Alchemical Thoughts

Archive for March 2016

This was Holy Week for Christians, and the work week ended on a sad note for us with the passing in her sleep of our cat Autumn in the morning hours of Thursday.

Autumn (ca. 2005- Good Thursday, March 24, 2016). She lived a good eleven years with us, adopted as a tortie kitten from a pet shelter in Houston along with the kitten who would be her sister, (the mighty) Isis, who survives her. Autumn was a strong-willed cat that filled our lives with love, happiness, and wonder. And she was playful and affectionate all the way to the last night before we all went to sleep for the night. She adopted me as her human and taught me to love cats. She will be missed, but I as we celebrate her life want to express my gratitude for all the happiness and love he brought to our lives. I hope your spirit is somewhere nice playing with other cats and friends.

“All things pass. None of us can manage to hold on to anything. In that way we live our lives.” — Haruki Murakami.

This was also a short work week with a three-day weekend as the college, including the library, closed down for Good Friday, a small perk for a heathen who works at a Christian college.

 

Cards drawn:

  • Monday, March 21: Queen of Pentacles
  • Tuesday, March 22: The Empress
  • Wednesday, March 23: Three of Cups
  • Thursday, March 24: Nine of Cups
  • Friday, March 25: Page of Cups

I need to note that I did a redraw on Friday. Initially, I drew The Empress again. I was not sure if should have kept it or not. In retrospect, the nurturing Empress seemed needed given our mourning. However, at the time, drawing a card twice in one week did not seem right, so I drew a different card, which turned out to be the Page of Cups. I have read in a place or two that one should not do redraws in reading Tarot cards. I am not sure how I feel about that though I get that the idea is to learn to confront and study the card even if the card is not an easy one. And if I was doing spreads, I would not be likely to do redraws, but for a daily drawing two in a week of the same seemed odd. Anyhow, I will reflect on this and if it happens again, we’ll see. Any Tarot readers out there who read this and want to weigh in, feel free to send some insights my way.

The latter part of the week was dominated by cups. There was a lot of emotion, and tears, at the end of the week. Despite our loss, the week was otherwise fairly calm. The concerns for Monday did get settled, for now at least, and the week moved on. With the Queen of Pentacles, I started the week looking at material concerns. I felt it was a reminder to be mindful of money. We are not dirt poor but we are not in great shape neither. We are making a living and both working hard. As the card also indicates some desire to acquire nice things, I figured a small treat would be nice, which the Better Half and I did on Friday on our short Kentucky wineries trip (I may write a post on that small trip later).

Tuesday continued the female energy with The Empress. She brings some structure but also growth and nurturing. It was a good time to get things done, and I did have a productive day and week at work. In fact, I did a lot on Tuesday, so much I jotted down in my personal journal on Wednesday morning that the previous day felt more like a Two of Pentacles day as I juggled a lot of things to make it all work. In the end, it was all good, and the Better Half even had some of her nice chili for our dinner when I got home.

The rest of the week, as I noted, was very watery with the predominance of the suit of cups. Wednesday’s Three of Cups conveying a sense of community was appropriate given my early morning meeting that day. The card turns out to be linked to The Empress, so it was further continuing the abundance and nurturing. Thursday was the Nine of Cups, which I jotted down as a cycle ending as the number 9 is the last single digit of the suit. Initially, I thought it was just the end of the work week. We later found it was also the end of our time with Autumn. But the Nine of Cups also indicates satisfaction and pleasure. It was a sad day, but work and life had to go on. It did seem like a Death card kind of day, not just for Autumn’s passing, but also changes at work as we got some new computers for the reference area for public use, though the IT guys neglected to tell us how to log them in so the public could use them. Changes came, and onward we went.

As noted above, I ended the week with the Page of Cups, the end to what turned out to be an emotional week. I did get some quality time with the Better Half as we went out of the house to visit a couple of wineries nearby; it was a spur of the moment thing as she also by sheer luck had the day off. We got some wine tasting done, and we brought some new bottles home. As a final note, the Page of Cups can indicate interest in intuitive endeavors, and for me, at this moment, it would be my study of the Tarot.

Paz y amor.

Queen of Pentacles (Marseilles)

Queen of Pentacles (Marseilles)

The Empress (Marseilles)

The Empress (Marseilles)

Three of Cups (Marseilles)

Three of Cups (Marseilles)

Nine of Cups (Marseilles Tarot)

Nine of Cups (Marseilles Tarot)

Page of Cups (Marseilles)

Page of Cups (Marseilles)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did not quite make it to posting this last Saturday. It was a bit of a rough week this week, so I was not able to post this as soon as I wished. I will keep working on getting it to post on Saturday or Sunday. I continue to use my trusty Marseilles Tarot deck as I work further on learning the meanings and how to read the cards.

Cards drawn:

  • Monday, March 14: Seven of Wands.
  • Tuesday, March 15: Two of Pentacles.
  • Wednesday, March 16: Ace of Wands.
  • Thursday, March 17: Queen of Wands.
  • Friday, March 18: The Sun

As I look over the week, I see the week was dominated by the fiery wands. The Sun at the end just seems to cap that fiery nature. The middle of the week was a bit hectic in terms of what now seem minor scheduling conflicts at work, but in the end, with a little perseverance and flexibility, we got things to work out and turn out well. It was briefly frustrating, but in the end it was all about finding a solution, and we did.

For me, so far the fiery wands can be a positive for enthusiasm, passion, and movement, being dynamic. Starting with the Seven of Wands was good, as it also had the lucky number seven. This is a card that also reminds us that what must go up must come down, and if my two readers recall, last week we ended the week drawing the Wheel of Fortune. So I saw it as a reminder to be cautious and not rest on my laurels.

The theme of juggling things really began with the Two of Pentacles on Tuesday. It was very accurate that day given the last minute class we ended up doing. On Wednesday, when I drew the Ace of Wands, I thought initially someone needed beating with a big stick. I even thought of Teddy Roosevelt’s saying of speaking softly and carrying a big stick. What can I say? I can be a bit literal sometimes when I read my Tarot cards. However, humor aside, even without looking up the card, I felt positivity and a good vibe for enthusiasm and creativity. It was also a continuation of Tuesday’s Two of Pentacles and the theme of balance. The Ace of Wands did turn out pretty accurate. In part because someone, who shall remain nameless to protect the not to innocent, did need a beating over the head, but in the end, things worked out around the obstacle.

Thursday’s Queen of Wands seemed to reinforce things in terms of keeping up good energy to move forward. Getting The Sun on Friday was a good way to wrap up this week. It made me smile as I would end the week on a nice, warm note. It also helped that the Friday was indeed a sunny day.

 

Marseilles Seven of Wands

Seven of Wands (Marseilles)

Marseilles Two of Pentacles

Two of Pentacles (Marseilles)

Marseilles Ace of Wands

Ace of Wands (Marseilles)

Marseilles Queen of Wands

Queen of Wands (Marseilles)

Marseilles The Sun

The Sun (Marseilles)

CuriousGeorgeReading

 

You  know the drill folks. These lists keep growing, but I still hold on to hope. I just keep finding interesting books I would like to read some day. These are also books I think some of my readers may find of interest. If any of you out there do read any of these, please feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts.

Items about books I want to read:

  • I remember reading a while back the book Freakonomics (link to my review of the book) where it discusses how local drug dealers often lived with their moms and were not doing as well as many people think. However, like in many other major businesses, the guys on top usually do pretty well. NPR now highlights a new book that suggests that drug cartels are run a lot like Walmart and McDonald’s. The book is Narconomics.
  • Also via NPR, a cookbook on Korean food. The book is Koreatown.
  • I often remember seeing the ads for various tricks and pranks on the backs of comic books. Wink Books reviews a book looking at one of the companies that made such products: the S.S. Adams Company. The book is Life of the Party.
  • Another art book reviewed by the guys at Wink Books. This time it’s one of my favorite artists: Frank Frazetta. The book is Testament: A Celebration of the Life and Art of Frank Frazetta .
  • OK, one more from Wink Books because I really like the subject of this one: vintage postcards. The book is Postcard America: Curt Teich and the Imaging of a Nation, 1931-1950.
  • Joshua Kim wonders why people are not reading Move: Putting America’s Infrastructure Back in the Lead. It is an important topic in the United States, and you likely will not hear about it from any single mainstream politician in the 2016 election (Democrat or Republican).
  • Let’s put in a little something related to work. Via The Decolonized Librarian, a review of The Dialectic of Academic Librarianship.
  • Via Marion Nestle’s Food Politics blog, a note that the book Forked is out. The book is about low wage restaurant workers. As the book summary states, this book deals with “what we don’t talk about when we talk about restaurants: Is the line cook working through a case of stomach flu because he doesn’t get paid sick days? Is the busser not being promoted because he speaks with an accent? Is the server tolerating sexual harassment because tips are her only income?” and other questions that not only we should be asking but addressing.
  • Via Arabic Literature (in English) blog, a novel about Lybian dictator Muammar Ghaddafi. The novel is The Dictator’s Last Night. I have not read it, but it reminds me of Vargas Llosa’s La Fiesta del Chivo (The Feast of the Goat), which is about Dominican Republic dictator Trujillo.
  • This could be interesting. It alleges to be a history of the reference shelf; this is something that appeals to the librarian in me. The book is You Could Look It Up, and it was reviewed on NPR.
  • Why are people fleeing Central America? The violence is a big reason according to a new book discussed at In These Times.  The book is A History of Violence: Living and Dying in Central America.
  • Via Manga Report, a review of the first volume of Bloody Mary.
  • A Case of Suitable Treatment looks at Shigeru Mizuki’s Hitler. This made me think of the five-volume series Adolf by Osamu Tezuka, which I read a while back. (Link to to my review of the first volume).
  • Apparently Tim Burton draws even in napkins, and someone put some of that art in a book. The book is Things You Think About in a Bar (link to Amazon, since as of this post, WorldCat does not have it) and it was reviewed at Blogcritics.
  • Via Based on a True Story, a review of a new book on the rise of coffee behemoth Starbucks. The book is Starbucked.
  • On the one hand, this sounds like one of those hipster mixology books where the cocktails are made with all sorts of ingredients the average person will never find in a lifetime. On the other hand, the story of the bar that inspired the book sounds interesting, so there is just enough to catch my attention. The book is The Dead Rabbit Drinks Manual, and it was reviewed at Drinkhacker.

 

Lists and bibligraphies:

 

 

As I have noted previously, I do a daily draw of my Tarot deck on Mondays through Fridays, and I am trying to put up my weekly summaries as a way to help me learn to read the Tarot as well as just share a bit of my journey.  My intention is to put my summaries for the previous week up at the end of the week, preferably on Saturdays, but life has been happening, so I am running a bit behind. Anyhow, here is my cards’ summary for the week of March 7, 2017.

I drew the following cards during this week:

  • Monday, March 7: Knight of Pentacles
  • Tuesday, March 8: 9 of Cups
  • Wednesday, March 9: King of Wands
  • Thursday, March 10: Ace of Cups
  • Friday, March 11: Wheel of Fortune

I continue reading from my Marseilles Deck. I drew two cups suit cards this week, but otherwise the draws were pretty diverse with the Wheel of Fortune closing the week. The Wheel of Fortune spoke of turns and movement from one cycle to another.

The Knight of Pentacles, enthusiastic and enterprising, started out the week that was a steady week at work. I got some reflection and writing done last week under the auspices if you will of the Nine of Cups and the King of Wands. This was followed by the Ace of Cups.

The Nine of Cups initially puzzled me, but I see it is connected to the pensive and reflective Hermit in the Major Arcana. The King of Wands added to my creative energy this week. The Ace of Cups jumped out during shuffling on Thursday morning, so I knew that would be the card for the day. This further nurtured the creativity this week with flowing abundance. We must note the Ace of Cups is linked to the Magician in the Major Arcana.

The Wheel of Fortune was a good card to end the week on Friday. It is a card that can lead anywhere. I had an initial strong reaction to it. However, fortune was good. This was the week of spring break for the college I work at, and though I had to work, I did manage to take Friday off to enjoy at least one day of the week away from work. I spent some time together with family, and we went bookshop browsing and shopping. We did find some good deals, so overall it was a good day.

 

Knight of Pentacles (Marseilles Tarot)

Knight of Pentacles (Marseilles Tarot)

Nine of Cups (Marseilles Tarot)

Nine of Cups (Marseilles Tarot)

King of Wands (Marseilles Tarot)

King of Wands (Marseilles Tarot)

Ace of Cups (Marseilles Tarot)

Ace of Cups (Marseilles Tarot)

Wheel of Fortune (Marseilles Tarot)

Wheel of Fortune (Marseilles Tarot)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo from Flickr user Raider of Gin (fairerdingo). Image used under terms of Creative Commons 2.0 Generic Attribution License.

Photo from Flickr user Raider of Gin (fairerdingo). Image used under terms of Creative Commons 2.0 Generic Attribution License.

This is the list of the books I reviewed at The Itinerant Librarian for February 2015. Feel free to check out the reviews. If you read any of the books I reviewed, you can leave me a comment and let me know how you liked the book or not. Also, if you have reading suggestions for me, you can let me know in the comments as well.

 

As part of my journey into learning the Tarot that I started this year, I do a daily single card draw on Mondays through Fridays. That is my part of my morning ritual of writing in my journal in the mornings before I get ready for work. I do a little writing, and then I draw the daily card and do a small reading or reflection on it, which I also write down in my personal journal. At the end of the week, or at the start of the following week if time got a bit tight, I go back and look at the previous week and do a small reflection in my personal journal  about the week’s draws, looking for patterns, to see if what I interpreted was close or not, so on. I am going to try to share some of those reflections here, and anyone out there with an interest in Tarot can feel free to comment. Do keep in mind I am still learning the cards, and this is my personal reading for me. Also, as I said, I am looking back in order to reflect. Down the road, I may go from one daily card to a three-card spread, but I am not quite there yet. So bear with me.

This week I am using my Marseilles Tarot deck. On the week of February 29, 2016, I drew the following cards:

  • Monday, February 29: 8 of Wands.
  • Tuesday, March 1: The Popess (a.k.a. The High Priestess in other decks).
  • Wednesday, March 2: 4 of Wands.
  • Thursday, March 3: 6 of Wands.
  • Friday, March 4: 10 of Swords.

It was a week dominated by the fiery wands with three cards in the same suit. Lyle (author of the book I am using, which is the guide that came with the deck I am using. I will provide the citation below) says the following about wands being predominant in a spread:

“When wands predominate in a spread they bring energy, movement, optimism, and creativity” (73).

Overall, it was a fairly optimistic week. On the Monday, the boss and I got together to review the final states of a pilot project the instruction team has been working on. The project went well, and now we move forward to do follow up and reflect on lessons learned.

Drawing the Popess on Tuesday puzzled me a bit, but I realize we are looking here at intuition and strong female energy. It urges paying attention to dreams. Curiously or interestingly enough, I did have a very memorable and vivid dream on Thursday night which I was able to record on my personal journal the next morning. I’ve also learned the Popess tends to appear at times in life when there is an interest in mystical subjects, like Tarot in this case.

The week continued back to wands on Wednesday and Thursday. The number four signals to abundant harvest and rest, the fire of the wands balanced by the earthiness of the number 4. The six of wands continued this theme and the overall positive vibe. On a side note, I am finding interesting the numerology, so this is likely an area I will explore and integrate into my study of the Tarot.

I ended the week with the 10 of Swords, an airy card that stands for consolidation before new things can begin. If there was any bad luck, then things can only get better from here. Given the previous week and this week as it ends, I think I will be OK. Overall, this was a good positive week for me.

Book citation: Jane Lyle, The Illustrated Guide to Tarot. San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay Press, 2011. ISBN: 9781607104308.(Amazon record, as WorldCat is just sketchy). You can find my review of the book and deck here.

 

Marseilles 8 of WandsMarseilles High PriestessMarseilles 4 of WandsMarseilles 6 of WandsMarseilles 10 of Swords

 

 

 

 

Photo from Flickr user Raider of Gin (fairerdingo). Image used under terms of Creative Commons 2.0 Generic Attribution License.

Photo from Flickr user Raider of Gin (fairerdingo). Image used under terms of Creative Commons 2.0 Generic Attribution License.

Here are the links to the books I reviewed at The Itinerant Librarian for the month of January 2016. Not as many this month as I was putting together my reading challenges for 2016. Still, I got some good ones in. Feel free to check them out, and as always, comments are welcome.

  • Want to learn more about what makes a big segment of the Republican Party tick? You can read The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism. This is a book I do recommend as it is very relevant to the 2016 elections. In fact, this book had so much to learn, that I made a second post with additional reading notes about the book.
  • I started my Tarot journey with a gift I received over the holidays: The Illustrated Guide to Tarot by Jane Lyle. The book is part of a kit that included a deck of Marseilles Tarot cards.  One my personal projects this year is to teach myself how to read the Tarot, mostly for personal meditation and reflection, but perhaps some day, I may read cards for others, at least for friends.
  • I reread Lewis Black’s book, Me of Little Faith. This time, I did it in audiobook format.
  • I got some inspiration on happiness with Happiness A-Z.

 


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