating question for each card. Today someone posted the following question for the Death card.

What do I need to let go of in order to make progress?

I was really struck by this question because I think that many of us are struggling to make headway in so many areas of our life. But what if Continue reading “Dragging, Dreams & Letting Go”