Here are some words about three books I’ve been reading that have been helpful or meaningful to me in some way. May they enrich your life, too.
Motherpeace Tarot Guidebook (Karen Vogel). This compact book, intended to accompany the Motherpeace tarot deck, is not only a succinct reference for the cards in that particular tarot pack, it also enriches my knowing of the cards in others. Vogel offers good general commentary about using the tarot. Two examples: “The cards are a useful tool for self-reflection. They help to bring information from the deep intuitive and creative parts of ourselves and create a dialogue between our internal and external lives.” and “Fortunately the cards seem to have a way of giving useless or confused responses if we become too dependent on them.” I’m also inspired by the author’s statement that her hard work in creating, publishing, and distributing the Motherpeace Tarot provided her with a livelihood that allowed her to move to the country and make art. For me, this text is about tarot and much more.
Seven Thousand Ways to Listen: Staying Close to What Is Sacred (Mark Nepo). This lovely text is made up of three sections: The Work of Being, The Work of Being Human, and The Work of Love. Nepo’s stories — some his own, some others’ — teach us how to be present and compassionate Earthbeings. Grounded spirituality is brought home to the reader through reflective pauses that the author provides. These consist of meditations, journal questions, and table questions (conscious conversation starters) that help us apply our own life experiences to each topic. Nepo is a poet as well as a spiritual teacher, so the prose speaks to more than the intellect. Two excerpts: “Simply and profoundly, things that matter are repeated as a way to bring our full attention to them, as a way to meet them. Such naming through listening is the beginning of prayer.” “How I love people. I love how we root and bloom, how we twine around each other and reach for the light, how as far as we grow in the dark of the Earth is as far as we stand in the world.” Such a generous publication for such uncertain times.
Arcana (Clara Blackwood). This set of 22 poems is based on the Major Arcana of the tarot, particularly of four decks: Rider-Waite-Smith, Thoth, Marseille, and Arto. Each poem is a page or less in length, yet rich with symbolism. I can imagine myself not only reading these pieces for my own enjoyment, they would be appropriate for various kinds of ceremonies or meaningful occasions. Here is Blackwood’s poem for the High Priestess:
Think her oblique, / like Temple pillars / subtly slanted upwards / or the north door concealed / in an old church.
She is the guardian of transparency – / keeper of worlds / we can’t talk about.
Over her a fine mesh / falls. From certain angles / the diadem shines silver-bright.
She has eaten from the pomegranate, / danced with the Daughters of the Night.
And she is the one / who appears when your feet / stomp out the bonfire.