I am often asked, “How do you work with Tarot and why?”
Many of my clients come with questions about their life path. They want to know what is the best career direction, should they stick out a relationship, make a change in location? Some feel they have everything they want materially and yet inside feel something is missing, others complain of feeling spiritually bankrupt, or that work drains their energy and there isn’t any for nurturing pleasurable activities. Some simply want to live a more creative life but don’t know where to begin.
The journey can feel even more confusing because often the question we bring to a counselor or coach is not the question that we are really concerned with. We may sit and talk for sometime before that primary concern surfaces. This is because many of our unhealthy motivations, urges and troubles originate in the subconscious, hidden from our conscious discerning mind.
Yet all is not lost. We can find the answers to most of our questions and problems if we know where to look and how to listen, engaging with the subconscious mind is often the first best step; and image is the language of the subconscious.
The Tarot images give us an immediate opening or doorway into the realm of the subconscious. They go straight to the heart of the matter, because the subconscious mind never lies. I have been a counselor and life coach for many years, but I’m also an artist and I understand this power of image.
For instance, I love to travel and once thought of writing a book entitled, The Traveler’s Tarot. The idea was to do Tarot readings for people about to go on a long voyage or pilgrimage and see if I could identify any themes, collective concerns or common revelations. But each time someone who was about to travel to New Zealand, or Italy, or India would come for a reading, what would come up, what would be revealed through the Tarot images as paramount, was not the concerns or interests of travel. Instead what surfaced was concerns about a difficult relationship, or dissatisfaction in vocation, or concerns about money and resources…nothing about the eminent trip. So I scrapped the idea. The subconscious will lead us to our true and hidden concerns or questions through working with the Tarot images. This gives us a start. At least we are moving in the right direction. After the first reading we can come up with a plan and clarify the on going support needed to follow through with it. Once we have a true direction, I am able to coach my client through out the journey to the creative fulfillment of his or her own purpose or vision.
When you hear an inner, critical voice, remind yourself, “to error is human.”
Feeling blue? Wrap your arms around yourself or ask someone to give you a hug.
Allow a 2-hour nap time. Give yourself permission to let go of your responsibilities, even if only on a Saturday.
Create a mantra, an affirming word that you silently repeat to yourself whenever you feel stressed or even when you don’t.
Make an appointment to see a counselor. We really don’t have to carry our difficulties alone.
Ask for what you need. Keep asking until someone truly hears you.
If you expect to heal from a loss in a year, give yourself seven.
Turn “should” thoughts into gratitude statements. Instead of “I should have gotten more done today” make a list of the blessings life has given you today. Say these out loud.
Frame this message and keep it on your bedside table: “You are loved.” Reflect on all the people who love you.
Make yourself a warm nourishing meal; eat mindfully.
I enjoy going to Friday prayers at the mosque. When I mentioned this to a friend over tea he said, “How can you? Don’t you find it oppressive that the women have to be separated and secluded from the men?” I was glad he asked. Actually, no, I am not offended, but I see the separation of women and men differently. The men have to stay down stairs, and that is not a bad idea one day a week. Besides, the practice allows an intimate gathering of women and children in the balcony.
Since there are no chairs in a mosque, we stand, sit or lay on plush carpet, some in prayer or simply resting and everyone taking part in tending to the children. Through exchanging knowing smiles or words, whispered, showing gratitude for each other’s presence, we form a beloved community. I enjoy wearing a long silk scarf over my head. This feels more of an expression of my femininity than an affront to it and I appreciate the very feminine embroidered flowers and lace that adorns the scarves of the other women. Of course, I have a choice to cover my head or not, but all of the women I pray with would say the same thing. They choose to follow the practice of their faith in this way. Culture also plays a big part in choice, but that is true for all of us. We are women of many cultures here, Southeast Asian, East Indian, Middle Eastern, African and American, Christian and Muslim. We have all come to pray and it is a gift to do this in a family of women and children.
I feel at home in the mosque for other reasons. My father’s family is Orthodox Christian and descendents emigrated from Syria in the early 1920’s. I grew up listening to the conversations of relatives in Arabic. In the Mosque, verses of the Quran are chanted in the same melodious Arabic sounds that I heard as a child.
Faith is often intimately connected to culture and childhood. Faith practices are expressions of our search for meaning and belonging. The varied forms of this expression have the scent and beauty of a rose garden with many different varieties of roses. Friday prayers at the mosque is like this for me.