Tarot in Community

by Rebecca Guanzon

“Breathe out the known, and breathe in the unknown” Jane says as she leads us on a journey that we have been simply referring to as a “meditation”. Because collectively, we have no language for the places/ spaces that she takes us. 

Tarot meetup. Tarot group. Every week for a year and a half, we come together to do just that; breathe out the known and breathe in the unknown. We are a multi-generational, multi-dimensional group of humans. We hail from different places and have very different experiences of life. One thing that we hold as a common value is a desire to be seen, the desire to listen deeply to each other. We are artists, we are teachers, we are witches, we are bartenders, we are nurses, we are retired, we are writers, we are, we are…

Some of us have been reading tarot for many decades, and some of us don’t even have a tarot deck yet – so we share. Share cards, share experiences, share ourselves in however we are authentically presenting. 

In this circle, we all sit in the role of teacher and the role of learner. We are the experts of our experiences. 

“Where do you feel this card in your body,” I ask softly as someone begins to unpack a very layered meaning that is showing itself to them…”In my chest” they reply and I too, can feel it in my chest. We are not separate. We have come to understand what it means to hold someone else’s intention as if it were our own. In community we practice the idea that perhaps we don’t need an instructional guide or a recipe for the tarot, perhaps we know. Perhaps we don’t know, and the unknown can feel delicious with a witness. 

There is an essay by Denise Markonish in “Explode Everyday – An Inquiry Into The Phenomena Of Wonder”. Denise starts her essay with this Donald Rumsfeld quote “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tends to be the difficult ones.” Denise’s courage to explore the wonder and the unknown in this essay continues to inspire me in examining my own relationship with wonder and the unknown…and change…

As Octavia Butler says in “Parable Of The Sower”;

 “All that you touch, you change. All that you change, changes you. The only lasting truth is change. God is Change”. 

I experience these words in places where I have no language. In deeply somatic spaces. 

I think of these words as I close the shoppe for the day, sweep the floor, and put the folding chairs away. I think of these words as I turn out the lights and hear the whispers of the riotous laughter that took place in the Tarot group. I hear the whispers of the tears that fell, of the words uttered, and the brave paths taken. I am changed. I am change. 

I return to this energy as I write about the Magical Nature Tarot. I return over and over to the concept that the more I know, the less I know. I do know how tempting it is to scamper to a “how to” book or a guide. I know what it feels like to long for someone to give me the answers, the meaning…. My hopeful intention is to energetically hold out my hands to you. To invite you into co-creation with me. To invite you through a portal of infinite possibilities all ready existing within you. The invitation of remembering your divinity. The invitation into the unknown, into wonder, into change….

Just as we start in the Tarot group -let’s begin with the breath. Notice everything about your breathing – without judging or trying to change it. Just notice. Notice the micro-movements of your body, notice the temperature of the air. Invite your breath to stir and still you. Let the breath wash away what you do know and the things that you don’t know about the tarot, about yourself. Learn, unlearn, relearn. Over and over… 

This is presence. All of everything moves within you and your magical nature. Primordial glimpses. Here we are in the liminal space and the time has come to transform, transmute, and connect. 

Each shuffle of the cards – can be a ritual. Calling to the deepest parts of you and to our plant ancestors. Feel the cards slip between your fingers and move through your hands. What sensations are you experiencing? How do the cards want to be shuffled? How will you draw a card? From the top of the deck? From the bottom? Spread them all out? Face down? Face up? Perhaps you are drawn to the art of a card – that’s a valid way to select as well! Give yourself permission.  

 There are no wrong answers here in this room with me. 

Just as you began to notice everything about your breath – begin to notice everything about the card you selected. Let the card tell the story. Give yourself over to the wonder of this experience. What does that feel like in your body? What are the feelings or sensations that are moving in you? Where does this card live in your body? Where do you experience it?  Where is your eye drawn to looking at the images of the card? Listen to yourself, listen to the card. You are creating a relationship with this card. With the art, with the magic, with the plant ancestors, and with the guides, with the collective, with yourself. 

In this room, we came to know that nothing was separate. When your heart broke on the floor that day, mine did too. Shards of broken heart in our feet and hands. We are not separate.

The spells are the tea blends. 

The eyes are the kidneys. 

The grimoire is the materia medica. 

We are not separate. 

I am of dirt and magic and blessing and hexing. 

You came for the magic 

Your own magic remembered 

You came for a witness 

You came to be reminded that you are your own best healer 

We came to exist with great complexities and

We are not separate.

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