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Tarot Visioning on Quest 2016: Prompt 10 with Charlie Gilkey

Quest 2016 opportunity chain butterflyQuest 2016 continues today with a prompt by best selling author and powerhouse behind the site, Productive Flourishing, Charlie Gilkey. He asked questers:

Which element of your best work do you most want to amplify this year?

Charlie clarified for us: Instead of considering simply doing more work, take time to consider which elements of your work would most light you up to amplify. What’s holding you back from amplifying it?

And Charlie kindly reminded us, gently goaded us: you can’t stand out and fit in at the same time.

Over the past year, I experienced a kind of synergistic radiance when teaching my Tarot Writing courses, Wheel of Archetypal Selves as I worked with my students. I love using the archetypal imagery available in the Tarot to further their projects as well as undergirding that process with potentially spiritually and emotionally healing insights.

To that end, in 2016 the work I most want to amplify is two-fold. I will be 1) engaging with the project of each student or client’s choice 2) while tending to spiritual and emotional well-being in one on one consults. Years of steady journaling and writing poetry and years of Tarot play created this desire.

Looking at Charlie’s website, I came across a prior post, Three Goals of Any Business Activity. It contains a phrase I love: “…think in terms of opportunity chains: a set of cascading opportunities that are synergistic.” He also shared three interlocking areas of play: cash-flow, visibility, and opportunity.

So I reframed Gilkey’s question today, “How can I be open to the opportunity chain or cascading opportunities that are synergistic in relation to my work as I go about developing my business and raise my family?”

Robyn Beattie photo Portion Nov ButterflyHanged One as Key to Opportunity Chains

I pulled the Hanged One as an image for how to open to opportunity chains; I also pulled it in response to the last post where I connected it to the experience of slowing down on one’s own projects during motherhood (see Prompt 9 with Chris Brogan). Why, in asking about what to amplify, how to open to opportunity, and what’s holding me back am I getting this image of being held in place, in frustrated stasis? Surely there’s spiritual insight to be gleaned from the inversion, but why an image of absolute standstill?

As I drove through the intermittent rain towards northern California with my family (holiday road trip), through layers of clouds and mist and rain and rainbows, I kept ruminating.

COVER Image -Front RC 03 (2) 300 dpi 1024An alternate take, which seemed so obvious once I realized it, is that The Hanged One could be referring to my first poetry collection, November Butterfly with its cover image of the Female Hanged One (See First Proof, The Female Hanged One and Balboa Park Haiku); my favorite part of the cover is the blue heart seam and the fact that the figure in the shroud is my daughter.  November Butterfly turns on concepts of female power and female stallings; I wrote the book in a sense, stirred from “sleep” by giving birth (see Words as Spiral Path: Owning Your Story ) and awakening to the responsibility of raising a daughter in a society where all kinds of things can happen.

My poetry movie collaborator Robyn Beattie incessantly takes photos; my children often end up in the photo stream as a small fraction of her thousands of images. She didn’t set out to take that photo, we just came across it in a set of images when we were choosing book covers. Intuitively, it felt like the right image. Tracing back to my earlier blog post at Feral Mom reminded me that Angeles Arrien calls The Hanged One “the pattern breaker.”

The Hanged One is maybe also reminding me not to limit the scope of the consult and teaching work in 2016; maybe I need to bring forward the Writing Past Fear workshops I taught in 2015 on book tour (in which we used paper dolls to acknowledge mentors in writing to give us the strength to write through and dislodge former pain points). Those workshops were a source of joy as well.

To push my business artistry self out of my comfort zone a bit, I also pulled three cards for Charlie’s three areas of play: one each for cash-flow, visibility, and opportunity.

Five of Cups as Key to Cash-flow

Traditionally the Five of Cups depicts sorrow and disappointment. But if you look closely at the Thoth deck, Lady Frieda Harris gives us a butterfly at the base of the cups, as if to say, in allowing the grief, flight. In the Rider Waite deck, we see a figure staring down at the three spilled cups and ignoring two full cups behind him. If we are looking at money, the card likely refers to my expectations around finances which stand to be challenged (during motherhood I’ve often felt like a serious under-earner).

On the positive side, I’m thinking of the two remaining cups and what is in them. If I could create my own version of the card, one of the remaining cups would be a red chalice, and the other blue, a representation of synergy as a non-polarizing way to work through the wounds of being female in our culture and the wounds of being male. I am still developing this work of turning disappointment or sorrow around and how to work with women and men along a spectrum of healing.

Tower as Key to Visibility

Just as was the case when I drew The Hanged One, drawing the Tower for visibility startled me. I associate The Tower with stepping out of the constricting towers of the past, allowing the child selves, or male and female aspects of the self, to come out and play again in the garden and to have their bare feet pressed again to the ground.

But let’s face it, that Thoth image is a bit daunting: the red and black omniscient eye at the top of the card with its stained glass rays seems to have cracked the tower asunder and unleashed some strong emotion. Look at the vivid word or breath rays pouring out of the mouth at the Tower’s base! I wonder if this refers to being a mouthpiece for this kind of work and for how to navigate what it is like to come down out of the Tower, writing through fear to return to an uninhibited self, connected again to nature. But I’m not sure about this.

Maybe it is just saying that as an introvert I’m much more comfortable hiding in the Tower. I have experienced much joy teaching in person, online, and working one on one, so maybe it is about accepting scale of venue and learning to come out gradually, little by little, and not to feel as if I have to be hurtled out into view at a frightening pace if I develop my business successfully.

amplify quest 2016Prince of Wands as Key to Opportunity

Oh how lovely to see this radiant playful charioteer here, with his fire-maned lion ready to travel fearlessly with the hearts of other travelers. I love that he has a child self on his breast plate and a crown of fire. Open hearted and passionate, I will embrace the opportunity to be of service to others navigating this kind of terrain.

Today’s in-process drawing is inspired by Charlie Gilkey’s “opportunity chain” concept and the four Tarot cards that fell today, a version of an “opportunity chain butterfly.”


More about Charlie Gilkey, author of today’s Tracking Wonder prompt:

Charlie is a champion of and catalyst for Creative Giants – talented Renaissance souls with a compassion-fueled bias towards action. He’s the brain and heart behind Productive Flourishing, best-selling author of The Small Business Life Cycle (JETLAUNCH 2014), Ph.D. candidate in philosophy, and a former Army Logistics Officer. He’s driven to figure out how to help Creative Giants be their best selves in the world.

A sampling of posts by other Questers responding to today’s prompt by Charlie Gilkey:

Take the Time, ’cause the lights are shining bright by Sally Gentle Drew

Amplify Your Best Work by Kimberly Houston

Rising Forth, Suzi Banks Baum’s newly launched site and active example of joyful amplification

Amplify the Brave Race, Stan Stewart *Music




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