Daily Archives: May 30, 2012

Lessons In Tarot – Lesson 8(b): The Question Tarot Reading

Lesson 8(b)

The Question Tarot Reading

A Step-By-Step Procedure

Here are the steps for a tarot reading you do for yourself based on a written question. (See lesson 8.)

  1. To begin, have ready:
    1. your written question
    2. your tarot cards
    3. the layout for the spread you have chosen
    4. the card and spread information pages, if desired
  2. Setting the mood
    1. Prepare the environment according to personal preference.
    2. Sit down with some empty space in front of you.
    3. Relax and still your mind. Breathe deeply several times.
  3. Asking your question
    1. Remove cards from container.
    2. Hold cards cupped in one hand. Place other hand on top.
    3. Close your eyes.
    4. Say on opening statement out loud, if you wish.
    5. Read your question out loud, or say it from memory exactly as written.
  4. Shuffling the cards
    1. Shuffle the cards until you feel ready to stop.
    2. Concentrate on your question while shuffling, but without strain.
  5. Cutting the cards
    1. Place cards face down in front of you with short edge toward you.
    2. Cut the deck in one unplanned action as follows:
      1. Grab some number of cards from the complete pile.
      2. Drop this smaller pile to the left.
      3. Grab part of this second pile. Drop this third pile to the left.
      4. Regroup cards into one pile in any fashion.
  6. Laying out the cards
    1. Hold cards in your hand with short edge toward you.
    2. Turn over the top card as you would turn the page of a book.
    3. Lay out cards according to the spread you have chosen.
    4. Turn reversed cards around if you are not using them.
  7. Responding to the cards
    1. Note your responses to individual cards.
    2. Note your response to the whole pattern of cards.
  8. Analyzing the cards
    1. Analyze individual cards:
      1. Find the information page for the card.
      2. Read over keywords and actions.
      3. Look for actions that hit home.
      4. Write down thoughts and feelings, if you wish.
      5. Consider card orientation – upright or reversed?
    2. Analyze card relationships.
    3. Use principles of interpretation.
    4. Note additional insights.
  9. Creating the story
    1. Tell your story spontaneously out loud.
    2. Tape your story, if you wish.
  10. Writing the summary statement
    1. Think about the theme or message in your reading.
    2. Answer your question in a written summary statement (1-2 sentences).
  11. Finishing up
    1. Write down the cards and their positions.
    2. Clear the deck.
    3. Gather the cards together.
    4. Hold cards cupped in one hand. Place other hand on top.
    5. Close your eyes.
    6. Say out loud what you have learned from this reading.
    7. Express gratitude to your Inner Guide.
    8. Put cards back into container.
    9. Restore environment if necessary.
  12. Using what you have learned
    1. Decide on one or two actions to take based on the reading.
    2. Write down intended actions.
    3. Relate developments in situation to the reading.
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Lessons In Tarot – Lesson 8(a): Shuffling Methods

Lesson 8(a)

Shuffling Methods

  1. Card Player’s Method
    The Card Player’s Method is commonly used to shuffle everyday playing cards. Hold about half the cards face down in each hand and intermingle them as they drop to the surface of the table. This technique mixes the cards thoroughly, but it can be awkward because most tarot cards are bigger than normal. This method is also hard on your cards. They tend to form a bend in the middle. The Card Player’s Method is effective, but somewhat mechanical in spirit. 
  2. Insertion Method
    Hold about half the deck in each hand, and insert one half in a scattered fashion down through the other half. You can hold the cards on their long or short side. This method is fast, efficient and composed with a lot of hand-to-card contact. Be careful with the edges as they can fray over time. 
  3. Cowie Push/Put Method
    In Tarot for Successful Living, Norma Cowie describes her push/put shuffling method. Her technique thoroughly mixes the cards with maximum hand contact and little or no damage. Hold the deck face down in your dominant hand. Push some cards from the top with your thumb into the other hand. Then, push again, but this time to the bottom of the new pile. Continue alternating a push to the top, then one to the bottom until all the cards have been transferred. At this point, put the entire deck back into your dominant hand and start over. This method can be difficult at first. You may push too many or drop some, but your technique will improve with practice. 
  4. Scrambling Method
    The Scrambling Method is about as basic as you can get. Spread all the cards face down on the floor or table, and start scrambling. This technique creates a good mix with few ill effects on the cards. The main drawback is that you need room. This shuffle also has a rather uncomposed feel which some find undesirable.
To Avoid Reversed Cards: To Encourage Reversed Cards:
Start with your cards all facing the same direction.
Every time you divide the deck before shuffling,
make sure the two piles stay facing the same way.
Every time you divide the deck before shuffling,
rotate one of the piles 180 degrees.
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Summer Vacation? Think Again

by Ashley Lauren

On my whiteboard in my classroom, there was a countdown until the end of the school year. I would joke with my students every day that teachers look forward to summer vacation as much as students do. Of course, I didn’t go into the fact that this is not necessarily because we’re looking forward to kicking back with a good book by the pool, but because summers off afford us more time to work our second, and sometimes third, jobs that we’ve been struggling to keep during the school year.

When the recession started, teaching was seen as a relatively stable job. That’s because it takes time for the economy to trickle down into schools — years, at least. It also means that schools are years behind any improvement in the economy, as well. Furthermore, once the financial strain hits school districts and contract negotiations start, these contracts are generally signed for three- or four-year periods during which time salary and benefits are not negotiable, even if the financial situation of the district improves.

The problem with teacher pay goes back well before that, though, according to the recent documentary “American Teacher.” In the mid-19th Century, there was a huge push to get women into the teaching field. Essentially, this was to save money, because at the time, women could be paid less. To this day, teaching is seen as “women’s work,” and, therefore, as second income for a family already making a decent living.

The truth of the matter is that many people choose teaching as a career because it is a wonderful one. You get to make a real and tangible difference in the lives of young people while making money and earning benefits. However, teachers’ salaries don’t always add up to what it takes to make ends meet in today’s society, and many teachers are either forced into second or third jobs, or decide to leave the profession entirely in favor of making more money.

Although I’ve tried to take summers off, I have never had a summer during which I was not doing some kind of work for extra money. When I first started teaching, I had moved away from my family and was living completely on my own. While I could make ends meet during the school year, I wasn’t saving anything at all, so if I had lost my job, I would have been in serious financial trouble. During those summers, since my school didn’t offer summer school, I decided to pack up my stuff and move back in with my mom so I could teach summer school closer to home. Since I moved back to the area for good, I have held many summer school jobs and, more recently, I’ve started writing during the summer to make extra money. My husband and mother are teachers, too, and both have also taken extra jobs every summer.

It’s not that we can’t make ends meet with our salary. We all teach in an area of the country where we are well compensated for our time. However, when there are always extra things that come up that cost us, if we don’t have those extra jobs, we cannot afford the extras. Furthermore, when you are as active as we are during the school year, it is a bit of a shock to your system to go from being so busy to having nothing at all to do. Part of the reason I take summer jobs is to keep myself occupied and keep my brain working during the summer.

Many people argue that teacher pay is so low because we only work nine months out of the year. This may be true, but, according to “American Teacher” and my personal experience, teachers do not work 40-hour work weeks. We’re in school that long, and then we bring home papers to grade and we plan lessons outside of that work week, making our work weeks easily 60-80 hours long. Since we’re not paid hourly, we make what we make no matter how much work we do outside of school. Also, there are plenty of teachers who would love year-round schooling — myself included — but it would cost already cash-strapped districts too much money to support being in school for the entire year.

The bottom line is that teaching is a profession and a career choice for many people, and there is nothing more important than teaching the youth of our country. It is sad that so many teachers have to take on extra work to make ends meet, and sad that, as a country, we cannot monetarily show teachers how important their work is.

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Microsoft Tops List of Google Takedown Requests

by Kristina Chew

In its annual transparency report, Google reveals that it is receiving more than a million requests a month to remove sites from its search. The majority of these are not from governments concerned about the revelation of sensitive or unflattering information but from copyright owners including Microsoft, NBC Universal, Universal Music Ltd. and Sony Music. All told, Google now receives more than 250,000 requests a week, more than it did in total for 2009.

Just in the past month, Google received over 1.2 million requests for URLs to be removed from its search from over 23,000 websites on behalf of 1,322 copyright owners. Indeed, in 2011, Google received 3.3 million requests for removals; it expects that number to quadruple this year. The most targeted website was Filestube.com, which enables users to find downloadable files (audio, video and documents); file sharing site torrentz.eu was the next most-targeted. Google complies with 97% of removal requests and said that it usually takes about eleven hours to remove links.

As Dominic Ruche (from the Guardian via Raw Story) notes, the notable increase in removal requests follows the defeat of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which was supported by the largest media companies in the world and the likes of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). SOPA was virulently opposed by the technology community whose all-out online protest against it led to the measure being tabled.

Microsoft’s dominance is also its Achilles’ heel: 90 percent of all PCs run Windows and 95 percent of users use its Office software, so these products are “a major target for illegal file-sharers” and indeed, “the most pirated bits of software on the Web,” says Zack Whittaker in ZDNet. Microsoft can only do so much in fighting the “global piracy battle”; requesting that Google remove links to pirated copies of its software is often all that it can do.

Emphasizing that “transparency is a crucial element to making this system work well,” Fred von Lohmann, Google’s senior copyright counsel, notes that copyright holders are overstepping and even abusing their powers in some cases. As he writes on the Google blog:

At the same time, we try to catch erroneous or abusive removal requests. For example, we recently rejected two requests from an organization representing a major entertainment company, asking us to remove a search result that linked to a major newspaper’s review of a TV show. The requests mistakenly claimed copyright violations of the show, even though there was no infringing content. We’ve also seen baseless copyright removal requests being used for anticompetitive purposes, or to remove content unfavorable to a particular person or company from our search results.

Media companies continue to express frustration, and exasperation, towards Google. Says BPI boss Geoff Taylor in the BBC,

“It’s wrong for Google to be wilfully blind to the clear data it has that particular sites are massive copyright infringers.”

“When Google has been told 100,000 times that sites like The Pirate Bay and beemp3 distribute music illegally, why do they come top – above Amazon and iTunes – when I search for ‘download music’? It’s irresponsible, it misleads consumers and if Google won’t sort it out voluntarily, Government should get on with doing something about it.”

Is Google being “willfully blind” — should governments step in and regulate Google’s search? Or should it be left to us users to avoid sites (and downloads) that infringe copyrights?

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Wikileaks’ Julian Assange Loses Extradition Appeal

by Kristina Chew

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has lost his extradition appeal to the UK Supreme Court and could now face deportation to Sweden on allegations of sexual abuse brought by two Swedish women. His lawyers have been granted two additional weeks to submit fresh arguments as to whether they want to take issue with a central point of the judgement or to challenge the correct interpretation of international treaties — of, specifically, Article 31.3 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.

Assange, who has been on conditional bail and subjected to electronic monitoring, curfew and regular reports to local police, was not himself present for the decision due to being “stuck in traffic” according to his lawyer. Assange tweeted “We got the news not hoped for” after learning of the decision, says the BBC.

The 40-year-old Australian is charged with raping one woman and “sexually molesting and coercing” another in Stockholm and a nearby town in August 2010, when Wikileaks was in the midst of releasing a vast trove of classified United States military and diplomatic documents. The women, who were both Wikileaks volunteers, both made complaints that what had been consensual encounters became non-consensual. Assange was present for an initial interview with Swedish police than fled to London,prior to further questioning could be completed. Swedish authorities issued an arrest warrant for him, leading to him being briefly imprisoned in December 2010.

Assange has insisted on his innocence and his lawyers have spoken of a “honey trap” set for him, to prevent him from releasing more documents on Wikileaks. Assange has railed against Sweden as a “Saudi Arabia of feminism.” His legal battle has been going on for 18 months.

Britain’s highest court ruled by a vote of 5 to 2 to reject Assange’s appeal for extradition. The judgement hinged on whether the Swedish authority who issued the extradition order had the “judicial authority” to do so under the 2003 Extradition Act or whether that power was granted only to a judge or a court, says the BBC. Judge Nicholas Phillips, the president of the court, said that the decision “has not been easy to resolve” but was “lawfully made.” Assange’s lawyers are honing in on a “fine point of European law” in appealing the court’s ruling, namely that the judgement was “based on a point which was neither heard nor argued in the case,” says the BBC’s Dominic Casciani.

As the New York Times observes, this new delay in Assange’s extradition case pushes back “indefinitely” any attempts by the US to extradite Assange on charges for his role in Wikileaks’ release of classified US diplomatic and military documents.

 

The NYT says that there have been “frequent but unconfirmed reports … that a secret grand jury hearing in Alexandria, Va.” is preparing a US Justice Department bid to charge Assange with espionage. A 4-page Wikileaks statement, issued some 12 hours before the British Supreme Court’s ruling, has “depicted the decision in London as a prelude to a much grimmer challenge awaiting” Assange than the sex abuse charges in Sweden. If convicted of the latter, Swedish lawyers say that he faces a stiff fine or, at most, a brief prison term. If convicted of espionage in the US, he could face a life sentence in a maximum-security prison.

Bradley Manning, the US army private charged with leaking massive amount of classified government information to Wikileaks, is seeking dismissal of 10 of the 22 counts he faces. Manning, who is currently being held in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, contends that eight of the counts are unconstitutionally vague and that two others fail to state a prosecutable offense. He faces life in prison if convicted of aiding the enemy, the most serious charge. On June 6, a military judge will hear pre-trial arguments in Fort Meade, Md.; Manning faces a full court-martial in September. A Guardian interview with his aunt, who has been visiting him frequently, says that Manning is “keeping himself in a relatively positive state of mind, buoyed by trust in his lawyers and the support of close family and backers from around the world.”

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Quirky Law Could Kill Thousands Of Animals For New Cigarette

by Sharon Seltzer

More than 8 million of the 47 million U.S. adult cigarette smokers have a serious illness caused by smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tobacco also costs the economy $96 billion a year for medical care. To counter the bad press, the tobacco industry has created new “light” tobacco products they claim are less harmful. In order to make that claim, a quirk in the law requires the products to be tested on thousands of animals.

Two years ago, Congress passed a law that requires tobacco companies to prove that any of its products labeled “light” or “mild” significantly reduce the risk of tobacco-related disease to smokers and benefit the health of the population. The Food and Drug Administration was placed in charge of regulating the law. They drafted guidelines that required animal testing to be part of the process.

The National Cancer Institute, Institute for Medicine, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and PETA have all called for an end to the animal testing clause.

The National Cancer Institute doesn’t believe the light cigarettes are less harmful to a person’s health. In a recent report they stated, “There is no convincing evidence that changes in cigarette design… have resulted in an important decrease in the disease burden caused by cigarette use.”

Bingxuan Wang, a toxicology researcher with the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is very concerned about the number of animals that will needlessly die during these tests.

“The bottom line is, tobacco – light or not – poses serious risks to the user’s health and to the health of others. Wasting countless more animal lives to prove the safety of an inherently harmful product, especially when such tests in the past have been misleading, would be grossly counterproductive for human health,” said Wang.

The Institute of Medicine said, “It is not possible to make laboratory animals use tobacco products the way humans do, and there are inherent interspecies differences that prevent meaningful extrapolation of human effects.” Experiments conducted on animals 50 years ago found that tobacco did not cause lung cancer, but that information was obviously incorrect in humans.

PETA said, “In some of the horrendous tobacco tests that could be conducted, rats would be forced to breathe tobacco smoke for as long as six hours a day for months at a time by jamming the animals into tiny canisters and pumping concentrated cigarette smoke directly into their noses. The animals would then be killed and their bodies dissected.”

Belgium, Germany and the U.K. have banned animal testing for tobacco products and Canada uses non-animal methods.

Take Action: Stop Testing Nicotine On Animals

 

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Organic Baby Spinach Recalled Due to Salmonella Concerns

by Ann Pietrangelo

Organic baby spinach, potentially contaminated with Salmonella, is being recalled after a random test conducted by the USDA.

Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, the elderly, and people who have a weakened immune system. In healthy people, it can cause fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), and abdominal pain. In rare cases the organism can get into the bloodstream and cause more serious complications. 

The recall includes:

Private Selections Organic Baby Spinach, 5 oz

UPC Number: 0-11110-91128-5 / 0-11110-91128-5

Package Code: TFRS 130B 1503 KT34 / TFRS 130B 1803 KT34

Best By Date: 5-25-12

Sold In: AK, AZ, CA, CO, ID, KS, LA, MO, MT, NM, NV, OR, TX, UT, WA, WY

Marketside Baby Spinach Organic, 10 oz

UPC Numer: 6-8113132900-2

Package Code: TFRS130B16

Best By Date: 5-25-12

Sold In: AR, CO, ID, KS, LA, MO, MS, MT, NM, NV, OK, TX, UT, WY

The recalled spinach was distributed from Taylor Farms Retail, Inc. on May 9 and 10.

No illnesses involving the recalled spinach have been reported and no other products or code dates are affected by this recall. The company is cooperating with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

Consumers may contact Taylor Farms Retail, Inc. for further information at 866-508-7048 Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm PST.

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Daily Feng Shui Tip for May 30 – “Water a Flower Day”

It’s ironic that today would be ‘Water a Flower Day’ since everybody knows that April showers bring May flowers. The floral most associated with this month is the regal magnolia, a tree native to the southern United States. It’s generally acknowledged that spring doesn’t begin until the magnolias bloom, and that splendid beauty and dignity accompanies every opening bud. This flower has long symbolized beauty, perseverance and nobility. Feng Shui has always believed that the white magnolia represents purity, and that a single magnolia tree planted in the front of the house will bring pure contentment and joy. A magnolia tree grown in the back garden is said to symbolize hidden jewels or the gradual accumulation of wealth. But the single greatest Feng Shui cure for using this beautiful flower is to bring a mate or partner who will also bring love everlasting. Placing a pair of magnolia flowers in the Romance area of the main floor or bedroom is believed to attract a mate for life, and a union that will forever bloom and grow. There’s hope worth watering!

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com

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