We all yearn to have time for personal needs and creative dreams — after all, this is our life to make the most of. And we all know how hard it is to remember what really matters. With distractions from jobs, aging parents, and children — not to mention women’s perennial fear of being labeled “selfish” — following our own desires and dreams can become ever more elusive. The Life Organizer aims to help you shift your focus, augmenting traditional goal setting with the ease that comes from steady inner listening and mindfulness. It will become your trusted companion — and maybe the most important book you’ll ever own.
I agree with Davy and Tracy that “Tarot is a fantastic tool to use for personal development and daily mindfulness practice. The imagery on most tarot decks are wonderful prompts for journaling and meditation.
Tarot helps to focus your mind, and engages your intuition and sub-conscious, aiding in your ability to facilitate connections and explore different ways of thinking about any aspect of your life or circumstances”.
Three weeks ago I pulled out this book by Jennifer Louden, that had been resting on my shelves for many years, and decided that, while there are many spreads and challenges that help us to adapt our thinking, I would apply Louden’s 52 weeks of Mindful Living and draw cards in response to the questions she puts forward each week.
For example the first week posed the following:
What experience or feeling do you yearn for today?
How might my shadow or time monsters block me from trusting myself or exploring the yearning I have named?
What would help my body feel listened to and loved?
How have I been talking to myself lately?
Initially I worked with the Mary El Tarot and these are just three of the cards I meditated upon in response to the questions posed for the first week. Then I worked with the material that emerged in my journal.
Personally I am not in to reinventing the wheel so do check out Davy and Tracy’s page about how they use Tarot for personal development and mindfulness. What I have found is that this can also be done in a group situation or with a partner. The dialogue that emerges is invariably very stimulating.
“I don’t believe in things like that – fairies or brownies or magic or anything. It’s old-fashioned.’ ‘Well, we must be jolly old-fashioned then,’ said Bessie. ‘Because we not only believe in the Faraway Tree and love our funny friends there, but we go to see them too – and we visit the lands at the top of the Tree as well!” ― Enid Blyton, The Folk of the Faraway Tree
I cannot say that I was a devotee of Alice in Wonderland. Instead it was Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree series that captured my imagination as a child growing up in the 1950’s.
The Faraway Tree is best described as a slow, gentle series of adventures that take place in a magical tree and the lands it connects to in the clouds. Originally published in 1939, the language is lyrical and playful — a slide is called a slippery slip — and young readers will probably dream about how the kids are left to play in the woods for an entire day by themselves.
I loved, still love these stories for their loveable characters, magical lands, silliness ( the Saucepan Man’s songs and forgetfulness had me giggling every time) and the exciting cliffhangers that kept me enthusiastically reading chapter after chapter. Not so long ago, during our blistering hot summer, I listened to audio book adaptions and fell in love with the series all over again. Silky and Moonface have not lost any of their appeal and I still adore the angry pixie.
Of course, some point to the pretty standard gender roles but it was 1939 and the fact that the roles are decidedly out of place in 2020 will not diminish the joy I feel when I read the books.
The truth is that the Magic Faraway Tree, combined with the influence of Archie Hair, an elderly prospector whose home in the bush was a place I loved visiting as a child, filled me with wonder and have each contributed to me having a rich inner life, an inner life that has sustained me through some very difficult periods. Perhaps not surprisingly, thanks to such influences, when I ran the Soul Food Cafe between 2000 and 2010 I took countless travellers through a portal into the fantasy world of Lemuria and preserved the journeys in annual advent calendar features.
Fast forward to 2020 and I now find myself in world put into hibernation by a new pandemic. It has been over seven weeks since we went into lockdown in Australia and there have been many reports indicating that social isolation and being ‘confined to barracks’ is having a detrimental impact on people’s mental wellbeing.
Thank goodness for my passion for Tarot. In this situation I have found it self soothing to pack my bag, slip through a portal and Travel Within A Tarot Deck.
Not surprisingly I chose the Path Through the Enchanted Forest, a magical deck which conjures some of the charm of the Faraway Tree. When I work with this deck I not only drift back in time but find that my imagination is fired. After shuffling my deck I found myself standing in a forest, alongside a gingerbread house and I was, quite frankly stunned by how the cards continued to fall.
Invariably others, inspired by this idea, have gone in different directions but the feedback I am getting suggests that, at a time when flights are cancelled and borders are closed, this is one kind of travel that can fire up our creative juices.
Will you join in? I am thinking of setting up a flight centre, a ‘Travel Agency’ where those who read about the travels of others will be inspired you to join in the fun. Considering there are no charges and all you have to do is pull out a much loved Tarot Deck, even Ryan or Tiger Air will not be able to beat this offer. And just think of the travel brochures we could conjure up! So much potential!
Katey Flowers says that Gratitarot is a sweet and simple little exercise which she learnt from Carrie Mallon several years ago. In this video she talks about how she found herself returning to it lately to help her emotionally cope in these tricky times.
There are many tips for keeping gratitude journals online. An article by Jason Marsh points out that over recent decades, psychologists have not only identified the great social, psychological and physical health benefits that come from giving thanks; they’ve zeroed in on some concrete practices that help us reap those benefits.
Marsh points out that perhaps the most popular practice is to keep a “gratitude journal.” He says that many studies have traced a range of impressive benefits to the simple act of writing down the things for which we’re grateful—benefits including better sleep, fewer symptoms of illness, and more happiness among adults and kids alike.
I cannot deny that I have found it challenging to maintain gratitude journals, mainly because it can be challenging to sit and think about what I am grateful for. Given that I have always told participants in my writing classes that it is not particularly helpful to think when facing a blank page, this is not surprising.
So you can imagine my delight when I stumbled upon the concept of #gratitarot while trawling videos in the Tarot Tubers Community.
I am now drawing a card each day, allowing the imagery to trigger something I am grateful for and then taking a photo and posting on Instagram @tarotmidwife
I must say that I am finding that this ritual practice has proven to be comforting.
Try it! An alternative to a Tarot deck is any glossy magazine or coffee table book. Try some Bibliomancy by randomly opening a page and using an image to trigger a gratitude journal entry. If you apply a stream of consciousness technique you may find yourself writing quite a bit.
Another option is to dig into ‘A Life of One’s Own’ and follow Marion Milner’s lead.
In 1926, more than a decade before a team of Harvard psychologists commenced history’s longest and most revelatory study of human happiness and half a century before the humanistic philosopher Erich Fromm penned his classic on the art of living, the British psychoanalyst and writer Marion Milner (February 1, 1900–May 29, 1998) undertook a seven-year experiment in living, aimed at unpeeling the existential rind of all we chronically mistake for fulfillment — prestige, pleasure, popularity — to reveal the succulent, pulsating core of what makes for genuine happiness. Along her journey of “doubts, delays, and expeditions on false trails,” which she chronicled in a diary with a field scientist’s rigor of observation, Milner ultimately discovered that we are beings profoundly different from what we imagine ourselves to be — that the things we pursue most frantically are the least likely to give us lasting joy and contentment, but there are other, truer things that we can train ourselves to attend to in the elusive pursuit of happiness. (Source: Brain Pickings)
Of course you may also feel inclined to dip into the craft box, make Gratitude Postcards and either send them to people or randomly leave them in neighbourhood letter boxes.
Choose a pictorial deck and lay out a complete minor arcana. You might, for example lay out a suit that is alignment with your zodiac sign. For example, I am a Virgo and I might choose to use the earth based pentacles.
Use the cards to tell write a narrative about your life. Think of the first 3 cards being the beginning of the story, the second set of three cards being the middle of the story and the last three cards being the end.
This is the second part of a series where I follow the lead of Tracy @becoming_temperance who also makes videos about Tarot on YouTube. In this video she responds to a series of questions about her passion and since I am not into making videos I have decided to respond using WordPress, the internet medium I am most familiar with.
Show us your recent deck, Tarot, Oracle and Crystal.
Between December 2019 and February 2020 I went on a bit of a buying spree and bought a range of decks that I felt I simply had to have. I purchased the most recent, the Lions Gateway Tarot, by Jessica Henry, after seeing a walk through on Tracy’s Video Channel.
The most recent Oracle Deck that I acquired was the Sacred Sites Oracle. I confess that I have not worked with it much but it is a very interesting deck that will enable me to travel at a time when the pandemic is restricting all travel.
Since February I have stopped buying because I have enough decks for the moment and I need to take the time to work more closely with the ones that I have.
If you could share a tip with someone learning Tarot for the first time what would it be?
I am only interested in reading Tarot for myself and using it as an activator in the writing classes I run so I decided that I was not going to try to ‘learn’ Tarot or rely on standard interpretations.
When I stumbled upon The Art of Intuitive Tarot, a course that Gina Spriggs offers on Daily Om, I decided that this was a good place to being my journey. This course involved working with one deck and I used the Cosmic Tarot to complete the exercises she suggested.
Aside from this course it was venturing into the world of the Tarot Tuber Community that really spurred my interest. I found the deck and Tarot resource recommendations that these YouTube videos provided to be really fantastic. It is a great place to become familiar with what Tarot has to offer.
Above all I adhere to the notion of simply having fun and being playful with Tarot.
The first Tarot Tuber who I followed.
The first Tarot Tuber I followed was Simon Harrison. He describes himself as a professional Tarot Consultant based in Nottingham with over 30 years experience of reading the tarot.
He believes (through lived experience) that the tarot is a tool that can help provide us with insights and clarity to identify areas for improvement, find solutions to difficult decisions and arm us with additional information so that we are able to make more informed choices in various aspects of our lives.
There are a host of Tarot Tubers in the Tarot Tube Community. Another early favourite was Kasia at Tarot Map.
What was life before Tarot for you? Where did you come from?
I am an Australian who grew up in Gippsland, Victoria, Australia. If you put Heather Blakey – Daily Writing into Google you will learn more than you need about my online history as a Web Publisher, artistic midwife and purveyor of creative stimuli. Working with Tarot feels like a natural extension of my work with creative stimuli.
I ran the Soul Food Cafe for over ten years but stopped working it after compounding losses silenced me and took a toll on my capacity to be creative. I walked away from my former life, moved to regional Victoria from Melbourne and reinvented myself. Soul Food is now well archived in the Way Back Machine.
Favourite go to spread
My favourite go to spread is one that I use when I meet for an appointment to write. It is based on three cards. The first card identifies the issue we want to explore, the second sheds light on what may not help and the third offers a way forward.
For myself I like a deck to offer one message for the day.
Most anticipated deck of 2020
I eagerly anticipated the arrival of a number of decks and Tarot books early in 2020. One that I really looked forward to coming was the Sakki Sakki Tarot. I ordered it late in December and it seemed to take ages to come. I was thrilled when it, along with the companion book ‘Playing With Symbols’ arrived. This deck is now out of print. I regret not ordering the colouring book as well because I would photocopy some archetypes for participants in my classes.
What is on your Tarot Wishlist?
It is not surprising that Raecine (Owlmoon), a Tarot Community Tuber, has a huge following. She has an amazing collection of videos and her professionalism is outstanding. I trust her recommendations. She frequently makes reference to the Tarot of the Vampires and the dark imagery not only appeals but provides a contrast to decks I have in my collection.
I have a confession to make: before I started working with Liminal 11, I was pretty close-minded when it came to tarot cards! I grew up in southern Missouri – the buckle of the Bible Belt – which means my first impression of all things tarot came from a totally uninformed place. In fact, my experience with tarot was, up until a few months ago, limited solely to a fairly silly scene in the movie Now and Then (an old favourite of mine and nearly every ’90s girl I know).
Even as a much older person with a far more open mind, I wondered if tarot cards could ever appeal to my ‘rational’ side. It just never occurred to me that I could benefit from using tarot cards until I started really looking into it by Sarah Wray
After watching Tracy’s video where she responded to a series of questions about her relationship with Tarot I decided to follow her lead and talk about my new relationship with Tarot.
How did you get into Tarot or Oracle?
Many years ago I participated in a Jungian course at Monash University and the Head of English talked about her experience with Tarot. I was sufficiently intrigued to buy some Tarot decks and a book by Rachel Pollack but I confess that all this material sat on a shelf, unused.
It was not until I was completing a placement as a part of my Masters of Social Work that I was reintroduced to the magic of cards by my supervisor. She introduced me to Carolyn Myss’s Archetype cards and a beautiful set of Patchwork Life Cards. I didn’t take me many moments to appreciate how I could apply these in writing classes. It quickly became apparent that cards acted as activators in these classes and led to some wonderful work.
Needless to say it wasn’t long before I remembered that I had a small collection of decks that I had picked up and I began to look more closely at what they had to offer.
In December 2019 I made the commitment to learn about the wisdom of Tarot and the alchemical effects of working with it. I found the Tarot Community on YouTube and here I am, claiming to be a Tarot Midwife who uses Tarot to assist people birth their creative ideas.
Are you drawn more to Tarot or Oracle and why?
I am drawn to all kinds of cards and over the past twelve months I have invested quite a lot and added to my collection. It has all become quite addictive.
When I was binge watching YouTube videos during December and then as Australia burned during January, I came across Ouroboros. I was fascinated by the quality of all of Natalia’s videos, but when I watched her video about the psychology behind binge Tarot behaviour I identified that I was becoming a Tarot Junkie. I couldn’t deny that I was drawn to imagery of decks and that I found myself ‘needing’ to buy yet another deck that I had seen featured in a YouTube walk through.
I realised that these cards were feeding a malnourished inner aspect, helping to quench a thirst for a spiritual connection. They not only satisfied the inner child, who never did have the swap card collection other children in the small country town where I grew up had, but actually soothed me. They provided support as we seemed to face one crisis after another. They helped me adjust my perspective.
I enjoy pulling cards for myself and I have felt exhilarated when I made ‘appointments to write’ with people from my classes, pulled cards and saw how these cards led to really stimulating dialogues. Sadly the pandemic has put an end to some of these meetings but hopefully we will get back to being able to meet for coffee and cards again soon.
If you could create your own deck what would it be?
I would like to get back to drawing. There is no doubt that I have the time to do this. However, the ‘noise’ that has been generated by the global pandemic has made it harder for me to concentrate. At the moment I am satisfied to be able to complete an activity like this.
If I can bestir myself I would love to create a deck for myself that captures the magic of the journeys led by the Enchantress.
Show us your first deck whether it is Tarot or Oracle!