When I use images in my psychotherapy work with clients, I find that their psyches respond more positive to their ‘healing’ process. Images, and especially archetypal images like those found in the Tarot, are medicine in the healing process.
Our Souls are seeking guidance on our path through life with all its challenges. I believe that our human nature longs for connection with the mystical side of our beings, which are usually suppressed in our linear, rational obsessed society. When using images, we reawaken that side where we find ‘soul-guidance’. After all, ‘divination’ comes from the word Divine, which is about connecting to something higher, deeper and beyond our rational minds and physical existence. Images connects us to the world of essential universal principles, the world of archetypes, which is where we connect to the Divine.
During a recent workshop where I taught healing principles and general psychological philosophical subjects about the workings of the psyche, I presented two completely different image types, of which the 12 participants had to choose one of each set, blindly. The one was the Mary-El Tarot – Landscapes of the Abyss by Marie White (http://www.schifferbooks.com/the-mary-el-tarot-4816.html). The other set of images was the Medicine Cards – The Discovery of Power through the Ways of Animals, by Jamie Sams and David Carson. (https://www.amazon.ca/Medicine-Cards-Discovery-Through-Animals/dp/0312204914#reader_0312204914)
Most of the participants are familiar with the Tarot, so I surprised them by juxtaposing two unexpected card sets, in the same reading, to stimulate their emotions and their imagination in their encounter with the unfamiliar. It is amazing what transpires immediately by association and imagination.
After choosing the images, they had to, without looking at the official interpretations, write a short story, with a clear title, about the cards they got, as well as create a ceremony, or action, to consolidate the ‘message they got. Importance was given to their psyche’s very first response to the images.
An additional task is always to observe the synchronicities immediately after the reading, in the material world, as well as their dreams at night, to recognize connections and correspondences with the reading.
This process is powerful in the sense that the reading continues in daytime ‘dream-time’, as well as in nighttime dreams. The other factor is the action they take or the act they perform to consolidate the message in their psyches. A message left in the brain only, is half a message. It’s got to become manifested through action. Our psyches believe the message when we act on it.
Here is an example of one of the participants, a woman in her late forties who has just lost her mother and is also experiencing changes in her career. This is her story. She arranged objects and herbs around a printed sacred geometry image I gave them all, to start the inspiration on which they could build whatever came to them in their process.
The cards she drew were, a Blank Shield Card (from Medicine Cards) and the Knight of Cups (from Mary-El Tarot).
Her story is titled: The Illumination of the Medicine Woman.
‘On the morning of her birth, the Medicine Woman awoke to the fullness of the sun. Dazzled and dazed, she couldn’t remember who she was. She patted around but could find nothing to either identify herself or tell her what to do next.
A beautifully dressed Knight rode up. His horse had a handsome saddle, and his own plumed hat indicated a high station. Most notable was his throat jewelry: lapis lazuli of the finest quality. By merely looking at her he seemed to understand her predicament and said, “I was told in a dream that I would find a Medicine Woman, born this day and in need of my guidance.”
Attempting to answer, the Medicine Woman could only grunt — tapping at her throat frantically. The Knight smiled kindly in response, and pointed to some sacred herbs, trees and flowers growing close by. “Take this sack and gather as many of those plants as it will hold.”
The Medicine Woman did as she was asked and returned to the Knight, her little medicine bag bulging with leaves, flowers, bark and berries. But still she could utter no words of thanks. Unfazed the Knight instructed the Medicine Woman to catch a fish and offer it to the Creator as thanksgiving. She did this, but was still unable to speak.
The Knight continued his instructions, this time asking her to wait for an animal sign. The Medicine Woman sat and burned some sage, offering another silent prayer of thanks. When the smoke had cleared, a lovely blue feather fell to the ground. Looking up, the Medicine Woman saw nothing more than some wispy clouds and the radiantly shining sun.
Certain she had everything she needed to begin her journey, she ran to the Knight to show him her sign. But when she tried to speak: nothing.
The Knight reassured her. She had done everything perfectly and the Creator was well-pleased with her efforts and offerings. However, the final step in her initiation was not known to him. It was something she needed to discover on her own.
Tired and somewhat discouraged the Medicine Woman climbed down the bank to the river that ran along the forest’s edge. She sat awhile, finally closing her eyes to sleep. It was in her dream that she saw it: the sixteen-petal lotus floating luminously in the water. She opened her eyes and was surprised to see the moon rising over the tree tops, the sky nearly dark.
And there in the moonlight she could see it: her lotus flower: Only too far for her to reach; and she couldn’t swim. The flower seemed to glow in the moonlight, rivaling the moon’s own beauty. Something deep inside her ached and cried out — and she couldn’t believe her ears. She was speaking softly to the flower, beckoning it to come a little closer, so she could have it to cherish and love.
Hearing her lovely voice, the lotus moved gracefully to the shoreline and allowed itself to be lifted from the water. The Medicine Woman had all she needed now and could remember her life’s purpose. Her healing journey could begin.’
This is a beautiful example of a true healing experience that will still unfold in the future. The medicine name ‘Music’ came up for her while in the group. The following are photos of her developing arrangement of herbs and objects around the geometrical image.
A second example of a healing story that came out of this two Card reading is the following:
A lady got the images of the Wild Boar and the Star.
This woman struggled to tell a story about these two images. She came for an individual session for that reason, so she could overcome her resistance. She also reported dreams filled with anxiety about fear of failure. Her current circumstances demonstrated that the fear of failure clearly created a hesitance in her ability to take on new innovative tasks in her job and life. She clung to the familiar and conventional. It is obvious to me how desperate her soul was to be creative and innovative, but her conservative ideas of herself inhibited her to venture further than the accustomed.
I asked her to just begin to tell me what she imagined when thinking about the images she got. Her first instinct was to climb a tree out of fear for the Wild Boar. She felt that the Boar had a message for her, but she was too scared to get out of the tree. Sitting in the tree, made it impossible for her to see the Star, and that too made it more urgent for her to get out of the tree, but the fear prevented her doing so. Because she tends to intellectualize and has previously divided herself into practical ‘body-intuition’ and ‘higher mind’/true-Self, I realized that she is separating herself from these two aspects of herself by hiding in the tree of intellect, where she is out of touch with both her body-instinct and her higher guidance. I wanted her to realize this without me telling her what I think, so I prompted her with a suggestion.
“If this were my story, I would want to be in touch with both my instinctive practical power to do things that work, as well as have access to the higher guidance that I know is there for me, so it would be important for me to get out of my tree of rationalization that kept me from both.”
Her eyes lit up as she realized the suggestion resonated true for her. She completed the story by getting out of the ‘tree of hiding’, to receive the message from the wild Boar where she could also see the Star, and be able to act and move in the presence of the Star.
I asked her what action she plans to take upon this realization to make it real in her life.
The visceral sensation of truth was so powerful in this experience that she promised herself to bring the essence of the Wild Boar and the Star inside her by reminding herself of the following affirmation: “hiding in the tree of intellect confirms my fear of failure. I love and accept myself completely and choose to get down to earth so the star in me can shine – and the sky is now the limit.”
Eventually it was possible to give her story a title: Coming Down to Earth gives me the Limitless Sky. And the action she takes is to notice when she is in the tree of rationalization, so she can climb out of there, to be in her Wild Boar side, that has access to the Star. She will practice this process and adjust as she becomes aware of more.
Helpful Summery of the Process:
- Always start with an intention, statement of intention to see, hear and speak from ‘truth’, or what you need to see as truth, or ask a specific question.
- Ask for protection and guidance.
- Use unexpected, unfamiliar images from unusual, different card sets, so you stay out of your ‘rational mind’.
- Keep it very simple: two cards or three card readings.
- Tune into your Soul-imagination, and write a short story.
- Give your story a title.
- Observe synchronicities in actual events as well as your nightly dreams, and recognize how they relate and correspond to the reading in surprising ways.
- Adjust your story according to the dreams and synchronistic information.
- Act on your awareness, following the direction of the reading, or design a ritual to make the reading prominent to your psyche. Use fun objects as well as herbs, stones, feathers, candles, fires, images, and whatever speaks to you.
- Thank the Universe.
Love and Blessings,
Jayni Bloch – http://www.genian.net