A Message from Spirit
by Shannon McArthur
I’ve mentioned in passing before that I read tarot cards. I didn’t say anything about the role they play in my life. I’m going to try to give you an idea of that today. I’m also going to tell you what started my commitment to the spiritual journey I have chosen, and what I see it to be, or at least I’m going to try. It’s not easy – they say that’s true of things that are worth while so, let’s see how it goes, and if you have comments or questions, I’d love to engage in some dialogue!
Summers in my teens were spent a lot at Riverside Park, laying in the sun and playing with the boys. Young men, actually. And drinking and smoking and, for the most part, I was blessed not to get into any lasting trouble! There were truths I needed many lessons to learn, and some I didn’t, for many years. One was to limit my alcohol intake! I beat myself up a lot with that stick, both in the doing and in the results of doing!
It was a full moon that night. Dark under the cover of the trees in the park, we drank and kissed and drank some more. We laughed at and we laughed together and we drank some more, and smoked packs of cigarettes and stuff. And drank until we fell down and laughed at that too. But along with laughter comes the revenge of a body mistreated and what goes down must come up. Down to the river – where the evidence floats away, but the rue sits inside and tastes as bad as what came up and the shame keeps you on your knees. I cried out for help and looked up from the dark water below me, eyes following a path of light and, at the zenith, found the Full Moon witnessing my disgrace. My heart leapt toward Her; it felt like an arrow exploding from my chest into full flight!
Grandmother Moon was there to catch my heart, and my breath. The fellow with me probably didn’t even notice, but I’ve never doubted that my heart was welcomed, and is safe until I rejoin it, in Her presence. When I breathed again I gave Her my promise: I would be Her voice and answer her call, whenever She called, to the best of my ability.
And then life went on, as it does. A zen proverb says, “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water!” A moment of brilliance does not make a good reading light and I didn’t stop careening through life like a run-away train for awhile. I had a lot of fun but eventually learned that to go on comfortably, I needed to limit the drink and to find nobler pursuits!
The lessons we live are the truths we learn to speak. I had some pretty clear lessons and some pretty obscure ones too. How could I know that in the weaving of time it was necessary that I have the living tar beat out of me one night, so that I would make a decision to go somewhere I would not have otherwise? and it would lead me to the next phase of my life that I had to live, in order to have the promise I was given when I was 10, come true.
Am I talking about fate? I’m not sure. Certainly I believe in prophecy because I’ve experienced it. But I don’t believe in fate, really. I believe we make the choices we do, and that’s part of what is. What is, is known by Spirit (of which we are a part) like we know our own left foot. We are here to strive and learn and, yes, suffer, but to live anyway and give anyway, and love and laugh and have passion and pain. It’s all part of the gift we’ve been given and without one part, it fails to be all it is designed to be. I’m looking forward to telling you about the prophecy, but that’s not now… I’ve chosen to share the why of the what I am doing and the possible where it is taking us.
Part of my journey has been spent in profound confusion. I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression and given pills. When I told the doctor about a fluttery feeling around my middle, he gave me more. The feeling went away. I think the medicine made it so I just didn’t care anymore. I was able to function and that was what we were all after. At the time, it seemed the right answer. In retrospect, I feel like 15 years of my life was spent in a fog and it’s taken me 2 years to recover from the cumulative effects of being on antidepressants and I’m still hoping to wake up able to smell the coffee (lost my sense of smell somewhere along the way!) Many things resulted from those decisions and one of them is that I was able to continue working for the pension that supports me now. Another part of the path!
I think we are not meant to accept our fate, our life, as it is doled out to us! We are to be challenged by it, and we are meant to learn from it and be inspired by it. Clinical Depression helped me know the secret of the Crow Surgeon. If I had not had that dis-ease, would I have noticed? Made the connection? If I had not worked for a municipal government, would I know the difficulties of dealing with social problems and how, perhaps, they could be addressed? Maybe I could have learned some other way, but this was my path, one where each step was of my choosing. Even the times when I allowed others to influence my choice, that was my choice, and so it was my chosen path.
And so, here I stand in the middle of my life’s path, looking at what my choices have brought me to – I have spoken of what set me on the path, of some of the rocks that caused wows or curves in it, and now, it’s time to talk to you of what I’ve found that helps me choose. It’s hard to think when the brain doesn’t work well so I looked for another way to make decisions. Truthfully, I didn’t trust I would get the guidance I needed from the people around me – I desired a special kind of guidance they couldn’t give me. A deck of tarot cards, MotherPeace, came into my hands; the concepts fit with the way I have always felt about everything and the history it was based on resonated in my soul. I learned the language of the cards and Spirit used them to say what I needed to hear. They gave Spirit a voice I could interpret and translate into choices and action. And then came a time when, it seemed, every time I pulled cards I got Death.
Death doesn’t necessarily mean the discarding of the body; sometimes it means a discarding of the old to be replaced with something new. When it kept coming up over and over I took it to mean the deck wanted to be set aside because it was 20 years old – when I suggested to the Universe that it was time for a new deck, it happened, magically! That kind of magic has been a major source of wonder in my life. Does it happen for you too? If you haven’t noticed it, maybe you just haven’t been aware of it because it happens for everyone – they call it synchronicity!
My new deck is the Gaian Tarot. Based on the elements of Earth, it is a modified version of the traditional structure of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. The creatrix of the deck and the art for all 78 cards, is Joanna Powell-Colbert. She lives on an island on the west coast of North America and reaches across the world to guide and teach people about Gaia, the Goddess of the Earth. Joanna is a mother-tree in the forest, giving comfort, hope and direction in a place and time that can be very dark and scary.
So, now you know some of the what and why of where I am at this point on my path. The part going forward is not clear and so I must kind-of feel my way. I’ve told you of Crow Surgeon and the wisdom I believe his pearl holds for us and I really want to help make that happen. I gave my voice to the Moon, to Spirit, but being a voice doesn’t really give me much to do if I don’t know what I’m supposed to say, so rather than trying to organize things, I used the cards to ask the question. The question was simple, but getting to the point of being able to put it out here in front of you took a bit of time; I hope you don’t mind and have enjoyed what you’ve read… The question was: What do I say next?
Six of Water – together with others we pray for the future
3 The Gardener – in a Garden we are bountiful and generous and peaceful
8/Air – we need to talk, and listen, with respect and attention, with clarity and honesty.
The message I see in these cards is: coming together with hope in our hearts we will create gardens that are bountiful, generous to all and peaceful. By gathering in circles to talk and listen, with respect and attention, with clarity and honesty; together, we can have the healthy cities we dream of, that we yearn for. I call out to people who dream dreams like this, and to those who are working to make life better; together we can bring this into our reality. Please, share this with others and spread Her message – together, let’s make it happen!