New Queer Tarot!

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Happy Tarot Tuesday, friends! I’m on the road today, but I want to draw your attention to what promises to be an awesome column over at Little Red Tarot:

Queering the Tarot! by Cassandra Snow

I love how she digs into The Fool’s more traditional meanings, opens space for what else this card might offer queer-identified folks in a reading, and moves playfully into more generally queering it, offering alternatives for interpreting a message from The Fool that speaks to navigating oppressions, community activism, and more. If you’re looking for more in the world of queering tarot (are really, who among us isn’t looking for that?), check her out.

And then, DO YOURSELF A GIANT FAVOR and check out Slow Holler’s kickstarter for their tarot deck collaboratively illustrated and imagined by 29 artists and 3 writers who have Southern ties, identify as queer or both.

It looks astoundingly beautiful, and a lot of folks are whispering about it carrying the legacy of our beloved Collective Tarot. I ordered my copy – I think you’re gonna want one too.

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Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

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There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. Photos in this post are attributed to Kaeti unless otherwise specified. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

Keep Reaching: Star Poetry

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Today, The Star wanted to come out and play…

as a poem.

It feels like a good way to connect with this card, which always holds so much power and mystery for me.

DoubleStar

When you don’t know what else to do,

pour it all out.

Bound, trapped,

no way out but

overflowing.

The release of bondage

The contraction that births

The Star is

a safe word.

All of your containers cannot hold

your vision growing

the shining sky.

Do not try to hold it:

be held.

You are a body of water

learning the mysteries of river and sea.

I know you are tired of crying.

The Star is an asana.

The Star is a heart that keeps pumping.

The Star is kinky as fuck.

Breathe in:

inspire.

Blow palo santo smoke on your open palms

and keep reaching.

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TThe Particle Tarot's Star card by Dave McKean
The Particle Tarot’s Star card by Dave McKean

Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

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There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. Photos in this post are attributed to Kaeti unless otherwise specified. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

Springtime Fire: Ace of Keys

TarotTuesdayBannerRemember back at Winter Solstice, when we were dreaming with the spark of light in the dark and cozying into little seeded  visions of the year to come?

Well, Spring has arrived and the days are warming and the spirit is stirring and those sunflower seeds are sprouting – the first to burst out in my garden this year!

sunflowersproutsWhat card might you draw – in actual practice, or in your imagination right now, as you read this – to tell you a little bit about what’s sprouting up for you this Spring? Maybe it’s not what you expected, but there it is, poking its head up through the soil and stretching for the light of your attention.

Wands have been visiting me a lot lately, and I was struck this morning by how that’s probably the suit I most fumble with interpreting, especially in words, out loud, to others, in the moment. Which is funny, cuz wands are totally out loud, in the moment. Thinking about which card symbolizes Spring the most for me this time around, I immediately pictured The Ace of Wands – in The Collective Tarot, which is especially my favorite deck for how they present the wands – keys, for this deck – and how they make powerful sense to me.

ace-of-keys-collective-tarotThis feels especially like Spring to me – unlocking the chest – out of which come flying flowers and fire and visions of creative projects and busy buzzing bumblebees! (It can’t just be me with an overwhelming amount of projects taking shape, can it?) Maybe this is literally unlocking the chest, a new phase in the heart-opening yoga that has been such a friend to me through the winter, and the fiery heartfelt feelings that surge up to the surface in that practice. I certainly feel a good kind of fire in all the opening windows and spring cleaning that comes with this time of year, and the fire of purging old stuff out and away to craft  physical spaces that support my evolving needs. Like Springtime, Ace of Keys reminds me that change can come all in a rush, even when you see it coming, even when you choose it by turning the key, and that that fire can be released in a way that fuels dreams and visions into practice and reality.

And I like the idea of keys being concrete things we do to unlock our passion, sexuality, creativity, and flowering heart spirit.

What works like a key for you to unlock your fiery chest?

What do you think you might find in there?

Sometimes “wands stuff” isn’t all sexy good times and art projects and flower hearts. Old (or fresh) wounds in these realms can make this territory particularly fraught, shut down, angry, explosive, melancholy, or even paralyzing. Over the last week, I’ve found myself coming back to an old album and realizing it always grabs me each Spring – something about it perfectly captures the mixed up kind of melancholy winter hangover and hot promise of summer that catches me up and makes this time of year feel strange and volatile, but gentle like plinky singbird ukelele and laying around in the breezy grass at the same time.

Coming back to the Ace of Keys can help focus and maybe reclaim some of the energy that surges up around Spring. Get this card out, or find/make another image that symbolizes hope, desire, or new life for you. Put that image somewhere you’ll see it. Breathe in and out and let yourself expand into your body, into the space you naturally and rightfully take up. Be gentle with yourself if this stuff makes you angry, sad, scared, or exhausted. Take a walk and soak up all that bright new green and know that everything in the entire living northern hemisphere right now is feeling these growing pains along with you.

springLet this Ace of Keys energy and spirit and slow-bursting newness infuse your busy bee life. Let yourself feel a little fire in your chest. Take up the space you need to let your most hopeful visions start to become reality. ❤

Anything

Kaeti Gugiu is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

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There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. Photos in this post are attributed to Kaeti unless otherwise specified. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

Dreamwork for Survivors

92b72-bannerpicI’m so pleased to announce that my very first dream class, Dreamwork for Survivors, is launching!

I’ve been away from this column for a little longer than I’d planned, but I’ve been hard at work getting this class together and it’s looking SO GOOD, I have to say. Dreaming and healing happen together – they are natural parts of the same deeply human process, primary ways we make sense of our old stories, weave new stories, share our visions and encounter our own power. I have long wanted to host a dream circle, but I am deeply proud and grateful that I get to bring this work particularly to folks who are in this process of their own healing and self-discovery. DfSFlyerWhen I talk about this project lately, I get a lot of curious eyebrow faces and questions like, “Survivors of what? Why?” Dreams have always been a big part of my life, and especially my path through the territory of healing and recovery, and so I forget sometimes that what makes total sense to me isn’t necessarily crystal clear to others. I could talk ALL DAY about intersections between dreamwork and the work of being a survivor (obvs, so much to say that I’m making a whole class and workbook!), but I think some of the crux of it breaks down like this:

For my purposes here, a survivor is anyone coming through a powerful experience of loss, illness, or violation, and who carries awareness of this wound in understanding themself. Survivorship is a relationship with your wounds, an orientation toward healing, mapmaking in the dark. A survivor is a shapeshifter, learning her magic on the fly, dreaming up new ways to be in the world. Survivorship often entails having a troubled relationship with one’s own body, feelings, dreams, and memory.

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The Beginning by Christian Schloe

Dreamwork teaches us to spend time with the modality of memory: to bring careful and loving attention to whatever fragments, images, sensory experiences, and internal knowings rise up into conscious awareness, and then to value them on their own terms, without forcing the pieces together or interpreting them to death. To instead turn the pieces over and over and see what starts to emerge, what the pieces want us to know, what patterns may develop. Dreamwork asks us to sit with the discomfort of what these pieces bring and let our deep feelings guide us toward our truths, rather than imposing truth from the top down, so to speak. This process inherently reconnects our thinking minds with our experiences of body, emotion, intuition and imagination. It leads us to a healthier place where all these parts of ourselves get to participate in deciding what’s true and what’s meaningful for us. At the base of survivorship are experiences of having one’s rightful power and control taken away. We all react in myriad different ways to such experiences, but we share the root experience of feeling out of control, disempowered. Claiming a practice that makes new roots in your power and your imagination – a practice that roots you in your ability to control how you come to your truth and what you do about it, is a revolutionary healing act. We may not be in charge of what happens in dreams, or what happened to us in our pasts, but we are in charge of how we relate to those experiences now.

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Erin Kelso’s gorgeous work

Dreamwork builds a sense of empowerment that feels collective and responsive, open and communicative, and diminishes the kind of power that gets stuck trying to control everything from on high – and that then feels angry or hopeless when that doesn’t (and can’t) work. I believe survivors, just going about the business of our own healing, have unique access to building the kind of open and constructive empowerment I’m talking about. Survivorship is ultimately about co-creating the space to remember, grieve, hold ourselves lovingly, and come into new kinds of relationships. Dreamwork naturally encourages, strengthens and supports all of these skills, and helps us experiences them in ways that show us we are not alone in this work.

I know you want to know more. There are a few ways to do that:

1) Join the first-ever Dreamwork for Survivors circle!

2) Pick up the workbook – available super soon – and each copy sold will support someone’s access to the circle at a sliding scale, so you’re directly supporting a local survivor as you learn more about working with your own dreams! Amazing! I’ll announce it here so keep an eye out!

3) Stay tuned to Dreamboat here at Compassionate Revolt – there will be more dreaming adventure, future classes and circles to come. ❤

Sweet dreams,

Kaeti

Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave. ———- There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

Earth Voices, Lunar Rhythms

TarotTuesdayBannerToday I want to share with you one of my all time favorite decks – super special to me – the deck that lead me to one of my all time favorite tarot-type practices. It’s technically not a tarot, but an oracle deck. I found it at a garage sale waaaaaaay back when I lived in Portland, and I’d never seen anything like it. It’s called Earth Voices, “heard” by Beridha and “energetically hand scribed” by Jacqueline Rene (Otter by Terra Green) – clearly a lovingly and communally-crafted small-run, small-eco-press deck that magically found its way to my little hands one summer when I really needed a new friend.

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Each card offers an imaginal meditation on a natural element, animal, or rhythm.

EVWaterfallI was so taken by these cards’ simplicity and complexity and power and calming presence that they became my monthly cycle deck – every moon I would draw a card and reflect on it, orient towards it, let it prepare me for the lessons of the coming cycle and reflect on the lessons of the cycle drawing to a close – and how they related to one another.

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Unknown Image of Yemaya from the internets – if you know the artist or attribution, please let us know! ❤

Over time, this created a beautiful kind of continuity in my inner world that, in my outer world, I drew incredible strength from. Lunar cycles are a rhythm we humans know deeply, and one that naturally synchs up with our personal rhythms of body, mood, fertility, sexuality, growth, decay, and lessons of transformation. I let this rhythm guide my introduction to these cards, so that it took years for me to meet all of them, but I have a very loving and familiar relationship with each one. I can still recall certain moons of my life that brought particularly intense lessons by their Earth Voices card – oh,  Snakes July-ish of 2008, I remember you well.

EVSnakesRegardless of whether you are a person who bleeds with the moon, I would encourage you to explore a practice of monthly draws – a chance to integrate lessons of the month, get in tune with the moon and her seasons, and begin to record these meditations in words and images that you can reflect on and weave together as time moves on. We are so oriented in the dominant culture towards action – doing, making, judging, achieving, proving, yang, solar consciousness, whatever you want to call it – and this attitude often creeps into even our daily devotional practices or daily draws, preparing us for the action of the day. A lunar practice of chill meditative reflection is soothing and deepening and brings its own magical rewards.

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The gorgeous and adorable work of Emmy Cicierega.

Maybe there’s a particular deck that speaks to you on this level, encourages you to get dreamy or connected to the more-than-human world?

Now, for the really magical part. Wouldn’t you like to play with these lovely Gaian spirituality cards yourself?I have looked and looked for Earth Voices online, and never found a thing. It was always a beautiful mystery that I fantasized belonged to some sort of woodsy Oregonian hippie tribe, who somehow missed the internet. Today, I thought, well I’ll just try again, for the blog – and low and behold, I found what’s obviously an oldish website, but complete with the Earth Voices cards all laid out for you to use too! There’s even a few new cards (!!!!) that exist in this virtual form and were never included in my deck! How freaking exciting is this!! Click here or the image below to see and play with them for yourself…

EVspreadDo you have ideas for what a lunar practice might entail for you? How might you create a space once a month that helps you chill, relax and reflect? Some questions to begin with might be one or more of these: “What am I letting bleed away from me? What do I no longer need to house within me? What lesson do I need to be attending to? What do I choose to nourish and grow within me? Who are my allies in this cycle? Where does the more-than-human world support me now? What do I have to learn from the more-than-human world? Where can I go in nature to find restoration and renewal?”

PS: The upcoming Pisces new moon on the Spring Equinox would be a great time to begin!

EVWhales

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Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

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There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

The Empress & Multidimensional Femme Power

TarotTuesdayBannerOne of my favorite things about tarot is how, over the years of study and practice, each card accrues layers of meanings and association and strangeness and familiarity. Each image keeps teaching me newly, as I grow and change. Sometimes this is helpful in a reading, where a card kind of unfolds into myriad possibilities and you pluck out the most relevant one. But today I want to talk about how just one card, considered in this way, can create a kind of self-reflective practice that can teach you a lot about yourself and that growth and change we’re always doing.

Today, for me, that card is The Empress. Chalk it up to it being #womenshistorywomensmagic month, or International Womens’ Day this week and seeing a lot about that float through my social media, or my intensifying investigation into femme identity lately, or just the fact that The Empress showed up in my morning meditations and said,

sassyempressHanging out with Her in my head for a minute, I was amazed at the multidimensional map of my own changing relationship to The Empress and her psychic realm that just unfolded in that instant, like, *snap*

Now, I don’t have years of tarot journals like I do with my dreams but I do have a major-arcana-only deck I made long ago and far away as a project for an undergraduate class on history, fiction, and memory at Portland State. I know, those where the days. The Empress card that came outta that project was one of my favorites.

KaetisEmpressIt’s a simple collage: text from a passage of One Hundred Years of Solitude atop a photo of a Passionflower I’d taken a few years before in Costa Mesa. But it takes me back to the way I related to this card during those days. The traditional entry into this card of “motherhood” or “fertility” or “passivity” weren’t really accessible to me at all during those times. But what I did feel all around me was the vibrant, pulsing life of the earth and the rhythm of human community outside in the flesh and sparkling in books I devoured hungrily, this current ebbing and flowing around me, and a sense of femininity and sexuality as mysterious powers that existed both at the root and somehow outside of this bloodbeat flow. The world felt magical and dangerous and alive and sensual – and I had a hard time being “in my body,” as they say, but I touched embodiment by touching in with that flow, and THAT, for me, was The Empress.

Later, in more recent years, my whole relationship with the card has shifted into the realm more traditionally associated with it: motherhood. The process of conceiving, growing, nurturing, birthing, and caring – for a project, for a person, for oneself. Unraveling the very fraught relationship with motherhood bequeathed to us by culture and family. The ability to relax into a flow and let yourself be carried and nurtured by it, in turn. The sacred mystery of the matroyshka dolls of history, ancestry, and future generations. All these things have been my go-to understandings of The Empress most recently, and I adore The Collective Tarot‘s take on this card – called Reception – and how it holds all this for me.

2ReceptionThese days, The Empress is morphing again – She is teaching me new lessons, pointing me down paths in her forests that I’ve never traveled before. There are 2 images at work:

ChildEmpressI picked up this postcard on my recent travels, and it reminds me this morning that The Empress is also the natural law of the body, which can sometimes be so oppressive but also a source of childlike joy, confidence, power, and flight. She is the voice that cries out in wordless feeling, her smile sassy and knowing, her body in motion, the wind in her face, her bike beneath her, the blossoms of spring reaching down with promise.

Mostly though – and what really prompted this post, the first kernal – was how The Empress started talking to me about Femme-ness. About how we claim power by claiming fierce and vulnerable femininity on purpose. About having a refuge of comfort and validation in this when the dominant-culture world tells us that femme is weak, stupid, and less-than and never-enough – which is pretty much every day. About how femme-ness isn’t defined by body parts or literal fertility or sexuality or anything alone – but by our own complex relationship with The Empress and wherever we find her temple, be it in our own bodies or the vibrant world or the ocean or your best friend or your lover or your sister or on the radio or on the dance floor or on your yoga mat or where EVER you are today. I am having another big round of just learning about this, and today The Empress reminded me to dig into my collage archives, throw up some images and let that be a new permutation of her card to guide me in my exploration.

EmpressFemmeCollageNever underestimate the power of making your own images and doing your own naming.

And you can see how building your own images, or having different decks available, fosters this process of growing your own layers of meaning and associations with a card. This shows really brilliantly how archetypal imagery works – tapping into an experience or psychic realm that we all have access to, as human beings, and which we may use only one word for, but which we all must necessarily experience in unique and personally meaningful ways that are endless in their manifestations and permutations. I would love to hear about y’all’s experiences with The Empress and her imagery and her femme power, and what she means to you these days…

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Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

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There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

A Little Tarot Magic for Compassionate Commitment

TarotTuesdayBannerLet’s do a little magic.

Today I want to explore how tarot can be brought in to deepen an existing daily practice that you have – little rituals, affirmations, meditation time, yoga time, whatever you got going on. Some folks talk about this as a daily draw, but I’m curious today about bringing tarot into a conversation or practice that already exists. Sometimes daily draws all by themselves get a little unfocused, repetitive and, well, boring for me. I like to incorporate tarot into whatever else I’m up to because it helps me have some structure in understanding the card’s message, and keeps me learning from the cards in fresh ways.

So what I’m up to today is #womenshistorywomensmagic – a little ritual I found at the blog of the incomparable tarot reader, priestess, and magic-maker Yeshe Rabbit. Go check it out for a good read and the details of the practice – in essence, though, here’s how it goes (from the source):

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Print out a picture of the Earth as seen from space. This is a nice one, and so is this.

Also place a photo of yourself on the altar.

Every day in March, stand in front of your altar for a few minutes each morning or evening.

Looking at the photo of yourself, say out loud, “I have compassion for you, and I commit to you, Self.”

Then think about all of the women you know who are struggling to do their best, to make change, to take good care of those they love, to create art and beauty, to invent, innovate, revise and iterate, and generate a deep sense of compassion and respect for them all.  Say out loud, “I have compassion for you, and I commit to you, Women.”

Finally, look at the photo of the Earth, and envision all that needs to be done to heal her…the waters, the air, the land, the animals. Say out loud, “I have compassion for you, and I commit to you, Mother Earth.”

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I’m feeling this today, on each level. A lot of my personal work lately is spiraling around my compassionate commitment to myself and what that really looks like in practice – it raises a lot of questions! I also wrestle with what compassionate commitment to women looks like in practice, as I in the past week I’ve witnessed gnarly strains of misogyny and transmisogyny creeping into spaces in which I really want to feel safe, and in which I’m not sure how to find voice to fight back, or how much of a shared space to claim as my own in that fight. It’s so difficult when these things catch us off guard in our own homes, families, and communities – and yet, shouldn’t these be the places where we are best and most lovingly able to have conversations about it?

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How Misogyny Shows Up In the Queer Community by Anna Bongoivanni – an awesome lil comic

And on the Earth Mama level, especially difficult questions are arising about compassionate commitment. It’s like everywhere I look, folks are looking the other way from glaringly painful realities around how we pollute and poison our world. It’s like a constant grief, just below the surface. Yesterday at the beach, just walking in the sun after the gorgeous storm system rolled through, a dying seal washed up on shore. A small group of bystanders gathered around to prod and take pictures of him. We alerted the closest authorities, and they said they’d take care of it, but it’s clear not much was to be done. Maybe this was just a normal thing, but in the context of hundreds and hundreds of mysterious sea lion rescues and deaths  in the last month off our coast, that seems unlikely.

Yeah, it’s been one of those weeks – so this little ritual caught me at a good time, and helps me reorient toward exploring the possibility that I do have some power, I can make choices that reflect my caring and commitment. It may seem ridiculously small in the face of such big questions and concerns – but to me, it’s super helpful to get out from under the overwhelm of such bigness and get back into reflection about my own thoughts and feelings about these things.

I’m a big believer in the power of small, local change and action in relationship with others doing the same work.

What does it mean for me to be in right relationship to these forces in my own small way?

That is a great question for tarot.

So here’s how that looks for me, this morning. Let’s go in reverse order, starting where we are with the big Earth Mama stuff and working back out to Self. The Motherpeace Tarot deck feels like a good choice.

Guidance for my compassionate commitment to Mother Earth: 5 of Wands.

MP5wands

Join the struggle. Here is where the fight is. Don’t be afraid to be angry – but don’t be afraid to use that force creatively, to let off pressure often rather than all at once. There is a way to engage this struggle that sustains and supports us through the conflict. It will take many points of view, many tools and perspectives and voices and actions. This is a shared endeavor, and requires sharing power. Commitment to caring for Earth Mama requires change, discomfort, challenge – it is not easy.

 Guidance for my compassionate commitment to women: 3 of Disks.

MP3ofDisks

Remember that this is a work in progress, and that we are working together. The model here is not a fight but re/building. See how walls and boundaries house us and keep us safe. Windows help us breathe, see, modulate and communicate. None of us can do it alone. Come not from the fire of anger but the earth of steady purpose and patient labor.

Guidance for my compassionate commitment to Self: 7 of Cups

MP7ofCups

Continue to be with your dreams, and value in the inner spaces of imagination and vision. But be mindful of your choices, and how your visions, desires and idealism sometimes cloud your sense of reality. Use the weave of the net to strain what is useful and discern what is not. Remember your ground in the tidal work between worlds.

Each card helps deepen the affirmation, orients me, and creates a touchstone image for me to carry with me throughout my day and outward interactions. Super helpful for me. And as I do these affirmations over the course of the month, I’ll weave a rich relationship with each image that will inform my work with them in the future. I love tarot magic!

And obviously this is just an example. You could do a draw to support any daily affirmation, morning or evening ritual, meditation focus, yoga or other practice intention…you get the idea. Enjoy your tarot explorations!

Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

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There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

Hangin Out with The Fool & The Hanged Man

TarotTuesdayBannerHi friends!

I had a lovely time adventuring over my break – very much in the rambling fool spirit that Traci so lovingly wrote about here last week 🙂

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A happy travellin’ fool!

For today’s draw, I pulled The Hanged Man in my trusty old Rider Waite Smith deck, and as I settled down to peruse Traci’s exploration of The Fool, I found myself considering the relationship between these two cards for the first time in probably years, maybe ever.

foolhangedmanThese seem like the same person! Both have a special relationship to space, gravity, and trust – hangin out, a moment of suspense. The Hanged Man is perhaps where we check in on the fool during her journey – she’s a little rougher around the edges, a little simpler, kinda travel-worn, a little less grand (but with the same penchant for leggings and tunics, which I fully support as a fashion choice).

If these cards talk about different kinds of transitional space, I like balancing The Fool’s externality against The Hanged Man’s internality. In the image of The Fool, the world is fixed and still as our foolish hero loftily spins and skips and crashes through it. In The Hanged Man, there is an outer stillness seems to anchor all kinds of inner movement. The Fool is about diving in and learning about intuition and inspiration on the go, suspending judgement. The Hanged Man today talks to me about what it looks like to have a practice of trusting that flow of intuition and inspiration, and to seek dedication into its inner mysteries by inhabiting a different kind of suspension.

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A different kind of foolish Hanged Man I encountered on my travels…

For me, today, these cards are all about the joy of traveling and being out of my element – and then the joy of coming home and being back in my element, while still being upside down from those travels. It’s me, integrating all that I have learned and still aglow with the knowledge that the world is so much bigger than I can ever imagine, full of so much more than I could ever learn, and that it’s not my job to control it but just to be in it and let my intuition and sense of connection guide me. It’s taking a pause in this in-between space and not just jumping right back into routine, but valuing this space for the insight and perspective it brings. Even if that’s just enjoying how jet lag makes me wake up and enjoy the very early mornings which, when back in my usual routine, I never seem able to wake up for. Small moments of upside-down suspension in my otherwise-familiar world.

Maybe sometimes The Hanged Man is what The Fool looks like at home?

What do you think?

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Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

You Are A Multifaceted Jewel: Dreaming Parts of Ourselves

92b72-bannerpicWe are multitudinous beings bursting with different feelings, thoughts, beliefs, hopes, fears, desires, roles, and identities. We go by more than one name. All the versions of ourselves from different points in our histories (and futures), and all their myriad stories, inhabit our kaleidoscopic inner worlds. They have relationships with each other. We all have different aspects of ourselves that never quite fit perfectly together.

The shining multiplicity of your psyche is a unique and sacred wonder.

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Stellarscape by Oriol Angrill Jordà

Dreams are a place where we get to meet some of these different aspects of ourselves – or where they come to meet us. Just as many of these parts of us don’t match up with our ego or “who I think we am” or “who I want to be seen as,” these other parts of us are not completely under our ego’s control. In the waking world, where our daytime persona has a pretty good grip, we relegate some parts of us to unconsciousness. In effect, we say “that’s not me” or “this feeling doesn’t matter” or “good girls don’t act that way” or any number of dismissive things. Sometimes this dismissing is entirely appropriate or healthy, but it still has the effect of disowning aspects of ourselves. And in the dreaming world, where the ego wanders but does not run the show, these disowned aspects of self very often show up with something to say.

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Dead Leaves by Remedios Varo

Those of us who live with trauma know a lot about this. Whether it’s the legacy of surviving interpersonal violence or the effects of navigating systemic oppression or the splitting and multiplying of self that comes with having different cultural identities or marginalized identities, we know about this. Because it’s the nature of trauma to have the effect of sectioning us off inside. We humans take advantage of our amazing and inherent talent for plurality by using it to manage chaotic, violent, or unbearable experiences: dissociating, compartmentalizing, letting different parts of ourselves share the load and take on the different burdens they’re most adapted to. Sometimes we have consciousness of this, and maintain some kind of relationship between our parts. Sometimes memory cooperates with this splitting, and our daytime selves have trouble remembering what other parts of us know – sometimes not remembering is a blessing as much as a curse. Sometimes parts of us get put in a box and stowed away for a long time, and sometimes events throw the lid off the box in surprising ways.

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The Undoing by Veronica Ebert

People are astoundingly creative in managing the multifaceted jewels of their own personalities.

In these cases, dreams can be a powerful way of coming into contact with the burdens and strengths that other parts of us carry. We see this happen in different ways, some safe and chosen, and some less so. Sometimes there is a forceful or nightmarish return to what our waking selves forget. Sometimes there is an encounter with an image that represents a certain part of you that knows something “you” don’t – a child, an animal, a beggar, an intruder – and it’s your job to be in right relationship to it, maybe taking care of it, maybe standing up for yourself, maybe just watching and letting a certain dynamic be illustrated for you to understand and consider when you awake.

It is the most natural thing for our psyches to dream images of these different or disowned aspects of ourselves. Dreaming is an instinctual way of restoring your relationship to yourself.

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Image Credit: Lieke van der Vorst Thanks for helping COM|PASSionate Community!

Also, these disowned aspects are not always wounded. There is such a thing as a positive shadow. Sometimes we disown our greatest strengths, our emergent talents – even things about ourselves that we secretly treasure but which we don’t know how to embody in waking life without great shame or risk. This can be a helpful lens for holding dreams of powerful or fascinating figures that seem so different from us at first: a wild girl with superpowers, a beautiful dancer, a strangely strong creature, a majestic stag, a supersmart scientist…! Some of the most joyful dreams are those which teach us to uncover aspects of ourselves who hold important skills and great value that we aren’t (yet) tapping into in waking life.

This is an excerpt from the forthcoming workbook for my Dreamwork for Survivors course, coming this Spring! Next week’s Dreamboat will be the following excerpt, a guide in actually doing some of this work. Follow the link below or head to www.kaetigugiu.com/dreamwork-for-survivors for more info and to get on the list to know when class dates are released.

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Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

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There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

Love Song to the 9 of Pentacles: The Secret Garden

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The 9 of Pentacles is one of my favorite cards. Every time it comes up, the sweetest blend of ease and delight and groundedness nestles into my heart. Just look at her here:

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Rider Waite Smith’s 9 of Pentacles

Sweetly golden light. A secret garden of plenty. The walls themselves alive with growth, not entrapping but enriching – I imagine, providing safety and respite, a little queendom with everything I need. Solitude without isolation – the little bird of the soul flies freely within and without, bringing and sending news. The little snail slides over the earth, at its own pace, doing its thing, welcome too in its way. Sunset or sunrise, a time of taking stock and resting in one’s own intention, settling into one’s place, remembering connection with self and with world.

But a little bird says: how do we square this with the fact that 9s represent thresholds? A dear friend of mine likes to refer to the “crisis of the 9” – 9 as a gate, a challenge, a test…indeed, a crisis. There is no gate, no challenge here – is there?

Some answer to that question lies in the fact that this is card I drew on the day of my first big MFT exam last week – and immediately I felt the power of knowing I had everything I need to pass, but also the whispering challenge of this card and the secret of its test.

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The Wild Unknown’s 9 of Disks. Really, this is the card I drew on exam day – the wealth I have accrued and earned in my labors, nestled safely in soft feathers and here for me as I need it.

Another answer to that question lies in the song I played on repeat on my way to the exam, and which now seems to hold a special resonance with this card and its strange confluence of safety and crisis: My Brightest Diamond’s Dreaming Awake. Take a moment to take in this wonder:

What is the slowing-down place that keeps its voice against challenge?

What is the slowing-down place that keeps its heart amidst panic?

What is the slowing-down place that dreams while awake?

Now that I  sit with it, I feel like these questions have been in my life and my practice all week.

How do we keep to our principles and integrity and still participate in the awful world?

How do we hold on to ourselves in the face of unrelenting panic attacks and terror?

How do I stay in my power and the sacredness of my healing work while taking a grueling 4 hour exam that dissects and belittles me, my community, my work?

I keep thinking of the image of the cops invading the sacred space of that secret garden in the video. Suddenly, this card appears to me as a meditation, visual mantra, or energetic ally for those times when an intrusive and punishing force invades and threatens to sever connection to ourselves or our world. This could be the oppressive dynamics that hit us hard when we step out of the safety of our queer households and into the dominant overculture. This could be you, being in a dreamy and open and soft space and suddenly having to interact with someone angry and punishing, or overwhelmed with sensory input in a loud and busy place. This could be taking a walk on the beach to connect with nature and seeing all the trash, the oil wells, the giant ships packed with slave-labor goods, the polluted waters. This could be you minding your own business and suddenly having a flashback or panic attack, your mind spinning out of control.

Any of these scenarios offer the opportunity to learn to find your core…to breathe…to practice the delicate art of staying present in the face of pain…to slow down and draw strength from your secret garden, to remember the way back to yourself, to remember that you have a grounded and connected self to come back to at all.

All this is the crisis of the 9 of Pentacles, which teaches about the place where sacred and profane overlap.

I always used to think of this card as a garden, but now I see it more as an economy – a sacred or gift economy, oeconomy in the old sense of “the management of a household.” Indeed, some of the traditional meanings for this card include good luck, good management, inheritance, attention to detail, loving criticism, integrity and skill producing wealth, the flow of gain – all of which you might also glean from its astrological correspondence of Venus in Virgo.

Sacred or Gift Economy to me holds a connotation of flow, of giving with the understanding that the gift is always moving, that giving and receiving are parts of the same act and hold reciprocal value. This card is wealth without hoarding, sharing without shame. There is an understanding that while we may sometimes need to retreat and build fortresses to make it through the short-term, there is ultimately no extra safety in cutting off or hoarding or silencing: we must find our flow, and participate in the flow of which we are only a part – the tidal flow of community, of life force, of love and loss, in and out.

Last night, in the novel I’m reading, a girl assassin whispers these magic words in the language of her lost homeland and, in doing so, slays an immortal tyrant whose domination has oppressed everyone it touched for centuries:

The life that is shared goes on forever. The life that is hoarded never lives at all.

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The Collective Tarot’s 9 of Bones

I see this in the Collective Tarot’s 9 of Bones too: the strong spine that connects heaven and earth. The fruits which fall between the worlds and which a clever forager collects in baskets and ride off to share with their community. How rootedness and connectedness and circulation are all part of the same phenomenon.

One of the first times these kinds of lessons started to occur to me was in 9th grade biology class, when I first heard the term semi-permeable membrane. I know, I’ve always been a nerd at heart. But the image and the idea collided in me with tremendous power, because deep inside I knew that this was a teaching image for me: there exists a thing whose function is to both protect its innards and allow flow between inner and outer. A boundary which protects but is also porous – which intrinsically knows what to let in and what to keep out, keeping fluid all the while. Like in a cell, or in an egg. I can breathe in and out, but you can’t invade and poison me.

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Ladies and germs: I give you, Science!

I see the walls in the 9 of Pentacles like this. For me, it’s a powerful metaphor for how to stay safe and connected to my heart without retreating, charging, melting down or dissociating. Sometimes those things have to happen, too – and when they do, the image of the safe and secret garden gives gentle guidance back to my abundant self, helps me reground and get ready for the next round.

One last image of this card that I love:

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Motherpeace Tarot’s 9 of Disks

Here, I see an image of this lesson after many revolutions and evolutions of practice. A vision of gardens within gardens, wisdom and strength to find one’s place – in any place – and be in dialogue with the many worlds, the endless overlaps of body and mind, spirit and soul, wishes and fears, inner and outer, different parts of ourselves, different languages, different  communities. Out of this wisdom, a system of communication and reflection. A time-tested reliance on boundaries –  knowing that while boundaries are built and are relative, they nonetheless provide the safety and containment to open up and experience and learn and commune.

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Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

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There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.