Archive for April, 2010

2010 Readers Studio Report: Part Three

Imagine my excitement when the Saturday afternoon presenter, Mary Greer, combined two of my favourite things, tarot and circle!  Mary is the author of many books, most of them on tarot.  She’s also a terrific mentor and friend to many of us.

We began by asking, “What do I most need to look at in my life right now?” and drawing two cards from our face-down deck.  From the Tarot of the Spirit, I chose the 9 of Earth and the 5 of Wind.  After brainstorming on our own about what the issue/question might be, we moved around the room to gather ideas from other people.  The issue of how to make stormy communications more stable carried a lot of energy for me, so I decided to pose this question as the basis of my circle exploration: “How can I stabilise myself during communications that I perceive as tempestuous?”

Then we gathered in small circular groups of five people each.  Throughout the workshop, one could keep the same question for the entire duration or change questions to get different perspectives.  I allowed people’s tarot-based responses to lead me to fresh questions as I went along.  As the afternoon progressed, Mary guided us through various suggestions for all questioners and respondents.  Some of these were:

  • Respond from noticing the first thing on the card that catches your eye.
  • Ask your question in your mind only.
  • Let the card suggest a metaphor, aphorism, or common saying.
  • Respond with, “The lesson of this card is…”
  • and many more

Every activity was done as a round by each circle, taking us trustingly deeper into a blend of intuition and intellect each time.  New questions for me that emerged from this process were:

  • What generous offering would be helpful for me to make in my communications?
  • What does appropriate time and space for listening look like for me?
  • How can I empty myself in order to listen?
  • What does selflessness look like for me?
  • What is the gift that I am?

At the end, we took note of what suggestions and insights seemed most helpful or relevant to us.

A deep bow of gratitude to Mary for taking us through this circular tarot journey and another deep bow of gratitude for my Saturday afternoon circlemates for their compassion, wisdom, and humour.

So, dear reader, what do you most need to look at in YOUR life right now?  What card(s) most look/feel like that?  What question(s) can crack open your situation and cause you to evolve?  With what fun, unusual, or creative process/tool can you approach this question so it will open up possibilities?  Whom do you trust to witness this process, and why?  

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2010 Readers Studio Report: Part Two

On Saturday morning, we attended a presentation by Robert M. Place, an artist, historian, and tarot consultant who has created many decks, including the well-loved Alchemical Tarot.  He also fashions incredible pieces of jewellery.

Our time with Bob gave us two gifts.  The first of these was how to read three cards as one by noticing the flow of energy/events/gestures in the images.  He began to do this to create a sort of “dream” to read and to get the ego out of the way when consulting the tarot.  Any spread position that Bob reads has three cards in it.  For him, it’s all about patterns and energy flow.

There are seven patterns in which groups of three cards can turn up: linear, choice, meeting, central origin, central destination, central problem, and central teacher.  Sometimes two or more of these patterns may be present in any one trio.  This is an excellent way to find the richer story in any layout.

Bob’s principle reason for using the tarot is for healing.  To that end, he devised the Seven Soul Centres Spread, which is based on the seven planets of the ancient cosmology, these planets’ spheres and their correspondences to human body parts and the seven soul centres (almost like chakras), and Pythagoras’ capacity to heal people by restoring their connection to the spheres (think “music of the spheres”).

The Seven Soul Centres Spread contains 21 cards which might be daunting at first glance.  However, if you remember that we’re reading trios of cards rather than individual pasteboards, in essence it’s really only a seven-card layout.  Through this spread, one is able to explore the process of individuation in order to journey from survival and tribal mind to the higher group, the cosmic mind, and one’s destiny.  May we all do so with grace!

So, friends, how do you recognise flow in your life?  How do you know it’s stagnant or blocked?  What can you do about it?  When do you feel most aligned with Life?  What might your destiny be?  What does the path to that destiny look like?  Please tell us; we’re listening.

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2010 Readers Studio Report: Part One

The difference between a Master and an ordinary person lies not in what happens to them in their life, but in how they respond to what happens.

This quote launched us into the Readers Studio’s first key workshop, a Friday afternoon session entitled Straw Into Gold by Dr. Elinor Greenberg, a clinical psychologist who uses the tarot deeply, creatively, and enjoyably.

Elinor’s professional yet vibrantly iconoclastic style was perfect for a session about finding treasure in our difficult feelings and situations.  Her Burden Into Blessing Spread is a seven-card layout that helped me to discover the gold nestled in an emotionally charged situation I experienced a week and a half ago.  Elinor’s process of Gestalt Therapy: “Be the Card” enabled two aspects of my “challenge” card to hold a conversation with one another, thereby leading me to the realisation that in situations such as I experienced I have a choice: release emotional content by spewing unconsciously or release it by sharing it consciously.  Very helpful insight.

Here are some excellent quotes from Elinor’s workshop:

  • To introduce people to deeper tarot processes (e.g. Gestalt, Birth Cards, etc.), one can say, “There’s something that I offer that can be of benefit to you in this situation.  It’s a little different.  Would you be willing to do it?”
  • In session, have an attitude of curiosity and not knowing.
  • Have the client set a twofold intent:  1. How would you like to feel right now?  and  2. How would you like to be in the world right now?
  • One’s intent affects one on many levels — emotional etc.
  • An event gains meaning from its context.  If we change the context, we change the attitude.  We have a choice about how to respond to an event.
  • Psychotherapy is a magical act that employs words and gestures to assist in the process of transformation.
  • A “bad” card is a starting point for transformation.  It can help us to clarify where we don’t want to be so that we can be more lucid about where we would like to be.

What comes up for you, friends, when you read about Dr. Elinor Greenberg’s presentation?  What straw in your life needs to be spun into gold?  What card most looks/feels like this challenge?  What is your twofold intent?  What card might represent that intent?

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Some 2010 Readers Studio Photos

As ever, the Readers Studio was wonderful.  It’s a yearly tarot conference that I enjoy immensely.  For now, some photos.  Reports will follow in separate blog entries.

Here I am looking at something (what was it?!) with Mary Greer (photo by Donnaleigh de LaRose):

In the second photo, Rachel Pollack and I have a discussion over a beverage (photo by Joanna Powell Colbert):

Yours truly (dressed as the Hermit from the Gaian Tarot) with Thalassa (creatrix of the Bay Area Tarot Symposium) and Joanna Powell Colbert (creatrix of the Gaian Tarot) (photo by Joanna Powell Colbert):

Here I am with my foundation reading buddy, Eric Pollero (photo by Maris Pollero):

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RS 2010 Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Thursday the 22nd, I’ll arrive in New York and settle into one of my favourite experiences of any year, the Readers Studio, a conference for tarot folks. It’ll be grand to be reunited with lovely friends and colleagues. The workshops are always informative. This year’s key presenters will be Dr. Elinor Greenberg, Robert Place, and Mary K. Greer. There’ll be decks, books, and other tarot-related accessories. And I’ll offer personal consultations for attendees on meal breaks and other designated free times. It’s always a joy to offer my work to fellow enthusiasts of these 78 special pasteboards. Heck, its a joy to offer my work to anyone who wants to join me! I’ll offer a report on the experience when I get back. In the meantime, here’s a one-card reading about it:

What’s the most inspiring thing to be aware of at this year’s Readers Studio?

2 of Pentacles, reversed. I’ll be most inspired at this year’s Readers Studio by experiences and people that:

  • affirm a long-term commitment to our craft
  • value a grounded approach(es)
  • say “yes” to life

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Knitting the Circle of Community

Last June, a friend from California visited.  She knits her own bags to hold tarot decks, so we made an excursion to a wool shop on Queen Street.  While Mary wandered around the store to look at different types and colours of yarn, I stood back and observed what was happening in the space.

Several folks — female, male, older, younger — sat in a circle, knitting things for a good cause.  Needles clicked and coloured strands gradually became wearable items as people chatted with their neighbours about who was ill and needed a visit, what donations were required for a community centre, how to do a certain stitch, or what could be done to lessen discrimination against single parents.  Once in a while, someone would get everyone’s attention just to check in with how they were doing with their knitting project or if the group needed refreshments, then the clicking and chatting would resume.

It was a marvellous, down-to-earth, grassroots, homespun circle.  The sense of shared purpose, the helpful conversations, and just the shape made it so.  The informal group check-ins ensured that everyone was looked after.  A banker, some housespouses, an artist, a personal trainer, a secretary, a caterer, and a stock broker were equals.  Knitting and sharing, sharing and knitting.  The greatest thing they knit that day was community.

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“Tarot for Good Health” Class

On the evening of Thursday, April 15, a few of us gathered in my space to explore Tarot for Good Health.  We began by drawing a card at random from the Gaian Tarot to respond to “What is health?”  The card was the Guardian of Air.  Among many things, this suggested that health could be:

  • a mature state of mind
  • appreciation of the breath/breathing
  • a harmonious resonance with all the elements

Our second activity was for each of us to go through our face-up tarot deck and consciously select a card that most looked or felt like us as whole, healthy in every way, then name the healthy qualities we noticed.  My card was The Wheel, the tenth trump from the Gaian deck in which I perceived these qualities:

  • I’m in tune with my own rhythms and needs and these, in turn, are aligned with Nature’s cycles
  • I’m a perfect, living part of a perfect, living universe/cosmos
  • I am the hub of my own health
  • As an incarnation of the Great Flaring Forth, I am centred/rooted in the Life Force
  • The shifts in my mind and body are reliable and natural

Through guided meditation and active imagination, each of us entered our chosen “wholeness card” to experience its landscape and to meet our Inner Healer.  A couple of attendees said that physical discomforts vanished during this process.  Yay!

Our final activity was to pair off into partners and do four-card layouts with one another: Body, Emotion, Mind, and Spirit.  This was simply an assessment of where each person was in the moment in each aspect of hir being.  If something looked/felt problematic, they could pick a helper card to receive guidance about how to make changes.  The dialogues over these card patterns were fruitful.

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