Helpers, healers, and counsellors need help, healing, and counsel as much as anyone. If we’re going to be of value to our clients and to our culture, we need to do the work (whatever form that takes for each of us) on ourselves. My own practices of journalling, drawing a card for daily wisdom, and reciting phrases that remind me to be present and choose consciously all help. Sitting in council with my peers and having my words and thoughts mirrored is of benefit. My yearly check-in with a tarot mentor is a boon.
My latest mode of personal growth and constructive change is a return to The Medicine Woman Inner Guidebook by Carol Bridges. This 239-page book accompanies the Medicine Woman Tarot, also designed by Bridges, one of my favourite packs of cards (among several). Even without the cards, the book is a real repository of wisdom. I’m slowly reading and re-reading certain parts in order to stay on track in my work as a tarot consultant, host of council circles, writer, and teacher. Bridges’s viewpoint as the reader journeys through the structure of the tarot is one of wholism and sustainability. More and more, I’m deepening into the structure of the deck — Majors and the progression of the four suits — as a template for living.
Besides meanings and some text in which each card speaks for itself, there are meditations, visualisations, and activities to carry out. The Seed (Fool) reminds me to remain open to flow and to do something I’ve always wanted to do. Resources (Magician) invites me to support only that which enhances the good with my money, time, and thoughts. The Seeker (High Priestess) helped me look at long- and short-term cycles, to notice patterns, and to listen to the intuitive knowing of my body. Bounty (Empress) took me for a nature walk in nearby parks and ravines.
One of the most powerful activities I’ve done so far comes from the chapter on Command (Emperor). The Chief in this card asked me to choose a challenging area in my life and to write down one-sentence synopses of my beliefs around it. According to the Command chapter, those were the laws by which I was living that aspect of existence. The invitation was then to rewrite each of them as a new “law” by which to govern that part of my life (like a chief or emperor) and remind myself of them often. Then, since “command” is about working with a force that is already flowing, my duty as Chief of this part of me is to place those new laws and all activities connected with them into an already-happening flow of energy. The results are showing! I can’t wait to take these fresh personal laws and all associated actions to the Peacemaker (Hierophant) for refining.
The Medicine Woman Inner Guidebook is one brilliant example of a programme that employs the structure of the tarot as a map for walking this earthwalk in a good way. There are others, too, but I wanted to bring this one to your attention at this time because I’m currently working with it in my own soul pilgrimage. If you get a chance to read and work with it, please do. And the deck reads well, too.