Tarot Tuesday: Support

playshopbanner

Morning Revolutionaries!

We had such an amazing weekend at Catalyst Con West having “exceptional conversations about sexuality.” We learned some new things, engaged in conversations about things we’d been contemplating ourselves, explored who we are trying to reach from this little corner of the universe and just what the best way is to reach each other!

We’ve been really lucky to have been able to have done quite a bit of “conferencing” this summer. Sure, our hearts were a little broken that we didn’t make it out to Amorous Revolt last month, but between Gender Spectrum, Gender Odyssey, and Catalyst Con we really can’t complain. Going to such a smattering of conferences, these little intentional bubbles of community conversation, got us thinking about how important format/structure are in our offerings.

We may want to share information but if we don’t know how to get it to those we’re trying to reach it doesn’t get anywhere. We may want to make space for conversation but if we can’t build cultures of safety and openness they aren’t going to happen. We may want to offer support to others around us but if we’re not mindful of how we do so we may not be helpful.

Support

This spread is to shed some light on how to offer intentional and appropriate support to others. It reminds you that you sit at the base of any support you offer, and, therefore, that energy towards your own self-care is a worthy act. Lastly, it checks in with the “heart of the matter” and any underlying reminders or intention informing our desire to support others that we might not be aware of on the surface.

Shuffle your deck as you contemplate the concept and function of support. When finished, cut your deck for as many people or groups you are drawing a card for including yourself (for example: if you want to draw for two others you will cut three times all together). Think about a person or group during each cut and then re-stack your deck. Set out your cards as shown in the diagram. Your last “heart of the matter” card can be the last card that you draw or you can flip over your deck and take the bottom card.

FullSizeRender

I played a bit with this spread and this is what I got. My heart warmed as I flipped The Star card as my heart of the matter. I absentmindedly ran my finger over the tattoo in the crease of my right elbow that holds the words: “The Star Awaits” underneath a nod to “Disaster” or “The Tower.”

In a time when I know I need to put consciousness to support the individual changes I’m experiencing as well as honoring my desperate desire to support those I love around me in ways that make sense to them– the star card reminds me to have “hope and peace of mind.” The Wild Unknown interpretation offers the reassurance:

“Even though you can’t find concrete answers to life’s many questions up there in the sky, you can’t help but feel comforted and renewed. Such is the energy of the star card. It is not about actions or situations, it’s simply about connecting to the parts of you that feel hopeful and serene.” 

When I sit in places of hopeful serenity it suddenly becomes clear where I can support others, whether they need something functional or just for me to be nearby energetically, it clears up what part of support I’m truly offering for them and what parts are about my own need to ease anxiety through my inclination for service.

Support is an animal of delicate constitution in need of very specific care taking. This spread is an offering to this important healing but complicated practice.

In support and service,

Traci

———-

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…”

 

Tarot Tuesdays: The Map and Compass to the Human Heart

PlayshopBannerThere are lots of beautiful spreads to assist in exploring through tarot. One of the simple ways I like to pull is to hold a general topic in mind that I need some guidance on while shuffling. I’ll then cut the deck with my non-dominant hand and flip the card. I’ll lay it down in front of me in the direction that it was flipped. If we’re doing a group pull, everyone shuffles and everybody draws. If someone feels like they need a little more insight, direction, or are confused about their card they can have a conversation with the deck as they pull sequential cards. After everyone finishes pulling we flip the remaining stack of the deck over and read this card as “The Heart of the Matter.”

We trust the deck- not just the cards that are plucked intentionally out of the stack, but also the cards that hover beneath and support our present pull. This always adds another layer of insight and depth to the initial guidance of the cards that showed up as the deck was cut.

IMG_0113My partner and I recently did an anniversary pull in a physical space that holds particular charge for the journey of our relationship. After we each pulled we flipped the deck to the find the “Heart of the Matter.” We were unsurprised to see The Hermit’s maniacally knowing grin in a time when we could use a slow down but don’t really have time to stop. “Her way is to simply sink deep while on the move. She reminds us to take, but not waste our time, and challenges us to develop the discernment to tell the difference.” Having done some traveling together (both with The Hermit and each other) it was nice to have her courageous truth seeking reflection in front of us, “she is both map and compass to the human heart… prepar(ing) us for brave entry into a new phase of existence.”

We were especially amused, not just by her visit, but by the cards that poked out from the stack on the way up to her. Near the bottom, from the uneven stack we saw the 0 of The Fool (a card my partner was drawing often early on in our relationship), lying close to the surface of the charged physical environment. The wise naivete from which we started our journey- as “hopeful” and “trusting” travelers. “The trip was unplanned, leaving lots of room for improvisation and spontaneity… the Fool trusts her heart first in all matters.” A little further up the familiar letters of the Lovers peaked out, again reminding us of the rewards that await if you choose to “follow your heart,” and inviting the “risk of opening your heart to these loved ones, despite any insecurity or anxiety.” Lastly, the Five of Bottles, closest to the surface. On the still, content, and healing anniversary day of our pull it was the Six of Bottles, that actually showed up directly when we cut the deck, moving us from “short-term crisis mode, to a long-term struggle and endeavor for positive change… a time of rebirth, renewal, restructuring and recommitment.” However, the Five of Bottles remained close by, a reminder of the knowledge and wisdom gained from the challenging and more disheartened times we had overcome together.

Intentional spreads offer different ways to organize and understand the cards we pull beyond their individual meanings, but the magic of tarot is that it’s all already there… and what needs to draw our attention will if we’re open to seeing it! While our pull was in the moment, it was about our relationship journey. The discarded stack held many of our powerful milestones even as the cards that were pulled offered guidance in the moment.

Learning new spreads can be great fun but tarot is all about looking at things in a new way! We get stuck when we can’t step back and get a little perspective– find a new viewpoint! So play with spreads that resonate with you! If you encounter a card or a pull that you’d like a little more insight on try flipping your deck and checking out the “Heart of the Matter.” Let The Hermit illuminate truth for you with the light from her lantern… “she encourages us to create within our own selves a container that can literally hold a new vision.”

{Image Credit: From a fellow truth seeking traveler Carrot Quinn http://carrotquinn.com/about/}
{Image Credit: From a fellow truth seeking traveler Carrot Quinn http://carrotquinn.com/about/}

Your fellow travelers,

Traci + The Hermit

———-

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…”

———-

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

TarotTuesdayBanner

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:

rws9pentacles
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.

WU9ofDisks
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.

CT9ofBones
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.

semipermeable
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:

motherpeace9disks
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.

—-

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.

On Armor, Self-Creation, and Accessing Our Inner Worlds

92b72-bannerpic

Part of the great power and mystery of dreaming is that, in dreams, you find yourself in relationship with the rest of you: who you are when you’re not performing your daytime, waking-world persona; who you wish you could be, or hope you’re not. In dreams we can come into contact with disowned and discarded elements and aspects of ourselves – as well as new, emergent parts of us that we’ve never met yet. Dreams also present us with the forgotten or repressed facts of our living connections to each other – and to the animals and plants we share the living world with, to our shared histories and futures, to dreaming Gaia Herself.

Dreamwork creates reflective time for us to be with these mysteries and unfold ourselves into new awareness about ourselves and our world.

Dreams ask us to take an attitude to them that can be very uncomfortable. Waking, we are always discerning the boundaries of our conscious identity: this is me, that’s not me, that’s has nothing to do with me. Dreams ask us to become more porous and curious in our thinking, and become concerned not with what something is or isn’t but with how we relate to it (and how it relates to us).

Dreamwork asks us to practice a faith in our deeper selves by honoring that whatever comes up to the surface – the dream itself, our reactions to it, our associations to it – has its reason, has something to do with us, even if we don’t know how to recognize it yet.

fishandbird
Art by Geninne: blogdelanine.blogspot.com

This can be a powerful release and relief, for the conscious mind to accept that it’s not in control of everything that goes on inside us, nor does it have to be.

This can also be a balancing practice for many of us whose minds have had very good reason to become protective and stay in control.

Every day, we are bombarded by images, values, policies, and judgments that don’t represent us and that do us harm. In the dominant racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, ableist and capitalist culture, strength and survival can mean adopting an attitude of crafting and defining and valuing our identities on our own terms. That attitude of revolutionary self-creation serves us well in the waking world – but, when it becomes a habitual armor, it can cut us off from the deeper dreaming wellspring of ourselves, our connections to one another, our healing, and our inner guidance.

Our roots go so much deeper down...
Our roots go so much deeper down…

This is not even to really get into how the same dominant culture in general cuts us off from our inner selves, and teaches us not to ask questions, not to draw connections, not to identify empathically with an other. These thought patterns belong to this culture and its legacies of violence, and it’s impossible not to internalize them to some degree. For those (most!) of us who inhabit marginalized identities and have to work hard to claim our value, this can be a double-whammy of a cut-off.

If you find yourself saying things about your dreams like, “That was meaningless,” “That was a stupid dream,” “I wish I could just forget that dream,” “That has nothing to do with me,” or “Phew! Woke up and escaped, now I never have to think about that again!” – then the armor of your waking mind is protecting you from something in your own inner world that wants your attention.

Here’s a small way to begin practicing a balancing attitude in your dreamwork:

moonfishing

  1. Make a quiet space for yourself – half an hour on the couch, some quiet tea time curled up on your bed, a blanket in the park, a walk on the beach, whatever you got to work with.
  1. Actively imagine yourself taking off a piece of armor and setting in on the ground beside you. A helmet or a chest-plate would do nicely. Tell yourself something like I am taking off my armor in order to be with myself, or In this quiet space, I am free to relax and get curious, or even just I am safe here or I come in peace. Take a breath and feel your body adjust to this attitude.
  1. Get your dream journal and either write down a fresh dream or turn to one you wrote down fairly recently. Pick one element of it that challenges, confuses, or bewilders you and name it, write it down.
  1. Give yourself permission to free associate – this means that, without having to understand or interpret anything, you get to brainstorm any and all images, feelings, or memories that come up as you contemplate your chosen dream element. Associations can be very personal but they don’t have to be – they can be old stories, characters from tv shows, current events in other parts of the world, etc. Let it all just blurt into your journal – notice if you feel hesitation or embarrassment, but remember that you are safe here, no one will see but you, and your only job is to take note of what comes up.
journalwolf
Dream journalling gets wild… Art by Christian Schloe.
  1. Reflect on what you’ve journalled – allow yourself to ask questions without needing to answer them right away. The point here is to practice being curious and holding the possibility that you are connected to the images and feelings that came to you.
  1. Pick a few elements of your associations to remember and carry with you during your day – not as a problem to solve, but as something to carry lightly in your mind. As you go about your day, notice when events or feelings arise that remind you of your dream elements. Meaning or insight may or may not come to you in this process, and that’s fine – the point is to practice staying in connection to the inner world, and noticing when something in the waking world resonates with your inner dreaming world.
  1. Thank yourself for making time to connect with your own dream life!

—-

Want to learn more? Check out my Dreamwork for Survivors course, coming this Spring with Califia Collective!

DFS

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.

Intentional Space: Setting the Framework

ISHeader

Dear COM|PASSionate Community,

The yoga studio that I teach at is an amazing collaboration of owner intention and community investment. It holds the sweat, tears, laughter, music, insight, movement and light of years worth of practice. It is also situated in between a boot camp, a crossfit and some train tracks- all of which seem to have impeccable timing. I’ll encourage folks to let their bodies tell them when to release a pose and a nearby instructor will command “20 MORE SECONDS EVERYBODY!” We’ll be dimming lights, settling into savasana and as our body scan reaches our toes and we take our final breaths into “stillness” a train will rumble by.

Such is life. And, while a bit tongue in cheek, I’ll reference this conflict as it happens because I think it is a really powerful practice cultivate. It’s a lot easier (although can still be a challenge for folks) to find peace, stillness, mindfulness, enter wellness buzz word here, etc when you’re on a retreat at spa in some tropical location with raw food prepped by a chef and yoga at your retreat center twice a day (BTW: Any revolutionaries out there that just won the lotto and want to take us on a com|passionate think tank retreat.. we’re open to that) than it is to find those same buzz words in the rush, struggle and micro/macro aggressions (Yes, Microaggressions Project, YES!) of every day life.

safetyandhealing

So how do we find, create, manifest space that supports our safety and healing?

INTENTIONAL SPACE.

All of our needs and resources are different. Some of us need quiet and some of us might need noise. Some of us may want to find ways for the world to traipse through our space so that we can practice healing through interaction while some of us may need to make sure the world doesn’t bother us before 10am. Some of us may need our spaces simplified and cleared out to model clarity for the way our thoughts stack up and rush by and some of us may want to fill our spaces with reminders and symbols. While environment isn’t everything (or completely controllable) it’s important and powerful. There’s a reason why those retreat centers are located in beautiful natural settings a long drive from the main road and a reason why yoga studios have sprouted up like wild fire in urban settings. Our brains, hearts and spirits could use a little structure for slowing down.

workspace

Even if we don’t have a tropical retreat center, or even a yoga studio we can afford to frequent, we can put intention into making the spaces that we have SAFE for OUR most effective modality of healing. For me this means spaces that hold the physical medicine I use most (teas, tinctures, oils) out where they are easily accessible. It also means carving out some clean and clear space for quiet whether it be for sitting, reading, writing, music or movement (little altars easily available for aroma and intention therapy in every room.) I’ve also found that I’m the happiest and healthiest when I have intentional and mood lifting reminders visible as well as space that invites me to process externally what makes me feel crowded, discombobulated and frenetic internally. This means that along with photos, clippings and love notes framed on walls or pinned to cork board, colored pencils and paint are left out so spurts of creativity aren’t slowed by the need for preparation and chalkboard painted walls and cement are always designated canvases for visual and tactile exploration.

IMG_5290

With a little intention we can all carve out a little safe space for healing. Do you have intentional space ideas, sacred spots that you’ve manifested or favorite often visited public space recommendations? We would love to hear from you!

With intention,

Traci

——

Traci is a therapist, yoga teacher and an aspiring intentional space architect in the Orange County area. She uses a lot of her conscious space identifying and deconstructing gender inequity, intersectional marginality and daily micro/macro aggressions/oppressions and seeks to engage her subconscious in rest, renewal and healing.