In honor of April 1, I’d like to draw attention to the original meaning of fool – “bag” or “bellows” from the Latin follis as well as the Latin verb flare, meaning to blow.
In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s there are few
- Shunryu Suzuki
Plus, I like to consider the idea of the holy fool – that figure found in traditions ranging from the Russian Orthodox Church to Zen Buddhism…
“One who subverts convention or orthodoxy or varies from social conformity in order to reveal spiritual or moral truth”
“half mystic, half agitator”
After all, there is a thin line between insanity and genius….
When you have different sizes of cards, using each as collage materials is easy. I employed the giant Waite-Smith cards as background and just went from there (using a glue stick to attach the cards to each other). In my mind, the cards I chose complemented each other by communicating a certain type of energy – and so what I really ended up doing , once I got going, was creating a whole new deck!
is the place where the light enters you…
Which tarot card might represent your wound? Which card might represent your healing?
What if you glued these two cards together, back to back, and carried them around with you for awhile….?
Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real
“A book should serve as the axe for the frozen sea within us.”
This is one of my favorite quotes (by Franz Kafka); for me, when I transfer it to tarot, it sums up the pneumatic power that even a single card has when we ask the deck: “What is it I need to know right now?”
If we are willing to take the answer seriously and be honest with ourselves, we then allow a kind of rending, a splitting through to the core…which is exactly what we need, as it is for a/our higher purpose…
The dadaists, creators of an avant-garde art movement in early 20th century Europe, liked, among other things, to cut stuff up and rearrange them. So naturally I thought I would do the same with some tarot cards….First I picked several at random from my extra large Smith-Waite deck….Then I began cutting, and as I did, a story slowly started to emerge (at least in my own mind :)
The structure of the tarot deck, particularly the major arcana, mirrors the “hero’s journey” – that road we all take in one way or another, and that is so powerfully described by Joseph Campbell:
“What I think is that a good life is one hero journey after another. Over and over again, you are called to the realm of adventure, you are called to new horizons. Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There’s always the possibility of a fiasco. But there’s also the possibility of bliss.”
when he said:
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
And the easiest way to bring things into awareness, I believe, is through tarot. It’s just so easy….the cards you need to experience will instantly choose you, if you simply give them a chance.
To explore a novel way of displaying tarot cards.
Prayer flags are colorful rectangular pieces of cloth that are strung along mountain ridges and other holy places in the Himalayas. Traditionally woodblocks were used to print prayers, invocations, mantras, and images on on the cloth. Originating with the indigenous Bon shamanistic tradition, Tibetan and Nepalese Buddhists later adopted prayer flags for themselves. The purpose of the flags is to produce sacred vibrations for the wind to carry across the countryside.
Tarot prayer flags can be either single sided or double sided, depending on how you want to display them. For double sided flags, all you need to do is put two cards back to back (you don’t necessarily need to glue them together, as gravity should be sufficient to keep them flush). Once you’ve thought about how long you’d like your string of cards to be, go through your deck (I used the giant Waite Smith) and pick the cards that you would like to display. With a hole puncher, make two holes along the tops of each card. Then using yarn, string your cards together, leaving enough space between so that they will hang evenly. You can attach each end of the yarn to a nail or push pin and there you have it – a tarot prayer flag!
The unsettling image is an ally of the soul that helps me reframe how I am looking at life and living it. When my attention is fixed on distant desires, a dream dog may gently bite at my back, wanting me to turn around and pay attention, to look in all directions, and to see what is right at hand. My tendency is to brush the biting dog aside, tie it up, cure its biting, make it submit to my control. So the dog intensifies its grip, and I increase my resistance. In this way I turn the soul’s messenger into an adversary. The dog will come again and again, becoming more monstrous and nightmarish, trying to break through my repression.
– Shaun McNiff
I deal with the obvious. I present, reiterate and glorify the obvious – because the obvious is what people need to be told.
- Dale Carnegie
“What is a rite?” asked the Little Prince.
“Those also are actions too often neglected,” said the fox. “They are what make one day different from other days, one hour from other hours.”
Each time I reach for my tarot deck, that moment contains the possibility of initiating a powerful ritual…And who can foretell where the effects of its ripples will end?