Graffiti from God: Your Wednesday Word of the Week


By Carrie Sanders

Graffiti from God- SWANK

Seen in Los Angeles

Apparently there is a nationwide graffiti ring in America that consists of 3 taggers known as Bowser, Swank, and Repos. They have left their marks on public and private buildings from San Francisco to New York, and call themselves “CTD”, which stands for “Costing Tax Dollars.” It’s vandalism as grassroots political action and there is a huge following of Bowzer x Swank on Reddit and other media platforms.

Typically I don’t research the graffiti I capture and interpret, but as they have some renown I wanted to clarify that I am aware of their politics and aim. My take to “SWANK” is worlds away from global activism but rather a personal explication based on the unique place in the romantic world that I find myself in.

The 80’s acronym “Yuppie” (young urban professional) may be out of date but it’s widespread use spawned many other shorthand terms in US culture. My favorite phrase when I was married, child-free by choice, and making a fair amount of money was THINKER- Two High Incomes No Kids Early Retirement. But alas, my husband was not a thinker by any definition- he traded that life in to join the midlife crisis men’s club, LIARS- Lost In Asia, Reinforcing Stereotypes.

Which brings us to SWANK. I recently heard this as an acronym for Second Wife And No Kids. Let’s explore the acronym-mystic message of SWANK. Thinking about my life, I expect that I will fall into this category at some point in the future. At 42, the three card draw in my hand makes motherhood a very unlikely proposition- my age, endometriosis, and the fact that I left one of my ovaries in a landfill in Shanghai. In some circles of Peter Pan types that are repelled by any sort of responsibility (I am talking to you, men of Portland, Oregon), this makes me a sort of a golden goose in the dating world. No step kids to deal with! No baby daddies! And I look pretty good for my age to boot. It’s a niche I don’t particularly like, but I have the market covered.

Of course my male cohorts come with their own baggage. I fully expect my future partner will be divorced, like me, and to be completely honest I am not thrilled with the idea of being a step mom to young kids. Mostly I think I would be incredibly jealous that the man I am with shared something as special as bringing a soul into this world with another person, and sad that I couldn’t do this amazing thing with someone I really love. Truth be told, though, I have always been a bit ambivalent about having kids and I am not tormented by the idea of life without having them. I guess I am looking for a SHANK for my SWANK.

And let me just tag this on-Taking inventory and identifying what you want is a step toward living with intention. As the therapists say, you’ve got to name it to claim it. Being open to the evolution and changes in your relationship expectations is exercising self awareness- a political action of its own kind.


Graffiti from God: Your Wednesday Word of the Week

"Pack Sober" - Seen in Krakow, Poland

“Pack Sober” – Seen in Krakow, Poland

At first glance this just seems to be a bit of sensible advice. I speak from experience- you don’t want to spend frantic late night hours on a layover in Hanoi looking for an open optician that stocks your hard to find -7.5 prescription because you have forgotten to pack glasses or back up lenses for a week long island vacation (which you spend in dirty gym clothes- the only thing you did bring).

Sure, you could end up expanding your horizons like I did with a nice new pair of Halloween green contact lenses and Hello Kitty flip flops, but for the most part, “Pack Sober” is a sound approach to trip preparation.

I am reminded of the 2 of Wands tarot card. The image is of a man on a castle between two wands, symbolizing what he has already achieved. He holds a globe in his hand and seems to be considering his future. The card denotes a desire for travel, a new outlook and high ideals. He is planning his next moves with intent. He is mentally packing sober- this is a card of preparing to step outside the comfort zone and head out to the big unknown to materialize dreams and ambitions. At times no amount of foresight and preparation will guarantee that those plans will come to fruition.

I packed with a clear head when I left my home town of Portland, Oregon for a 2 year contract in Abu Dhabi. Life took twists and turns I did not anticipate in the 9 weeks I was there, and now I find myself in Krakow with a closet full of clothes for the desert and the earliest recorded snowfall on record in Poland. As the Robert Burns quote says, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.”

Pack Sober, friends, and when your life is redirected adapt, reorganize, and plan again.

Graffiti from God: Your Wednesday Word of the Week

"MICROPENIS" - seen in the East Village, NYC

“MICROPENIS” – seen in the East Village, NYC

Well.  The Gods presented me with something deep.  Something wise.  Something….penetrating.  and here I am!  Blessed to be able to impart its wisdom – a daunting task.  Bear with me:



We are all created in God’s image.  We have the ability to create.  and destroy. We are all micropenises.  We are all microvaginas. A fast, hard nature (yang), a soft yielding nature (yin).

Go forth.  Spread your seed.

Let your little micropenises impregnate microvaginas

Remember: The Big Bang has rippled throughout space and time throughout eternity, so too, your creative acts.  Use your powers wisely.


Graffiti from God: Your Wednesday Word of the Week

"Gold Poo," Seen on Evergreen Ave, Bushwick, Brooklyn.

“Gold Poo,” Seen on Evergreen Ave, Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Mercury retrograde gets a lot of press these days.  It’s a time when Mercury slows down and other planets whizz past, and occurs about three of four times a year.   It’s actually a restful state of the planet, not a reversal of its direction. In general, it’s a time for the prefix “re”- a time to renegotiate, revise, reorganize, review.

Astrologically for me this retrograde is hitting hard. I am a Gemini with Libra rising- air signs both. A psychic that claimed to see auras told me mine stopped at my knees and I was unanchored to the earthly plane- I go where the wind blows. As someone that moves about this earth unrestricted, I am extremely uncomfortable with anything that restrains me. I am a quick, no looking back decisive person and I resent returning to the past. This retrograde demands a reconsideration of our life decisions, particularly our communications and how we have and will react to things in our realm.

Months ago I wrote about the grimy lunch lady of life serving me heaping helpings from a shit buffet. Now with Mercury retrograde in Libra until October 9th I find myself re-seated at the table of reheated crap with renewed outrage. I am revisiting the old hurts, reflecting on the past, and searching for a new revelation that will set me on a new course after this re-diculous period ends.

The graffiti “gold poo” found on Evergreen Ave in Bushwick, Brooklyn suggests that there is opportunity in this shit show. It’s a chance to reassess the situation you are in and rethink how you want to deal with it. It’s a cosmic re-do: what would be the result if we resolved to respond to our old crap in a new way?

With love, Carrie x

Graffiti from God: Your Wednesday Word of the Week

One-word Graffiti: React. Seen on Ulica Bozego Milosierdzia, Krakow, Poland

One-word Graffiti: React. Seen on Ulica Bozego Milosierdzia, Krakow, Poland

This week’s Graffiti was found on Ulica Bozego Milosierdzia (Divine Mercy Street).

Here in Europe the media has become saturated with reactions to the Syrian refugee crisis. In Poland, a country that is 99% white and almost completely catholic, the debate is heated. Urged by the Pope to provide Christian charity and political discourse, the other side warns of “Islamitization”and a threat to the Polish culture.

Conversation among the people I have contact with here in Krakow reveals strong emotions. Smart people are saying fearful things. The faithful are struggling to reconcile their commitment to the Church and the desire to keep Poland homogenous. One thing is for sure, the mass migration of 4 million Syrians from their home country is an issue that demands a reaction- they’re here, they’re near, they need a place to go, get used to it.

Now, with the Sun in Virgo, it’s a perfect season to reflect on the traits of this sign. The values are respect, hard work, and above all service to others. It’s also a worrying sign that does everything it can to make things work for everyone.

It’s a Virgo time and a big Virgo problem. How do we “React” with Divine Mercy?

With love, Carrie x

Graffiti from God: Your Wednesday Word of the Week

“EAGER ICK” – Seen in Brooklyn, NY

As many of you all know, I recently moved to New York.  I seem to come back to this city over and over again, this being maybe like my fourth time back.  New York is a transitory city, people always move in and move out, therefore each experience here is unique.

The downside is that I usually have to start over, building a network of people before getting somewhere.  Oh well.  I keep hearing this kind of catch-phrase with people living here that you shouldn’t “try too hard” or be “over eager” when finding friends or looking for work.  Apparently this is annoying.

And what a Catch-22.  You’re in a new place – you WANT friends, you WANT a job.  It’s natural to want to try too hard to attain both.

“Eager ick”  no no, NY don’t heart over-eager.  It is considered emphatically icky (“EAGER ICK!”) to LONG FOR things in this city and show it.

I’d like to create a space here for you to LONG FOR things, to want a good life for yourself..  But also remind you (“EAGER ICK”) not to over water your plants, so to speak.  Long for your things, create a space to feel into your heart’s desires, let them go, and see comes back around.  Easier said than done.

With love, Ambar x

Graffiti from God: Your Wednesday Word of the Week

A new feature here at Cards & Stars is sharing a game of divination Ambar and I created in Rome.  It’s quite simple- we seek messages sent from the beyonds in the form of simple graffiti (usually one word) and act as channels to impart the wisdom to our fellow earthbound mortals.

The divine communication can be a call to action, a warning, a prediction, or a significant political, social, or moral point to ponder.  The messages can be as substantial as the buildings they cover or funny as hell.  Once you start looking, you will realize these gifts are everywhere.

This weeks Grafitti from God, “Cannabis Tho” was seen outside the #20 tram window in Kraków, Poland.  It can be interpreted as a straightforward commentary on the current global climate of decriminalizing drugs.  In my fair home State of Washington, legalizing marijuana (and selling it at $11.52 per gram at licensed shops) has added 65 million dollars in tax revenue in a year.Not bad for a bunch of stoners.

More than that, the message of “Cannabis Tho” is a call for us to consider and reconsider- the “tho” is a rebuttal, a tail question, a raised eyebrow to the argument before you.  It’s a pause to reflect on what could be gained by accepting a new position on an issue.  What should you decriminalize and profit from in your life?

With love, Carrie x

One-word Graffiti: Seen on the #20 tram in Krakow, Poland.

One-word Graffiti: Seen on the #20 tram in Krakow, Poland.