Archive for August, 2009

New Biz Name and Motto?

I’ve been thinking about creating a business name that will encompass ALL aspects of my work: tarot, circle methodology, journalling, reiki, and motivational listening.  CIRCLEWAYS is the name that came to me.  In some way, every piece of what I offer is a form of council or circle.  The journey with the Dark Feminine over the past three days leads me to this motto or subtitle: an invitation to your full radiant personhood.  So the text on the front of the business card (postcard sized?) would read something like:


An invitation to your full radiant personhood


James Wells 

* Consulting

* Coaching

* Mentoring


(416) 966 – 2685                  https://jameswells.wordpress.com/


There’ll be an appropriate image to express depth, insight, and a feel of council, perhaps something along the lines of a Deborah Koff-Chapin picture.  On the back will be a list of services.

I seek your feedback.  How’s the name and how’s the motto?  Thanks in advance for your comments.

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Two Journeys About the Dream

Last night, I attended Jeannette McCullough’s monthly shamanic journeying circle.  Jeannette always has good suggestions AND she encourages us to do our own work, so I journeyed to further explore the dream I’ve been delving into for the last couple of days. 

Into the first journey, I took this question: To what does the Dark Feminine invite me at this time?  The response was: The answer is already in the poem you wrote.  The Dark Feminine invites you to your full radiant personhood.  You’re invited to your own great “I Am!”  Whatever sets you alight and burns strongly inside you is that to which She invites you.  The Dark Feminine also invites you to the resacralization of matter, to remember that the holy is in the quotidian, that Earth Herself is Mother.

Because I like to turn insight into action, I went into the second journey asking, “What step(s) can I take over the next seven days in order to move closer to my full radiant personhood?  The response: Do for others what the Black Madonna is doing for you: invite them to enter and be their full radiant personhood.  Through what you offer — tarot, reiki, circle, and so forth — you can create openings and invitations for people’s growth, changing themselves and the world in the process.  Set others alight and that will set YOU alight!  Share the poem with people who will find it meaningful.  Find an image in the New Tarot that, to you, most looks and feels like your full radiant personhood.

So, fellow journeyers, I invite you to this path to full radiant personhood and the resacralization of matter.  How can I serve your self-discovery, self-healing, and self-expression?  How can I help you feel the fire in your core and flow from that bright centre?  What in the tangible world wants you to remember that it is sacred?  What deep dreams do you need to unpack?  Let me know, and I’ll offer what I can.


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More from “The Woodman Files”

The Dark Feminine continues to weave her creative web of synchronicity.  This morning, I spoke with one of the women who had gathered with friends last night.  The dream, its associations, and the appearances of signs in “real” life had resonance with their group.  This seems to have been a community dream as well as a personal one.

Today’s tarot card for me is Strength from the New Tarot, a dark-haired woman in meditation pose holding two snakes.  Snake is important to this dream because Marion Woodman’s maiden name was Boa and a boa is a type of snake.  This, for me, is about Goddess, the Feminine, transformation, and healing.  The serpent is also one of the totems of Asklepios, god of healing through dreams.  The dark-haired woman in the card takes me back to the dark-haired woman in the dream, possibly the Black Madonna Herself.  The Strength woman’s crossed legs look like an infinity sign.  My associaton with that was that the Infinite is present in the body, the Eternal can be found in matter.  This made me think of two phrases I read last night in the Women of Wisdom book by Kris Steinnes, in the section that is a transcript of a lecture by Marion Woodman (I re-read it to honour the dream and found several nuggets of wisdom):

  1. Our task now is to allow the sacred to pour through matter and illuminate it.
  2. what we have to work on consciously is the sacredness of matter.

Out of all of this, and more that’s not on the blog, arose a poem.  It’s an offering to the Dark Feminine.


 snake emerges from
 earth’s fireheart

        resacralization of matter

 my full radiant personhood
 where ocean and forest converge
 wolf of the water
 whale of the woods

        black madonna hands me
        her phone number, says
       “call me; i live close by”

 brown-skinned sage atop
 snow-crowned mountain, holy sophia
 in medieval menswear drops
 hints by torchlight, saves us a
 spot on the
 dance floor:
“this is how to move
 this is how to
 stay alive”

        resacralization of matter

 one hundred billion shimmering galaxies
“i am
 i am
 i am!”

        and so
        do i


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Last night, I dreamt of Marion Woodman, the Jungian analyst.  A dark-haired woman was in the dream too and handed me a brown slip of paper with an important ‘phone number on it.  I associate Marion Woodman with Jungian analysis, the Dark Feminine, consciousness, dream image as energy, and the process of deep transformation which comes after sacrifce.  She is a true Crone, a wise woman.  The digits of the ‘phone number, through numerological reduction, come to 9.

Today’s card, from the New Tarot (Hurley et al) is the Hermit, which is Trump number 9, Wisdom, the Wise Old One, the Crone, the Sage, a bearer of consciousness to the world around hir.

I checked my mailbox.  The only piece of mail was a notice from the Public Education Programme of the C.G. Jung Foundation of Ontario.  More stuff about Jungian analysis…hmmm…I had a thought: Since the number 9 is so important so far, maybe I should turn to page 9 of this information booklet.  Behold, on page 9 is a notice about a seminar on the Black Madonna, the Dark Feminine.

I was compelled to share my dream and card with two friends over the ‘phone this morning.  It turns out that they’ll be gathering with two other women tonight.  One thing they all have in common is a connection with Marion Woodman.

Yet again, I say, “Hmmm”.  Something is stirring in me and around me.  For true synchronicity to be at work (as opposed to mere coincidence), meaning needs to come of the coinciding events or symbols.  What seems to be emerging from all of this is something about the wisdom of the Dark Divine Feminine.  Let’s see where She is taking me this time.

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My Tarot Book Project Has Begun

I’m heartened by people’s reponses to the idea of a book to guide people who want to work in the Evolutionary Tarot way.  Thank you, everyone!  I’m almost finished one chapter.  It’s one of the later sections of the book, the one about the many ways in which one can summarise a tarot consultation, complete with hands-on activities to do on one’s own and activities one can do with a readee.   The next chapter I’ll write will be on ways to embody the session out in the world.  Seems backwards, but these are what presented themselves to me first; the book will emerge in the order it chooses, or so it seems.

Is there anyone whose deck images I can use for the readings and examples?  Let me know and I’ll use them for the readings that will illustrate the book.

Cheerleading as I continue this writing journey is most welcome.  Thank you in advance!

On another note, I found out last night that the design house of Dolce & Gabbana has created a new line of tarot-themed fragrances.  Fun!

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Tarot Mentoring Booklet?

Our mastermind group met at my place this morning, followed by a pot-luck lunch.  I’m grateful for this energising circle that meets each month!

One of the suggestions is for me to create a booklet of guidance for tarot practitioners based on mentoring, tutorials, and practice sessions I’ve offered to tarot folks who’ve come to me.  I’ve certainly taken notes from all of those, so there’s material for me to flesh out.

I have ideas about what I’d like to write.  What do YOU think, dear friends?  What kind of guidance would YOU need if such a book were available?  I’d appreciate your feedback and input in connection with this potential project.

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Muskoka Magic

Jeannette and I are visiting Jessica in Huntsville, ON.  Such a gorgeous part of our province — lakes, trees, and great bits of rock abound.  Breakfast and dinner on the back deck.  Time with local visual artist Beverley Hawksley (her Madonnas made of clingfilm and sticky tape are fabulous!) and Bondi Village Resort co-owner Nancy Tapley (amazing sense of humour — who else would arrange an annual clam race?!) were inspiring.  The lake was soothing.  And I offered a tarot consultation to another wonderful local artist.  One of the best things we did was to get to know the energy of two contrasting tarot cards in her reading through movement.  By trying on the walk that the 8 of Swords figure would do and the walk that the Fool would do, the readee really came to recognise the choice she has about different ways of moving in her life and work.

Something else I’m doing is making time to read Paul Quinn’s book, Tarot for Life: Reading the Cards for Everyday Guidance and Growth.  Keep your eyes peeled on this site for an interview with Paul.  I’m impressed by the book so far, even though we think of reversals in different ways.

What creative or playful elements have YOU brought into your tarot sessions recently?  What new tarot resources are you dipping into to keep yourself fresh and interested?  Our ears are open and waiting for your juicy tarot session stories and for great new resources!

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Awe at the A.G.O.

Today, my friend John C. and I were at the Art Gallery of Ontario.  In the room filled with Henry Moore pieces, I stood before “UNECSO Reclining Figure” and felt a shiver of awe course through me as a phrase entered my mind: This is the universe contemplating its own beauty.  I gasped.

Here’s a three-card reading to explore Awe:

  1. What is awePage of Wands, reversed.  Awe is a deep dive into Soul and an experience of wild spirit energy.
  2. What is awe’s purposeDeath, reversed.  Psychospiritual death and rebirth that transforms one’s outworn mental, emotional, and spiritual patterns.
  3. What can we do to best experience awe7 of Wands, reversed.  We can raise our internal temperatures.  We can imagine our self-concept and personal spirit expanding far beyond our habitual perceptions of self.

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Structuring Consultations

Each of us, whether offering mantic/insight services to others or doing it for self and friends, has a style.  I have a way of looking at life and thinking about it.  You have a perspective on what makes life tick.  We’re both right.  How we interact with the world and with the tarot is just as individual.  Teachers and mentors can guide us, but ultimately, our tarot sessions (or astrology consultations, or rune readings, or therapy sessions, or dreamwork explorations) take on the flavour of our personalities.  What works for one practitioner isn’t the next one’s cup of tea, and vice-versa.  I’ve found that there are five basic sections to a consultation and that it helps to know what you do in each.  Your readings will be cleaner and clearer and your readees/clients will appreciate the natural flow.  Here are five things to reflect on, journal about, or have conversations about with colleagues:

  1. BEFORE THE CONSULTATION.  How do you set up the space?  How do you centre or otherwise prepare yourself?  What needs to be in place before the readee comes into your room or calls you?  Props?  Plain?  What do you wear?
  2. AT THE BEGINNING OF THE CONSULTATION.  What welcomes the readee?  How do you begin?  What ritual or practice, if any, delineates the start of a session?  Once the person is in your space or on the ‘phone with you, what tells both of you and the universe at large that “it’s tarot time”?
  3. THE BODY OF THE CONSULTATION.  Is this free-flowing?  very structured?  a combination of both?  Do you lay out the cards one at a time and talk about each?  Do you like the entire layout in front of you from the start?  Whole picture or card by card?  a combination of both?  How much interaction occurs between you and the readee?  How do you and/or the readee synthesise the story of the session?
  4. AT THE END OF THE CONSULTATION.  How do you wrap up the consultation?  What tells you, the readee, and the universe at large that “tarot time is done”?  What ritual or practice, if any, delineates the completion of the reading?
  5. AFTER THE CONSULTATION.  How do you unwind, ground, or centre yourself after the person leaves or hangs up?  What happens to the space once the session is over the the readee is no longer with you?  What reminds you to return to everyday life once the interaction is done?

Please share with us.  We can all learn from one another.  Thanks in advance!

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People often ask me if I’ve designed a tarot deck.  The answer is both yes and no.  Yes in that I created a very personal set on blank file cards, based on a process by a former professor at the University of Toronto.  No in that it’s not something I use for sessions with clients or that I would ever publish.  I’ve contributed a couple of card images to a collective deck created by an online group a few years ago (see my Four of Cups below).  I’ve drawn and collaged a few individual cards.  But as far as making a full 78-card tarot pack that I would use with other people, it hasn’t happened.  I’m not sure I have the patience for it.

But if I did create my own deck, it would be round.  I LOVE round tarot cards!  And I’d do away with the notion of court cards.  For me, the journey through the suit has Ace as beginning and King (or its equivalent) as completion.  Gail Fairfield got to me early enough in life that I still use this system.  I’d probably have Ace through 14 to really emphasise that all 14 cards are part of one process.  Any images would be as neutral as possible.  I don’t believe in “good” or “bad” cards.  Every card is a neutral concept.  Only when we apply a question such as “What’s my most helpful resource?”, “What’s my worst personality trait?”, or “How can I best accomplish this goal?” does a card take on nuances of challenge or ease, restriction or freedom, sadness or happiness, fear or love.  So I’d want the symbols to be as neutral as possible.  For example, the Five of Wands would somehow depict change (five-ness) and selfhood (Wands-ness), a change to one’s identity or an adjustment to the role one is playing.  Sometimes that’s hard (a shaky sense of who one is) and sometimes that’s helpful (a personal makeover).  Also, the Majors would be numberless.  The Greater Mysteries of Life are beyond any one system.  Each of us experiences our deeper growth lessons in a unique order.

Perhaps I could collaborate with someone.  I could offer the neutral concepts to an artist and s/he could execute the images.  It’s been done before.  Just think of Arthur Waite and Pixie Smith, of Aleister Crowley and Frieda Harris, of Catherine Cook and Dwariko von Sommaruga.

How about YOU?  If you designed a tarot deck (or any other tool of insight), what might it look like?  What’s the worldview that would birth it into existence?  Let us know.  There may be a creative project in the works of which we’re not yet conscious.

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