Thursday, 30 October 2014

Tarot and the 12 Steps: 10-12

This is the 4th of 4 posts examining the connection between the first 12 tarot majors and the 12 steps of addiction recovery.  

Steps 1-3
Steps 4-6
Steps 7-9

10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it. 

Of Step 10, the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says, 'We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime' (page 84).

And so we have the Hermit, the tarot major that typifies a life's devotion to pursuing personal (and cosmic) truths through introspection, meditation, and continuous self-reflection, resulting in constant spiritual growth.

There are two prayers in AA that, according to the Big Book, go with Step 11, but I think they fit very well with Step 10, and certainly with the Hermit:

Morning prayer-
God, inspire my thinking, decisions and intuitions today. Help me to relax and take it easy. Free me from doubt and indecision. Guide me through this day and show me my next step. God, show me what I need to do to take care of any problems. I ask all these things that I may be of maximum service to you and my fellow man. In the spirit of the Steps I pray. AMEN

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Tarot and the 12 Steps: 7-9

This is post 3 of 4 examining how the first 12 tarot majors fit the 12 steps of addiction recovery.

Steps 1-3
Steps 4-6

 7. We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. 

The Lovers card usually shows some type of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden scenario, which we see here, pointedly absent of the angel Gabriel, but with a split-bodied Cupid and a rather hairy looking serpent slithering between Adam's legs. Interesting... But what would Adam and Eve have to do with us 'humbly asking [God] to remove our shortcomings'? It's complicated.

In the Garden of Eden is where our 'shortcomings' emerged. It's there that we became self-aware, and thus where remorse and shame originated. Shortcomings like dishonesty, fear, pride, greed, envy, blame, harmful acts, and resentment -- all of these emerged because of self-awareness, because we learned to compare ourselves to perfection and understood that we could never, ever measure up to it. It's not our imperfections, then, that we need to 'humbly ask [God] to remove' -- it's our shame at being imperfect, and the things we do as a result of that shame.

I told you it was complicated.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Tarot and the 12 Steps: 4-6

This is post of 2 of 4 in which I attempt to find how the first 12 tarot majors fit in with 12 step recovery. Please see post 1 here.

4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of ourselves. 

Bill W's Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous explains Step 4 here. (Scroll to page 64 to find where Step 4 begins. It covers pages 64-71, so it's a biggie.) In this step, a lot of soul searching and being honest with oneself takes place.  I think that there is a way the Empress relates to this. The Empress 'brings forth'. She 'gives birth to'. We talk about the Magician having the ability to make things manifest, but the Empress actually does it. She brings forth crops. And when we write down in black and white our resentments, fears, angers and our wrongs, we have produced something real, too. There it is.

There's another way that the Empress relates to this step, and that is the surprising degree to which Step 4 has to do with sexuality, in childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Much of the resentment, fear, anger and wrongs of Step 4 is inured in what Bill W calls 'sex power' (1939 lingo). The Empress is acknowledged as representing both fecundity and sexuality. She is the queen of these aspects of self, and if anyone can help us make a 'searching and fearless' inventory of ourselves in these areas, I can't think of a tarot major that would be better equipped for it.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Tarot and the 12 Steps: 1-3

This is the first in a series of 4 posts in which I examine how (if at all) the first 12 tarot majors fit in with the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (and thus all 12-step recovery programs.)

1. We admitted we were powerless over _______, that our lives had become unmanageable.  

Tarot readers usually think of the Fool as representing  positive energy and possibility, and often overlook his very harmful shadow side. The Fool can equally be impulsive, reckless, heedless, ignoring advice, indiscreet, stupid, lacking in judgement, childish, making bad decisions, and in dire peril of harming both himself and those around him at all times. The Fool can easily embody the bravado and overconfidence of the addict who thinks they've got it all under control, or that no harm can come to them, or that they don't really care whether something harms them or not, and who take no notice at all of the impact of their actions on others, helplessly watching them put themselves in danger.

At some point, the Fool may look down and realise...'Oh my god, I'm taking a step off a cliff! I'm falling off a f**ing cliff! How did I get into this position? Where can I turn? What can I do? How can ever, ever get out of this stupid perilous position I have got myself into?'

The Fool will have admitted that he is powerless over the impulses that got him where he is, and that yes, absolutely, where he stands now, his life has become unmanageable. (Is his little dog codependent, that's another question!)

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Tarot and the 12 Steps

12 steps, the 12 steps, 12 step program12-Step recovery programs are very popular and the amazing thing about them is they seem to apply to and work with any addiction; it doesn't matter what. Tarot is also a system that will fit any mental or spiritual journey, no matter what. So I thought I'd take a look at how the 12 Steps fit in with tarot.

Turns out I'm not the first to look at this. I found this guy's attempt: The 12 Steps of the Tarot, which appears to have been written in 2009, but I don't think he got past step 8. I don't know if he ran out of steam or what. I am not 100% with him on some of his points, but it's worth looking at. He says it is the work of someone called Antony Oliver Smith, but I can't find anymore about that. Tori Hartman has written an e-book called '12 Step Tarot' which correlates tarot cards to the 12 steps, focusing on the minors. I haven't read it and don't have the money to buy it just out of idle curiosity, so I will just have to wonder what her thoughts are. I don't think it's what I had in mind anyway, as she uses the 12 steps as a framework for learning to read tarot, rather than fitting the 12 steps to actual tarot cards (as far as I can tell).

So first let's just take a look at the 12 Steps. They began with Alcoholics Anonymous in 1939, and it's good to look at the original wording:

Saturday, 25 October 2014

What are my blessings?

Today really is the first day of the rest of my life. The cards I've drawn to day from Sirian Starseed Tarot (Cori 2012) answer the question 'What are my blessings?' They seem to directly refer to this morning's task. It's the first day of a new thing, one of those outside agencies I wrote about earlier in the week, the very first day. It's a new start, the beginning of putting things back together again. Well, that started as soon as things were blown to bits, but you know what I mean.

The Sun (or Solar Deity) will shine his light into the dark corners, refresh the pilgrim spirit, and new perspectives will be seen.

Three major cards, a big deal.

Cori writes of each:

Solar Deity - 'When this key appears it is a hallmark of great things in the works. It is a gloriously beautiful new day.' 

Starseed - 'When this card appears in a reading, it implies that the querent is off on a new quest, unconditionally, knowing that a new experience, an unknown, is about to unfold and become manifest.' 

Hanging Man - 'Hanging man appears to be waiting to be reborn, as many of us describe it, into to a new spiritual consciousness.'

It is a lot to ask of a 1.5 hour meeting, but there is nothing to lose and much to be gained by trying. I feel hopeful. Each day has been the beginning of healing, of course. This day appears particularly auspicious. And even if these cards refer not to today but to general life (because after all, I didn't ask about today, I asked 'What are my blessings?) they are good tidings. They show me good things. Whatever the outcome of this situation, however it turns out, I still have these blessings.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Clean anger

 Karma. What a loaded word. So many people think 'karma' means 'paybacks'. No, no, a thousand times no. It does not mean paybacks. I've written about this before.

What's happening to me is not because I deserve it, or because of some 'sin' from a past life, or because my 'negative energy' has 'drawn it to me', or even because of some 'lesson' I need to learn. There is no cosmic tick sheet keeping track of lessons we all need to learn, and meting them out to us in different forms depending on how much pain we have 'earned'. That is bullshit! And I don't believe for one single minute that someone's 'soul' decided to it would be good to born profoundly disabled or to die after a few hours in this world in order to 'learn' some 'lesson'. Bullshit! Bullshit!

What's happening to me is simply what is happening to me. It's not happening for a reason, it is just happening. The way I choose to deal with it, the actions that I take in response, that is my karma. That is what karma means.

The word karma means 'action'. I will show you again the actual scriptural teaching on karma from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad: