Nurture The Spark: Tarot Inspiration

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Tarot card above: Ace of Pentacles from The Cosmic Tarot

 

Using tarot to nurture the spark, inspire creative mojo, and break up those blocks:

Take a few deep breaths and center in to yourself. Shuffle your deck, draw a card, meditate on it, explore the imagery, experience the emotions or thoughts the card evokes, and start writing! Use the card’s traditional meaning, your intuitive interpretation, experience, and imagination to awaken your innate creative energy and allow it to move through you. You can free write or create something more structured…just start, and keep going, without judging or criticizing what comes through. Surprise yourself, let yourself have fun, free yourself up for discovering something new…the possibilities are endless when we get out of our own way and enter into that space of simplicity and wonder, giving the critical mind a rest. If emotional energy comes to the surface, hold it as a gift, let the waves move through, rising and falling, expanding and dissolving. If writing isn’t your thing, try using the tarot as inspiration for any type of creative expression. The act doesn’t matter as much as the feeling it evokes. Do that thing that calls you into curiosity…that thing that maybe freaks you out, or makes you question yourself, but feels so delicious, expansive, and NOW that you just have to do it! It doesn’t have to be “big” for it to move you. There is no way to do it wrong. Your life is your art. The spark is your connection, your soul, your light. Nurture it.

 

Inspired by the Ace of Pentacles:

I found it
long before I left,
but kept it buried,
eclipsed by doubt
and the desire
for anywhere but here.
Core collapse
informed limbs outstretched
to live the longing
from within,
and in the returning
the green growing star
finally made a nest
in muscle and bone,
burrowing deeper
with each subtle arch
and sway-
coming home to itself,
unearthing
the little seed,
the bright one,
the gift.

 

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Using tarot for journaling:

I highly encourage using tarot as a journaling tool, as I find it to be a rich, layered, and invaluable way to tune into those subconscious undercurrents, bringing elements to the surface that need to seen, felt, held and released if needed. Below is a free-write journaling piece I wrote recently. I pulled a couple cards, but wasn’t feeling totally clear on them, so I meandered outside. While standing there observing the garden, breathing, feeling it all, the meaning of the cards started to settle in, and it felt like a revelation of sorts…the key was, yet again, getting out of my own way, by getting into my body and being present with myself. When I started writing, I knew it wasn’t a masterpiece, but did it matter? Of course not. The point is feeling, being honest, and really there with yourself. Try not to edit or censor…let the words & energy flow, see what comes.

 

I pulled Temperance from the Rider Waite Smith deck & Integration from the Osho deck…which are the same card essentially. So, ok. What a joyful synchronicity in this moment of feeling like my heart is poised for explosion, pulling in more than a few opposing directions. While the Aries new moon calls us in to our bodies, grounded for making confident decisions, I feel anything but confident, at least in confidence’s typical portrayal. I still feel the Pisces pull of my nebulous heart waters, though the land on the horizon is much clearer than the last couple months. How can I anchor in to myself here in these currents, moving forward in loving strides while holding the tension of opposites? Both cards offer the same message for me right now: Balance, Patience & Integration. I stepped out into garden in the rain to cry, because sometimes what the hell else can you do? And feeling, feeling, feeling it all is what I am good at, what my small self would prefer to numb or run from when it feels this big, & what I am giving permission & dedication to now. Feels like: How dying and blossoming  happen together, how roses existing on the same stem, within same root system, can be side by side in different points in their life cycle. How truth can exist within a container that holds seemingly disparate realities. How my anchor is my capacity for settling into the stillpoint, the center of the wheel in flux, without rushing to shut down or numb out to control what I simply cannot. To let it happen. To notice. Here, there’s no urgency, and I smile, because of everything that is blooming, everything I am capable of opening to, accepting, and loving so fully, that I can rejoice in this cleansing rain, bear witness to the totality of my experience, to see & feel the death & rebirth within and around me, feeling really fucking alive, skin prickled, blood flowing, movement in stillness.

For more expressions brought forth by my adventures with tarot + writing, check out my posts on Instagram @_emily_violet_ (posting more frequently there currently due to ease!) Encouraging you always to have FUN & DELIGHT in exploring, living and breathing curiosity, feeling FREE in your unique expression of the magic that is YOU, in all your facets, in all your layers. REAL is beautiful. It doesn’t have to be cute or pretty or shiny or acceptable. Your truth is your beauty, your ground, and your center. Keep going, keep sharing, keep shining, keep creating-just as you are. We need you, you need you.

To Let Love Exist

 

To let love exist. To let it live out its earthly life in the field where horses lay down, where tiny greens come up after a night of rain, gingerly greeting the belly of a beast who has come to its end. The light will dance on its mottled coat, muscles still soft, and we swear we can hear a heartbeat, but it is our own. Following the pulse through darkness, we stoke fires and sing songs, burning all night for the sailors who left in the storm. Ashes and decay enrich the soil of dreams, who grow like tangled vines towards the myth of the sun, whose warmth is now becoming real. We don’t know how we will change in the unfolding, we only know that we will. To let the earthquake of unfathomable beauty bring us to the ground, sculpting our flesh into something magic, into something we can finally love. To let love exist, to let our strange shapes grow into their own, abandoning understanding and blaming and comparing and falling into the trap of certainty. We are more alive than that. The gift is allowing ourselves the rise and fall of our chest, the squeezing between ribs, the warmth and the glow of a heart set free to the world, with no promise of hands who will truly hold it, except our own. Belonging to mystery, we learn to trust the roses that fall at our feet, a path merging into a light so true, we will come to remember it as ourselves. But even then, when these hearts overflow and spill onto the floor, we’ll let them stay there awhile, because the miraculous mess matches the drapes, and a little creature comfort is welcomed in times like these. To let love exist in its natural habitat, the boundless field. To hold the jewel in the wound. To hold it lightly. To hold it sacred.

Trusting In Flight

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You are not the cardboard cut-out of the “worst thing you ever did.” Your silhouette extends infinitely, your flesh the expression of the desire to stand your ground in mid air, and finally jump. Breathe in & feel in your body your strength of being, even if you are exhausted. Feel the bravery that has carried you to now. The weight lifts knowing you did what you could with what you knew, and you continue forward in wonder. Feel how brutally tender it is to be human. Breathe out any shame that has settled in to your system, transmuting the heaviness with compassionate presence. Some of those experiences you label as “mistakes,” have been catalysts for tremendous growth that stretched you in unimaginable ways. You have taken responsibility for your role, release the rest. Honor the transformations and abandon the fear of “getting it wrong” by making the commitment stop abandoning yourself. Hold yourself as gently as you would a small creature, uncertain and groundless. You are here because you are awakening to something vital, the path unfolding with your own becoming. How closely can you nestle into the anxiety when it rises? Can you walk through the unknown and nurture the primal forces surging through you with a slow, steady softness? Could these currents you resist be the same ones that call you home to yourself? Your body does not lie, and sometimes it speaks so loudly it hurts. Can you get still enough to listen, and act from there? Beyond the comfort of knowing is the wisdom of feeling. My commitment, right alongside you: To hold myself tenderly with unconditional love and compassion. To never abandon myself again, by living in truth to myself through every season, knowing that this is my anchor through it all. To love what is hardest to love, bless what is hardest to bless, feel what is hardest to feel. To hold my heart as sacred and to follow the light within as I move through deeper waters, the golden thread guiding me through this wild darkness with courageous kindness, trusting in flight.

 

Side note:  Sometimes I will look back over things I have written and there is this strange sense of remembering an aspect of self that emerged, and then dissipated, or maybe transformed. The process of writing takes me into hidden realms of psyche, heart, and soul, and sometimes I will drudge something up, express it, and it will call to me later, to be seen and held again, maybe in a new way. The first line of this piece above was a part of a poem I wrote called Lunation…looking back at that poem, I felt like I wanted to expand on that feeling, because it hit me, and it felt so relevant to this moment, here. The living, breathing poem, the pulsing of life through our fragments, the call to reconnect and complete…the wholeness of it all becoming more visible with every step forward and reflection back.

Nurture The Spark: Active Imagination

 

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Madge Bellamy in a still from the 1922 film Lorna Doone

 

One of my favorite tools for unblocking the flow of creativity and releasing pent up energy is active imagination. Active imagination is a technique developed by Carl Jung, used to bridge the subconscious and conscious mind in order to integrate, understand, and heal all layers of the self. At its core, I see it as a shamanic practice of healing. If we can immerse ourselves in that nebulous space between dreaming and waking, we can process emotions and energy that we may not be consciously aware of, yet still experience in our bodies and minds, below the surface of conscious awareness. One way to do this is through stream of consciousness writing, or free writing, which opens the inner chambers and unleashes that which lies within, waiting to rise to the surface. The act of pen to paper, foot to dance floor, or brush to canvas, without the involvement of the ego’s cries of “What does this mean? Am I doing it right? Am I wrong for feeling or thinking this? Does this make any sense?” is a way of activating those deeper aspects of the self that yearn to be acknowledged and set free. I wrote the poem below during a time when I was processing  a heartbreak that shook me to my core. One day I was perusing old photos of my Grandfather’s cousin, Madge Bellamy, a beautiful and talented silent film and stage actress. I found myself sinking in to her experience, entering a sort of meditation, envisioning her life through my own lens: a woman, an artist, whose life was imbued with a certain wild glow, as otherworldly as she was human, traversing light and shadow, beauty and struggle. I started writing without thinking, simply letting the words spill onto the page. I imagined that she was addressing me in a letter, speaking of her own heartbreak, and the spark and grace she embodied that carried her through. What unfolded revealed a well of bottled up energy within my own psyche, and what was at first a puddle of words and images and emotions became this poem: an imagining, a healing.

And in honor of the real woman, Madge herself, without my own romantic projections, her words at age 87,  “I’ve avoided all my life the romantic stuff which novels and movies are about. Never went in for that mush. Of course, I’ve missed what most people would call the ultimate human experience. But then, I’ve remained my own person, which at my age is a very satisfying state.”

 

For Emily, Love, Madge

Arouse them, my darling
Arouse them, but don’t please them.
One day a star will collapse at its core
after billions of years of trying,
and you’ll see that sometimes, love,
it’s wiser to blow up,
and then slink quietly out the back
before they notice what’s missing.
I long begged the sky
for a warm reprieve,
but diamonds are colder in space, my dear
than anyone ever told you.
The summer roses are dead,
and there’s no preciousness left anymore
to water my mouth.
The truth is as smokey as whiskey
and as smooth as the dust
on his letters,
the ones he wrote me like a ghost
through ether
for years,
long after I had stopped waiting by the window,
shining those pennies at dusk.

I took a fondness to the key
that opened the basement door,
where under the floorboards
I kept the stash of primal laughter,
the kind that felt so good
it turned my guts inside out,
the kind so sweet and slow,
it felt like the first bit of sun
warming early morning lace.
Late at night,
I still walk down the steps into darkness
and pull up the floorboards,
digging for hours,
giving myself a pretty little dirt manicure.
Oh honey I don’t have time anymore
for the nonsense of red polish,
and my lips are stained with stories I never told,
so I scratch and I claw and I howl
and I play my favorite records,
love notes burning
and embers crackling towards the ceiling,
like lovers tumbling together
into perfect illusion.
And on special occasions,
like remembering,
I pull that box of laughter out,
adorning myself in the jewels
of everything I can’t change
but can only cackle about.

I watch myself
as a little girl,
walking along old dirt paths
in thick Texas air,
fireflies dancing like nothing
had ever ripped out their wings.
Toes reach stagnant water,
a whirlpool erupts underfoot.
I go in with wings and prayers,
singing songs at the river
at the top of my lungs,
dirty white dress and ecstatic delusions:
A child just believes what she’s told.
I wanted to leave,
to shine,
and I did, as much as I could,
angel of the stage and silent screen,
singing silly demons back to sleep.

Truth in her crown,
drunk and dancing,
came and rushed me away.
What ridiculous lines we try to walk.
Arouse them, my darling
Arouse them, but never please them.
Nothing will satisfy the vultures.
They have a job to do,
just give it to them.
We all have a role to perform,
and roadkill makes delicious fodder for
mad dogs and foolish, foolish girls.

I hung my feathers up in the doorway
and reveled in my power
on a stage I built myself,
where no lights
would ever be bright enough
and no man could ever be warm enough
(but oh, my face could sure light up a room!)
I was no foolish, foolish girl.
Stop crying, darling,
start laughing,
spill your emeralds on the ground,
bathe in the poison that rolls off
the false Queen’s wicked tongue,
it’s the antidote to sinking.
Pull yourself together.
The roses are dead,
and everything’s fine.
Everything’s fine.
You said what you needed to say,
even if it was never enough,
you said it.

Sweet girl, you are wiser than you think.
You are stranger and you are stronger
than you let yourself believe.
Be joyful in the wild wood
at the edge of glory:
unchained, ugly,
beautiful and breaking.
Wholeness is a story they tell you
so you keep on trying.
I never wanted to tame
the eager effervescence,
because love meant passion
and passion is a cousin of war.
Walk the tightrope honey,
that funny line that separates
the mad from the sane.
Anyway, what sane person
needs to prove themselves so badly,
they’ll up and steal my key
to the basement door?
It’s not theirs to take.
Some things are yours,
sweet child,
don’t forget it.

They’ll fool you into thinking they know
what you’ve got stored there,
under the floorboards.
But they will never really know.
Take that stash of frenzied laughter
with you.
Use every last breath,
bellow every guffaw
like a spitfire pixie,
Untamable,
Unnamable.

Like the sullen organist
who played on Sundays,
whose wife left him for the grocery boy,
I just kept on playing.
I kept coming,
going,
raising hell
with boisterous music
and
I laughed
I dreamed
I wept,
the kind of tears that burn
like heaven.
No one can use my key
to open their door,
skeletons like their own closets best.
Say what you need to say, baby,
and go.

Let Me Be Tidal

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Let me be tidal,
you will remember it this way.

As my fleeting name
slips off your silver tongue,
breath escapes heavy lungs
and we are crystalline-
down dirty alleyways
where fishbones and petals
stick to our shoes,
caked in the mud
of forgetting-
that you were always here,
that both faces reflected
in your grand chandelier
belonged to us,
shattered and laughing,
remembering
what it feels like
to reach beyond skin.

Sparks set fire
to the icy ocean inside,
sacred heart of the feminine
unfolding in an explosion
of roses and flames.
We find water in dry wells,
mirages we can drink from,
where I swear I see seedlings
bursting forth from desolation:
Mother of God, fire breathing nurturer,
offering us a dance
in the riptide.
I promise I’ll be pulled away
without getting pulled under,
or maybe I am the moth
whose wings fry on the porch light,
lost on her way to the moon.

And for each piece of myself
I willingly relinquish,
I hold closer the little wounded me
who is still afraid of what will happen
when I dive in again,
to those same depths
I will always crave,
a sweetness so stormy and true,
a sudden re-imagining
of a world
I have so carefully created.
(Still,
nothing ever felt as good
as vanishing
in those fearful waves,
or pretending
to be impenetrable,
even for just a second,
imagined relief from
rawness.)

Let me wear the skeleton key
around my neck,
rusted and hanging
from a cord worn bare
by the redwood’s pleas
for softness,
where I can hear
the old ones communing,
and bones growing,
molecule by molecule.
And oh how they break,
life blooming continually
toward death,
where we set sail too soon
on forbidden waters,
or maybe it was never soon enough,
how the surface
will deceive the depth,
how you will let me go
when it is my time
to taste the quiet
in saltwater hair.

Let me be tidal,
you will remember it this way.

 

Inspired by a journey through beloved Big Sur, California

Stars Whisper Stories

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laughing the language of moonsugar

 

Stars whisper
stories in secret,
laughing the language
of moonsugar
behind hurricane clouds
and ghost lights,
where the wave
never began
nor ended
because it always was.
It was as simple
as picking up a fork
from the kitchen table,
only it wasn’t
useful, cold or stainless,
and what was once weightless
had turned to gold,
dusty and growing
with the Black-Eyed Susans
on a hill where every path met,
melting into a stream
that had never known water,
but still moved
like her mother’s antique silk,
A serpent awakening
in her painted cave,
hematite handprints
animated by an ancient chant
nobody knew
until we all started singing:
and it was never out of tune
because we harmonized
with the bees,
and eyes became flowers
in the song of the spheres,
every ritual
a reenactment,
every passage
a possibility.
What remains
are the stories that sing
through the walls,
and in stillness
we learn
the uses of enchantment.

Feral

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white winged mysteries

 

 

 

The feral one learns
the language of God
in dark corners
while she waits
for the telepathy to kick in,
where pretty is a lie
and truth speaks louder
than a pose under false light.
Past pine needle floors
and lost meadows
she steals away
with sparks
and birdsongs
that swallow her whole.
Shifting like a seed in flight,
she wears a crown of cobwebs
while white winged mysteries
rest at her feet.
Here the relics
of weeping settlers
on foreign soil
reach back through doors
veiled in knowing,
opening to faraway voices:
the way shadows dance
on faces masked by centuries,
cloaked in the grace of silence.
And then the spiderwebs
between her thighs,
every space an altar.
She keeps the vaults locked.

Offering

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An offering: a dedication to continually breaking open, pausing at the reflection found at the end of a road, any road, spiraling into other, into sameness, into the unfolding of an uncertain map–the palm, the spark, the ether and the soil. Leave something behind in this ritual of burning. We will leave everything behind. Become the leaving and the returning, moving through the pathless wood, knowing lightness and burden, the giving up and the eternal longing. Swim blindly in fear and laugh until nothing is left, rising into your own unseen hands, the ones that hold the stars, with eyes for the invisible. Pull out your heart and let it rest on a sunlit stone, warm and beating, poised for the next reckoning. It was always here, the question in the waxing moon, who asks you only to be. Breathe the tidal seething under glassy surfaces, the intricate architecture of desire, knowing it always comes to this: Hold it tightly, and then relinquish everything. An offering.

Simple Ritual: Every Space An Altar

Some of my treasured altars

I  love to create altars as a simple ritual of reverence to the sacred in the ordinary. Altars are a way to a sense of groundedness, a feeling of home.  Any space can be transformed into an altar, and anything of meaning to you can become a part of this creative dedication. See the altar as a living prayer, a liminal space bridging seen and unseen worlds. I place little offerings of love to the mystery, to spirit, to the unfolding self, to the earth, to the cosmos, to those who have gone on before me, to icons of divinity– any piece of inspiration along the journey. I may write something to call in or release and place it on the altar with intention, or I may collaborate with another person or a group of people, a creation honoring the collective vision.  The altar exists in the space between stillness and movement, between knowing and un-knowing, where I give deliberate attention to the moment, connecting in to the golden thread, bridging earthly and divine, my heart at the center…and every hollow, crevice, ledge, pair of lips, hands, and eyes become shrines, shining us through the darkness.

Roses Are Still Falling From The Sky

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New skin is birthed by desire in the kingdom of decaying leaves

She was born at the top of the stairs
that rise in the night
to nowhere,
near the winged elm
under a pregnant moon,
full and aching,
like a spider’s belly
who knows it’s time.
When the music stopped
they all breathed out
after a long time of lungs full,
and the electricity in her mother’s heart
dropped into her thighs,
so warm her knees gave out,
hollow pomegranates falling
from her rose-print dress,
an initiation
among the voices of the dead
wrapped tightly around each neck,
the heaviness of release
measured by the grip of tired hands
that hold on
long after the body is emptied.
A child, grown,
feels the weight in her marrow,
keeping watch
over the ancient pain,
her birthright to freedom
from the lineage of war,
here, in the earnest reconciliation,
the mending of the thread.

Venus in Pisces girl
is romanced by the Devil
while the Fool watches,
and the Empress grabs him
by his ear, wise and fumbling,
whispering, “It’s worth living
a season of loneliness
while the blossoms open
and drop
in their own time,”
until a touch in the dark
tells the plants bottled up
in the bottom drawers
that they can grow,
and new skin
is birthed by desire
in the kingdom of
of decaying leaves.

She calls the wind
to carry her away,
but it stays still,
burrowed in roots
entangled by the past-
this is the surrender
to the tiny-boned thing
that lives between waking life
and the one underground,
flesh embroidered
with yellows and violets
like the hope of springtime,
floating soft like secrets
who crush stories from other worlds
into barley
worn bare by the last light
of winter’s day.
Chests rise and fall
as every hole widens-
breath quickens,
quiet sorrows swallowed
sweet and deep.
The unearthing begins.
She makes a circle
of stones that sing,
and the dirt under her nails
carries shriveled cells
from the fight,
hiding from every pair of eyes
except the diamond ones,
and eager mouths
feathered with questions
build flood walls around
every sacred heart.
To understand is to erase the story,
to admit you still feel the walls vibrate
and know they will crumble
but laugh anyway
at the way danger tastes better,
at the way hunger happens
when the stars wake up.
And every slumbering stone
that falls is kissed
by the next passerby
prepared to give meaning
to the unknowable.

The first day after,
and every moment since,
she has thrown open all the windows,
taken the doors off their hinges,
stripped bare and waited,
feet wet with sirens’ voices
dripping down her legs
and seashells falling
from ethereal cords, cut,
Andromeda unchained
from the edges of white rocks,
disintegrating
into the silence
that comes after a storm
has washed it all away.
They were wrong about her,
there was never a rescue,
except for her own choice-
the only choice-
to dive face first
into a clean slate morning,
where the first thing she sees,
and the only thing left,
floating beside her on an empty ocean-
is a salted reflection
of wild roses etched like dreams
on her mother’s sheer cotton dress,
vague and vanishing
below a glassy surface.
She lets herself
become engulfed
by nothing,
and in the emptiness
is the fullness of longing
for some unreachable truth,
facets carved in the dark,
veins illuminated
behind eyelids
that never shut
in the shapes of letters
calling all the hidden angels in.