Trees as Teachers in this Strange Season


For Seekers – Seasonal Observances – Tarot

It’s a strange season.

Last week, the leaves blazed red and yellow, reached up for the blue sky.  Today as I walked to work under dull clouds, browning leaves drifted down on the slight breeze to pile up on the sidewalk, fill up the yards. Quiet was all around, except for the crunch of leaves under my feet.

In fall, leaves stop producing food – that process causes them to be green – and turn their true colors.  After a few weeks of brilliant shine, they release and fall. The falling happens slowly.  The top leaves go first and bottom ones can hang on for a long time.  It’s a mix of brilliance and decay.

Really?  I thought life was supposed to be about progress.  If we show our true colors, we’ll immediately be rewarded.

Although that message is a strong one in our society, there is some Tarot wisdom to help us through the realities of our life that are so often not about linear progress.

The 12th Major Arcana card is The Hanged Man who turns upside down, suspended, waiting.  In the Gaian Tarot, Joanna Powell Colbert makes a direct connection to the leaves I see falling in my yard with The Tree.

The process of living or creating or just being has these kinds of pauses.  They can come after a success or be a quiet time that lengthens out uncomfortably.  They don’t have the release of moments when you know something is gone or dead.  They just leave us hanging around with our thoughts, our uncertainty, our stuff.

The Tarot offers the helpful knowledge that, too, is part of the journey.

Nature in my neighborhood is certainly in this strange limbo state.  Let’s take it as an invitation.  In the summer and autumn season that is passing, what of your true colors did you try to shine that just didn’t take hold?  Instead of criticizing or worrying about this, look at if from a different angle.

  • What has this taught you?
  • What gifts did you receive any way / internally even if no one else saw them?
  • How does this all bring you closer to the earth?  And message does the earth have just for you?

You can reflect on these questions as you walk in your neighborhood or draw some cards to see what is offered.

Next week is the holiday of Samhain, more popularly know as Halloween, where we move more deeply into the dark time and death takes hold.  Before that, the Tarot invites us to be with that mix of soft light and surrender, to see both the bare branch and the few persistent leaves that cling to low down branches.  We might find some wisdom there.

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