Jul 312009

There are a number of change models that I find inspiring.  Each one offers unique insights into different types of changes we as individuals and groups go through.  I’ll be blogging about a number of them.  Today, we’ll look at Bridges’ Transition Model.

William Bridges, English professor turned psychologist and change process consultant, has written on transitions for individuals and organizations.  He lays out a change process that includes letting go of the old and creating a picture of the new.  Creating the new does not happen immediately so for a while those in the process of change are in the “neutral zone,” and, according to Bridges, this is where the psychological adjustment to the change takes place.  

world-spirit-05067 hanged manBridges says that the neutral zone is both a dangerous and an opportune place where the old is released and new habits begin to take hold.  He cautions that change makers who try to escape prematurely from the neutral zone will fail or fall short in creating the new.  This concept calls to mind the Tarot’s Hanged Man who appears almost in a state of suspended animation.  He is looking at the world from a new perspective, surrendering to his highest purpose, figuring out what truly supports him, and making a transition to death (the next card to come) and transformation.  (The image to the left is from the World Spirit Tarot.  One of my favorites to use with people and avaialbe from Llewellyn.)

This model inspired me to create a Tarot spread for how to work with the neutral zone.

Releasing the Old

Card One:  What do I need to give up?

Working in the Neutral Zone

Card Two:  What is the challenge of the neutral zone (i.e. before the change is finished) for me?

Card Three:  How can I work with this challenge?

Card Four:  What is the gift of the neutral zone for me?

Card Five:  How can I embrace this gift?

Moving Toward the New

Card Six:  What might be coming next for me in the process of change?

Jul 202009

Mary Greer has an interesting post on her blog about a 1935 deck and one of the Tarot spreads included in the little instruction book accompanying the deck.  The spread uses 13 cards, but you only turn over 5 of the cards.  The rest must remain facedown; you never see them.  In the comments, Mary and her readers discuss why this might be so and connect it to the importance of ritual in shuffling, selecting, and laying out the cards for creating the appropriate mind set for receiving the wisdom of the cards.

rider-waite-back I am intrigued with this use of unseen cards because it reflects how change unfolds in our lives.  We can’t always know what change will bring.  Even with careful planning, we can’t know everything that will unfold.  A layout on a question of change where some of the cards remain unseen is a symbolic reminder of that reality. 

 This also makes me think of questions that could be added on for further exploration of the unseen in the spread such as:

  • How can I manage my anxiety about what I don’t know about this change?
  • How can I prepare for unforeseen challenges that might arise?
  • How can I be open to unforeseen opportunities that might arise?

So what other questions might there be about factors in a change process that you can not yet see?

Jul 092009

moonAt last week’s Tarot Playgroup we explored the Moon card (#18) through looking at the meanings ascribed to the card over time, taking a meditative journey into the card, and, as always, reading for each other.

From my time spent with this card, I took away a new understanding of what the Moon offers us in thinking about change and the cycles of life.  The moon cycles of waxing and waning, light and dark are more subtitle markers of change in our lives than days or even a year.  A day (presided over by the Sun card, #19) with its quick passage allows us to look back easily and reflect on what happened, and a year (that can be connected to the Wheel, #10), while lacking the details of the daily, offers us markers of seasons and holidays as guideposts to see patterns of change in our lives and the world.

But a moon cycle – or lunation – requires a different type of attention.  In our modern lives, we can live in our well lighted houses barely noticing the moon.  But reflections on the 28 days of a moon cycle or a month can be revealing.  I use a planner, the Sacred Journey Journal, that has a space for reflection and the end of the month and I have been surprised at how much happens in a month:  often there are dramatic ups and downs, progress and set backs, numerous amazing events all crammed into a short period of time.  To pay attention to this passage of time constructs memory in a different way.  We can note more of the waxing and dark times of life along with what was clearly seen in the light.  Deep memory dwells in the cycles of the moon.

Our Listening to the Moon reading was based on the 4 main phases of the moon.  It could be used as a general reading or tied to a specific topic that you want to explore.  Here are the questions:

#1:  What is waning / passing away (in my life in general or in regard to my intuition or …)?

#2:  What is hidden from me right now (in my life in general or in regard to my intuition or …)?

#3:  What is waxing / growing stronger (in my life in general or in regard to my intuition or …)?

#4:  What is full of light and inspiring (in my life in general or in regard to my intuition or …)?

anna-k-07379Someone brought the Anna K Tarot deck to the Playgroup and it was fabulous to see!  The World card actually contains a beautiful picture representing the moon cycles and it is here for your enjoyment.  Be sure to visit Anna K’s site to see more.

Jul 012009

We can connect with our own birthing and dying – not as two discrete happenings which will mark the beginning and ending of a linear experience called life, but rather as two ever present aspects of a continuous process whose revolutions stretch forth into infinity.  Sallie Nichols, Jung and Tarot:  An Archytipcal Journey

You take chances in life and you may lose.  But how else do you win? Sometimes you have to take a risk to break free of a closed belief system, or to experience a world bigger and more wonderous than the one you were taught.  Rachel Pollack, The Forest of Souls

To accept growth and change in oneself is also a kind of departure, a leaving behind of the safe and the known.  Sometimes we realize the poignancy of our loss only after the fact, but there is no returning home.  Margaret Guenther, Holy Listening