Through techniques of pathworking (guided meditation), your imagination can shine a magic mirror on your personality. This inner landscape reveals your world as your unconscious sees it – a perspective that enables you to make dramatic changes.
Make an appointment to write! Join me, read Tarot over Tiny Tea and spend time working on your journal.
Joseph Gill’s The Gill Tarot, first published in 1991, is a beautiful deck to work intimately with and provides amazing imagery for those wanting to journal or path-work.
A pathworking takes you on a journey through an inner landscape. Path-working as a technique is derived from magical uses of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. In that system, a path-working is a journey along one of the 22 paths of the Tree of Life, each of which has a specific set of landscape and symbolism associated with it (and corresponds to one of the twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana of the Tarot).
Alternatively you can engage in a visualisation by focusing on the specific images in front of you; sometimes the image tells a story or involves travelling through a landscape (real or imaginary); sometimes it is intended to bring about a specific result.
At other times you may dialogue with a aspect of your personality as represented by someone like Gill’s Queen of Cups.
Anastasia Riversleigh is just one of my alter egos. She is a member of the Skull Clan who is currently working, primarily, with the Tarot of the Vampyres. Given that she is taking this opportunity to do important shadow work she will be leaning on numerous decks and other resources.
Visit her and you will find a detailed journal which records her newest adventure, in residence, living and playing with many interesting internal characters at Shadwell Manor and on the old Ghostly Spanish Galleon that sails the seven seas.
“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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Annie (8 years) and Henry Clifton (6 years) were burnt to death at Spring Gully in 1827.
When the Fool appeared it was very evident that the Martell’s were highlighting that life really is a Fool’s journey.
David Jenkin Davies died at just 27 as the result of a mining accident. When the devil emerged it was clear that he was commenting on the negligence of the those who managed the mine.
“The writer of any first person work must decide two obvious questions: what to put in and what to leave out.” — Annie Dillard
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.
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
“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!
I am trying to motivate myself to get back to my drawing. For now I am just messing around enhancing using Photoshop.
This is the Fool with the Hierophant! Hardly a traditional interpretation but since when did I follow the party line? I particularly enjoyed having the Hierophant let his hair down and have fun with the Fool and his companion Raven.
Sol Invictus: The God Tarot is a deck that seeks to explore the many faces of the Divine Masculine through the stories of Gods, heroes, and historical men throughout the ages. Both Majors and Minors are fully illustrated, conveying the meanings of the cards as well as the myths of each particular deity/figure. The Court Cards have been renamed Awakening (Page), Quester (Knight), Nurturer (Queen), and Master (King) to better fit the deck’s God-oriented theme. Created by Kim Huggens, Nic Phillips
How often have you seen the divine masculine discussed or revered (as opposed to the divine feminine)? Be honest: not much. Maybe a few people here and there have touched on the matter … but overall people aren’t paying that much attention to the topic. Source: Loner Wolf
When a friend commented that she felt I had a strong masculine energy I was intrigued. It is not something I have thought about much and my friend’s comment prompted me to set out to learn more about masculine aspects and how they manifest themselves within me.
I invested in Sol Invictus: The God Tarot after discovering the review by Jennifer Pearson (see above). The companion book for this deck is incredibly well researched and I was excited to find such a diverse representation of Gods.
Sol Invictus – The God Tarot provides a wonderful balance to the Mother Peace deck and companion book by Vicki Noble and also complements Barbara Walkers Tarot and thoroughly researched companion book.
Another way is to study the picture of the Emperor in your deck for a few moments and jot down, without editing or censoring whatever you feel he might have to say in response to questions such as
What are you prepared to tell me about yourself.
What are your strengths?What are your limitations?
Who do you seek counsel from? Who do you trust?
What are you here to help me learn?
How could I effectively work with you?
Can we establish a partnership? Where is our partnership headed?
Choose another Emperor from those depicted in the image above or from another deck that you have. Compare the responses of the Emperor you have interviewed with what you glean from another of his counterparts. Maybe, after meditating on another depictions you might want to interview your first Emperor again.
Strength is a Major Arcana Tarot card, and is numbered either XI or VIII, depending on the deck.
Strength predicts the triumphant conclusion to a major life problem, situation or temptation through strength of character. It is a very happy card if you are fighting illness, recovering from injury or trying to recover from a trauma. It suggests you will prevail.
Everyone on the planet has been well aware that this has been a particularly torrid summer in Australia. It began months ago and it seemed that the whole country was on fire. Horrific images of people huddled on beaches with a searing red sky and a blanket of smoke, deaths of firefighters and civilians, loss of property and images of whole towns razed circulated around the world.
Away from the fire fronts we knew that there by the grace of Mother Nature it could have been us. Perhaps because the drought had not been as intense in this part of Victoria we dodged a bullet but felt helpless in the face of it all.
Now everyone is on alert and going more than slightly crazy because of a virus that, along with the thousands of travellers who zig zag across the world, will freely enter countries. Today we woke to news that people are emptying supermarket shelves and it feels like the world really gone quite mad.
One of the therapeutic benefits of the Tarot is that you can seek solace at a time like this. The Cosmic Tarot Strength card featured here is particularly beautiful. A mysterious woman, purported to be the film icon, Hedy Lamar, holds a magic cloth which mirrors a lion. Lamar is a good choice for the Strength card. Lamarr once insisted, “Any girl can be glamorous; all you have to do is stand still and look stupid.” That she herself was anything but stupid was unequivocally proved during World War II when, in collaboration with the avant-garde composer George Antheil, she invented an electronic device that minimized the jamming of radio signals. Though it was never used in wartime, this device is a component of present-day satellite and cellular phonetechnology.
Seeking to meditate upon the archetypal qualities of strength, courage, and fortitude, as reflected in this card, this guided visualization helped me to enhance these qualities, to connect to my own strength, and my own courage. Rather than visualising meeting with the traditional lion I went into my safe place and sought out the faithful donkey who had accompanied me, at a very difficult time, on the inner journeys we led from the Soul Food Cafe. With his fortitude came a strength of mind that has enabled me to calmly set boundaries and refuse to engage in craziness such as emptying supermarket shelves of things like toilet paper and Panadol.
Hedy Lamarr was the daughter of a prosperous Viennese banker. Lamarr was privately tutored from age 4; by the time she was 10, she was a proficient pianist and dancer and could speak four languages. At age 16 she enrolled in Max Reinhardt’s Berlin-based dramatic school, and within a year she made her motion picture debut in Geld auf der Strasse (1930; Money on the Street). She achieved both stardom and notoriety in the Czech film Extase (1932; Ecstasy), in which she briefly but tastefully appeared in the nude. Her burgeoning career was halted by her 1933 marriage to Austrian munitions manufacturer Fritz Mandl, who not only prohibited her from further stage and screen appearances but also tried unsuccessfully to destroy all existing prints of Extase. After leaving the possessive Mandl, she went to Hollywood in 1937, where she appeared in her first English-language film, the classic romantic drama Algiers (1938). Lamarr became a U.S. citizen in 1953.