Exploring the Mind/Body Connection in Tarot

My husband got sick five days ago. It didn’t worry me–I don’t automatically get sick just because he does, and I felt absolutely fine. A few evenings later, however, my nose began to run. About a half-second later, I felt my body slacken and weaken. Goddammit, I thought. I don’t have time to be sick right now. I poured myself a cup of respiratory health tea, threw a blanket over my head and breathed in the goodness. I’ll be fine by tomorrow.

At precisely 3:40 AM, I awoke to an unbearable pounding in my sinuses. The pain was so intense that I couldn’t sleep. I dampened a towel with water and some Lavender essential oil and threw it in the microwave. Once I had the compress on my face, I began thinking. And thinking. It wasn’t the good kind of thinking, mind you, but the freakin’ nine of swords kind of thinking. By 4 AM, I’d convinced myself that I was dying of skin cancer. I picked up my phone and began scrolling through photos online, trying to find one that confirmed my diagnosis. I knew that it was completely useless to act this way and that all I was doing was fueling anxiety that would keep me from sleeping. I couldn’t seem to stop, however. I continued compulsively surfing the web until I’d given up on answers and was so exhausted I didn’t have a choice.

Hypochondria is certainly a condition that I’m known to exhibit, but only under severe duress. If my health is in good working order, I’m not carried away by compulsions or irrational thought. As soon as I’m in an overwhelming physical or psychological state, however, it’s as if the levee breaks and all hell rushes forth. This got me thinking about the mind/body connection, and how important it is for us to nurture both systems if we want to maintain a general sense of health and wellbeing. And this got me thinking about…tarot, of course!

The pip cards do an awesome job of illustrating this mind/body connection, which is why we need to give these cards their due in terms of attention. Now, don’t get me wrong–a lot of majors in a reading certainly does indicate that something huge is afoot, but it’s the pips that help us break it down into single serving portions of understanding. When the six of wands appears in a reading, for example, I’m likely to interpret it as an indication of stress in the most physical sense of the term–a prolonged adrenaline reaction that causes anxiousness, sensitivity, clamminess…the list goes on. Determining the stressor is a great first step, but taking some viable action is necessary in terms of getting your stress back under control. How do you do that? It’s easy for a tarot reader to say, “Do work that makes you feel empowered, not stressed.” “Your relationship with your mother triggers you? Maybe you should stay away from her for a while.””The cards indicate that this relationship isn’t working out. Perhaps you should consider moving on.” These are all amazing suggestions, and given the situation, may be exactly what the doctor ordered. However, many of these are likely to increase stress, especially in the short-term. In the interim, treating the body may be your best bet in terms of stress reduction. Meditation is a statistically proven way of relieving stress regardless of the existence of stressors in a person’s life. Likewise, exercise is known to lessen the effects of depression by half. And yoga…don’t even get me started on yoga.

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As a metaphysical practitioner, I help others navigate the landscape of their subconscious so they can reach clarity in terms of what’s happening (and in rare cases, what may happen) in their lives. But the truth of the matter is that there’s so much more in terms of wellness that must be addressed in order to make major headway. Therefore, when cards like the six of wands come up, I may suggest a more physical stress relief technique (of course, only those I practice and have greatly benefitted from). Likewise, when a card such as the nine of wands appears, it’s an indication of physical exhaustion, and prioritization of responsibilities and activities is in order (read: your body need some rest).

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On the flip side of the coin, the King, nine, and ten of pentacles are indicative of comfort and vibrant health. I mean, they’re practically wearing blankets–these lords and ladies know how to take care of themselves. Given the question, their appearance in a spread may mean that the querent would greatly benefit from a spa day. Literally. Physical relaxation breeds psycho-spiritual contentment and vice-versa. One rarely exists without the other.

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Now, I’m no doctor (as my ethics very clearly state!), but I’ve been around for thirty two years and in that time, I’ve learned a thing or two about the body. And given that I draw from both my personal experience and scientific research, I find know qualms with suggesting a meditation session within a tarot reading. If a client mentions that he/she has recently stopped exercising and my reading indicates that this is an issue, my interpretation will most likely include actionable advice about getting moving again. Why? Because it’s good advice. And I have enough practice and experience in tarot reading to know how to do this lovingly, gently, and productively, and how to connect it to the psycho-spiritual issues that led her to consult me in the first place. I figure that if one client in ten is inspired to view her situation more holistically, the suggestions are well worth it. Sometimes, all it takes is the right combination of word choice and context to make something real to a person. And if that word choice and context comes through one of my readings, more the better.

Much Love,

Jessi

Dancing With Eris in the Schoolyard: An Exploration of the Seven of Swords

My best friend lived next door. Our parents drank rum and cokes on my back porch while she and I watched TGIF and ate pizza in my living room. We snuck beneath her parents’ bed and raided her father’s vintage Playboy collection.  We made a music video to “Possum Kingdom” using pillows as drums. And when a member of our clique was home sick, we sped around the playground spreading insidious lies about her. We were nine. Our age doesn’t excuse what we did, but it does suggest that we were new to this type of betrayal: the “Mean Girl” betrayal. The unwarranted betrayal. The betrayal that cuts to the quick and leaves thick scars long after childhood had ended.

When I was approached to help my crew spread the rumor, I felt my pulse quicken.  My heart swelled into my throat and my body vibrated like a lightning rod.  I knew that it was cruel and dangerous to say such things about a classmate, but my best friend assured me that it would be okay. I accepted her reassurance and told her that I’d join under one condition: that I be allowed to say nothing. In other words, I’d be granted permission to rejoice in the twisted joy of defaming someone’s character without actively participating.  With my best friend acting as my liaison, the group accepted my terms, and I upheld them: I didn’t speak one false word to a single soul.

When my classmate returned the next day, she was met with sniggers and sidelong glances. I watched the confusion bloom across her face as she shifted her gaze from one cruel kid to the next. As we walked to lunch, she approached a group of girls to ask them why they kept staring at her. They erupted in an explosion of laughter and cobbled together the rumor between outbursts. The electric feeling flooded my body once again, but this time, it conducted pure fear.

During recess, each member of our clique was called into an empty classroom to be interrogated.  When it was my turn, I simply stated, “I didn’t say anything.” I wasn’t lying, but I wasn’t telling the truth either; honestly, I thought that everyone would deny their involvement anyway. When I returned to the hallway, I could see that this wasn’t so: each girl’s head was bent low, eyes studying the patterns that her shoe tips made when she scuffed them across the floor. I tried to make light-hearted conversation, but they ignored me. I tried locking eyes with my best friend, but she sighed and looked away.

My heart contracted. I realized that my silence was far more duplicitous than the rumor could ever be; I was the true wolf in sheep’s clothing and I wouldn’t be forgiven for it.  I will never forget the shame that I felt at that moment; it’s so potent that it surfaces every time I draw the Seven of Swords, regardless of who I’m reading for. When I pathworked this card, I was spirited back to our perfidious whirlwind tango in the schoolyard, and as I peered into the eyes of my comrades in crime, I didn’t see malice, aggression, and hate. Rather, I saw fear, shame, and insecurity: the painful burden of society’s children. Only then did I truly forgive myself for that day, and only then was I able to forgive those whose deceptions had left me with thick emotional scars.

As lightworkers, spiritual souls, and tarot readers, it’s our responsibility to see the truth that lies in deception: a wounded, disempowered soul. It is only then that we can begin to integrate the awesome power of truth in to the fabric of our own lives, and use that truth to help heal others so that they may do the same.

Much Love,

Jessi

 

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