Monday, January 25, 2016

Goddesses of Empowerment

It is a time of many decks.

I don’t remember ever before being in the position to juggle (in the best sense possible) so many different manifestations of Tarot. Just in the last few months I’ve acquired – either through gift or purchase – the Cosmos Tarot and Oracle, the Dark Goddess Tarot, the Ancestral Path Tarot, the Fountain Tarot, the Tarot of the Holy Light, the Wild Unknown Tarot, and the Steampunk Tarot. Needless to say, I’ve got options. Not that I didn’t before – I haven’t counted lately, but prior to this new lot I had somewhere around 50 or 60 Tarot decks to choose from (not counting oracles). The difference is that I love every single one of these new acquisitions. There is not one that is underwhelming, or “not my style,” or just “nice.” There are no qualifications when I say that they are all wonderful. They all have a unique voice; they all draw me in and excite me with what they might show, and how they might show it.

This, of course, is a fantastic conundrum to be in (that of “which deck to use now?”), and I’ve thought several times recently that I could lose my entire collection, save these, and be quite fulfilled (well, I wouldn’t like to lose the New Orleans Voodoo, or my Thoth..! But you get the idea).

So over the past several weeks I have often found myself using one or two one day, and then switching it up the next. This way I am tasting them all, feeling them out in fairly regular intervals.

So it was that last night I decided to pull a card from the Ancestral Path Tarot – the Hermit – and immediately felt the relief of that simple reflection wash over me. In fact I had just leapt onto my bed for a much-needed (albeit brief) moment of alone time amidst what had been a busy-but-lovely Sunday. I drew the Hermit in the moment I was most aware of my need to embody that quiet, solitary energy.

This morning I decided to draw a guidance card from the Dark Goddess Tarot (this is such a rich, profound, wise, and moving set of cards) and I drew the Magician – Isis. This is my soul card (in terms of Tarot Birth Cards) and also one I’d drawn over the past several months as I moved through the change from my previous teaching position into one of departmental management. It all fit; it was as if the universe was saying: “This is you, it’s your time, you got this.” And here it was again.
I closed the previous week with an important meeting at which I provided a pile of evidence in support of a change that I knew needed to happen. I wasn’t sure what the outcome would be, but in the end the upper management team agreed with me and approved the change. I was walking on air (appropriate for the Magician!). I felt that I’d accomplished something that was as monumental as it was simple, and I was elated to have been able to pull it off. Today I will be sitting in another meeting where I will be explaining this change, and later this week I’ll be doing it yet again, so Isis was very welcome encouragement.  The guidebook for this deck reads:

See what needs changing and step up to change it. Because you can. Energy is flowing through and around you now, available for you to shape and direct.

It gave me shivers to read that. One thing that has been most satisfying for me as I walk this new path has been the ability to make positive change where I have seen the need for it for so long – change that benefits the faculty, the students, the program, and the school overall. It is extremely empowering, and there is a breath of liberation within that experience that I have not felt before quite in the same way.

I took a look at the bottom of the deck, and smiled at Baba Yaga, the Hermit, flying through the air in her mortar. It was a gentle reminder that I am still in Hermit-space, and that much of the work I’m able to do now has come from all of the time I’ve spent alone, gathering data, investigating, testing out my theories and making new discoveries. It’s funny because as I thought about my Hermit tendencies in relation to the workplace I recalled how I often call my office “the cave,” and when an instructor wishes to talk in private I often say, “Let’s do it, come into my cave!” The irony, of course, is that my office has no roof, and only three walls. The fourth wall is also a sliding door made entirely of transparent glass, which means that I’ve got a fish-bowl thing going on. Still, there is something to be said for boundaries, and these walls at least give me a designated space in which to sit alone, and a door that, while clear, can still be closed.

On the top of the deck I found Epona, embodying the 6 of Fire. When I made this rather large change last week I was nervous about what the global reaction would be. Would my team understand? A few that knew about it were supportive. I was very confident that they would all feel the same way after I presented the evidence, and yet I still battled some anxiety. Would a partner department be on board with it? It turns out that they are just as happy about it as I am, which was both a surprise and a tremendous relief. The 6 of Fire is not just “success” (though it is that, too). In the Dark Goddess Tarot it is about transformative work that comes about through caring leadership and working as part of a team. This is how I see myself – not as a boss, but as a leader, and honoring the role, value, and strengths of each member of my team is of utmost importance to me.  The guidebook reads:

Sometimes it takes a herd. And a herd needs a strong, sensitive, balanced leader. Especially when the herd is not of docile sheep but swift, spirited horses.”

My “herd” (I’m not sure they’d appreciate that title, ha!) is most definitely the spirited type, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Accept the accolades, take in the blessings, and store that sunshine. Let it give you strength as you go forward.

Experiences teach what instruction cannot. Often it is in the doing that the deepest learning takes place. I’m certainly “doing” these days. I don’t have a mold to fill, and every day presents new opportunities for growth and expansion. I will store this sunshine as I continue to walk my nebulous path that materializes with each step I take; and I am grateful.


  1. You post proves to me you're are the perfect woman for this job. The last sentence reminds me of the intro of Star Trek: to boldly go where no (wo)man has gone before :D
    I can relate to the feeling of having to chose a deck from all my wonderful decks. Sometimes I feel even bad for the ones I have neglected for too long

    1. <3 Thank you so much, Ellen! There are days when I yearn for the relative simplicity of before, but all in all I feel good about it all. Actually, there is a discussion/social group here for women directors to get together, and I love that! Yes, sometimes I feel like I ought to pull a deck out and read with it if it's been a long time. Lately I am really starting to appreciate and stick with the decks that challenge me, or offer unique insights, or those that feel particularly soulful, and so then I feel a bit less bad about those that go un-read for so long :)

  2. Oh, the ongoing saga of which deck to choose from amidst a plethora...sometimes it's paralyzing, sometimes it's liberating. Dark Goddess Tarot is a gem...and Baba Yaga as Hermit always brings a smile to my face. As a double Hermit myself she presents a refreshingly different interpretation. Things all sound 'good where you've been, good where you're going to'. I remember when you took on this new job last year. That Six of Fire is such a lovely affirmation of your efforts.

    1. Thanks, Rose, yes, I love Baba Yaga here, and the unique elements she carries with her! Things have been good - overwhelming at times, but good, overall. It has been a journey full of a lot of new landscapes, but I suppose that is what keeps me engaged :)