Friday, June 28, 2013

Mercury Retrograde: Sharing the Fuckery

This Mercury Retrograde has already been a bitch. 

Now, I know many of you are saying, "Hey, John, remember last summer when Mercury gave you an abject lesson in its retrograde when you were in the hospital with back problems for three days? Are you sure it's a good idea to start bitching about it again?" My response would be twofold. First, fuck you very much for bringing it up. Secondly...well, there is no second thing. LOL. 

I'm not going to sit up here and do what that idiot kid did a few summers ago. He called out Posiedon (Neptune) before he went out on a surfboard and a shark bit him on the ass. NOT EVEN KIDDING about that, folks. 

The plan is to detail some of the Mercury retrograde fuckery that I experienced today, and that's all. With the Lord and Lady as my witnesses, I'm not making the mistake of calling out Mercury. That would be most unwise, and as such I will not be cursing any deity. 

Anyway, with the disclaimer over, let's get around to the fuckery, shall we?

My beloved and I made an appointment for our oldest cat, Morgana--AKA Momo--to have her teeth cleaned at the vets this morning. If you're unfamiliar with how they do this, they put the cat under anesthesia and then clean the teeth. Because they're smart they also trim the claws first. Momo has been in serious need of some attention for a while. 

Our vet has one main hospital in the area that does 24-hour emergency service, and is overall an amazing place. We've taken our cats there for nearly 10 years now. Recently, however, they opened up a satellite office near our home, and we were really stoked about it because it's a lot closer to us than the hospital. The satellite's vet hours are limited because the facility is primarily a boarding facility for dogs and cats when their owners are away on vacation. Normally they only have someone on the vet staff there from 4-9pm about half the week. 

So it's the night before this appointment, and it's about 5:30pm and I haven't heard anything from the vet's office about what time to bring Momo in, when we should stop feeding her, etc. So I call them. "So glad you called! I was going to call you later!" is the response from the tech. I'm thinking "Sure you were." We're told to bring Momo in between 7 and 8 the next day, and that we'll be able to pick her up that afternoon. 

Everything on our end goes according to plan. Alarms go off when they're supposed to, and we put an unsettled Morgana into her carrier for the short trip to the vet. When we get there around 7:45, there's no one working the "vet" side of the desk; normally you can tell because a vet tech with a stethoscope is out waiting to check in vet appointments, while other people not in scrubs will check in the boarding animals. We're not surprised since their first office visit is at 4:00pm. So we tell a lady at the boarding center that we're here to check in Morgana for her dental work. 

[NOTE: Please understand that while the cat is not thrilled to be here, neither are the humans. Jen HATES dropping off our animals at the vet and leaving there; she's always nervous until we bring them home, and I can't really blame her.]

Now this place is crazy. Today is the Friday before a big vacation week, so everyone is dropping off their dogs. Let me say that checking my cat in is NOT on the top of their agenda. I fill out some paperwork, and hand it back in. We sit there a little longer until the lady says, "Can I have someone take this dog back to the clinic?" I'm thinking "She's not talking about Momo." And yet she WAS...the handler came out looking for a dog and stopped at our little carrier. We had to explain that Momo was a CAT, not a dog. The guy seemed confused, but finally took Momo back to the clinic. So we left. 

Jen came to visit my office later that morning, and we had lunch together afterward. At the restaurant she left her phone out waiting to hear from the vet, but there's no call. She brings me back to the office, and I call her at 1 or so; there's still been no word from the vet, and our friends and family have been texting her, asking how Momo is doing. Of course, we have no idea at this point, and it's making Jen very unsettled. 

I call home again around 3:10, but Jen doesn't pick up. I'm guessing it's because the vet called. A few minutes later she calls me back, irritated. Jen had become impatient and called the office for word about Momo. At least this time, the people at the front desk put Jen through to the vet. 

The first thing out of the vet's mouth is "Hey, I apologize, I thought the other vet had already called you!" And I'm thinking "someone didn't bother to find out, did they?"Good news: Momo was indeed fine, and she was recovering. So the vet goes over the procedure, and the care and feeding for Momo for the next week or so as she heals up. No communication problem here, right? Not yet. 

Part of communication is knowing when to speak and when to shut the fuck up. Well, this vet should have known when to shut up. But NO. He has to say to Jen, "She'll be glad to get home. She's been terrified the whole time she's been here." 

Those of you who know Jen probably know what she was feeling next. She was pissed that Momo was so scared, and disappointed that the vet said we had to wait for 90-120 minutes before we went to bring her home after we found out that our cat was really upset. So Jen calls me back, angry and unsettled at the news. WHY THE FUCK DID HE HAVE TO SAY MY CAT WAS TERRIFIED? IN WHAT UNIVERSE IS THAT A GOOD IDEA?? Douchebag. 

The only positive to the scenario was that we couldn't get Momo until I got home from work, so I went and picked up Jen and we both went to get Momo. 

Even though it felt like 3 days had passed, we were back at the vet to pick up Momo. Of course, lots of people are leaving on vacation after work, so the place is even busier than it had been that morning. Once again, there's no vet tech on the "vet" side of the desk, so we ask the woman behind the counter to help us as we tell her why we're here. She looks around and says she'll let the vet people know we're here. So she does...NOTHING. 

That's right. She doesn't tell anyone we are here. She just continues to check dogs in for the pet retreat. And for ten minutes we sat there watching dog after dog come through the door as we're wondering what in the blue fuck is going on and when we'll actually be able to take our cat home. I'm starting to get pissed. Jen's already pissed, and I'm ready to tear someone a new one and say, "HEY FUCKTARDS! YOU'VE HAD MY CAT ALL DAY! SHE'S SCARED AND HUNGRY AND WE JUST WANT TO TAKE HER HOME! CAN SOME MOTHERFUCKER IN THIS PLACE DO THAT?"

Of course, they're giving a golden retriever back to his mommy and he decides to jump up on both Jen and I, and the dog almost tore open Jen's Coach purse. Of course, the dog's mom is like "I'm sorry." Well technically it wasn't your fault because this idiot handler over here knows nothing about how to lead a dog at all. 

Finally, just before I decide that someone, anyone should get a verbal assault so severe it will take a week before they realize how badly I've insulted them, a vet tech comes out, saying she didn't know we were here. IMAGINE THAT. We got into an examining room and the tech hands us the prescriptions and instructions for Momo's care. She asked us if the doctor had spoken to us on the phone, and we said yes, we understood what we were doing. So she explains it to us ANYWAY. And we still don't have our cat. 

FINALLY, Momo is brought back to us, and we're just excited to have her back. Then the vet comes out and tells us how everything went and repeats some of the care instructions. So at this point we've had it explained three times and we have a sheet with the instructions. WE FUCKING GET IT!! I was wondering if he was going to talk to me about the cover sheets on my TPS reports or something. Luckily I had calmed down enough to speak to the doctor in my own voice and not like Tim the Enchanter from Monty Python and the Holy Grail

This is why we call retrograde about re-tool, re-do, and re-task. It seemed like it was Groundhog Day or something. 

Momo is home safe and sound, and I'm glad for that. If you've got any Mercury retrograde stories you want to share, I'd love to hear them. It's already been a challenge and it just started on Wednesday. 

Time for some ice cream and a relaxing weekend. And what am I doing now? Communicating this. Hopefully Mercury will allow me to post it without any problems.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mercury Retrograde is here again!

Hello everyone...another Mercury Retrograde is upon us! It begins on Wednesday, June 26 at 9:07am EDT.

For those of you new to Mercury retrograde, here are some of your standard possible effects:

  • Missed emails, text messages, or voicemails
  • Miscommunication of all kinds between people
  • Problems with paperwork--lost, misplaced, re-routed, etc.
  • Unexpected delays or cancellations of meetings or get-togethers
  • Computer problems of any and all stripes but usually minor ones
  • People being late or not showing up at all
Some of your standard coping strategies include:
  • Back up all computer data regularly
  • Check all travel plans--hotels, airlines, car rentals, etc.--before you leave on any trips
  • Confirm that meetings are taking place 
  • Try NOT to sign anything during this period--lease, job offer, etc.--if you can help it. If you can't wait, read the fine print TWICE on every document you sign and confirm understanding
  • Ensure your messages are being sent and received
  • Don't start new projects; "new" things that are started now usually have to be re-done
  • Finish up old projects and tie up loose ends
  • Edit--this is a GREAT time for editing manuscripts and documents!
  • Be understanding of others' problems communicating or showing up late or not at all; likely it is not their fault
  • Speak carefully
Overall, please be extremely careful about communicating because there is a strong potential for misunderstandings. Simply and clearly is the way to go.

Also, if you are traveling, be extra careful and allow extra time. Don't text and drive and minimize all cell phone communications if you are driving. And expect dropped calls and technical difficulties. I suggest having a backup plan that doesn't include technology, like printed directions, for example. 

If you haven't backed up your data--hard drives, devices, etc.--do it right now. Don't wait. 

Mercury is retrograding in Cancer, so be extra careful with communications matters, paperwork, or electronics involving your family--and those you consider to be family!--and all domestic matters, like your living situation and any work being done to your home.

We're in Mercury retrograde until the Sun moves into Leo on July 26, so plan on dealing with it through the end of the month of July.

You can't stop living during Merc retro. But you can be smart. So take precautions and expect some day-to-day frustration. Hopefully in doing so you'll dodge any bullets that Mercury decides to send your way. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Litha Blog Hop: Shining the Light

Hi there! You may be coming to visit me from Chloe's blog if you're doing the blog hop from the beginning. In any case, no matter how you got here, blessed Litha to all of you!

The sun is at its most powerful at Litha, and so it's time to "shine the light" on ourselves and our talents. So I've selected three tarot cards that represent my talents the best. 

The first is the Hierophant. 

As the Head High Priest of the Tradition of the Witches Circle, I not only provide spiritual education to my students, but I'm also their spiritual advisor. It's a role that I feel I do very well, especially when it comes to knowing when to give my students/clients space and when to press them. It's a very fine line to walk sometimes. 

I'm also often called upon to help people "go their own way" in life, spiritually or otherwise, and I know what a traumatic experience it can be. 

The second card I picked is the King of Pentacles. 

As a sun sign Scorpio, you might have thought I'd go with the King of Cups. Not this time. One of the nicest compliments I was ever given was when a veteran tarot reader told me she never worried that I wouldn't be grounded in reality. 

Astrologically speaking, I'm Capricorn moon and rising, and in many ways I'm much more earthy than watery. 

One of my best talents is my work ethic. In addition to a full-time office job, I have a professional tarot and astrology practice, and my duties in my spiritual community. I love to work and revel in getting a job finished the right way. 

All of the nuts and bolts of running my own business make me happy. My accountant LOVES me at tax time because I've got business records that would make many people jealous. I'm able to keep track of it all and still excel, so I feel like overall I'm very prosperous and organized. It's even had positive financial effects: I've received some tarot gigs because other readers never called prospective clients back, and I make it a point to respond to every single inquiry as quickly as possible. 

When do I sleep, you might ask? Well, that's another reason why I've pulled the King of Pentacles. I had a back problem last summer and have spent (a little) more time relaxing and taking care of my health. I'm in probably my best physical shape in more than ten years. I even have ABS now. WHO KNEW??

Finally, the last card I picked is the Emperor. 

Compassion has never been my strong suit. But honestly, one of the most important things I've learned is that my role as a "father" is important. I don't have human children of my own, but I feel like I'm able to walk that line between stern and imposing--like the RWS Emperor--to supportive and understanding. It's something I've been working on for a long time, and I'm finally starting to see the results in my professional and personal life. 

Learning how to hold the line without being cold was the challenging part. But I'm happy to say that I'm doing it rather successfully now. 

Thanks for the opportunity to "toot my own horn"! Let your own talents shine this Litha! 

If you're continuing on with the blog hop, please head on to Machelle Earley's blog

Monday, June 10, 2013

Misfortune Teller: Random Meanderings

  • When someone sits down for a tarot reading, what they are essentially saying is, "I trust you to tell me what the universe has in store for me." So if you decide to give someone a reading, your job is to tell them what you see--honestly, directly, and with compassion--to the best of your ability. 
  • No matter what you see, you take no responsibility for the future; it's dynamic and it can change. Nor should you take the credit or blame for your client's reaction to what you say.
  • When I started reading professionally, I was worried sometimes after I read for people. I wondered if I said the right thing, or if I said too little or too much. A very wise woman told me, "Johnnie, if you said it, you said it, and if you didn't, you didn't."
  • If you ask me about a reading I did for you, it's very likely I'm not going to remember it. Since that information doesn't belong to me, I use what I call my mental "delete key" once your reading is over. Also, some days I do more than 15 readings, so even if I wanted to keep them all straight, I couldn't. I never write down readings except for those I do for myself, and I don't share those with anyone.
  • I have seen physical death in the cards twice in nearly 23 years. I'll talk more about that in my upcoming post on the Death card. 
  • Just because someone doesn't have a lot of tarot reading experience does not mean you shouldn't respect what they have to tell you. And if they use a book as they read for you, please be patient. We all have to start someplace! I read with a book for my first 13 years as a reader, and I consult books frequently--we used to call it "studying"--to keep growing in my practice. 
  •  A tarot reading belongs to the client, and it is private. If you had a reading and you would like to share what you were told, that's up to you, but don't bug anyone to tell you about a reading they had. If someone decides to tell you about a tarot reading they had, pay attention to them; they've just given you a big compliment by sharing it with you. Be worthy of it by not sharing it with anyone else.
  • Don't ever pressure anyone to have a reading. Ever. 
I want to take a moment to thank my spiritual community, the Tradition of the Witches Circle, and all of my faithful clients. I am blessed to have each and every one of you, and I am humbled and honored to serve. May the blessings of the Lord and Lady be upon all of you! 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Astrological Chart of George Custer

Astrology is part of a larger whole that includes your upbringing, your experiences, your family, and a host of other factors. You may be well suited to be a concert pianist, for example, but if your family doesn't have the money for a piano and lessons, likely you're not going to end up as a concert pianist. 

St. Augustine, who, incidentally, was a sun sign Scorpio, had a great saying about astrology: "The stars may impel, but they cannot compel." In other words, your astrological makeup can tell you a lot about who you will become and give tendencies that may affect your life, but in the end it's all about your choices. It's especially interesting to cast a chart for a newborn and see what happens as the child grows older, and see what choices s/he makes.

So why did I choose to say this today? Well, there are certain astrological signs and scenarios that make people a particularly good fit for what they do in life. The repressed emotion of Capricorn moon, for example, will make for an outstanding general, but that moon placement would suck for someone who works with children, for example. The intensity of Scorpio sun is fantastic for the military in many cases, and the sign rules matters of life and death. But I know plenty of Scorpios who are incapable of following orders, much less killing someone in combat.

Looking at Custer's chart, some parts are very suited for military work, while certain others are not. I'll try to highlight these qualities as we move forward.

Aries Chart Signature--The "signature" of a chart is based on some calculations of the overall dominant element and quality (cardinal, fixed, or mutable). Aries is the ultimate sign for combat, so while Custer is a sun sign Sagittarius, the Aries signature will make him more suited to leading troops than your standard Sag.

Sun in Sagittarius--With its fiery temperament, and sharing the fire element with Aries and Leo, Sag might seem on the surface to be a good choice for military leadership. And it's far from the worst choice. You have many, many fine qualities, including a fantastic sense of humor, an ability to take life and themselves with a grain of salt, a penchant for honesty, and the ability to think philosophically/spiritually. And as a fire sign, bravery is not usually an issue. What's interesting is that Custer was a cavalry commander and Sagittarius, the Archer, is a centaur. So he was in the perfect branch of the military, I'll say that. What's the problem, then? 

It's not the best choice for one big reason: Sag is the wanderer of the zodiac and the ultimate freedom-seeker.

As a mutable (flexible) sign, Sag folks are typically good at following orders, to a point. In other words, if given orders that go against their "truth"--a very subjective thing for Sag that they refine throughout their lives--the Sag might very well refuse to obey those orders. With the understanding that "ground truth" from commanders in the field might very well cause those planning any given campaign to change their minds, Sag might decide on a moment's notice that a particular objective--one that likely is a piece of a much larger puzzle that Sag may or may not be aware of at the time--is no longer viable from his point of view, despite command opinion that it is important.

Also, that "to a point" illustrates another facet of Sagittarius. They love their freedom. They don't want to be tied down to anything, and that includes a set of rules that everyone follows. That's not to say that they are constantly deliberately disobedient or insubordinate. But to quote a famous movie, for many Sag people, rules are "guidelines" to follow when they're convenient, but can be ignored at will. Custer got in trouble once for going AWOL to see his wife, and it was supposed to cost him a one-year suspension until his higherups interceded on this behalf.

Large amount of "night" planets--The majority of Custer's planets are underneath the equator of the chart. Nine of the major celestial bodies fall into this category. Since "personal" matters"--involving mostly things that are extremely important to you and mainly you alone--are a big part of night planets, Custer likely had a "me first" attitude in many different areas. For me, this would be a command deficiency. 

Venus in the 1st House--Venus has a great placement in Libra, in its dignity. But it's sitting in the 1st house, which represents ourselves, our personal expression, and how we see ourselves. With Libra in this most personal of houses, Libra being the love planet and all could give someone with this placement the idea that they're, well...pretty damn awesome. So it's pretty likely that Custer thought pretty highly of himself. With Libra rising--the edge or "cusp" of the 1st house is the rising sign, the mask through which we see life--he probably thought he was good-looking, too. (He may not have been wrong; Libra rising people have a tendency to inherit Venus' good looks. No, really. But I digress.) Again, this could be a problem on the battlefield. 

Mars in Capricorn in the 4th--We know that Mars is the planet of war, and its position is of particular importance for a military man. One of the great things about this position is that Mars in Capricorn gave Custer excellent battle organization skills, and up until his death he had the pedigree to prove it; he was a skilled commander. But an even larger benefit would be for Custer to think before committing to a battle; Sagittarians are not usually ones for planning things out terribly well. Mars in Capricorn in the 4th house is common for a military background, so it's not surprising that this is what Custer ended up doing. 

Alternate career--Based on my read of this chart, Custer would have made an outstanding teacher if he hadn't gone into the military. As a Sagittarius with a heavy third house, he'd have done very well teaching, especially children. I wonder how much training he did; I'll bet he was excellent at it. Younger soldiers would have done better with him than the older ones, generally.

Thanks as always for stopping in! See you next Friday for another military chart! 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Misfortune Teller: The Tower

The Tower
Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot Deck
US Games Systems, Inc. 

No tarot cards evoke "shock and awe" like the Tower. Overall, it can go either positive or negative for me, but it's the WAY that the Tower says the events will happen that scares many clients.

Some of the meanings for the Tower for me include:
  • Any shocking or unexpected event that upsets the status quo
  • A revelation that seems unreal or incredible
  • A huge reality slap
  • Someone getting taken down a peg--"How the mighty have fallen" or "the bigger they are, the harder they fall"
Whatever it turns out to be, the Tower's appearance means that it will something that shakes us to our very foundations. I like to think of the card as "The Great Equalizer" because every single person goes through events such as this in life.

I have two examples, both of them times when I was receiving a reading instead of giving them for a change. Some years ago, my wife Jen Wells did a card reading for me about my job. I was working for a company that was doing well and had recently expanded, opening an office in England and hiring a whole bunch of new people. She pulled the Tower and called it right on: "Layoffs." I couldn't believe it. Everything was going least, that's what I thought, until the first of three rounds of layoffs came. It was a bloodbath. I didn't lose my job, but I lost 1/3 of my staff and as such my position as a manager was no longer needed. I was lucky enough to go back to my old job; I had only been in management for six months anyway, but the whole thing was still very unexpected.

The second time was many years after the first. I had an acquaintance do a reading for me for the next week, and the Tower came up. I must admit that while I was cavalier about the first reading and didn't believe it, this one I took a little too seriously. I came home that night and started wondering what might be going on. Should I take the car in to be looked at? Was there a problem in my checking account? I started freaking out a little bit. Jen finally got tired of it and said, "There is a surprise birthday party for you tomorrow!!" Whoops. It would have truly been a shock since I was totally unaware. Surprising a Scorp is hard enough, and she had succeeded. So I could understand her being angry about it.

One other possible meaning that has been coming up a lot in my practice lately is one I call "Chicken Little Syndrome". It's what happened in the second example above. Sometimes we're so afraid that the world is going to screw us over that we're seeing the potential for it to happen at any second, and then when it does it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I will often tell clients "You have a tremendous sense of the awful." And to an extent, as human beings we all do. We want to see the worst. But the Tower doesn't necessarily represent something bad. Think about the couple who is told they will likely never conceive, and then they do. Or the boss that you hate gets canned out of the blue and all of his employees are given the raises they were denied. Or you fall in love with someone you didn't expect when you are still moping from your last breakup.

Make sure that anyone you read for knows that they are in for a turbulent time. Use the cards around it to figure out what may happen and how things will end up, but don't you dare pull punches with the Tower; your client needs to hear the message.