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.
She speaks my truth. Thank you Hecate, for pointing this video out.
Eco-philospher Joanna Macy from "The Work That Reconnects", talking about the concept of a Great Turning.
For more info visit http://www.joannamacy.net/
Video by Leo Daedalus (c) 2005 Joanna Macy
Interested in learning more about The Great Turning?
See clips from the new movie at http://www.thegreatturningfilm.org/
First published in Carolyn's blog, Art of Change Tarot, 5/12/10. Used with permission.
(Joanna's note: I love Carolyn's work and was particularly taken with the spread she created based on the herbal allies in the Gaian Teacher (Hierophant) card. So I wanted to share it with you. Carolyn will be the guest teacher on the July 7th teleseminar in the Gaian Tarot Circle.)
I wondered while gazing upon the Gaian Teacher about what questions the plants pictured might ask us if we could understand their language. I looked at Joanna’s companion book and my own herb books to see their properties as well as drew to mind my experience with these plants. I felt that each plant offered questions to aid us in healing as well as developing self-knowledge and mindfulness.
Dandelion: We modern humans with lawns are always trying to uproot this plant that has wonderful nourishing qualities and bright sunny flowers. Despite knowing this, I uprooted a few the other day because they had wandered into my Hosta area! So what wisdom does the dandelion have for us and what questions might it ask:
Garlic: I love the tangy strength of garlic and feel a surge of good health after a meal cooked with its pungent cloves. Joanna points out that the many layers of the garlic can be seen as a metaphor for the unfolding cosmos.
Last Friday, I spent several hours on my favorite island, visiting some of my old haunts. It was the first sunny day since we marked Summer Solstice on our calendars.
I sat under a hawthorn tree at the edge of a vast meadow ringed round by evergreens, and gave thanks for this place of sacred solitude. I was utterly alone (no other humans, I mean!) and felt completely safe and cradled by the love of the island. I cloud-gazed. I listened to the song of red-winged blackbirds. I pulled up a clump of wild garlic and deeply inhaled the pungent scent of its bulbs. I noticed the iridescent wings of dragonflies flashing in the light. I felt the sun on my brow and the breeze on my cheeks. I nibbled on a handful of fresh-picked raspberries from a neighbor's garden. I watched a swallowtail butterfly dance up to the tops of tall cedars then circle back down to the meadow again. I gave thanks for this most holy place and time.
This was my Solstice celebration.