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Ten of Wands, Samurai Tarot. From the LWB (Little White Book): “Free the mind of prejudice and learn to watch. The greatest fear is often impalable like the wing of a moth.”
Welcome to the first blog hop of 2014! Happy Imbolc (“in the belly,” the Irish holiday in honor of lambing), Happy Brigid’s Day, and Happy Candlemas! Or if you prefer, happy Groundhog’s Day!
To Catholics, Brigid is St. Brigid, and you can read about her at Catholic Encyclopedia. But to me, Brigid is a goddess. To read about her, try Encyclopedia Mythica. She is a goddess of smithcraft and martial arts, poetry, and healing…which leads us to…Dostoevsky? Well, just for a second.
Seven of Wands, Samurai Tarot. From the LWB: “There are times when there is no demon in the demon, no man in the man.”
The first gift my ex-husband ever gave me, before we even began dating, was a copy of Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground. Inside the front cover, he wrote, “To Bonnie the Rationalist: Read it and weep!” He called me a rationalist because I was so doggedly logical in my arguments with him. And as a rationalist, Notes from Underground never made a bit of sense to me. Yet, intuitively, it makes no sense either — it just left a bad taste in my mouth. (So does Crime and Punishment, for that matter.)
Here’s my point, and I promise this will relate (eventually!) back to healing, creativity, and tarot, and even to Brigid. My point is this. It doesn’t matter whether I look at Notes from Underground as a rationalist OR as an intuitive. Either way, the book sucks (in my opinion, which I am entitled to, this was NOT Dostoevsky’s best book). And so often this is the case…not that a great writer could write a terrible book…but that logic and intuition lead us to the same conclusion. They are like yin and yang; each contains the other; and for healing, we must have BOTH, without fail. Again, in my opinion. Here’s an example: A good doctor needs to know your history, because little bits of information from that history can foster intuitive leaps — and the doctor can (or may) figure out how those bits of information were actually linked later, using logic and science.
Both intuition and logic, or science for that matter, can be wrong, of course. But we often don’t accept that possibility, do we? We come to the conclusion that we come to, using our favorite method, either intuitive or rational, and THEN we deploy the other method, the one we didn’t use in the first place, to give our conclusion a little extra support. So the second method is inherently biased by the conclusions arrived at by the first method.
Now, I’m working my way to the truth here as if I were knitting a scarf, and I am a slow knitter, so please bear with me.
The Magician, from the Samurai Tarot. From the LWB: “Even the gods and buddhas began with space.”
Nothing is true and yet everything is true. Life, and everything in it, is an illusion. And yet it also isn’t. And those two statements are simultaneously, both, totally and entirely true. And they are simultaneously, both, totally and entirely false.
Now this is the point at which my old graduate school friends would certainly jump in and call me a moral relativist. “You believe in nothing! And if you believe in nothing, what’s to stop me from murdering you right now? And what’s to stop you from murdering me?”
Well, if that isn’t the stupidest question. First, I do NOT believe in nothing. I believe in everything. Like Inspector Clouseau, I believe everyone, and I believe no one. I’m not going to murder you or anyone else, why? Not because I don’t believe murder is real! But because I’m a kind and gentle person, and I’m gentle even to rocks, and would continue to be so even if it were proven to me definitively that it makes no difference to the rock whether I handle it gently. Even if it were proven to me that the rock didn’t exist, or that I didn’t exist. What does compassion and lovingkindness even have to do with the existence of things? Nothing. Nothing at all.
Tarot readings can heal. So can rocks. So can thoughts and beliefs. So can medicine. So can a splint. So can a salve. So can energy applied in various ways. So can faith. Why? How is that possible? Well, it comes down to intuition and logic. You already know the intuitive explanation (or at least an intuitive explanation) or you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog. One version might go something like this: we have a mind-body-spirit connection and what happens to the spirit and the mind, of course, affects the body. But you could just as easily explain a faith healing using logic and science. If all we are is biology and chemistry, then you can’t very well argue that faith isn’t biological or chemical or that it doesn’t have a biological or chemical effect, can you? If we can even agree that faith can accomplish one single thing, such as reducing stress, then we’re there, logically speaking, because as soon as you reduce stress you’ve changed the biochemical balance in your brain. You’ve changed which neurotransmitters are being released and absorbed and in what amounts and you’ve changed what hormones are being released and in what amounts.
Nine of Wands, Samurai Tarot. From the LWB: “If your heart remains steadfast, the ice becomes hot, the snow warm. –Nichiren.”
Of all the types of magic we can think of in the world, healing is by far the easiest one to explain logically. You could heal with anything, even dirt, if you put faith in it. (In fact, dirt is one of the most healing substances around, but that’s another topic for another day.)
Seriously, just think about that.
Five of Wands, Samurai Tarot. From the LWB: “If you understand that you cannot beat others, you will understand the path to conquering yourself. Then you will be victorious.”
In the Samurai Tarot, so many things that we struggle with are ghosts. Does that mean they are not real? Does that mean we need not struggle? Does that mean we need not engage with these illusions? No. But massive, major healing takes place when we can see them with a sense of perspective. When we widen our viewpoint to, oh, let’s say a geologic time scale. Or when we make our viewpoint very tiny, so tiny that we can see that all these problems are made up of nothing but space.
Tarot helps with that. Whether you have faith in the intuitive process (and I do) or whether you think it’s all bunk — ask yourself whether that even matters when it comes to healing.
But, specifically how does tarot help us to heal? Instead of listening to more crazy theories from me, choose an area of your life which needs healing, and try a simple spread based on the triple aspect of Brigid (see, I told you we’d come back to her!):
- What is my best weapon, tool, or resource in this endeavor?
- What kind of story do I need to tell myself in order to facilitate release?
- What would healing look like, in this case?
And don’t be afraid to let life turn you upside down like the Hanged Man, below. Remember — if you know the Musashi story — before he was hanged upside down from a tree, Musashi wasn’t yet Miyamoto Musashi — he was only Takezo. Not that there was anything wrong with being Takezo. But: I think he was happy with his transformation.
The Hanged Man, Samurai Tarot. From the LWB: “Don’t be stifled by fears. Trust in the spirit and ignore the material.”
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