Tarot for the Day: Ten of Stones

Tarot for the Day: Ten of Stones

My preoccupation, lately, has been about my path. What is it, really? The question comes out of rupture: just the latest in a list of personal and societal ruptures that we have all been dealing with, for much longer than just the no-good-horrible-very-bad year of 2020. For me, this rupture came out of nowhere; it will move me in space and strip me of most of the basics that I have come to associate with my life for more than a decade and a half. But it also revealed to me, immediately, how much strength, support, kindness and love I still have around me and within me to forge a new path.  Or, perhaps, to understand that all the trappings of daily life that I’d gotten used to were not essential to the path I am on.

Of course, I am not alone in this.  I have been wanting to pull a card for the community in transition, in upheaval, in hope. I thought about pulling it on Thursday but was frankly too overwhelmed by all the gratitude emails filling my inbox.  Then, I did not want to detract from Native American Heritage Day, or Small Business Saturday (if one has things to buy, this is the year to support small stores). But Sunday seemed to be a day without a directive affecting millions, so I pulled it today, with the question, “What is the Path?” and the answer is: 

The Ten of Stones

I associate this card with wealth, completion, achievement and security.  As the last “minor” card in the suit of stones, it indicates that our path toward manifesting our lives has been traveled, and we have arrived at success.  But because this is the Shining Tribe deck, the card also points to spiritual wealth, a profound value in what life has given you, and the ability to transform through sharing your prosperity with others. That transformation, honestly, is something that has always scared me: in the image on the card, human footsteps lead into the rocks but come out as bird tracks. Not only do we not sit back and enjoy our luxury, we may become something entirely other: perhaps evolved, or awakened, but unrecognizable to ourselves.

Our strength, our success, our security…it’s not about what we built.  It’s about preparing ourselves to let go.

As writers in the world, I am guessing there is something in my personal experience that you can relate to. And of course, for you, the card may be an acknowledgment that you are doing well, and that you have created something wonderfully successful.  For all of us writers on the page, a couple of ideas for the work that this card raises:

Revision: Is there a transformation in your work, one that comes at a time when the reader might think that they know and recognize the end in sight? Are you coasting toward the expected finish line, or is there another level of understanding that you can kick your resolution into?

Visual Association: Think about a scene, or some aspect of your work, where there is a major change, transformation or epiphany. Then take the elements of that idea and correlate them to the elements in the image on the card. What is the barren landscape (the hopelessness or danger of the current situation?) What are the rocks? (The magic, the talisman, the possibility, the power that only the character can see?) What are the hidden clues – perhaps embedded in the text but not yet fully revealed – that will transform the potential (the suggestion of threads of light on the left side of the card) into the multicolored strands of pebbles on the right? And lastly, what kind of bird will emerge?

Happy writing!

Rituals of Release

Rituals of Release

So I pulled a Tarot card today.  This one, for us, in preparation for our virtual convening, The Grove.  Honestly, I was hoping for something inspirational, something like The Star to indicate rebirth and a new beginning.  I know – and I say it all the time – that there are no “good” cards, or “bad” cards, especially in the Shining Tribedeck, but in times like these, times when I feel like I am long past being able to process or accept one more curve ball from the news or my community, I will forgive myself for wanting a little bit of reprieve.

But the Tarot knows what it needs to say.  Today’s card is the Nine of Birds.

Like the Star, this figure emerges from the realm of the dead – in this case, a burial mound.  She stands at the entrance, accompanied by the wisdom of the owl, and equipped with a weapon which both and urn and a scythe.  It’s a barren image, of grief and death and sorrow. 

BUT.  Isn’t that where we are now?  Haven’t we been literally been surrounded by it for longer than we can fathom? One of the key messages of this card is that we are in the doorway, and we have our protections and defenses.  But to move forward we have to process and acknowledge all our feelings.  We have to accept our losses, and empathize with others’ suffering.  

This is a card that calls for rituals of mourning and release.

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of shouldering all the burdens, fighting all the battles, and feeling so stuck in the process.  

So the Nine of Birds, of course, is the Star’s shadow self, and a great plug for our intensive, creative, restorative gathering coming up on October 24-25thThe Grove.  Four teachers and ten hours of rituals and techniques to clear away, reach for, and gather what you need.

And for those who aren’t coming, I encourage you to find a ritual for release.  Clear a space where you can feel safe and let out something you have been holding.  For me, these feelings immediately start my creativity swirling.  If you need a more specific exercise for your creative project, imagine (possibly for your character if you have one, and if not, just embody a watcher/voice) the moment when “you” have risen out of the land of the dead, when the effort has been expended and all the emotions have surfaced – the moment that is too full to hold back anymore.  Don’t forget, if you are writing a story, that quite often our characters don’t actually know what they want – they often fight against what they need only to arrive at the place they thought they didn’t want to be in.  So this is a great moment for a narrative.  It’s unstable; it needs to be embraced or emptied or it needs to explode. This might be the emotion right before or right after a major climax.  On the other side is the new world, a new epiphany, a new possibility.  We can’t see it yet, but it’s coming.

Come to The Grove if you can. Sign up for updates from the Two Trees Writers Collaborative if you want to hear more about our upcoming offerings.  Stay safe and happy writing.

Dear Writers

Dear Writers

Dear Writers,

I have been thinking a lot about community lately: what it means to be a community of writers. To hear each other, to hold each other up, to stand in each others’ darkness unafraid, to turn up the volume on each other’s voices.  This year, perhaps because I lost my father this summer, and I am breaking my ties to my childhood and my first home, I am thinking about the families we choose. The ones we create.

And I am grateful.  For my families – all of them. And my writer friends, who never cease to amaze me with their fresh perspectives, their soaring optimism; who remind me that what I have always thought was axiomatic is actually just someone else’s opinion.  In these dark times – when so much of that darkness has fallen on us personally, not just as a society, and as a nation struggling to be – I am still grateful.  And I am optimistic because of you.  Because of all the glorious love and courage you scream out, dance out, whisper into the blue skies of the Big Island when we are together.  And in dog-walking Brooklyn.  And beneath the icicles of Vermont, and on the shores of Port Townsend, or Useless Bay on Whidbey island,  or wherever I have encountered you.

You writers.

And so, today – Giving Tuesday – for one day only, I am giving back.  Doing my part to facilitate a community of writers on the island that is my childhood home.  Elena and I are giving a $200 discount to any writer who applies to join the 2018 retreat on Tuesday. So if you want to join us for our third year, NOW is the best time.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Love,

Reiko

Join us in 2018

Join us in 2018

Enjoy this video of our 2017 memories and imagine yourself escaping to Hawaii in the cold!  2018 dates are February 28-March 6th.  Flights are discounted for the offseason, so the time to act is now!  We invite you to poke around on the website and apply.

Deadline December 4, 2017.

(With thanks to our photographer extraordinaire, Micael Storm Blue)

Awakening! Tarot for Writers

Awakening! Tarot for Writers

If you are interested in using the Tarot to communicate with your muse, here is an example of how you can use it to offer a message for your writing life, process, and work.

This post comes from a limited-series Tarot feature I published on She Writes a while ago.  Here, I’m working with the Shining Tribe deck, created by renowned Tarot scholar Rachel Pollack* who taught me that the Tarot “is a vehicle to remind yourself of what you already know.” It’s perfect for writers, and it’s the deck I use for the Tarot for Writers readings I offer with Two Trees.

One of the simplest ways to work with the Tarot is to pull a single card, which answers some version of the question: What do I need to know right now? Today, my version of this question was:

What do we need to remember?

The answer was the card Awakening.

The Card: Awakening is the 20th card in the major arcana: the card of transformation, of realization, and a shift in perception. This “awakening” is to the true self, without doubt. It suggests a joining with others, and responsibility. Unlike the Judgement card in the traditional Rider-Waite Tarot deck, this spirit has come for everyone. All rise!

So what does this card mean for you, as the writer?

Remember that the role of the artist is to shine the light.

What do you see when you look around you? What needs to be addressed, revealed, celebrated or transformed? Where do you see a different, or unspoken, truth? In other words, what do you need to say?

Every person has their own unique perspective, and your writing is rooted in how you experience our shared world. Remember that the role of the artist in any society is to offer that different view, to encourage us to reconsider our commonly-held beliefs so we can grow and change together. Sometimes, our art is a direct challenge; other times, an exploration, a celebration, or a dissection. Your story may be dark or painful, it may seem apolitical and personal, but as long as it is your truth, it matters.  Sharing your artistic vision can literally shift the way the rest of us see.

It can also bring us together. All rise, remember? When readers encounter feelings and experiences they share in someone else’s stories, those strangers are no longer so strange. The more stories, the more truths, the more chance that they will find validation in your experiences or your imagination. So, whether you are still dreaming, or writing, or in your final edits, take some time to reconnect with what is universal in your story. Don’t forget: the people in Awakening are standing in the same pool of consciousness. Together, they lit the windows in their world.

Remember this: Do not doubt your voice, or the fact that we need it. Trust the light, and embrace your true self.  Only you can tell your story.

How can you apply this card to your work?

Sometimes the cards prompt a new series of questions, or a writing exercise emerges. These may be for your project, your writing life, or something else. I encourage you to find your own connections between the images in the card and what you are working on, and I feel quite comfortable that you will find some!

This time, I want to go back to the card, and answer today’s question very simply:

Remember to transform.

Ask yourself:

Do your characters change over the course of their experiences?

Is everyone safe and the same in the end?

Do you have enough twists in the plot?

Is your reader pretty sure, right from the beginning, that she knows where she is going, and does she get there pretty much exactly as she expects? (If so, you need some surprises!)

Does an image in your poem allow your reader to experience something in a new way?

Does the reader change?  Did you make her laugh, break her heart, teach her how to dress a wound? Will she always think of herself now as your sister?

Keep it dynamic. Keep it unique. Keep it true to your felt experience. Keep it connected to the essence of our shared humanity.  I suspect that you will hear the cards repeat some of these messages in the coming weeks, just when you most need to remind yourself.

Happy writing!

 

*The Shining Tribe Tarot: Awakening the Universal Spirit, created by Rachel Pollack, comes with a detailed book that describes the nuances and the inspiration behind each card. If you want to know more, or have your own Tarot practice, I strongly recommend it.