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
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