Tarot Tuesday: Growth in The Tower

PlayshopBannerWhen I found tarot, in a functional sense, I met it with wide eyed optimism. I’ve heard some folks new to tarot express some fearfulness around accessing this source of wisdom and healing, and I never really experienced much of that. Looking back I wonder why I didn’t. {Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1Iq974y}{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1Iq974y}

I was going through a period of immense change- to many around me I imagine it might have looked a bit like disaster rather than Disaster.

For someone who didn’t have much experience with the positive aspects of faith I realize the blindness and readiness with which I moved into a tarot practice was actually quite uncharacteristic of me. Perhaps it was the time, a particularly good fit, or just the relief of having accurate queer reflection from The Collective Tarot (my first deck and the one I still use almost exclusively) staring back at me.

Whatever the reason both my universe and my tarot pulls requested (kindly and lovingly) that I lean into Disaster or, more traditionally, The Tower. {Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1JoQkVK}

The Tower is the 16th card in the Major Arcana. It is a card about inevitable change and the way we experience it. This might be actual change around us or a shattering of our perceptions– ways we’ve come to know, understand, and explain our world. The literal representation of a tower that shows up in decks is described by Jan Woudhuysen in Tarot Therapy: A New Approach to Self-Exploration:

All of us feel the need for protection from the cold inhospitality of the world. We build defences of some sort or another. We build a tower, strong enough to withstand rain and storms from the enemy with his arrows and gunpowder. We gain security, but only for a price. That price is our ability to move, to grow, to develop. p.81

Later, in the same passage about The Tower, Woudhuysen questions whether, after forced by “disaster” to rebuild our towers if we’ll use the same broken stones? It immediately made me think of the Audre Lorde quote: “For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” I often think of The Tower as a space for new growth but also a call to check in on the soundness of the structures I’m building and/or confined within. Sometimes utter demolition is needed and sometimes it’s a wake-up call to realize I live in earthquake country– roller bearings, got it. 

There are so many levels of what we might be called (or demanded) to deconstruct and reconstruct, and it’s going to take all of our attention to do so well. If we’re busy struggling, trying to keep our tower from falling, are we going to be able dream and manifest a more accurate version of our safest spaces? It’s going to take radical vision and innovation to live in and design institutions that hold and heal the queerest most divine versions of our authentic selves.

So, I offer you The Collective Tarot’s challenge to lean into Disaster:

“You are free. A flash of enlightenment. A release of energy. Lightning of revelation, inner truth… If the mind becomes closed, so that we cannot see the world outside, then it becomes a prison of pride and illusion…. When you turn the compost, it is uncomfortable, but growth and newness awaits.”

In honor of Disaster,

Traci

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Traci {She|Her|Hers|They|Them|Theirs} is a yoga teacher, therapist and amateur tarot enthusiast! They try to believe in the power of their inner Magician, stay inspired by the Fool’s spirit, understand struggle through the lens of The Tower/Disaster and always stay reminded that, “The Star Awaits…”

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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.

 

MHM Ep 8: Femme-inist Masculinity

Good Morning REVOLUTIONARIES!

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You may have been wondering where we skipped off to last week. We were enjoying ourselves at UC Riverside’s Trans* Asterisk Conference and, in truth, didn’t quite recover in time to sing it’s praises last Monday morning during the Mash-Up! Nevertheless, we couldn’t let such an amazing weekend go unsung!

Today’s intersection is FEMME-INIST MASCULINITY! You might think that sounds like a contradiction, and while it might be rare, we assure you it exists. We saw it, felt it and engaged in it at the conference last weekend and it was utterly magical. A unicorn glittered demonstration of community building, space making and dialogue.

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We got to spend some time with old friends, had serendipitous run-ins with folks swirling in nearby communities and gathered more new crushes than we can count! So many amazing hearts and spirits and utterly fabulous accessories! We were absolutely impressed by the warm and efficient organizing and honored and flattered to be among the ranks of the other speakers. Our only regret to participating was that presenting kept us from attending other workshops! However, with all of these other wonderful pieces what will shine the brightest in our  memories was our spontaneous extended workshop turned community summit!

We were so excited to run Taming the Hulk: Temperance for the Transmasculine Journey and will likely post some of the activities at some point. As we got going on planning and prepping we quickly realized that time was short and our activity list grew/shrunk as we discussed and organized. We did the math and figured, maybe 30 folks at the most? We spent some time thinking, okay, if 10 folks show up for this gig can we still do our activities? Would the processing exercises resonate for folks that were unfamiliar with gender deconstruction? Were we offering real tips for temperance or were we just echoing the narrative that finding and remaining consistent with our own versions of masculinity was an uphill unsupported cultural battle?

Needless to say, we were pretty blown away when we returned to our room to find that there were already about 40 participants waiting for us and participants continued to roll in for the next 10 minutes until we were up to probably around 60-70! As these things go, we scuttled about, took a breath, re-routed where we could and then just surrendered to being around and in such amazing community. We tried to sink into the fact that in a lot of ways this gathering in itself was a movement towards transmasculine temperance- that folks were seeking out space to come together to find balance in this journey often wrought with extreme ups and downs.

The participation and experiences that got shared in our workshop were already more than we could have hoped for but as we took final comments we were again pleasantly surprised. Folks voiced that there wasn’t as much deconstruction as hoped and that they wanted to know if there was more space to keep the conversation going. Participants went to speak to the conference organizers, found us an empty room during the final workshop slot and spread the word. As we rolled into Taming the Hulk Part Deux, we were again floored as a good 30-40 magnificent humans came in to discuss and deconstruct the narratives of masculinity that support us and constrain us. With very little facilitation the group made space for each other’s voices, witnessed and validated each other’s stories and generally commiserated and problem solved around the hulking presence of masculinity in all of our lives and gendered journeys.

It brought me an intense feeling of Kim Katrina Crosby’s prezi on Femme Science and Community Based Research in action. I implore you take a look at it, take it in and add Laura Mvula‘s That’s Alright to your conquer the day playlists! As a community we took on the community agreements that Crosby discussed:

Community Agreements

Express care, concern and consideration to yourself & others.
Speak for yourself.
Protect each other & yourself.
Examine your prejudice.
Share your needs and give ample space for others to do the same.
Treat others the way that they want to be treated. Ask.

Another’s experience does not invalidate your own,

but it should and necessarily does complicate your own.

We were so thoroughly grateful for the heart opening and intuition practice that we experienced at the conference, that drew folks to our workshop and that left space for folks to take and create what they needed. A lot of the discussion surrounded the struggle of binary systems, the way that accessing masculinity sometimes felt mutually exclusive from feminine energy/nurturing/space and the loss of one identity/community as another solidified. Folks voiced the desire to be conscious of the unique nature of this journey into privileged space and were desperately seeking ways to honor it as they also took on masculinity in ways that felt holding to them.

It felt like we not only started to “Tame the Hulk” but that we started to build a framework for “Femme-inist Masculinity.”

Even with our extended time together, we know that we’ve just barely scratched the surface. We’re figuring out what would feel like the best ways for us to continue the conversation and we’ll leave more information here as it comes. If you would like to be a part of this continued conversation please shoot us an email to compassionaterevolt@gmail.com.

In COM|PASSionate REVOLUTION,

Skye + Traci

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Skye is a youth worker, educator, activist and white transmasculine human. Traci is a therapist, yoga teacher, educator and queer vegan femme-inist of color. They reside, practice, navigate, process, survive and flourish in the Southern California area.