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Whee! New deck: Mystic Dreamer

Well, today was really exciting, despite all the crazy stuff I talked about at Daily Nona (note: not sure I’m entirely happy having Daily Nona as posterous after all. I may be making another WordPress blog for that). The doorbell range at 9:30ish this morning and I really didn’t feel like going downstairs so I didn’t answer. I knew who it was anyhow. It was the postman! That wasn’t my intuition — he’s the only person who rings the bell at nine in the morning.

Anyhow, I haven’t ordered anything lately (but I’ve really, really got my eye on Energy Medicine by Donna Eden. big puppy bog eyes for the H-unit!) but a wonderful, friendly and just generally amazing woman from Tarot for Life sent me the Mystic Dreamer Tarot. This deck is gorgeous. It looks even better in person than it does online. Somehow scanned card images just don’t seem to capture beauty of this deck.

Mystic Dreamer Tarot

My new deck! Many thanks to Joan.

While in a period of rest due to my back and digestive system giving me serious problems, I also ended up just taking a break from a lot of other things too. I focused mainly on not overextending myself and taking short but relaxing walks. I’ve been feeling so much better these part couple days, and the arrival of this new deck is definitely a signal that it’s time to stop lazing around and start working on stuff again.

Mission complete.

I’ve finally finished my mission to make separate blogs of the different types of stuff I’d like to blog about.  Although I created my WoW/gaming blog some time ago, I didn’t consider the mission complete because I wanted one lats blog– the blog where I could post whatever inane or insightful stuff I wanted about random, every day happenings. Since Becoming Nona is supposed to be more of a spiritual exploration, I didn’t think it would be appropriate to rant about, oh I don’t know, the abhorrent Islamophobia running rampart in the US, or my newest attempt at cooking, or whatever. I don’t know– maybe it is. Maybe I should be posting all of those thigns together in one place, but I’ve had this discussion with myself (lol) before, and I think the best way for my to proceed is to have some separate places for my interests, so I feel organized instead of cluttered.  You can easily make your way to my other blog-homes by looking at the “More Nona” links on the sidebar to the right, but just to be sure, I’ll also include links here.

Exodar SPCA – This is will serve as ma WoW/Gaming blog, where I’ll talk about video games.

Daily Nona – I suppose I should warn you first that this is not a wordpress blog! It’s nothing against wordpress of course, I just wanted to try out posterous.  It seems convenient for the type of posting that I envision for the “Daily Nona” which is just random rnats, or whenever I finally get a camera (I gave mine to my sister when I moved), cool photos! I really miss taking photos.

Hopefully this is the last post related tot his, I can finally focus solely on tarot and other spirituality related stuff when it comes to this blog. So far, I like this concept a lot, but one question remains: can I keep 3 separate blogs running at the same time without massively crossposting? We’ll see.

Talking to those who’ve passed

Does this story sound crazy to you?

Due to a bed issue (I believe), I’ve been suffering from really excruciating back pain. So when I was visiting the in-laws, I decided to take a long, hot bath in their deep tub while they were gone for an evening of birthday celebrations. There’s nothing like a really relaxing bath that can bring up some emotional turmoil that I haven’t quite confronted yet. Somehow, while feeling relaxed and soaking my back, I got to thinking about my mother, and the waterworks just started flowing. I still feel incredibly guilty about my mom’s death, even though, of course, there was probably very little I could have done to prevent it. So I just kept thinking, “I’m so sorry,” over and over again.

Suddenly, I decided maybe I could go to her myself. I closed my eyes and relaxed my breathing. In fact, I relaxed my whole body while taking deep breaths. Then I imagined my spirit leaving my body completely. I stopped to get a bathrobe– Silly, I know. Spirits don’t need to wear a bathrobe. Then I moved myself to my mom’s old house.  First I went to the ocean, then I ran and ran until I reached Florida. I imagined her house exactly the way it was when she was alive, and then I called for her. “Mom, are you there?”

She answered, and we had a small chat. I hardly remember now what I said. I think it was all foolish. I couldn’t decide if I was totally nuts or if it was really her talking to me. it felt like the answers came from deep within me, like she was always there, waiting for me to find her.  I tried to trick myself, and see if I could prove it wasn’t her talking. I know, that sounds totally nuts, and maybe I can never prove one way or another, but it felt real.

I haven’t tried going back there yet. I’m not sure I should. In fact, I don’t think I even have to. If I could feel her words coming from deep within me, the location doesn’t matter at all. I just have to learn to access them on will. Part of me wonders if this is healthy, though. I don’t think I’ve “forgiven” myself. Sometimes I still feel angry that I didn’t see her enough, take care of her enough. Will I ever stop feeling like that? I mean, never feel it again?

I just don’t know.

The Wands and Moses

I’ve been focusing on the Wands lately, and today, while looking through them, I felt like I was watching the story of Moses unfold. Now, it’s not uncommon to read about Moses being

Rider-Waite 3 of Wands

Three of Wands from Rider-Waite

linked to the wands. The most common link between Moses and the Wands is the 8 of Wands, though. While I can appreciate that link, it is the 3 of wands which always makes me think of Moses when I look at it.

The Three of Wands is associated with leadership and exploration. Look at the man in the picture to the right. He has a vision, a sense of the possibilities before him. When I look at this picture, I can’t help but see Moses, looking over the vast desert before him, knowing that he must lead his people to new frontiers, even when it gets tough.

Compare the Rider-Waite picture for the Three of Wands to this picture of Moses, parting the Red Sea.

Moses parts the Red Sea.

In the picture above, Moses also reminds me of the Magician, another card which is sometimes associated with the prophet. But much like the man in the three of wands, here Moses stands ready to lead his people through new challenges.

And then there’s this:

Ace of Wands, anyone?

I did find at least one person who had the same sort of idea with the Wands suit, Abigail Sail Bagraim. I highly suggest you take a look at her site if you’re interested in a bit of information about the Torah and the Tarot. (To see more information about the cards, click on the images.)

Below you’ll find a short video (without music) of the Wands suit (Ace through 10). Do you see another story being told by the wands?

A little bit of news, blog changes, life changes

I have quite the bit of news gong on. For one, I reactivated an online TEFL course that I signed up for in 2008 but, at the time, ended up only completing the first part (of five parts). I registered for the course about a month before I moved to Germany, and even though it seemed like a perfectly sound idea back then, I think I should have thought more carefully about it. Well, it’s not a big deal. I had the money back then, and I only had to pay a small fee to reactivate. So, anyhow, that’s what I’m working on right now, along with trying to keep up-to-date on my tarot stuff.

I’d like to devote today to tidy up my blog. I know I originally said I wanted this blog to be a place where I could write about everything in my life, but I think I will end up creating another blog or two, and separate a few aspect of my life in the blogging sphere. Part of me really doens’t want to do that. I am a whole and complete person. I love Tarot and spirituality, but I also like video games. Sometimes it feels like those things just don’t make for a cohesive blog, but that’s who I am. I spend too much time on the computer, but I’ve grown up like this as well. Why should I compartmentalize my blog just because it feels like parts of my life don’t necessarily mix well for blogging purposes? But that’s the problem: it feels weird, going from a post about the Metta to a post about how I played too much StarCraft2 when it was release (don’t worry, I’ve cut back. possibly too much, as I’m not really playing it anymore and I did buy the rather expensive Collector’s Edition).

So, I think this blog will remain my Tarot and all things spiritual blog. Then I’ll add a blog where I can rant about WoW, or whatever other game I’m playing, and possibly one where I can just write about what I ate for lunch. I know not very many people read this (I’ve tried to keep it that way), so it won’t even matter if somebody get confused over what blog is what! It’s brilliant, in a sad kind of way.

While I’m at it, I hope to finally flesh out my blogroll and links list. There are a number of tarot blogs I’d like to add, as well as some very informative sites. I may also add a Tarot wishlist to my pages, just because I can. It’s probably a good idea for me to prioritize the stuff I’d like to purchase/read, so that when i do spend the tiny amount of money I have, I’ve done it in the most practical manner.

I’d like to post about Tarot daily, or perhaps every other day. Well, at least once a week, jeez! But sometimes it feels weird. It’s not like I have anything to say that is more insightful or meaningful than any other Tarotist out there, so is there much of a point? But then, if this is going to be more like an electronic version of my Tarot journal, then it doesn’t matter! I’ve been more active over at Tarot for Life, participating int he daily reflections there, and I was wondering if I should also post them here. But that does seem a bit redundant. Well, I guess I’ll figure it out. Better get workin’! Writing about all the changes I’d like to make won’t get them done, now will it?

A Prayer for Peace

Sixty-five years ago, after learning that a friend who was reported missing after the bombing of Hiroshima had turned up in a hospital there, my mother put together a meager care package and set out from our home in Shikoku to pay a visit. When she returned, she shared her friend’s description of that morning in August 1945.

Moments before the atomic bomb was dropped, my mother’s friend happened to seek shelter from the bright summer sunlight in the shadow of a sturdy brick wall, and she watched from there as two children who had been playing out in the open were vaporized in the blink of an eye. “I just felt outraged,” she told my mother, weeping.

– Kenzaburo Oe, Hiroshima and the Art of Outrage (page 2), August 6th 2010, New York Times Op Ed

It has been 65 years since the fateful moment when the Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb (nicknamed the Little Boy) over Hiroshima, immediately killing around 70,000 people (conservative estimate). Every year on this day, the Japanese hold the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Day, where participants offer prayers to souls of the victims as well as for peace. But you don’t have to go to Hiroshima to pray for the victims or for world peace. Llewellyn Worlwide has provided us with an excerpt of the Buddhist Metta Sutta in their Spell A Day today.

In safety and in bliss
May all creatures be of a blissful heart.
Let no one work another’s undoing
Or even slight him at all anywhere;
And never let them wish another ill
Through provocation or resentful thought.
And just as might a mother with her life
Protect the son that was her only child,
So let him then for every
living thing
Maintain unbounded
consciousness in being
Above, below, and all ’round in between,
Untroubled, with no enemy or foe.
Let him resolve upon this mindfulness.
This is Divine Abiding here, they say.

Llewellyn Worldwide – Spell A Day: A Prayer for Peace.

Interestingly, the new moon is also approaching (just a couple day after the anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing). This month, it falls in Leo. The new moon will also bring with it the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslims do not eat or drink from dawn until sunset. Valerie Sylvester wrote a great article The Leo New Moon – it’s NOT just about YOU! on Tarot Elementals discussing this month’s new moon, and these lines in particular stood out to me when taken into the context of Ramadan:

All Leo and fifth house activities are highlighted now: creativity in general, theater, the dramatic arts, and all forms of entertainment, anything involving children, play, gambling, and most importantly at this time, the opening of the heart. This Leo New Moon, as it ties in with some of the current intense planetary shenanigans (more on that subject below) is linked with a need for all of us to crank it up a notch and become the compassionate, heart-centered beings we’re truly meant to be.

Emphasis from Valerie. The world seems pretty tops-turvy these days, and it feels like everyone I know is under immense pressure and stress. Let’s all try to do our part for peace and open our hearts and minds.

Too Much Starcraft2 — but I still love it!

Well, Startcraft2 came out on Tuesday (the 27th), but unfortunately I didn’t receive my copy until the 28th (we ordered CE editions, in English, so they were shipped from the UK). In any case, sine then, I’ve basically been playing Starcraft2. Sure, I showed up (and led!) raids on WoW, I mean somebody has to do it! Nah, just kidding, I love my guildies and I would never leave them hanging. Anyhow, back to SC2. I played so much, I dreamed about it the last 2 nights. And last nights, my dreams were so vivid and directed, as if I were actually trying to figure something out, that I didn’t feel rested at all. In fact, it wasn’t until I had some “ah ha!” moment, that I could finally feel like I was sleeping. I think that was at around 10am, and then I didn’t get out of bed until noon. Oh, the madness. If only I could remember what this “ah ha!” moment was all about.

I beat the campaign. Well, I completed all the missions except the secret one. I kinda screwed it up though. Starcraft2 has an achievement system, like tons of other games out there, and I didn’t get the achievement for beating the campaign. There was a patch yesterday for the game. I installed it and loaded the game up and was ready to do the last 3 missions, but battle.net wouldn’t work for me. I was pretty confused because the H-man was on battle.net just fine. I tried to see what would happen if I played “offline” and of course, I could get into the game fine. When you play offline, however, you don’t get awarded any achievements. Once I was looking at the single played stuff available offline, I realized why I couldn’t log into battle.net. I had updated the game and my firewall was patiently waiting for me to approve the new version before letting it go online. I tabbed out and told my firewall to let SC2 through, then went back into game and, form the menu, used the Login option. Voila! I was on abttle.net, could see my friends online playing SC2 or WoW, and everything looked fine, so I started playing.

I finished the last 3 missions, but didn’t get a single achievement for one. and since I’m so slow (and was really focused on finishing the missions), I never connected it to the fact that I has been “offline” at first, in the game. On the last mission, I didn’t get a an achievement for completing the campaign. I was totally crushed. After that, I went o play some challenges. I earned the top reward on one of the challeneges, and I didn’t get that achievement either! I even tried it a few times, and still no achievement. I was

When H-man went shopping, I did the dishes and closed down SC2. Then I loaded up the game again, and started working on the challenges again. I got achievements! Suddenly, I realized why I hadn’t been getting achievements. It must have been because I had chosen play offline the first time I opened the game. I thought that the moment I logged in, I would be back “online” and would earn achievements again. I mean, I was talking to my friends on battle.net and everything, it never occurred to me that I had to restart the game. Maybe that’s working as intended, maybe it’s not. But now I’ve actually completed all 3 final missions of the campaign, and have the achievements for them, but it still says I didn’t complete the campaign on my profile. So, I went and fished around in my autosaves folder for SC2, and found the point I was at the night before all the happened (when I only had the final 3 missions left). But I’m torn between doing all 3 missions over again (that’ll be the third time I do them), or just seeing if I go to the last mission save point, and do that online, if I get the achievements that way. If the latter doesn’t work then I have to do 4 missions! Not that it’s a huge deal. But ehh..

Anyhow, I think I’m taking the day off from SC2 today to get everything back in balance. So it doesn’t show on my profile that I completed the campaign? Who Cares! Whatever, right? And just in case you were wondering, even though I goofed and messed up my own campaign, I highly recommend SC2. It’s really fun, and the story is great. The cinematics look amazing, you might as well be watching a movie. Also, if you’re not so great at the micromanagement aspect of RTS games (like me!), you can just play on Casual or Normal, and it’s still lots of fun!

Today’s Raven Oracle

I have a set of Oracle cards that I haven’t used enough lately. So today, I decided it’s time to get back into the habit. When I make a daily drawing from oracle cards, I pray for a bit of guidance and wisdom that could help me for the day. Unfortunately, these cards don’t have an English translation (maybe they will some day in the future), so I can’t recommend them for non-German speakers. Today I drew:

Brüte dich aus. Brüten braucht Zeit und Geduld. Und das Vertrauen, dass da etwas Wundervolles heranwächst, such wenn du nicht weißt, was in dem Ei steckt. Wärme dich and nähre dich.

English translation: Breed yourself. Breeding requires time and patience. And the trust that something wonderful is growing, even if you don’t know what is in the egg. Warm yourself and nourish yourself.

Funny story: I am currently chilly and hungry. I actually love the weather, it’s rainy and gray, making it nice and cool outside. But I’m still a little chilly, and I haven’t eaten yet today. But on a less literal note (I mean, I don’t think the author is trying to tell me to go make babies. Though it could possibly be argued that act of baby making is a quite warming and nourishing experience), I think the general idea of this card is saying: go ahead and invest parts of yourself into something you want to do. Maybe you don’t get exactly what you’re looking for, but maybe it’s even better than you hoped. I guess she could also be saying: don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Yep, pretty much got all my eggs in one basket right now. So I guess I’ll go ahead and send in this application I’ve been holding onto.

You can find the Rabenkarten Orakel on amazon.de if you’re interested in it. I also linked to Gabi Bücker’s website above.

Carried Away

This summer, I have had two readings which have really helped my focus on what it is I would like to get accomplished, and where I should start. I got them over at Tarot For Life. If you’re interested in Tarot, or looking for a really nice laid back and accepting community, I suggest you check out Tarot For Life. They’re not fancy or frilly or over the top, but you can meet a lot of amazing people there.

Anyhow, these two readings, one of them basically said, this is my summer, and the other seemed to focus on me getting much more involved in Tarot communities. So, I’m making these things happen and I’m really feeling a lot better than I have in the past several years. I feel motivated, excited, fulfilled. Sure, I’m still soul-searching, but I’m really just excited about the stuff I am doing.

The only thing that makes me feel a little guilty is my new pseudonym, Nona Mena. When it comes to the tarot communities, I feel like now I’ve just gone and muddle everything. I’ve been on TFL for years, so using a pseudonym on the other sites I’m a part of now feels awkward. I’m not trying to fool or scam anyone, and I would never want anyone to think that. I’m pretty sure this idea to separate my personal life from my online life has totally backfired. Actually, that wasn’t even what I wanted to do. I just wanted to blog and not worry that it could affect my chances at getting a job. Well, it’s not so bad.

Now, if I can just find a job and maybe finish this TEFL certificate, I think things will be A OK.

Enjoy the full moon!

me and my Religion

I’ve been writing this post for four days. Every time I sit down to write it I get distracted, or I can’t think of what to say, or how to say what I want to say, so I just leave the draft saved on WordPress and focus on something else. Well, it’s not like I need to write a post about Religion, but I think it would be nice to really confront myself on this matter, so it’s something I want to do. So then I wonder, well, where does my journey with religion really start? I was baptized in the Catholic Church when I was a baby. Is that the beginning of my story? I was young when I first stopped liking the Church. It’s the scare tactics. Why should any seven-year old child feel afraid that he or she will end up in hell? I was so scared I wouldn’t wake up in the morning that I couldn’t sleep if I had not prayed. Sometimes I got mad at God. Why would kill me just because I didn’t say a prayer before bed? I always wanted to do the best I could, and it was very difficult because my mother was ill with Schizophrenia. Sometimes I felt like nobody loved me, not even God. I was just a child.

I was young when I stopped caring about the Church. I can’t say exactly what age I was. At some point in 7th grade I tried attending a Bible Study group in the morning at my school, but it was just make my mother happy. Instead I wanted to join an Atheist club, but 7th grade was hard anyhow. That was the year I ended up moving to my Dad’s house. Some of my friends in High School drifted towards Wicca, both most of them were Christian or Jewish. We also had a small population of Hindus, and even smaller population of Muslims. Well, i don’t know, maybe the Muslim population was larger than I remember it. Nobody ever talked about Islam when I was in High School. I only remember one kid fasting during Ramadan, and I had no idea what that meant. Plus, I only knew because it was my math teacher who brought it up.

So, I went through most of my formative years being Agnostic. My mother talked about God all the time, and my father didn’t really talk about religion at all. Maybe I was scared of religion because of my mother. Her schizophrenia manifested itself in the form of religious frenzy. She believed she was haunted by saints and ghosts. I remember, when I just a small child, once trying to tell my mother that there was nobody there. I didn’t want her to be afraid of the Saints. It didn’t make any sense to me either. A saint is a good person, why would you be afraid of one? Maybe I was afraid I could end up like her.

As I got older, I sometimes looked into religion. I practiced Karate in high school, and I was very active there, and at some point I was meditating every weekend with another Karate friend. I miss those sessions now, and I wish I could find the woman, just to say hello. But I have no idea where she is or what she is doing. Anyhow, sometimes I looked into Unitarianism. I simply don’t understand a world where God would create all these people and allow them to worship in so many ways, but only one way is right. Without a hint or clue, it’s kind of like Russian roulette. If you pick the wrong religion, or born into the wrong one, well, you’re just out of luck. That just doesn’t make any sense to me, so Unitarianism seemed good. But, for whatever reason, I just didn’t like it. Maybe it was too Judeo-Christian oriented for me (what about the other religions?).

Eventually I found myself in a course called “Women in Islam.” I was a Women’s Studies major, and the topic interested my greatly. Before I went into this class, I knew very little about Islam, or what it actually did for women. Through this class, I discovered a religion which was founded with women, perhaps not at the very center of it, but as a major part of the society. It was through the strength and support that Khadijah lent him, that Muhammad was able to go forth with what God told him. Different from any other religious text, the Qur’an addresses women quite often. Where Buddhism was lacking for me as women cannot achieve enlightenment, Islam made more sense than anything else. The Qur’an recognizes that women, while equal to men, are not the same as men. I am a feminist, and proud, and I found many of my own feminist views echoed in the Qur’an.

Eventually I was ready to take the Shahada (in December of 2006). The Shahada is a declaration of faith, and it is the first pillar of Islam. Anyone can say the Shahada anywhere, and as long as that person believes and mean what he or she says, then that person is a Muslim. I said the Shahada in my home, by myself. Maybe this was the first mistake I made. Not the act of saying the Shahada, but doing it alone, without any friends. At the time, it was a symbol to me that I was beginning a new journey of self-revelation, something that only be done on my own. I also approved of the fact that there was nobody between me and God. I didn’t need a priest to talk to God for me, or forgive me, or listen to my sins. It was me and the big deity in the sky.

I began to pray five times a day. I didn’t always get all five in, but it was a goal to strive and reach for. There is something very relaxing about taking 5-10 minutes out of your day, 5 times every day, to interact with the Divine. It is a constant reminder to strive to be your best and merge the mundane with the divine. The act itself is very similar to modern “grounding” techniques, as the person prayer faces East and submits herself in the form of prostration. You open yourself to receive the light and energy of the divine. Sufis also empty themselves to be able to serve as a vessel of God.

Eventually, I started covering my hair, a practice that I find wonderful and actually very feminist when the woman makes the choice on her own. It is her decision show herself to whomever she wants, on her terms. I loved wearing hijab, and I miss it. But there is something really strange about wearing hijab in Western societies. When you stand out like a sore thumb, people tend to look at you a lot more, and then the point of hijab has been defeated. I’ve never liked when people stared at me, and I got more stares in a hijab than I did if I had been wearing a mini skirt and a tube top. My Women in Islam teacher once said that it is probably more modest to go outside in a jeans and a baseball cap than it is to wear a hijab, because nobody will look twice. I totally got her point after wearing the hijab for six or so months.

Of course, this story isn’t just about hijab. I hope one day to cover my hair whenever I leave the house again, though I might do it less conspicuously than using a hijab (I did it like that before I switched to hijab, a more Jewish sort of head covering). Actually, what began my sort of withdrawal from Islam is the same stuff that I shy away from in other organized religion. There is not very much room for individual interpretation. In Islam, there isn’t supposed to be a clergy, but if you try to interpret or analyze the Qur’an on your own, there are plenty of people who will tear you down and tell you that you aren’t qualified to do it. There are religious leaders who believe that the Qur’an was interpreted and analyzed in the past, and needs no further analysis. In Islam, “innovation” in religious practice is highly frowned upon, but some people hold so tightly on to this idea that I believe it leaves the Ummah (Islamic community) behind. Probably the easiest example of this is the debate about moon sightings and Islamic months. We have the ability to know when the next lunar month will occur without having to look in the sky, but many Muslims refuse to use this technology and believe the only right away to determine when the month has changed is by sighting the moon with the naked eye. This doesn’t seem like a big deal at first, but it means that Islamic holidays are celebrated on different days all over the world. Sometimes it can cause conflicts and confusion that can even lead to racism.

When I was practicing, I was a member of a fantastic organization called Muslims for Progressive Values. They are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. They aren’t just tolerant of different views, they are embracing. They welcome everyone warmly, and are exactly the sort of people I was looking for. Even my love for Tarot fit in there, as there is also a very active member of MPV who practices astrology. The problem is, there weren’t many around me in Miami. It may seem like an excuse, but trying to find a place where I felt comfortable a feminist, a convert, a progressive was hard, especially when I was wearing a hijab. Non-Muslims thought I was oppressed and the conservative Muslims wanted me in the back of the mosque in a little tiny room away from all the men. In the end, I just couldn’t put all these aspects of my life together and I just kind of stopped practicing.

I can’t deny that I am the kind of person who, maybe doesn’t need a spiritual path, but enjoys it. I would like to find something that makes sense to me. Maybe even without leaving Islam, or returning to practicing. But what I am not looking for is blind faith, denial of scientific facts, or bigotry, sexism, heterosexism, etc. As the month of Ramadan approaches, though, I feel inclined to be more spiritual. Ideas are, of course, welcome!

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