New Age Fluffering

Maybe you’ve heard them, those words and phrases “enlightened” folks use these days to take the badness out of other words and phrases, words which they perceive to have negative connotations and need to be cast on the junk heap.

I’ll go on record in warning you that if you ever use these expressions in my presence I’m apt to fake barf.

The first time I heard such turn of phrase was many years ago when some colleagues were presenting a day long “playshop.” This was a self-development sort of event, with lots of introspection, journalling, role playing, sharing, and other methods of inner and outer dialogue.

Having done my share of personal growth over the years, I can say with certainty that this kind of activity is hard work. While I do understand the conceptual shift they were trying to accomplish with the word switch,  it made me wonder what had happened to give “work” such a bad rap.

When did “work” move from productive effort to “unwelcome repression?”  It reminded me of the Ike and Tina Turner version of “Rollin’ on the River” … workin’ for the man every night and day, the voice of the downtrodden and hopeless, that sort of thing. Nothing appeared to justify such an extreme reaction as far as I could see, but I suppose you never know.

In addition to the “aren’t we clever” factor of this particular word switch, labeling this event a “playshop” makes light of the sincere and strenuous effort it takes to effect personal growth; I found the attempt at being groovy to be offensive.

On to the present day. This week, someone asked me to make a “love offering” to help offset a business expense she made which might benefit a workshop (yes, I said it) we are facilitating together.  I wanted to say, “You mean like canned goods or something?”

Barf barf barf.

This phrase is such a misrepresentation of the facts. It is not coming from the love in my heart nor is it an offering if you have to ask me to give it to you. IT’S A FEE. IT’S MONEY. What she really meant to say was, “I want you to give me some money to help pay for one of my business expenses.” Dirty ugly money.  We all need it desperately and yet there are so many ways by which we couch the notion of getting it/having it/keeping it.

I don’t consider my business and the Tarot work to be New Age-y, if anything it’s Old Age: ancient, mysterious, enigmatic, steeped in tradition. Regardless, I can understand why New Agers, or anyone else for that matter, would want to distance themselves from the control freaks of the patriarchy, but sometimes it seems that the  living in “the new paradigm” just leads to different words for the same old stuff.

This new paradigm we’re all seeking requires that we be truthful, authentic, and kind. And whole. One of my favorite quotes from the iconic Carl Jung is, “I’d rather be whole than good.”  We can’t throw “work” or “money” on the junk heap if the new paradigm hopes to become integrated into our future reality.

It’s not likely that there will be a “love offering” for the ad campaign in question, but I may throw in a few cans of soup.

Jeanne Fiorini is a Tarot reader, teacher, and author with a few strong opinions on certain issues. Visit the TarotWorks website to learn all the ways the Tarot can help clarify your values, bring insight into your  dilemmas, and foster confidence for your life.


Tales From The Table

As promised in an earlier post, when interesting things happen at the Tarot table you’ll be sure to hear about it. Here’s a remarkable set of cards from a reading that occurred this past weekend at a metaphysical fair.

As soon as these particular cards hit the table I had to ask the client to give me a moment to jot down a few thoughts. Sometimes there’s so much information immediately available that you have to sit back and catch your breath.

Our querent had prefaced her session by saying, “I’m really in flux right now.” Her facial expression and body language said it better than did her words. To keep our options open and to get as wide a view on things as possible, we asked the general question:
“What’s really going on [i.e what are the energy patterns currently in play] in my life right now?”  We drew three cards.

8 of Wands         9  of Swords        Fool

The first thought that flew into my head was, “She’s the meat in a Universe sandwich.”

Who/whatever it is that creates such thoughts to form in one’s mind sure has an odd sense of humor.

Let’s the begin with “the bread,” the bookends, the beginning and the end of this reading. Both the 8 of Wands and The Fool are ruled by Uranus, the planet which aids and abets the individual as it transcends the limits/boundaries of cultural expectations and social programming. Both these cards carry the swift energy of change along an unfamiliar route. Scary perhaps, but certainly not limited or restricted in any way, shape, or form.

As for “the meat,” the one caught in the middle, the thing that is being carried away by this current of change: 9 of Swords. The frantic, overwhelmed, ego-centric thinking mind that cannot figure this out even though, it seems, life itself depends on such clarity.

Whereas the Uranian cards are rushing toward the unseen future, the personality is playing catch-up by trying to decipher the process. The 8 of Wands and The Fool are moving to transcend the personality, while the personality is grasping for any and all rational thoughts, no matter how tenuous, to serve as a lifeline. It aint’ working.

Since the non-personal forces are currently having their way with her, the only effective query we can address is, “What can help me ride the wave? What can help me relax into this process? What can guide me through this tunnel which will eventually open into an unknown landscape?”

The querent draws the 10 of cups.

This card shows there to be a strong emotional network around her, that she can count on kind and loving support from family and friends. “I’ve had trouble accessing this because I’ve been so anxious about the state of my life,” she admits. The Tarot equivalent of such a statement is the 10 of cups crossed by (that is to say, “sat on”) by the 9 of Swords.

We need to find a way to reverse these two positions so that the 10 of Cups  occludes the 9 of Swords, and not the other way around as it has been; that situation has created a no-win situation for this querent.

We can’t pretend that the querent can move through this phase without anxiety, without stress, or without slamming into walls of self-doubt and fear. But these worries don’t have to run the show. “Let others support you. Let yourself have some fun every once in a while. Remember that people care about you.” This is the message of the 10 of Cups.

Somewhere in another dimension, or in a galaxy far, far away, beings are observing all this and saying, “Silly humans. They make it all so hard on themselves.”

Jeanne Fiorini is a silly human trying to make sense of it all. Jeanne is an established Tarot reader, teacher, and author with over 20 year’s experience with the Tarot and the symbols of archetypal psychology. Visit the TarotWorks home site to learn more about Jeanne and the Tarot Work.

Card images from the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, (c) US Games Systems, Inc.

Yard Sale Documentation Project: October Update

I was going to wait and post all of October’s adventures at the end of the month, but so much for that idea! Today (October 13th) was such an enjoyable day in yard sale world that I had to create a post to honor the event. Here goes, beginning at last week’s entry:

Saturday October 6th

The day opens with bright sunshine: a good sign. The wind is warm and the air is moist; you can tell it’s going to rain later in the day, but for these early morning hours it’s a perfect fall day.

The Maine Today classified section listed 77 yard sales happening this weekend. Granted, some of those are in the Augusta area 30 miles away from here, but that’s still a respectable showing for an October Saturday.

Sometimes when you head out in the morning, you have a focus for the day, a goal to accomplish, an item you hope to acquire, a thing that you need to buy eventually or in the moment but don’t want to pay full retail price for. Today I was in search of costume jewelry to give to Vera for her second birthday.

We haven’t tried to turn Vera into a girlie-girl, in fact both Kate and I shun that sort of programming. And the girl is not what you’d call “delicate” in stature. But she does love “peenk” and she loves wearing Grammie’s jewelry, all of it at the same time, mostly.

I hit the mother lode on this one today, as evidenced by the photo.

  • Two pairs of clip-on earrings          $1
  • Beaded bracelet                       50 cents
  • 25-carat blue cocktail ring       50 cents
  • Turquoise beaded necklace             $1

Those items will become part of Vera’s birthday present. The black/gold beads ($1) are for me. They’re especially lovely and probably have some age, check out that fancy clasp.)

The sale next door to this one was truly fabulous: lots of wonderful pottery, kitchen ware, kids clothes and furniture, but I really didn’t need any of it. I also found, at another sale down the road, a DIVINE 1960’s low coffee table, well-crafted solid wood, about 6’ long…$10. I pondered long and hard as to where I might be able to fit that thing into a niche or corner somewhere my house, it was so cool.

With heavy heart and empty hands I left both these sales.

But I did come home with a classic Moosewood cookbook ($1) and Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, My Stroke of Insight, purchased for the rock-bottom price of one quarter. If you follow the other postings on this blog you’re sure to be hearing more about that book in the near future.

This was a good day, and considering that October is upon us, it was stellar. Could be best of the season still be ahead?

Saturday October 13th

That “best of the season” comment might have been prophetic. I did come home with some great things today, but the hallmark of this Saturday’s excursion was the classic kitch that was out there today.

Even though, as the James Taylor song goes, “the frost is on the pumpkin and the hay is in the barn,” … and the yard salers wore hats and gloves this morning ….  sales were abundant and the throngs were thronging. Let me not waste any time in sharing the joy of the funky junk that was there for the picking.

First we have this fine item: a handmade wooden cross, about 20″ high, fully electrified and bulbed-up, for what we can only guess. Those red lights are the round bulbs from the 60’s, and I shudder to think what the thing looks like when lit. Praise the lord.

Then there were these two chairs, now in poor shape but one can imagine the artful dignity they carried when new or only slightly broken in. These are more like broken down, but they still have more character that much of what I see selling in stores today.

And come on, who doesn’t want a fountain light hanging in the corner of their living room? Certain to add ambiance beyond compare to any decor. I can remember the day when seeing this in a restaurant was the guarantee of a fine dinner, no joke.

Finally, we have a plastic surfing baby monkey.

Nothing left to say on that one.

It’s only 8:30am and I’m already SO glad I dragged myself out of bed.

More seriously useful and lovely bargains were yet to cross my path on this chilly fall morning. Once the LL Bean wool/silk blend sweater coat was purchased (for $1) I was tempted to wear it on the spot, but it does need a little airing-out.

I also picked up some audio cassette tapes (useful for recording Tarot readings for those folks who still have the technology to play them back), some fancy-schmantzy body lotion (I know, that looks like a lady’s “pleasure tool” but it’s not), a 6-pack of artist’s note cards, and a bouquet of fresh flowers from a farm stand.

Total expenditure to carry home the things in the photo: $7.75.

The find of the day, however, is certainly the painting at the top of this article. Done in the 60’s by a Massachusetts artist named Ernest Perry, a quick trips across the internet shows his work to sell for around $275.

I don’t expect to sell it since I love it and it has already found a home in the stairwell gallery, but if I ever do I’m sure to make some money on it, since the woman who sold it had it priced at $1.

Praise the lord.

Jeanne Fiorini is an avid yard saler, a professional Tarot reader, a pro football fan, and a lover of dogs. Visit the TarotWorks website to learn more about Jeanne and the Tarot work!

Around The Bean Pole

Here’s a photo of the bean plant that grew in my garden this year. When posted on Facebook back in August, the caption was something like, “I get it now about Jack and that bean stalk.” Nine feet tall is a modest estimate, and you can see the tendrils attempting to reach even higher.

There are baggies of beans in the freezer and the thing is still producing fruit even though we’re now into the second week of October. Along with providing the daily requirements of Vitamins A, C, K, iron, and fiber, picking beans from this plant taught me something that I already knew but about which I apparently needed a reminder: It’s all about perspective.

From the kitchen window I see the beans hanging from the vines and think, “Oh, better go out and get those before they get too big and become tough and woody.” Out I go with a bowl to cull what might be ripe for the picking.

Round the pole we go, gathering beans up and down as we spin around the circumference of the beast. Retracing steps in the other direction, it’s amazing to find fat and ready beans that were missed first time around. What was under a leaf coming from the northwest corner is in full view from the southeast vantage point. What was “too far down and out of sight” is at eye level once you scootch yourself closer to the dirt.

Back around we go for a third time, invariably discovering more and more fruit that went unnoticed in previous passes. How did these go undetected? How could I have missed this one? Why didn’t I think to look at the very bottom of the plant, almost into the soil, where the vines are doing exactly what they’re doing at the top of the plant: stretching, reaching, sprouting, growing.

This is great news for the dinner table and the pantry, but for the reflective person I can’t help being, it brings up concerns about what else I may be missing, what else I am not seeing: work opportunities, potential friends and lovers, essential information regarding health and wellbeing, not to mention useful blog ideas and bargains at the grocery store.

The bean pole teaches me that the best I can do is to keep my eyes open and try to look at things from as many perspectives as possible. “Bend your neck, move your head, shift your posture, use your eyeballs to really see what is there, and not just perceive what you expect to see.”

That last one is the hardest of all. When I catch myself being guilt of this sin, of not seeing what is there because of what I expected to see instead, I say to myself, “Silly human.”

I doubt other animals do this to themselves; they don’t have the luxury of being able to misperceive reality.

A Libran Mantra

Last week was my 59th birthday.

Birthdays for me have always been a mixed bag of appreciation, wistfulness, and dread. This year was made worse by the fact of Saturn just finishing up its 2.5 year sit-in on my astrology chart, and Pluto and Uranus (those trouble-makers!) have been in there duking it out as well.

It’s been an intense period of questioning and self-reflection.

I’m pretty big on self-reflection and working things out on the inner level, but this last immersion has been much more than can be healthy for any sane human being. Here in early October, though,  things seem to be breaking and I do believe I see some slanting beams of sunshine emerging from the clouds off in the distance.

Sometime during this hiatus into Murkyville, words came to me that encapsulated my experience; not just the experience of the past few months, but of my whole life. I share them with you in hopes that something in there resonates for you and/or helps you at this time in your life.

I have to find the balance between being generous with you and being kind to myself.

Is that a Libran statement or what? I didn’t think it intentionally, it just appeared in my mind’s eye like a floating airplane banner coming into focus.

Work life, relationships, lovers, community, family, there is no area of my life to which this mantra does not apply. If I think about experiences in the past that have failed me, it’s because I didn’t do this balancing act at all well. And when things worked, it was because it all was somehow managed effectively.

This is my personal key to a happy life, I have no doubt about it.

It IS important for me to be generous with others, whether it’s regarding my time, energy, money, compassion, or the last beer in the fridge. But you know as well as I do that, especially for women, this generosity can bite us in the butt and leave us feeling drained and bitter.

Drained and bitter … UGH. Who really wants to live there? That’s worse than staking your tent in Murkyville.

So the dust is settling and I’ve now got words to guide my actions and choices through whatever lies ahead.  They are my new best friends. I invite you to use them in whatever way works for you.

I have to find the balance between being generous with you and being kind to myself.


Jeanne Fiorini offers Tarot readings and classes to help you find your place of balance. Visit the TarotWorks site to find your keys for a happy life.




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