Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poem, To the Oracle at Delphi (you can find it online) is a wake-up call in these times. I’ve used it as the focus of discussion in a conversation circle, as a prompt for journal writing, and as an inspiration for tarot spreads I created for my recent two-part teleseminar, Peacemaking through Tarot. The end of Ferlinghetti’s piece is a plea:
“…and give us new dreams to dream, Give us new myths to live by!”
One of the spreads I designed is based on this final line. It’s a four-card map called the New Myths Layout. Mix your deck and pick four cards at random while contemplating the following questions:
- What old myth(s) is no longer healthy for humanity to live by?
- How can I help lay that old myth(s) to rest?
- What new myth(s) is healthy for humanity to live by?
- How can I help bring this new myth(s) into being?
Arrange the four cards like an ascending stairway with the first card on the bottom left and the fourth card on the top right. I did a reading with this layout using the Celtic Wisdom Tarot by Caitlín Matthews and Olivia Rayner.
- What old myth(s) is no longer healthy for humanity to live by? XV, The Challenger (Devil). The myth of sin, evil, obedience, and bondage rooted in fear and projection that creates illusion and death.
- How can I help lay that old myth(s) to rest? The Combat of Art (5 of Cups). I can express disappointment in the old myth, disengage from groups that aren’t going to leave the old myth, salvage what I can that’s valuable, and interrupt regretful, shaky emotional patterns.
- What new myth(s) is healthy for humanity to live by? The Imaginer (Moon). The myth of unbounded imagination, mutual feedback, honouring reliable cycles, and mirroring something greater that encourages a culture of soul-deep dreaming, visioning, naturally flowing with the Tao-like currents.
- How can I help bring this new myth(s) into being? King of Knowledge (King of Coins). I can be a welcoming hearth who provides access to a rich cache of knowledge and tangible resources; I can share practical knowledge, share meals, and activate my own profound potential in the real world; I can find the essential wisdom in any real-life situation; I can pass on this way of working with the tarot to others.
What is YOUR take on these cards? Which cards did YOU get for this spread? What do they suggest to you about creating a new, life-affirming myth in our world?