Sunday, October 30, 2022

Tarot Blog Hop Samhain 2022: The Ancestors

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The theme of this blog hop is Ancestors.  I am the wrangler for this hop and below is the guidance I gave our hoppers.

Most folks think if Halloween (which is another name for Samhain) as a time for cute costumes and trick or treating. However, in ancient times Samhain was considered the time when the veil between this world and the next was thin and our ancestors could come back to visit us.

Our hop this time around explores the concept of ancestors and our relationship with them. Ancestors do not have to be your blood relatives, but they can be people who have guided you and mentored you in your life. Ancestors can also include people unknown to you.

So to explore the concept of Ancestors, you could:

  • Use tarot cards to explore messages from ancestors
  • Use the cards to delve into regrets you might have around how you treated your ancestors
  • Delve into what you need to know about your ancestors

And of course, as always, you can go in a completely different direction as long as it involves Tarot/Divination and ancestors.

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The plan for my blog hop came when I was laying in bed not able to sleep and started to think about the bad lessons my ancestors had taught me.  I got a little riled up, then I got the message that I should do a spread on lessons and messages from my ancestors.  Just having a plan to communicate with my ancestors calmed me down and I was able to sleep.

In designing this spread, I decided that for each ancestor I chose to communicate with, I would ask two questions:  What lessons did you teach me? and What messages do you have for me?  I'm also mixing things up a little and using two decks for this spread, something I've never done before.  I'm using the Secrets of the Rose Tarot for lessons and the Santa Muerte tarot for messages.  I pulled up photos of my beloved dead, sat in front of my Samhain Altar and let the messages from the dead flow.

Leonard Collins (Dad)

December 30, 1935 to November 28, 2008

I was always a daddy's girl and I know I was the apple of his eye and he was always supportive and loving.  This picture was taken at a a 25th anniversary party for my dad and mom and what I love about this picture is that my dad was very quiet and generally soft spoken, however, he could also be very gregarious and he was in this element at this party as he loved chatting and visiting with folks he had not seen in a while.

However, despite being supportive and loving, my dad also believed very strongly that women belonged at home and should not be in positions of power, especially over men.  It took me a long time to realize how insidious these beliefs were and how much they had adversely impacted my life.  It also took me a long time to reconcile how the father I loved so much could have inadvertently hurt me so much.  I finally had to accept that it really wasn't anything personal and that he was a product of his generation.  I should also note that he would most likely be horrified that I as using Tarot Cards to communicate with him as he was staunchly Christian.

The skull I chose for my father is a cement skull with Celtic designs.  It was purchased in a now defunct new age/head shop in Chicago.  I chose this skull because it is intricate, but not flashy and that really describes my dad.

What lessons did I learn from my Daddy? (Three of Cups)
The line that stands out for me in the guidebook is "Rewards for emotional energies expended on others, with full recognition for time, patience, and effort."  Although in many families, it is the mother who is the emotional bulwark of the family, in mine it was my daddy.  He truly cared about and loved other people and one of the best examples of this was when I was in college and attempted suicide.  My daddy told me it broke his heart that I did that and he wanted to help me through it any way he could.  In contrast, my mother said that "I didn't raise a drunken slut who tries to kill herself."   That sums up the difference in my parents so well.  My mother is all about how things reflect on her, while my daddy took on other people's pain.  I remember when my grandma was dying in the hospital and my daddy told me to always tell people that you love them because you might not get another chance.  

I also got my deep love of animals from my daddy as we always had dogs and once he had a dog, he always loved them no matter what.  When my kids were small, he had a little dog named Gizmo that he had gotten from my aunt.  This dog always begged and was so annoying.  I once asked my daddy why he kept this dog and he said because no one else would.  My dad also had a blue heeler named Blue in the last years of his life and this dog had been abused and didn't trust anyone.  He learned to like attention, but never really wanted his face petted because he was afraid.  His workaround was to present his butt to be scratched and he would wiggle his whole body when someone scratched/petted his butt.   My daddy loved that dog so much and eventually Blue would let my daddy pet his face.  That's who my daddy was, he loved with his whole heart and his example shines through in my life as I work to approach people from a place of love.

What messages does Daddy have for me? (Six of Swords)
The message I am getting loud and clear from my dad is to leave behind all the pain and hurt and anger at people who have done me wrong.  I need to take the lessons and the experiences, but leave behind the resentment that is eating me alive.  All of that baggage will hold me back and keep me from reaching my own goals and objectives.  This card is also about letting go of old ways of knowing and doing.  This is an interesting card for me because I believe it is also telling me to accept people as they are and know that people do the best they can.  This is interesting because even though my dad didn't believe women should be in positions of leadership, he always loved and supported me.  Even when he was in the hospital in the months before he died, he always told anyone who would listen about his daughter who was managing a big project in Atlanta.  The thing once I realized how my dad's misogony had hurt me, I was able to work through it and let it go.  However, my anger at my mother goes deeper because her actions were more deliberate and focused on me.  In this card, I hear my daddy telling me to let go and move past it, because it isn't serving me.

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Thursa Aud Collins (Grandma Collins)


December 26, 1905--January 31, 1993

My grandmother is the older lady (second from the right) in this photo.  My daddy is on the right and at the far left is my Uncle Gene.  The lady next to my Uncle Gene is his wife Ethel and the younger woman is my cousin Becky.  I chose this photo because it was taken, or at least developed, three months before I was born.  I'm not sure where my mom was in this photo, but maybe she was the one behind the camera.  What's interesting looking at this photo is that I never realized how much taller my uncle was than my father.

My grandmother was an amazing woman as her husband died a couple of years after my father was born and she raised her sons alone with the support of her family.  She was kind and loving and I know that I got my love of animals from my grandma and my dad.  She lived in Poplar Bluff, MO while we lived in St. Charles, IL (Close to Chicago) so we didn't see her all the time.  I learned a lot of good lessons from my grandma about loving people, about family, and other lessons.  However, the one family story that always bothered me is about when my mom dropped me on my head when I was an infant and my grandmother advised my parents to not get attached to me in case I died.  This was always told as a cute family story, but I realized when I was older that I had taken it to heart and believed that I wasn't worth of being loved.  I've mostly worked through it, but once in a while, it bubbles up and causes a little angst.

For my grandmother, I chose I skull I just got this week at the Dia De Los Muertos celebration in Cleveland.  This is a small celebration, but I love to walk through the offrendas and the memories.  Unfortunately, I don't have the name of the artist or I would share it.  I chose this skull because it was painted with trees and my grandma loved nature.  I also have very fond memories of sitting out on her front porch and swinging while being shaded by both the porch and the large trees in her small yard.

What lessons did I learn from my grandma? (Eight of Swords)

The reading for this card is interesting as it is about spiritual stagnation brought about by emotional blindness.  The card also discusses mental exhaustion brought about by excessive emotional energy.  This is a very interesting lesson from my grandmother.  Her husband, my grandfather, died in 1937 leaving her with three small boys to raise.  The stories I've heard are that she fell into a deep depression after her husband died and would not leave her room for weeks.  Eventually, she moved from the home they had shared in Bethalto, MO back to her home town of Poplar Bluff, MO.  She was able to purchase a small home, most likely with life insurance proceeds, and she gave her boys the best life she could.  Although they may not have had much in the ways of monetary possessions, they were raised around their extended family so they did have lots of love.

The interesting thing about this card is that when my ex left me in 2010, I also fell into a tailspin, but I had to pull myself out of it.  As I reflect on this lesson, I feel like my grandma is reminding me that we can sometimes be trapped by our emotions and it is our job to set those aside and look at things more realistically and rationally.  This is an interesting card because my grandma and I never had deep emotional conversations, but this lesson rings so true.

What messages does my grandma have for me? (Ace of Cups)
The Ace of Cups is about emotional fulfillment and about being ready to start a new phase of creativity and change that will bring something new to light.  This is an interesting reading because my grandma was always tinkering and working to learn new things.  She took up glass cutting, decoupage, and other hobbies.  Her sons, my dad and uncles, always teased her about her crafts, but as I reflect on her life, I realize that she may have been very lonely, especially in her later years.  Her sisters lived across the street from her, but they died when many years before her and she did not drive, so she may have been lonely.  I know she went to church every Sunday and my uncle and cousins who lived near her visited, but she still had a lot of time on her hands.  Although on the one hand, I'm sad that she may have been so lonely, it also makes me happy to think she had the wherewithal to look for crafts and activities to keep herself busy.

The message for me is to continue to be creative, to look for things that interest me, and to continue to keep my mind busy.

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Elda Kabichis (Grandma Elda)
December 29, 1902 -- October 15, 1998

Grandma Elda was not a blood relative, but she might have well as been.  She became my babysitter when I was six months old and she was always there for me.  I learned so many good lessons from my grandmother.  It is because of her that I learned to love to cook as she truly took joy in cooking for her family.  I also learned the value of love and perseverance because her husband was in a wheelchair and she took care of him without complaint.  She was one of the strongest and most loving women I have ever met.  However, I've realized recently that there may have been a dark side to my Grandma Elda as she could be very domineering and she did not let her son live his own life.  She lived right next to her son George and his wife Joan and she always had to be in control.  I think George and Joan might have been happier if they had not lived so close to my Grandma Elda.

I chose a skull with flowers on it because Grandma had an amazing green thumb and her home was always surrounded by beautiful flowers.  She also had a huge garden and canned every year so her root cellar was filled with cans of tomato sauce and other yummies.

What lessons did I learn from my Grandma Elda? (Eight of Pentacles)

The eight of pentacles is all about reaping what you sow and my grandmother was a master gardener.  She had a small home, but it was surrounded by well tended flower beds and vegetable gardens.  She also had a small grape arbor and grew raspberries and pears.  Grandma primarily tended the flower beds, but she was always the one that planted the vegetable garden and she would be out there on very hot days tending to it.  I learned to love fresh produce from my grandma as all summer long we would have salads made with her lettuces and tomatoes.  It was from her that I learned that lettuce came in more varieties than iceberg.  Every meal that I ate at my grandma's was served with a salad topped with oil and vinegar.  I think I was a teenager before I learned that there were other choices for dressing.   So much of what grandma served came from her garden.  We ate spaghetti with tomato sauce that came from the tomatoes she canned every summer, we ate chop suey with veggies from the garden.  Although at the time being a locavore wasn't a thing, she really was as she really did cook farm to table before that became the thing to do.

As I reflect on this card and the effort my grandma put into her flower beds, the lesson that keeps coming through for me is that beauty is its own reward.  The reward for the vegetable gardens was food to fill our bellies, but the reward for the flower gardens was just beauty.  They filled our hearts with wonder at all the varieties of flowers and the artistry that went into planning those gardens.

What messages does Grandma Elda have for me? (The High Priestess)

My grandmother was a deeply spiritual woman who in many ways embodied the high priestess.  She meditated and reflected on her faith and she went to church every Sunday.  However, she never proselytized or tried to convert people to how she lived her life.  The message for me is to live my faith and be true to myself.  She is also telling me that faith comes from the inside and not from the outside.  I am not a person of faith because I go to church, but because of who I am inside.

This message is comforting for me as it makes me feel loved and accepted even though I am not sure in life she would have accepted my faith.  I also feel like she is telling me to be an example to others through good works.  I respect and love my grandma for who she was and what she did.  She did not preach and lecture, she just lived her life and set an example.
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Luke

2004-July 30, 2017

We adopted Luke in February 2007 and he was the best boy.  He was loving and funny and he would cuddle with you if you were having a bad day.  I went to Orphans of the Storm shortly after we moved into our new house and he wasn't the dog I had intended to look at.  However, I took him out into the play yard and he kept circling around and coming back to me.  It was as if he was checking to see if I was still there and as if he was asking if I was going to be his mamma.  Luke saved my life after my divorce because I had to get out of bed to take care of him.  He was there for me during the worst days of my life and in some ways he loved me back to existence.  Although Luke was always loving toward people, he was dog aggressive and he would always attack bigger dogs.  Lukey had his flaws, but he always loved me and he helped me to learn people as they are without trying to change them.

I chose the orange skull for Luke because that's what my current dogs call him (don't ask, it is complicated).  I do have a fake dog skull, but it is plastic and looks cheap.  Luke deserves better than that.  He is still around and every so often we will hear him jump off the bed upstairs or hear the tags on his collar jingling.  His is a comforting presence and it is nice to know he is still around.

What lessons did I learn from Luke? (Four of Wands)

Life is short, you should enjoy yourself.  The four of wands is a card about celebration and looking for the joy in life.  Luke loved life and he always seemed to be happy, despite not having a good start in life.  When I adopted him, he had been taken back to the shelter three times for various reasons.  However, like every dog I had ever known, he loved life and the people that shared his life with him.  When we lived in Chicago, we would go for walks around the neighborhood and one of Luke's favorite spots to stop was an ice cream shop called Scoops.  We would always get him a scoop of vanilla ice cream and we would usually get sundaes.  Luke would gobble up all of his ice cream, then sit and wait for us to share ours with him.

Luke also loved walking along the lake front and he would run and play in the grass and generally just enjoy life.  Although Luke hated the rain (we called him Pretty Princess Paws), he loved the snow and when there was snow on the ground, he would roll in it and do what we called the worm.  The day that Luke died, Cam and I drove six hours to Chicago to pick Sean up so we could mourn together and we went out to Scoops, then for a walk along the lake front to release some of Luke's hair.  

The lesson I take from Luke and every other dog I have ever had is that life is too short to dwell on the bad stuff, you need to celebrate all of the good stuff, especially the small things like ice cream and walks along the lakefront.

What messages does Luke have for me? (Page of Pentacles)
The page of pentacles seems an odd card to pull here as this card is usually about being hard working and studious.  However, a deeper look into meanings associated with the page of pentacles are about being dependable and loyal.  The message I'm getting from Luke is to be dependable and loyal to those who love you.  Dogs are some of the most dependable and loyal creatures around and they are loyal to a fault.  However, Luke is also telling me that some people do not deserve my loyalty and that is so true.  There are people, like my ex, who are users and giving them my loyalty is a sure fire way to get hurt.  It's funny that this message is coming through because after ex left, I tried so hard to prove myself and to win him back.  However, all I ended up getting was hurt.  And I should have known that John wasn't worth my loyalty because he'd kicked Luke once and he hit me more than once.  Luke is reminding me that I need to be careful who I trust.


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Frida Kahlo
July 6, 1907 -- July 15, 1954

I didn't discover Frida until a few years ago when I began seeing stylized paintings of her all over the place.  When I began reading about her and researching her, I realized there was so much to admire.  She overcame disabilities to become a famous painter, she lived life according to her own rules and not those of society, and she accomplished so much as a woman.  Frida did have her downside as while she lived according to her own rules, she also accepted much chaos in her life and her marriage to Diego was chaotic and in some instances cruel.

Frida's skull originally came from Mexico and I purchased it at the Pottery Place in Surprise, AZ.  My kids and I had discovered this amazing store when we were in Phoenix in 2011 and when I was back in Phoenix last December, I sought this place out and bought this skull.

What lessons did I learn from Frida? (The Hermit)

Frida has never seemed the hermit to me based on what I have read about her life.  However, I believe the message here is to live our own lives and to seek our own truths and Frida did that in spades.  She was never content to follow the crowds. Although on the surface, Frida always seemed like she was surrounded by people, I know the injuries she suffered when she was a child changed the course of her life.  She spent many months bedridden and I imagine she spent time in her head as well.  I doubt that Frida ever meant to become a icon or a role model, but she ended up both.  Her perseverance through an accident that almost ended her life, has made her a role model for those in the disabled community and she is also a role model for women as she lived a bold and creative life at a time when options were limited for women.  
What messages does Friday have for me? (The Hanged Man)
The message I am taking from this is to grow where you are planted.  Frida was involved in a horrible bus accident when she was 18 and while she was in recovery she studied the Old Masters and learned to paint.  She also made beauty out of pain by painting the plaster corsets that she wore after the accident with tigers, monkeys, and streetcars.  I cannot begin to imagine the immense pain, loneliness, and grief that Frida felt after her accident, but I admire her tremendously for creating beauty during this time.

Reflecting on this lesson helps me to realize that no matter what my circumstances, I can find a way to grow where I am planted.

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The Ancestors

I firmly believe that those who have gone before us are all of our ancestors, so I also asked for any general lessons from the ancestors and general messages.  I chose Anubis to represent all of the ancestors because he is the lord of the dead and he has been my family's protector for over 30 years.  We all have Anubis' affixed to the dashboards of our car and he protects our home.  The Anubis I chose to use for this picture was purchased in Salem, MA and he has interesting stories to tell about his journey home.  When we first got  him, my daughter and I went to a beach in MA to do ritual and a cop came up and asked what the "big thing" we were carrying to the beach was.  We showed him our Anubis and he just shook his head and went about his business.  Additionally, when it came time to fly home, my carry on bag was overweight so he had to fly home in my carryon and TSA were a little reluctant to let him in the cabin of the plane, but ultimately they let him fly home with us.

Any general lessons from the ancestors? (King of Cups)

Mastery of emotions is critical for success in life.  However, mastery does not mean suppression.  Emotions play an important part in life, but it is critical to not be a slave to emotions.  There is a saying in Twelve Step programs that "Facts aren't Feelings" and this is something I have learned to be true in my life.  I am entitled to my sadness, my anger, my rage, my joy, my happiness, and every other emotion.  However for people who have grown up in traumatic environments, emotions can get out of control and we can take umbrage when none is intended.  I know that when I was younger, I thought the world revolved around me and if someone was having a bad day, I always assumed it was about me.

The flip side of this is that we do have the right to be upset when someone hurts our feelings or says something cruel.  I had a friend once who would make these rude and flippant comments and if I would call him on it, his response was that I was too sensitive.  The king of cups tells me that I need to learn to balance my emotions and not take everything personally, but also to allow myself to express feelings.  This can be a difficult balancing act.

Any general messages from the ancestors? (Empress)
The masculine energy of the King of Cups is balanced out by the very feminine Empress.  The Empress is about creativity and nurturing and the message I take from this is to continue to nurture your own creativity and that of others.  Kindness is the order of the day so be kind to all you meet.  However, never forget you are the Empress of your own life and do not not nurture others at the expense of your own well being.  There is a tendency for women especially to "give until it hurts" and when you give until it hurts there is nothing left for you.  Take care of yourself, then nurture others.

Summary

The last few days have truly felt like the ancestors were circling around.  Early last week, the energy was very unsettling and it felt as if the gates of hell were opening as the energy was chaotic.  However, once I put up my ancestor altar, they calmed down.  

I don't know if it was the chaotic ancestor energy or what, but this blog post was emotionally draining to write.  I truly felt the presence of ancestors around me and guiding me.  As you can tell from reading the post, it also drudged up some happy and sad memories.  Most of what I wrote was personal, but one of the lessons I have learned over the last few years is that sometimes there is something in the personal that people can learn from.

I will also say that at times it was hard to tell what was a lesson and what was a message, but I just recorded what came though the best I could.

2 comments:

  1. These are lovely tributes you've written, Raine, even if they do include some difficult times. It does feel like you brought your ancestors back into the world for a moment and had them about you as you wrote. Love the messages they brought for you, too.

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  2. What a brilliant insight not only into your family history but into how you work with cards. I'll on occasion connect with skulls during a reading, but not in the way you did. I love your skulls collection, so vibrant and full of life, much like the ancestors and yourself. Thanks for hosting this one <3

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