Monday, December 18, 2006

Keeping It Real

Bonnie said something about my podcast segments over at The Tarot Connection that made me laugh but got me thinking, too. She said, "You certainly have a flair for taking the Tarot out of the ethers and placing it squarely into real life!" It got me thinking about those different approaches to tarot. Certainly there is value in each approach and it is not my intent to proclaim one above another. However, it is definitely my style to bring these cards and their meanings and use into the nitty gritty of the daily grind, don't you think? I wondered why some of us are more drawn to the "ethers," as Bonnie put it, and others are more interested in "keeping it real." They're not exclusive, of course, and one can certainly explore the esoteric aspects of tarot while also mooring it in the practical and mundane.

I have a habit of doing this kind of thing with spiritual stuff. It can ruffle certain folks' feathers sometimes if they happen to think esoterica is a sacred cow that must never be messed with. You should see what I can do paraphrasing the words of Jesus. King James English, it's not. I have him rolling his eyes at the Pharisees and calling the disciples retards. That's because I got so tired of the super-spiritualized, sanitized Jesus. In the Bible, he's chilling with the riff-raff, so it stands to reason he's heard a cuss word or two. For some reason I can't wrap my mind around the untouchable divine Jesus and find the idea silly when I try to envision a scenario of him being all super guru-like among plain old folk. I've done my time in the ivory towers of high minded spiritualism, and I've paid my dues, so once I understand the theories, I want to find out where that rubber meets this road. I don't want to be so heavenly minded that I'm of no earthly good. I've been that before. I have been so insulated in spiritual pursuits that I became too detached from the real lives of people around me. I do have the leanings of the Hermit, the High Priestess and the Fool. So, it's not that I'm not attracted to the more esoteric, spiritual side of tarot, I am. It's just that I have a need to find another use for what I learn other than my own spiritual enlightenment.

Spiritual enlightenment is cool. It has its perks. Peace is one primary benefit. A better ability to go with the flow of life and the universe is another. There comes understanding and compassion for oneself and others and a sense of connectedness to everything. That connectedness thing is particularly amazing. I try to take that understanding, compassion, and connectedness and do something with it and I end up seeing the images in tarot as real people, real emotions, real bodily functions. Isn't that just so pentacles-ish of me?

Honestly, one of the cards that disturbs me the most is not the Ten of Swords, nor the Tower, but the Seven of Cups. Oh, I know, it's a creative card, wonderful for brainstorming and imagining the possibilities. It feels good to indulge in fantasy and daydreams, sure. One cannot hope to reach a future goal if one cannot even envision it, so the card certainly has its promising side. I sometimes hear the words, "Just imagine!" when I see that card. Who among us has not pondered what we might do if we won the lottery, even if we never play? It's the "What if?" card and it's full of potential and possibility. But all that building castles in the clouds makes me want to take up residence there. And while I have no doubt whatsoever that the spiritual realm is every bit if not more real than the physical, living there while I'm still incarnated here tends to be a bit problematic. Otherwise the card can indicate someone caught up in delusions and operating from that place. You know, the one who is always talking about starting his own business and even has great ideas about how to do it but somehow years go by and he never manages to put his ideas and dreams into play. The minute you look at him sideways with skepticism, he's mortally wounded, deeply offended that you don't see how real his imaginary world is. There are those of us who cling to dreams despite reality slapping us in the face saying, "It's NOT gonna happen!" Well, at least not the way we envision it. We do have limitations, we do live within restrictions of time and material resources, and the actions of other people often impact our plans in significant ways. That's why the advice of this card is to choose one option and focus on that in order to manifest it into reality. Basically it's saying, "Get real."
Some truly have difficulty grasping the ethereal concepts of the intangible spiritual world of tarot. I know I've had my own struggles with the more esoteric side myself. Delving too much into Qabbalistic, Golden Dawn, and Hermetic associations with tarot can be at times too thick and deep for me to navigate. Give it to me in smaller portions and when I'm in a more spiritual mindspace, ok. The High Priestess embodies that esoteric aspect to tarot, but without the Magus/Magician to put the lessons of the spirit realm into action and manifest them into reality, we may find her deep knowledge engulfing and even smothering. She can also be paired with the Hierophant who translates the intangible into tangible rituals and practice that ground us in the here and now and move us along the physical realm in our spiritual paths. So maybe because I get tired now and then slogging through the woo-woo that is so prevalent in the study of tarot, I seek out solid ground.
On another note, The Tarot Connection Podcast has a new episode up for downloading. This time Leisa put together a great show that begins to address the usage of reversals in tarot reading. Her guests, Roger Tobin and Teresa Michelson are, as usual, top notch readers and tarot educators. She ends the podcast with my segment on the Tower, "Shake, Rattle, and Roll."






DruidCraft Tarot By Stephanie Carr-Gomm & Philip Carr-Gomm & Will Worthington Published by Connections 2004





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