Last week Craig and I took off for a canoe-camping trip in the North Cascades wilderness. It was probably the best vacation I can remember having in a long, long time. We whittled our needs and activities down to a basic few: pack up the gear, unpack the gear. Make meals, clean up meals. Paddle from one campsite to another. Enjoy Mama Gaia, enjoy each other. We were completely unplugged and out of cell phone range. We encountered only a handful of people on the remote north end of the lake. The weather couldn't have been finer. And so we sweetly paddled our way into that mythical land called Slow Time.
In the Gaian Tarot Circle, one of the threads in the discussion forum is about the Gaian Tarot's penchant for being literal in readings. (For example, someone who pulls the 4 of Water with its imagery of Chalice Well might "coincidentally" be planning a trip to Glastonbury, where the Well is located.) As I paddled for several hours each day at the lake last week, I would think about the Canoe (Chariot) card, and the meaning I assigned to it. I wrote this in the Gaian Tarot companion book:
When you get this card in a reading . . .
This is a time to stay focused on your path, and to exercise self-discipline as you work towards your goal. Set aside anything extraneous that would dis- tract you or keep you from completing your task. What is your goal? What do you want to accomplish? This may apply to your life in the everyday world — pursuing a course of study, a career goal, a fitness plan, a creative project. It may also apply to your inner life; perhaps you are in a recovery program or are healing from a trauma. Whatever it is, set your intention, take your first steps, and your guides and allies will be at your side to help you on your way. Be of great courage! No matter how hard it seems, you have what it takes to succeed.
However . . . what I discovered is that paddling a canoe is not always about being focused and self-disciplined and distraction-free. In fact, it can be a fine way to meander and flow and enjoy the journey rather than the destination. I found myself constantly distracted by colors, shapes and sounds as we paddled along: the intense underwater shades of jade and emerald; undulating, sinuous roots and branches; a raven's croak and chickaree's chatter. I was invariably distracted by Beauty.