Living the Quest, The Ace of Wands begins to appear past the borders of the Tarot cards and past the rainbow of colored pencils on my daily table, past the warmth of the inner sun of my heart. I saw it on the beach, a tall, red, rusting sea marker along the stretch of coastline where I walk with my husband. The salt air has corroded its edges but there’s a way the sun light catches at its edges here that gives the illusion of burning.
When we return from our walk, the Ace of Wands arrives in the mail as a birthday present in the form of a book I have longed to read: C.G. Jung’s Red Book (known as his “confrontation with the unconscious”). Dwarfed as I am when I carry it through the house, my children and husband laugh as I clown and pose, a child again, barefoot on my way to the bedroom where I set it out in front of me on the floor and pour over the pages of calligraphy in a language I don’t speak, absorbing the mandala-like patterns of the visuals from Jung’s mind-scape.
So the Ace of Wands becomes the eye, the ability to see and bring the imagery inside of us where it is met by the inner landscape of the heart, and poured back out through the hands of the interpreter: human being, artist, writer, soul traveler.
Live the Quest 2016 continues with Jeffrey Davis. Here is an abridged version of his prompt for us:
What was one of your greatest challenges or perceived obstacles in immersing in your Symphonic Activity this year? What did you do to engage with the challenge or obstacle? Observe if you possessed the equivalent of a “magic tool” that let you heroically have an edge, an advantage in handling the challenge or obstacle. What allies helped you?
I defined my Symphonic Activity (joyful song of being) in the last post, Igniting the Heart Torus; most of it had to do with rivers, art, creativity and allowing the inner Ace of Wands to blaze forth as I come out of “introvert-hood” and expand my role as poet and Tarot Writing teacher to include working on a deeper level with Tarot Consults and offering both soul-focused readings and project-focused readings accompanied by individualized writing prompts. While creating visioning artwork in preparation for the new role and my 2016 Quarter one goals, I read Debbie Millman’s Self Portrait as A Traitor, an illuminated manuscript of sorts; different colors and fonts mirror or contrast the various emotional tones of each written passage. Next I pulled two Tarot cards to help me answer Jeffrey’s question, one card to stand for magic tool, and one to stand for my allies.
Into this year, I bring a phrase from Angeles Arrien’s interpretation of the High Priestess; I will strive “not to sacrifice strength for softness nor softness for strength.” I love that the High Priestess sits at that threshold between conscious and unconscious world where she sits protected in a sense by both worlds, the sturdy doorframe framing her moon-crowned body where she can witness, bridge, and safely throw out her veil or net of perception. What she catches she shares.
Here’s a good journaling question you can use for the High Priestess:
“What do I catch in my net of perception? With whom will I share what I gather?”
Hierophant Card as Key to My Allies:
Hierophant as a card for my allies speaks to me of the spiritual teaching to be gleaned from friends, family, father and spiritual teachings in the form of book learning. In the Thoth deck, I love the rich brown earth tones of the image, and the blue veiled robes of Isis of Egypt at the bottom of the card. In the star over the breast plate of father Osiris, we see the child Horus (Egyptian God of Perception and Vision). Egypt resonates specifically for me, given my early childhood’s assumption of a tangential spiritual Egyptian lineage I absorbed while living on an Illinois commune. I played with some of those projected inhabitations in Nefertiti on the Astral and Nefertiti Among Us (poems from November Butterfly which have accompanying poetry movie versions).
I see my allies as the written word and image lineage available to me in the artwork of those around me—for example, the multiplicity of Tarot decks with the thousand interpretations for archetypal energies.
My favorite line from Angeles Arrien’s Tarot Handbook: Practical Applications of Ancient Visual Symbols about the Hierophant is that the card reminds us to “walk the mystical path with practical feet.”
Some of my favorite reminders from Alejandro Jodorowsky and Marianne Costa’s The Way of Tarot: The Spiritual Teacher in the Cards are that the Hierophant stands for door, mediator, bridge, ladder and finally teacher, whose role is to “incarnate divine unity and to teach it.”
Here are a few starter journaling questions for you to use when considering the Hierophant’s role in your own life:
When did I first become aware of my spiritual lineage? What did I learn about my relationship to spirituality from my father? Who are my allies as I grow my daily awareness of my connection to spirituality and my spiritual practice?
Today’s in-process drawing is a synthesis image for me of High Priestess and Hierophant; the red diamond brings last post’s Heart Torus Lantern imagery to this drawing’s background.
Killing the Thoth Deck by Mary K. Greer; Greer takes a supportive look at Angeles Arrien’s Jungian interpretation of the Thoth deck
C.G. Jung and The Red Book Gnostic Library Lectures by Lance S. Owens