The Ace of Cups and Generating Your Own Hugs

Psychotherapist Virginia Satir rather famously said, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”   And there’s a lot of truth in that. Babies who aren’t stroked and touched and held develop a syndrome called failure to thrive and can actually die from not  receiving enough contact.  There are many, many recent studies showing that animals also require an abundance of physical touching to develop and maintain healthy bodies and nervous systems.  What one psychologist referred to as, “skin hunger,” has been linked to depression, apathy, heart disease, and a lack of empathy.

The conundrum, of course, is that a lot of us don’t have anyone to hug.  Eleanor Rigby is real. A recent survey by Cigna found that an astonishing 46 percent of U.S. adults report sometimes or always feeling lonely and 47 percent report feeling left out.

Just think about that:  when you pass someone on the street there’s almost a fifty percent chance that he or she feels very much alone.  And the same thing may be true when you look in the mirror.

So where do we get that hug-energy that we need to be happy?

We might consider getting frequent massages, which is fine, but most of us can’t pop for 60 to a 100 bucks a week.  And we can’t go around hugging strangers because, as The Searchers have already told us, they’ll break our little bottle of Love Potion #9.

We might find the help we need in contemplating The Ace of Cups.  As I said in my original definition:

 It emphasizes the divine origin of love and how it flows into the world and nourishes all that it touches.  The lotuses echo the Buddhist symbol for the divine in the human spirit. They begin life in the mud and yet grow into the air and produce beautiful flowers.

The scientists who documented the need to touch and be touched ignored an important part of the phenomenon because it’s not in their purview:  love. It doesn’t help us at all to be touched angrily or hit or jabbed or abused. Quite the opposite, it’s worse than not being touched at all.

No, what makes us grow, what makes us thrive, what makes us healthy is being touched with affection.  That’s what a hug is, right?

The Heart Chakra is attuned to the vibration of love and love is what makes it healthy and glowing and open.  It doesn’t in the least bit discriminate about where the love is coming from, it just vibrates to that energy.  The love can come from another human being or a pet or a divine entity or from . . . our Selves.

Psychologist Gay Hendricks believes that we only find true abundance when we cease viewing ourselves as consumers of abundance and start viewing ourselves as generators of abundance.  In other words, we don’t have to look for external sources of abundance because we can make it ourselves.

And that’s true of any energy, including love.  The Heart Chakra doesn’t just receive love, it also generates it and, paradoxically, in generating it, it receives it.

When we have genuine, conscious compassion, when we practice loving-kindness, even when we pet our dogs or cats, we’re generating love straight out of our heart chakras.  It’s not hard. We don’t have to be meditation masters. We can just sit and visualize the face or touch of someone we love, really feel that love, and every time we do, we surround ourselves with love.

Or, to put it another way, we give ourselves a hug.  We can do it 4 times a day, or 8 times a day, or – if we want to grow – 12 times a day.

As The Beatles said, “The love you take is equal to the love you make.”  And we can make as much as we want to. We ARE the Ace of Cups if we choose to be.

The High Priestess, Affirmations, and Writing Your Own Story

I realized many years ago that I was an absolute genius at manifestation . . . with one big problem.  My problem was that my genius was hitched to my unconscious programming instead of what I consciously wanted to create.”  Gay Hendricks, “Attracting Genuine Abundance,”  DailyOm

I grew up in one of those families from hell.  Alcoholic, abusive father, detached, depressive mother, a military family so we were constantly moving and never growing roots.  

And, as Melody Beattie said in, “Codependent No More,” one of the real curses of that is that you accept the insanity you’re living in as, “normal.”  Being beaten, screaming fights, drunks passed out on the floor – it’s all perfectly normal in YOUR household.  Doesn’t everyone live like that? Hell, you’re just a kid, how are you supposed to know the difference?

Someone once said that your parents always know how to push your buttons because they installed the control panel.  There’s a lot of truth in that – on a primal, cellular level no one knows you better than your parents. And, in addition to installing the control panel, they also installed the programming.

If you were raised in a less than benign household that programming can be pretty awful.  You probably grew up hearing things like:

“You’re a very, very bad girl.”

OR

“Why did you do something so stupid?”

OR

“I don’t like hitting you but you don’t leave me any choice.”

And your poor little subconscious, your subconscious that was too young and too trusting and too inexperienced to know any better just soaked that shit up and believed it, the same way that you believed that drunken, crazy parents were normal.  And – voila! – you end up as an adult who believes that he’s very, very bad, stupid, and deserves to be abused. After all, your parents told you so, didn’t they?

I was talking with a therapist about all of that subconscious, self-defeating programming and I asked if affirmations and visualizations were a way to sort of short circuit it.  She looked very thoughtful for a minute and said, “No, I think of them more as a way of writing your own story. Who do YOU want to be in your story? How do YOU want to live and feel in your story?”

That’s a wonderful distinction that we miss too often.  Affirmations and visualizations aren’t just ways of overcoming negative beliefs that we absorbed in the past.  They’re also ways of consciously creating what we want our futures to look and feel like.

A great deal of The High Priestess is about the deep mind, the subconscious and unconscious part of our minds that holds both our creativity and our self-defeating beliefs.  Too often it’s like a one way door. Magic, symbols, dreams emerge from the Right, feminine, side of the brain, but we don’t consciously interact with it, we don’t, “input,” data, we just passively receive content.

When we dream or meditate that realm of magic that resides in the Right Brain flows into our lives.  When we visualize or do affirmations, we’re talking directly to the Right Brain. We’re dropping what we want our lives to be, what we want our stories to be, into our subconscious and then it performs the magic and makes it real.

In my original definition of The High Priestess, I wrote this about what happens when the card is reversed, when we’re ignoring that interactive process with our subconscious:

The creative, intuitive, feminine right side of the brain is being overpowered and held hostage by the logical, sequential, male left side of the brain.  Intuition and creativity are being ignored in favor of so-called rational thinking. There is a need here to reconnect with your primal self. Take the time for meditating, long hot baths, dancing, art.  Get back in touch with your creative energy.

We need to take the time to visualize, to affirm what we want in our lives, to have a nice, quiet talk with the High Priestess.   We need to take the time to write our own story or someone else will write it for us.

“Just the Tarot,” by Dan Adair, a book of basic Tarot definitions available on Amazon.com.

Being Your Own Magician: The Magician Tarot Card

“If we do not consciously live our best lives we are destined to unconsciously live our worst.” – Sylvan

I was recently reading about Dorothy Maclean, cofounder of the Findhorn Community and author of, “To Hear the Angels Sing:  An Odyssey of Co-Creation with the Devic Kingdoms.”    She’s done extensive channeling with the Devas, the beings that oversee the development of forms, for instance of plants.  These two quotes really jumped out at me because of messages I’ve been receiving from my guides:

What I would tell you is that as we [the devas] forge ahead, never deviating from our course for one moment’s thought, feeling or action, so could you. Humans generally don’t seem to know where they are going, or why. If they did, what powerhouses they would be! If they were on a straight course, how we could cooperate with them!

Why go around like zombies, following this or that external guide when all the time your only guide is within you?

The Magician Tarot card premises that each person is his or her own Magician.  In other words, we all – individually – channel down energy from the Astral and use it to create our lives and our environments.  We don’t need to hire anyone to do it, we don’t need to consult with a priest or a shaman to do it, we don’t need to have any secret knowledge to do it.  We ALL do it, ALL the time. We are creating our worlds every single day, whether we know it or not.

And for the most part, we don’t know it.

Here’s how therapist Gay Hendricks put it:

 . . . one thing I want you to accept about yourself is that you’re already a manifestation genius – I guarantee it.  Now all you have to do is hitch your genius to your heart’s desires instead of your default programming.

In other words, we are manifesting our lives and our environments every single day but, because we don’t realize it and don’t realize what we’ve been programmed to believe about ourselves, many of us are manifesting a load of crap.  If, for instance, you were raised in a highly critical family and your parents were always telling you that you’d never succeed, guess what? You’ll manifest a whole lot of failure because that’s what you were programmed to do.

So step one in being your own Magician is realizing that you ARE your own Magician.  You ARE manifesting your world right now and, as Hendricks said, you’re already a genius at it.  You don’t need to practice because you’ve got it down.

Step two is getting really, really straight in your mind and heart about what you WANT to manifest in your life.  And, yes, a lot of us have trouble with that. It can go something like this:

What I want more than anything is to be happy.  And to get into Debbie’s pants. Of course, Debbie makes fun of me and we’re really not compatible so if we have a relationship I won’t be happy.  I could lie to her about wanting a relationship and then I could get into her pants and that would make me happy. Only then I’d have to admit that I was a hypocritical jerk and I hurt her feelings just so I could get into her pants.  And that would make me unhappy. On the other hand . . .”

Or as the Devas put it:  Humans generally don’t seem to know where they are going, or why. 

The trick – the Magic Trick – is to manifest consciously.  To take the time to do the self examination and thinking about what you want, where you want to go, and why.  Take the time to figure out what you were programmed to be when you were a child and see if that fits with what you really want to be.  Take the time to meditate and learn to listen to your heart and your spirit guides. And then make your magic happen. Be your own Magician.

Why go around like zombies, following this or that external guide when all the time your only guide is within you?

“Just the Tarot,“available on Amazon.com

Strength as a Force

The Strength card is almost a parable in a picture.  A beautiful woman crowned with flowers gently closes the mouth of a ferocious lion.  The symbol of eternity floats over her head, reminding us that this is no ordinary strength that she embodies.

We all have different images and ideas that come to mind when we use the word, “strength.”    For many of us the image may be similar to the one depicted in the Swiss Tarot.


Here there is no gentle woman, but a muscled, ferocious man throwing the lion to the ground.  No doubt he ripped it’s head off and wore it for a top hat to remind every one of how butch he was.

That’s definitely NOT the concept of Strength that the Waite Tarot is trying to convey, nor is it in keeping with the images from the oldest Tarot decks.  This type of Strength has nothing to do with brute force and much more to do with love.

And that can be very hard for many of us to wrap our heads around:  love as Strength.

But even stranger is the concept of love as a Force, as it’s portrayed in the Marseille deck La Force.


Therapist and self-help author Gay Hendricks gives this advice:  “If you really want to change something love and accept it just the way it is.”  And that implies something quite a bit stronger than just the surface of the statement.  It implies that love can physically change things.

If you’re confronted with a bully, love him and he’ll change.

If you’re having hard times financially, love it and it will change.

If you’re having marriage problems, love it and it will change.

This isn’t just a matter of, “mere,” attitude adjustment, either.  It’s not learning how to feel better about something that stinks. It ACTUALLY changes things when you love them.

Which means that love is a force.  Or to put it another way, love is an energy.  It’s something that you can feel and something that can be projected into your world to make things better for you.

You can also approach that concept by examining some other emotional energies like hate or anger or pain.  If you walk into a room where there’s just been a really angry argument you can feel it. The anger is palpable even after the people who argued are gone.  If you meet a really negative person your first reaction is, “Boy, does HE have bad vibes.” If you walk into a slaughter house or a county jail the energy can literally make you sick to your stomach.

On the other hand, if you walk into a meditation center you immediately feel calmed and soothed by the energy that’s being generated there.

I got a wonderful tip from family therapist and counselor Jil Chipman:  “You can be happy any time that you choose to be.”

If we practice mindfulness then emotions can become a choice rather than random forces that batter us around.  We can sit and think about things that make us happy and literally become happy people at that moment. And there’s an energy and vibration that goes with happiness that we emanate when we are in that state.

In the same sense, if we think of things that we love we become loving people at that moment and there is an energy and a vibration that we emanate when we are in that state.

We are literally generating an energy which we call love and it’s literally a physical force that can change things for the better.  And that’s Strength.