Tag Archives: Gaian Tarot

Connecting with Mama Gaia in January

That’s right, I’m promoting a little connection with Mama Gaia this month!  I decided to pull a card to see how we might do just that.  It was truly funny because I saw this card in my mind and the ideas and words were already flowing for it before I had even ended the shuffling process.

Who showed up?  The Explorer of Air!  Such a daring and curious fella, he is, and nothing would stop him from doing what he loves best – exploring!  (That’s right, not the snow, the darker days, the extreme heat, not anything.  He’s good at finding a moment to slip into explorer mode and then milk it for all it’s worth!  He’s quite the inspiration!)

Post image for Explorer of Air

The Explorer of Air wants us to get out there and explore a little more!  You don’t need to go climbing trees, like he is, though he says it’s really fun (and I agree), if you are up to it, you should definitley try it!  Even if it is just the very first limb!  But for those who want to stay nicely connected to Terra Firma, I and the Explorer of air perfectly understand!  The explorer of air suggests just getting outside for even a few minutes and looking for something you might not have noticed before in the natural world around you and appreciating it for a bit. That’s it, it’s that simple!

So, let’s get out there and explore, connect with Mama Gaia (also known as Terra Mater by the ancient Romans) and appreciate the moments of connection that come!

Once you’ve done a bit of exploring, (and warmed up or cooled down depending on what half of the Earth you are currently residing on) maybe stop by and share what your discovered!  Sharing is half the fun, and that way even more people get the opportunity to appreciate it too!

Happy exploring!

The card above is from the Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert.  You can learn more about the Gaian Tarot here and check out more of Joanna’s wonderful work here.


The Tarot

Many people think of the tarot as something used to only predict the future or lay out your life as if you have no say, no control, or no personal power – an unfortunate method used by some and the one often promoted in popular media and entertainment. Others don’t know much about the tarot or have questionable information about it and disregard it, make fun of it, or condemn it because it’s considered part of that new age “woo woo” stuff.

But what is the tarot, really?

The tarot is a set of images, visual triggers to relate to, to find meaning in, to tell stories from. It can be used in an amazing array of ways and for an equally amazing array of purposes. The tarot is as varied as the thousands upon thousands of different tarot deck and the thousands upon thousands of different people using the tarot.

My path with the tarot lead me to appreciate the tarot as an amazing tool for unlocking the answers within me.

I first used the tarot online. It was on some website where you could get a computer generated tarot reading. You focus on your question or issue and then click the button to have your cards revealed. I must have been lucky because I know there are some really hokey sites out there that are far from positive or helpful, I just happened to find a site that was. The cards and the brief descriptions of their meanings actually gave insight into what I was wondering about and left me to take away what I could and act from there. It worked. So I used it again and again. Eventually I began to see that there were different tarot decks that you could choose to have the readings done in and that led ever visually inclined me to start exploring the world of tarot decks in all their diversity. There are so many different tarot decks out there that there is bound to be one or two that really speak to any one person. I found more than one or two and slowly began to collect tarot decks. An admittedly dangerous to your bank account hobby, believe me!

Once I had my own decks I began to try reading for myself. I wasn’t quite sure how that was done so I went looking for a book to give me some ideas. This is where my luck with the tarot continued. The first tarot book I purchased was Tarot for Life by Paul Quinn I was drawn to it over others I looked at that day at the bookstore because it didn’t just tell you what the cards meant as if there is only one meaning for each of the cards, it showed examples of every day people using the cards to pull realizations and answers from within themselves. It guided you to use the tarot to ask yourself questions, to dig a little deeper. I am forever grateful for that being my first tarot book. And it just got better from there. I instinctively used the tarot, without knowing this was a way it could be used or was used by others, as a jumping off point in my journaling and free-writing practices. I used it to spark ideas for creative writing, again not realizing that there were whole books out there on using it for that very purpose. My work with the tarot was evolving naturally and intuitively and I was getting so much from it.

Eventually I started to look out into the world for tarot community. I felt like what I was getting from it was just too good not to share and if I was getting that stuff I was sure there had to be others that were too. That eventually led me to discovering Joanna Powell Colbert and her beautiful creation, the Gaian Tarot. I followed along as she finished up the work on that deck and so was there to learn that she was creating a community for those who wanted to work with the Gaian Tarot. I eventually joined that community and I could not have done a better thing. That community is so rich with teachings, recorded calls and live calls and people just sharing things in forums. It is rich with an incredible diversity of tarot people from all walks of life and from several places in the world. The collective knowledge of that place seriously knocks my socks off. It’s that good. I have been fortunate enough to get to know and become friends with several amazing people through that community and to connect with people using the tarot in astounding and life changing ways. There is Carolyn Cushing’s contemplative and Journeying into the Tarot practices; James Wells’ tarot counseling approach; Arwen Lynch’ way of using the tarot for writing and for “seeking joy y’all”; and that’s just a tiny sampling of the treasures I’ve found in that and the greater tarot community – so many people using tarot to create positive change within themselves and in the world and I have the fortune to be a part of that.

I can honestly say that when I first began to explore the tarot I would never have guessed what a big part of my life it would become and the places it would take me or the people it would connect me to. I would never have guessed when I joined the Gaian Tarot Circle that I would eventually become one of the forum Guardians, finding a natural place for myself within the community. I would never have guessed the amazing processes I would learn for self growth and development. So I can say I won’t be able to guess where else this relationship with the tarot and the tarot community will take me in the future. But it is full of lovely possibilities and I am excited to see where it goes. It’s a path I am certainly glad I decided to go down.

So that’s some of what the tarot is for me and my abbreviated story of my own evolving path in working with it. If you are curious about the tarot and have questions please feel free to ask in the comments and I will do my best to answer them. If you have stories of your own work with the tarot, I would love to hear them. May the tarot be as wonderful and as helpful a tool and companion along the way for you as it has been for me.

Lessons from the River

This past weekend I ended up camping along the Sol Duc River on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula here in Washington state.  It wasn’t the original plan and it took me a while to adjust to yet another interruption to the flow of things – they’ve been many these days.  But it turned out to be the perfect place for me to be and as I spent time in the Klahowya Campground (Klahowya means welcome) and in those beautiful sparkling waters (Sol Duc means Sparkling Waters) I found Nature speaking to me through the language of the river.  Metaphor after metaphor showed up and though at the time I simply noticed them and let them flow on, since being back home they have worked their way deeper into my psyche and helped me to see things a little more clearly – much like I could see so clearly through those clean cool waters of the river.

I learned that when you float down the river in your wet suit and PFD you go more with the flow the more you lean back and relax and that if you don’t just relax it uses a heck of a lot more core strength, requiring a lot more energy and making you really sore afterwards.  How much more metaphorical could it get, right?

I also saw the Gaian Tarot cards appear over and over and I find it hilarious that I used the cards to playfully share my plans for the weekend on the Gaian Tarot Circle.  If I had only known how real many of those cards and others would become over those few days and how others didn’t appear as I thought they would.   The Canoe card, which I used to express that we were planning on doing some kayaking (we didn’t end up getting in our boats that weekend after all) was the no show.  I find it amazing that of all the cards that didn’t appear that was the one.  The card of focus, determination, and control over your destination.

The river was teaching me more about letting go and going with the flow and just what happens when you move behind a large boulder in the river thinking you can rest there!  Ha!  Being spun in circles and heading down river head first is far from restful – teach me!

I saw the Ace of Cups over and over as I watched little fish find shelter in shallow pools and slow moving waters near the shore.  I came to realize that that was what I was looking for, seeking out so desperately and the very reason I had once again headed out to go camping. The waters of my life, externally and internally as well as the waters of the energies of the universe are quite fast and full of rapids these days.  Those gentle pools to rest in are hard to come by and sometimes little flash floods come along and sweep me back into the flow before I feel ready and prepared.

For most of my life I have been that woman in the Eight of Water, swimming up river against the flow.  The flow of our society, of popular culture, of the way things have been done and the way things are often done still.  It can be down right exhausting to be such an individualist, but rewarding as well.  A while back I lost touch with all that and I have been trying to heal and find my way back over the last several years.  So when I was in the middle of a nice deep swimming hole swimming  against the current I was doing so with a smile on my  face and looking to those amazingly agile fish in the current with me for little wisdoms on how to keep on swimming (just like Dory).

For me, right now, it’s all about finding  how to go with the flow  (of life and the universe,not popular culture) and keep on being me, swimming up stream while staying as sane as possible.  Not always easy, but those little fish seem to have it figured out so I know there is hope.

I’m only touching lightly here on what I learned through the river, through my time camping and through all those metaphors, but I thought I’d share a bit of it here.  I know I’m not the only one feeling swept up in  the flow of the shifting energies of the universe these days and the ever shifting flow of our lives.  May you find the gentle pools to rest in, may you keep your head above water (except when there’s something particularly interesting to explore down there) and may Nature speak to you through the metaphorical wisdom of her land and waters.  Keep on swimming…just keep on swimming.



I’ve been working on a study of the Animal and Plant Wisdom from the 12  endangered species shown in Joanna Powell Colbert’s  Gaian Tarot Justice Card.  Eventually I plan to pull these together into a comprehensive tarot spread concerning living justly, in the mean time I have been pondering and reflecting on each plant and animal and searching for the wisdom questions they might hold for me and others.

I’m starting here with Spotted Owl.  Read, ponder, reflect, enjoy.


I’ve  had some incredible experiences with owls, including the Spotted Owl.  This bird is rarely seen and few have had the fortune to come across it or even hear it.  As a kid and young adult I spent a great deal of time in the old growth forests of Oregon, where these birds live.  Though I don’t recall coming face to face with one, as I have with other owls, I do recall with striking clarity the times I have been standing amongst the majestic elders of an old growth forest and heard this owl call.

The spotted owl needs old growth to thrive.  And as most are aware, old growth trees are in high demand, bringing some of the highest dollars per tree in the forestry industry.  And so, we have the conflict that was brought to the forefront of most of the western world not too long ago.  The Spotted Owl became the target species of environmentalist trying to stop the harvest of old growth forests and in turn the Spotted Owl became the target of many an outraged forester who felt his livelihood being threatened.  Whether you side with the forester or the environmentalist, this issue is not as black and white as many would like to have it seem.  And that’s coming from an environmentalist.  An environmentalist with a family history of foresters.

The food on my mother’s table as a kid growing up in a logging town in Oregon was the result of trees being cut down, roads being built and spotted owl and other species habitats being slowly or quickly in some cases stripped away.  I remember, as my inner environmentalist was budding, having conversations with my mother about these very issues.  I learned that, though it would be nice for it to be black and white, these issues never are.  Finding balance and harmony in a world that often struggles with change of any kind is not an easy thing.

The Spotted Owl is not a quickly adaptable species, unlike the Barred Owl who has moved into and beyond the territory of the Spotted Owl.  The Barred Owl, a close relative to the Spotted Owl, seems to have the ability to live and even thrive in a wide range of habitats, including the second growth that grows up after old growth forests are replanted.  They even live and successfully raise young in the small parks and preserves in major cities.  The Spotted Owl however seems to be less versatile and is thus in more danger of extinction due to habitat loss, and where the Barred Owl has moved into these areas as well, they are in competition for resources.  Many people look at the Barred Owl in a poor light due to this, but really, I wonder if that is short-sighted.  Perhaps nature takes a longer view.  As things change on our planet species evolve, cross-breed and change over a long period of time to adjust to those environmental changes.  Only with human action, these changes are happening at a far greater rate than perhaps many of the species can handle.  Will the Spotted Owl have a change to evolve to handle the loss of its prime habitat?  Time will tell.

Personally I believe we have cut more than enough of the old growth forests and that the remaining should be left alone.  We, as a species and as a culture have ways of creating livelihoods and resources that should free us from the idea that these incredible forest habitats should be cut down for any reason.  But humans are slow to adapt as well, especially when it comes to the bottom line, livelihood, and changes in the way we live.  So will these last remaining precious habitats be saved?  Again, time will tell.  I can only hope so.  What is done is done though.  There is no going back.  No magic wand powerful enough to restore what is lost forever.  What counts is what we do now and in the future.

As humans it is easy to judge, rant, philosophize, choose sides, point fingers and so on.  But for the owls, they have to just keep going, doing what they can with what is available and leaving the future to the future.  And there in is the key to what I believe is, in part, the wisdom of Spotted Owl:  Living each day, using what is available to you, and only what you need to thrive.  Keep on keeping on and trust Mother Nature to work out the balance, she’s got eons of experience at such matters, and if we are willing to stop and listen to Her wisdom perhaps we can learn how to find balance in our own lives.

So the questions for Spotted Owl are these:

How can I learn to find balance in my life, where I take no more than I need to thrive, and concern myself with no more than what is before me in each moment, so that I can live more justly for the good of all?

How might I evolve or change to better live in this changing environment?

How can I facilitate deep listening and seeing to hear and see the wisdom of Mother Nature.

What wisdom do I need most to live justly?

You can see more picture of the Spotted Owl and hear its call at http://www.owlpages.com/owls.php?genus=Strix&species=occidentalis