If you’re just joining me in these recent posts, I am taking a trip through the Fool’s Quest, the soulpath laid out in the stages of the Major Arcana of the Tarot cards. I have been using the tarot as a tool for deep inner understanding and spiritual growth and development since 1992, and I thought it was time to do a public exploration of some of the ways in which this tool has helped me to learn more about myself and my connection to others and to the Holy One.
Once, I was telling a wise woman about something that was hurting me, a situation of betrayal and injustice. She paused and gave me her wise questioning look and said, “What do you need from X in order for you to release your resentment?”
I was a little shook. Yes, it is my resentment, I thought, and it belongs to me. Why do I want to release it? It had become a defining element of my sense of who I was in the context of the conflict. I had put on my resentment like an article of clothing , almost like a fashion statement that expressed my sense of who I was. But: Of COURSE I wanted to release it! I knew that holding onto it would just keep me caught in the past, unable to truly move forward. The question itself led me to begin doing the work of releasing the resentment, of stepping forward.
This stepping stone in the Fool’s Quest has the Fool taking responsibility for their journey, and moving forward, consciously and with spiritual will. We cannot move forward if we are mired in the past. In the traditional card, a royal person (representing someone who is using consciousness and enlightenment to guide their movement) is driving a chariot pulled by sphinxes. Sphinxes, from ancient times, represent canny wisdom and knowledge, the ability to think around a problem to solve a riddle. The black and white likely refer to the polar tug to reach enlightenment through thinking and spiritual striving and embodiment. One pulls downward, and the other pulls upward, and this balanced motion is the key to the movement and change that The Chariot card requires.
Jewish mystical tradition uses the symbol of the Merkabah (called the chariot) to symbolize this balanced movement. The Star of David is a two-dimensional representation of this balance–one triangle pointing upward, the other downward. The Merkabah is this image in 3D: an upward-pointing pyramid interlocked with a downward-facing pyramid. The Merkabah is the chariot that the prophet Ezekiel saw in his visions, the Holy One’s chariot, pulled by angelic creatures.
My own card is a representation of the Merkabah, that holy space of conscious awareness, the balanced spiritual striving and the embodied awareness. I was unsatisfied with all the versions the AI gave me when I used the word chariot in a phrase, but when I used Merkabah, it suddenly began giving me mystical and movement-filled images.
For me, in the story of the wise woman and the question about releasing resentments, the conscious act of exploring that question started the chariot moving. The wise woman was the sphinx I needed, asking me a riddle that startled me into thinking in a different way. And today, perhaps I can again begin to release my hold on the past, so I can hang in the space between my embodied experience and my spiritual striving, and move toward a future which I envision.
1. Stepping back into Daily Art Practice.
2. That cardinal out there, shiny red beacon on a rainy day, and liquid notes falling through the air like raindrops.
3. Cool June days.
4. People who ask the right question at the right moment.
5. Moving forward. Getting unstuck.
May we move forward in Beauty!
“The wisdom is already within you. The gift of that wisdom was given to you many years ago when you were young. An awareness of the Spirit. A curiosity about the sacred. You were born with the light already in your soul. Over many years your insights into the holy have matured and developed. You have grown through experience to understand even more deeply the many layered reality in which you live. Now the vision of your inner self looks out onto an endless star lit sky. You have a deep wisdom on which to rely and learnings to come that will strengthen you even more.” —Steven Charleston
“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
Perception is not reality.
What appear to be faults in others may actually be reflections of our own emotional afflictions.
Remember the way people treat us is their karma.
The way we react is our own.”
“They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it’s not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.” ―Granny Weatherwax, Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites
”Nature is real and vital. Wealth is neither. How is it we grant imaginary dragons the power to breathe real fire?” —Jarod K. Anderson, The Cryptonaturalist
“Only you and I can help the sun rise each coming morning. If we don’t, it may drench itself out in sorrow. You special, miraculous, unrepeatable, fragile, fearful, tender, lost, sparkling ruby emerald jewel, rainbow splendor person. It’s up to you.” —Joan Baez
“You can tell people of the need to struggle, but when the powerless start to see that they really can make a difference, nothing can quench the fire.”
“A person’s a person, no matter how small.” —Dr. Seuss
“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” —Nelson Mandela
“Every child you encounter is a divine appointment.” —Wess Stafford
“Anyone who does anything to help a child is a hero to me.” —Fred Rogers
“Safety and security don’t just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear.” —Nelson Mandela
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” —Frederick Douglass
“When you realize the Earth is so much more than simply your environment, you’ll be moved to protect her in the same way as you would yourself. This is the kind of awareness, the kind of awakening that we need, and the future of the planet depends on whether we’re able to cultivate this insight or not. The Earth and all species on Earth are in real danger. Yet if we can develop a deep relationship with the Earth, we’ll have enough love, strength and awakening in order to change our way of life.” —Thich Nhat Hanh
“I have said this before, and I will say it again, The vote is precious. It is almost sacred. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democracy.” —John Lewis