Buddhism Gets Into Everything

I didn’t want to be a Buddhist. If I’m honest with myself I still don’t, but the harder I try to escape it, the clearer it becomes that I cannot and will not ever let it go. I think that I should have known better than to take those vows, because I am now unable to break free.

Yet somehow whenever I slide back into Buddhism, I feel as if I’m slipping back into a pair of my favorite shoes: ones that have broken perfectly to my feet. It’s an odd feeling but a welcome one; the Dharma is familiar and comfortable.

What is it you hold?

What role does Saraswati Devi play in my Dharma Practice?

I drew the Ace of Cups from my deck after asking Her this question. Wonderful, I thought. She’s love. Except that seemed to be an inadequate answer. It certainly wasn’t an answer to the intention behind the question. I am used to My Lady’s jokes and riddles, and used to her telling me that I must figure out answers on my own, but I have also learned that she does not give inadequate answers.

The Ace of Cups is often shown as a baptismal font, a communion chalice, or the Holy Grail. One drinks from a cup, and the suit of Cups is the suit of the emotions and therefore of love and relationships.

As I flipped through my reference books, I remembered that I use the Page of Cups as my signifier. What does this make the Ace of Cups, then? Quite simply, it is what I hold: in my hands, in my heart, in my mind.

Cups11
By Authorship: [Arthur Edward Waite], Pamela Coleman Smith was the artist and worked as an artist ‘for hire.’ Waite was the copyright holder and he died in 1942. – This image scanned by Holly Voley, PD-US, 

 

 

So, Saturn Return?

If you’ve paid any attention to this blog (well, back when it was more active) you might have noticed that my life has been pretty chaotic for the last…forever? Well, for the last three years, anyway. I’ve been dodging from one identity to another, and from crisis to crisis.

My whole life totally collapsed back in 2015 when I had to drop out of my graduate program due to mental health issues. Even though I’ve been accepted into another program at another university, things have been rough until quite recently. Yet my life has somehow begun to stabilize.

I was born with Saturn in Sagittarius. My Saturn return began in December of 2014, and is now coming to an end. I’m not an overly enthusiastic proponent of astrology (it often seems too deterministic), but I do believe in cycles. Saturn return is a pretty powerful cycle.

Mondays and Minerva

My university’s patroness is Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom who was syncretized with the Greek Athena. Her statue guards the main campus from behind the library, and students (including me) offer apples and coins to gain her favor.

Since I’ve made a point of performing this ritual every time I am on campus, my academic life has become far less stressful. Scheduling tangles just seem to work themselves out somehow. Grades come back higher than anticipated, and my coursework is for some reason not the burden it used to be.

I will be honest and say that I still fear reaching out to deities other than My Lady Saraswati Devi. It’s not the rejection I fear, but frankly acceptance. I worry that I will become one of those people who sort of hops around from deity to deity, chasing shiny things and new experiences without ever putting down strong roots.

Yet my experiences with Minerva have helped to calm this fear. I honor her and respect her, but my heart remains with My Lady.

The Ninth Key

My life has been going very well lately, but I still felt so lost. The reasons for this always seemed to be just beyond my reach to articulate, until a post from a Tarot site came swimming up my facebook feed. Why not ask the cards what you need to do to regain control of your destiny?

Why not? I took out a deck I rarely work with and separated the Major Arcana. (This was a big question, so it needed a big answer). Key II immediately fell out. In Tarot de Marseille decks, this card is called the Popess. She is thus even more explicitly the female counterpart of the Fifth Key, the Pope/Hierophant. In the Rider-Waite Smith system, she is the High Priestess. This archetype resonates with the energies of my patroness, Saraswati Devi.

I did not take this as my answer, though it clearly was a sign. Instead, I completed separating the cards, shuffled them, and asked my question. What can I do to regain control of my destiny? I drew Key IX, The Hermit.

This was a clear and unambiguous answer: I should turn my attention within and listen to my own heart. Like the Hermit, I would walk my own path. It was a perfect answer, and it was exactly what I needed to hear. So of course, I didn’t believe it. Instead, I shuffled the cards again, but again, out came the Hermit.

Even when I switched to a different, full deck and drew one more time…for a third time, there he was. At least at that point, I had enough sense to stop! However, it wasn’t until I picked up my books and reviewed the meanings of the card that I realized how deeply resonant this message had been.

I will walk the path of The Hermit, and may Saraswati Devi be both my Priestess and the light in my lamp.

Water and Wisdom

Saraswati Devi is a goddess of water and wisdom, worshipped across Asia by millions of people in multiple faiths. While she is the patroness of learning and the arts, she is also ancient and elemental in her power, for she was once a guardian spirit of the sacred river from which she took her name.

The Saraswati River was said to have its source in the heavens, though her essence no longer flows to earth in the form of the waters, but instead as the fluidity of inspiration itself. Those lucky enough to drink from her wellspring have wisdom that can break the backs of mountains, just as in the age of the Vedas.

Good Help is Hard to Find II

I went to my psychiatrist for a regular checkup a few days ago. I brought a book on Tarot, and a Marseille pack, because the waits at his office are usually quite long. This time they weren’t, but as usual he was fascinated by my reading material. So of course we ended up in a conversation about Tarot.

“How does it work?” he asked me. I had to admit that I had no real theory on  that, but that I felt they operated a lot like Rorscharch inkblot tests. He seemed amused by that.

Then he asked “have you ever thought about reading professionally?” It wasn’t a question I was expecting to hear from him. I don’t read professionally, and won’t for a while, because I have no idea how to begin. I live in a small, conservative town, with no place for me to set out a shingle.

Maybe later. 😉