Being an effective reader is contingent upon the quality of presence with which one positions oneself in the constant stream of information and texts. That stream is wherever you are, all of the time, in every grand place, and in every suffering pit.
Above, the sky slides and folds upon itself. It is a mass of rolling cloud in a greenish-purple grey that at first appears opaque; still as a winter pond. I go to the bridge that yawns from one bank of the Connecticut to the other, extending out over the water; fading into November's cold melancholy blue. Beneath the bridge is sky, greenish-brown and thick with cloud that tumbles over and under; a looped film in sepia.
Beneath the skin there is another river. Clouds bloom and retreat in a clear landscape there that is never still yet does not chase after thought. The air is silk upon the tissue-shores. The gaze plummets, folds in on itself, rests, perches above the rolling depths, and then loses itself beneath them. Shore gives way again and again to banks of water and cloud, endlessly.
God speaks to us all the time, but our limited perception prevents us from realizing it, though this is a saving mercy because the true power of the universe would otherwise overwhelm us.
People used to refer to a ‘land of gods’. Today the reference to a place where time is obsolete and perception is not limited to sensory phenomena is often referred to as the realm of the unconscious. Regardless of what word is used to refer to this potentially limitless stream of information, the interesting thing is the acknowledgement that it exists, even if it often seems inaccessible. Whether in the cross-section of a hair or a cross-section of the Milky Way, the cross-section of a cell or the intersection crossed on the way to the river, the tacit acknowledgement across ages is that a stream or body of expanded consciousness not limited by the trappings of culture or ego is available and accessible to those who would learn how to hear it. The unconscious is already tapped in, so what is called for, is a bridge for the conscious mind.
Communication with the Gods/Unconscious traditionally happens in one of 2 ways:
1. The shamanic/mystical way: go visit the gods in their realm, (otherwise
known as direct revelation).
2. Invite the gods to speak through phenomena - acausal/non-rational
patterns: entrails, clouds, reflections, cards, coins tossed by winds not
plotted by the contrivances and agendas of human logic, (otherwise known
Because these methods bypass rational processes and by so doing step outside the bounds of human logic, they transcend that logic. Option #2 in particular, allows ordinary people a way to access the Non-Ordinary: to hear the voices of gods or tap the current of universal wisdom/rhythm by discerning the patterns within apparent chaos.
RL Wing, Author of The Illustrated I Ching observes:
This method (the I Ching) of investigation interestingly parallels principles used in current physics, where it is taken into account that there is an inexorable relationship between the observing scientist and the reality that manifests in the experiment. […] You and your sincere quest for information will become, through the random pattern of the falling coins, a microcosm juxtaposed against the macrocosm of the universe. Just as the movement of the heavenly bodies resemble the movement within the atoms, so too your situation on earth resembles and is a product of the momentarily simultaneous physical forces in the universe that allow the coins to fall as they do. (17)
The Tarot provides both a pictorial outline of the evolution of human consciousness and a symbolic representation of archetypal and mundane human experience. What it, and other methods such as the I Ching give us, is a template of data, (the representative symbols of the cards) and the acausal action–shuffling the cards–that introduces chaos, (enter: the gods) that brings these elements together.
By evaluating the pattern of the current relationships among things, we should then be able to divine how the forces in the situation are affecting our lives and how we are affecting the situation. (17)
Who spins the orbits? Do these unseen forces guide our bones as we cast the dice? Gravity certainly has her say, as does the DNA that tints some of our ingrained and unconscious tendencies. What of the weather that so often governs our mood without consent? We exist in a continuum. There are no clean lines to divide free-will from the chaos-currents of a larger order.
It might be argued that any system that produces random results will tell us something, but what of the values embedded such a system? The Tarot and the I Ching are traditions grown from the humble acknowledgement or honoring of powers, forces or energies vastly greater than the individual, in the hopes of gaining ease, prosperity and happiness by aligning with or gaining insight into the trajectory of these mysteries. To that motive, I will add that any game that illuminates possibilities and potentials, broadens the vocabulary of choice, informs awareness, enriches perspective and that might allow us to align ourselves with a favorable tide, may be worth entertaining.
*Selah Saterstrom offers Southern Rootwork style divination sessions here.
*Pollack, Rachel. Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom. Weiser Books. San Francisco,
*Wing, R. L. The Illustrated I Ching. Doubleday. New York, 1992.