Soul Path Sanctuary

A place of pause, renewal, and connection for seekers

Apr
26
2017

Faces and Spaces of Justice: Sojourner Truth of the Pentimento Tarot

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For Seekers – Justice – Moonthly Renewal

In Joanna Powell Colbert’s Pentimento Tarot, the ancestors – some famous figures, other unknown – look out at us from the layers of history and invite us to enter into their wisdom.
The deck was conceived when Joanna began experimenting with the medium of beeswax collage. She says: “I found myself envisioning antique tarot cards partially obscured by time and wax, with old interpretations of the cards illuminated by newer ones, and new concepts enhanced by older ones.”

The deck’s images retain the connection to the power of the past, but invite the figures represented to speak to us today. Sojourner Truth is Justice and she has much to teach us for today.

Born a slave and given the name Belle in New York state around 1797, Sojourner Truth was sold away from her family as a child and as a young woman separated from the man she loved and pushed into a marriage arranged by her master where she had five children.

When her master failed to honor his promise to free her as part of New York’s abolition of slavery, she escaped to freedom with her infant daughter. She described this act by saying: “I did not run away, I walked away by daylight.” When Truth heard that one of the sons she had had to leave behind was illegally sold to a slave plantation in Alabama, she successfully sued her former master, becoming one of the first African American women to win a case against a white man. Her son was freed and returned to her.

In 1843, Truth become a Methodist, taking the name we know her by today and beginning her life-long involvement with religious seekers, utopian communities, the abolitionist movement, and women’s right’s supporters.

In the 1840s, she also began her career as a powerful public speaker. At an 1844 religious revival meeting in Northampton, Massachusetts, she overcame her own fear of a wild mob by singing to quiet the rabble rousers and give courage to the congregants. In 1851 at the Women’s Rights Convention held in Akron, Ohio, Truth delivered not only her most famous speech but also one of the most important of the abolitionist and women’s rights movements. Popularly known as the “Ain’t I a Woman” speech, this southern-sounding phrase was unlikely to reflect Truth’s real language and cadence, but the ideas are clearly hers:

Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Truth never rested from working in support of those who were excluded from and abuse by the imperfect justice of existing institutions. Following the abolition of slavery, she worked to secure land grants for former slaves, and, continuing her recognition of the intersection of issues, some of her final work was around prison reform.

Her deep faith sustained her through her long life and undergirded the endurance she needed to do her work. As death neared, it is reported that she said: “I am not going to die, I’m going home like a shooting star.”

Truth shows us the space of Justice as the public square of the convention hall, the church basement, and the streets filled with people speaking and marching and singing.

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If you would like to have your own encounter with the Pentimento Tarot’s Justice of Sojourner Truth join me – and Joanna Powell Colbert, too! – for the Serving Justice Moonthly Chat & Meditation on Tuesday, May 16th at 8:30pm ET in the USA. It will be recorded for later listening. Sign up to come onto the live call or receive the follow up link.
Apr
10
2017

Enconter with Raziel’s Hermit for Passover

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For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Tarot

Chag Sameach (That’s Joyous Festival in Hebrew)! Happy Passover!

To honor Passover, the Jewish holiday celebrating the liberation from slavery made possible by God and through the leadership of Moses, I offer for your contemplation The Hermit of the Raziel Tarot.

Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush is the Raziel’s wisdom figure for the Hermit. Robert Place’s stunning artwork is accompanied by Rachel Pollack’s modern day midrash and musings woven from Jewish mysticism and folklore. Rachel concludes the Hermit section of the Raziel companion book by digging a little more deeply into the usual translation for YHVH as “I am that I am.” She writes:

Modern scholars suggest something even more radical for God’s answer. The suggestions I have seen are”I will be what I will be” and “I am becoming what I am becoming.” In a sense this moment does not just mark a turning point for Moses but also for God, who, seems to begin a process of evolution.

The Hermit card touches upon one of the great mystical truths, sometimes called “co-creation.” God alone cannot change the world, but must align with humans, who in turn need to accept the call, must be willing to say “I am here.” And even more, God, whom we call “the Infinite,” and “the Eternal,” God too cannot evolve, cannot “become what I am becoming,” without human participation.

As you contemplate the Raziel’s Hermit – perhaps with visio divina or by embodying the stance Moses takes in the card – you might stand like Moses with bare feet pressed to the earth and hearing a call for you to take on a great task that you don’t feel prepared for.

Make a connection; first, to the solid earth below your feet; then to the infinite sky above; and, finally, to what is growing in your life, in your spring-awakening world, your own burning bush. You may or may not have a name for what this is, but you are connected to something greater than yourself (in the Raziel this greater than is know both as YHVH and the Shekinah, the female aspect of YHVH).

With this connection made, put your doubts to the side – even if only temporarily – and in the place of your doubts find your own fire within sparking, your own inner Wise One speaking, your own power rising.

Let yourself feel suddenly surprised by the trust you have now in the support you will receive to answer the call. Find yourself saying “Yes.” Let yourself envision what you co-create with the Infinite, the Eternal, the Constantly Becoming.

The final invitation then is to take at least one step toward answering the call you hear – perhaps very clearly or more instinctually sensed – during these weeks of religious celebrations and the earth’s own answer to the call of spring.

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The Major Arcana of the Raziel Tarot is available in a beautiful boxed set with large cards that are excellent for contemplation. 

Apr
3
2017

Faces and Spaces of Justice: Balance of the Minoan Tarot

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For Seekers – Justice – Practices for Soul & Spirit

In this moonth beginning on March 27th, we are traveling the path of the Emperor moving in visionary balance with the Queen of Wands. This combination invites us to connect with our power, but in its form of “power-with” which is described by the teacher and activist Starhawk as “influence among equals.” (Read more about on the Soul Shaping Path of the Emperor in my new moon news. Want to get the news right around the new moon each moonth? Be sure to sign up for my list on the left.)

Balance of the Minoan Tarot is the Face and Space of Justice we are contemplating to deepen our understanding of “power-with”

Art work left behind by the Minoan culture as a gift for us today is the direct inspiration of all the cards Ellen Lorenzi-Prince created for the Minoan Tarot. Ellen introduces this culture to us in the deck’s companion book:

The Bronze Age people of Crete did not exalt kingship, war, nor death, nor did they conceive a vast distance between Gods and humanity. Instead these people celebrated the presence of the Goddess, the beauty of the natural world, and their own sexuality and creativity.

Both God and Goddess were honored by the Minoans and were seen as inhabiting the earth, sea, and sky that surrounded the people. Female representations of the Divine outnumbered male. The beautiful artwork created by the Minoans celebrated the Divine and the natural world.

In the Minoan the face of Justice is the card of Balance in which acrobats perform. Ellen writes of the image:

In this image of Balance, effort is made to match strength to strength to create equilibrium. Adding weight to one side would collapse both, as would a moment of weakness or inattention from either of the acrobats. Body and mind must be balanced within each individual to maintain this awareness , and each must be as cognizant of the other as he is of himself. In Balance, no one thing is of greater worth than the dynamic process of creating harmony and stability among two. A Message from Balance: Value those who respect cooperation over acquisition.

This space of Justice exists in the intimate encounters of couples and through partnerships where each member offers respect and cooperation.

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If you would like to have your own encounter with the Minoan Tarot’s Justice of Balance join me for the Serving Justice Moonthly Chat & Meditation on Wednesday, April 5th at 8:30pm ET in the USA. It will be recorded for later listening. If you’d like more details or haven’t yet signed up for Justice call, please visit the Serving Justice page.

Mar
24
2017

Soul Path Embodiment, Part I

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For Seekers – Tarot

 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

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.

Mar
24
2017

Soul Path Embodiment, Part III

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Practices for Soul & Spirit – Tarot

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. You’ve found your way to the final part of the article. Back up to Jennifer’s blog for Part II on The Wheel

 

The World

In the World, the elemental symbols become living beings who surround a figure. She is the World Soul dancing. She is a mirror to our own soul selves dancing.

The idea of soul cannot be fully defined, but, inspired by the Tarot’s structure, Carolyn works with the idea of soul as an expression of a fullness of being, of wholeness. And to be whole, we need to cultivate the intellect, and the emotions, and creative inspiration, and attunement to the physical, and the ability to embrace mystery. This cultivation is dynamic and changing. We find our way into meeting these elemental gifts through practices such as taking a course, engaging in meditation, walking in nature, being kind, creating art.  We attain a level of mastery through our practices, then life challenges us. Any idea of perfection falls away and we begin again. We learn how to move in both light and shadow.

The moments are rare when we flow equally with all five elemental foundations of the soul. But the World offers us a guide, and if we listen with our imaginal ears, we might hear her whisper, “Come. Join the dance.”

The dance is life itself, but, like the Tarot’s archetypes, the dances created in ArcanaDance are bounded by time but open to that which is Greater Than and limitless.

We know that “dance” is a charged word that brings up all sorts of beliefs and assumptions such as “I am not coordinated; I can’t dance; I am too shy; I don’t want to make a fool of myself.” But ArcanaDance uses the word “dance” in the broadest definition possible as simply to move the body and be open to what emerges from the connection to the Tarot’s images. ArcanaDance is a practice, not a performance.

Like any practice, there are risks. We might learn about our shadow – or our light. We might tune into the power of the Divine – or our own. We might succeed – or fail. But isn’t this what we are asking of others when as Tarot practitioners we offer them ideas for actions to shift their current situation to another? In our readings and sessions, aren’t we asking our clients and students to take the risk of changing their lives?

We can use a safe container like ArcanaDance or integrating some movement into client sessions to test out making changes in our lives, to practice stepping into the roles of Magician, Empress, or Emperor. When we leave the safe container, we already have an experience held in the body of what it is like to move into our desired future. Prepared by practice, achievement becomes more possible.

So could the message of the World card be more clear? To be fully human – to walk our unique soul path – we must dance.

Want to see ArcanaDance in action? Check out this wonderful video that Jennifer made!

Feeling inspired and want to join us in the dance? 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. 

 

 

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