Work With the Fool’s Energy

I willingly walk the path of the Fool, in search of my grail. It is my wish to dig deep, blow the dust from the archives and breathe life into the women upon whose shoulders we Australians might stand upon”.
Georgina McClure

New beginnings, innocence, naiveté, childlike trust, carefree enthusiasm, longing to find one’s heart desire, spontaneity, endless potential, inexperience, excitement, leap of faith, risk, reckless, the unknown

This is just the beginning! The Fool is Card Zero of the Major Arcana, representing the point where everything begins and ends and begins again. The Fool tarot card is a sign of unlimited and endless potential. It’s a cosmic invitation from the universe to start your next adventure. The world is your oyster, babe! Release your expectations or any preconceived notions because anything can happen right now, you just need to take a leap of faith and dive into the unknown.

Germaine Greer, (born January 29, 1939, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), Australian-born English writer and feminist who championed the sexual freedom of women. Freed from the usual societal constraints she is, quite possibly, the most important radical and controversial woman of the 20th and 21st-century feminists.

Greer’s book, the Female Eunuch, regarded as a feminist masterpiece, led many women to take the ‘Fools Leap’ and quite literally changed the lives of a generation of women.

Greer urged women to think beyond the stereotype patriarchal society had created for them, likening the situation of the 1970s woman to that of a bird “made for captivity”. She was the wise fool who embarked on a quest without thought for the consequences. Her wisdom is to follow the path to her Grail.

Choose to work with Germaine Greer and the energy of the Fool.

Standing on Their Shoulders

The Challenge is to use the word prompt list to showcase 22 Days of Positive Quotes and feature Tarot Decks. I have chosen to work with the You Tarot by Sarah Shipman, but because Shipman does not feature any Australian women I am redressing this by showcasing Australian women who have left a rich legacy.

The full project is called ‘Standing on Their Shoulders’ On this page you will find photographs of inspirational Australian women and links to pages providing more detailed information about each of these women.

Voices May Be Heart At Pennyweight

Some 200 children were buried at Pennyweight Flat Children’s Cemetery between 1852 and 1857, during the height of the Australian gold rush, and not much has happened here since. There have been no more burials. There’s no garden to tend to. No fresh flowers. But you will find small offerings from children who leave toys on the graves.

In a post Tania Braukamper notes that “Aside from those few with markings, the babies and children buried here are voiceless, nameless; nothing but soft bones and dust crushed beneath anonymity and piles of arid earth. The tiny mounds are even sadder because they are mute: the dead are always silent, but the unmarked dead are the quietest of all.”

Skeleton Stan and I doubted that these children remain voiceless, agreeing that it is just a matter of listening.

Stan, being a dead dude, is the perfect conduit to communicate with the tiny residents of this place so he and I agreed to go and try listening.

This remarkable 320 page book & 78 full-color tarot card set is a perfect gift item for someone you love, including yourself! The book . . is a small masterpiece in itself.” “The art on these cards places this deck in a class by itself compared to other decks. The scenes are simple yet highly evocative and magical.

We took some Inner Child Cards out with us and visited an unmarked grave. We waited quietly to see if the resident had any message for us.

It was very moving when the card that emerged told the story of Peter Pan.

The story of Peter Pan begins in the nursery of the Darling household in London, where Wendy, John, and Michael are going to bed when they are surprised by the arrival of Peter Pan and the fairy Tinker Bell. Peter is a little boy who lives in the faraway world of Never Never Land who has come to retrieve his shadow, which he had previously lost there. Peter reveals that he lives in the Never Land as captain of the Lost Boys, children who fell out of their baby carriages when their nurses were looking the other way.

As a young mischievous boy with the power to fly, Peter Pan sweeps Wendy into his world and takes her to the promised Never Land. It is there that the pair encounters friends and foes alike, ranging from the loyal Tinker Bell to the antagonistic Captain Hook.

Neither Stan or I felt a shadow emerge from the grave but we both heard voices calling us to come again but we agreed that if these children are residing in a place like Never Never Land, telling stories, having adventures and living in a big hollow tree, this is a comforting thought.

Pennyweight Children’s Cemetery Reading

Life on the goldfields was particularly harsh on children. They were often used as a source of labour and could earn small amounts of money for errands. Their young immune systems were still developing and children were highly susceptible to diseases that sometimes ran through mining communities. However, even the young were drawn to the lure of gold and could also be found panning along the rivers.

In 1852, on a barren piece of land that was of no use to gold miners or fossickers, a cemetery for the deceased children of the Castlemaine goldfields was set aside. Located within the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park is Pennyweight Flat Children’s Cemetery. A pennyweight is a very small measure of gold.

The graveyard is little more than a bee-stung patch of ground, small swellings rising up here and there where the earth’s surface was long ago prickled by rough shovels. Some of the mounds have their perimeters acknowledged by rows of stones, no more sophisticated than those you might set up around a campfire; others are marked only by a single jutting rock, or nothing at all. Looking out from Pennyweight Flat Children’s Cemetery, the Australian scenery is beautiful.

Surrounded by grey box gums in a tranquil setting, the Children’s Cemetery tells a silent story about some realities of the goldfields during the 1850s. Many families travelled to the Castlemaine diggings in the early 1850s as word spread about alluvial (surface) gold to be found.

The Pennyweight Flat Children’s Cemetery in Moonlight Flat is a heartbreaking result of the awful living conditions in the diggings during the gold rush of the 1850s. Around 200 shallow graves, mostly children and babies, are scattered amongst the trees.

Aside from the associated danger of children wandering off and getting lost, the poor and inadequate drainage of the early settlements caused much discomfort not only for everyone’s olfactory nerves but on the community’s health problems. A lack of clean drinking water along with accidents and diseases were the main causes of death for children living on the goldfields. The first recorded deaths on the Mount Alexander Diggings were of two small children, who perished of dysentery in November 1851.

Many graves are simply marked by stone arrangements, but there are a few which have headstones with readable engravings. There have also been memorial plaques added to some graves in recent years.

Pennyweight is one of my favorite places to visit with my dogs. For me it is the equivalent of going to church and spending time with the divine. It is also a popular destination for families. No doubt inspired by stories such as the one about Nannie, children leave small toys on many of the graves. I have considered taking children’s books out to this beautifully tranquil place, sitting and reading to the children. Meanwhile I am sure they have enjoyed the visits of my dogs.

Today I took my Macabre Tarot with me and was delighted when the Magician fell out of the pack, demanding to be featured.

The appearance of the Magician tells me more than I will publish. It lets me know that I am on the right path with my new project that involves revisiting historic cemeteries, accompanied by my dog and a Tarot deck. I have the tools I need and it is time to barrel ahead, get guidance from the dead and excavate some local history

Working With Macabre Tarot

Are you ready to let your skin crawl? Are you ready to get lost in the night? Are you ready to embrace everything that lives in the shadows? Step into the darkness and release your fears. A 78-card tarot deck, with premium design aesthetics, that calls you to turn away from the light and explore your own shadow.

Put ‘how to bond with a tarot deck’ into your search engine and a host of ideas about how to develop a relationship with your deck will appear. Ideas range from smoking it with white sage, sleeping with it, rubbing the deck edges in the dirt or simply taking the time to interview it.

Little Red Tarot is just one site that provides some specific deck interviews that you might use.

Having recently acquired the Macabre Tarot I was very taken with the interview, shown here, by Owl and Bone Tarot.

Taking the time to reflect on the messages that laid before me helped my appreciate just what this deck might offer.

Another strategy I employ, as I familiarize myself with a deck like this, is to take it out on an adventure. So, given the macabre nature of this deck I bundled it and the dog into the car and set out to visit a lonely grave that can be found off the the road from Chewton to Fryers Town.

To visit this Escott Grave, in which lies a mother and daughter who died during the Gold Rush period, you have to walk some distance along a bush track.

Not much is written to support this insight but the Macabre Deck was quick to pick up on just how devastated these women had been about being betrayed and deceived.

The story of women on the diggings is largely untold. Only rarely did women work as diggers in their own right. Often, though, they worked side by side with a husband, brother or father.

The first woman made her appearance at Mount Alexander in November 1851, and a digger who was there later recalled how `all the men left off work to gaze on her’. Mrs Andrew Campbell couldn’t help noticing the way she was always being `gazed on’-

 ‘… sometimes as a strange animal, and at others, notwithstanding my claim to toughness, as a brittle bit of porcelain to be labelled “glass, with care”…’’

Towards the end of 1852, women were an accepted part of the diggings scene. Writer-turned digger, William Howitt, was surprised at the number of `diggeresses’ on the goldfields when he arrived­:
‘You see a good many women … and some of them right handsome young girls. They all seem very cheerful and even merry; and the women seem to make themselves very much at home in this wild, nomadic life.’’

The grave of Elizabeth Escott and her daughter Fanny lies in bushland on the east side of the road to Fryerstown.

When Elizabeth’s husband died, she left England with her eleven children to make a new life in Australia. She was one of many who were beaten by the hardships of life on the diggings. Fanny was sixteen when she died of consumption at Blacksmith’s Gully in 1856, and Elizabeth died six months later. Another daughter, Mary, had died in 1855.

A Small Fool’s Guidance

Mouse symbolism is centered on the idea of having the ability to accomplish anything in life regardless of your size. It is a spirit present in many tales and myths and has various positive and negative meanings.

Wary of the Deviant Moon Fool, unsure about following such a renegade, I turned to the Northern Animal Tarot. I figured I might get the best guidance from an animal. I didn’t need to do a spread to decide whether to accept a date with this young fellow.

Mouse reminds me to go slow and to tend to the smaller details. Mouse spirit signifies a time when you need to take a closer look at your life and scrutinize the details that you may have missed. As a big picture person this advice seems very timely. I am guilty of overlooking detail.

I pull two more cards to guide me, to help me see what I may have overlooked as I embark on this project. I realize that the seed I have is going to need to be nurtured if it is to flourish and that while I have a rich bounty already there are many more cups to fill along the way.

But I am tired now. The negative noise that has permeated everything for the past two years feels overwhelming. It is ridiculous to imagine that anything really changes on the last day of a year, that everything will be transformed at the dawn of a New Year, but the prospect of more of this is relentless stress is daunting. Earth feels like a very crazy place to be at the moment and I wonder what is going on out there in the galaxy.

Mouse looks through his contacts in the deck and suggests that I really need to find the Knight of Swords.

When I come upon this fellow, striding forward, wielding his sword, his ferocious energy is daunting. I am just plain weary and my intellect feels blunted. I recall my High School Principal telling me that “worry is rust on the blade” and I am sure Marcus Aurelius would have some sage advice. Obviously I have always taken things way too seriously and this has blunted my sword.

I choose to simply watch as this energetic warrior struts his stuff, hoping for some of his enthusiasm to be infectious.

Tiny Tea with The Fool

What about addressing the difficult topic over tea and biscuits? If tea’s not your drink, do a little online search for alternatives. Lots of cultures have versions of hot beverages to try. Try them! Go on a tea/coffee break adventure and create space for sharing.

I invited the very youthful Anna K Fool to take a moment, before leaping off that cliff face, to have a cup of my tiny tea. Despite being in a hurry to go wherever she was going she agreed to take a few moments to talk to me.

As we sipped tea, and ate some of the Christmas shortbread, I remarked that my daily life has come to feel like a rubber band, that despite wanting to start afresh, I slip back into old ways of doing and being.

“This is not how it has to be! Your spirit is every bit as young as mine” proffered the Fool.

I all but choked on my tea and spluttered as I considered this. The saying that we are only as young as we feel went through the replay screen in my brain and I conceded that she might just be a very old soul in a young body.

“What about I lay down a couple of cards” suggested the Fool. “I am sure there will be a message for you”.

We contemplated the cards together. I suggested that I might position myself at the top of the wheel and dance joyfully like the figure shown there.

“Rather than hanging on to an established pattern of thinking about the ending before you begin” said the Fool “what about you focus on climbing up from the hub? The project you have so publicly been talking about will not materialize overnight. It will quite literally take a significant amount of time to wrangle. It will be awhile before you can really celebrate.”

With that the Fool drained her cup, put her swag back over her shoulder and leapt into some new world leaving me to ponder whether, at my age, after having responded so often to the call, if I have the energy to do it again.

Consider what might happen if you:

For more than 25 years Noriko Morishita studied and practised the intricate ceremonies of the famous Way of Tea, attempting to learn its complexities and achieve a perfection of movement and mood that few can master. In The Wisdom of Tea Noriko describes her gradual discovery of freedom and insight within the very rules that once seemed so constricting. Looking back across her life, Noriko illuminates the real teachings of the Way of Tea: to live absolutely in the moment, to notice and delight in the smallest of details, to embrace the vital skills of patience and perseverance, and to allow yourself to be.

  • made tea and sat chatting with one of the Major Arcana
  • added tea to a meeting with a client,
  • poured a cup of tea and brought it to a disheartened friend,
  • set up a tea service for an imaginary friend on your back deck.
  • bought yourself a child’s tea service and made tea for the nature spirits in your garden
  • called in and had tea with an isolated elderly or disabled person and encouraged them to share stories about their life.

Road to 2022 Paved With Good Intentions

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my  brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy.  Just take it bird by bird.’” Bird by Bird Anne Lamont

Do you feel that your road has been paved with good intentions? Have you set resolutions only to have them disappear like mirages in the desert. Writers have documented many good reasons why these resolutions fail.

Before doing anything consider doing a simple SWOT spread as a personal reality check.

Some Intention Setting Options to Explore

Keeping in mind the advice dispensed by Lamont’s father, this motivation spread might help kick start the setting of some intentions – but I suggest replacing the heavily loaded word SHOULD with COULD

Of course you might choose to keep it simple, remove pressure and just let things manifest themselves.

Applying Bibliomancy

Bibliomancy is one of many divination practices found around the world, and involves the use of books—typically sacred texts—as a method to foretell the future and find guidance. There are many different techniques of bibliomancy that can be used, and a practitioner’s own belief system often informs the way in which results are interpreted.

All the Tarot, Oracle and Lenormand readers I have come to know are constantly updating their knowledge. Inevitably, most folk who collect decks also collect reputable resources to further their knowledge. I know my shelves are literally full of resources about Tarot and the art of writing in particular.

In his book, A Healing Space, Matt Licata specifically says that his book is not one to be read from cover to cover in one sitting. He expresses the hope that a reader might take his book out into nature, sit on the earth and ask to be directed to a passage. What Licata is describing is the art of bibliomancy.

  • Bibliomancy is often used with sacred texts to divine the future, but can also be performed with fiction.
  • The tradition of bibliomancy is found in religious practices all over the world.
  • To practice bibliomancy, you can select any book that is important to you, and focus on finding an answer to your question.

Now this got me thinking! It is true! The Jury is back in! I am guilty, as charged, of being critical of myself for not reading all the pages of the countless books that I have gathered over my lifetime. But I am confident that I could establish a simple Bibliomancy practice using the Tarot books, and other resources that surround me.

To test drive the process I pulled Mindful Tarot by Lisa Frienkel Tishman. PhD off the shelf and called upon this book to show me something I needed to know about Tarot and my specific practice.

Remarkably the page that opened talked about the Hangman and how the earliest decks called this the Traitor, in reference to Judas! This may not be news to you, but it was news to me.

I sat quietly with the whole notion of the Judas archetype and the provocative argument presented by Jorges Luis Borges, that without Judas we would not have Christ saving us all.

I pulled out the Hangman from the Cosmic Tarot and drew in the image! I considered how once in awhile someone comes along who, by the way, is not thanked for turning everything upside down. I remembered a moment in time when I turned everything upside down.

Curious? Perhaps it is best that I keep that memory to myself for now.

Over to You

What reference beckons you? What do you learn? Will you try this again and again?

Close Encounters of the Best Kind

Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a 1977 American science fiction film written and directed by Steven Spielberg that captured the imagination of the world at the time of its showing. It tells the story of Roy Neary, an everyday blue-collar worker in Indiana, whose life changes after an encounter with an unidentified flying object (UFO). Richard Dreyfuss stars as cable worker Roy Neary, who along with several other stunned bystanders experience a close encounter of the first kind – witnessing UFOs soaring across the sky.

During this holiday period it is as good a time as any to watch an old favourite movie or to have a close encounter with someone less like an alien – a Tarot Archetype.

When I take the time to study the Fool I invariably think in terms of the Pied Piper who is constantly enticing me to throw it all in and follow him.

Indeed, many of my personal drawings and courses that I have run have been influenced by this character. As an artistic midwife I have had many encounters with him. It is the Piper who encourages me to lace up my Cyber Boots and head out on yet another creative journey of imagination. It is the Piper who lures me away from conventional thinking and encourages me to inhabit a world of childhood imagination.

In her book ‘Jung and Tarot’ An Archetypal Journey Sally Nicholls makes the point that studying specific cards help unlock hidden stores of creative imagination enabling sudden insights and ideas burst forth into the consciousness, seemingly from nowhere. I am determined to have some close encounters with prominent Tarot characters.

Given that these wispy characters can be as illusive as butterflies, who flit away without warning, I plan to step into their world and interview them. I am anticipating that this will take most of 2022 to complete but I am in no hurry as I really want to really get to know some of these characters.

I plan to adapt some of these spreads as I begin to communicate with each character. I will lay the card down and either draw more cards or see what spontaneously emerges using a stream of consciousness approach.

Some More Questions to Pose

One of the things I do love about the Show Me Cards is that I can use them to ask questions but here are some more that might be useful.

  • Tell me about yourself!
  • How are you helping me?
  • What should I know about any message that you bring?
  • Is there anything I should be aware of?
  • What else do I need to know?