Thursday, January 6, 2011

What does Divination have to do with Art Therapy?

Human beings have always had a deep need to ask and seek the answers to
"Why are we here? Who or what controls our destiny? and/or What will
happen in the future?" One way of receiving the answers to these
questions is through divination and all cultures have different ways of
practicing divination.  Methods that have all stood the test of time are
Rune stones, I Chin, Numerology, Astrology, and reading Tarot cards.
Divination systems in preliterate times, were largely the exclusive
domain of the rulers, chieftains, sages, prophets and shamans. Although
belief in magic was practically universal up to and through the Middle
Ages, including primitive divinatory practices of folk magic, knowledge
of divination systems could not spread until the invention of printing.
Divination has always been with us and still is. Even in the Old
Testament, Jahweh uses a sacred set of dice called Uri and Thummim to
make decisions in God's name.
In my twenties I experienced several events that shook my hold on
reality. I searched for answers everywhere and then became intrigued
with the Tarot. As a visual artist, I was entranced with the images and
as a seeker of knowledge; I was drawn in by the complex system of
Archetypes and stories that each card held. Shortly after discovering
these cards we traveled through Europe and North Africa, as did many
people of my age in the late seventies. I read all that I could about
the Tarot throughout our travels and I had my cards read by many
different readers. The study opened up my eyes and mind to many other
spiritual practices and ways of perceiving reality. When we
returned to Canada I thought I would move beyond the cards, but they
just kept finding a way of being relevant in my life. Reading is not
something that I advertise or promote in myself, but it is something
that comes naturally to me and I do it. It is one of the few things in
my life that I don't question, I really don't know why or how
readings work, and for some reason I don't need to know. I also
don't know why it seems so natural for me to read. I love the world
of Archetypes and find the study deep and meaningful. I enjoy the
endless combinations and unfolding of story lines that the 78 cards
create and the fascinating way they reflect a person's life in a
reading. Why they can predict the future, reflect the past and confirm
the present I really don't know. Somehow I am detached from needing to
know. I just accept that those cards work. Not necessarily for me, I am
not good at reading my own cards, but for others. Reflecting on this I
am thinking, hmm, good recipe for life. If you want to be accomplished
at something study it hard, practice it for many years, then learn to be
unattached to your performance and let it intuitively and instinctually
unfold. In other words become highly invested in learning the art/craft,
and then get out of your way to practice it. Are reading cards really
any different than creating art? Divination for me is no more or less
magical than this, being Present, in the flow and unattached to the
finished product. It's just another art form.

Mother Peace Tarot Deck by Vicki Noble


k.somerville said...

What a nice post Karen. Thanks :)

The Creative Beast said...

Happy New Year Karen!
This was an amazing post - I've always been fascinated by the various forms of divination and the artwork for Tarot cards is vast and beautiful...

I like the idea of learning and letting go of the outcomes of our work (or readings!) - it is a good lesson to learn =-)

A bird in the hand said...

Yes, me too.


Letting go of the outcome is the most important and probably most difficult thing to do, in my opinion.

Karen Wallace said...

Thanks for all the great comments. Happy New Year to you all!!! Hugs Karen

Elena said...

What a great post. I'm new to Tarot cards having recently 'found' a set in the back corner of the bookstore. The artwork and writing on each is beautiful. And I'm amazed at how pulling a few cards seems to fit into what is happening at the time. I like what you said. Study, practice then get out of the way. That's what my creating has been like lately.

Karen Wallace said...

Hello Elena, Thank you for your post. Yes they are a fascinating study. Enjoy.

Jacque said...

My favorite cards are Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals, by Jamie Sams and David Carson. I use other cards and I Ching, but the Medicine Cards bring more clarity.
I just discovered your blog today! I am subscribing.

Jennifer White said...

I know those cards...and that cloth... very well...wondering what they'd be telling me today, maybe a hint of hope or a good, switft kick in the butt! xoxox

Celeste said...

I love using tarot to ground me and help me see different views... I see tarot not as a tool for telling the future, but as a tool that allows you to see things from a different perspective. When I ask something of a tarot deck, the cards it reveals to me show me different ways to look at the problem, or event, or whatever that I ask about, allowing me to get a better handle on it.


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