"The willing, destiny guides. The unwilling, destiny drags."

- Seneca

Abacomancy: Divination by observing dust patterns

I have fan­tas­tic news! Aba­co­mancy is a thing! Finally, all you lazy fortune-tellers out there have the per­fect excuse to never wash your car!

It’s div­ina­tion by observ­ing the pat­terns of dust on a surface—and sim­i­lar to how you might divine with tea leaves or cof­fee grounds in your mug. Here’s how it works:

  • To begin, find a dusty sur­face. This may take awhile. I’ll wait here. Eh hem.
  • Notice if there are any obvi­ous signs in the dust—pictures or images spring­ing to mind (it’s sim­i­lar to see­ing shapes in the clouds).
  • Inter­pret the sign.

Not sure where to begin? Fan­tas­tic! The Lenor­mand sym­bolic dic­tio­nary is a great place to start. Look for the Lenor­mand card sym­bols in your dirt and then inter­pret the mean­ing from there. Here’s a link to down­load my Learn Lenor­mand in 5 Min­utes hand­out, if you need a kick in the pants.

So now I must know, what are your dusty book­shelves try­ing to tell you?

Do not marry a man to reform him; it is worse than useless.

From the Rev­e­la­tion For­tune Cards by The U.S. Play­ing Card Co., 1919

Overwhelm and the Ten of Wands


The 10 of Wands star­ring the Sassy Sibyl with her OSU sock hat because win­ter is relentless.

I can’t think of a sin­gle card in the Minor Arcana of the Tarot that fits my life any bet­ter than the 10 of Wands.  What do you see when you look at the card? Your­self? What do you feel? I feel tired. The way I feel after work­ing in the office all day and then cook­ing din­ner, run­ning around to play­dates and base­ball prac­tices, before com­ing home to clean up and do laun­dry while the rest of the world is tuck­ing itself into bed.

And all while Mer­cury is ret­ro­grade!

I’m not com­plain­ing. I love the work I do. And I love my kids. But dang, I’m overwhelmed.

There are some ways to think about the Ten of Wands that may help, if you’re feel­ing the same kind of pres­sure to DO IT ALL (if I ever write a mem­oir, I’m going to call it, How to do it All). Pixie (or Art, maybe it was Art, who can know, really?) dropped key clues in this card to help us out.

First of all, 10 of Wands dude is CUT. Look at those biceps! He’s built for this kind of work. And you don’t get that by sit­ting around and then sud­denly hav­ing the world drop into your arms. He’s been prepar­ing for this moment for a long time, all his life maybe. And now that he’s got an arm­ful, he’s able and deter­mined to not drop anything.

Those sticks are sprout­ing. Look! Lit­tle green shoots. It’s not like he’s car­ry­ing this stuff for noth­ing. These are going to grow into some­thing amaz­ing. The effort put into the long haul is going to pay off.

He’s going some­where. Not only that, he’s going to what looks like a cas­tle. I don’t know about you guys, but if I get to go to a cas­tle, I’ll carry some pretty heavy shit. Let me re-illustrate for you so the goal is more obvious:


Worth it, right?

But the last lit­tle thing I’ll point out about the 10 of Wands is that our heavy lifter picked up this bur­den delib­er­ately. There was a method to the madness—see how the wands are crossed so they don’t slip out of his hands? It’s hard as hell, sure, but attack­ing your to-do list with a sense of inten­tion and an out­look for the big­ger pic­ture makes the load seem a lit­tle lighter.

Not con­vinced?

I know, you’re think­ing, “But Mel, I don’t want to be over­whelmed. I don’t want to carry heavy crap around all day long! I’m a del­i­cate Dowa­ger Countess!”

I hear you. And that’s the other side of the Ten of Wands. This card is about commitments—and while run­ning around and pick­ing up sticks, one of the things we might have inad­ver­tently com­mit­ted our­selves to, is being over­whelmed.

When you draw the Ten of Wands in a read­ing, consider:

  • What am I car­ry­ing? Just how much am I weighed down?
  • How have I pre­pared myself to han­dle this? (Don’t worry about how you’re not pre­pared, that’s not help­ful. Besides, you can make it up as you go along, so long as you keep going.)
  • What’s the end goal? Why am I doing all that I’m doing?

You’ll have a pretty good idea by that point if you’re actu­ally work­ing out of stead­fast deter­mi­na­tion, or over-committed to goals that won’t serve you. That hap­pens to me some­times. A com­mit­tee, a book club, or even a new job sounds really good in the moment, but if I’m not care­ful to exam­ine my moti­va­tions and inten­tions, I can eas­ily over­stretch myself. Then the card becomes about set­ting bound­aries and know­ing when it’s appro­pri­ate to say, “No thanks!” and walk away.

Luck­ily the Tarot has a few exam­ples we can fol­low down that route too, which I will present here with­out fur­ther com­men­tary at this point (I’m sure I’ll cir­cle back to these cards later). Feel free to use these mantras as needed.



Let’s talk in the com­ments:
How do you han­dle over­whelm? When you’re in a Ten of Wands sit­u­a­tion, what’s your cop­ing strategy?

How do you keep over­whelm at bay?

Wordless Wednesday

In the depths of win­ter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invin­ci­ble summer.

Albert Camus