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Tarot and the MRI

Tarot and MRIs not related? I beg to differ.

On Friday, I had one. It was to further explore the recurrence of old shoulder injury. The doctor’s office and the hospital had given me a little overview of the process. When I arrived, I waited 90 minutes – they didn’t explain that part – and, upon registration, they informed that I would need to be injected with an X-Ray dye prior to the MRI. The fluid would be inserted directly into my shoulder joint, guided by an X-Ray and a 2 1/2 inch needle. They didn’t explain that part, either.  Understand that, although I am not claustrophobic, my greatest fear is being buried alive so I was already less-than-comfortable with the upcoming MRI experience. The X-Ray preparation did not help the situation.

I knew I’d need to remain still. That was explained ahead of time. No one mentioned just how still. My doctor knows that ‘idle’ is not a speed at which my engine typically runs. When the technician informed me that I’d need to remain perfectly still for 25 minutes, I smiled.  This could be a long afternoon. After the first few minutes, I could sense my muscles twitching. My need to take deep breaths increased. My shoulder began to throb. I became aware of my restricted mobility and wanted to do something about it.  “Stop moving, please!” is barely audible through the sound-blocking headphones she had placed on my head. Although I couldn’t feel myself move, I knew I was struggling and was strongly considering pressing the ‘panic button’ resting in my closed fist. Then I started to picture the four of Swords in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. The image came to me out of nowhere. It has been an image I’d conjure up if I was having a hard time relaxing but, as the length of time since my last post will attest, I haven’t made much time for the Tarot lately. I immediately entered the card in the same way I’d enter the home of a close but long-ignored friend. I looked around and took in my surroundings. I’ve been here before. My movement ceased almost instantly. A sense of calm came over me. Even the technician noticed and I heard a muffled “Thank you”. The rest of the procedure took place without difficulty.

I had forgotten the impact of those 78 little images I know so well. They have a place in even the most insignificant or unexpected situations; even after what seems like a significant amount of time away. On my way through Erin I stopped by Treehaven and bought the Llewellyn edition of the Gaian Tarot deck to complement my limited edition.

Welcome back, old friend. I’ve missed you.

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Falling Asleep with the Tarot

Hockley Hike

Do you ever have trouble sleeping at night? Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night with your mind racing and the inability to fall back to sleep?  I use a unique combination of advice I found somewhere on the internet and a Tarot strategy referred to as ‘Entering the Card’ to help me drift back into Slumberland.

I have been contemplating writing this blog entry for quite some time now.  I have always had difficulty falling asleep. I’ve tried various homeopathic, traditional and not-so-traditional remedies (although have never ventured into the realm of the ‘sleeping pill’), meditation, change in routine but all, at some point, seem to fail. Not this latest one, though.

Mary Greer, in her book ‘Tarot for the Self’, describes an activity she calls ‘Entering the Card’. This exercise involves selecting a card, picturing it in one’s imagination, and then entering the card, taking detailed notes from the experience. I have used it many times when working with a new deck, struggling with a particular card or when teaching students.

And, while poking around online a little while ago, I came across a brief article on suggestions to deal with difficulty sleeping. One of the suggestions that resonated with me was a visualization exercise. I was to imagine a peaceful place and then enter it in my mind. It then suggested that I increase the amount of detail that I imagine. For example, if I was near running water, I could see the river and then the small waves on the surface, the small plants breaking the surface of the water, the fallen leaf that floats by. The only thing that did was make me have to go to the bathroom. 🙂
I’m not one for detail in everyday life. Those who know me would probably refer to me as a ‘big picture’ kind of person. It isn’t until I fully understand something that I’ll bother with the detail. So when I tried to visualize some of my favorite relaxing destinations (fall hikes, Hawaii, Corfu Island, the ‘Muskokas’, the ‘Kawarthas’), I had difficulty picturing detail. But I know the Tarot well. And I have worked with a few decks for awhile so I can easily visualize several cards in detail. I began picturing cards that I thought had a peaceful theme (Empress, 4 of Swords, 4 of Cups, The Hermit, The Star, and many of the cards from my Gaian Tarot deck, etc…). I would enter the cards and then stop, look around and let me five senses take over. I would pick up things, note smells, talk to people and, sure enough, sleep came.

Pick a card that you think will work for you. Try it and let me know.  And… sweet dreams!

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Free Teleconference

On Tuesday, July 12th, several of my favourite Tarot people are hosting a  teleconference.  See below for more details. Hope to ‘see’ you there!

“Join James Wells, Joanna Powell Colbert, Bev Haskins, Andrea Mathieson and Jeannette McCullough on this fr*ee teleseminar for an experiential look at the elements of Air, Fire, Water, Earth and Spirit, especially as they appear in decks like the Gaian Tarot.
 
How might the tarot be a means of listening to Gaia’s whispers, cries, and laughter?
 
What is the deeper, larger reason for us to listen to these elements of Nature?
 
We invite you to join us for this call — part meditation, part teaching, part conversation — held in the sacred circle we create in the ethers between our telephone and computer lines.
 
Have any tarot deck with you when you call in — the Gaian, if you have one. If you don’t have a deck, no worries. Just have a symbol of each of the four elements plus Spirit with you during the call.
 
This teleseminar will give you just a hint of what you’ll experience during the Gaian Tarot Retreat this coming October in southern Ontario (www.gaiantarot.com/retreat).  Whether or not you plan to join us then, we look forward to having you on this call. 
 
Tuesday, July 12th, 5PM Pacific / 8PM Eastern
 
To join us on the call, call this number:
(206) 701-8388
Conference ID: 528955#
 
(Check for local dial-in numbers here, including Canada:
http://www.instantteleseminar.com/local/)
 
To Skype in (audio only), dial ”joinconference” from your Skype dial pad and enter the conference ID. Click here to watch video instructions on how to Skype in to a live call.
 
Or, to listen in online, click this link:
http://InstantTeleseminar.com/?eventID=20815986
 
Pass it on! Please invite your friends to join in!”

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Blues, Jazz and the Tarot

I’ve finally done it. After humming and hawing, the Ontario government made the decision for me. The last installment of my HST rebate cheque gave me the push I needed to sign up for the Gaian Tarot Retreat in Ancaster this coming October.  I’m excited about meeting new Gaian Tarot fans as well as ‘workshoping’ with some of my favorite Tarot leaders: Joanna Powell Colbert, James Wells and Bev Haskins.  

For more information, check out the following link: http://www.gaiantarot.com/retreat/index.html

This weekend, Orangeville hosts the Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival. Although I didn’t grow up as a fan of either genre, I have developed a soft spot for this festival. I always make it a point to check out several of the dozens of acts that find their way to my neck of the woods at this time of the year and am always impressed by the talent. This morning, before I head out to catch local Blues artist Heather Katz (with my son’s piano/organ/improve teacher playing the keys), and kindly ask the weather gods to bless us with sunshine, I thought about how the Tarot might represent blues and jazz.

I was drawn to two cards from my Gaian Tarot deck: the Elder of Air and the Six of Fire. This card combination seemed to stir passion for those who bend the rules and dance the beat of their own drummer (Six of Fire) but also highlight the level of mastery required to share one’s message with the rest of the world (Elder of Air). The combination of the these two genres links the passionate element of fire with the cerebral element of air. It is a musical genre that touches both the brain and the belly.  I would think musicians who can play both of these genres would have to be exceptionally skilled but also be able to play with abandon.  I compare this to the more reserved energy of a classical musician. (A genre I might represent using the Hierophant from the RWS: doctrine, discipline, rigorous learning).

As I head out a little later this morning, and as 10,000+ people descend on our little town and as I enjoy the musical menu of the day, I just might also look to see if I can find these characters 🙂 . Just food for thought this morning.

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BIT and the Guelph Occult Society

Recently, I have joined up with a wonderful and eclectic group of people that meet once a month to discuss all things esoteric. Although I thoroughly enjoy all of the various discussions we have, I am very pleased that several of us are Tarot enthusiasts. There was discussion about exploring the Back in Time Tarot method at an upcoming meeting. Since both my son and my partner are celebrating birthday’s today, I have to miss the February meet-up. I thought I would provide my contribution to the discussion by exploring my recent experience with the Guelph Occult Society using Janet Boyer’s BIT.

Discovery of the group: Ace of Fire – Gaian Tarot: Of all the cards in the Gaian Tarot deck, this one expressed the most potential for me. It symbolizes the passion of a new opportunity and the readiness to send one’s energy out into the world. When I discovered this Meetup group, I was initially filled with creative potential, hoping that this group could be the start of something new.

Apprehension of meeting new people: 5 of Wands – RWS: When two or more people meet, there is always the potential for tension and conflict. When one ventures into a new situation, one often wonders: How will it go? Who will I get  along with? Who will I conflict with? What should I share about myself? What should I not? This five makes me think about wandering out into a new world, regardless of the potential for inner or outer conflict. It underlines the ‘you’ll never know until you try’ mentality.

Can I make it fit into my schedule: 10 of Wands – RWS: Let’s face it, the life of a school principal is hectic enough. And, like everybody else, I have family, friends, loved ones, hobbies and passions that are all deserving of my time. Is there a risk that this once-a-month commitment will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back?  

Excited about ‘New’: Child of Water – Gaian Tarot: Despite the apprehension of meeting new people and the worries about a new time commitment, I find myself like the child in this card, ankle-deep by the shore, eyes fixed on safety yet preparing to explore new waters. Like the ebb and flow of the cool tides at my feet, it is exhilarating!

Community of people in celebration: Three of Cups – RWS: There is a celebratory nature to the 3 of Cups that I have difficulty overlooking. Three women raise their glasses in an unknown toast regardless of differences.  Here’s to the potential for new knowledge, new beginnings and new friendships.

Exploring the mysterious side of life – The Moon – RWS: Rachel Pollack states, in her book “Tarot Wisdomthat our society “has moved… from a solar to a lunar consciousness, from an emphasis on rationalism, clarity and masculine forcefulness to intuition, mystery and subtlety.” Based on the description of the intent of this group, I believe this adequately sums up what I’m looking to explore in our get-togethers.

Enjoying sharing my passion about the Tarot: 6 of Fire – Gaian Tarot: Perhaps because it is a little self-indulgent, I saved this one for the end. I am passionate about the Tarot. In the mainstream, this may be considered as ‘dancing to the beat of my own drummer.’  So be it. Like some, I used to hide my passion for the Tarot in a closed room. Now, I will happily discuss and share all things tarot with anyone open to the idea (and to more than a few people who are not) 🙂  There appears to be a large percentage of people, myself included, interested in learning about the Tarot. That makes this place a safe one to sing my song at the top of my lungs.

Have a wonderful meet-up (whether your there in person or spirit) and feel free to use a new experience as your own BIT exercise. And, if you do, please share!

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Three of Earth and Hockley Valley

I found the Three of Earth here 🙂

On Saturday morning, I did what I so often do;  I drew a card from one of my decks. It was the Three of Earth from the Gaian Tarot deck. And, on Saturday morning, I did what I sometimes do; I forgot all about it.

I was hiking alone late that afternoon; halfway through a 6-kilometre hike through Hockley Valley. And I was struck by the beauty that surrounded me. It was as if I couldn’t take it all in. My head turned frantically, trying to look in ten places at once.  So I took out my X10 and started snapping.  I had a strong need to capture everything around me.  The trees were connected to the earth and sky.  The landscape was a never ending expanse of white. The Sun was just about to touch the western horizon. I was struck by the interconnectedness of everything around me. But more than that, I felt I was in the presence of true creation. A community of spirit had gathered together and had made something for me to enjoy. The labour of those who conceived this space had truly created something lasting.  At that moment, I thought of the morning card and smiled.

Here you are, Three of Earth.

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Thanksgiving

This weekend, in Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving. It seemed like the appropriate time to ask the following two questions:

For what can we give thanks? Elder of Air – Gaian Tarot

Elder of Air - Gaian Tarot
Elder of Air - Gaian Tarot

 

Interesting that Joanna Powell Colbert, creator of the Gaian Tarot, uses the phrase “a grandfather’s prayer of thanksgiving” (I drew the card randomly, honest I did!) as one of the descriptors for this card. As it relates to the question, we can give thanks for the counsel and the wisdom of our elders.   There is a vast well of knowledge available to us that those who have come before us has left for us to use. We need to recognize it and hear it… truly hear it.  See the flute in the elder’s hands? Listen carefully and we can hear its familiar song.  For that we say, ‘Thank you.’

Where can we show our gratitude? Four of Air – Gaian Tarot.

Four of Air - Gaian Tarot
Four of Air - Gaian Tarot

Note the four eggs in the robin’s nest. They’re tucked in tightly, like we would a young baby. We can show our gratitude by taking the wisdom of our elders and making it ours. Tuck it in and make it safe. Only once we have truly embraced and embodied what those before us intrinsically knew, lived and share with us every day can we find the sacred security represented in the Four of Air.

Suggestion on moving the above into action:  Find a forest, go for a walk and marvel and the rich colours. If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, you have a beautiful palette of reds, oranges and yellows. Place your hand on a tree and feel the pulse of life moving through it. Know that the forest is alive and thriving and listen for the Voice of all those who came before. With both cards coming from the suit of Air (swords), I’m sure there’s something to hear!

For those of you in the Orangeville area, there are still two spots left in our Tarot Study group. It starts on October 13th at 7:00 in my space with the Fool and will walk through the entire deck over the next 10 months. Contact me at whitesagetarot@gmail.com or 1-519-217-7243 if you’re interested in joining us.