When I finished my crime novel, I wrote a few short stories. No new book idea had popped into my head, which is the way it usually works. As I wrote those stories, I was finding my way into my next novel. The stories were okay just on their own, but even better, after I finished the second one, I saw them as backstory for two or three characters in a new novel. I loved my main character.
I already had the setting, St. Pete in Florida. My husband and I bought a condo there as an escape from Michigan winters, and since my job is portable and his is not, I was down there on my own for a couple of months. It was an amazing experience. Not knocking my husband, I love him dearly and am looking forward to his retirement in a few years.
But being on my own making a new home, I had an independence I had not ever in my 62 years experienced before. I’d been independent before, but never in a financially stable way. It felt really good. Marriage is about interdependence (at least mine is) which means endless compromises, again and again. While in Florida, after Al flew home to his job in Michigan, every day and every decision was my own.
Today I read my cards (I am a long time student of the tarot) and what was reflected back to me consolidated and cheered on my direction with the new novel. Also, I think there’s going to be a fortune teller in this book.
My great-grandmother read the tarot to feed her large family during the Great Depression. It is thought that she had carried this knowledge with her from the old country. Some family stories whisper that she was born a gypsy. Thus, reading Tarot comes naturally to me. While my mother used regular playing cards to read my fortune when I was a girl, I started on my own with a dedicated tarot deck bought from the bookstore.
The first thing I noticed is that there are 22 cards in a tarot deck that are not in your normal deck of modern cards. These major arcana are such a big deal in reading tarot that I’m unsure how my mother ever produced a reading without them. Mom gave up reading the cards long ago, and apart from saying she forgets, she’s been quiet on the subject.
In fact, Sallie Nichols, author of Jung and Tarot: An Archetypal Journey, only explores the 22 major arcana. She explains that these cards, with their overt symbology, are projections of our unconscious. She also says, as the title of her almost 400 page book suggests, that the cards follow a journey or life path. They are really all we need to point us in the direction we need to go whenever we seek guidance.
I hadn’t thought about Tarot for awhile when I came across this cool post by my friend Autumn. She suggests one card, or just a few cards, can be enough of a spread to enlighten a particular area of difficulty. So this morning I unearthed a set of cards and went about trying to figure how to make a card “fall” from the deck as Autumn suggests.
This happened in its own unique way as I first separated out the major arcana, somehow between writing this post, shuffling the cards, and reading Nichols, Star Woman appeared at the top of my deck. The problem I’ve been dealing with has to do with the humbling of my public image. Where I thought I was doing good work on behalf of an organization I volunteer for, I heard elsewhere that I wasn’t pleasing everyone. At least one person was spreading unkind rumors about me. If you notice Star Woman is naked, well, this is how it feels to be exposed in such a way. It’s humiliatng. Yet Star Woman appears humble. The little bird sings her praises as she becomes one with the elements of earth and sky and water. There is no fire of indignation about her. She has dropped her stance of feeling hurt, feeling betrayed, and stands naked in the starlight. She has nothing to hide, she is at peace, as the elements of the conscious mind and the unconscious knowing come together to create a more aware and integrated woman.