Archive for February, 2013

IX Asks Us Questions


From what do you need to withdraw in order to gain perspective?

What luminous piece of knowledge do you carry?

What are the wisest words you’ve ever heard or spoken?

What, to you, does it mean to become a conscious elder?

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XVIII: Guidance


“We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.”          ~ Jane Austen

“We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.”          ~ Whoopi Goldberg

“Nothing is impossible when we follow our inner guidance, even when its direction may threaten us by reversing our usual logic.”          ~ Gerald Jampolski

“We each need to let our intuition guide us, and then be willing to follow that guidance directly and fearlessly.”          ~ Shakti Gawain


Image of The Moon from the Thoth Tarot deck by Aleister Crowley and Freda Harris.

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All of Me

I would rather be whole than good.     (C.G. Jung)

Tarot of Jean Dodal, XIIII Temperance, JC Flornoy restoration

There’s a mistaken notion among some people that because I’m someone who works to assist others to evolve, I can’t express my complete personhood.  It’s all fine and good when I’m posting something on Facebook about what a compassionate group I was part of that day or if I’m sharing in a workshop how the tarot took a client and me to a really rich soul place, but heaven forbid that I express any disappointment or anger about something.  Suddenly, I’m attacked as being “negative” or “less than spiritual”.  Rubbish.

For me, wholeness — that beingness that already exists at our core — is about embracing the WHOLE self (note the “whole” in “wholeness”).  I’m good at what I do in our world because I’m in touch with many facets of my personality: gratitude, awe, wonder, judgement, grief, rage, inspiration, new vision, hope, action, passivity, earth-loving self, comfort creature self, the creative, the spiritual seeker, the snob, the critic, the guide, to name a few.  To deny these carries the potential to cut myself off from wholeness.  Certainly I carry unconscious shadow material, both frightening and brilliant.  That’s part of all of us being human.

Yes, I use terms like “life-sustaining”, “invitation”, “beauty”, and “kindness”.  I also use the words “fuck” and “shit” from time to time.  To err and to be human make me a better guide and teacher because people’s projections onto me can be shattered and we can get down to doing something useful.  I’ve done this with people I’ve admired in the past: “Oh, that person is so wonderful and spiritual.”  Then, they did something I perceived as messing up which ticked me off.  Afterward, I was able to say to them, “Thank you for being human.  It feels good to take my power and gifts back in to myself instead of projecting them onto you.”

I value the part of me that weeps at a Puccini opera and I value the part of me that gets enraged at injustices and foolishness.  I love the aspect of myself that can dress up and enjoy a four-course dinner at a table with lace runners and 200-year-old silverware and I love the aspect of myself that can sit on the ground in a pair of shorts and nibble on a sandwich.  I like the James who gets annoyed at people spelling “altar” as “alter” and I like the James who realises that there are more pressing issues in our world to address.

I choose to do my best to embrace my full personhood, I choose to do my best to embrace your full personhood, and I choose to have my full personhood embraced as much as possible by others.  Let’s find out how we might keep that covenant together.

We began with Carl Jung.  Let’s conclude with Julia Cameron:

You cannot name me; I am more than the sum of my parts.

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Time for Reflection

This past week, I’ve had a flu.  There’s nothing like being unable to go online for great lengths of time, unable to chat with neighbours or people at the store, unable to do much other than rest to make one do some more inner work.  If there’s a gift in this bug, it’s the gift of contemplation.

I realise that later this year, shifts will be happening in my life.  My partner and I will most likely move to a town that’s a short distance west of Toronto.  I really want to use the time of transition to re-evaluate myself and the pieces of work that I offer to the world.  That time of change will be a great opportunity to refine things even more, both personally and professionally.

How might I bring the tarot to life in my new community when I arrive there?  What council circles will I need to call into being there?  How can I do so in ways that are fresh and true for me and for those I wish to reach?

My contemplative week has allowed me more time for reflective reading.  In the daybook I’m currently using — The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo — I ran across a gorgeous question with which I will be in council as the next months unfold:


This question invites me to notice what’s really occurring within me and around me and to nourish and care for anything among these that energise me, that feel life-sustaining and authentic.  Like feeding the goldfish every morning or watering the plants every Monday, this tending requires me to show up.  May I do so with grace.

What about YOU?  How are you tending to the emerging story of your life?

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Going Pro on Tarot Biddy

Brigit at Biddy Tarot asked several of my peers and me for advice about “going pro” as a tarot practitioner for her readership.  It was enriching to reflect on this.  Please have a look at our responses



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Presencing the True Self: A Layout

This layout was created for a recent workshop and is intended to help you let go of being someone you thought you were in order to become more of your authentic self.  Be sure to engage with each card for a while before coming to any conclusions; this is deep soul work.  Keep in mind the natural connections between Cards One and Two and Cards Four and Five.  Also notice common symbols that might link two or more cards and their messages to you.  People in the workshop noticed an organic arc of story in this spread, a sense that by the time they worked with Card Five and summarised the tarot experience, they had come full circle in a satisfying way.

1    2    3    4    5

  1. What aspect of my True Self needs/wants to come into conscious awareness at this time?
  2. How can I best be present with this aspect of my True Self?
  3. By being present with this aspect of my True Self, what illusory aspect dissolves?
  4. After the dissolution, what is the next authentic step for me to take on my path of transformation?
  5. What supports this next step?

Whether you use the tarot or some other insight tool, please let me know how this layout works for you by leaving a comment or question in the Comments section of this blog post.  If you feel the need for some support as you use it, feel free to contact me for a personal consultation.

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Poetic Moment with XVI

One of my favourite ways to explore tarot cards and to record my Card of the Day is to write brief poems.  I don’t do this every day, but as the Muse strikes.  I most often use some type of syllabic structure in order to prevent too many extraneous words from slipping in.  This is an enjoyable and surprising way to discover which concept(s) I really need to consider when a card comes up.  Trump XVI, La Maison Diev (or Tower), made several appearances over the past couple of weeks.  I jotted down a few short verses that came to me as I spent time with this illustration (from the Tarot de Marseille Millennium Edition by Wilfried Houdouin).

Here are two of the poems.  The first is a cinquain, the second a haiku.



illusion’s destruction

energises reality’s


a voice of thunder

orders bullshit’s destruction

demands only truth

These make sense in the context of the two workshops I offered over the past week.  Our work was to dissolve who we think we are in order to discover some aspect of the True Self AND to excavate old stories about ourselves that interfere with living in the present so we can function and move on.  Thank you, Trump XVI, for the visual and poetic reminder that this is important work in these times.

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