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, a mass of rolling cloud in green-purple-grey. I go to the bridge that yawns across the Connecticut river, fading at both ends into November's melancholy blue. Beneath the bridge is a second sky with tumbling clouds: a looped film in sepia. Clouds bloom and retreat. The air is silk. Shore gives way again and again to banks of water and cloud, endlessly folding in upon themselves.
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 Today the reference to a place where time is obsolete and perception is not limited to the senses, is sometimes referred to as the unconscious. Regardless of what word is used to refer to this potentially limitless river of information, the interesting thing is the acknowledgement that it exists. Whether in the cross-section of a hair or a cross-section of the Milky Way, the cross-section of a cell or an intersection crossed on the way to the river, the tacit acknowledgement across the ages is that a wisdom not limited by the trappings of culture or ego is available and accessible to those who would learn how to hear it.
Communication with the Gods/Unconscious traditionally happens in one of 2 ways:
1. The shamanic/mystical way = go visit the gods in their realm, (direct revelation).
2. Invite the gods to speak through acausal/non-rational patterns: entrails, clouds, reflections, cards, coins
tossed, (anything out of reach of the contrivances and agendas of human logic).
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 medium) and the acausal action–such as 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? Gravity certainly has her say, as does the DNA that codes some of our ingrained and unconscious tendencies. What of the weather that so often governs mood without our 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 that emerged out of respect for forces that encompass the individual, in hope of gaining ease, prosperity and happiness by aligning with the trajectory of these energies. 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 aid us in aligning ourselves with larger tides, 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.