Apr 142014

Each week I pull cards to inspire contemplative / personal development 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.

GaianwheelLargePATH:  Use Pile 1 / Majors and Aces to pull a card for the question:  What sacred path would best serve the group this week?  THE WHEEL invites us to walk this week on pathways of  …

  • The change that comes with the turning of the year in its solar and lunar cycles.
  • Movement aligned with the natural cycle.
  • Awareness of the eternal, the time beyond time, and the vast cosmos that holds us.

gaian two-waterPRACTICE:  Use Pile 2 / numbered cards for this question:  What contemplative practice will best serve us to move along this pathway this week?  TWO OF WATER  invites us to practices such as …

  •  A heart-opening meditation.  You can find many guided meditations on the web.  I’ve enjoyed the meditations at Fragrant Heart; the Heart Centered Guided Meditation fits particularly well with this week’s images.
  • Take a companion animal for your teacher.  Spend this week letting them teach you about gratitude, delight, and love.
  • Especially if you live in an area where spring thaw is happening, go out to a stream, waterfall, or river and listen deeply to the sounds of its movement.  What does it show you about how to be in the flow?

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

  •  Daring to look at and name the truth of what she sees.
  • Having a cosmic awareness that takes her from seeing the everyday tasks to the first flaring forth of time. She is unconcerned that she is passing through on this earth for just a small spec of time.
  •   Being unconcerned about the constrictions of mainstream society.

OVERALL MUSINGS:  Blue!  I am struck by the blue that carries through these cards: the cosmic blue sky, the blue robe draped, the blue wrappings of the barefoot woman.  What is your association with the color blue?  Pondering these cards, I am called to its infinite quality connected to sky and its compassionate quality connected to the medieval blue of the Virgin Mary’s cloak (feel free to see her as the Goddess).  The mixing of these qualities is a bit beyond words, but I am moved by this quote and offer it as a closing here: “One of his tears fell in my mouth, where it became a blue sapphire, source of strength, source of strength and eternal hope.” ― Anita Diamant, The Red Tent



Jun 212012

Welcome to the Summer Solstice Tarot Blog Hop!

 Perhaps you are joining me from Christiana Gaudet’s blog (or make sure to back up to her) on this hop around the internet to celebrate the Solstice.  Be sure to continue the hop by moving from this blog to Matt Williams’

This hop’s theme of Celebrate the Sunrisecomes from Chloë McCracken:  “I am inspired in this title by the yearly practice of celebrating the dawn held atStonehenge in celebration of the Summer solstice. This is the dawn of the longest day of the year, and the sun peeks through the heel stones and the outer stone circle to reach into the heart of the stone circle, to the altar stone. For me, the fact of this stone circle connects us with millennia of celebration of this special time of year.”

Our collective posting time is also set to the rising of the sun at Stonehenge.  So though I will be heading to bed as the magic of the modern technology brings this post to you, I, too, will be connected to this celebration grounded in stone, lit by the sun, and unbounded by clock time.

My offering for this hop is a guided visualization meditation that starts at sunrise and brings you into an encounter in a circle.  Not a circle of stone, but of trees.  This is one of my Journey into the Tarot meditations inspired by the 22 cards of the Major Arcana.  The Gaian Wheel with its trees of different seasons is the direct inspiration and The Sun offers its light and wisdom as well.

Gaian Wheel Meditation for the Summer Solstice.

The meditation includes suggestions for Solstice activities, breath work, chakra balancing, and the guided visualization.  The full running time is about 45 minutes.

More meditations can be found at Journey into the Tarot.

Now continue your hop by visiting Matt Williams.

For a full list of all participating blogs (and in case you stumble across a broken link) visit Inner Whispers.

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.]

Dec 292011

I’m appreciating how the cards of our Journey into the Tarot sessions are aligning with the energies of this season.

We journeyed to meet the Hermit on December 14th on one of the longest nights of the year, the nights still descending into lengthening darkness.  The glow of his lantern was most welcome and reminded us that even as we take time out to be in stillness and the dark, we will be called to return and share with others the light found there.

On Solstice eve, the 21st, the Wheel was a most appropriate theme for the turning of the sun back to lengthening days.  Although most of the guided visualizations for Journey into the Tarot are inspired by Marcia Macino’s Rider-Waite-Smith focused meditations, the image of the Gaian Wheel opened a way for a visit to the Sacred Grove that Exists in Time Out of Time.  The old was released and new visions invited.

Now we have arrived at the last week of the year to find Justice waiting for us.  Although the central imagery focuses our immediate attention on balance, the law, and cause and effect, there is an invitation below these foreground themes to seek greater self-knowledge and step into greater responsibility for the course of our lives.

At the end of the year, I undertake an annual review, looking back through my Sacred Journey Journal to identify patterns, goals achieved and left undone, and the surprise gifts of the unexpected.  I’ve blogged about my experiences here before and in the past few years I’ve been adding things to my process inspired by Joanna Powell Colbert and Chris Guillebeau.

This year I am recognizing this as the work of Justice in that foundational sense of increasing my self-knowledge and taking responsibility for what I am creating.  This is the underpinning for creating an ever more balanced and integrated life in 2012.

As is quite usual for me, it is Rachel Pollack who is a source for this deeper thinking about the cards.  In Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, she writes:

“The Wheel of Fortune represents a vision of a person’s life: the events, who you are, what you are made of yourself.  Justice indicates an understanding of that vision.  The way to understanding lies in responsibility. …  [W]hen we accept that every event in our lives has helped to form our characters, and that in the future we will continue to create ourselves through our actions, then the sword of wisdom cuts through the mystery. 

Further by accepting responsibility for ourselves we paradoxically free ourselves from the past.  Like Buddha remembering all his lives, we can only get loose from the past by becoming conscious of it.  Otherwise we repeat past behaviors.  This is why Justice belongs at the center of our lives.”

I began my year with visions and goals.  In these days of my annual review, I seek the assistance of the sword of truth to assess my progress, to learn about myself through the successes and challenges of the year; and prepare the way for what will come in the new year.

May Justice provide for you, too, guidance and insight at the end of the year.  What does she invite you to do or reflect on in these last days of 2011?

[Note:  The Hermit and Justice are from the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot and the Wheel is from the Gaian Tarot.  Used with permission.]