Tuesday, September 23, 2014

9/23/14—Honing Your Intuition

Today's blog post is part of a blog hop, where you travel from blog to blog to read diverse ideas on an assigned topic. Because it is a tarot blog hop, the topic is focused on a time when my understanding of tarot underwent a radical change or when my skill took a giant leap forward. Although all 28 blogs in the hop will speak in terms of reading tarot cards, there will, no doubt, be insights you can apply to other areas of your life. 

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The Empress from the Mythic Tarot, the deck
I learned on. Traditionally, she is the Great
Mother, Demeter and the source of creation.
She is what brings us the seasons. But intuitively,
you might decide nature holds the key, someone is
pregnant, that it's time to harvest all you've
been working on, that energy is bubbling up
within someone...whatever you see in the picture.
My journey with tarot started out more than 25 years ago. At first, I wanted to learn how to read the cards so I could tell the future. But, as it turned out, that is a naive vision of what tarot can do. 

It actually does much more. It brings you on a journey through issues and situations in your life and helps you make better informed decisions. Confining tarot to the narrow bounds of "fortune telling" would not be the only naive assumption I would make about this ancient art, skill and spiritual practice. 

As you might already know, each of the 78 tarot cards in a deck comes with a general meaning attached to it and a picture on the card. I thought all I needed to do was memorize the meanings of 78 cards and that would be enough. So I set about memorizing the book descriptions for all 78 cards and a reading from me would mean I would cough back, word for word, the meaning I read in a book about a certain card. 

Back then I owned maybe three decks and only used the one I memorized for readings. While that's one way to do it, I nonetheless felt stuck. Stuck, because I realized that the same card could have different meanings depending on what position it landed in a spread. I came to admire many other decks, some with meanings that didn't track to the meanings I memorized. I discovered that each card speaks in a unique language to the reader, so one person's Empress card may not be another person's Empress card. And I learned that there was a whole other use for the cards that I had never considered—as a means to access the intuitive voice within that bears knowledge beyond what is seen and known. 

The Empress from the Stolen Child Tarot is not
pregnant. She embodies more the protective,
nurturing aspects of motherhood. Intuitively,
you might decide someone has "become their
mother" or is over-bear-ing...haha. 
I also felt stuck because my memorization of the cards had an unanticipated side effect—the minute I'd turn a card over, the rote meaning would immediately pop into my head as it would if I had memorized multiplication tables or anything else. So logic and learned response was my knee-jerk reaction to seeing a card. And because that was my knee-jerk reaction, any intuitive hit I might have on the card got lost. By the time you bring logic and memorized meaning in, the opportunity for your first intuitive hit is forever lost. You can't go back and get it. Only one impression can be first. 

So to "fix" this problem, I got a deck of what are known as Soul Cards and read them exclusively for a couple of years. Soul cards have no fixed meaning. It's just a picture on a card and you have to come up with the meaning from inside you. By focusing on Soul Cards, I was able to re-train myself—to take the intellectualization out and put the intuition in. Today my readings reflect a combination of both...intended meaning and intuitive meaning. 

More than that, though, these days I own hundreds upon hundreds of decks. Really. It's a pathetic display of hoarding and consumerism. And because I lead with intuition, because I have developed my own language with the cards and because I know what all the traditional meanings are, I  I can read every single deck I own without ever having to pick up the book (though I do find book meanings very valuable, too.) 

This is a Soul Card. It has no name or
meaning. Depending on the reading you might
decide it speaks of intuition, looking within,
open communication, radiating energy, being
at peace or whatever else strikes you. 
I can also read smudges on paper, shapes in a cloud and the inside of my eyelids, not to mention pretty much anything else you can imagine. Because that's another naive belief I dispelled over the 25 years I've been a reader. The cards themselves have no power. They have some meaning, but the real meaning and interpretation comes from within the reader. The cards only trigger your intuition, they don't give it to you. And once your intuition is triggered, you can apply it to anything...anything can trigger it. 

I did consider giving up when all I knew was memorized meanings. I mean, all that work and it did nothing to make me "psychic". I still teach students that it's important to eventually memorize all the meanings. You'll do that anyway if you read enough. But I stress the intuitive hit. I'm amazed at how many people who have never even touched a tarot card before can accurately intuit the meaning just by looking at the picture on the card. It has never once failed in a class I've taught. 

Which brings me to the bigger point for my "usual" readers. I wasn't born with any special gifts. Some people are and, while they still have to work at it, they don't have to work as hard. It flows like water. No, I was born with the base-model intuition package, just like most of you. So 25 years ago I was stuck. My intuition wasn't flowing at all. Today, however, I can be pretty flowy. And whether you believe this about yourself or not, you can be too. 

We all have intuition. It's built into our DNA. And, just like a muscle, the more we work it, the more powerful and responsive it can be. You can learn to read tarot. You can learn to talk to dead people. You can learn to communicate with animals. You can learn to channel spirits. You can learn to have two-way conversations with God. The ability for all of that resides in your intuition and your ability to trust. 

Over the centuries a lot of fear has been connected with things like tarot or mediumship. Certainly it's weird to have someone SEEM to get inside your head and tell you stuff they couldn't possibly know. But whether you choose to use it in that way or not, intuition is vital to our survival. It's how we "feel" something is wrong. It's how we "sense" a person standing behind us. It's how we suspect someone is lying to us. It's an absolutely critical part of our biology that can atrophy or be built up, just like a muscle. 

Each of us acts as a receiver and transmitter of energy. That's why you can feel it when someone is angry or keeping something from you. Every single thought or action creates a wave of energy that can be detected. Everything is energy. So the stronger your ability to detect and read that energy, the better prepared you are to navigate the intricacies of life. 

For anyone who would claim intuition in any form—whether it's aided by cards or bubbles up organically from within—is the Devil's playground, I submit that being blind to your intuition is the real Devil's playground. If you can't sense him knocking at the door, you may just let him in.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

9/22/14—Chasing Sasquatch

Although I've lived all over the eastern half of the US and have many roots in the midwest, I've lived within a five mile radius of where I'm living now most of my life. So it has surprised me this weekend to learn two new things about this area that I never knew before.

The first was actually a well-kept secret for over 60 years. My favorite tree resides at Fort Hunt, a local park I've visited all my life. At the park there are prison cells and a watch tower, but the stories I always heard was that the park's role in anything exciting was fairly benign. It provided some defense during the Spanish American War and some training for other wars but not much else in terms of wartime activities.

Turns out, though, during WWII, the fort was code named PO Box 1142 and its mission was to extract secrets from German POWs, mostly scientists. They got all kinds of groundbreaking secrets out of them involving things like rocket science and microwave technology. And they didn't beat it out of them. They cajoled it out of them.

The other thing I learned was about something called the Mount Vernon Monster. In the late 1970s, local residents heard strange noises coming out of the woods in the region of George Washington's home. Some say it was kids playing recordings over loudspeakers. But some people witnessed a bigfoot-like creature and many others had encounters with the creature nearby, but not visible. They swear that there's no way it could be a hoax from the way things happened...the way the sound moved through the woods.

Now, I didn't live here in the late 70s, so I can see why I wouldn't have heard of it. But Bigfoot is, like, my favorite "mythical" creature. And to think one might have lived here? Exciting. Right now, in the very same area, people are saying there's a cougar on the loose. Maybe Bigfoot never left. Maybe he's a shapeshifter! :D

I don't consider myself much of a historian, so I'm not surprised I don't know everything there is to know about my little suburb. But it did surprise me to learn two BIG things in a single weekend—perhaps the biggest things ever to happen here (outside of George Washington himself.)

It's interesting all the layers of stories and lore that form like layers of sediment over time. Everyone focuses on our founding father's role in the immediate area, but there were layers of history stretching hundreds and millions of years before him. Indigenous people were all up and down this part of the river before the Brits even arrived. Dinosaurs, no doubt, drank from our waters. We're just about an hour or so as the crow flies from the some of the world's oldest mountains and, right here in the same state, is a river known to be older than those mountains and considered by some to be the second oldest river in the world. (In a bit of irony, it's called the New River and it runs backwards, just like the Nile, the world's oldest river, does.)

If you sit with nature long enough, you can feel mysteries yet untold. And not just because of backwards running rivers, ancient mountains and Sasquatch sightings. You'd feel it in the middle of the desert or along the Panama Canal, in the center of New York City or in the depths of Asia. There's magic and mystery and history everywhere there's earth. You don't have to dig to know it's there, because it's part of the vibration.

Many years back I had a "paranormal" experience in that park where the POWs were held. Now I understand more about why that happened. Whether you have the data in the form of recorded history  and artifacts or not, the body always knows. We just have to learn to use what we have and trust it.