Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Doing the Work

Divination can be a very powerful catalyst for change. Through this medium we can learn more about ourselves and gain insights into important areas of our lives, can come to understand how our decisions impact our environment, and can prepare ourselves to confront the varying ways that our paths may unfold before us. This can be extremely empowering and meaningful.

But laying out the cards is the easy part. There is a saying: "It's easier said than done," and I find myself at times playing those words through my mind, and even sometimes speaking them aloud to my clients. I love doing readings that empower people to confront important decisions, to take responsibility for their role in their own lives, and ultimately to become happier, healthier, more spiritually balanced human beings. But I can't do the work for anyone else. At best I lay the cards, speak the story, and hope that my clients then find a way to manifest it in a manner that works most effectively for them (and I'm always happy to help them brainstorm those manners if they so desire).

Photo credit: Jorge D'Strades

I encourage all those seeking wisdom from any oracle to ask themselves if they're willing to do the work necessary to embody the message they receive. Identifying areas for growth and development can be done quite effectively, but that's just the first step. There's another saying: "Knowing is half the battle." It's good to know, but it's not enough. Acting on that knowledge is the hard part, and it's the critical step. To make the most of your reading, be willing to consider the steps you can take to address your core concerns, and be sure that the focus is always on yourself - what you can do, what you can nurture, what you can change, what you can impact, what you can release.

Make a plan of action, even if your to-do list is short and simple. It's a start! Don't overcomplicate the matter, feeling that if you don't see results immediately then you may as well give up. You might compare it to losing weight: you know you need to lose 50 pounds, and that if you do so you'll improve your overall health and well-being. If you try to "go big" and hit the gym six days a week, and cut out all fats and carbs, you'll last about a week and then throw in the towel. It's not sustainable, nor is it fair to you. So you start small. When you feel like munching, you grab the carrot sticks and dressing rather than a bag of chips. When you're feeling sleepy you take a stroll around the block instead of a nap. You don't change your diet radically, but you might start to take smaller portions at each meal. And little by little the weight starts to come off, and you might even find that those little changes feel really good, even if they're a bit uncomfortable at first, and healthier choices become your innate preference rather than a mindful action.

So don't let your reading become an entry in your journal that you never look at, or a distant memory, or an email that gets lost in your inbox. Use it as a blueprint for manifesting a more positive path forward, tack it on your fridge, make it your computer wallpaper, post it on your bathroom mirror….use it!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Diviner's Tea

About a year ago I took an "herbal magick" class and one of the gems I took away from it was a recipe (of sorts) for a divination tea. This is a tea to be used for anyone who works in divination in any capacity - runes, cards, pendulums, tea leaves, I Ching, geomancy, bones, whatever your pleasure. It's meant to help expand your perception, become more sensitive to the energies around you and the client being read, increase your ability to receive and recognize messages, and make important connections.

L-R: Eyebright, Peppermint and Mugwort

The three main ingredients in this version of Diviner's Tea are: eyebright, peppermint, and mugwort. You mix them in equal proportions into a tea steeper of your choice, and let it sit in very hot water for 3-5 minutes. Mix with your preferred sweetener (if you like one) and you're good to go!

The peppermint is mainly used to impart a lovely flavor (mugwort and eyebright aren't bad tasting but also aren't really amazing on their own). Thus you are welcome to replace peppermint with green or black tea to serve as a base as well.  As for where to purchase such herbs, I've acquired the herbs in this photo quite inexpensively from a local metaphysical shop, but you may also find them online if you happen to live in an area that doesn't have them readily available.

I've brewed this combination only once, and it was very nice with a bit of honey. I've heard that it's particularly good for diviners sitting at fairs or festivals for a long day of readings, but it would be good at any time at all.

Jumped by the 6 of Cups

Yesterday I was at the park with my youngest child while his older sisters were at school. It was one of those days where the sun is hot, but the shade is comfortable, and there were no other kids around, which was a bit unusual. As my son came zooming down the tube slide, I bent over waiting for him to pop out at the bottom, the sun penetrating my back, the red glow of the slide glaring up at me….and suddenly I had a very vivid memory…

Harmonious Tarot - Lo Scarabeo

I suddenly found myself in full recollection of being a small child at a cook-out at my paternal grandmother's house on the East Coast of the United States. My father's family always had really good barbecues and attending them was a special treat: there were coolers full of all kinds of soda (root beer, grape soda, Coke, and my grandmother's special favorite - cream soda), an abundance of hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, bowls overflowing with potato chips and pretzels, plates of fresh-cut vegetables and ranch dressing, simply dressed potato salad. "What do you want to drink, baby?" some random adult would ask me, and I'd get whatever kind of soda I wanted, a full can all to myself, even though I was probably only about 3 or 4 years old. There was a party atmosphere, kids playing here and there, adults scattered and engaged in conversation, someone tending the grill, water balloons and sprinklers.

All of that came flooding into my mind in an instant, and suddenly I just knew I wanted to recreate that kind of meal that night for dinner. So when we left the park, instead of heading home, we made a beeline for the nearest Winn-Dixie, and loaded up on chips, cream soda, hot dogs and ground beef, and even dill relish (which I don't think I've ever purchased before in my life!). At home I peeled and boiled potatoes, julienned the carrots, seasoned the beef and even made some ranch dressing from scratch. By the time the girls arrived home from school the soda cans were cold, and the potatoes were cooled and ready to be transformed into a salad. They were ecstatic.

I sent Jorge out to refill the propane tank for the grill, and as soon as he came back we were cooking up the burgers and dogs. It was awesome. I could barely finish my hot dog and the refrigerator is now full of burgers since I apparently was so intent on fulfilling my memory that I forgot I wasn't actually serving a large group of people, but that's okay! Leftovers are awesome too ;-)

So here's to Lillian - my grandmother - and her amazing barbecues. The 6 of Cups, a card of nostalgia and the simple joys of youth, pulled me into its voluminous depths and had its way with me. And it was good.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

No Exchange for You!: Fortune Telling and Free Will

Back at the end of December I made a purchase (on a whim) of a book that turned out not to be what I was looking for. I considered returning it, but was a bit unsure about whether I should do that, or keep it and add it to my library. So for a few months it sat on a table in my kitchen, neither here nor there, its receipt tucked neatly into the pages.

Finally yesterday I decided to see about exchanging it for something I'd get more use out of. I'd bought it at a local metaphysical shop where I happen to be taking my weekly mediumship class, so it was great timing: I could arrive to class a few minutes early, browse a bit, then make the exchange and go to class. I was slightly anxious about it since, while the book was in pristine condition and I had the receipt, several months had passed, and I was worried that  there would be some 90-day limitation on returns that I wasn't aware of. But nothing of the sort was printed on the receipt, and nothing appeared when I checked their website, so I figured I'd just take it in and see what happened. When I told my concerns to my sister, she thought it was silly - of course they'd accept it as a return, and if I wanted an exchange, even better!

So I threw a few Lenormand cards to see what I might expect, and this is what I pulled:

Snake - Mice - Sun

Enchanted Lenormand - Caitlin Matthews

Ugh. I was hoping that with the Sun on the end there would be some sort of successful ending to the affair, but as they say, the Mice either eat up or poop on the cards on either side of it. And Mice was also the center card, which gave it extra importance. I figured that I'd interact with a woman (Snake) who would inform me that the exchange wouldn't be able to happen (my loss - Mice), which would cause disappointment (Mice - Sun). However the woman herself would likely be pleasant enough (Snake - Sun). Nevertheless, I decided I would still bring the book with me just to see how it would all play out. Just for curiosity's sake, I decided to lay out a line of 5 on the same topic, to check out the details:

Key - Heart - Fox - Cross - Whip

Enchanted Lenormand - Caitlin Matthews

Bah. The Fox told me there was something "wrong" about the situation, and I'd probably end up feeling deceived in some way. Key - Heart was about my deep desire to make things work in my favor, but Heart - Cross said, "Nope! That ain't gonna happen!" and Cross - Whip indicated I'd probably land in a somewhat awkward discussion with the lady regarding the situation. As it was about an event occurring that same evening, even the negative cards took on a far less intense energy than if this were a reading covering a several-month period of time. For daily draws, Whips usually indicates "an awkward interaction," in my experience, rather than the usual "strife, arguments (etc.)". I don't like awkward interactions, much less ones that occur in public places and in close quarters. So I had an option - I could call the store and ask about the possibility of an exchange, thereby avoiding any potential discomfort later on. Oh the brilliance!

So I gave the store a call, and a nice sounding lady answered. I explained that I was hoping to exchange a book I'd previously purchased but never read, and that I had the receipt. Then she explained  very kindly that they don't do returns or exchanges EVER for books, candles, incense, and a few other odds and ends. So there you have it. Why no returns on books? Maybe because they don't feel like becoming a library for people who buy, read, then return, I suppose. Who knows, and I'm not feeling motivated to inquire, either.  

But this reading illustrates an important aspect of fortune telling that I think is worth highlighting (despite the fact that the event itself was rather unimportant when all is said and done). I didn't have any reason to think that an exchange wouldn't be possible, but my cards indicated otherwise. By confirming a negative outcome using a second spread, I was able to make a decision about how to proceed with the situation, and in addition was able to prepare for a potential outcome that didn't reflect my wishes. Rather than deal with a slightly awkward interaction in the store, I was able to alter my course of action. So instead of bringing the book with me to "see what happens" I chose to call and inquire first, which gave me my (expected) answer, leading me to avoid the awkward situation portended by the second reading (in particular the Cross - Whip). When readers speak of Free Will they often consider this to mean that the future is not knowable, and that in each moment we can alter the course of our destiny. The latter is somewhat true, but I feel that it's not quite as fluid as people are wont to believe. As a reader who practices fortune telling, I've seen that the future is often very much "knowable." Rather than seeing this as disempowerment, I see this as an opportunity take some control over the things that may come to pass in my life. By understanding what is likely to transpire, we can make choices about how we will confront it, and therein lies quite a lot of power and agency - and Will. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Lasirén: Embrace of a Loa

This morning I pulled a focus card, or a strength card, from my New Orleans Voodoo Tarot (S. Glassman and L. Martinié). Working with this deck always feels to me like I'm receiving a massage on my insides…. like the energy reaches in and works from within me outward, rather than the reverse. It's soothing and nourishing.

I drew Lasirén, or rather, she appeared for me. In fact just yesterday she appeared in a short spread I did for myself, and today there she is again, reminding me that she's still present, still has an important message and energy for me that is worth spending some more time with.

Lasirén (La Siréne) appears as a mermaid - half human, half fish. She is the loa of the sea, guiding and nurturing us, and calling us to take care of the ways in which we're expending our energy pools. She symbolizes the bridge between worlds, the balance between disparate energies, as she herself represents both the ocean's vast depths as well as the fertile earth. From her my focus becomes empathy for important people in my inner circle; the need for increased focus on the balance and equilibrium in my life and with my loved ones; and the need to focus on my true Will (Where am I headed? How does it feel? How can I draw on the power of the sea, and welcome the strength of Lasirén to fill and guide me?).

New Orleans Voodoo Tarot - Glassman/Martinié

In the background, Labalén, the Whale, swims in the distance, the ocean mother, offering protection, healing and loving embrace, inviting me to take a deeper dive into my intuition and psyche to explore my emotions, my abilities, and my limitations.

Indeed a fine balance is needed. When you love others, it can be hard to watch them struggle to find their purpose, their sense of meaning, and their place. Support can be so critical, but it's equally as critical not to lose sense of the fact that as much as you may care for someone, they have their own road to experience, their own falls to make, and their own journey back toward the light. You can't always take the blows for them, or wave a wand and manifest their deepest desires. Lasirén lovingly helps us stay true to ourselves, and to recognize what we can and cannot do (and should and should not do), just as much as she helps our loved ones to nurture themselves, and to navigate their path through the at-times-stony landscape of their own sacred Way. And in that, great comfort can be found.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Crow's Easter Message

Today's Easter, an overcast, cool morning. The kids are slightly hung-over on a dawn feast of far too much candy, and I'm on my second cup of coffee. Later this afternoon we'll have an egg hunt, with the little ones wading through purple wildflowers in the back yard in search of one of their magical, painted masterpieces created the day before in anticipation of this annual event.

I participated in the Ostara blog hop several weeks ago which focused on rebirth as a theme. This year Ostara and Easter, due to the transient lunar calendar, fall at some distance from each other, so once again I find myself considering death, resurrection, and the ever-spiraling cycle of life. These are universal truths that accompany us always. We tend to think of them in terms of major life events - death, divorce, house moves, births of children, leaving an old job for a new career or educational path, major work transfers that include an overseas relocation, and on and on and on.

In truth, death and rebirth are constants, and on a minute scale we are always experiencing them….when you learn something new about an important person in your life, when you mull something over and make a decision, when your plans change and you adjust to your new course, when new information or a sudden whim cause you to change your mind about an idea, belief or behavior - shifts in perspective. In these smaller contexts death takes the form of transition, the change inherent in life, the momentum that keeps our universe in flux. Without movement things stagnate - we thrive on change, even if it's hard to embrace at times - this is requisite for growth.

Today, in honor of change, transition, death and rebirth, I pulled a card from my Medicine Cards, asking for insights into what new era is unfurling for me now. I know that change is happening in my life, in some ways both big and small. I feel it trembling around me, the earthly manifestation of the 2 of Disks. The card I pulled was Crow.

Medicine Cards - J. Sams, D. Carson

The first thought I had when I turned the card over was: change. Right on cue! On page 134 of the book, it says, "Crow is an omen of change. Crow lives in the void and has no sense of time. The Ancient Chiefs tell us that Crow sees simultaneously the three fates - past, present and future. Crow merges light and darkness, seeing both inner and outer reality."

It goes on to say, on page 135: "Be willing to walk your talk, speak your truth, know your life's mission, and balance past, present, and future in the now. Shape shift that old reality and become your future self. Allow the bending of physical laws to aid in creating the shape shifted world of peace."

Sigh. It's a profound energy, so vital and pertinent to this moment, and yet not without some degree of pain - like all change. The Crow on the card peers at its own reflection, looking deeply within, facing truth with honesty, embracing - and really embodying - sacred Death.

As I move through my Easter Sunday, I'll hold these thoughts within me, pondering, processing, and reflecting on how Death, transition and truth are impacting me at this moment - somehow a perfect match to the energies being cradled and nurtured and honored across the globe on this holy-day.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

6 of Wands: A Pat on the Back

I pulled a daily card today to ask what I might expect for my day ahead, and I pulled the 6 of Wands. This was a highly encouraging card to receive on a day when I was slated to have my annual review! I didn't have any real concerns that anything unpleasant might occur, nonetheless it was fitting and very welcome.

Golden Tarot - Kat Black

The 6 of Wands is a very fortunate card when it comes to career recognition, and in the context of an annual review would bode well for a positive outcome and even a salary increase. You can think of this card as a Tarot pat-on-the-back for handling your business in all the right ways.

So I went on with my scheduled meeting, and it was great. My program chair was very happy with me, and called me a "super star" - so it doesn't get much more 6 of Wandsy than that!  Given the double load I'm managing this week, in combination with the fact that I still haven't entirely recuperated from my Blood Moon gazing, I'm grateful for this metaphorical sunshine!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spirit Pictures

I'm taking a mediumship class and last night was our second meeting. I love the instructor, Suzan - she's down to earth, kind, practical, and her energy is beautifully positive.

Each class starts out with a "psychic exercise" as a kind of warm-up. Last night we did colored ribbons. In pairs, one person was designated to read the other person. The person being read would select two different ribbons that they felt represented their past and present. Then the person doing the reading would select a third ribbon that they felt represented the future of the person being read. Then we "read the ribbons" for that person. Of course, ribbons are just props, and we were using them as a focus to tap into the other person's energies. It was cool.

I was in a pairing with a woman who was new that evening. She was a bit nervous, but she was pretty amazing. As she sat there meditating on my ribbons, I wondered what she might say, and ultimately everything she said about me was precise and, as they say, "spot on." She even picked up on my children, and my slowly growing business, which was pretty cool. Then it was my turn.

Creative Commons
As she selected her ribbons I found I just "knew" what was going on with her. These feelings are always a bit scary (should I seriously say what I feel?? What if I'm dead wrong!?) - but I'm learning to just spit it out, even if my eyes are clamped shut and my fingers are in my ears. It's surprising how relevant those impressions end up being.

I felt she had a really, really wicked upbringing that had caused some major damage, which she confirmed. She said it was something she never tells people about, and she seemed relieved that it had come across so clearly. She told me she'd been thinking about that as she selected her "past" ribbon. I could tell that she was now making a big shift, and that in fact her presence in this class was a decision she made to "just do her." She also confirmed that. I picked up on a close friend of hers, and also that she was moving into holistic practice as her life's work, not just a side interest, and that her difficult past was really going to be a benefit to her in working with others. Turns out she had just enrolled in a course to study to be a life coach, and she told me that she's always felt the same - that what happened long ago needed to happen in order to bring to where she is now (which I'm sure we can probably all say about our lives!).  Over all it was a really nice and deeply affirming experience.

Then we shifted into mediumship.

During the first class I was kind of a mess (hadn't slept, had worked all day, and almost didn't even go to the class in favor of sleeping) and while I started out okay, half way through I just went blank and couldn't get anything anymore after that. Thus I was feeling pretty unsure of myself, and honestly I was fighting a desire to run the other direction the entire time I was driving down to class! My instructor had pulled me aside and reassured me that "we all have bad days," and she knows my energy, and knows what I can do. That was really sweet, and nice, but I still felt kinda bad. So this night, though I was feeling much better physically, I decided to just let things go. I wasn't going to try to pick up on anyone, I was just going to sit there and open myself up to my partner, and see what came up, if anything. I figured that in the worst-case scenario, I'm a crappy, inconsistent medium - I could live with that!

Perhaps due to that release, I ended up having a great night, and my confidence was restored. After a minute or so I started to see a very distinct blue energy which I felt to be a male spirit, but with no real shape. I felt this spirit was wrapped around her, protecting her, and I knew it was most definitely not a deceased relative, but more angel-ish. In fact as I was relating this to her, I told her that I don't usually talk about angels much, but in this case I felt there was something about the energy that really suggested something of that nature. I also felt her dreams had been pretty busy. The teacher came over and I was asking her about this energy and she said "you're picking up on her guide!" Ah hah! That felt right, and was really interesting, as it's the first time I've ever tuned into someone's guide before. But this was very strong, very present energy. So my partner said that she often speaks with her guide, and she does feel him to be male. He often comes to her in her dreams and she never sees his face, only his form. I tried to tune into a face but all I saw was a snake-like outline (head only), which I told her. She said that she's had a few dreams lately of snakes, and in the dreams she would marvel at the fact that she wasn't scared, so perhaps there was a correlation. The instructor asked me what the color blue meant to me, and I honestly said I didn't really know. She tuned in and said she got a strong sense of heavy communication from the guide toward my partner, which makes sense because of all the dream activity and the spirit's heavy presence around her. The dominant feeling I had was one of protection.

Later we did something we jokingly called "tag teams" where we would sit in groups of four, and three of us would try to tune into the same passed relative of the fourth person. Once the spirit was positively identified, we'd go around in a circle and see if each of us could add layers of detail about the spirit. The woman asked us to tap into her grandmother, and that was pretty immediate (that the grandma spirit showed up). What was interesting was the clairvoyance. I find I have two predominate "clairs" which are clairvoyance and clairsentience. I'm always amazed at the pictures that cross my sight. So for this grandmother I suddenly saw a very clear picture of a cross, and asked the woman if her grandmother was very religious. She confirmed that she was, and that religion and church were in fact very important parts of her grandmother's life. I also picked up on where she lived (the country) and I kept seeing her in a white gown. The woman said that her grandmother wore a white gown every Sunday when she participated in the church service. I also felt that she was very much the most important figure in the family, and everyone deeply respected her, which the woman confirmed.

Spirit pictures are highly interesting. As I work on developing these skills, it's becoming easier to tell the difference between my own imagination and the images that I'm being shown, which slowly helps me to trust myself more and more (a daunting process, I will say!). I'm always deeply humbled by these experiences - I go into them rather anxious and uncertain, and am constantly amazed and even surprised to understand that the "other side" is always there waiting for us and available to us; it just takes practice and an open mind.

Monday, April 14, 2014

O Moon!

This morning I pulled my regular Lenormand line of 3, and also decided to pull a Tarot card of the day. In my intensive Lenormand study I've been somewhat neglecting Tarot, and as we say in Spanish: me hace falta!

Daily draws, whether you use Tarot or Lenormand, represent toned-down versions of whatever card you happen to pull. So let's say you pull the Tower, and your first instinct is to shrink back in horror, hide your face in the pillow and swear you'll never leave the house for the rest of the day. It probably won't be quite that bad. In fact I remember once I selected the Tower for a weekly draw, and my stomach did a flip or two….it turned out that my husband dropped his new phone and the screen cracked, and our car battery needed to be replaced. Not cool, it's true, but also very manageable and certainly not the end of the world!  A daily is along those lines, or perhaps even milder or more subtle if it covers the major energies in a single day.

So first I drew my three Lenormands and pulled:

Moon - Anchor - Cross

Enchanted Lenormand - Caitlin Matthews

Sigh. The Cross is not a pleasant card, and falling at the end of the line it gives a difficult little cap to my reading. These are the moments when remembering it's "just a daily" is actually a comfort. The Moon and Anchor are my two principal work-related cards - Moon is about your reputation and how people see you, while the Anchor is about job stability and security. So immediately my thoughts went to how my work day would go. I normally teach one intensive course each week, but this week due to limited faculty, I'll be teaching two, and today is my first day tackling this double schedule. In light of this, I can see this reading as being about the burdens (Cross) of work (Anchor), and the recognition by others (Moon) that I'm juggling this difficult schedule. 

Some see the Lenormand Moon as also representing emotions - I don't tend to see it this way usually, but thus far it actually makes sense. I'm a pretty emotionally steady person (Moon - Anchor) (my sister always called me "even-keeled"). Here then I see a difficult burden that impacts my emotional stability. Well I did have a very uncharacteristically intense argument this morning, so ain't that tha truth, Cross. In fact, I was pretty cross. My cross feelings disturbed my emotional stability. Yep.  And it's fair to say that my cross-ness definitely disturbed my reputation (Moon) for being relatively calm. And also that I was seen by another (Moon) to be cross. 

So there we have it! Both work out very well together.

Moving on to my Tarot daily: Moon!

Golden Tarot - Kat Black

Different cards, very different divination system, same symbol. Hmm….. The Tarot Moon (to me) is often about exploring the unknown, especially insofar as our deepest feelings are concerned. It, unfortunately, often carries difficult connotations of unhappiness and confusion (a bit more like the Lenormand Clouds). On the other hand in some cases it highlights deep wells of creativity that are accessible to the person being read. 

Given what I've already stated about my day, this Moon still fits. I don't like misunderstandings, or losing my cool. The person I argued with is most certainly feeling the dark side of the Moon, and a distinct lack of the creative energies that Moon offers, and that has definitely colored my morning, and left me feeling slightly melancholy (also a Moon-y trait). 

Two Moons in one morning! And a third tonight - the Blood Moon will shine, and they say that this eclipse is bringing some particularly challenging elements with it, so hey, it all fits nicely, now doesn't it? ;-)

Update: I also had quite a nice evening at mediumship class - very much the Moon it all its positive glory! And at 3am I was out under the dark sky watching that red moon! (Where's the second round of coffee???)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Goin' It Alone at a Birthday Party

The other day my younger daughter was invited to a birthday party for her very best first-grade friend and she was ecstatic. When I called the mother to RSVP she informed me that the party was open not just to the children but to their parents and siblings as well! Well that was really generous! Except for the fact that I'm pretty introverted and the idea of making small talk with other parents at a birthday party for two hours sounded like some kind of cruel and unusual torture. For the love of my child I would brave it…but not without dragging my husband along with me! I told him about the party and our invitation and he said "have fun!" I said, "No, no.. you misunderstand me… you're coming WITH me…" and let's just say he was resistant. However when all was said and done, I managed to get him to agree to come along. Whew! So the evening before the party I did a line-of-5 Lenormand reading to see how the party would go and pulled:

Garden - Child - Rider - Bouquet - Tower

Reading with Caitlin Matthews' Enchanted Lenormand
I love asking about a topic, and having it pop right up there in the reading! Garden - Child was the birthday party, and Child - Bouquet told me that it was going to be a positive experience for the kids in attendance (presents, an attractive atmosphere, the invitation of kids - lots of good stuff). The Tower made me sigh and grumble because that told me I was going to end up going to this party on my own, and Garden - Tower gave me the feeling of wandering around a busy party trying to figure out where I belonged, and not quite finding it. Gah. But the Rider was the card that wasn't immediately fitting into place for me. Rider is about news and messages, visitors and movement. Well, sure, there would be a lot of movement at the party with a bunch of kids running around. It could represent the actual receipt of the invitation (Rider - Bouquet) but I had asked about how the party would go, so that didn't really make sense. So I settled on "movement" and left it at that. The spread looked pretty nice, and the worst part about it was the fact I'd be flying solo, so I wasn't too concerned about the Rider.

The next morning Lourdes (my 6-year-old) was up at dawn getting ready for her 1pm party, and I was right there with her, preparing to run into to work for a while (teaching a Saturday morning class). My husband mentioned to me that at some point his friend from out of town would make an arrangement to come drop off some camera lenses that Jorge (my husband) had left there a few weeks earlier. I said that was fine, and ran out the door.  I got home around noon and was working on organizing Lourdes' hair when the doorbell rang. "They're here!" What now? Turns out that morning announcement of the friend stopping by wasn't just a general notification - it was happening that same day. Oh dear. So his friend stayed the entire afternoon, meaning that I sure did go to that birthday party alone, and now the Rider made sense! Garden - Rider was the social visit of this friend, and Tower was me going to the party on my own as a result. 

Fortunately, while the party was indeed full of small talk and general awkwardness (for the adults), the kids had a wonderful time playing, splashing around in the pool, stuffing themselves with cake and chips, and bouncing around in a bouncy house. All worth it in the end!