I hope that you are taking care of yourself and doing all that is within your power to maintain personal and community health as we move through the global covid19 pandemic.
I’ve been gathering information to guide me in how to respond to this crisis, which Tarot practitioners might name as a slow moving but certainly Tower-like event.
I’ve been listening to scientists and reading critical media sources. From them, I’ve learned about the importance of flattening the curve with social distancing enacted early – even before there are great numbers of people ill – to lessen deaths and stress on medical systems. Until I saw this, graph about how the different responses in Philadelphia and St. Louis led to very different outcomes, I didn’t really understand the importance of the temporary halting of communal life.
I also consulted the Tarot – yes, science and spirit can work together! – and pulled the 4 of Pentacles/Earth and the Fool seen here from the Herbcrafter Tarot.
The 4 of Earth in the Herbcrafter is associated with Willow, a border plant which “protects a natural area and creates a sanctuary” according to the guidebook. Willow invites us to take sanctuary in our homes. This home-tending can be good for us and good for others.
A line I’ve heard about the Fool, though I can’t remember the source, is: “Do what you must even if you look foolish in the eyes of others.” The Herbcrafter shows us the Fool as the dandelion, spring-time pioneer plant. Someone has to go first with the thing that seems odd now but wise later, and the Fool says, “That’s me.”
I found these cards to be a mirror to the flatten the curve advice: Ground yourself in your home base, set up your boundaries, settle in – even if it feels a little foolish, too extreme. So I pass that message along to you.
Settling into our sanctuaries doesn’t mean cutting ourselves off from others. We can check in with friends and neighbors to make sure they have what they need. One example: Are schools closing in your area? You might investigate how children qualifying to receive free lunch can still receive these services. The Community Center in my town is mobilizing to provide these meals. I’m going to see what I can do to help. The Herbcrafter guidebook says that Willow can be used to make a tea that serves as “rooting hormone that helps other plants to grow.” There are still things we can do even in these extreme times to help others grow. What are your thoughts and good ideas that you are hearing on this?
Staying connected could be challenging in some cases. For example, my mom has dementia and is in Assisted Living. She doesn’t use the phone any more and they are discouraging visitors. With physical contact not possible I am going to have to step into my WooWoo Tarot-using Fool self to make a spiritual connection. To do that I turn to Celtic teacher Caitlín Matthews who in her Celtic Devotional offers a prayer for Kything, which connects people across physical distance.
Holy Ones, Messengers of Love,
I am parted from _____:
take my love and blessing to her/him/them wherever she/he/they are at this moment.
May she/he/they feel the warmth of my presence as I bring
her/him/them into the circle of my heart at this time.
[Silent communion with the absent one.]
May you walk in the presence of the Holy Ones in every place,
May the Friend of Souls be ever at your side,
And may you be blessed and protected wherever you go.
This is a time of stress and upheaval in our collective lives. There is no ignoring that. And along with that there may come a quiet in our public spaces. Some will not get this quiet. I am thinking of and sending good energy to all those in health care. But if more of us step into the quiet, we will make their lives easier. And this may allow us to hear something different, to gather some wisdom from the quiet.
I’m reminded of Pablo Neruda’s poem, Keeping Quiet, and so I’ll let these be the last words from me today.
Keeping Quiet by Pablo Neruda
Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still
for once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for a second,
and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.
Fishermen in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would not look at his hurt hands.
Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.
What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.
If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.
Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.
by Pablo Neruda (Author), Alastair Reid (Translator)
Noonday Press; Bilingual edition (January 2001)