Thursday, July 28, 2016

Tarot of the Animal Lords: Freewriting

For freewriting, I chose I. The Magician, XI. Strength, and XVII. The Stars from the Tarot of the Animal Lords. I focused on them in order from The Magician to The Stars. (The Tarot of the Animal Lords refer to XVII. The Star as “Stars.”) As I was freewriting, I experienced each card differently. Then as I went from one card to the next, they flowed together as one. The Magician created the reality for Strength to perceive. From Strength comes the ability to receive spiritual guidance from The Star.

I. The Magician features a fox playing “find the bean” game on a toad stool. He is standing in a briar patch. Watching the fox is a scarlet tanager and a mouse. At first glance, the fox is an illusionist simply switching the bean around. As I pondered the adage, “The hand is quicker than the eye,” I perceived that the fox is also an alchemist. With his gestures, he weaves illusion into reality. As the mouse and bird watch, he weaves them into his new reality. Making the beans appear and disappear under the cups, he challenges his audience to ponder if there really is a boundary between reality and imagination.
 Traditionally, The Magician combines the four elements into a fifth of the spirit. The elements are represented as the bird (air), the mouse (earth), the cups (water), and the thorns (fire), in this card. The fifth element is represented by the toadstool, the alchemy of the imagination. We, as the audience, become participants in The Magician’s creation. We join in the illusion and unite with the Magician. We bring the vital element, the spark to weld the two worlds. The Magician, as the midwife, helps to birth the new world of magic realism.

 XI. Strength depicts a mongoose embracing a cobra, as the earth under them is opening up. Behind them, several volcanoes are spewing out ash. While chaos erupts around them, two salamanders intently watch the battle between the mongoose and the cobra. Strangely, the watching salamanders are active, while the mongoose and cobra remain frozen in time.
 My freewriting enabled me to understand how strength balances the chaos and order. The mongoose is calmly focused on the cobra, while the cobra is focused on the chaos. There is stillness within the whirlwind. Strength becomes the balance between the rational and the irrational. If the mongoose places too much focus on the cobra, he will fall into the cracks opening underneath him. If the mongoose is distracted, the cobra will slip away. Strength is deciding when to hold on and when to let go. The salamanders remind us of the choices that we have to make to keep the balance. 

XVII. The Stars features a seahorse pouring out light as he kneels on a lily pad. Beside him on another lily pad is a nesting grebe. Stars in the sky and reflected in the lake surround the pair. A glowing star dominates the sky, as the pair float in serenity and peace. A feeling of spiritual rest fills the card.
 In freewriting, I pondered the grebe. Why did the artist include her in the picture? What does the grebe have to do with the stars? The seahorse pours light from the sky into the lake. He is replenishing the waters of life from the heavens. Meanwhile, the grebe is simply nesting on a lily pad.
 Grebes are noted for their graceful mating. Therefore I reasoned that the grebe was the representation of “grace.” Sitting on her nest, the grebe patiently hatches the new soul. This self will be infused with the waters of life. Therefore The Star is the soul at peace after being created by the Magician and honed by Strength. 

 Freewriting provided me with an entry into each of the cards. It allowed me to focus as I let my mind wander to consider the deeper meanings in each of the cards. Freewriting allowed free association, which brought about a deeper inquiry. For me, it was a good method to get to know the cards.

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