The Gate Cards

The Tarot cards, particularly the 22 Trumps represent a number of familiar and potent archetypes: symbols of human experience that arise again and again across cultures: the old sage, the fool , the emperor-king, the mysterious priestess. The minor cards, otherwise known as ‘pips’ might be said to offer a symbolic view of ordinary human experiences over the course of a lifetime. By way of imagery and symbolism, the cards are a tool capable of drawing together the unconscious/mythologically-oriented mind and the reasoning mind. 

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A Good Death

I do not know yet when I will die, or how or why, but I was invited, a number of years ago, to spell out the details of what might contribute to the picture of a good death. What do I wish to be done with my disrobed flesh? What grievances have I harbored that beg forgiveness? What resentments ask to be released? How shall I bequeath my possessions? How would I like to be remembered or celebrated? Three years slipped by, before I, on this November eve, sat down and wrote on the subject of my good death. The process, which I undertook in three 20-minute sessions of free-writing felt like a reckoning with my mortality, a simple acknowledgement of the inevitable and a practical consideration of baggage: where, how and what I would like done with what is left–the residues of me–when I leave. Such a basic and natural thing I don’t think should be left unconsidered on the principle of youth and good health. Because I do not know when death will take me. 

Strange Worlds

Shamans return to the world of the living with conscious knowledge of the inner realms.
R. Grimassi

Shamanic line drawings trace a path through ‘swaying places’ (trials and obstacles) marked by water, sand & clouds.
The Book of Symbols 430

Ascent origin = ascendere (latin) to climb, or freedom from weight. oft paired with descent. May signify the volatilizing of a solid / the spiritualizing of matter / making conscious unconscious projections. Integration of polarities: ladder, tree, stairs…in alchemy ascent must necessarily be followed by descent (shaman returns to body).

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Invocation of the Water Dragon

I tend the dragon lair–the solar plexus–so that she will visit often. She, silver and moss-scaled with copper plaited claws, blue-gold fire that arcs like a comet. I call and she rises like a strange burnished planet; up from the caves of the subterranea, up from her place of glistening stalactites and the reverberating voices of water, up from salt and the emerald weeds, she rises, coiling and uncoiling again.

She unfurls her jade wings, twisting and roving with her serpent's neck: transparent, veined and scored with branches of deep vermilion. She enters me, fills me, expands beyond me,  rippling like ocean waves under a midnight sun. She casts herself in ten directions, radiating mist and heat. I expand with her. Rearing up, silver and moss and copper plates, hung with emerald, flashing jade. When I am shrinking, I call her. When I am fearful and overcome by shame, I summon her. 

And I feel her rise within me and I move as she: swinging with seaweeds, scintillating, radiant, potent, head aloft like the crest of a sail, amber eyes gleaming with the wisdom of the ages.

Red Fox

As the March sun begins to set each evening, I go for a run on the local golf course near my Providence home. And each evening, a red fox arrows across my path. My heart erupts when I see her, feline/canine in this little island of wild. She is messenger; untamed, silent, horizontal, tail extended, moving across the landscape like an arrow.

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