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!

Mary Greer and my weekend in T.O.

I had the experience over the weekend of working with a group of Tarot enthusiasts in Toronto under the guidance of Mary Greer. The weekend was nothing short of amazing. For those of you who are unaware, Mary Greer is one of the most renowned Tarotists; full stop. On Saturday, we explored Tarot and Magic and how to use the cards in the deck itself to create sacred space.  We finished off our session with a power Venus ritual that left many of us both inspired and awestruck.

One of the most valuable exercises of Sunday’s session was to draw a card in response to a querent’s question and provide them with a worst-case scenario, elimating the sugar-coating that Tarotists often provide whenever we encounter a challenging card.  I’ll take some time to synthesize the weekend’s workshops and will definitely be revisiting the information soon and posting reflections on my blog.  Now I can proudly state (with my daughter chuckling behind me): “I hugged Mary Greer!” 🙂 Thank you, James Wells, for making this wonderful weekend possible. I look forward to future visits.

Also, on a different note, I want to ensure you, faithful blog reader, that I will respond to your inquiries when possible, even if weeks go by in between posts. The best way to keep current is to subscribe to my blog.

After a previous post, a reader questioned the value of gaining inspiration from simple cards, “pieces of paper, printed in China”.  I don’t think anyone should ever feel compelled to be inspired by the Tarot, but, before being overly critical of those who do (and please keep in mind that the posted comment was not critical, it just raised my own defenses), remember, there are many things that appear to have minimal significance in the way they are made or presented, yet they provide loads of insight and inspiration to some. I can think of several examples: the young musician who hangs a simple piece of paper on her bedroom wall. On the piece of paper is a picture of her favorite artist. Or the person who scribes the simple words of a favorite poem on a piece of parchment and sticks it on the bathroom mirror as a source of inspiration or even still, a hockey player’s (or die-hard fan’s) simple act of not shaving during a run for the Stanley Cup. Talk to most players and they will tell you that the unshaven face of a teammate creates a solidarity of sorts, a reminder of what is possible.

 The fact is that the Tarot has inspired thousands over the years to explore themselves as well as guide others in this exploration.  They have been the basis of esoteric systems, magical societies and inspired artwork. Not bad for a simple grouping of card stock.

Work, workshops and wonder, Oh my!

The Magician from the DruidCraft deck.
The Magician from the DruidCraft deck.

OK, one month between posts was not my intention when I started this blog almost six months ago. But, wow, has my ‘other’ job ever taken over. I suppose I forgot how busy a school can get in the last months before summer. You’d think after five years in the office, I’d know better.


But Tarot hasn’t taken a back seat completely. I’m still looking to schedule a beginner’s workshop and will post details here as well as publish details in local print publications (I’m going to give that a try this time around). I have been transfixed with the images of the Druid Craft Tarot http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/druidcraft/ and have been exploring its meaning and images when I draw my daily cards. I did draw the Wheel (X) and Rebirth (XX) a few days ago and left them out and visible; I loved the transformational energy of these two cards together! They reminded me that change will come and can provide an opportunity for rebirth. Since I am exploring future career paths options, this was welcome news. I find it helpful at times to leave cards out for several days after drawing them to help me focus on where I intend to go.

I have also bought the Voyager deck (see it’s beautiful images at Aeclectic Tarot or check out James Wanless’ site, the creator of the Voyager Tarot deck) http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/voyager/index.shtml  http://www.voyagertarot.com and am only just exploring this modern deck.

And finally, I have registered for two workshops and a reading with Mary Greer! To put this into perspective (OK, maybe a little ‘out-of-perspective’ since I am a big fan of her work and have several of her titles on my shelf, including a very well-used “Tarot for Your Self”), Mary Greer is to Tarot as Wayne Gretzky is to hockey. She is coming to Toronto in June and I have just sent my payment to James Wells, who is organizing this event. A Fathers’ Day gift to myself!

If you’re in the Orangeville area and interested in learning about the Tarot, email me at whitesagetarot@gmail.com or call at 519-217-SAGE (7243). This fun-filled, interactive look at the Tarot is always enjoyable.