Archive for May, 2008

Last night, friends and I attended k d lang’s concert in Hamilton.  Oh sweet gawdess, it was great!  I came away from Ms. lang’s musical evening more than entertained.  Her performance was stunning because she was in a flow and very present.  She was present in her body, present with the story of each song, present with her band members, and present with the audience.  As a result, movement between seductiveness, goofiness, and heartbreak seemed as effortless as moving from one side of the stage to the other.  k d flowed.

It was an exquisite finale to the weekend.  I taught first level Reiki at Lakeside Retreats on Friday evening and from 10:00 until 4:00 on Saturday and Sunday.  At one point, the question, “What do we think about while offering Reiki to someone?” came up.  My reply was to be with the person, with hir breath and pulse.  Really notice the sensation of practitioner’s hand against recipient’s body and the energy flow between them.  Let there only be practitioner, recipient, and Reiki.  In other words, be present.  Then, what needs to flow will flow.

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Getting the “right” card(s)

There are many ideas out there about how we get the “right” cards in a tarot consultation.  Some say that it’s psychokenesis at work, others say spirit guides pick the pasteboards for us.  One person might say that god/dess helps select our cards, another will swear that it’s our autonomic nervous system. 

My own current theory is that it doesn’t really matter which card(s) we pick from the tarot deck.  They’re ALL appropriate for any situation or inquiry.  Since the concepts and images in the tarot are rooted in centuries of human experience, and since we’re humans having an experience, whatever card is selected will respond to our inquiry.  Each card contains a piece of the whole, just like one of my cells contains the entirety of me. 

I’ve often thought that the 78 tarot cards are like facets of a gem or windows looking into a room.  Each one has its own beautiful gleam or its unique perspective on the view.  Then my mind and intuition make the tarot concept or image fit into my topic and question.  NOT the other way around!  This is where so many tarot practitioners get tripped up.  They go on and on about what they know about the card, completely forgetting that there’s a context being explored at the moment.  We need to make the cards fit life, not our lives fit the cards.  In his book, The Creative Astrologer: Effective Single Session Counseling, Noel Tyl says that we must make the planets fit the person’s story in order to bring the session to life.  The same holds true with cards.

Recently, I read the first section of Tarot of the Spirit by Pamela Eakins, a book that accompanies the deck of the same name painted by her mother, Joyce.  On page 17 of Eakins’ text, I finally saw in print in a tarot book some words that reflect the above thinking:

     “Because the tarot is so well conceptualized, any one of the cards will bring you into sharp focus…Any card of the tarot applies equally to any human problem or endeavor…no matter which cards turn up, they will all be correct.  Each card merely provides a distinct focal point.  Your imagination, then, provides the story which binds the sequence of cards together.”

There’s more in her text, of course, but I at least wanted to provide you with the essence of what she says.  It just makes sense to me that one can’t pick a “wrong” card, that our own minds, imaginations, and life stories are what flesh out a basic card interpretation into something real and alive.

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The marvellous Leisa ReFalo has added my latest podcast to her site.  It’s about some of my favourite tarot layouts and about how I design a tarot layout.  You can listen here: http://tarotconnection.net/episode-79/ .  Let’s hear your feedback on it.  Enjoy!

This weekend, I taught a workshop in Beamsville, ON called Journal Writing As a Spiritual Practice.  Over the course of the day, six themes emerged.  I can’t go into specific details, as this would break our circle’s agreement of confidentiality; however, the general themes that seem to be in the field/consciousness are:

  1. Earth/Gaia.
  2. Interconnectedness.
  3. Power.
  4. Conscious choice.
  5. Listening.
  6. Less busy-ness.

In these themes, I hear questions I’ve been sitting with personally:

  • How can I/we hold ritual WITH nature/earth instead of just FOR it?
  • What does moving at the pace of guidance look/feel like?   How can I/we move at that more human pace consciously?
  • What might “unitasking” look/feel like?  How can we do it?
  • How can we balance doing and being?
  • How can I share power WITH others while maintaining my own sense of inner power?
  • What does the voice of the earth sound like?  What questions is this voice asking us?  What song is this voice singing?

Please read the themes.  What questions do they inspire in you?  Based on those questions, what actions might you carry out in the world?

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Version B is my preference.  It seems to be gaining the name “Wellsian Celtic Cross” — cute!  One thing that people should note is that I place card #2 (the other polarity) vertically and to the right of card #1, about half-way down the “height” of the first card.  This makes sure that the readee and I are both clear about whether the card is upright or reversed.  A card’s orientation makes a big difference to me, so a horizontal placement of card #2 doesn’t make sense.  I tend to place card #11 (what guides/holds/supports…) in the upper left-hand quadrant, tilted a bit to the left between cards 3 and 5.

It’s vital to identify the polarities being played out in the first two cards.  This lays the foundation for much of the discussion to follow.  Here’s something to try that I did yesterday.  Ask the readee/querent to imagine being in a situation that feels like the first polarity, then to breathe as if s/he is experiencing it.  Now do the same for the second card — ask hir to breathe like s/he’s in a situation that embodies the second polarity.  Note where in the body the readee experiences the breath and the sensations.  Now ask hir to find the midpoint, the breath that is half-way between the extremes.  Where in hir body does the querent experience this?  S/He can gently touch that body part while breathing the “middle breath”.  This can help hir to centre hirself during the consultation AND out there in “real life” when feeling pulled off kilter.  What tangible activity might the readee perform that has the sense of the “middle breath” and reminds hir of that powerful, grounded centre in hir body?

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Revised Celtic Cross Layouts

The Celtic Cross is not a tarot layout that I use very much.  In fact, I almost never use it.  Its spread positions are not usually languaged in a way that suits me — usually too vague or too jargon-filled.  I’m currently playing with the Celtic Cross layout so that the wording resonates with the way that I live and work.  The order is different than I first learned, but makes more sense to me in terms of pairs that go together.  I’ll offer two possible alternatives for us to consider, play with, and use.  In order to focus on the revised ideas in these alternative C.C. spreads, I’ve been using non-tarot decks such as Dream Cards (Strephon Kaplan Williams) and Soul Cards (Deborah Koff Chapin).  Once the new versions of the spread flow for me, I’ll bring tarot back to them.


  1. Herenowness.  What IS, here and now.
  2. The bridge — how I got from “was” to “is” and how I’ll likely get from “is to “next” if I choose to remain on this path.
  3. Factors that are conscious, known, or obvious.
  4. Factors that are unconscious, unknown, or subtle.
  5. The previous right thing for me.
  6. The next right thing for me.
  7. All that is “me” in this.
  8. All that is “not me” in this.  The other(s) or the environment in this.
  9. Hopes, fears, and the deeper, larger lesson(s) to be learned.
  10. What will likely happen [by a chosen time frame] as a result of this process/journey/situation.
  11. OPTIONAL [to be placed anywhere you choose around the layout].  Who or what is guiding, holding, or supporting this process/journey/situation?


  1. One polarity in this situation (or One polarity in my life right now).
  2. The other polarity in this situation (or The other polarity in my life right now).
  3. Factors that are conscious, known, or obvious.
  4. Factors that are unconscious, unknown, or subtle.
  5. What’s appropriate for me to leave behind.
  6. What’s appropriate for me to move towards.
  7. All that is “me” in this situation (or All that is “me” at this time).
  8. All that is “not me” in this situation (or All that is “not me” at this time).  The other(s) or the environment.
  9. Hopes, fears, and deeper, larger lesson(s) for me to learn around this situation (or at this time).
  10. What will most likely happen [by such-and-such time frame] as a result of this journey/process/situation/choice.
  11. OPTIONAL [to be placed anywhere you choose around the layout].  Who or what guides, holds, or supports this situation/process/journey/choice?

I’d love for people to try these and to offer their feedback.


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Deep Equality

I’m currently reading a book called Deep Equality by Jocelyn Chaplin.  Inspired many years ago by Jimi Hendrix saying, “Life is rhythm”, Chaplin explores the notion of ever-changing, equalising forces that create interconnection as an alternative to hierarchies which divide things.  The central idea is that everything in the universe is rhythmic in one way or another.  I’ve just finished chapter 2, “Turning Ladders Into Snakes”, which speaks of rhythm as the dynamic of psychological freedom and attuning to our deepest intuition.  I LOVE this phrase from page 31:

Freedom can also be the ability to hold, or dance between, the apparent contradictory opposites of full equal acceptance of what is, and the passion for acting to equalize where there is inequality.

Chaplin provides activities at the end of each chapter, grounding the concepts in real life.  I can see using these ideas and processes in tarot consultations.  Ultimately, what a tarot session (or any pathway to self-knowledge) offers is a potential gateway to freedom, to liberation from whatever holds us back from our full personhood.

See more about Jocelyn Chaplin and her work at http://www.serpentinstitute.com/ .

In what way(s) do you feel like you’re in a rhythmic flow?  How does this free you?

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Multi-faith Earth Event

This afternoon, I took part in a multi-faith earth celebration at Eastminster United Church on Danforth Avenue in Toronto.  Daré, the council-based spiritual group that I’m involved with, was invited to be one of eight groups taking part.  What a treat to witness nature-honouring presentations, prayers, songs, and dances from Judaism, Christianity, Baha’i, the L’Arche community, Ruah, Seventh Day Adventists, and our own nature-honouring group. 

We were the final people to present and we kept it simple.  Leslie told a dream she had about the earth colliding with her and opening up her throat and heart.  She then gave a short explanation of Daré and the activity we’d all be doing.  Deborah spoke briefly about all of us getting out of our own ways so that the Sacred could “sing” Itself through us, then I offered a prayer to Gaia.  The assembly joined us in drumming, rattling, and wordless sounding which was our expression of gratitude and a way to send the gathered energy of the occasion out into the world. 

I was particulary impressed by Ruah, an eco-centred faith community inspired by the likes of Thomas Berry, Matthew Fox, et al.  I feel drawn to attend some of their gatherings as they sound like an incredible blend of the best of spiritualities.  They’re at www.ruahtoronto.org

If more of us in the world can gather like we did today, there’s hope. 

With whom do you not usually meet?  Where is the common ground that would allow you to meet?  What might you accomplish by meeting?

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May 1, Beltane or May Day, like Samhain or Halloween, is a time when the veil between worlds is thin.  In October, the spirits of those who have died want to get close to us.  In May, it’s the spirits of the yet unborn who want our attention.  This reminds me that our decisions could take into consideration the wisdom of our ancestors and the wellbeing of our descendants. 

Beltane also celebrates fertility, sexuality, and passion.  I really love the body, touch, sensual moments of delight.  What is my unrelenting passion right now?  How do I feel about my body?  How can “skin hunger” be satisfied?  Since I will never sire children, what other fertile legacy might I leave here on the planet?

I’m still basking in the glow of the Readers Studio, but the post-event letdown is setting in a little bit.  It’s natural to mourn what is no longer, but I must remember to remain in the NOW.  Now is all there is.

Time to go dance around a maypole or two (or three!).  Blessed Beltane, everyone.

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