The Wheel of the Solar Year keeps turning and the Moon finds its way to another re-birth. The alignment of sun and moon brings us to the wisdom images and figures of the new moon moment (exact on Tuesday, June 28 at 10:52pm ET) known as The Chariot, 2 of Rivers, and Gift of Rivers when using the Shining Tribe Tarot created by Rachel Pollack.
Contemplating these cards, I hear imperatives for the times we live in:
From the Chariot – Dare to put your hands into the fires of the now.
From the 2 of Rivers – Recognize the light within the dark, the dark within the light.
From the Gift of Rivers – Imagination and transformation are required to meet the moment.
From the Wheels in all the cards – We live in circles not in lines. We must grasp and guide the Wheel if we would make our visions real.
The Tarot’s Charioteers often do not have an obvious way of directing the creatures that guide their vehicles. They hold septures or cups, but not often reins. Commentators on the Tarot name the will of the Charioteer as what guides forward motion.
In the Shining Tribe Tarot, the figure holds nothing at all and reaches into the flow of red above their head. Deck creator Rachel Pollack may give a particular meaning to this red flow, but looking at this image for us in our turbulent times of today, I see the figure daring to reach into the fiery flow of the now and feel the truth of its burning.
There is a wheel over the flow of red inspiring an association with the Wheel of Fortune, the Tarot’s great changemaker. The wheel here is decorated with eyes; four in the dark band and four in the lighter. The eight eyes here invite us to have the strength to truly look at what is happening in the now—and from a range of perspectives. Only out of that recognition of truth can we seek the potential of renewal.
I’m reminded of the book I have been working with since the last full moon, Imaginable by Jane McGonigal (you can read an excerpt on Slate) where she guides readers in imagining change making in 10 year increments. To make her case for 10 as the “magic number” (her words), she lists social and technological changes that took 10 years to reach a major success: US Civil Rights (1955-1964), the fall of apartheid in South African (1985-1996), Facebook growing from 1 to one billion users (2004-2015), and Zoom moving from being tested to becoming our pandemic communication tool (2011-2020). (Of course, these changes were seeded before the 10 year periods noted, but 10 years at the surface of action and consciousness resonates—and makes the Tarot connection to the Wheel.)
McGonigal encourages a practice of mental time travel where we create vivid scenarios for how life might be different in 10 years. To strengthen our imaginations and to equip ourselves better for whatever the future brings, she suggests scenario planning for what I’ll call best case, worst case, and ridiculous case. Best case scenarios give us an inspiring place to move toward while the worst case ones help us to confront obstacles to our desired vision and plan strategies for overcoming bad outcomes. Ridiculous scenarios build our creative muscle and just might be a seed of a surprising future element hard to imagine right now.
The past few years—the last few days!—have shown us that the unimaginable and horrifying can become reality practically overnight, but the unimaginable and inspiring is possible, too. If we are going to guide our Chariots forward we must prepare for changing realities.
TWO OF RIVERS
Whatever reality we find ourselves standing in, the seed of its opposite is close to us, too. The 2 of Rivers shows us this through the light fish with the dark eye and the dark fish with a light eye bending toward each other. This counsels us to take neither the disturbing nor the reassuring as a given. That they exist in a circle echoing the wheel reminds us that change will come; change is the constant.
GIFT OF RIVERS
The Gift of Rivers offers us three guides to follow along through the Two of Rivers passage on the Chariot path: the woman of imagination, the snake of transformation, and the bloom of fulfillment.
The woman with the fish head is an enigmatic figure. When this card comes up in Tarot sessions, the client and I have to pause and puzzle over her. She isn’t expected; a fish for a head is strange! Preparing this posting, I am realizing that this strangeness is the great gift of this image. We don’t immediately understand this figure so we engage in a different way. We drop down deeper into our imagination. Wonder what it is like to have the consciousness of a fish. We imagine in new ways, intuitive ways, strange ways. She can help us with daring to imagine our best, worst, and ridiculous futures.
The strangeness of the fish woman makes the snake more approachable. We understand this snake even if we are scared of it. (Snakes are my phobia creature that I am learning to befriend.) We can take in its appearance and remember the snake’s significance as a teacher of transformation. They shed their very skin to grow, peel it off, and show that we can do the same. When we follow the snake we flow with change.
From imagination through transformation, we arrive at the flower in bloom. The seed planted has blossomed. The odds might have been against its existence and growth—some might have called it a pest, a weed—but we have brought this flower to bloom with our effort.
Central to each of these images is a Wheel. The Wheel of the fiery flow of now. The Wheel of the Light and Dark reaching for each other. The Wheel that is the bowl at the center of the Gift of Rivers.
These visually echoing Wheels offer us inspiration for riding this new moon moment to another level of meaning. Writing about the 2 of Rivers, Rachel Pollack connects the image of Wheel to the idea of the Center:
The space between the fish is egg-shaped, like the number zero. While we may think of the world as sharply divided between opposites, all experience emerges from the center, which is neither one thing nor another. When we can see through the chaos and busyness of our lives to the quiet center, the nothingness, we free ourselves from the currents that sweep us from one event to another. Paradoxically, people who find this stillness handle events and crises more fluidly.
Is there really nothingness at the Center? I disagree with Rachel on this. I believe the Center is filled with the essential forces. I don’t think anyone one person has the say on what these forces are, but I’ll name the three I sense there: Life, Death, and Love. Yes, Love is there in the Center, not nothingness. To refute Rachel, I will cite Rachel—te, he—because the Wheel at the center of the Gift of Rivers she names as the Holy Grail:
The bowl is the Holy Grail, God’s gift of love and abundance. The Grail is not something we earn by moral correctness, or by fighting for, or by conquering. Its waters of love come to us purely as a gift.
When we have a Love that is free from control or condition at the center of our lives, we can look at the realities of the day and no matter what they may be, step forward to live that Love, spread that Love, be that Love.
A PRACTICE FOR DRIVING THE CHARIOT THROUGH THE WHEEL
To gain some perspective, develop strategies, and find the place where hope can be expanded into reality, you might take one of the many crushingly traumatic events of the last few weeks and do some scenario creation. You may want to have the Shining Tribe images here in the enews or your own favorite version of the Chariot, 2 of Cups, and Queen of Cups out for inspiration. Having a journal handy is good, too.
I suggest you start with the best case scenario for 10 years in the future. Let yourself really imagine positive change that aligns with your values and what you want at the center of your life. Remind yourself of the significant 10 year changes named above. Believe it can happen—even if you are faking it until you make it :). Know you can claw rights revoked. Imagine safety where there is little. Trust that collective urgent action to address the climate crisis is possible and we can cool things down. Imagine an actual day 10 years from now and vividly describe it. What are you doing? Who are you with? What does the world look like? Let yourself bask in the beauty of this vision.
But also do a worst case scenario. Take the most dangerous trends and challenges to your vision and imagine them taking hold. Do a little reading; the news is filled with stories of how bad it could get. As much as you can stand it, imagine a day in detail in that worst-case scenario world 10 years from now. What would you be doing to make things not as bad as they might be?
Finally, think of something ridiculous, something unimaginable. If it makes you laugh that’s good, humor loosens us up. Aliens abduct the Supreme Court maybe? Or the US Congress is suddenly able to work together after learning Tarot on a weekend retreat? Once you’ve had your laugh, think about what deep desire or value this scenario surfaces. Imagine that desire as a driving force 10 years in the future.
Having done all your scenario planning, you might stand like the Charioteer with your hand raised into the fiery flow. Let yourself be with what is and all your feelings about it.
Then remember the present comes from the past where our ancestors have confronted challenges, too. You might call on them for help and to remind you that change is possible. Life is not linear. Our movement toward justice, beauty, and love has been one of spiraling development. Sometimes going up and sometimes going down.
Remember, too, that the present is connected to the future. Call into your memory all your scenario planning ideas. Imagine them mingling together in the Center that is without boundaries, that is filled with Love. Let a knowing come from some place within you—your head or heart or your gut—about what you are willing to work to make real over the next 10 years. When you’ve got that felt sense give a nod of gratitude to the past, present, and future, to the ancestors, to your Tarot guides for bringing you this vision.
Return to your journal. Create a record of the 10 years in the future that you are willing to work to make possible. You might represent it with words or doodles or artwork. Think about next steps for the weeks and months to come that will move you toward that vision. Brianstorm who you can join with to make the vision real and include in your planning how to connect with them. To turn the Wheel of Change many hands are needed.
READING OF THE MOONTH
These questions are offered for reflection and to spark practice throughout the moonth. You may want to integrate them into the scenario pratice above. Pulling Tarot and oracle cards in connection to these questions is appropriate, but not absolutely necessary. You might carry a question with you on a walk for example and observe what is happening in the natural world as a way to find insight into the answer to the question.
IMAGINATION: How can I expand my ability to imagine a future in which I want to live?
TRANSFORMATION: What can I grow/change/shift in my life to move toward the change needed for this imagined future?
BLOSSOM: What of my gifts and abilities does the world need most now to move toward this imagined future?
I do offer this as an e-reading in my collaborative initiative format for $23. Sign up with Pay Pal or email me about sending a check. When I receive notification, I’ll be in touch to let you know about when to expect to receive your reading by email. I generally have openings to do these readings on Mondays and Saturdays. (FYI, I have a family wedding over the 4th of July weekend so might be a little slower in delivering e-readings this week into next.)