Dec 232014
 

Each week I pull Tarot cards to inspire practice that cultivates soul wisdom for readers of the blog as a group using the Gaian Tarot.  (If you want to read more about the process, check out Sacred Practices of the Gaian Tarot: The 3 P’s).You are invited to use the cards below to inspire your practice, and, if you like, share your reflections in the comments.  You are also free to draw your own cards and share them in the comments.

Gaian 4-builderPATH:  Use Pile 1 / Majors and Aces to pull a card for the question:  What path would it best serve us to walk this week? THE BUILDER  invites us to walk this week on pathways of  …

  • Bringing shape to the bounty and creativity of earth.
  • Creating solid, orderly, and beautiful structures to support harmony between people as well as between the human and other-than-human world.
  • The Green Man (shown at the base of the pillar), a male aspect of Divinity seen wearing a mask of leaves in indigenous European traditions and also connected to Osiris, the Egyptian God of the underworld and regeneration, who is portrayed with green skin.

gaian five-waterPRACTICE:  Use Pile 2 / numbered cards for this question:  What practice(s) will best serve us to move along this path this week?  FIVE OF WATER  invites us to practices such as …

  • Be still.
  • Tune into what you are feeling, even if it is difficult. Acknowledge the difficult feeling and let it flow, perhaps with actual tears or the symbolic pouring of water.
  • Anniversarial grieving and setting out the Chalice of Remembrance. This is a beautiful ritual described by Caitlín Matthews in The Celtic Spirit. At a holiday meal or special time in this season, all present drink from a liquid-filled glass and than place it with some liquid left before a picture of the one who has died. All then speak to the beloved departed. The remaining liquid is left overnight with a candle burning and then poured on the earth the next morning. “In this way, the anniversary is marked, the mourning shared, and the circle of love reunited,” writes Caitlín.

Gaian explorer-earthPOSTURE:  Use Pile 3 / People cards for a question such as:  What attitudes and behaviors will be most helpful to undertake this practice and walk with path?  EXPLORER OF EARTH  invites you to follow your path and practices with attitudes of …

  • Practicing reverence for the Earth by living close to the heart of nature.
  • Grounding yourself fully in the earth so you can listen for what is below the surface or coming from Spirit realm.
  • Pausing to pay attention to quieter and smaller messages that may offer great gifts.
  • Recognizing and using your awareness of the Earth around you and your own body as a source of wisdom and guidance.

OVERALL MUSINGS: And this week, too, the cards offer wisdom wonderfully aligned with this week’s holidays and astrological happenings. The Explorer of Earth is at home in the earthy, determined sign of Capricorn that we just entered; plenty of support here for planning for a great new year and cultivating hope with legs. The Green Man represented in the Builder invites us to celebrate masculine deity, perhaps in the form of the baby boy Jesus or the Holly King who is sometimes seen in a woodsy version of Santa Clause.  Merriment abounds!  But the Five of Water reminds us that this is also a season of loss and a time for remembrance; those we once celebrated with have left us. Instead of covering up this pain with false happiness, we can listen to our grief, seek the departed, and see again the light of connection. Then we will know a joy that is strong and true because it is woven from the  three threads of merriment, sorrow, and ever renewing love. Merry Everything to you in this season!

[If this post offers you soul nurture, you might want to be on my e-news list to receive seasonal-inspired Tarot content around the time of the new moon and often a gift on the full moon.  Just click the Sign Up button to the right.]

 

Nov 112014
 

Each week I pull Tarot cards to inspire practice that cultivates soul wisdom for readers of the blog as a group using the Gaian Tarot.  (If you want to read more about the process, check out Sacred Practices of the Gaian Tarot: The 3 P’s).You are invited to use the cards below to inspire your practice, and, if you like, share your reflections in the comments.  You are also free to draw your own cards and share them in the comments.

Gaian 4-builderPATH:  Use Pile 1 / Majors and Aces to pull a card for the question:  What path would it best serve us to walk this week? THE BUILDER invites us to walk this week on pathways of  …

  • Recognizing the source of your personal authority.
  • Identifying and setting the boundaries necessary to support the good of all.
  • Working in harmony and alignment with Earth principles.
  • Connecting to the father figures/archetypes in our lives.

gaian five-earthPRACTICE:  Use Pile 2 / numbered cards for this question:  What practice(s) will best serve us to move along this path this week?  FIVE OF EARTH  invites us to practices such as …

  • Doing nothing, just being
  • Dream incubation, in which you set an intention in a pre-sleep ritual, are open to dreams, and record the dreams that are received. Some resources for this are:  1.) Caitlin Matthews has a guided visualization for dream incubation. 2.)  Robert Moss offers many resources for dream work.  3.) If you are unclear about the meaning of a dream, you could pull a Gaian Tarot card to the question: What healing is this dream offering to me now?
  • Learning—or going out and practicing—survival techniques for being in the wilderness. This is an invitation to the literal practices of wilderness survival, but also feel free to apply this idea metaphorically to reminder yourself of the techniques you have learned that help you with the wildness of your daiy life.

gaian elder-waterPOSTURE:  Use Pile 3 / People cards for a question such as:  What attitudes and behaviors will be most helpful to undertake this practice and walk with path? ELDER OF WATER   invites you to follow your path and practices with attitudes of …

  • Friendship with and compassion for all the emotions that well up in you and in others as you travel your days
  • Releasing attachment to the outcome and just going with the flow
  • Knowing that your personal life flow is held in a larger life flow of the planet so you can let go of trying to control things
  • Looking up to gain a larger perspective

OVERALL MUSINGS:  As I looked at the images on the cards, I noticed that all were single male images.  Hmm, a week for male energy, I wondered.  But Earth and Water are the feminine elements so perhaps there is an invitation to take charge and do what needs to be done for the good of the Whole but in a more flowing, slower, receptive way.  Taking charge – i.e. accepting the call recognizing your authority to do something – does not always have to mean charging in.  Perhaps this week you reflect,  float, and dream your way into the form of  leadership that is most needed now.

Aug 042014
 

Each week I pull Tarot cards to inspire personal development / spiritual practice for readers of the blog as a group using the Gaian Tarot.  (If you want to read more about the process, check out Sacred Practices of the Gaian Tarot: The 3 P’s).You are invited to use the cards below to inspire your practice, and, if you like, share your reflections in the comments.  You are also free to draw your own cards.

Gaian 4-builderPATH:  Use Pile 1 / Majors and Aces to pull a card for the question:  What path would it best serve us to walk this week? THE BUILDER (for the second week in a row)  invites us to walk this week on pathways of  …

  • Bringing order and shape to the bounty and creativity of earth
  • Attention to craft and the details that creates stability
  • Creating structures that support creative flow.
  • Embracing your unique talents and skills and then using the authority they give you to act for the good of the Whole

gaian three-earthPRACTICE:  Use Pile 2 / numbered cards for this question:  What practice(s) will best serve us to move along this path this week?  THREE OF EARTH (second week in a row for a 3 card)  invites us to practices such as …

  • Harvest your garden or visit a farmers market, bring your delights home, and pause to be grateful for what the earth’s abundance has offered to you.
  • Work with herbs this week. Perhaps do a little research on healing qualities of common herbs and cook a dish to bring that particular healing into your life. Or enact what is happening in this image and get together with friends to prepare herbs as healing tinctures and salves.
  • Identify which of the women is you this week. Are you woman in blue with the scissors? You might revise some creative work that you have in progress. Are you the woman in green? Pour out your love on someone this week. Are you the woman in orange with the pestle? Take a creative inspiration/idea and bring it into rough draft form. Don’t worry if it is lumpy; just bring it into form.

gaian guardian-earthPOSTURE:  Use Pile 3 / People cards for a question such as:  What attitudes and behaviors will be most helpful to undertake this practice and walk with path?  GUARDIAN OF EARTH invites you to follow your path and practices with attitudes of ….

  • Paying attention to what is emerging in your life
  • Regarding all with an attitude of gratitude
  • Steady work/action with attention to the details
  • Tenderness

 

OVERALL MUSINGS:  Another week with The Builder!  Perhaps he is showing up to cheer us on – or order us to! – to put the finishing touches on that structure that can be a home and support for our creativity.  With the appearance of another 3 card to invite practice, manifestation is still on the agenda.  But this week’s is very grounded in earth energy.  Keep shaping what you brought into being last week!

 

Jul 282014
 

Each week I pull Tarot cards to inspire personal development / spiritual practice for readers of the blog as a group using the Gaian Tarot.  (If you want to read more about the process, check out Sacred Practices of the Gaian Tarot: The 3 P’s).You are invited to use the cards below to inspire your practice, and, if you like, share your reflections in the comments.  You are also free to draw your own cards.

Gaian 4-builderPATH:  Use Pile 1 / Majors and Aces to pull a card for the question:  What path would it best serve us to walk this week? THE BUILDER  invites us to walk this week on pathways of  …

  • Bringing order and shape to the bounty and creativity of earth
  • Recognizing the source of your personal authority
  • Identifying and setting the boundaries necessary to support the good of all.

gaian three-firePRACTICE:  Use Pile 2 / numbered cards for this question:  What practice(s) will best serve us to move along this path this week?  THREE OF FIRE  invites us to practices such as …

  •  A visualization meditation in which, after you’ve tuned into your body and breath, you imagine the sun above your head, then let it slowly travel down so that is before you at heart level. When you breathe in, imagine the sun streaming toward and entering into your heart. When you breathe out, let the sun return to its space before you. You could repeat very slowly for 3 times.
  • Dance with your creativity, surrender to its pace and beat and beauty. Take out colored pencils and doodle – or write a poem with them. Plan a meeting to be held in a different – more flowing – way.  Take yourself on an artists date.  Do whatever let’s your energy flow; this is the well of your creativity.
  • Just dance, perhaps out in the sun and barefoot.

child-waterPOSTURE:  Use Pile 3 / People cards for a question such as:  What attitudes and behaviors will be most helpful to undertake this practice and walk with path?  CHILD OF WATER  invites you to follow your path and practices with attitudes of ….

  • Grace and ease
  • Being in the flow; just doing what feels right.
  • Daring to stand at the edge of vast mystery – because you don’t know you should fear such places – because you know you are always protected.

OVERALL MUSINGS: Actively create a firm foundation for your creative expression and then surrender to the flow, the beauty, the mystery that emerges.

Jan 212012
 

One of the grand metaphors of Tarot – though it is a fairly recent innovation – is the that that Major Arcana is The Fool’s Journey with three levels or kinds of work for our Hero Fool to do:  Cards 1 – 7 represent the development of self and the ego; Cards 8 – 14 represent a turning inward to seek a new kind of wisdom; and Cards 15-21 represent fulfillment of the Fool’s seeking and spiritual attainment.  In 78 Degrees of Wisdom, Rachel Pollack names the levels as Consciousness, Subconsciousness, and Superconsciousness.

The Fool’s Journey has guided me for a long time but now it’s sparked a new metaphor as I’ve worked through the Journey into the Tarot.  I’ve been playing with a vision of the Major Arcana as three circles of healing with three points of transition.  This post spins out that thread of thought and continues the play.

Both the nature and the shape of the journey changed with the shift in metaphor to circles of healing rather than a progressive journey.

The first spark for this new view of the Major Arcana came from working with and re-assessing the relationships between the male and female wisdom figures of the first six cards of the Major Arcana (which I blogged about in more detail here).  I saw the obvious dance between the Emperor and the Empress, but also how the Hierophant needs the High Priestess’ inner / lunar wisdom to refresh the outer / solar traditions he upholds.  They danced between the Magician and the Lovers.


Using the circle of healing metaphor, The Magician represents the circles highest potential and what exists before a split of masculine and feminine.  He exuberantly uses the male elements of fire and air and the female elements of water and earth to make his magic.  The Lovers shows the joyful connection of masculine and feminine and is the main healing work of this circle of integration.  The connection is possible both within a person and through greater cooperation of men and women in the world.

The Charioteer moves forward from this triumph of integration led by a team of dark and light creatures into the next circle of healing.

Using the attributions of the English School, Strength opens the second circle of healing seeming to continue a theme of triumph and most commonly the image of a woman taming a lion.  But the gentleness of the woman is so different from the boldness of the Charioteer.   Some kind of transformation has taken place.

Paradox now makes its appearance as the trickster teacher because the triumph of the first line is following by the seeming contradiction of dissolution and surrender as the achievements of second line of cards.

The work of this line starts with The Hermit who leaves behind the everyday world for the lonely mountaintop.  He goes inward removing himself from the attention and praise of the world.  This allows him to come to know his inner wisdom.  Rather than being isolating, the work here connects to the Hermit to ever changing movement of the Wheel.  From his wide perspective on the mountain top, he comes to a deep understanding of change internally, in the everyday world, and even in the unseen realms and the widest cosmos.  He no longer fights change but aligns himself with its energies.

This alignment with change brings a greater understanding of the patterns of cause and effect embodied in Justice.  Reaching Justice brings us half way round this circle of healing with Strength and Justice across from each other.  The connection is apt as it takes strength to look at our lives and take responsibility for how we’ve triumphed and failed and to pluck the lessons of self knowledge from its roses and thorns.

The deep self knowledge gained from this encounter with Justice may spark a re-assessment that can be quite destabilizing.  And in this second circle of healing the destabilization needs to be embraced.  The Hanged One meets the challenge by turning every thing upside down and being with the uncertainty created by this new perspective.  Action seems impossible.  A new understanding of what is important is in process of being formed.

The old self faces Death and this is the great work of this circle of healing.  The transition into a new way of being requires releasing what is known, both the negative and the positive aspects.  We are called to let them go without knowing what will next emerge.  There is the phase of the Death process where we enter the void.  If we have prepared well enough in the work of the Hanged One, we may even welcome this place of absence.



We are called forth from the void by the rising of the sun.  The new invites us.  We emerge as stronger because of a greater connection to the whole of creation that is in a constant cycle of birth, death, and re-birth.  The boundaries between self and other have worn away.  We have the skills to commune with our lions (who represent both our fears and our power).  While we appear to have control over these beasts, those who have traveled the healing circle of dissolution know that it is through surrender and death that this deeper kind of power flows.

We’ll need that power when we face the Devil, but that’s a subject for another post.

[Notes:  Images from the Gaian Tarot are used with permission.  It’s interesting to note that some people see the Gaian Magician as a man while others see the figure as a woman.  The ability to be both speaks to the Magician as an already perfect balance of male and female.]

Nov 032011
 

My Journey into the Tarot has me looking with new eyes at the relationships between the wisdom figures of the Major Arcana.  Before this journey, I would pair up the Magician and The High Priestess, but as I wrote about in last week’s post, it is actually the Hierophant and the High Priestess who offer each other necessary balance and when their cooperate a healthy wholeness.

So where is the Magician’s partner?  The Magician’s partner is within.  As the number One, the Magician represents the unity of all things and thus is neither masculine nor feminine (sorry to any Pythagoreans out there who classify this as a male number!) but a blending of both.  The prominence of the 4 elemental tools or emblems of the suits contains this hidden nugget of truth because the Magician uses with equal facility the feminine elements of water and earth and the masculine elements of fire and air.

Perhaps this is why my current favorite reading decks all have androgynous Magicians:  Rachel Pollack’s Shining Tribe, Tarot Roots of Asia, and Joanna Powell Colbert’s Gaian Tarot.  In the Gaian Tarot Circle, although it is more automatic to see the Magician as man, were certain the figure is a woman and were surprised that others even conceived of it as a man.

The High Priestess then becomes the Major Arcana to have a gendered identity as the essence of feminine being.  She brings forth the Empress, the physical, life-giving, creative force of the feminine.  The cosmos springs from the feminine receptive to all life.

If we take the first flaring forth as an example, here is a wonderful description of its beginnings from Thomas Berry’s and Brian Swimme’s The Universe Story:

In the beginning was a flaring forth of evanescent beings.  In every instant the universe was fresh, just as a flickering flame’s shape is fresh, nearly created.  In the beginning, the universe was a sparkling.  Nothing endured the beginning except the flickering creativity bringing forth each new billowing.  The intensity, the concentration, the shimmering of the beginning was so extreme that no single being in the entire universe endured it, but each thing disappeared almost as suddenly as it entered into existence.  (p. 20)

But to endure this great creativity needed form, the first photons and neutrons partnered and a foundation for a stable on-going creation of matter is made.  We have entered the realm of the Emperor who brings structure to creation.  At its best his structuring supports on-going creativity and his leadership leads to harmonious relations.  This is possible when the Emperor and Empress partner just as the first proton and neutrons.

The High Priestess and Hierophant show this partnership within institutions and especially within the institutions that transmit religion and tradition.  Their partnership, too, needs a dynamic dance of the feminine and masculine energies and inclinations.

The dance of these two couples played out in our society has been imperfect.  We are emerging from a time when the masculine has led to too much and partnered too little, but in our times the Goddess and earth/green movements have been bringing the feminine back to center from the margins.  We need to reclaim her wisdom.

And we need to make a leap.

We need to leap into The Lovers as an expression of the masculine and feminine integrated within us as individuals and within our societies and institutions.  They need to embrace each others as equals.

The first six cards of the Major Arcana now show me a journey of healing.  From the original unity of the Magician, we have passed through a perhaps necessary separation of the masculine and feminine, but in our times we have been damaged by the false belief that one is superior to the other.  The Lovers invites us back to a dance of equality and joy.

May it be so!

Oct 152011
 

The Tarot’s Emperor loves stability.  His number is 4, suggesting the four corners of a building or four legs of a chair that provide a grounded support.  The Hebrew letter that corresponds to the Emperor is Heh, which means window, a square through which we can look out from a building of human construction into the natural world.   The Emperor has a firm foundation and clear boundaries. Nothing appears to shake him.

This stability is a great source of the Emperor’s authority.  It allows him to be a leader seemingly without his own needs who can concentrate on leading and serving others.  (This stability can also lead to rigidity and that is why he needs the flowing Empress to shake him up periodically, but that is for another post.)

The majority of Emperor images emphasize these qualities by showing him seated on a throne and cards that skip the throne often position connected to a tree.  Here is the RWS version and the Gaian Tarot version


The throne or chair became the symbol central to last Wednesday’s Journey into the Tarot with the Emperor as we explored the positive qualities of this wisdom figure and were invited by the Emperor to sit in a our own chair of authority.  There was a fascinating range from the Arthurian-inspired to the meditation-inspired.  Authority and leadership today is still necessary, but clearly is taking a wider variety of forms that in the past.

Inspired by the Rider-Waite-Smith image with its rams’ heads decorating the throne – yes, the traditional can still serve an inspiration for finding new realities! – our Emperor guide also invited participants to see an emblem on their chair that represented the source of their authority for being and leading in the world.  My own emblem at first was a Spiral (an image of Divinity for me) and as I looked longer the center started to swim and I was looking through a portal into swirling, star-birthing galaxies.  Truly, the imagination can take us to exciting places.

These meditations will continue just about every Wednesday at 8:30pmET by telephone until we have journeyed with each Major Arcana card.  Send me an e-mail (carolyn – at – artofchangetarot – dot – com) if you would like to participate and I’ll send you the details.

You can also turn to your Tarot deck for inspiration in identifying the seat and emblem of your authority for being and leading in the world.  Here is a suggested process for your use and modification.

  • Shuffle and cut a deck as you normal would.
  • Pull a card in response to the question:  What is the source of my authority for being and leading in the world? Explore its meaning with intuitive responses and traditional Tarot meaning.  What does it suggest about your authority?  What kind of chair would be suggested by this kind of authority?
  • Next pull a card that will somewhere on it contain the inspiration for the emblem of your authority.  When you turn the card over see where your eye is first drawn.  This most likely is or will spark understanding of your emblem.  Even if it at first seems odd stick with it for a while.  If it seems completely off, you can spend more time exploring the card.
  • Make it real. Did you identify a kind of chair?  Go sit in it!  Are you finding your emblem?  Draw it or carve it or sculpt it and put it on your chair.
[Note:  Images used with permission.  Rider Waite Smith Emperor ® US Games Systems, Used with permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc.]
Apr 072011
 

I find inspirations for Tarot spreads everywhere and change models often spark such musings. The model put forth in Switch by Chip and Dan Heath provides a particularly concise model that lends itself to a favorite way to use Tarot: the 3 card spread. The model then expands to support further exploration of what is discovered in your 3 card spread.

Weaving together info from many sources, the Heaths show how each of us has a conflict built into our brains between the rational mind and the emotional mind. The rationale mind knows it would be better to put on the running shoes and go for a jog, but the emotional mind wants to sit in front of the TV with ice cream. Chip and Dan use evocative metaphors to identify these two parts of ourselves. The Rider is the rational mind who sits top The Elephant of the emotional mind. In the book they detail how these two have to find ways to cooperate rather than have one dominate as they go down The Path of creating change. (They are great storytellers and have perfect examples. Sometimes it is all a little too perfect in regard to the largest societal changes, but still their presentation of this work offers much food for thought.)

Are you seeing the 3 card spread emerging? Rider, Elephant, Path. I was just playing with the cards and tried a reading out for myself. I was surprised that laser precise insight and the deeper process that it inspired.

Continue reading »