Storytelling with the Tarot

Thoth EmpressOn Wednesday, May 25th, to celebrate World Tarot Day, I led a workshop entitled ‘Demystifying the Tarot’ at a natural food store in Erin called Treehaven.  The small turnout caused a ‘rethink’ of the structure of this workshop. So, three Tarot peeps… me, a woman who had been part of our bi-monthly Tarot study group and another who I had met through the Guelph Occult Meetup group proceeded to spend 2 hours just talking Tarot. I must say, despite my initial disappointment at the turn out, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

We began by simply talking, about our favourite decks, cards we see often in our Tarot work, our past experience with the Tarot and how we work with it. The three of us asked each other questions. We moved to an unstructured comparative look at cards from different decks, looking at the differing symbols and meanings in front of us.

We then moved to a storytelling activity. I can’t give direct credit as to where I got the idea from but I won’t claim it as my own. I know Rachel Pollack does a significant amount of story-based work in the Tarot. Maybe I read it in one of her works. I was also inspired by the teacher-librarian at my school who had shared a storytelling deck with me that she was using in one of our classrooms.  Regardless, I’m sure it’s an adaptation of someone else’s idea.

To prepare for this workshop, I had previously divided the decks I brought into 3 sections: the pips, the courts and the majors.  I suggested we use these 3 piles to tell a story. We selected the Thoth deck and randomly drew our cast of characters from the courts, our theme from the majors and began developing a plot with the pips. It was a great process. At first, we laughed a little at a suggestion that the story might become risqué. We then began the process. The deck shared our sense of humour and offered up the Empress, home of abundance, fertility, and sensuality,  as our theme.

Thoth Queen of CupsWe continued the exercise by drawing the Queen of Cups as our protagonist (a supportive, but at times overemotional and menopausal mother), the Queen of Swords as a secondary character (her sharp-tongued adult daughter – although, upon reflection, maybe her equally sharp-tongued neighbour would have better suited the Queen but, for our purposes, the daughter worked fine) and then began constructing our story. Our starting plot points were the 6 of disks (success) and the 2 of swords (peace).  I believe, had our time not expired, we would have created quite the story; we appeared to be in fine form 🙂

Try the activity. Divide your deck into three sections (pips, courts, majors). Shuffle them well. Begin by drawing a card from each. Remember that your major card will remain the overarching theme of your story. Draw just one. You drew ‘The Fool’? Your story could develop into an adventure story. ‘The Chariot’? A fast-paced story a la ‘Fast and the Furious’.  ‘The Moon’? Could be a little twisted and scary, don’t you think?

You might find that, once you’ve drawn your characters, beginning your story with ‘Once upon a time, there was a …’ and then proceed to describe the character using your knowledge of the Tarot or the image presented on the card. Then make them go somewhere or do something by drawing cards from the pips.  The 6 of swords might take them on a journey over water, the ace of wands might be the sign of a new song idea or the 5 of pentacles might indicate a struggle to make ends meet.

The three of us decided that at some point, we would take this concept further. If you decide to as well, please feel free to post about here.

‘Demystifying the Tarot’ workshop in Erin

On Wednesday, May 25th, from 6:30 – 8:30, I will be leading a 2-hour workshop entitled ‘Demystifying the Tarot’ at Treehaven Natural Foods in downtown Erin. This introductory workshop will provide attendees with a brief overview of the ‘histories’ of the Tarot, its structure, its meanings and its uses.  Its intent is to shed a little light on this ‘mysterious’ little deck. The cost of the workshop is $15 which also includes light refreshments. The cost for the workshop is payable in advance at Treehaven or at the door. Space is limited so please R.S.V.P. at whitesagetarot@gmail.com,  by calling me at 519-217-7243 or by contacting Treehaven at 519-833-9006.

I will also be available for in-person Tarot consultations on Saturday, May 28th and Saturday, June 25th at Treehaven Natural Foods from 12:00 – 6:00 p.m.  To book your consultation in advance, please use the same contact information stated above.

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.

Venus and the Child of Fire

I got up this morning, very early, and decided I’d start preparing for my Tarot Study Group coming up in mid-October. There was clearly an autumn chill in the air. Seeing summer now clearly in the seasonal rearview mirror, I bit the bullet and fired up the gas fireplace to help alleviate the fresh early morning bite. I find the flickering flame has the same soothing effect as running water, even if it’s gas-generated. (Note to self – New house discovery: check and see if the chimney is an insert or if it has the ability to burn wood.) I notice movement out of the corner of my eye. Our cat, Venus, is slowly approaching the fireplace.

She’s moving in predatorily, circling as if she’s going to attack. If it’s fire she perceives as her prey, she may have her work cut out for her. She circles to the side and approaches from outside of the flame’s direct line of sight. She moves to within a few feet and then withdraws. She circles to the side, walks up the glass insert and then runs away, at full speed, up the stairs.

Gaian Tarot - Child of Fire
Gaian Tarot - Child of Fire

I have witnessed my very own Child of Fire this morning.

Horoscope Spread workshop and ‘Major’ Free Talk

horoscope chart blank
horoscope chart blank

On Saturday, October 2nd, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Astrologer Kelly Surtees (www.kellysurtees.com) and I will be co-presenting a workshop in Orangeville, Ontario, entitled “The Horoscope Spread: Using tarot cards and the astrological houses to combine two ancient methods for insight and exploration”. This hands-on workshop will give you the opportunity to learn about and explore the 12-card Horoscope Tarot Spread using an astrologer and tarotist as guides. The cost of this 6-hour workshop is only $70. Please forward this information on to anyone you think might be interested. Contact me at whitesagetarot@gmail.com or Kelly at info@kellysurtees.com to book. Spaces are limited and early booking is recommended.

 
On Thursday, August 19th, I hosted a Free Tarot Talk in my space in Orangeville. Thank you to those of you who were in attendance. We had a wonderful time exploring the powerful “I see… / I am…” card method and spent almost an hour exploring some of my new decks. They all generated some great questions and discussion and each person seem to gravitate towards a favourite. The next talk will take place on Thursday, September 23rd’s Full Moon from 7:00 – 8:30, in my space in Orangeville. What a wonderful time to focus on “The Power of the Major Arcana”. We will look at a variety of divisions and groupings of these 22 cards. Please RSVP by September 16th so that I can plan accordingly. I will also provide you with more detailed location information. As always, any small donation to help cover the cost of coffee, tea and snacks is most welcome.
 
Interested in a Tarot reading? Book now and receive a FREE COPY of “The Fated Sky: Astrology in History” by Benson Bobrick, while supplies last. My rates for readings are currently $70 for a 1-hour reading and $100 for a 90-minute reading. Readings are available in person in Orangeville (easily accessible by car from anywhere in the GTA) or via phone or SKYPE. Please contact me at whitesagetarot@gmail.com or 519-217-SAGE (7243) for more details.