Archive for May, 2010

Repeated Card

Time with the tarot gets exciting when delightfully quirky things happen as they did this morning while I was working with a client.  We used a six-card layout (see below) twice; once to explore option A (“What if I go ahead with this idea?”) and again to explore option B (What if I decide to let this idea go?”).  Both times, the 7 of Wands reversed came up in the first position (hir motivation).  The idea of this person as a laboratory of hir own life, self-esteem, and growth as well as experimenting with who s/he might be was hir motivation for both options.  Ha!  We both laughed for a couple of minutes or so when the same card turned up in the same position for both layouts.  It seemed to me/us that the motivation, with or without Options A or B, was the greater learning.

Here’s the layout we used for each option:


4                                        5

2                           3


  1. My motivation for pursuing this option.
  2. The advantages of pursuing this option.
  3. The disadvantages of pursuing this option.
  4. Resources that could support me if I pursue this option.
  5. Blocks that could hinder me if I pursue this option.
  6. How I’ll most likely feel about pursuing this option by [chosen time frame or date].

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The Subtle Power of an Open-Ended Question

We’re so accustomed to a mindset of fixing, advising, convincing, selling, and making people “see the light” that advice and other “helpful” tidbits just pop out of our mouths before we have time to consider whether or not the other person or group has even asked for it.  I still catch myself doing it, but I’m getting better. 

When I’m tempted to blurt out some wise morsel because I think I know how to solve someone’s dilemma, it helps me to pause, take a breath, and either stay silent or ask an open-ended question, usually beginning with “how” or “what”.  I need to be careful that the question isn’t a quick-fix in disguise.

So, I’ll try not to say to my friend,”You need to see a therapist,” or asking the not-helpful question, “Have you considered seeing a therapist?”  Instead, I might ask hir, “What supportive resources are currently around you?” or “How have you considered dealing with this?”  So my question doesn’t sound loaded to a particular option, I’ll try not to have my own solution in mind as I ask this.

This morning, I saw a bumper sticker that declared, “You need Jesus Christ!”  A more constructive bumper sticker might read,”What spiritual sustenance is available to you?” or “How do you nourish yourself spiritually?”, thereby allowing the reader to decide for hirself who or what hir spiritual partner(s) is.

Whether in circle of peers, in a tarot session, in heartfelt conversation with a dear one, or writing on this blog, I’m aware that questions keep possibility open.  Definitive statements close the door in our faces.

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Happy World Tarot Day!

May 25 is World Tarot Day, initiated by Den Elder in 2003.  Here in Ontario, it follows on the heels of Victoria Day.  Fireworks galore for both!

I imagine that many versions of Trump XXI, the World/Universe, could be an emblem for World Tarot Day.  In his very good book, The Way of Tarot, Alejandro Jodorowsky makes an excellent case for this final Major card as a map of the entire deck.  The dance in the mandorla is spirit/soul/consciousness/the Majors while each of the four creatures in the corners is one of the suits and its qualities.  In addition, it’s the World…duh! 

The tarot and I have been dancing together for almost 31 years and we’re still on very friendly terms.  I’m continually fascinated by how many processes, philosophies, systems, and techniques can be partnered with this pack of friendly pasteboards.  It’s contributed immensely to my own maturation, growth, and healing on many levels.  It’s provided me with a career that I enjoy.  It’s opened up the avenues of circle process, ceremony, dreamwork, archetypal psychology, goddess spirituality, deeper journal writing, and much, much more.  As Mary Greer said to us the the recent Readers Studio, one can receive a superb liberal arts education if one follows the threads that lead out of the tarot.  Wow!

So please join me as I raise a glass to the tarot, my dear companion, witness, helper, and projective wisdombook for more than three decades.  Hip-hip-hooray!

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Please Don’t Fix Me

Last weekend, my friend Bev and I co-hosted/co-taught a PeerSpirit circle process training.  One of the things we emphasise is that nobody needs to be fixed, advised, put on the straight and narrow, repaired, made better, or whatever synonym for these you might have.  If a person doesn’t ask for our input in a circle-based gathering, they neither want nor need it.  Their own soul is wise.  Their own inner teacher is present in the circle.  What they need will emerge in its time from their inner self.  The inner self might be cued by something that the person hears from another circle participant or it might generate this wisdom in another manner.  The simple act of witnessing the person, sitting with them consciously, and trusting hir wisdom is what the person needs.  From time to time a well-placed open-ended question might be helpful, but no fixing.

How might we apply this concept outside of “official” circles?  What might a chit-chat become if we let silence bloom between us and the friend who’s with us that we so desparately wish to fix?  Who might they become?  Who might we become?  Let us know how it works, folks.

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Circle Practicum Prep

I pin my hopes to quiet processes and small circles, in which vital and transforming events take place.    — Rufus Jones

This evening, Bev and I will begin to enter our Spring Circle Practicum with a group of seven attendees.  The experience will last until Sunday at 5:00 p.m., immersing us in the archetype of circle and steeping us in council mind.

Yesterday, we filled folders with handouts, laid out council shawls for people to choose from, went over the order of things to double check timing and other logistics, and set out relevant books, binders, and booklets for people to peruse during breaks.

Today, we’ll create the centrepiece (I think we’ll use a lot of community/circle imagery from the Gaian Tarot for this), arrange nine chairs in a circle around it, lay a filled folder on each chair, go over last minute notes, do some personal journalling, get sage ready for smudging, and be ready to welcome folks as they arrive.

This weekend’s group will be wonderfully diverse.  Circle will be carried into our world in many ways by the time Sunday rolls around.  I look forward to the experience.  Please, dear readers, hold us all in your best thoughts so that the benefits of PeerSpirit circling will ripple out into our various communities in good ways.  Blessed be!

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Mother’s Day and the Empress

Today is Mother’s Day.  I appreciate my mother Margaret and my step-mother Sue.  Both of them did a great job of modelling how to be oneself, thereby encouraging me to do the same.  Humour, fairness, hospitality, and a no-b.s. way of being are some of the gifts I’ve inherited from them.  Thank you! 

I’m grateful also for the Earth, our Great Mother, from whom we all emerged and who sustains life even in spite of the way She’s been treated.  Talk about unconditional love.  Thank you!

For me, a tarot card that speaks of “mother” is the Empress.  Her qualities of nurturing, caretaking, fertility, and safety radiate from most Empress images.  We need to remember that she IS an empress — strong, in charge, a ruler.  Mothers can be fierce protectors, truth-tellers, and warriors.  Some people have experienced the shadow qualities of the Empress card — smothering, doting, overprotecting, and controlling.  How very fortunate that my own Empress experiences with both mother figures, while not always smilingly perfect, have been lovingly constructive in my formation.  Thank you!

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Third Precept: Be Humble/Grateful

Depending on the translation one uses, the third of the reiki precepts can be:

  • be humble
  • be grateful
  • show gratitude

To be humble is not to debase oneself by bowing and scraping unworthily before some real or imagined being.  Rather, “humble” has the same roots as humour, humus (soil/composted “stuff”), and human.  To be humble is to be light, earthy, grounded, and oneself.  I’ve often said, “There’s no healthy alternative to being yourself.”  When I’m humble, I realise that I’m connected with all of life; therefore, I respect it more.  I remember that I don’t have to do it all myself; it’s OK to request assistance.  I become aware that when I offer a treatment to someone, the energy and the person’s own bodymind wisdom are the healers while I’m simply the one who introduces them to one another.  To be humble is to be grateful for what is.

To be grateful keeps me closer to what some might call a state of grace.  I’m happier, healthier, productive, and generally a good person to be around.  Gratitude grounds me in the present.  If I can appreciate the beauty of the lilac bush, the flavour of a pasta sauce, the fact that I have use of all my senses, or the presence of a good friend, then I’m at ease.  I don’t get caught up in what might be, could be, should be, etc.  Gratitude keeps me receptive to Life’s good things.  Awareness of what’s good in the moment keeps my “good things radar” turned on.  Opportunities and blessings become more apparent.  When I say “thank you” for something, the giver is given the gift of appreciation.  S/He wants to give more.

So, for today only, I’m humble and grateful.

What about you, folks?  What does humility mean for you?  What about gratitude?  What gifts might humility and gratitude grant you in your life?  We’re listening.

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I don’t often get to the evening breakout sessions at the Readers Studio because I’m often offering private tarot consultations to people at those times.  This year, I made a point to take no appointments on Saturday evening because Joanna Powell Colbert’s session on the Gaian Tarot was something I really wanted to attend.  Joanna is a splendid artist, devotee of Nature/Goddess, and marvellous tarot consultant as well as a warm, intelligent, and sweet person (can you tell we’re friends?).

Joanna’s presentation was simple, direct, and helpful in creating a deeper relationship with her tarot deck, which is fast becoming one of my primary sets of cards for use in consultations, circles, ceremony, and journalling. 

The slide show compared three RWS Majors and their Gaian counterparts.  I LOVE that the Chariot is a Canoe!  The images also gave us a taste of the structure of the Minors as well as a good sense of how Joanna created each card, from photos to sketches, to painting with coloured pencils.  Wow!

Joanna then offered a three-card reading to one of the attendees, asking for input from all attendees.  Good guidance emerged from the discussion around each card’s picture.

We concluded by asking the question, “What is the best thing I can do for Gaia at this time?” and each pulling a card from the Gaian Tarot.  It became a council of colour and word as we shared thoughts with one another in an honest, heartfelt manner.  My own card was the Magician, which suggested that I be a conscious transformer of consciousness who helps people discern truths ecstatically so that we can all leave a legacy of walking our talk.  Whew!

What’s the best thing YOU can do for Gaia at this time?  What creation are you called to bring into reality?  How will the Earth be a part of that creation?  From what tradition do you come?  What is its modern counterpart?  How do you reconcile the two?  Please let us know, dear friend.

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