Meditations on the creative process

Feb 7 2017 tarot reading.jpeg

It’s pretty appropriate that these cards showed up for my reading today, given that I’ve been doing a lot of work on novel revisions this month.

I decided to pull three cards from the Nigel Jackson Medieval Enchantment deck, one that I’ve had for a while now but haven’t used all that much, in some ways because of the swapping of the elements for swords and wands. (You can see it pretty clearly in the first two cards, above.)  The cards’ images are important but I like the assurance of knowing that elements and numbers come into play as well, and when things get swapped around it can sometimes make you second-guess your reading.

In any case, I didn’t really have a particular query today, so I was pretty open to anything, and it looks like the cards have highlighted the way I feel about creative work.

In the first card we see a stiff breeze filling three masts’ worth of sails. There are three arrows being drawn to a singular point. This card speaks to me about focus, as well as structure, and the way a strong framework can make the most of high energy. The three fish in the sea tell me tales about the unknown, and how we can never really know the whole picture before we set sail on our projects. I like that they can represent those creative surprises that we have to stay open to experiencing.

The seven of swords, and the fox who is rapidly moving off-card, makes me think of ulterior motives; of the benefits of taking the indirect route, of not ploughing forward via what seems the easy route. Some days you need to tack, when the wind slows or you need to change direction. It could speak of the lessening of energy as the day winds down.

The final card, the Popess, shows the close of the day. It’s night, and the moon has risen. I see our Popess as representing the returning to one’s underlying dream, or vision of the work. I see her referring back to the sacred texts at the end of the day; retouching the divine before the work is again “sullied” by the act of bringing it out into the light of day.

The creative process works like this too, I think. It’s a constant shift between active creation and revision; tension and release. But also important is the return to one’s driving ideals, the secret heart of the project.

Equally important however is not to dwell in this place of “perfection;” the Plato’s cave where everything is just right because you’ve not tried to put a name or a shape to it. While the Popess is in touch with this sacred text she is also fixed; she is bound by the book’s rules, while the act of creation brings ideas out into the sun to see how they play when one applies pressure to them.


Nigel Jackson’s Medieval Enchantment
 By Nigel Jackson
 Copyright ©2004 Llewellyn
 ISBN: 978-0738705811

Klimt morning messages


(Really such a pretty deck!)

Klimt always felt a bit rich for my blood – but lately I’ve really been enjoying the Golden Tarot of Klimt deck. Ever since I did a few readings at a potlatch dinner with some friends, and one of them picked this deck.

The figures just never spoke to me much before – aside from me finding them too austere (despite the lush fabrics and motifs in the rest of the artwork), but in coming back to my decks lately I find I’m drawn to some of the different ones.

Today’s wet and rainy, and Steve has gone to a bike race, while Leila and I are holding the fort at home. I’m a bit sore and feeling out of whack after I fell down the stairs yesterday afternoon! I managed to pull off a yoga DVD this morning though, so I do feel like I’ve got a few of the kinks out.

Knight of Wands and Queen of Chalices this morning are an interesting combination! The Knight is very much me on my mission to get the first draft of my book finished (I’m at 86,000 words and the end is looming!). He’s all about the process, about showing up at the desk every day, and feeling that rush of excitement that comes with getting close to the end of my goal!

I’m still puzzling with the Queen of Chalices though – to me she could represent my worrying about things, getting over-emotional, and over-thinking the work rather than just going into BICHAK (Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard) mode. Not as intuitive as some other cards (The Moon, High Priestess, etc), I still see that intuition-vibe coming from her at the same time. Maybe a small note not to drink too much at this stage – I need my wits about me, and my energy levels high! Vague? I may have to return to this card over the coming days to see if I can make more sense of it. She’s certainly standing in start contrast to the Knight, however. Balance between rushing in too fast, and dawdling over the manuscript, trying to get it just right? Quite possibly.

The Hanged Man could be me taking my tumble down the stairs yesterday (seeing the world upside down!), or it could be the enjoyable yoga I did today and would like to start to make a practice again. It could also be my resolution for these school holidays – I’m going to get up early during the week and get my writing in then. Stretching myself, doing something different, in order to make a difference. Like the quote goes: if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.

Golden Tarot of Klimt
By A. Atanassov
Copyright © 2005 Lo Scarabeo
ISBN: 0-73870-790-2

Pents and Swords


It’s a sunny day, and cheery outside, with birds twittering and flowers and trees blossoming. Finally throwing off the shackles of winter around here!

And evidently it’s a pents-and-swords sort of day, all practicality and getting stuff done, but with much exuberance! The fellow in the 7 of Pents does make me think quite literally of the gardening I’d like to get done (I saw a planter box on legs at Leila’s kindy and have been wondering if my woodwork skills are up to the task of making one for home? Saw one in the shops for $125, which is more than I’d like to pay for a wooden box that is going to be filled with dirt. But I digress!).

But it’s also a straightforward “reap what you sow” card, which could potentially have some quite negative connotations, depending on your situation. In my case I’m 99.99% positive that this is referring to my writing, and the fact that I’m finally at the end – well, the final quarter of the book, and man, has it been a ride getting here!

The juggler is me (it’s all me, me, me, sorry), but this time I’ve got my fancy hat and hose on and I’m wondering how to manage it all. I do have to say that lately things have got much, much easier around the house. My daughter is now going to kindy three times a week, which gives me three nice chunks of time to myself each week – and I am really feeling positive, and getting stuff done as a result! Not quite at the point where I could go head off on that sailing boat for a bit, although I did book myself in for a weekend stay by myself at a cute bach in Otaki, one weekend in October.

The Page of Swords is looking all exuberant and dreamy, and that’s a bit how I feel today too. Those clouds! The birds! And the world feels a bit like my oyster today (and I’m so excited by the prospect of finishing this book, and then planning the next books I’m going to write next year, and then starting the editing process (slashing with the sword)…the page in me could go on and on).

It feels positive, and wonderfully dreamy and blue-sky-ey.

Where-ever you are, take some time to go look at those clouds. I bet they’re amazing 🙂

Smith-Waite Tarot Centennial Edition Deck
By Pamela Coleman Smith
Copyright © 2009 by US Games
ISBN: 978-1572816398

Such a hermit!

So today I drew these cards:

And I can’t help but heavily identify with the silent hermit with her head up among the stars, dreamily meandering. A life of inner satisfaction, of not seeking attention, of following one’s own path with only your own small light to guide you. I think in my heart of hearts the Hermit is one of my touchstone figures. (Along with the Empress, and oddly, the Devil. Hey, I’m a Capricorn.)

Next to the Hermit is the Page of Cups. Who could this represent? Hm, let me think:

Uh-huh. Good luck with that hermiting.

The Ace of Swords I take as representing all of the mental and writerly pursuits that are developing  in my life. A new job. Some new writing projects I’m trying to get under way. Even just that sense of wanting to get on top of things, to find some clarity; things I’m getting from my new meditation habit.

The Hermit very much likes this Ace of Swords. It promises hermity excitement: advancement of the mind, sharpening of one’s abilities. The sort of activity every good hermit looks forward to doing at home in their cave. Solo.

But as straightforward as that sort of environment may seem, there’s the sense of the inevitable there too. A person who spends all their time in an ordered environment, with every step planned and executed as expected, is missing something, I feel.

A bit of chaos. An emotional burst. Passion.

It makes me realise how things would be if I didn’t have Leila in my life. Sure, I’d probably be getting more words written per day, and have more “me” time. But there’d be less spontaneous joy, fewer surprises, and laugh-out-loud moments.

I’m currently in the middle of the Creativity Pack for the Headspace meditation app, and I’m learning as my meditation practice deepens, that conditions for creativity are optimal when you can fluctuate between keeping the mind busy, and then letting it be open. Working with the tension between letting something go, and then bringing it back. Release, and control.

That’s what I’m getting from the cards today, anyway 🙂

Paulina Tarot
By Paulina Cassidy
Copyright ©2009 by US Games
ISBN: 978-1-57281-629-5

A Tower Day

Photo 16-03-2016, 20 31 08

It’s been a total and complete Tower day today. Huge changes. Big upheavals. Life moving in new directions, torquing, shifting…

I just got my (new to me) copy of the Fountain Tarot via a trade with another person on Aeclectic Tarot. I swapped my copy of the Rosetta, which is lovely, but has been languishing on the shelf for some time now. The Fountain feels refreshing to me.

I’ve just started some part-time work (Tower alert!) and today was my first day, working from home. My wee girl has just started kindy (alert!) and though she really enjoyed her first few days she’s been digging in her heels when I’ve dropped her off the last few days.

Today was a total doozy. I hung around as long as I could (half an hour at least) and then found myself checking my watch, thinking I have to get to this job thing! And feeling guilt about that too. Poor child had to be peeled off me by her teacher. Crying. Waaah.

Felt awful all morning, sitting at the dining room table, happy to be working but seriously thinking have I done this too soon?

Oh come on, self. She’s three. Not six months. I got a phone call from one of the teachers saying she was totally fine all day, had snapped out of it really quickly. Had even stood up and got everyone dancing when some ukelele players came to visit.

So everything’s ok, really. But at the same time, everything’s different. Big emotional upheavals, marking the beginning of her independence. My burgeoning independence after three years of being a constant presence for her. Weirdness abounds. But also, a new fresh, start.

Thanks, Fountain Tarot, for putting it all into perspective.

And I know I have some explaining to do – where have I been since 2014? I’ll save that for my next post…

The Fountain Tarot
By Jonathan Saiz, Jason Gruhl, Andi Todaro
Copyright © 2015
(Buy from The Fountain Tarot)

When you’re stuck at work

Last week I read for T, who was feeling really stuck in his work situation. He’s been with the same company for a long time (15+ years) and up until recently he’s found the work really satisfying. He came to me to see if I could help him clarify his situation at work.

We sat down together and came up with a spread that would help address his questions.

T’s Work Spread

1: T himself. Where he is right now in regards to the situation.

2: What he wants and needs.

3: The situation at work.

4: What’s holding him back?

5: How to go forward?

Continue reading

Five-card reading for myself

It’s been some time since I did a larger reading for myself. In the good old days when I was a tarot newbie (back in high school in the early 90s) a Celtic Cross was pretty much all I’d do. It just seemed to be the “done thing”. I’ve since learned that smaller readings don’t necessarily give smaller results. If anything, your mind isn’t stretched in so many directions at once, and you can really go deeper into your reading.

That said, in adding some new five-card readings to my shop I decided it was high time for me to do one for myself. I used the Victoria Regina:

five-card draw

Continue reading

Looking back at old readings

Tarot is a funny sort of thing, isn’t it. Seemingly innocuous pictures on bits of card (of varying quality) are spread out on a surface somewhere, and meaning is inferred from the pictures, symbols, colours, numbers, and the rest. It’s a lot like reading a book, really, and I’m by no means the first person who has likened a deck of tarot cards to a book. But instead of looking at them linearly (like we might a book), they’re more like a giant esoteric card catalogue, where everything references something else, and those things in turn reference yet something further – and if you think about it, it’s really not all that surprising that we are able to glean information that relates to every one of us in the cards, because as we look at the pictures we see parts of ourselves in them.

…except for those days when we look and we think, “HUH?” Continue reading

Reading for a small person

Hello! I’m sorry I’ve been away for so long. From time to time I get busy with life, other hobbies and other concerns. Since my last post we’ve sold our house, packed up, moved to a lovely little seaside suburb, and filled the new place with boxes. We’ve slowly been unpacking, but it’s taking longer than we’d hoped it would, as our snippets of spare time usually get rapidly filled.

Leila, my little one, is now one and a half! She’s really a big girl now. And for the most of this year she’s been doing really well with her sleeping. She’s got into a good routine, seems to go down pretty easily at night and, apart from a few peeps here and there, sleeps through the night.

Last night was something different. I haven’t seen her like this in a long time. She seemed to go down without any trouble, but she woke up at around 11pm (right when Steve and I were tucked up and turning out our lights). She was really upset. Crying and crying. And nothing we could do would settle her. We tucked her in again, gave her her dummy, put on her “musical bug” that she loves to have in bed with her. I gave her a feed. I even brought her into our bed (something we never do), thinking that might calm her down.

Well she did calm down, but there was no sleeping. She was up until 2:30. And then she woke up again at 5:30. Continue reading