Working with my Tarot and Oracle decks has become an integral part of my spiritual practice, and I pull cards and journal on them almost daily. But even a few years ago I didn’t anticipate how much I would come to love this part of my journey or how much it would positively impact my life.
Being raised in a Christian home I was taught that divination tools of any sort were evil and “not from God” so I had a deep aversion to them for many years. Despite that I always had an inner curiosity about them, though I never received a clear picture as to why they were bad or what the true intent and purpose of the cards were.
Since the media generally portrayed Tarot in an often negative light I associated the use of the cards with fear, horror, sinners and death - my most vivid memory being from an episode of X-Files where the card reader pulled the Death card and ended up being murdered by an unhinged psychopath.
So to be safe I stayed far away from them. After all, why would I want to end up like that card reader?
But one day in college my husband and I were hanging out with a mutual friend of ours at the time. I had seen he had a Tarot deck of his own and was curious as to what the cards were REALLY all about, so I asked if he could perform a reading for me.
He agreed to my request, got out his deck, shuffled, and drew some cards for me. To this day only one still stands out clearly in my mind: The Hanged Man.
This first instilled fear in me just as it did when I was a child, my heart pounding from the impending feeling that I was somehow disappointing God and my parents – or that the message I received was some sort of dark and ominous omen.
But when I breathed through that feeling, opening my mind to a place of curiosity instead of fear, I ignited myself onto a path that would unfold over the next several years – leading me into beautiful spaces of inner self-discovery and healing.
The Hanged Man, he went on to explain, was not at all scary as the name might imply – but rather it spoke of seeing the world in a new way. Having a fresh perspective on what others might simply overlook; therefore, in essence I was the embodiment of The Hanged Man.
This was such a powerful message that I incorporated this archetype into my life and worked with its energy to open me up to different perspectives and ways of navigating my inner world.
As an artist and visionary I continued to strive to see life in a new way and brought that mindset into the work I created – pushing my boundaries on what it is I could accomplish and bring to fruition.
As time passed the image of that brightly dressed man hanging upside down with the knowing gaze upon his face kept flashing in my mind, and I would smile at this little secret I held within my heart like a seed.
A seed that once planted began to sprout, taking root in the soil of my spiritual fertility – growing into the flower that is has become today. Unfurling over and over as I evolve on my spiritual path.
By listening to the curiosity within and honoring the inner child who simply wanted to understand more about what she was not allowed to learn - I opened myself up to a whole new world of possibilities.
I uncovered layers of my being, explored facets of my soul, and grew into a confident and loving woman by working with the powerful archetypes found in Tarot, mythology and Oracle cards.
What was once first marked as a red flag of fear in my system was simply a checkpoint for me to move through as I followed my heart. And that was the first step to moving beyond what I thought to be true into a space where I could discover my own inner TRUTH and embrace it fully.
Be on the lookout for Part 2 coming very soon - where I discuss my journey into Tarot through mythology and Jungian archetypes, as well as unexpectedly learning more about the cards through an ongoing art commission!
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(A big "THANK YOU" to Penny Philippi for providing the photo for this post!)