Jennifer Lucero-Earle and I wrote a multi-part article together to explore how our Tarot approaches fit together and as a prelude to a workshop we are offering together called Soul Path Embodiment: Dare to Get Out of the Chair! after the Tarot and Psychology Conference on April 27th of the upcoming Readers Studio. Enjoy Part I here!
We turn to Tarot out of desire, out of need. We often joke at the international Tarot conference called Readers Studio that people are not coming for a Tarot reading because they are doing their dream work, experiencing a creative flow, and enjoying a fabulous relationship. People – we Tarot practitioners included – turn to the Tarot because are looking for help to change our lives and move more toward our dreams.
Working with, rather than against, the demands of change is central to the Tarot’s teaching. Each suit of the Minor Arcana shows us particular ways to approach change making and illustrate the potential outcomes. No suit on its own offers a perfectly balanced result. If we only use a Wands approach we burn out, for example. And while the 10 of Cups at the end of the suit connected to the emotions illustrates a happy outcome with symbols such as the rainbow, the moment is not promised to be lasting. The rainbow fades, and we can only hope that before the rainbow there was a harvest of good crops.
The Major Arcana, however, shows us that to make a lasting change, we must employ and balance, mix and meld all of the elemental approaches. The cards that instruct us most directly in this elemental balance come at the beginning, middle, and end of the Majors.
The Magician raises his hand towards the heavens to receive Divine messages and bring them into form. To do this forming, he uses symbolic tools of wand, cup, sword, and pentacle, representing the elemental energies of fire, water, air, and earth.
As Tarot readers, we like to see ourselves as Magicians serving as conduits of inspiration and transformation for our querents. We do this by receiving an intuitive message from looking at the cards (our inspirational fire). We find just the right way to communicate the message (our discerning air) and tune into the emotional reaction of the client so that we can work to leave them with something positive to build on no matter the overall message (our empathetic cups).
But as a field – though this certainly varies by individual – we don’t fully take up the Magician’s invitation to use a most powerful pentacle tool: our own bodies. After all, during most readings, we are glued to our chairs, bent over our cards!
But the Magician invites us to stand up and reach out with our bodies, those earthly containers where inspiration, discernment, and emotional response are made real. Through the elemental mixing our bodies receive the energy needed to move us forward on our life paths.
You don’t need to take our word for it. Let your own body be the judge. Take out a Magician card and step into the stance seen on the card for a minute or two. You might close your eyes to direct your focus inward. What sensations surface? How does your energy shifted? Might there be some magic in the shifting?
Emulating a posture seen on a specific card is a doorway into the archetypal wisdom of the Tarot. We literally and figuratively step into the wisdom of Empress or Emperor as it has evolved through the centuries. And once we step through the doorway of a card’s collective meaning, movements that come from our personal experience also emerge and we weave together the collective and the personal knowings about the archetypal .
We may begin an exploration of the Emperor, for example, with a stable, grounded, and outward facing posture as seen on a card, but then ask ourselves: “How can I honor my own unique expression of relaxed power?” With this simple question, we might shift into lowering our palms to touch the earth or gathering our arms together as if cradling a child. Each of us has a unique approach to communicating the energy and emotion we meet in the cards, and this communication comes through the movement of our bodies.
The movements we make when stepping through any of the Tarot’s doorways unlock that which is stored in the body. As we relax like the Empress, for example, memories of how we held or not held by our mothers may surface along with the emotions that come along with the memories. Physical sensations emerge. When we let these sensations flow through and move us, we experience their power. We may also find we discover a truth we need to integrate into our consciousness, or identify something that we realize that we no longer need to carry.
When we bring movement in to our Tarot practice, we combine the somatic language that arises from within with the symbolic language that is received from the Tarot’s tradition. We learn to us the Magician’s pentacle power.
To continue reading – and have an encounter with The Wheel – pop over to Jennifer’s blog.
Feeling inspired and want to join us? Register for the 1-day Tarot and Psychology Conference and come to our evening session or sign up for the whole weekend of Readers Studio, the annual three-day gathering, in New York City, that includes sharing, teaching, and learning of all things Tarot. Just follow the links to register for either or both of these fabulous gatherings.