This past week I have had to hold my tongue. Sometimes it felt like I was holding my tongue so hard all I could taste was blood....
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Have you ever been the only person to show up to an event early? Your just standing in a big empty space wondering if maybe you got the day wrong, while you check your phone again to see if anyone else is on their way. Well that is what writing this introductory blog post sorta feels like, the only difference is my empty room is virtual and I am pretty sure there is an echo in here.
But like any empty space it will eventually fill up, others will come and conversations will begin. Well as long as it really wasn’t the wrong day, that would just be awkward. Lucky for me blog posts are fleeting and don't stick around long, so if no one comes to join my empty space I wont know because I will have already moved on to the next post.
“Gold lion’s going to tell me where the light is…” Yeah Yeah Yeahs
"The Delphic priestess in historical times chewed a laurel leaf, but when she was a Bee surely she must have sought her inspiration in the honeycomb." Jane Ellen Harrison...
Not to date myself, but I remember when we didn't have answering machines. Now I let almost everything go to voice mail. Before though, I had to stop and decide if I wanted to answer the phone. I can see some of you scratching your heads...what on earth does an answering machine or lack thereof have to do with Tarot? Well, sometimes I do that with my Tarot readings too. I just let my inner answering machine take over.
There are cards in the tarot that, for me, have instant meanings. Those are the ones that are so embedded in my brain that they seem automatic. But that may not be the best answer for my querent. They may require a bit more than a rote Tarot reading. So sometimes I like to turn my brain upside down so I can't do the auto-answer. I yank myself out of that Tarot rut I can sometimes get into when I'm doing endless readings.
It's not fair to my client. They don't know I had three people before them asking similar questions. They aren't to blame for my reaction. But I cannot drop into automatic mode. I have to prevent my inner answering machine from picking up.
Here are just two ways to kick yourself out of the "that always means" rote reading technique. I'd love to hear your own if you have some as well.
1. Odd Fellows
By using a deck I'm not familiar with, I have to back up and take another look. I've been loving two self-published decks lately that really force me to let go of the automatic and search out the intuitive answer.
From the Wild Unknown Tarot, this Six of Swords is not your typical dude rowing a boat. Nor is the image of Scathach as the Six of Air from the Dark Goddess one I can immediately see the "moving from troubled times to calmer places" meaning I have tattooed into my brain.
I have to stop. I have to become more present in my Tarot reading.
When I put the two with the Rider Smith Waite (Radiant) Six of Swords, I see color similarities immediately. In a way, my desire to let go of the old meanings for the new is represented by the meaning of this card.
2. Same Old, Same Old
Another trick is to find what is the same. Using the same two decks again, here is the Wild Unknown Tarot's Four of Cups and the Dark Goddess Tarot's Four of water. When you put add the Rider Waite smith Four of Cups, you can find some similarities. But looking for that makes me expand my mind outward to see other meanings.
The rat on the Four of Cups from the Wild Unknown makes me ask, "Who am I letting foul my dreams?" While Lethe's pose has me wondering why I'm trying to swim without water.
Then I can take those two additional questions back to the Rider Waite Smith version as well. They become a part of my reader's arsenal for digging into the cards.
What about you? What are some of the cards that you have one solid meaning for? Are you unshakeable in that definition or is there room for expansion?
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Our usual solar stories about the turning of the year focus on the birth, maturing and death of a sun god who might fight his rival at midsummer and will probably father himself. Imbolc is all about pregnancy and birth. Beltain is all about impregnating. It’s a very heterosexual narrative, when you get down to it.
Nature is not exclusively about heterosexual reproduction. What we would understand as homosexual behaviour crops up in all creatures. If you’re part of a wolf pack or a bee hive, it’s about the group, not about spreading your own genes directly. Many plants have both male and female sex organs – if you insist on understanding them in those terms! On top of this, plants will also reproduce through suckers, bulbs and other ways of doing it for themselves without any need for pollination. Some creatures change gender. Oysters have all the kit, and effectively change gender every few years. Other life forms – fungi particularly, are asexual, and reproduce without any input from anyone else.
Where, in the traditional wheel story, would you honour the oyster? Or the male seahorse who carries his young in a pouch? Where, in the cycle of the year do we talk about how most of the elm trees in the UK are probably descended from just the one tree, and spread asexually? Where are the stories that place our equally natural gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, not so gendered and asexual Pagan folk within the wheel of the year?...