My Mother v. the Symbol Cards

A true story. (But aren’t all stories true in some sense?) Anyway… I threw down the gauntlet and my mother appears to have picked it up and run with it. She wrote me a long email (of excuses) which essentially winds up with, whether or not I say no, she’s coming. Which is exactly what I asked for, so I should be happy, right? Sure, sure, I’m happy…. and scared… and cautious… and concerned… and conflicted.

Upon contemplating the question of to see or not to see my mother, I consulted the symbol cards created by MaryJo McCabe, a “highly respected and sought-after Psychic Soul Interpreter” whom the psychic medium John Edward frequently has guest with him on various events, and whose cards John also links to as a resource on his site for members of The Five.


In my own words, MaryJo’s symbol cards* are a modern-day Tarot-like deck, designed to assist with connecting with your higher power/spirit self/guardian/guide/angel… pick your desired term. (*Follow that link to see the pictures I talk about below.) Instead of the Tarot’s archetype historical perspective, the symbol cards use simple every day pictures to represent ideas and answers. I have been trying them from time to time, as I attempt to get into the habit of consulting my intuition. (The next baby step of course will be to actually LISTEN to it.) The question of whether or not to see my mother seemed an appropriate test use of this new (to me) resource.

After clearing my mental space (tiny meditating) for a few minutes, first I asked, “Will there be a positive outcome if I see my mother?

Yes/No Question: The answer is “No.”
Open-Ended Question: Tighten your resources and simplify your
life. This is not a negative card because it gives you direction on how
to proceed. If you want to act on the issue you are contemplating,
move forward, but realize that you must simplify your life, your action
plan, and tighten your resources by removing the external drains on
Daily Message: Be careful with your monies and your belongings.
Stay close to familiar surroundings. Don’t overreach. Keep yourself
protected from hardships or upsets that aren’t yours. Play your hand
close to your chest. You never know who is peeking.

Well, now, that’s pretty clear isn’t it? You would think I’d be done. You’d be wrong. Clearly the answer is “No, but if you’re going to be a butthead and proceed anyway, then for goddamn sakes be careful!” Because I never take “no” for an answer — at least the first time — I cleared my head again and then asked, “Am I meant to see my mother?

Yes/No Question: It is definitely a “No” card.
Open-Ended Question: When receiving this card, interpret it based
on your impression of a mouse, but realize that there is a message
that applies to all. This message is to be quiet, listen intently to
those around you, and do your best to be unnoticed. Mice are very
deceptive and quiet. They are always aware of their surroundings. Do
the same.
Daily Message: Listen. Think before you speak. Don’t try to stand
out in the crowd. Explore the territory as a spy. Watch and listen.

Again, that’s pretty damn clear: NO, NO, NO! “… listen intently to those around you…” Prince Charming, Tree and my best friend are all pretty much saying, “no, we’re not really feeling good about this idea.” Hmmmm….

I considered all that (felt in my heart quite clearly how my mother could be described as a mouse), cleared my head once again and then asked what I thought would be a clarifying question on the entire issue: “Should I cut off all ties to my mother?

Yes/No Question: Even though it doesn’t seem like a positive
symbol, it is a “Yes” card. Trust it.
Open-Ended Question: At first glance, a Cactus card might
symbolize a painful and punishing experience. A closer look reveals
what lies inside a cactus…nourishment and water. This card is a
warning to you, as well as an indication of a positive outcome if
you proceed in the correct manner. If you move too quickly and
with disregard for the difficulties that lie before you, you will be
disappointed with the outcome. If you proceed cautiously, calculating
your decisions with an awareness of the “thorns” near the reach of
your hand, you will acquire the nourishment that it offers. Move
forward cautiously and carefully.
Daily Message: Expect the best part of the day to be in the evening.
Work to stay out of conflict and turmoil in the early day. Daily order
is needed to win the prize. So, look for the prize.

Good grief. How perfect is the analogy that my mother is a cactus? “At first glance, a Cactus card might symbolize a painful and punishing experience.” Yes, I would say my entire childhood was certainly a painful and punishing experience. My mother contributed to that by not removing me from the home at the first sign of abuse. Then it continues, “A closer look reveals what lies inside a cactus…nourishment and water.” What one would expect a mother to provide after all, and certainly there was some of that as well, including beach trips, annual school clothing shopping, hugging and holding. It wasn’t until after I was an adult that I really got angry enough to pull away from her entirely. 

Yet, my notes to myself read, “It can’t be more plain, yet I feel like I still want to proceed.” (Which again reminds me how it can happen that a tortured and abused soul can stay in such a relationship. There is endless hope. Dammit.) So, thinking about how my mother mentioned in an email (of excuses) to me four major surgeries over the past ten years, I asked, “Does my mother have a terminal illness?” (My thought being that if so I should definitely consider tying up that loose end before she moves on.)

Yes/No Question: The UFO card is definitely a “No” answer.
Open-Ended Question: Consider what UFO stands for –
unidentified flying object. It’s something that’s unfamiliar to you. The
question you are considering is not where you need to be, because
it isn’t real for you. Take a closer look at your options and find
something that’s more familiar and comfortable for you.
Daily Message: Things don’t feel familiar today. Regardless of what
you do, you feel like you’re the outsider. That’s because you are. Be
close to those who make you feel safe. Don’t purchase any large items.
It might turn out to be something that won’t feel like yours.

Okay, I hear that one loud and clear, “The question you are considering is not where you need to be, because it isn’t real for you.” Whether or not my mother is sick should not be the basis upon which I decide whether or not to see her. The decision should be based on, “Is it good for me?” Of course, if I knew the answer I wouldn’t be agonizing over the decision!

The following afternoon, I took yet another more stab at it, asking “My mother is coming, is that a positive thing?” (Approaching it from the perspective of not “if” but “when.”)

Yes/No Question: The Snail card is a “Yes,” but a slowly moving one.
Open-Ended Question: The Snail card prepares you to understand
that it will take time to get where you want to go. Things move at a
snail’s pace, so patience, patience, patience. It will take time and more
effort than what you originally thought to reach your goal.
Daily Message: Move slowly and carefully. Schedule some relaxation
time so you won’t get too frustrated with how life flows today.
Regardless of what you do or plan today, know that things will move
at a snail’s pace. If you’re patient and steady, it will pay off. Something
good comes out of the day that you least expect.

So, we’re making progress… baby steps… proceed with caution, but you may in fact proceed… “with patience, patience, patience.” which isn’t a virtue I usually possess, but hey I’m working on it… until the following day when I asked, “Is my mother coming?”

Yes/No Question: Don’t worry. This card means nothing more than
Open-Ended Question: The symbology of death does not mean
that someone is going to die or be harmed. Instead, think of what
death represents – an ending. The Coffin card suggests that there is
an ending or a completion coming. If you’re asking about a change
or move, this card also suggests that the outcome you are considering
will be an ending and not a new beginning. Let it go, and look for a
different or new opportunity.
Daily Message: When you draw this card for the day, your first
thought might be to run…but don’t. This is a great card for you. Now
is the perfect time to complete everything you haven’t completed.
Closure is good! Watch it work for you.

… as in, “put the nail in…”

So, given that final answer (no pun intended), I have relaxed into thinking she’s probably not coming after all, so why borrow trouble? I have also reached a compromise in my heart along the lines of, if she does in fact show up (I have at least told her which end of the State I plan to be in this month), I can give her the polite respect that any member of my brother’s family would receive.