Intentional Mindfulness With Tarot

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:

  1. What experience or feeling do you yearn for today?
  2. How might my shadow or time monsters block me from trusting myself or exploring the yearning I have named?
  3. What would help my body feel listened to and loved?
  4. 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.

Art Oracles as Provocateurs

A sheep with a drawer in its stomach, a chair that wears heels, these truly surreal works of art could only come from the mind of Salvador Dalí. Pioneering, avant-garde provocateur, Surrealist, as famous for his personality as his work, a true icon, his legacy remains unrivalled in the current century.

On the basis that there is not really an original idea and the reality that we all stand upon the shoulders of others, I regularly have participants shuffle and choose an art oracle card.

With everything closed my most recent class went online and we have been meeting using Zoom. I drew cards for each of the participants and asked them to spend some time contemplating what they could learn from their artist.

Heather was confronted with Dali and, in response to the idea that to be Dali would provide more than enough inspiration, she spent some time considering how he would react to Covid 19 and being locked down.

She decided that, given that he pursued his interest in the 4th dimension and immortality, she imagined that Covid 19 might have tested his convictions.  She wondered if he would have laughed the virus off and continued with his life or if he might have questioned his ideas and, along with the rest of the world, isolated himself and painted with new energy.

Finally she decided that he liked life too much to test his ideas about immortality and that Covid 19 would have been an exciting stimulus for him to paint in his Surrealist style.

He would very likely have emerged again, as the painter who in the 1920s, excited the art world with his works.

Inspired to walk briefly in Dali’s shoes she had fun playing and produced this delightful piece of art.

by Heather M

How Artists Are Responding to the Covid 19 2020

Corona Virus Street Art
How Artists Are Responding to the Coronavirus Crisis

Landscapes of the Abyss

Back in December 2019 I ordered the Mary El Tarot. Needless to say, at that time, I could not have known that by March 2020 the title of the companion book, ‘The Landscape of the Abyss’, would describe the landscape we now would find ourselves living within.

By New Year’s Day Australia was, quite literally burning. Iconic images of Sydney shrouded in smoke and of people huddled by the water on South Coast beaches were being circulated worldwide. Millions of native animals perished as the fires rage uncontrollably and towns were razed. But then there was more!

Wuhan had been locked down because of a new Corona virus epidemic and within no time this stealthy virus, reached our shores, threatening to cripple health services and rain death and destruction upon us all.

The world as we have known it changed overnight.

My new Mary El Tarot has lain unused for months. From the moment the deck and book arrived, back in December 2019, I knew that it was very special, but perhaps because of the quality of the cards and the gold edging, I unconsciously decided that, like ‘good china’ it was a deck to bring out for special occasions. Of course, I cannot deny that, as a relative newcomer to the world of Tarot, I felt decidedly intimidated by the striking imagery.

Then something shifted! I had begun working with the concept of ‘Gratitarot’ and engaging in a ‘spreading positive energy’ challenge I found on Instagram. The questions posed in the challenge made me start to think about which decks really spoke to me and I realised that I have been skimming the decks I had binge bought.

Members of the Tarot Community talk about interviewing decks, ‘working with them’ for a month, popping them under their pillow and generally bonding. I couldn’t honestly say I had done this, although I did spend some time getting to know the Cosmic Tarot.

But then a few days ago…. Mary El seemed to call me, insisted I pull her out of the old iPad cover I had used to safely store both her and her companion book in. As I pulled out the deck and book out, perhaps the first time, I really took in the title of the companion book. I was thunderstruck! I realised that this was a deck that was exploring the landscape of an abyss and that it might be able to shed light on how to cope in the abyss, the landscape we are now facing.

I sat quietly! I reminded myself that an abyss is a deep, immeasurable space, a gulf or cavity, a vast chasm. Yes! We are all facing an abyss! We are actually living in a landscape of the abyss, a primal chaos before fresh creation.

I held the deck to my heart and asked her how she would guide me at this time, help me as I navigate this new world.

I all but cried when the card that emerged was the Strength card. It is a stunningly beautiful card. A woman is “crafting her own soul, the lion, into gold. She is using her hands to create her destiny”. Mary White explains that “Strength is found in doing the work of ones soul. Of wielding the great power of one’s soul. Of doing what is right, and what is right is knowledge that can only come from oneself… Knowing what is right comes from knowing one’s own should and trusting in the greatness of it”.

Clearly Mary El is letting me know that she is here to remind me of my strength, is willing to help me stay strong, craft my destiny, help fill the void that has appeared  and support my soul work.

Who will step forward to support my soul work at this time?

The Prophets accept all agony and trust it for the water has never feared fire
Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi

The imagery of the Hanged Man mounted on his gallows is extraordinary. Like all myths dealing with life, death and rebirth there has been an element of predestination in this current situation. We have known that another pandemic could sweep through the world. It has been foretold by many.

Upon drawing this card, I am reminded that in winter animals and vegetation sleep, growth, sex and movement stops. It is only the dawn of Spring which brings back life and movement. The Hanged Man actually reassures me that the sleep or statis –  the slumber of Sleeping Beauty will eventually end.

The Hanged Man has come to support my soul work by reminding me to use this time to go within, to quietly prepare for the renewal that will come when ‘spring’ returns and movement begins again.

While I am working within, what would I be well to keep in mind? 

The carefully made shoes on this baby remind me that I arrived with all the skills required to meet my destiny.  Clearly it is important that during this period I stay grounded.  I can strap on some metaphorical sandals that have wings attached to them and move forward confidently.

I need to keep spreading positivity at this stage! Can you provide three cards that I can use to send a positive message?

The Queen of Cups is the holy grail, the container of all our wisdom, accumulated over centuries, passed down by our ancestors. These may seem like dark times but down in the deepest, darkest places remains the pearl which represents hope.

The 4 of Cups reminds us to be patient and to keep working on the problem at hand. We may feel weary! That is normal! However we need to hang in there. Things will gradually improve if we are patient.

The 7 of Wands reminds us to always remain master of our higher selves.

 

Talking Tarot Part 2

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.

From the Cosmic Tarot.

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.

Talking Tarot Part 1

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?

Swap Cards

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?

My Queen of Wands

There are hundreds of decks on the market and I am not sure that there is a need for another one. However, having said that, back in the day when I (the Enchantress) led people through a portal into the imaginary world of Lemuria (each number has a hyperlink) I spent a lot of time drawing ‘my journey’. My pencils have lain idle for far too long.

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!

As a fan of Greek Mythology and a votary of the Muses, it made sense that the original Mythic Tarot was the deck I was first drawn to. With all kinds of stories from Greek Mythology converging in both the Major and Minor cards, this deck provides a great head start into the subject.

 

Talking to the Stones

The Philosophers Stone consists of 40 square cards, each depicting a painting by artist De Es Schwertberger, along with a particular quality or condition. Schwertberger’s preferred subjects seem to consist entirely of stones with human faces, stone figures, and stones over plain backgrounds. The artist seems to have applied an enormous talent to an extremely narrow subject matter.

You can dig very deep with these images, it’s almost like looking into a persons’ soul. These cards are ideal for prompting ideas, especially when combined with another deck.

To get a feel for this 1970’s deck begin by watching this walk through by the Tarot Alchemist. Stop and pause the video and meditate upon some of the images.

Get out your journal and see where these cards lead you. Here are some starter activities.

Write a stream of consciousness piece based on how our need to belong, connect and complement one another is being compromised during this 2020 pandemic. Given the current crisis it might be a bit full on to read The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allen Poe but right now it does seem to resonate. Here are some exercises I have used after reading the opening of this story.

Card 28 Portrays Existence and when I viewed this image my thoughts turned to Sisyphus who was punished for his self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill only for it to roll down every time it neared the top, repeating this action for eternity.

Your thoughts may go else where. Perhaps you might take the time to interview this figure and write the dialogue that emerges.

More Ideas

This stone, lying in an old goldfields park has witnessed enormous change in the world.

Take a walk sometime, watch for a stone that seems to grab your attention… pick it up, turn it over a few times and look for images on it’s surface. Allow those images to relay words to your mind. Those words will be the message from the stone – for you. This a simple form of stone divination, looking and listening within – to dive in – “divine” an answer to a question.

Quietly enter the world of Stonehenge. Stand in the centre of these famous stones – one of the wonders of the world and the best-known prehistoric monument in Europe – and dialogue with these ancient stones.

Remember that while the mysteriously arranged structure of Stonehenge is one of the world’s greatest wonders these odd stone arrangements can be found throughout the world in many shapes and sizes. Known as megaliths, these giant stones formed prehistoric structures in amazing (and perplexing!) feats of construction. The purpose of these sites may be shrouded in mystery, but their remains add character and ancient beauty to landscapes across the globe, from the cold mountains of Russia to the balmy Mediterranean. Take the time to visit 7 ancient megaliths.

Deck Interviews

The interview spread is a really neat way to introduce yourself to a new tarot deck and allow it to introduce itself to you. Essentially, it’s a conversation about your potential working relationship, where you can discuss the deck’s strengths and limits and discover the best way to approach and use these cards.

Interview with the Tarot of the Witches by the Tarot Midwife.

Back in December 2019, after having worked with Tarot in my writing classes, I resolved to learn about the wisdom of Tarot and to identify the alchemical impact of Tarot on creativity.

Since we have been locked indoors because of the Corona Virus there is no doubt that ‘the noise’ generated from the media reports has impacted on me and reduced my capacity to concentrate.

A break through came when I decided establish an Instagram account and spend time taking photos. Now I have decided to spend time interviewing some of the decks in my collection to identify which decks could provide support at this time.

There is an ample supply of deck interviews templates online. This one is provided by Katey Flowers.

Singing Over the Bones – Graveside Chats

You only have to watch Ricky Gervais’s dark comedy, ‘After Life’, to know that many people spend time at gravesites chatting to a beloved who has died. Many mothers have  gone to children’s graves seeking peace.  However gone are the days when families picnicked in the grounds of cemeteries  Now most historic cemeteries lie quietly with barely a visitor these days. I love to visit with my picnic basket and a deck of Tarot cards to have a graveside chat. There is much to learn from those who are resting in these  fading spaces.

Annie (8 years) and Henry Clifton (6 years) were burnt to death at Spring Gully in 1827. The Totem of Bowls, Dolphin, The Swimmers appeared from the Medicine Woman Tarot deck. The message from these children reminds me that I am not only here to console but to give to others the tools with which they can lift themselves up.

There is an unlikely drawcard between the old gold cities of Ballarat and Bendigo and yet it would be all too easy to pass by and not notice it. The Sandon Cemetery is a must visit for the slow travelling cemetery explorer.

Each year hundreds of Catholic pilgrims pause here on their 90 kilometre walk between the cathedrals at Ballarat and Bendigo to rest their weary soles and too sing. I have passed the parade on the Creswick to Newstead road and wondered what it was all about. It was only recently that a Sandon local told me about the pilgrimage and how the pilgrims sing at the gravesites. This gives a whole new meaning to the Clarissa Pinkola Estes story about singing over bones.

Sandon Cemetery is a special place for the cemetery explorer. This place shares one of the regions great landscapes. When you stand amongst the weather beaten headstones you can look through white-trunked eucalyptus trees towards the rising Sandon basalt ridge. No wonder a community of Swiss-Italian migrants chose this part of Central Victoria as home.

I have visited regularly but it was only on my recent visit that I decided that rather than sing to the bones (no self respecting bones would enjoy the rasping sound from my vocal chords) I would talk to the bones and ask them to share a message about their life and how I should live.

The result is that I have a whole new hobby and interest, revisiting historic cemeteries to have graveside chats.

Conversing With Tarot Cards

“The writer of any first person work must decide two obvious questions: what to put in and what to leave out.” — Annie Dillard

I found out about the Medicine Woman Tarot after watching a YouTube video by Cosmic Creeper

I have been a ‘gleaner’ online since 2000 and I have fond memories of early  blogs that quite literally shared things that could be found online. We tapped on one another’s doors and celebrated the brave new world we had discovered.

Over a ten year period I worked the Soul Food Cafe and created a vibrant communal space in the blogosphere where there was a free exchange of ideas. It has been said that I wove technology, community, and writing together long before blogging was a verb. At the time I was creating and managing this site  it was not all about turning a dollar and filling our pages with advertising. It was about more simple things like sharing ideas with a community of likeminded spirits, being inspired by others and having a readership for our work.

Life circumstances took me away from the world of Soul Food and online communities. When I finally emerged from the fog of compounding loss and grief I found a very different online landscape to the one I had been so familiar with. Having had my day as an ‘influencer’, long before that term came into everyday language, I am very happy to take a back seat now. I am not interested in writing the book everyone tells me I should write either. There are plenty of books out there about the craft of writing and I am not inclined to add to them either.

For now I am happy to forage, find treasure and share what I find.  Here are two recent finds in the  Tarot Community. They are about conversational Tarot Reading and having conversations with your Tarot Cards.

Fire of Transformation shares her Conversational Tarot Reading, a technique I also use when I am working with writers

Victor Pitisci has a video about how you can have conversations with your Tarot cards and bring out a personality to each of the cards not seen before.

 

 

Fiction Inspired by Tarot

For something so universally recognizable, most people know little about the tarot outside of its supposed ability, with the help of a skilled reader, to foretell the future. Tarot cards are very rich in symbolism and occult significance. With their mysterious illustrations and buried meanings so open to interpretation, it’s hardly surprising that a number of sci-fi and fantasy books have incorporated the Tarot into their world building. If anything, it’s surprising there aren’t more of them: staring into the Tarot is like staring into a ominous mirror-world.
Source: Barnes and Noble

A review of the Creative Tarot by Two Sides Tarot.

A cursory glance online reveals that figures in the literary world are recognising, what many of us know. Tarot can make a significant contribution to the craft of writing.

“The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide to an Inspired Life” by Jesse Crispin is a manual intended to show that the tarot deck, primarily regarded as belonging to the domain of the esoteric, can be useful for anyone engaged in creative pursuits.

Like Crispin, at the risk of being deemed a “weirdo mystic”, I am prepared to publicly come out of the spiritual closet and promote the benefits of turning to a deck of cards for inspiration for fiction and art. Aside from the fact that I have seen the benefit of using cards in writing classes, I am in esteemed company. Many respected writers have made use of the tarot: Yeats, Italo Calvino, Salvador Dali, and even Charles Williams, a novelist and theologian who belonged to the Inklings literary circle, have drawn on the cards for inspiration.

Given that many Tarot cards actually depicted imagery of Medieval Dramas that took place in Italy it is not surprising that the cards, which feature characters from those plays, offer a springboard for aspiring wordsmiths.  In a post entitled Tarot Fairy Stories I presented a case for using the Cosmic Tarot to help generate a fairy story set in a fantasy world. Needless to say there is a lot more that can be done.

When I found Tribu Arcane, a set of playing cards, in a second hand book shop I couldn’t help adding it to my collection. This deck features a different, traditional image on each card. 

In a writing session I laid out the suit of hearts and we spent time considering what story is being revealed. We discussed what ideas might be researched and to kick start discussion I suggested that we could write something about a vibrant dancing troupe who travel, presenting spontaneous performances under sprawling Marula Trees. It is always inspiring to hear other ideas that come forward from the group.

Pull out a deck and experiment! Feel free to share any ideas in the comment section!