Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Other Worldly Beings: Old Souls

When I watched “SMOKE SIGNALS” (1998, Eyre), I perceived the two main characters, Victor Joseph and Thomas Brings-the-Fire, to be a split soul. Rarely apart, they guide each other towards wholeness. Victor brings Thomas into the present, while Thomas teaches Victor the way of the Worlds.

Wearing a suit and his hair in braids, Thomas resembles a medicine man from the last century. Known in the Coeur d’Alene Nation as an eccentric storyteller, Thomas lives his life by his own compass. He fears neither lies nor the truth. Weaving the past, present, and future in his stories, Thomas offers wisdom to those around him. As an old soul, Thomas delivers his pearls of wisdom with good humor. “Sometimes it is a good day to die. Sometimes it is a good day to have breakfast.”

Thomas, for his part, regards Victor’s father, Arnold, to be his teacher, he tells about going on a vision quest and encountering Arnold instead. In Thomas’s stories, Arnold emerges as a Shaman working magic and illusions. He hides in plain sight, and practices disappearing. Through Suzy Song, Arnold’s neighbor in Phoenix, Victor discovers that his father was an old soul who made a tragic mistake. Because his pain was so great, Arnold slowly let go of all his connections to this world. However, after his death, he returns to his son in a vision.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Medicine Wheels (1)

I have found Medicine Wheels to be a name totally associated with Native Americans. I wish there was a different name to call these circles of the univese.

Medicine Wheels are places to pray, meditate, contemplate and become one with the universe. They become our sacred place, helping us to strengthen our connection to the universe. They help us bridge the gap between the spirit world and the physical world, bringing harmony to both through us. The general Medicine Wheel has 36 (thirty six) stones. Each stone is a “tool” to help us understand ourselves in relation to the universe. They teach us to respect ourselves and our relation to other life forms, Mother Earth, and the universe.

Creating a Medicine Wheel should be done as a part of a sacred ceremony to show your respect. Ceremony is a way of giving back some of the energy, that we are constantly taking in from the universe. Through Ceremony we can give back through singing, praying, dancing, drumming, chanting . Follow your intuition and your heart to give back in the way resonates with you. Ceremony and the use of the Medicine Wheel is an individual journey. There is no one size fits all spirituality. We each have our own way, and all of our ways work together to make up the whole.

There are many ways to make a Medicine Wheel. They can be made with 12-36 (twelve to thirty six) stones depending on how elaborate you wish to make it as well as how much space you have to work with. The only important thing is that your Medicine Wheel takes the shape of a circle. It is your sacred space so it should be comfortable for you. It holds your vision, whatever that may be.

From “Ma’Heo’o Reiki: A Program of Spiritual Healing, Growth & Development” by Sheryl “Rain” Carter.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tarot Constellations (2)

6. The Constellation of the Lovers:

The Principle of Relatedness and Choice.
The Lovers, the Devil (15), and all Sixes.

7. The Constellation of the Chariot:

The Principle of Mastery through Change.
The Chariot, the Tower (16), and all Sevens.

8. The Constellation of Strength:

The Principle of Courage and Self-Esteem.
Strength, the Star (17), and all Eights.

9. The Constellation of the Hermit:

The Principle of Introspection and Personal Integrity.
The Hermit, the Moon (18), and all Nines.


The Tenth Constellation (by Carper)

The Fool stands by Himself as 0 or 22, while the Court cards are 0. They meld with the Fool, as the World (21) is the bridge between them.

10. The Constellation of the Court:

The Principle of Innocence through Maturity.
The Fool, all Pages, all Knights, all Queens, and all Kings.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tarot Constellations (1)

(Copyright: Tarot of the Animal Lords)

Tarot constellations are the cards that have the same prime number (one through nine). For the number four, the Tarot constellation is the Four card from each of the suits, the Emperor (the number four), and Death (the number thirteen, which reduces to the number four (1+3=4)).

From: “Tarot Constellations”, by Mary K. Greer.

The nine Tarot constellations, according to Greer, are:

1. The Constellation of the Magician:
The Principle of Will and Focused Consciousness
The Magician, Wheel of Fortune (10 1+0=1), the Sun (19 1+9=10 1+0=1), all Aces and all Tens.

2. The Constellation of the High Priestess:
The Principle of Balanced Judgment through Intuitive Awareness
The High Priestess, Justice (11), Judgment (20), and all Twos.

3. The Constellation of the Empress:
The Principle of Love and Creative Imagination.
The Empress, the Hanged Man (12), the World (21), and all Threes.

4. The Constellation of the Emperor:
The Principle of Life Force and the Realization of Power.
The Emperor, Death (13), and all Fours.

5. The Constellation of the Hierophant:
The Principle of Teaching and Learning.
The Hierophant, Temperance (14), and all Fives.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A Very Brief History of the Tarot

In Northern Italy during the early Renaissance, the Tarot developed as a card game, much like today’s Bridge. It later became a gambling card game. In Europe, people still see the Tarot as a card game. The Tarot’s use for divination did not occur until the 1800s in England.

Meanwhile, playing cards came to Europe from Moslem Spain. They consisted of the four suits with a court of a king and two males. The Tarot deck of today is the merger of the Tarot’s Major Arcana, the Fool, the Queens, and playing cards. (The Joker originated in the United States in the 1850s for use in Poker and Euchre games.)

The Tarot deck familiar to people in the United States is the Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) one. Named for the company that published the deck and its creators, RWS was created in the early 1900s. Arthur Edwards Waite wrote an overview of the traditions, history, and commentary for each Tarot card. In addition, he changed some of the Major Arcana from the traditional Marseilles deck. Meanwhile, his illustrator, Pamela Coleman-Smith revolutionized the Minor Arcana with her pictures. (Before that, the Minor Arcana were done in geometric patterns.)

In the 1940s, Aleister Crowley and Lady Frieda Harris developed the Thoth Deck to update the RWS deck. Crowley infused the Thoth Deck with symbolism of the occult. Therefore, many people today often find this brightly colored deck more difficult to read.


Many Tarot decks have animals in them, and the animals add to the meanings of each card. For example, the lion and crab are in several cards. Lion represents strength, while the crab represents the moon and water.


Tarot card from "Australian Animal Tarot" by Ann Williams-Fitzgerald

Monday, July 07, 2008

Suffering and the Human Condition: Ending the Suffering

For me, suffering occurs when people are alienated from their selves and everything around them. Suffering people have inside of them, an empty hole that aches with pain. People react to this pain in different ways. Some people fall into such despair, that they kill themselves to end the pain. Others are perpetually busy darting about, in hopes of being distracted from the pain. Still others do things to smother the pain, such as taking excess drugs.

The loss of hope lives at the root of human pain. I had my season in hell where I reached that place of no hope. In fact, I just wanted to lie down and die. To me, the world was bleak and gray. After seeking professional help, I was diagnosed with acute depression. The doctors told me that my brain was not producing the right chemicals. Now, I take medications to help my brain. What I had experienced was the secret strength of depression.

From my experiences of reaching out and receiving help, I know that the world can be kind and loving. In my opinion, people asking for help need to be sustained with hope and love. For me, when I was the most vulnerable, I experienced the Spirit (Divine), which came to me. Now, I carry that small spark inside me, never wanting to extinguish it.

To have a good day, there are three things I do daily. First, I get out of bed. I demonstrate to myself that there is something to get up for. I just don’t what it is yet. Second, I make my bed, which tells me that I can make order out of chaos. Third, I make myself a cup of tea. This shows that I care enough about myself to feed myself. If I do nothing else, I will have demonstrated to myself that I am worthy of love and that I am loved.

For me, the solution to suffering is in the struggle for wholeness. Conflict is an inevitable part of life, since it shows people what is worth fighting for. In avoiding conflict, a person may sacrifice their integrity. Resolution, the end of conflict, is a joining together. In order to be complete, the person needs to resolve their conflicts. The disunion of conflict and the unity of the resolution break the self apart, and then reforms it into a healthy whole.

To understand this further, consider the predator/prey dynamic of animals. When you ponder the animals’ interactions, you realize that they are more than the sum of their parts. For example, Elephant Seal and Great White Shark move from a position of strength. They use their strength and intelligence in different ways. Great White Shark is an apex predator of the oceans, while Elephant Seal rules his icy territory with an iron flipper. The shark preys on the seal, who escapes death by moving onto the land. The two animals dance in a synergy to form a new wholeness. The shark is yin to the seal’s yang.

The predator/prey relationship represents the primal forces of procreation and death, which is filled with a dynamic tension. From the struggle of opposing forces, a new life emerges. The new life is whole and in balance.

Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008
To learn how animals can help you, email me animalteachers @

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Otherworldly Beings: Defending Against "Soul Killers"

There is a book written in the 1970s. that sums up soul killers, “When I Say No, I Feel Guilty” by Manuel Smith. Add to that the informaiton that can be gleaned from watching TV Judge Shows (Judge Judy, etc). If nothing seems to make sense, then you are in the presence of a soul killer. Being with one destroys your commonsense and sanity. When things always seem the opposite than they should be, then you are enmeshed with the soul killer.

To deter soul killers, you can use several methods. What I suggest for people to do before they enter into an agreement with another person, is to get it in writing. Whether it is a family loan or a cell phone, getting it in writing is your best defense. If the other person refuses, then you do not loan them money or give them a cell phone. In short, if you feel guilty for saying “no”, then you are dealing with a user or a emotional abuser.

Walk away, if you can. Use the broken record if you cannot. Repeat over and over, “I need you to sign this” or “No, I do not want to loan you money”. Eventually, the soul killer will become frustrated and give up.

Another series of books called the “Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense” goes one step further. They deal with abusive people and abusive relationships. If someone is repeatedly discounting you, your self-esteem drops. These books offer gentle suggestions on removing and defending yourself from abusive people.

Watch a TV Judge Show to learn how people lie, manipulate, and generally deceive themselves and others. The judge, as an impartial person, cuts through the talk to the essence of the situation. The judge generally offers suggestions such as “if someone threatens to kill you, call the police” or “if someone hurts you, do not go back to them”. Watching the show may speak to you or spark something inside you. Sometimes hearing a judge speak to a user, helps you to sort out what is going on in your life. Remember if you are in an upside-down universe, then you are with a soul killer.

Purchase the book at
When I Say No, I Feel Guilty

Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008
For readings and empowerments, contact me at animalteachers @