by Timothy Liu
I was always afraid
of the next card
the psychic would turn over
for us —
for not knowing
how we are
every card in the deck
A friend posted a picture of this on social media a couple of days ago and I was captivated by the image and the poem. A few lines crystallized how I feel, sometimes, when receiving a reading of Tarot. It wouldn’t matter whether the reading was done by me or by someone else. This poem reminded me of a time I did a reading for a friend who had gone through and was continuing to face some challenging situations. The last card in the reading was for the future. Both of us were so fearful… thinking and hoping for no more crap, please! As the reader, I was also afraid that she would forever associate me with some more bad news. Experience had taught us that bad news could be really bad. I turned over the card, and to our joy and relief, it was one of the most beautiful cards in the deck. It was a stunning, tear-filled moment with lots of hugs.
Even those of us who know and love Tarot can be struck with fear about what the cards can tell us about who we are. Even though I’m an optimist and like to be as hopeful and constructive as possible, the cards can deliver some stern messages. Even the beautiful cards can invoke trepidation if we cannot see the relevance or we think we don’t deserve the messages. We humans are complicated and messy beings.
I thought the phrase, “we are every card in the deck,” very intriguing. That’s one of the beauties of Tarot is that after decades of use, study, and reading, I can find a new and intriguing idea to explore, delve into, and to be challenged by. I designed some questions and a meditation/ritual for finding myself in every card in the deck. Just a note, you might find different experiences with different decks! I recommend journaling this. Leave lots of space for each card so you can record other reflections as you do more explorations. Don’t rush this. You might only do a card or two.
Preparing Yourself : Be as simple or as fancy as you like, but do please give yourself an oasis of peace. Let go of distractions including technology and all your to do lists. Breathe and center and connect with your sense of connection and grounding. Because I’m a shamanic practitioner, I drum or rattle to attune myself to the heartbeat of the Universe.
Prepare your space: Light candles and incense and bring out your cards. Use a reading cloth or other item you love, if you want. Again, rattle and drum if that’s your preference.
Connect with the deck: Shuffle the deck using your preferred method. Feel the cards in your hands and feel the rhythm of the movement of the cards, how they slide together, and any random Tarot (not your grocery list!) thoughts that may come through. As you shuffle, ask yourself, “what am I feeling right now?”
And now your card(s). Take a good, long look. Reflect on the card. What strikes you and speaks to you? Can you see yourself in the card? Where? How? After spending time so that you know the card and how it speaks to you, close your eyes and allow yourself to embody the card. Be the card.
Embodying the card: Breathe deeply (drum or rattle this part, if you are so inclined) and feel the card merge with you and become you just as you become the card. Breathe and say, “I am the name of the card.” Allow that to come as it will and take as long or as short as you feel. Continue until it is finished. Breathe again. And then close up your session in the way most meaningful to you!
Afterwards: Journal your thoughts and reflections. One of the other things you might want to do, is to create an expression of your new wisdom. A dance, a poem, a story, plant something, a quilt, a piece of art or a really good meal. However you best express yourself!
May your explorations find you wisdom and joy!
A final note on the article on the image and poem. The article in Hyperallegenic tells you the story of the picture in the subway. I found it when Tarot Goddess, Mary Greer, posted the article on social media. She said the poet, TImothy Liu had been a frequent student at the well-know Omega workshops taught by Greer and Rachel Pollack, another Tarot Goddess. It gave me a thrill of six degrees of separation (probably more like a dozen degrees) since I’ve been at several conferences and gatherings with Greer and Pollack.