Oracle of Ybor: The old ghost pope is calling you to enroll at HCC or the University of South Florida

And to the person bringing too much vulnerability to friendships: Not everyone gets to have 100% access to you emotionally.

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Dear Oracle, for many years I’ve considered myself a homebody with a craving for wilderness spaces. I am social in my retail job, but perfectly happy being alone for large chunks of time. My dream has always been to explore the wild and find a home in it or close to it. I have a lot of green interests (solar, passive building, various arts, etc.) and would like to pursue them, but have made a living in retail most of my life.

My children are now grown, and I have things in place for the next couple of years, but do you have any suggestions for where I might place the bulk of my energies in the coming years before retirement? Using existing skills or pursuing new ones. I have an overwhelming urge to see green places before our species has destroyed them completely. —Future Possibilities

Cards: Three of Wands (rev), Knight of Cups, Hierophant, Queen of Wands (rev), Ace of Pentacles. 

Dear Future, I think exploring new skills might be just the ticket for you. In this five-card spread, we have one Major Arcana in the middle, ruling over them all: The Hierophant, that old ghost pope! The Hierophant is a card for institutions, and in modern readings, it’s often the call of academia. Have you thought about going back to school? Hillsborough Community College offers classes in sustainable building if you want to dip back in, or you can check out the Patel College of Global Sustainability at USF if you’re looking for an advanced degree and career change. Speaking of which, we do have the Ace of Pentacles, which is an excellent card for beginning a new business or taking a new direction. 

Creative Loafing Tampa Bay is gauging interest in seeing more of the Ybor Oracle. Send your feedback and questions to [email protected] (SUBJ: “Ybor Oracle”)

I know this is something that you’ve wanted to do and something you’ve waited a long time to do. In my deck, the Three of Wands is a pregnant mother patiently watching three stalks grow. We also have the Queen of Wands. You’ve been a great mother, a protective, creative mother. But I think there’s a reason these two cards are reversed. You’ve been in this roll for a long time, and while you’ll never stop having this great maternal energy, a new role in life awaits... 

Which brings us to a curious card: The Knight of Cups. It’s a card often seen for newer relationships, a partner that’s coming forward. However, I have the gut feeling that it’s you. I think you’re looking to fall in love with your new life. This isn’t the say that you weren’t happy as a mother and a homebody. But, as you say, your children are grown. This is a new and exciting chapter! Embrace it! You have an urging to travel and see green and you should follow it. Learn some new skills, get a lust for life, and go west, young girl! Live viciously wild! 

I worry that sometimes I bring too much emotional vulnerability into my friendships, and am often hurt by a lack of reciprocation. Is there some deeper truth here, and how should I respond to it? —Tender Buttons

Cards: Death, Ace of Wands, Four of Pentacles.

Dear Tender, When I was shuffling the deck for this question, the Death card came tumbling out. In my deck, it’s a pregnant creature, about to step on her young. Some things die so others can be born.  Four of Pentacles can mean therapy, so I hope you’re able to find a therapist to speak too about this and about setting boundaries in your friendships. It might also serve you to cull some of those relationships. It’s so difficult to know when to end friendships. They can be just as emotionally intimate as a romantic relationship and often last longer. But the Ace of Wands is a Madonna and child, holding a torch. It’s a creative card, a card of new life. Perhaps you take a step back from some friends, perhaps you move others into a different category. Maybe Heather isn’t there for you emotionally, but she’s still great to see an art flick with. Not everyone gets to have 100% access to you emotionally. But the Ace of Wands is new life, new energy and that energy can guide you in creating some different, but fulfilling relationships—possibly with some artsy types. Good luck! 

I’m a teacher and aspiring writer. I’ve been working on a novel for almost four years, and this summer, after finishing the fifth draft in quarantine, I began to wonder if I’ve made a huge mistake, and maybe I’m supposed to be a business type of guy. —Josey Wales 

 Cards: Five of Pentacles, Three of Swords, Seven of Wands, Chariot 

Well, good news is that it doesn’t look like being a “business guy” wouldn’t have gotten you any richer. The Five of Pentacles shows you wandering the streets, bare-titted and alone, a beggar kept out of the church. It’s not exactly a “Don Cesar” kind of life.  It also would have broken your heart. Three of Swords show that. 

Writing is a terribly long con. It’s a career that largely depends on what a handful of people at the top like and if they think they can make money off you. It’s like being a racehorse, including the shot in the head when you can’t win anymore.

You can work hard, craft something beautiful, but have to wait for someone else to recognize it and cut you a check. Meanwhile, rent’s due.  Seven of Wands shows you’re feeling overwhelmed and lost.  So what do you do? Chariot. You just have to keep going forward. Keep writing. Who knows what the publishing world will look like after this. But you have a novel—five drafts! Business guys wish they had that shit! If you die tomorrow from COVID-19, your mom would have something to push onto publishers!  Whenever you shake off this mortal coil, I don’t think you’ll look back and wish you’d spent more time on Slack.

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