Saturday, December 03, 2011

Journeying to the Gaian Tarot

This morning's offering is a guest post by my friend and mermaid sister, Joanna Powell Colbert, creatrix of the beautiful Gaian Tarot; - appropriate as I am now wrapping up copies of the deck to appear as gifts under the Yule and birthday trees of friends and kindred spirits here in the village and out in the snowy  Lanark highlands.

I have been watching in admiration as Joanna's deck came into being during the last nine years, and at last, her creation is complete - it is making its way out into the great wide world to do the vital work of fostering wisdom and community, building bridges, healing each other and Mother Earth, She who is the mother of us all.  I  cherish my copy of the limited edition "Majors Only" Gaian Tarot, and now the full deck has been published by Llewellyn - it too is becoming a treasured companion on this meandering journey of mine toward mindfulness and authenticity. Thank you, Joanna!


When I was 18 years old (a million years ago), I came across a deck of tarot cards and promptly fell in love with the strangely compelling images. I played with that deck for a few years, memorizing meanings from the little white book, and trying to apply the written meanings to my life without much success. Then my spiritual interests changed, and I put the tarot cards away for over ten years.

When I came back to them, it was with a renewed interest in the Divine Feminine (Cate’s “Old Wild Mother”). I moved to a small island in the Pacific Northwest and threw myself into nature-awareness studies. In the process, I fell deeply in love with the special, magical Place where I was living. I built a straw bale house with my husband, planted a garden and learned all about the native plants and wildlife. I hadn’t touched a tarot deck in years, but I knew it was time to create one that was uniquely my own. And all the passion and knowledge of getting to know my own Place went into the Gaian Tarot.

Many of the scenes on the cards are specific places on the island, as well as in the greater Northwest. The people in the cards are all based on people that I know. They are part of my spiritual community and my island community. I used to go for long rambling walks around the island, asking myself “Where is the energy of this particular card in the natural world?” And I would often receive inspiration for the card I was working on.

Tarot author Rachel Pollack says that the tarot is a book of wisdom, like the Bible or Torah or Koran. And, I would add, like the Book of Nature. I believe, along with Joanna Macy and many others, that we are at the time of the Great Turning, when humanity can either self-destruct or evolve. I see turning to cards like my Gaian Tarot as a source of Wisdom to be one of the ways we can each grow into our Deepest, Wisest Selves, and then to turn our gaze outwards and help to heal the world.

I don’t use the cards for fortunetelling, although some people do. It can be useful, however, to take a “what-if” approach. You might say to yourself, “What if the cards could point something out to me that I might otherwise be missing?”

You could ask the cards my favorite all-purpose question: “What do I need to know right now about a particular situation in my life?” and pull one to three cards. Just allow yourself to gaze at the cards and notice any emotional reactions or personal associations you might have with the cards. Allow your intuition to awaken, and jot down a few notes about what you think the cards might mean in relation to your situation. Finally, open the book and read what it is written about the card. Take what applies to you and leave the rest. Remember, your intuition trumps the book meaning every time.

How I wish someone had told me that, back when I was 18!

Joanna Powell Colbert,
November 30, 2011

3 comments:

Rain said...

I have three Tarot decks but love hat I see of that one. Intriguing, beautiful images. I have also put my decks aside for long periods of time. I like those questions to ask. Finding the right question is half the problem

Mystic Meandering said...

Lovely cards! And I love your description. I too have several decks that I have used over the years,and haven't used in nearly a decade. And am now feeling the need to use them again, but have been wanting something "new." So I will check these out at the link you provided. I love how the tarot can often stimulate my own intuition, or confirm it.

the wild magnolia said...

I have the Majors only, packaged lovely in the golden spun bag, herbs and special words. These cards a dear to me. The art and "feeling" of these cards is both electric and eclectic of intuiting nature and life, an interweaving of earth and spirit. Clarity for the journey, gentle and compelling.


Thank you, for sharing such a gift, a forever compendium of possibilities. Precious sparks of navigational wisdoms.